Quest Interiors

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James Winsor

James Winsor

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We are pleased to welcome John Scullion to the team as Construction Team Supervisor. John’s expertise lies within the Construction Health and Safety arena with specialities in Site Inductions, Construction Site Safety and Risk Assessments. Prior to joining Quest Interiors, John worked on a number of prestigious contracts for Construction giants such as Balfour Beatty.

The first University Lifestyle Survey since the introduction of the new university fee structure has revealed that student expectations have risen in conjunction with the increase in fees.

Quest

Download the Quest interior refurbishment Case Study here

The results have gone on to show that student expectations with regards to the services and credentials of a university rise as fees increase. According to 2014 Sodexo University Lifestyle Survey the two top student preferences are the upgrading of university social spaces and their catering outlets, this is along with the expectation for a solid sustainability strategy.

When selecting a university, 50% of students surveyed continue to take into account their first-hand experience of a campus, 38% revealed that the attractiveness of the university’s estate was a big deciding factor when having to choose between universities.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Quest Interiors worked with the client to encase two reception desks within the entrances of the LSE New Academic Building.

PROJECT CHALLENGES

A modern day look with glass panels and clean lines was required to help contain each desk area for the ventilation system to cool in the Summer and heat in the winter.
This project was a real test of fitting accuracy to achieve all LSE expected.

The Finished look exceeded expectations and practically, the design has solved the problem it set out to do.

According to a report from university estate directors, the size of university estates in the UK is seven times bigger than the total estate occupied by Tesco's shops.

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The report from the Association of University Directors of Estate (AUDE) shows the scale of universities within the UK economy. The report revealed that the 2011-12 income from this university estate - including student accommodation and tuition fees - was £27bn. In summary this indicates that each square metre earns an income worth £1,600 per year.

 

Many universities are now becoming the biggest local employers with the total population on their estates, mostly students, being about the same as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Dudley, Walsall and Solihull combined.

 

The report estimates that universities spend almost £2bn per year on property running costs such as utility bills, maintenance costs and cleaning.

 

Competition for students has propelled the increase of new buildings on university campuses, with the analysis showing capital spending of £2.2bn - £1.8bn on academic buildings and £400m on residential.

Wood flooring in commercial interiors

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Wood flooring can prove a suitable companion in commercial interiors provided the natural limitations of wood are considered. When recommending wood flooring in parts of the project, refurbishment specialists have to take into account the durability of the floor when it is subjected to high footfall and the decorative side, to help ensure that the floor remains attractive for many years. Here are some of your options and considerations should you decide to venture in the direction of real wood.

Wood Flooring Technology:

Real wood flooring consists of two types of floorboards and it is often the case that only one type is truly suitable in the project. One type is made from complete wood, while a second type is made from wood supported by manmade backing.

Solid Wood – These floorboards are made from 100% natural hardwood. Solid wood floorboards are very much popular in commercial settings due to the stretch of the floor. With correct care the floorboard can exceed 100 years of service life, which is why you often come across solid wood in period and historical properties.    

  • For Solid Wood In Commercial Settings – The use of 100% real wood means that it is possible to sand the floor down the road to expose ‘new’ wood underneath. It is far quicker and more affordable manner to rejuvenate a heavily used floor compare to changing floors again.
  • Against Solid Wood In Commercial Settings – If fitted in or next to high humidity or wet areas, the natural reaction of wood is to expand (in warm conditions) or to contract (in cold conditions). It can cause the floorboard to rise thereby causing a health and safety concern.

Engineered Wood – A close alternative is wood flooring made from a top layer of solid wood, supported by multilayer core of MDF, Plywood and Softwood. While service life isn’t as lengthy as the complete solid type, engineered wood is far more versatile in its suitability.

  • For Engineered Wood In Commercial Settings – The use of solid wood in conjunction with manmade materials makes these floorboards unaffected by temperature changes. They can be fitted freely across parts of the project including over under floor heating.
  • Against Engineered Wood In Commercial Settings – The biggest attraction of solid wood flooring in commercial areas is the ability to sand and recoat the floorboards. While theoretically this is still possible in the case of engineered wood flooring, it can only be done once or twice during the course of the floor’s lifetime.

Wood Flooring Finish:

Regardless of your decision between solid and engineered wood, the floorboard must be covered in a transparent layer made from lacquered or oil. The finish is meant to act as a barrier between foot traffic and the wood to improve durability. Each of the two options has plenty in the way of for or against, so again, the decision by your refurbishment specialists will be based on the project’s circumstances.

Oil Finish Solid or Engineered Wood Floors – The oil finish option requires the least amount of care. Oil seeps into the wood thereby proving incredibly slow warring, which equals longer periods between top-ups.

Lacquered Finish Solid or Engineered Wood Floors – The lacquer substance is too thick to seep into the wood, so it remains on the surface where the abrasive nature of foot traffic can lead to quicker wear. However, because the lacquer base liquid remains on the surface it improves the durability of the floor and in some cases when strong lacquer is used, it can even make the floor waterproof.

These are just some of the considerations that a professional refurbishment specialists must take into account should they recommend wood flooring for parts of your project.

Written by Jonathan Sapir who manages London based wood and beyond. For further information on refurbishment, contact Quest Interiors.

 

 

According to research commissioned by the LSE Estates Division and the Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF), more than a third of students have turned down universities due to their lack of facilities and the quality of the buildings.

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The research was based on data gathered from 1,000 students across the UK, and reveals the most important factors students take into consideration throughout the application process when choosing a university.

When deciding where to study, 76% of students ranked campus facilities as either ‘quite’ or ‘very’ important, with only 8% saying it was ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ important in their decision. The research also underlined how factors such as demographics, region and type of university attended have an impact on how students perceive university buildings.

86% of students said that estate quality is ‘quite’ or ‘very’ important in their first year of studies. Third year students however do not attach the same amount of importance to the quality of university estates.

During 2001-2011, data shows that expenditure on university estates has been the highest amongst the Russell Group universities.

Data reveals that the top three areas in which universities would invest money in order of preference are: smaller class sizes, bursaries for poorer students and new buildings and facilities. With regards to estates-only items, the repair and maintenance of existing buildings came out on top with 77%.

Julian Robinson, LSE director of estates and deputy chair, HEDQF, said:

 "Between 1996 and 2011 universities have invested a massive £27.5 billion in their building and estates, resulting in some amazing buildings of world-class quality, incorporating innovative design, environmental sustainability and flexible use. Our nationwide survey set out to determine whether investment in a university’s estate matters and makes a difference to students and their university experience.”

LSE is in the process of renewing its main campus with an ambitious c. £400m programme of improvements in the pipeline, including site acquisitions, new build, refurbishment and public realm improvements. Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners have recently been appointed to design the new Global Centre for Social Sciences.

 

Reference:

LSE

Approved suppliers to Imperial College London

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Quest Interiors are commercial interior refurbishment specialistswith an unrivalled reputation in the public and private sectors.  We are also proud to be approved suppliers to Imperial College London.

 ACEx

Photo Shows: Quest Interiors Project: ACEx Entrance Lobby, Imperial College, Advanced Chemical Engineering department (ACE) extension building.

Imperial College London undertakes a wide range of refurbishment, redevelopment and new build projects to maintain its status as one of the top Higher Education institutions in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The College has appointed Approved Suppliers to undertake project works ranging in value from £100,000 to £10 million.

In 2013, Quest Interiors completed a specialist design and build project for Imperial College, London. We were brought in to design and construct a facility for Qatar CCS Multi-scale Imaging Lab within the Blackett Building.

Throughout the project, we worked with Crofton Consulting Engineers who provided the mechanical and electrical design for this project.

Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, has won a deal to provide retail catering and hospitality services at University College London (UCL).

UCL Contract awarded

The company has been commissioned by UCL to provide quality, diverse food services at its Bloomsbury campus in the capital. Sodexo will provide retail catering, vending and hospitality services to 25,000 students and 9,000 university staff from 26 January.

The contract was awarded to Sodexo as UCL moved to ensure quality and consistency for its staff and students across its core central London estate. It is for three-and-a-half years and is worth £15.7 million in total or £4.5 million per annum. The contract also has two one-year extension options.

Founded in 1826, UCL is England's third oldest university and draws students from 155 countries

University Estates Projects - What our clients say

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So, it’s been a really busy year for the University Estates Refurbishment Team here at Quest Interiors. As well as recently going to press with a number of our high profile projects as Case Studies, we are now starting to showcase our work within the FM and University Estates marketplace. If you already subscribe to our blog, you will know that we recently successfully completed two major refurbishment projects on behalf of the Department of Physics for Imperial College. We approached the Project Director, Doug Hudson from the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College to give us his take on the success of these two key projects, The Extreme Physics Laboratory and the Wolfson Laboratory for Ultrafast Imaging of Extreme Physical Processes.

 Imperial College

The Extreme Physics Laboratory.

The Extreme Physics Laboratory, situated in the basement of the Blackett Building is a high quality space dedicated to producing extreme pressures, densities and temperatures in materials for a variety of novel research purposes with £1M funding by Imperial College. Quest refurbishment of an existing 1960’s double height space was completed to a very high standard, within the allowed budget. The Principle Investigators, Professor Roland Smith and Dr Simon Bland were delighted with the outcome of the refurbishment which exceeded end user expectations.

The refurbishment project generated four new areas:

  • New mezzanine Laser laboratory
  • Dedicated high bay and crane area
  • Laser target area
  • Capacitor room.

Quest Interiors’ chosen charity is the Nehemiah Project. Nehemiah Project was started in 2001 as a response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic sweeping across southern Africa.

Construction Director James Windsor supports the cause by completing gruelling sporting challenges to raise sponsorship which is generously donated to the charity. Earlier this year, James and his University friend Adam Strudwick from HLW Architects completed a triathlon which raised an impressive £3000 for the charity.

Ruth and Andy Thorn founded the Nehemiah Project and on behalf of Bright Future Kids Club team and Nehemiah AIDS Relief Project, have provided donors with the first interim report which highlights the progress that has been made possible thanks to their donation of funds.

During 2010/2011 a vision was cast to acquire a site in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on behalf of Nehemiah AIDS Relief Project in order to properly support the expansion of the project’s relief work into this high density, needy suburb.

Cowdray Park

A proposal for such a venture was submitted to Bulawayo City Council in 2012. By this time the vision had developed more specific aims and objectives and the detail was included within the proposal to support the project’s application for the allocation of a one hectare site.

The Extreme Physics Laboratory, situated in the basement of the Blackett Building is a high quality space dedicated to producing extreme pressures, densities and temperatures in materials for a variety of novel research purposes with £1M funding by Imperial College.

Quest refurbishment of an existing 1960’s double height space was completed to a very high standard, within the allowed budget. The Principle Investigators Professor Roland Smith and Dr Simon Bland were delighted with the outcome of the refurbishment which exceeded end user expectations.

The refurbishment generated four new areas. A new mezzanine Laser laboratory, a dedicated high bay and crane area, a laser target area and a capacitor room.

Construction commenced in the summer of the London Olympics 2012 and was completed on programme prior to the commencement of the autumn 2012 term. The timely completion of the programme prior to the start of the autumn student term was a key factor as the laboratory is situated directly below and adjacent student lecture theatres.

Download the case study here:

Extreme Physics case study

We recently completed a residential design and build project for Imperial College in Central London.

Princes Gate

58 Prince’s Gate is a private and exclusive listed building located in the heart of South Kensington. The facility which is used for meetings, seminars, receptions and offices is owned and run by Imperial College London.

Quest Interiors were selected as the principal contractor for this high profile, fast-track project for The Imperial College Estates Projects Team. The Project Team included Quest Interiors from stage C concept design to ensure all required buildability and tendering was co-ordinated with the design.

Here’s a brief round-up of our accreditations and memberships, so you can be sure that you are dealing with the best in the specialist interior refurbishment industry.

 

THSPIn the interest of good health and safety practice and legal compliance we hold THSP accreditation.

ConsiderateWe also hold full membership of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, where we have successfully committed to their company code of considerate practice in all aspects of the environments in which we work in. We are respectful towards our neighbours, take pride in our appearance, uphold safety standards at all times and are respectful, responsible and accountable in everything we do.

Safe contractorQuest Interiors are ‘safecontractors’ -The Health and Safety Pre-Qualification Assessment Scheme. safecontractor is the fastest growing health and safety accreditation scheme in the UK, with more than 200 major clients and over 18,000 contractor members. Registered members with the safecontractor scheme include clients and contractors from a wide range of professional disciplines working within a number of industry sectors. With its increasing membership and growing profile in the UK, the safecontractor scheme is now used by many large organisations as a way of obtaining competent contractors.

Prince HarryOn October 17th 2013, Prince Harry officially opened the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London.

The Centre is a collaboration between military and civilian clinicians, scientists and engineers.

The Centre for Blast Injury Studies collaboration is the first of its kind and was set up to increase the understanding about blast injury patterns, treatment and recovery and will see the development of methods of protecting those serving in current and future conflicts.

Quest Interiors were privileged to have worked with the client team at Imperial College to develop a brief for this prestigious facility.

The project involved in-depth Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meetings prior to starting works on site. During the works Key Home Office visits were carried out to ensure the project was fit for purpose.

Quest Interiors have delivered several prestigious Design & Build and Specialist Refurbishment Works projects on University and higher education estates in and around central London. Our portfolio of Education Estates projects includes laboratories & specialist research facilities, halls of residence, and general university building projects.

Imperial college case study Thumbnail

In this example, we worked with the Client Team for the Advanced Chemical Engineering department (ACE) extension building at Imperial College London, to develop the design for the Entrance Lobby from RIBA Stage C to completion.

The completed specialist refurbishment enhanced the student experience and the new entrance has created a destination for the department.

Charity Update: Triathlon success raises over £3k

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Over the summer months we have raised over £3,000 for our chosen charity, the Nehemiah Project Support Trust.

Quest Interiors Construction Director James Winsor successfully completed the Virgin Active London Triathlon, the world’s biggest and most iconic Triathlon in July.

The triathlon took place on the 27th and 28th July 2013 and welcomed over 13,000 triathletes of all ages and abilities to swim, bike and run around the iconic route.

After months of gruelling training, James completed the triathlon with his University friend Adam Strudwick from HLW Architects.  All sponsorship raised from the triathlon has gone to Quest Interiors chosen charity the Nehemiah Project charity.

London Triathlon

James said:

“It was a pleasure to raise money for a true charity with heart...The Nehemiah Project is based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It is a Christian run organisation run by an old family friend Andy Thorn. It aims to provide aid to those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, by running support groups, orphan care and vulnerable children projects”