Case study

Lights! Camera! Action! Oh and Mezzanines!

In February this year WSL arrived on the site of a very local project to partake in the strip out of a building in central Leeds which had previously been a restaurant and bar(dock 29). Two mezzanine floors, 130lm of partitioning and fourteen skips later this well placed building was an empty shell had been totally remodelled and converted into a TV studio for the national television broadcaster Channel 4.

The new studio would be the setting for the recently launched daytime show Steph’s Packed Lunch which is a new entertaining lunchtime show aired weekdays at 12.30pm on Channel 4. The broadcaster moved their national headquarters to Leeds late last year and the new show is an exciting new undertaking for Channel 4 as they begin their new journey here in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Studio building

 

The project

It was the job of One Ten Productions Limited, a well established studio design and production management company,to build the new studio from scratchon behalf of Channel 4. Since 2002 One Ten Productions has been providing technical consultancy, production management and system integration services to television broadcasters nationwide. For this particular project One Ten Productions were tasked with converting a restaurant bar and kitchen into a stylish new studio with makeup rooms, dressing rooms, green room, editing room, vision &lighting rooms, offices and staff facilities. A large proportion of the ground floor area would be used as studio space and as all other participating departments required adequate operational space, One Ten Productions contacted WSL to discuss plans for two mezzanine floor installations and subdividing partitioning.

The dimensions of the building meant there was not enough height space to accommodate a multi tier mezzanine floor, however the width and shape of the building would allow for two separate mezzanine floors at opposite corners.  The implementation of two mezzanine floors was the perfect solution for allowing most of the ground floor space to be used for studio recording whilst all essential supporting services and staff could be comfortably accommodated on the upper mezzanine levels.  The 70sqm and the 65sqm fire rated mezzanines would incorporate stairways, tasteful carpeting and upper level partitioning to create dedicated areas to specific departments. Throughout the project, heras fencing remained around the building which was central to a residential area to prevent passers by from entering the construction area.

Ground floor of studio

 

Manufactured locally

After the tender process One Ten Productions commissioned WSL to design, manufacture and install the mezzanine floors along with staircases, carpeting and partitioning. From our office and factory located within walking distance to the studio in Leeds our design team and engineering team collaborated to produce the exact mezzanine solution required by One Ten Productions for the studio. Our full SEMA membership (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) and CE marking BS EN 1090 accreditation meant the mezzanine was designed, manufactured and later installed to the very highest level of safety and quality standards.

Kitchen area bellow mezzanine

 

The Covid19 pause

By mid March the strip out was complete however, the UK Government soon announced a national lockdown to combat the threat of the new Covid19 virus. This put the whole project on temporary hold with the show piloting from Steph’s front room,due to the delayed opening of the studio however, asthe virus poses a real threat to lives it was agreed to only restart works once it was absolutely safe to do so. WSL organised regular zoom meetings during the heightened lockdown stage with One Ten Productions and other contracting companies so together a new safe way of working was developed that conformed with the new UK governments guidelines.When the new plan was finalised all parties involved were given time to familiarise themselves with the new measures so they felt comfortable with the changes before officially reopening the site six weeks after the closure.  The strict new measures which involved social distancing, regular hand washing, additional PPE, staggering of breaks, lunches, start times and finishing times were rigorously followed and the project was able to continue without further delay and more importantly, safely.

Ensuring a smooth project re-start.

The space within our 37,000sqft factory meant we could still manufacture throughout lockdown whilst keeping our engineers at safe distances from one another. This was a great relief for many of our clients including One Ten Productions, because it meant the mezzanines and staircases were ready for despatch as soon as client’s siteworks could re-restart, therefore preventing further delays. Once the reopening date of site was confirmed our factory prepared the component parts for delivery to ensure the installation process could begin immediately.

Office situated on the mezzanine level

 

The project continued……

Despite the new restrictions and additional safety measures, both fire rated mezzanines and staircases were swiftly installed, and our team were then able to move onto the partitioning on both the lower and upper floor levels. On the ground floor level the partitioning created individual spaces for WCs, a Kitchen, a dressing room, audience waiting area, stores and of course the studio which was separated from the main lobby by a 5.5 metre high and 11 metres wide special soundproof jumbo stud wall that now looks like an original timeworn brick wall complete with painted “Steph Packed Lunch” graphics (the illusion of TV). Mezzanine one was partitioned to accommodate a large office, three dressing rooms, a makeup room and a green room. Mezzanine two was partitioned to accommodate technical departments with separate rooms for staff to operate vision, lighting, sound and editing.

 

Having opted to keep the original feature floor on the ground level, WSL was able to protect the wood finish during the installation of the mezzanine and carefully cut the floor to allow the mezzanine base plates to be embedded below the floor surface after which the floor was restored. On the upper mezzanine levels carpeting was chosen by the client and fitted by WSL, along the corridors and inside the individual rooms.

Office partitioning on mezzanine level

 

Project Management

Although working under new Covid19 guidelines was new to everyone, we were confident in the ability of our Project Managers to ensure the build was able to continue and be completed without risk to either our own and other contracting teams.  The importance of the new measures were clearly understood by all parties which enabled the magnificent transformation of this once bar and restaurant into a state of the art TV studio.

On the 14th September Steph McGovern entered her new studio ready for her first day of broadcasting.  Our team here at WSL enjoyed watching the first show and we are proud to have played a significant role in not only developing the studio, but also enabling the show to finally begin. With Covid19 still making its way through our communities with no end in sight, we are sure that this new daily show will bring a little light hearted entertainment to viewers, distracting them from the current times we are living in.

Congratulation Steph McGovern and Channel 4 on your new show, we wish you every success from all here at WSL!

If your considering a similar project and would like our friendly, professional advice call our team on 0113 2045350 or email your details to sales@wslmail.co.uk  and discover how we can help you.

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