Sewell Construction was appointed to complete a 504sq m extension to an existing commercial unit in Seacroft in Leeds, to provide additional warehouse space.

The Sewell team needed to work with the end-users to reconfigure how and where they operated while the work was carried out, allowing the extension shell to be built without impacting on the company’s production facilities.

The £550,000 project had to be completed in a live environment between June and September 2018 without disrupting the day-to-day business, which involves making display furniture and equipment for the retail industry.

Workman is the largest, independent commercial property management and building consultancy firm in the UK, managing over 3,500 properties. Its team of more than 650, including 48 partners, specialises in various disciplines across property management, building surveying, accounting and business management.

Workman already had an established relationship with Sewell Construction from previous projects completed in Hull and Leeds, and Sewell was chosen due to the team’s ability to deliver on time and on budget, with quality at the heart of the scheme every time.

Previous projects included converting two existing units into one 1,300 sq m unit for a major kitchen, bathroom and furniture retailer on a Hull retail park, with the space eventually becoming the company’s first showroom to feature all of its ranges.

Another project of note was forming three Victorian buildings into one unit in a £1.2 million scheme, creating a home for a high end restaurant at the popular Victoria Quarter in Leeds.

Project development

Before work began at Seacroft in Leeds, the Sewell Construction team worked collaboratively with the client and their design team to develop the plans, including planning out the construction programme for the project.

A preliminary site visit took place to enable the team to become familiar with the layout and any potential project constraints.

Plans were put in place to primarily work within usual working hours, with the exception of services and drainage diversion works, which were planned over weekend periods to limit disruption to the business.

There was an adjacent substation to the site and the team had to liaise with Northern Power Grid so they were aware of the site activities, particularly around mobile cranes coming onto the site, which had to be planned in advance.

Before work began, steps were taken to make sure the extension was in keeping with the building and was seamless in terms of appearance against the existing structure.

It was time-critical for the business to have the work completed within the programme, as they had outgrown their premises and were using external facilities to maintain the workload.

Segregating the building users from the construction site was also key before work got underway and the team put temporary walkways and routes in place for staff and visitors while the work was carried out.

The Yorkshire-based supply chain was selected based on previous tried, tested and trusted relationships, which was again put in place before work commenced.


Key milestones in the project included:

– Putting measures in place to divert drainage
– Excavating and forming foundations for the extension
– Erecting the steel frame
– Erecting roof access scaffolding
– Installing roof cladding and guttering
– Perimeter masonry, including blockwork and brickwork
– Concrete slab work
– External cladding
– Relocating the roller shutter door and installing a new internal rapid roller shutter
– Installing fire escape doors
– Decorating internal blockwork
– External works
– Installation of new drainage and perimeter footpaths

The Sewell Construction team issued a series of newsletters to key stakeholders, providing updates and progress reports on the extension work throughout the project.

The Sewell Site Manager also liaised with the company’s Works Manager on a daily basis to plan ahead and coordinate site activity to avoid disruption to their day-to-day operations.

In addition to the planned programme of work, the Sewell team advised the business on which type of paint to use on their existing factory floor, sharing knowledge and expertise.


• Sewell Construction completed the 15-week scheme a week early, noting time sensitivities around the scheme and how essential it was to the business to gain the additional space

• The supply chain was 100% Yorkshire-based, with 18 subcontractors used in total and 10-12 operatives on site each day

• One scaffolding apprentice was part of the team

• £550,000 local spend


The work was very well managed and completed a week ahead of schedule, which was key for our busy client. We have a very positive working relationship with Sewell and we know we can rely on them to deliver safely and to a high quality every time.

Dominic Morris Partner at Workman