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Blue Jelly Ltd
The Courtyard
38 Alexandra Road

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Refurbishment in Occupation (RIO)

Refurbishment in occupation has become an increasingly popular option for many businesses.

For those who aren’t clear on what the term means, it is a way of carrying out major office refurbishments without the need for an organisation to relocate to temporary accommodation.

Rising rents and a lack of new office space have partly driven this shift, but there has also been a growing awareness among companies that this option enables them to breathe new life and revamp facilities in their building without the hassle, disruption and huge costs of moving into a short-term office let.

At Blue Jelly we have been designing and installing workplaces for over 15 years and we have completed refurbishment projects totalling four million square foot in that time – about twice the floor area of the Empire State Building; one million square foot of this has been refurbishment in occupation.

Refurbishment in occupation is a great way to not only ensure a building reaches its potential and improve the working environment for your team, leading to increased morale and productivity. However, it can also be understandably daunting to have construction workers on site while you try to go about your day-to-day business.

That’s why good planning and project management is absolutely crucial. Our expert project managers work with companies on site not only to consider the design, but also to carefully scrutinise how every part of the project could impact on their work and find ways to minimise any disruption. This could mean, for example, that the noisier parts of the refurbishment are completed outside of normal working hours.

Saying ‘you won’t know we are there’ might by pushing it – we are after all talking about major refurbishment - but we take great pride in ensuring disruption is minimal and that staff can work in a viable work environment until they are able to move into their new look workplace. For one of our recent clients, perfumery company Firmenich, moving out was not an option when it required a complete refurbishment of the second floor of its West London office.

It worked for us to manage the six month project in two stages and enable business to continue as normal while a new workplace was created.

Diane Flint, senior facilities manager at Firmenich, said: “We initially looked at whether we could move out or transfer the work somewhere else but with our laboratories and IT infrastructure it was just not possible. Instead, we worked with Blue Jelly to carry out the work and minimise disruption so that we could continue to use the office. They ensured that any really noisy work was carried out either early in the morning or late at night and that flexibility was crucial.”

The result is an office space that supports the activities of all the Firmenich teams using the office and boasts phone booths, studies, informal meeting pods and an evaluation area.

Diane added: “We had a vision of an agile, smart space and Blue Jelly interpreted that really well. The office looks great, feels great and is exactly how we wanted it.”

Please click here to read the full Firmenich case study and click here to watch the Firmenich 'Smart Space' concept.

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Similarly, moving out was not a realistic option for engineering firm Keltbray and its 200 employees when it required a complete refurbishment of its Esher offices.

We worked with them to enable the four-floor refurbishment to be carried out with minimum disruption to staff and clients.

Alison Darvill, the company’s facilities manager, said: “Moving everyone out to a short term let for a four or five month period was not an option for us and we felt the best way to carry out the refurbishment work was in occupation. Disruption was minimised to such an extent that I don’t think any of our clients would have known we were undergoing a major refurbishment unless they visited the offices. Office moves were carried out at weekends which meant everything was set up and working for our staff when they came in on a Monday – just in a different place.”

“Blue Jelly were involved from the beginning of the process and they arranged meeting with people from a cross-section of the business so they could understand the requirements of each department; what they felt worked well with the current set-up and what they were hoping would work better following the refurbishment. They carried out those meetings all through the refurbishment and I think that communication was one of the key things for us. People knew what was happening at each stage of the work.”

The outcome is a modern workspace which captures the company’s identity. “Everyone loves the fresh new look and now, when you go from floor to floor, you know you are in the Keltbray building. Before the work, once you left reception you could have been in any building in any country. It is a lighter, brighter place to work and it has been very well received by everyone.”

Please click here to read the full Keltbray case study.

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