Case Study: The Wiston Estate Winery, West Sussex
Project/Client name: The Wiston Estate
Sector: Heritage, Industrial and Commercial
- Cost consulting from inception through to completion
- Contract Administration and Co-ordination of eight packages across differing construction sectors
- Grant funding support
The Wiston Estate Winery re-purposes old heritage farm buildings to expand on an already successful sparkling wine business. The development includes large scale refurbishment to the existing winery, substantial civil infrastructure and external works, alongside the construction of several business units to the Eastern aspect of the site.
The Wiston Estate has been owned and managed by the Goring family since 1743. The Goring’s planted their first vines in 2006 with a 16-acre plot of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Following their early success and a record harvest last year, the Wiston Estate Winery devised a masterplan to create a rural business park anchored by the Wiston Estate Winery.
The first phase of the masterplan aims to more than double its production capacity, moving from an average of 120,000 bottles a year to 250,000. The Wiston Estate will achieve this by demolishing, converting, replacing, extending and restoring the existing tired buildings into a stunning modern winery. The winery will be supported by new retail, wine tasting and café offerings to create a new tourist destination whilst still retaining its rural Southdown roots.
The key challenge on this site was the vast array of differing types of construction required, including demolition, civil works, heritage refurbishment, steel frame building construction, extensive public realm, and large-scale commercial refurbishment works, on an active site. RLF were key in ensuring the client achieved optimum value within the strict financial constraints of the business requirements.
Intelligent Multi-package Procurement: RLF’s advice to split the works down into multiple construction packages was instrumental to the success of the project. We administered and controlled a total of eight works packages. This enabled the realisation of significant financial savings and enhanced project flexibility in both logistics and design requirements, which helped drive greater value for the client.
Issue resolution: When the Estate had an unexpected bumper harvest, they needed to change their priorities as they required a building to be constructed to store 250,000 bottles of wine in a very short period. Failure to achieve this would have resulted in costly logistical and storage challenges. We were able to confidentially and efficiently solve the issue by re-sequencing the procurement strategy to ensure the new building was completed in time and on budget.
Managing multiple contractors: At the peak of construction RLF coordinated the activities of five different contractors on site, with the added complexity that the Estate had to remain operational. This represented a serious challenge in terms of coordination and communication. Failure to achieve this would have impacted on the Estate’s business, generated site issues, and potentially led to conflict, delay and disruption. By having an active presence on site and establishing strong controls from inception, we maintained a tight handle on operations. Critically, by adopting a collaborative approach across all the contracts we were able to develop a culture where everyone worked towards common goals with a shared focus of ensuring a successful project outcome.
Trusted Advisors: The same key RLF personnel consistently remained on this project which has to date spanned two years. This has created a strong client relationship where we thoroughly understand the client drivers. RLF has become a trusted advisor to the client and a key communication link for all project members.
Our client tells us that we have become an invaluable resource for them through our longstanding, consistent relationship.
Maximising returns on grant funding: To assist with funding opportunities, RLF tailored the main refurbishment package pricing document in accordance with the funding application. A key challenge was that the date for funding approval would be one month prior to the start on site date. This meant the client was unsure if they would be able to fund their café refurbishment. If this challenge was not controlled, then either the project would have to be delayed or cost could have unexpectedly increased when negotiating the large variation. We proactively managed a key change control mechanism, so that regardless of the outcome of the grant, the programme would not be negatively affected. Additionally, the cost of the café refurbishment was established during competitive tender to ensure best value for the client (rather than agreeing on costs during the contract with one preferred contractor). This forward-thinking approach minimised any potential risk of delaying the programme.
Decision support and options appraisals to ensure the Best Value: RLF were bought onto the scheme at early inception stage to provide initial master planning feasibilities on several options for the development. This process allowed the client to assess value prior to commencing any detailed and costly architectural drawings. Our cost information has proved to be consistently accurate. We also completed optional analysis across all competitively tendered packages and did not always recommend the contractor who offered the lowest tender but instead opted for the contractor who offered the highest value. This was reported to the client to make an informed decision.
Photos by Architect – ECE Architecture
“RLF has been an engaged and excellently thorough QS and CA for the development we are undertaking. As someone new to this area, I have been pleased to have RLF on our team and have been impressed with their pragmatic approach and ability to proactively manage the contractors. RLF’s attention to detail has given me the confidence that the project is safe in their hands and they have been very clear in explaining what is going on and how the building process is going to work. I can wholeheartedly recommend RLF.”
Richard Goring, The Wiston Estate
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