The ultimate client, the Crown Estate, insists on the finest quality finishes for its network. Its relationship with Murphy, which worked on several previous schemes such as the award-winning Oxford Circus Diagonals and Regent Street W5 scheme, meant the client had full confidence in Murphy achieving its aims.
The overall St James’s Market commercial development features nearly 300,000 sq ft of mixed use accommodation and a 4m sq ft property portfolio and links some of London’s most well-known addresses including Haymarket, Jermyn Street and Regent Street St James’s.
Murphy provided the finishing touches to the project so that the public could enjoy the new piazza boasting natural stone paving, public seating, tree planters and improved lighting. In nine months, the highways team and its in-house stone masons created 2,300m2 of walkways and a public courtyard using granite and Scoutmoor York stone paving. The drainage in the pedestrianised space was completely reconstructed to allow rainwater to flow and the job was completed with decorative wall-mounted lighting.
Located in the heart of the West End and London’s theatre land it was of paramount importance to keep the movement of both pedestrians and vehicles flowing. Accessing and exiting properties needed to be maintained at all times and deliveries also needed to be accommodated for a number of restaurants in the vicinity, including Planet Hollywood.
The several phases were carefully planned and coordinated to keep all disruption to a minimum. Site works were protected with strong wall fencing, which provided safe pedestrian walkways across the works. There were a number of stakeholders who needed to be kept abreast of progress on this prestigious project – as well as the direct client, Balfour Beatty, Murphy had to keep in touch with the Crown Estate, the City of Westminster, Transport for London and all the local residents, businesses and visitors. The project team co-located with the client and held regular progress meetings and site visits so that there was continuous communication during the project.
Some areas were handed over late to Murphy following delays on the building works. The client was concerned that the public realm programme would also slip, which would impact on its potential customers being able to access the buildings. The project team was able to look at the key areas and accelerate the scheme where possible, meaning that the original deadlines were met.
From a health and safety aspect, there were a number of high voltage cables that had been recently installed at a shallow depth to bring power to the new building. The client was unsure if work could be completed around this area due to the close proximity of neighbouring buildings. Working closely with Balfour Beatty, Murphy was able to demonstrate that its safe system of work for excavating would safely allow the new paving to be installed while protecting the cables.