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14th January 2007

Lucas successfully completes Butlers Wharf "Challenging Project"

Completed in 1873, Butler's Wharf was once the largest warehouse complex on the Thames. Having remained derelict after closure in 1972, the development is now probably best known for Terence Conran's restaurants such as Le Pont de la Tour. In fact, restaurants now occupy the ground floor with offices on the first floor.

The remainder of the eight-storey building is given over to residential use and it was this mixed tenancy that challenged the organisational skills of S. Lucas Ltd when providing a total maintenance service.Initially, S. Lucas were involved in intensive liaison with Knight Frank's Property Manager to detail all the work required to completely redecorate the outside of the building. The major part of the contract involved preparing windows and doors and applying woodstain, preparing metalwork and applying gloss paint, and preparing balconies and soffits and applying masonry paint. However, S. Lucas were also required to replace tiling that had broken down on some balconies, replace in the same style metal safety mesh that had also deteriorated, replace mastic to the joints in coping stones on the front elevation, and replace lead flashing where required. Complicating what would otherwise be straightforward tasks was the fact that the work had to be carried out whilst the restaurants still traded, the businesses continued to operate and the residents went about their daily lives unhindered. This was achieved by providing scaffolding in the form of towers with beams, the towers being clad with boarding to protect the public. Over an eight-month period, seven phases of scaffolding were provided to the various sections of the building as required. Even then, this had its complications. The Shad Thames elevation is a very narrow street and is an access road for the businesses as well as a public walkway, whilst the elevation fronting the Thames is served by a jetty.

S. Lucas had to consult a structural engineer to ensure the jetty was strong enough to take the weight of the scaffolding. Liaison with the building's porter's lodge and with the tenants' 'board of directors' as well as the operators of the restaurants and businesses ensured that all were informed of the progress being made. Letters were also sent to tenants when doors and windows had to be left open to enable staining to be completed and when balconies had to be cleared of furniture and plants so that painting could take place. S. Lucas's totally professional approach and careful co-ordination of all the various sub-trades involved ensured that work was carried with the minimum disruption and to the complete satisfaction of Knight Frank and the various tenants alike.