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The Engine Room

Shortlisted for a 2024 Construction News Specialists Award: Project of the Year by a Specialist Contractor award (subcontract from £2m to £5m)

Fit Out & Joinery
Craig Welch, Craig Welch Design

The defining moment in DBSJ’s exceptional growth in 2023/2024 was the delivery of IWG plc’s flagship co-working space in the UK – The Engine Room in London’s iconic Battersea Power Station. Spanning three floors, the project involved both CAT A and CAT B office fit-out, and such was our success that we were invited back to deliver further works in 2024.

As a key UK partner for the serviced office provider, established through the delivery of 24 projects, we were involved in The Engine Room from inception, providing valuable construction knowledge to assist IWG through the legal process, collaborating on its business case and exploring value engineering options to ensure the viability of the scheme.

Photos credit: Jim Stephenson

The 42,000ft2 interior transformation was a masterclass in our innovative integrated joinery and fit-out approach, with seamless communication between our 23,000ft2 in-house joinery workshop in Canterbury and our site team in Battersea, involving 2,500 manufacturing hours and 21 weeks on-site for the first phase in 2023 and 11 weeks for the second phase in 2024.

Refined FSC®-sourced cherry, black powder-coated stainless steel, Paperstone solid surfaces, and Kvadrat fabrics were the key materials, all chosen in collaboration with Craig Welch Design for their sustainable properties and finishes.

Our artisans crafted 190 sheets of cherry veneer, 150 floor tiles, 20 sheets of Paperstone and 150 pieces of metalwork into a versatile multi-tier DDA accessible central platform, meeting booths, media walls, shelving, storage, panelling and a reception desk to complement the power station’s turbine halls and original façade. However, it wasn’t without its challenges. Working with Paperstone, a paper composite surface material, tested the skills of our joiners. Its weight and susceptibility to scratches became a learning experience, especially for apprentices eager to hone their craft. The cherry was also vulnerable to shadow stains and the application of its zero-rated fire lacquer required strict health and safety policy adherence.

Health, safety and wellbeing remained paramount throughout the project. With meticulous planning and procedures, our project managers coordinated a bustling team of 85 to 100 site operatives on our busiest day without a single accident or incident. Every detail, from planning noisy works within a daily two-hour window, to delivery logistics in a loading bay a 25-minute walk away, was carefully orchestrated to minimise disruption and uphold safety standards.

Moreover, as custodians of a space within a Grade II listed building, we approached our work with reverence. Collaborating with stakeholders, including Wandsworth & Richmond Borough Council and its conservation officers, we navigated regulations with care, ensuring the preservation of the power station’s original architecture for future generations.

The success of The Engine Room was a united team effort with Cole Management, Craig Welch Design, Studio Sutton, BS;BP and Grassy Associates, all committed to delivering on time despite incorporating significant client-requested design enhancements mid-way through the project worth 10% of the original agreed contract value. Our supply chain, including FSC®-accredited partners, further enriched the project, contributing specialist skills that complemented our own.

The Engine Room is more than just a fitout; it is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and unwavering dedication to craftsmanship.

Collaborative partners:



Marnus Van Zyl, Design & Construction, Regional Lead UK, Europe & Africa

“The Engine Room at Battersea Power Station is a really good example of DBSJ going the extra mile. The joinery finishes are exceptional across both floors and the team worked around the clock to make sure we hit our timeline on the date we had sold our offices to be occupied. I went to the site on many occasions at 7pm and there were still people working and I never once saw an overtime invoice come our way.

The Engine Room was delivered over two projects, level three, followed by level two. For the latter, we followed the exact same process as we had with the first project but we were blind-sided by the authorities who forced us to deliver the works over two separate phases which no one had planned for and would have had a time and cost impact. However, DBSJ took the lead in speaking to the council for us, negotiating with them and ensuring what we were doing was within the parameters of what was imposed upon us. They managed that process for us and stayed on the programme with a minimal cost increase even though we needed more resources to do the work. I am 100% sure if it was another contractor the responsibility of dealing with the authorities would have fallen on us, we’d have had a request for a two-month extension of time and the associated cost increase. However, DBSJ went above and beyond our expectations which they didn’t have to do – it wasn’t their fault or their responsibility to resolve.”

Client’s Representative:

Megan Forster, Associate Director, Cole Management

“We had the pleasure of collaborating with DBSJ on two projects in Battersea Power Station for IWG plc where they provided fit-out services and joinery manufacture for The Engine Room. From the outset, the team were professional, helpful, cooperative and had an unwavering commitment to excellence.

What truly sets DBSJ apart is its team’s exceptional approach to change management and communication, demonstrated through the seamless and proactive delivery of both projects. Even in the face of tight deadlines, DBSJ managed to surpass our expectations by completing the second project ahead of schedule, all while prioritising health and safety and meticulous attention to detail.”


Craig Welch, Craig Welch Design

“It was a pleasure working with DBSJ on The Engine Room project where teamwork was a cornerstone of our collaboration. Their team demonstrated exceptional professionalism, communication, and dedication, fostering a collaborative environment where ideas were shared, feedback was welcomed, and solutions were developed collectively.

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