The church community at The TAB has held their first worship celebrations at their new auditorium in Lewisham after Chisholm & Winch handed over the main building of the £4 million project this month.

The sectional handover means that the church can now benefit from the auditorium seating 650 on the ground floor, and as a result of the construction of a 160-seat mezzanine balcony area the entire space has now been maximised resulting in a total capacity of over 800. The auditorium benefits from a high specification A/V installation, including a 36-screen TV wall, LED theatre lighting, a full sound system and an acoustic wall. The client has also taken possession of the completed reception hall, the communal facilities and the toilets, with completion of the office and admin facilities due by the end of the year.

The Chisholm & Winch team has painstakingly restored and modified the Grade II listed former temperance hall, which has transitioned through various uses over the years, and was unused and dilapidated at the beginning of the project.

After removing the roof, which was in a very poor condition, we raised the roof height to enable the addition of the mezzanine and maximise the capacity of the auditorium. We then reinstated the roof with a new timber frame, insulation and heritage slate tiles. We also restored the feature lantern rooflight, with a double-glazed, like-for-like replacement. Refurbishment of the roof also included replacing the original dormers, including the leadwork and dove cote, as well as installing new dormers to the rear of the roof, in-keeping with the existing.

The project has leveraged Chisholm & Winch’s experience in the heritage sector and combined it with expertise in project management and achievement of a high-end finish. Amongst the conservation elements required were repairs to the original masonry and restoration of the original steel roof trusses, which have been reinstated to support the new roof.

The existing floor was also removed and completely replaced, with new insulated reinforced concrete, and the structure of the hall has been revised, with brickwork alterations and additional steelwork to enable the change of use and additional loading.

The project has been completed to the highest standards of finish and performance, with a full BMS system to ensure energy efficiency and a wide-ranging mechanical & electrical package including ventilation, comfort cooling, and underfloor heating. The acoustic wall will optimise sound quality within the building while preventing noise ingress from the busy high street outside. Meanwhile, insulation in the roof and insulated plasterboard walls will provide thermal performance beyond building regulations requirements.

The Chisholm & Winch team has worked collaboratively with the client, the design team at Paul Henry Architects and church financing specialist, Stewardship, to overcome the challenges of variations to the scope of work due to the age and condition of the building, and delays caused by COVID-19.

Simon Castle, managing director of Chisholm & Winch commented: “From the outset, our commitment to the client was to get the auditorium completed and allow them to begin using it as soon as possible.

“It has been very rewarding to see this old and derelict building in the heart of Lewisham brought back to life and to have it filled with the voices of The TAB’s community. It is particularly special to see them sharing this transformed space after the additional challenges and isolation of the pandemic.”

Pastor Mike White from The Tab added: “There were times when the vision we had to transform this building seemed like an impossible task but now we have a facility that has far exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“Throughout the build, Chisholm & Winch have truly worked in partnership with us to understand our priorities, support us in overcoming funding challenges and ensure the finished project answers our needs. We’ve been especially impressed by the C&W team’s approach which has been a balanced blend of professionalism with a personal touch. Their outstanding construction experience and expertise has delivered to us a superb facility, while respecting the heritage of the building. Chisholm & Winch has literally raised the rafters here so that our church can gather as one big family for vibrant worship every week, and importantly, the building enables us to continue to positively impact the local community and beyond, through the expansion of our various community initiatives.”