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The Four Seasons Hotel isn’t horsing around

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Four Season's Hotel Equestrian Centre, Hampshire

The construction of a state of the art equestrian centre at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire has now been completed; the new centre was unveiled to guests on the 10th March 2014.

The previous equestrian centre on the site was initially built as a temporary structure and did not befit the grand grade 1 listed hotel, which was built in 1728.

Premier Construction caught up Darren Moakes, Director of Engineering at the Four Seasons Hotel, to find out more about the £1 million project. The Four Seasons team, working alongside AK Design and JM Brocking & Associates project management, began the planning process in January 2012 before submitting drawings of the proposed new centre to local planners. The team took into account the sites location in a conservation area during the planning process and were very sensitive to the surroundings.

After receiving planning permission, works began in January 2013 demolishing the existing structure, an old disused dairy block, before works started on the foundations and drainage installation in March 2013. The equestrian centre is within a conservation area and In order to ensure it was built sympathetically to the environment Michelmersh tiles were used on the roof structure and the exterior timber cladding was finished in black stained shiplap board.

Four Season's Hotel Equestrian Centre, Hampshire

Owen Building & Restoration were the principal contractor on the first phase of the project, which involved completing all the groundworks element of the project. The groundworks, footings and surface and foul drainage systems were completed by the end of July 2013. The Stable Company then started working on the stable’s construction in August 2013 and completed the build in December 2013.

The team then carried out the internal fit out works which included fitting two shower areas, two toilets, a tack room, a seating and reception area, 12 stables, a hay barn and a groom’s accommodation. The internal fit outs were completed by the end of February 2014. The new equestrian centre is now operational and the old structure – on a different part of the site – is being demolished and will be reverted back to pasture land.

Fermacell boarding was used on the inside of all the structures; LED lighting was also installed in the centre in a bid to make the property more energy efficient. There is under floor heating in the groom’s accommodation as well as the main building which is produced from an air source heat pump.

Darren said the Four Seasons team are very pleased with the results of the project:

“We are very happy with the results of the build although it did have its challenges throughout. There is a 33KVA electrical pole running through the site and at one stage of the project we had to stop all works at the far end of the stable block because of complications with this pole, which needed to be replaced as it was 100mm over the allowed distance from the pitch of the roof.

Four Season's Hotel Equestrian Centre, Hampshire

“We also had to split the water systems supply and install a separate pumped system for the equestrian centre to avoid any backfeed or contamination from the supply to the horse troughs in the fields.”

Darren said that the equestrian centre is currently available for guests staying at the 133 bedroom hotel, but there are plans to extend the new facilities to those in the local community as is currently done with the Four Seasons Spa.

Four Seasons took over the estate in February 2005 after the property was almost completely burnt down by a large fire in 1982. The main facade and outer structure of the building was all that remained of the property following the fire. The Four Seasons Hotel and new equestrian centre, which lies on the estate, is a far cry from the previously derelict property that used to litter the site.

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