The project aimed to become a state-of-the-art hub for Formula 1 fanatics and all round motor sport fans, aiming also to immerse families and school groups into all things racing related at Silverstone. This was the goal while also preserving the historic building and protecting the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s archive for the future. An admirable ambition, but a complex delivery. Challenge accepted.

We currently boast a diverse portfolio in the Museum & Heritage sector. In terms of relevant project experience, we were confident in our previous successes which included completion of the award winning Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Flight Shed (Best Permanent Exhibition, M&H Awards 2018) and that delivering our exhibition fit out works into a refurbished hangar was as an exciting of a prospect to us, as a finale F1 race is to fans.

The complexities of the project delivery being in a hangar isn’t too dissimilar to the more orthodox environments we work in (which can often be a museum gallery, distillery, historic building or scheduled monument); we would be acting as both Principal Contractor (CDM) & Main Exhibition Fit Out Contractor – manufacturing and installing all ‘Setworks’ elements of the project in-house, whilst subcontracting other specialist packages; Showcases {Armour Systems}, Graphics {Creative Place}, Electrical {M4}, Audio Visual Hardware {Sysco} & Audio Visual Software {Ay-Pe}  and Interactives, Scenics & Replicas {Aivaf} to our partners in our experienced supply chain.

Winning the contract was euphoric. This was the biggest project of the year in our industry and the magnitude of expectation of delivering such a prestigious and transformative project certainly was not lost on us. So we got to work, appointed our supply chain partners and commenced our initial workshop.

Having worked with the exhibition designers Mather & Co. before on projects including Norton Priory, National Horse Racing Museum, Quarrybank and The Royal Mint Experience, we were very confident in our working relationship. Our connection with the exhibition designers on any project is crucial. Clear communication and understanding is key, and we prioritised this from the outset.

We usually take up the role of Principal Contractor once the Base Build contractor has completed the building refurbishment works, although there are times when we are working on site at the same time as them. In Brooklands we were able to show flexibility and allow the Base Build back into the hangar for some remedial works to the floor. With The Silverstone Experience, the Base Build was overrunning to a more significant extent, so we programmed and coordinated our packages accordingly, to allow for Base Build presence throughout.

An unforeseen and unfortunate event happened during the project, where the Base Build contractor was put into administration. This posed an enormous and potentially catastrophic risk to the project, given that there were works yet to be completed and effectively overnight the Main Contractor on the project was simply gone.

With more than £20,000,000 invested (thanks to funding from the likes of the National Lottery Heritage Fund) in the project, The Silverstone Experience, Silverstone Heritage Ltd, British Racing Drivers’ Club and all stakeholders were naturally keen, to put it mildly, to find a solution to remedy this untimely setback.

The dreaded Ds were approaching – Downtime and Delays. In truth, we had mostly completed our Exhibition Fit Out works by the time this happened and we were just waiting on some critical path items from the Base Build being finished so that our follow on trades could come in to complete their works. However, our whole project was now hanging in the balance and there was the clear need for an alternative provider to compete the Base Build works. Thankfully our team do have knowledge and experience in this area and we were able to plan and deliver the remainder of the works for the client, resulting in only a week’s downtime from the collapse of the main contractor to works recommencing.

Whilst we like to retain an appropriate level of humility, it’s difficult not to express just how proud of all of our team and supply chain partners we are. This magnificent experience now has the chequered flag and visitors look forward to exploring the likes of; Join The Grid, History at Every Turn, RAF Silverstone, Village & Farm, Wings to Wheels, Heart of Silverstone, Race Day Explained, Tech Lab, Racing Eras & The Ultimate Lap.


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