When a family has owned a farm for 100 years, turning it into a set of beautiful, functional and contemporary homes is more than just a labour of love.
It’s also about maintaining character and style, being sympathetic to the history of the plot and respecting its links to the past while protecting its legacy for generations to come.
Owners George and Ali Watson knew they needed to find a sensitive, highly skilled and flexible contractor to bring their vision to life and with the help of project managers at AECOM, identified Robert Norman Construction as the perfect fit.
The team took on phase one of the major scheme to overhaul the Grade II listed Chillesford Lodge Model Farm, creating numerous individual dwellings in the tranquil countryside setting and bringing to life a selection of redundant outbuildings on what remains a working farm.
The homes range in size from one to four bedrooms and incorporate the old stables, the granary, bull pens and engine house and materials from the farm.
George and Ali were delighted with the result.
George said: “In terms of the site management, it was as good as anything I’ve ever seen. The Robert Norman Construction team had the skills on the ground which this project needed – their experience of this type of project meant they understood the need to preserve, bring back to life and always be sympathetic to the history, legacy and heritage of the buildings.
“Our two site managers couldn’t be faulted – they always went the extra mile and nothing was too much trouble, no matter what time of the day. Even when this meant dealing with some of the ‘characters’ on the farm – they understood and were sympathetic to their needs and wishes and were flexible and professional at all times.”
Ali added: “Their ability to form and maintain relationships is something which helped this whole project flow smoothly. They anticipated problems occurring and they came with a solution ready to go which, for development beginners such as us, made life much easier. The whole team was very easy to get on with, from the employees working on the ground right through to those dealing with the paperwork and finances.
“Furthermore, we were impressed with the way the team documented client variations through a formal CVI process as opposed to regular note taking – every tiny detail was recorded which helped with quality control and saved time in the long run.
“Overall they were a real pleasure to work with. Their flexibility, professionalism and work ethic was exactly what this project needed, and coupled with their realistic approach to timeframes and their specific expertise they were without doubt the right partners for us for phase one.”