Many construction projects involve bespoke joinery work and, for a lot of building contractors, that means bringing in a specialist subcontractor to deliver that package.

At Chisholm & Winch, however, our business was founded on joinery skills and we maintain a talented in-house joinery and carpentry team today. For our clients this mean we can add value throughout the project lifecycle – from design development and procurement, through to installation on site – to ensure every joinery item not only delivers impeccable quality, but also matches their expectations for aesthetics and consistency.

Early engagement

Part of the process of ensuring that joinery items exceed the expectations of our clients and upstream delivery partners is ensuring we take a disciplined approach to understanding what they want and setting clear parameters.

At design development and procurement stage, this involves discussing samples with the client and often taking them to visit our suppliers to select their preferred veneers. Obviously, the choices they make can have cost and buildability implications for the project, which is why we guide them through the choices and highlight any implications for cost, programme length or design.

A good example of this approach is the refurbishment of student accommodation we delivered at Exeter College, Oxford University, which involved hundreds of door sets and bespoke wardrobes, along with interior panelling. We took the client to our supplier’s premises to select the veneers and they chose a number of options, including a stunning cherry veneer for the panelling.

The purpose of the visit was not only to select the type of veneer, but also to set parameters for the level of variation in the veneer, so that we could provide the supplier with a guide and check that the finished installation stayed within those criteria. In that way, we can ensure that the joinery is all book-matched where required and it can often be sourced from a single tree, enabling us to deliver to the client’s expectations and beyond, while avoiding both unnecessary waste and snagging issues.

Heritage joinery

Our 1&2 New Burlington Street project is another good example of how our experienced, in-house joinery tradespeople work as part of an integrated construction team to deliver exceptional results. This project involved taking a Crown Estates London townhouse from a dilapidated state to an extremely high-end finish.

The project required a variety of joinery elements, perhaps the most striking of which was the timber handrail for the feature staircase, which sweeps between floors in a style in-keeping with the original build of the Regency property.

Our team altered, repaired and extended the metal balustrades and handrail, before creating a template for the timber handrail and agreeing samples with the client. The finished timber handrail was a perfect fit for the metal structure and the scrolls provide the elegance and exceptional quality required across the project.

Meanwhile, for the bespoke cabinetry in the bathrooms, veneers were chosen by the client, and the materials were book matched to the samples chosen.

Much of the joinery work on this project involved conservation of the Grade II listed building, with a requirement to repair and rebuild existing features on a like-for-like basis. For example, new timber doors had to match the property’s original doors, and our team made copies of the mouldings and had them approved by the client’s team prior to full fabrication and installation. The same process was carried out for the skirtings and architraves, with small sections of the originals used to create moulds for replacements.

But perhaps the most challenging – and satisfying – element of this project for our joinery team was the timber wall panelling, which had to be restored and repaired. With a painstaking approach to restoration, we stripped off the panelling and numbered every piece so that it could be repaired or replaced, then re-installed in the same sequence. We cut out the sections that were beyond repair and replaced them on a like-for-like basis. We were able to save around 60% of the original panelling, maintaining the integrity of the heritage building.

Best in class

At Chisholm & Winch, we take pride in everything we do. Good enough, is not good enough for us; our benchmark is ‘is it the best it can be?’ Our approach to joinery is just one example of how we deliver on that philosophy on site and throughout the project.