Category Archives: News

Refurb of an 1850’s Village School in a Conservation Area

Refurb of an 1850’s Village School  in a Conservation Area

Brampton Village Primary School was originally built in the 1850’s, but over the years it was subjected to a series of repairs which had left it looking unattractive, with a mish-mash of different bricks and cement.

Now, with it needing some serious restoration work, it was time to put right these random repairs and give it a cosmetic transformation to bring it back to the full delight of its initial build.

The school had grown, over the years, but this original building housed the staffroom, which was temporarily relocated to the newer part of the school. This was a luxury for us as many of our jobs take place with “business as usual” so we’re used to working quietly, tidily and efficiently, in order to allow the building to continue its normal daily operation.

The school is situated in a conservation area which gives it the same status as a listed building, so it was deemed essential to bring the school back to the same look that it would have had when first built. Fortunately, at Hutchinson’s Builders we have a wealth of experience in working with listed buildings and are used to dealing with their inherent complexities.

This particular job also involved specialist brickwork repairs, with handmade bricks to suit the current requirements. The project involved a lot of intricate work and entailed removing individual bricks that had blown, as well as repointing the original brickwork on all elevations.

Traditional lime mortar and masonry techniques were utilised to ensure the restoration was as close to the original as possible. We even analysed the original mortar and chemically matched it to ensure the detail had been taken care of.

The unattractive concrete tiles on the roof, which had been added in the 1980’s were stripped completely and a high percentage of the roof timbers were replaced due to dry rot. In its place were new timbers and beautiful clay tiles, really helping to bring it back to its former glory.


Re-furbishment, Leighton Buzzard

Re-furbishment, Leighton Buzzard

This privately owned end of terrace two bed Georgian house was in an extremely poor state of repair. It had been empty for over 10 years and had been left to deteriorate.

We were pleased to tender for this job and happy to win the contract to return this house to its former glory, however, soon after starting the job it became clear that there was more to it. We discovered subsidence and other major structural issues which necessitated a re-quote.

We started by bringing in a drilling rig to do a test bore hole for screw piling. Now that we had the full picture the job had expanded…

In effect, most of the house would need to be removed and replaced:

  • The gable end up to the bay window was to be removed and replaced with block work, including a cavity wall
  • Most of the front and rear brick work needed to be removed, along with the rendered end
  • Replace and upgrade internal walls including insulation
  • New bathroom
  • New kitchen
  • New Floor joists, although some original ones to remain
  • Complete re-wire
  • Electrical upgrade
  • Re-plastering
  • New heating system
  • New staircase

The finished house was completed to current building regulations and was once again ready to be a family home.


Brampton Village Primary School

Brampton Village Primary School

Hutchinson’s are carrying out a conservation project on the old boy’s school house at Brampton Village Primary School.

Taken over from the Church in the 1960’s, the current owners Cambridgeshire County Council, had planned a major overhaul of the external brickwork facade during the summer break of 2016.  However, once the building was scaffolded and examined more closely during the brick repair project, it became apparent that extensive repairs were also required to many of the major structural elements of the building, including large structural masonry buttresses, eaves, tie beams and roof timbers.  In fact, timber analysis proved that the decay was so extensive, the building had to be placed out of use and the roof had to be stripped in order to reduce the weight on the roof purlins and trusses, until such time as repairs could be undertaken.

A very much larger scaffolding had to be erected in order to achieve this and, right now, Hutchinson’s are working to replace and rebuild the upper wall sections, north eave and gable, copings and rotten roof timbers.  Once these repairs are complete, the building will undergo a major cosmetic transformation, with a new clay roof tile covering planned, along with repointing of all original red brick elevations, bringing the building back to it’s former glory and more in keeping with how it might have looked when it was first built in the 1850’s.

Traditional lime mortar and masonry techniques are being used to ensure the restoration work is as close to the original as possible.  Even the original mortar was analysed and chemically matched, and the project is set to complete in early spring 2017, now that the engineer’s from Atkins Global are satisfied that all of the former defects have now been discovered and rectified.



Cherry Hinton Football Pavilion

Cherry Hinton Football Pavilion

Hutchinson’s are carrying out a major re-build and extension of the Cherry Hinton Recreation Ground Pavilion in Cambridgeshire.

The Pavilion is home to Cherry Hinton FC and the Cherry Hinton Lions and the project is being undertaken by Cambridgeshire City Council to ensure the teams’ facilities can match their playing success and meet the requirements of the FA’s Charter Standard.

This is a very important community project for Cherry Hinton and the Cambridge area, as the new changing facilities will serve three senior and 17 youth football teams, the latter ranging from under 6 to under 17. Cherry Hinton FC play in the Cambridgeshire County League and the Lions play in the Cambridgeshire FA Mini Soccer and Cambridge and District Colts leagues. As well as new changing rooms, including officials changing rooms, when complete the Pavilion will more than double the capacity of the old facility, providing 26 showers, a new kitchen, external store, and meeting facilities.

Whilst originally scheduled and planned as an extension, the original building was discovered to be suffering from extensive timber decay and so much of the original walls and roof had to be replaced. A new water supply is also required, which needs to be brought in from the main in the High Street and whilst these works are now well advanced, the unforeseen defects did cause significant delay to the Project, which is now scheduled to open in February 2017.



Park House Nursing Home, Sandy

Park House Nursing Home, Sandy

We were delighted to win the contract to extend Park House Nursing Home in Sandy, a neighbouring town to our office in Potton, Bedfordshire.

Park House Nursing Home is based in a Grade 2 listed building, so any construction projects are strictly controlled and have to adhere to rules relating to style and materials used. At Hutchinson Builders, we are very experienced in working with listed buildings and their inherent complexities.

This extension would allow Park House to accommodate 29 people and also upgrade some of the current facilities to make the home a more pleasant environment for its residents.

The project consisted of an extension which comprised of six bedrooms, four of which had en-suite wet rooms, as well as a relaxing day room for the residents.

A complete re-wire to include cord pull alarm systems, as well as upgrading the existing heating system.

For the duration of our project, the nursing home was fully operational, so it was essential that we worked sympathetically, in order to ensure minimal disruption for the residents and staff. Part of this was to ensure the current heating system remained functional throughout the upgrade, as the works were carried out over the winter and throughout spring.

Externally we added attractive soffit lights which light up the building at night, creating a warm and inviting glow for visitors, residents and staff.

The existing wall was in need of attention so we built a beautiful Sandstone wall and also laid a Yorkstone terrace, which is an attractive addition to the home.

Park House Nursing Home provides residential care for people who want to live independently with minimal support and also for those who require care with nursing. It was a pleasure to work with them.


Robinson College, Cambridge

Robinson College, Cambridge

As experienced commercial builders, we were pleased to have been granted the contract for a significant 12 week project at Robinson College in Cambridge. Robinson College was founded in 1979 and is set in beautiful landscaped gardens and our project was spread over 4 locations all of which had to be completed within 9 weeks.

As the main contractor, we formed four separate teams to cover the work at each of the locations:

1A Sylvester is an accommodation block and we were contracted to refurbish:

  •  24 rooms, which included 9 bathrooms and 7 kitchens
  • Replace all windows and doors
  • A full electrical upgrade including LED lighting with new sockets and switches
  •  An up to date IT system giving each student access to superfast broadband.

D Block, another accommodation block, needed major structural alterations in order to allow:

  • The installation of 6 bathroom pods, resulting in each bedroom having its own en-suite bathroom
  • An electrical upgrade including re-wiring, LED lights, new sockets and switches
  •  A new IT installation giving each student access to superfast broadband
  • 14 bathrooms
  • 20 bedrooms
  • 2 shared kitchens

Adams Rd was a less complex project and needed:

  • New windows throughout, to replace the old aluminium ones
  • Creation of a 180m2 sun terrace at the rear of the building.

3A Sylvester is another accommodation block which simply needed:

  • A complete re-roof

In addition to these 4 main projects, there were some smaller jobs that needed taking care of, including:

  • The installation of a disabled access ramp to the conference room at the rear of the main college building
  • A new bin store, wall, fencing and tarmac.

With projects like this, it’s essential to maintain a flexible workforce and to react to challenges promptly. With such a short timescale, planning and organisation was key; there was no time to waste and our sub-contractors needed to be reliable and reactive in order for us to dovetail the different trades to maximise available time.

Throughout the project, the college remained operational, so we were sure to minimise disruption at all times. We are all CRB checked, but as we were working around adults, this wasn’t required.

Our reputation as reliable, good commercial builders has been built over more than a hundred years and that, along with our competitive pricing ensured that we won this contract. We’re proud to have worked on the largest construction project that Robinson College have ever initiated.