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Headlam Partnership: Transforming trade counters and warehouses for Europe’s largest floorcoverings distributor

Headlam, Europe’s leading distributor of floorcoverings, has commissioned our team to deliver the renovation and fit-out of 19 of its warehouses and trade counters across the UK. Lead Project Manager on the account, Ian Honnor shared some insights into how DBSJ is helping Headlam achieve its goals for its property portfolio in the UK.

Our lead Project Manager on the Headlam account is Ian Honnor, who ensures thorough control over every aspect, from initial timelines to the successful rollout of initiatives that align with our customer’s strategic goals. Having accumulated over 30 years of operation, Headlam is recognised as the UK’s premier floor-covering distributor.

With 19 successful projects completed to date, in locations such as Lewisham, Ashford, Basildon, Tonbridge, Luton, Stockton-on-Tees, Sheffield and Barking to name a few, our team’s dedication to understanding and meeting Headlam’s unique requirements has been instrumental in delivering top-tier fit-outs. We liaise directly with our customer’s nominated contractors, making sure we bring them onto the project at the right time to achieve the deadlines. While we supply everything needed for the projects, mechanical and electrical components are managed externally by DBSJ.

To gain a firsthand understanding of what it takes to run projects for Headlam, we sat down with Ian for an in-depth interview, who shared the intricate details of our partnership with Headlam, including the challenges, successes and innovative solutions that have marked our journey together. From stringent deadlines to comprehensive project management, Ian sheds light on how our team consistently delivers exceptional results for Headlam, setting the stage for our exciting future projects together.

What is the most important thing to Headlam?

Meeting deadlines is paramount. Headlam sets a strict date for the public opening, and it’s imperative that we meet this deadline without fail. I’m proud to say that we consistently achieve this goal. Each project follows a three-week program, transforming from a bare concrete box to a fully-finished, operational store. Additionally, the quality of the final result is crucial to Headlam. We have a clear understanding of their expectations regarding the finish, and we ensure those expectations are met every time.

How have we been helping Headlam achieve its goals?

Our project team’s efficiency ensures that the schemes are rolled out at an incredibly fast pace, enabling Headlam to open stores rapidly and increase their recognition among the public and trade. We support this growth by delivering quick turnarounds on-site, seamlessly bringing their projects to life.

As the Project Manager, I make weekly site visits to ensure everything runs smoothly and to address any questions or issues that arise in real-time. Throughout the projects, we identify and adapt elements that may not be working well for the client, allowing us to improve and refine our approach on subsequent schemes continuously. Our projects are constantly evolving, and our dedicated team plays a crucial role in making this success possible for Headlam.

We have started to provide joinery within our fit-out package, how is this going?

It’s going fantastically well, just as we anticipated! With our in-house joinery team handling the reception counters as part of the joinery package, we have complete control over this aspect of the project. This allows us to determine the delivery and installation schedule, seamlessly integrating it into our overall programme to enhance efficiency. We typically install the counters in the first week of the project, giving electricians enough time to complete their work on-site ahead of project completion.

What has been your most challenging yet rewarding project for Headlam?

That would be Tottenham – one of Headlam’s main distribution centres. The project spanned six weeks and involved merging two warehouses into one, which required significant structural changes, including the removal of solid walls down to the steel structure to create forklift access between the units. We also installed a concrete ramp to address the differing height levels between the two units.

Additionally, we installed structural steel at the main entrance to support the lobby from wind loading, added new automatic doors to the entrance, lined the existing walls, and formed a manager’s office under the stairs. We replaced old fire doors, upgraded the first-floor office spaces with new fixtures and fittings, installed new flooring, LED lighting, ceiling tiles, and full decorations. Both the first and ground floor toilets were upgraded, and a new staff room with a fully fitted kitchen was installed. In the exterior space we cleared all of the debris and overgrowth.

Another challenge was the two-week period during which we couldn’t be on-site, as the electrical strip-out and modifications had to be completed before we could continue our work. Despite the tight timeline, we achieved incredible results, and it’s a project I’m very proud to have been a part of!

What’s in store with Headlam for the next 6-12 months?

We are currently in discussions about the next four projects. We anticipate a busy 2025 with Headlam and we are excited about our partnership and the journey ahead.

A huge thank you to our exceptional team for their outstanding contributions in collaboration with Headlam!

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