The construction of a brand new village hall in Stalisfield, Kent is progressing well and is due to be completed by September this year.
Stalisfield’s original village hall was in dire need of attention due to an array of failing facilities and aging structures and so works began to construct an entire new venue in March 2014.
Solid Oak Limited are the main contractors on the project and Premier Construction caught up with the company’s Managing Director Barry Culver. Barry lives in Stalisfield and assisted the Stalisfield Village Hall Committee in the early stages with preliminary budgets and so the project is especially close to his heart. Barry added:
“The project was tendered out after Lottery funding was attained and we were fortunate enough to win the tender. Many of the people involved in the project are local contractors which has made site meetings very enjoyable.
“We initially began by demolishing the original frame as it was completely rotten. We had to completely start again and begin constructing an entirely new hall, which is now much larger than the original hall.”
The village hall committee were granted some more land from the local landowner which enabled them to increase the size of the hall. Concrete deep strip foundations were laid following the demolition process as was substructure brick work; a precast beam and block ground floor was then installed in order to complete the initial works.
The building is entirely a timber frame and has been supplied and erected by Harmony Timber Frames Limited, who has created the structure complete with the roof and all of the internal partitions. The external elevations of the building have been clad in feather-edge boarding and the roof has been finished with slate.
Internally the timber frame walls have been insulated and plaster boarded to ensure the space is functional at all times of the year. The ceilings have also been plaster boarded and the venue has been fitted out with a fully functional main hall, kitchen, toilets and access toilets, storage facilities and cupboards.
Barry said that so far the onsite team, including Canterbury based architects Taylor Roberts, are at the second fixing stage at the moment with the roofing and cladding completed, the scaffolding has been removed and internal decoration has now begun. The kitchen is almost complete and the doors are currently being hung, as well as the light fittings being installed.
After internal works have been completed landscaping works will commence including the construction of the main access footpath and the installation of decking outside the new French doors of the building. Barry said the completion of the village hall will mean a lot to local residents:
“The old venue was almost unusable; the floor was collapsing and the facilities weren’t working. The response so far has been great and local people can see this venue is a massive improvement from what was there previously.
“The local Women’s Institute use the village hall as do the local Morris Dancing groups and so the completed space will be great for them. Due to the ideal location of the hall in the centre of Stalisfield I think the space could now be used for wedding receptions and parties, especially as the venue is large enough and versatile enough to host these functions.”
Barry added that the local farmers market might also be transferred to operate inside the hall throughout the winter months. Barry said the project has been a joy to be involved in:
“As the hall is in my village I have had considerably more hands-on involvement than I normally would have, had this been a normal contract. I wanted to take ownership of this renovation and so I’m glad to be doing it myself and am especially pleased that all of the majority of the trades on site are locals.
“It will be great to say at the end of the project that I was involved in the original concept and bringing it to its completion. My family and I are planning to stay in the village so it is great to have been involved with this project.”
Solidoak Limited is a construction and development company with extensive experience in all aspects of the construction industry. The firm was established in 1994 and since its inception has been providing a quality service throughout London and the South-East, including the Home Counties.
Solidoak undertake an array of projects including new build works, refurbishment projects, renovating Listed properties, commercial units, as well as carrying out many design and build contracts for clients. The firm is able to carry out projects ranging from £100,000 to £5 million through their major works department, as well as undertaking smaller contracts from £10,000 through their small works department.
The company is family owned and managed by father & son Quantity Surveyors with over 60 years’ experience in all aspects of the construction industry between them. All of the firm’s site managers and foreman are all time served tradesmen who have been elevated to management as a result of many years’ experience.
Solidoak employs 16 full-time employees that are backed up by a substantial network of tried and trusted subcontractors. From 2008, the company struggled to stay afloat during the recession, however the firm has been getting steadily busier since 2012 and turnover has continued to increase ensuring the future still looks bright for Solidoak.
Solidoak Limited are also members of several trade organisations including the National House Building Council (NHBC), National Federation of Builders (NFB), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and, more recently, have become a part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme. This latest scheme ensures that all the firms’ sites are run with consideration to neighbouring properties and their occupants, as well as being carried out in an environmentally friendly way.