Embassy Gardens- Cat B Office Fit out project- a working blog!

12-May-2020 13:07
in General
by Admin

Karsons Consulting, were appointed by Dorling Kindersley to design all of the mechanical and electrical services, manage and be part of the tender review team, and liaise with the project team day to day to ensure the project meets completion.

Dorling Kindersley (DK) is a British multinational publishing company specialising in illustrated reference books for adults and children. DK are moving from The Stand in London into new offices in Vauxhall, specifically, Embassy Gardens. DK has allocated funds to redesign and fit out the ‘CAT B’ services to align the commercial space to fit their business specific requirements. We are currently about three quarters of the way through the project and we are currently experiencing challenges to the programme due to Covid-19. 

Our FM Consultant Engineer, Mark Bellinger was first drafted into the Embassy Gardens during the design review stage approximately 13 months ago at Stage 3. Mark talks us through the project, his role and the challenges brought on my Covid-19

Mark, can you give us an overview of your role in the project?

For me, this is my first major project consultancy role of a size of a significant multi-million pounds turnover. 

My role is to be the ‘technical conduit’ to liaise between our team of design consultants, the main contractor and the projects team on requests for further technical information. 

My technical specialist role includes:

  1. Reviewing engineering change requests during the project on a fluid basis.

  2. Reviewing of contractors’ technical submittals of specialist mechanical and electrical equipment.

  3.  O&M reviews prior to project completion to ensure accuracy.

  4. Attending the bi- weekly project meetings to represent the design team and field any project related technical questions

  5. Regularly the main contractor on site to conduct practical walk arounds to review the technical services installed.

  6. Site review visits and reviewing of commissioning figures. 

  7. Throughout this project, I have been instrumental in resolving issues such as mechanical systems containment clashes, liaising with the landlord for project critical information, dealing with the main contractors on site to come to practical project solutions, maintaining good working relationships with all colleagues.

  8. Managing and monitoring the project plus portal and ensuring being responsive in my approach to all of the stakeholders. 


So, this project is a milestone in your career. What would you say you've learnt from the project so far?

Firstly, Stakeholder Management.

 This is my first large multi-stake holders project, which involves a very large number of individuals and specialist companies in order to deliver a successful project. Understanding all of the companies’ independent roles and responsibilities in the project is key to a successful working relationship. I have worked hard to develop good rapport and collaborative working with the below parties.

The stakeholders in this project includes, (I have kept out the companies details for confidentiality reasons):

  1. The client (DK)

  2. The clients parent company 

  3. The landlords FM team 

  4. The base build design team

  5. The main contractors and their various engineering teams

  6. The design team

  7. The project management company (Pure Facilities)

  8. Other external specialists for witnessing, commissioning and witnessing

  9. Other fit out companies on the other floors

  10. My own company, Karsons

Secondly, Problem solving 

Throughout the duration of this project, I have had to resolve many technical issues that have arisen. This has caused me to draw on my 8 years of experience in the M&E/ FM sector. As part of my approach, I have had to efficiently close out these issues whilst incorporating all stakeholders' opinions and views, I have ensured to do my technical due diligence by cross referencing with our internal design team and external specialists and suppliers. 

I have had to directly resolve and manage issues such as:

  1. Where and how to put penetrations to the Landlords ‘Cat A’ fabrics for services

  2. Closely review pipe work and cabling routes to avoid clashes and containment issues

  3. Deal with any closed system water quality issues which our M&E team are to join up to

  4. Liaising with controls specialists to incorporate BMS outstation designs to existing ventilation systems 

  5. Deal with commissioning engineers to review ventilation pressure issues. 

 Lastly, Political factors

This reminds me of my Uni days, when I used to do things such as ‘PEST’ analysis as part of my business degree. One of the things I have learnt during this period is that large Political items, Brexit, (yes I said it) does have an impact on large procurement items.
For example, all of the bidding tenderers had a Brexit strategy to procure fabric items such as plasterboard and specialist items. 

During the fit-out project phase itself, this has caused delays with procuring specialist items such as conduits and ducting. I have learnt a valuable lesson that PESTLE analysis is not just a university item, but a vital tool in the construction projects world. 

How have you and your team had to adapt to the changes brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak?

So, here we are 5 weeks into lock down, and I must say that the whole projects team has adapted well to project life. We are having a bi-weekly meetings on Google Hangouts. We are dealing with all technical related queries and the Overbury team have adapted well to their on site team conducting social distancing. 

We are finding new and resourceful ways of working to keep the project progressing towards PC and look forward to seeing the finished end product. 

Karsons Consulting are drafting specific method statements and risk assessments, and implementing specific strategies to undertake work safely at this time. If you need any information or advice regarding your office or building maintenance work, Karsons Consulting is available to help. From the interview, you will see that new projects are still getting the attention they deserve during this difficult time to keep the industry moving whilst working safely. Should you have any queries or wish to discuss a particular project, don’t hesitate to call us on 020 3282 7605 or email us:

Don’t lose the opportunity to be efficient during this lockdown period!