Butterworth Laboratories Redevelopment of Laboratory Facilities
Founded in 1974, Butterworth Laboratories moved to their existing site in Teddington, South West London in 1980. Since moving into the premises, the company has evolved and grown exponentially and ever more space has been required for laboratory expansion.
With the growth in demand for our pharmaceutical testing services, the laboratory has expanded and consequently the space for all of our essential support staff has contracted. We had to make some big decisions.
Our first step was to open an administrative office a short distance down the Thames at nearby Hampton. Our finance, IT, quotes, projects, marketing and senior leadership teams relocated to these modern facilities, freeing up office space at the laboratory in preparation for the commencement of considerable works.
Breaking ground in September 2018, the complex project commenced. The plan is to create a three-storey office to the front of the building which will provide our employees with much more individual space and improve staff welfare facilities, whilst freeing up existing areas to reuse for laboratory expansion.
Our commitment to the local area, its people and businesses, has been vitally important to us throughout the planning and construction with an aim for the development to be as eco-friendly as possible and sensitive to our neighbourhood. We made the target of achieving a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Excellent’ – with only 10% of projects that apply meeting this high standard, it is a particularly challenging target.
In addition to using the most up to date materials and technology to mitigate environmental impact, we also incorporated nature-friendly elements such as ‘bee bricks’ which are designed to provide nesting habitats for bumble bees.
Following a period of extensive initial works involving the installation of new services and plant, we entered our current phase of the redevelopment project when we issued a letter of intent to appoint to Virtus Contracts in autumn 2019. This was followed by extensive pre-contract meetings with Virtus and the various sub-contractors preparatory to the commencement of works in late September of last year.
Following the decommissioning of the existing building services, preliminary separation of the front building from the laboratory prior to demolition, the remainder of the existing structure was cleared.
Next, a weather-proof security wall was built in front of the laboratory and new drainage laid to a new sump – this new sump forming part of our ‘Green Plan’ as it reduces the environmental impact of the water system. Once completed, the work moved on to the monumental stage of laying new foundations in November 2019 and the floor slab in January.
As is the case with complex construction processes, it takes quite a long time for anyone to see the actual building taking shape. So, it was exciting to see the commencement of bricklaying in early 2020. This was followed by the installation of the first floor beams in mid-February and the first three flights of concrete stairs at the end of the month. It was starting to look like a building!
The Covid-19 lockdown led to a necessary pause in building for around six weeks, so the second floor joists and the second three flights of stairs couldn’t be completed until early June.
Brickwork is now being completed to parapet level and the roof construction will start this month. With the roof expected to be complete by the end of August, it is hoped that a weather-tight building will have been achieved by early autumn and the internal fit-out works can commence.
It is with great credit to the contractors and project managers – with the collaboration of Butterworth’s Health & Safety, Facilities, Quality Assurance and Laboratory teams – that throughout these complex works the laboratory has been able to maintain its usual capacity with no downtime. Even during a worldwide pandemic.
It is with anticipation and excitement that we look forward to the expected completion of the new building in Q1 2021 and we look forward to welcoming clients and visitors to our new look premises.
John Welch CChem FRSC MRQA
Associate Director – Business Operations
John started at Butterworth in 1987 as an Analytical Chemist and has had various roles including Quality Assurance Manager and Business Development Manager before becoming Associate Director of Business Operations in 2018.
As part of his role, John is overseeing the redevelopment of our laboratory facilities in Teddington, SW London.