Infiniti beats Covid-19 lockdown to finish Bike & Boot

by Francesca

Infiniti Roofing & Construction has successfully completed the full refurbishment of one of the UK’s most exciting hotel launches, the Bike & Boot – despite battling the Covid-19 lockdown and coping with stringent social distancing measures.

Scarborough-based Infiniti Roofing & Construction, part of the Infiniti Group has totally overhauled and revitalised the 50-bedroom The Mount Hotel into the exceptional 65-bedroom ‘home from home’ Bike & Boot close to Scarborough’s waterfront.

But Infiniti has done so with the UK and Europe under lockdown for the last two months of the contract, the final touches to which will be finished by the middle of June.

“While it goes without saying that this has been a very difficult time for the whole country, seeing this project through to completion has given us a massive sense of achievement and satisfaction,” said Marcus Rowe, director of Infiniti Roofing & Construction, which was faced with a number of logistical and construction challenges to complete the work.

“As soon as lockdown measures began to be introduced in Europe, it was pretty clear that the UK would follow suit and we put together an operational contingency plan.”

Infiniti pre-empted the lockdown closure of the main trade builders merchants by buying the majority of the materials they needed to finish the work, including all the wet walling for the bathrooms, all joinery supplies, and all plumbing fittings and fixtures.

It also meant the company had to source additional fully experienced, available, skilled contractors.

“We were able to do it,” added Mr Rowe, “but it wasn’t straightforward by any stretch as, quite understandably, many contractors were simply not available to work.”

Once the workers were on site another major challenge was ensuring their safety through social distancing, which was achieved using signage, floor and wall markings, Hi-Viz and intelligentclothing and exact, pre-planned operational movements of workers around the site.

This included keeping specific contractors separate, each team working sequentially on separate floors as the job progressed from the ground floor up each floor of the six-storey building.  First in on the ground floor were demolition who moved up to the first floor when they were completed, allowing the joiners to come in on the ground floor. When demolition was done on the second floor, they moved up to the third, allowing the joiners to move onto the second floor and the bricklayers to come in on the ground floor. This system continued with the electricians & plumbers, the plasterers, painters, and decorators and finally the carpet fitters.

With as many as 30 contractors on site at any one time, it was vital that they were kept socially distant, including ensuring they were separated at break times.

“It was challenging, but in the end our only significant delay was waiting for the custom-made case goods, including for the beds, to be supplied from Europe, where warehouses were closed,” added Mr Rowe.

With the Bike & Boot scheduled to open in July, Covid-19 lockdown measures permitting, directors Simon Rhatigan and Simon Kershaw couldn’t speak highly enough of the Infiniti team.

Bike&Boot 1 (L to R) Marcus Rowe (Infiniti Director) Simon Rhatigan (Bike & Boot Director) Alex Willgrass (Infiniti Director)

“Infiniti have successfully worked through the Covid-19 situation; that has been a real bonus as they have ensured the safety of all contractors, with social distancing measures and safe working practices,” said Mr Kershaw.

“Infiniti keeping us going through Covid-19 has been great for the local contractors but also great for us.

“It could have been disastrous.”

Establishing a positive, mutually beneficial relationship at the start of the job helped them through the lockdown.

“When we started the job, we said that the only way this would work is if we worked for each other, work together, rather than having us, the client, as the enemy.

“That is probably the single most striking thing about Infiniti – their preparedness to work alongside us in a positive partnership where we have supported each other, and it is not been a matter of ‘us and them’.

‘That is pretty rare in this industry.

“Marcus [Rowe] has been outstanding – he quietly gets on with it, taking the work and people under his wing and dealing with any problems immediately. There is no agenda with him, he is incredibly genuine, and what you see is what you get. He is also incredibly proactive and professional – so that if a problem came up at all, he didn’t just come to me with the problem and let us sort it out, he came with the problem, but also came with solutions to the problem.

“That certainly made my job a lot easier and has worked very well and we would certainly work with Infiniti again.”

Interior designer Rachel McLane has been working on the Bike & Boot from the early concept stage and is impressed with how Infiniti have helped see the project through the crisis.

“It has gone really well considering what is happening with Covid-19 and how ridiculously busy we’ve all been,” said Malton-based Rachel. “It’s truly fantastic that Infiniti have been able to keep going, especially with the supply chain issues that they’ve had to contend with.

“Infiniti had a great, proactive approach; if anything did crop up as a problem, they dealt with it straight away.

“It has been an excellent relationship – it is impossible for us (as the designer team) to draw everything that needs to be built and fitted, especially for such an old building, but there was a lot of clarity and good communication between us.”

The Bike & Boot is now fitted out with new high-end en-suite bathrooms, in-house hotel cinema, E-bike charging stations, dog and boot wash, and refurbished hybrid bar-cafe-restaurant and kitchen areas; and a new boiler system which Infiniti helped to install with Oak Mechanical of Nottingham.

Established in 2015, Infiniti Group last year opened a new 10,000sqft HQ in Scarborough and a new 4,000sqft depot in Leeds servicing its scaffolding, roofing & construction businesses.  The roofing & construction business employs a team of 10 staff including expert builders, roofing, general labourers, and drivers, as well as an experienced administration and office team.

Although the Infiniti office re-opened at the start of May, it was closed through much of March and all of April with many of the office staff on furlough, and any staff not on furlough working from home.

The group’s ethos of innovation and continual improvement can be seen with Infiniti Roofing & Construction’s approval as an accredited contractor for Sika Liquid Plastics. Its roofing and construction services include full new commercial and industrial construction and roofing installations, repairs, and refurbishments.

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