After almost 5 months of knocking down walls, installing bathrooms, building partitions and generally creating an awful lot of dust at CENS, in order to get the shelter ready for reopening, the building work is finally coming to an end. Marina managed to grab the site foreman, Justin Peacock, for a quick chat before he hangs up his hard hat.
Marina: Please could you tell us what went through your head when you first arrived at the Shelter and saw the architect plans for the building?
Justin: My initial thought was that the building was a rabbit warren with so many floors and staircases – it was difficult to envisage how everything was going to fit in! Also, working out the drainage and pipework was at the forefront of my mind.
Marina: What was the biggest challenge?
Justin: Definitely the chimney props as they were floor-to-floor. It was messy work and the room was small so it was a huge challenge. Also. laying all the pipework for the new ensuites as the original building wasn’t designed to accommodate so many bathrooms.
Marina: What was the most rewarding part of this contract?
Justin: I genuinely believe in the cause and the work that CENS does and so we all put our best efforts in to finish on time and to do our work to the highest standard. The building is a lifeline and a home for vulnerable people so everything was done with that in mind. Seeing it all come together at the end was great and hopefully it will be open and helping people again soon.
Marina: Has it been difficult carrying out such a huge conversion during COVID?
Justin: It has all gone smoothly, as Pickfords put in strict COVID restrictions with regards to face masks and hand sanitising. Also, we distanced unless absolutely necessary to minimise contact between all those on site.
Marina: What do you think about the work that has been carried out and how it will benefit the homeless?
Justin: I think that giving residents their own shower rooms is excellent as it gives them dignity and privacy. These people are already facing huge issues with their housing, so why not make it as comfortable as possible to enable people to concentrate on their futures and building themselves back up?
Marina: Last question, and this is all about you….what do you like doing in your spare time when you are not converting a much-needed homeless shelter?
Justin: I enjoy riding my motorbike and walking my lovely dog, Ruby. I also like eating out and am looking forward to being able to do that once restrictions lift. In-between all that, I am actually renovating my own home!