Diary of a Development

Practicing what we preach – Developing our offices

The Project

The aim of the project was to create modern bespoke offices to cater for the specific needs of Buckley & Company.  The main requirements of the new premises were:

  • Close proximity to town – access to clients and management properties
  • Close proximity to the ring road – easy access by clients
  • Parking – regular travel to clients/properties
  • An open plan layout to ensure free and easy communication between staff
  • High quality design and finishes throughout
  • To construct a building that was able to showcase the company¹s own ability in procuring a first class site and undertaking a high quality development

The Team

  • Project manager:  Buckley & Company/F Nicholson & Son
  • Architect:  Buckley Gray Yeoman
  • Structural Engineer:  Garden Room Design
  • Services Engineer:  K2
  • Quantity Surveyor:  Colin Smith & Partners
  • Main Contractor:  F Nicholson & Son
  • Other Consultants:     
  • Groundworks –  Groundworks Limited
  • Quarry –  La Salon
  • Stonemasons –  Qouet

Date of practical completion: 27th November 2006

The Challenge

In 2004, Buckley & Company identified the requirement for new office
premises in order to allow the company to operate in a contemporary and appealing environment encouraging growth and prosperity.  The team also identified that this new office space would have to emanate from a development opportunity.

The first challenge was finding a site which could meet all of the
identified prerequisites.  There were an extremely limited number of
vacant/redundant properties available and Buckley & Company had to use their knowledge of the market to find a suitable site.  Using their skills and contacts, the team relocated the owner-occupiers of the site at
43 Hilgrove Street, Avery Berkel, thus releasing the Hilgrove Street site.
Seizing the opportunity by means of a no nonsense acquisition, Buckley & Co.secured the site which otherwise may have been unobtainable.


An ‘in principle’ planning permission was obtained prior to purchase and thereafter the next challenge was to gain full planning consent.  Through the ingenuity of the architects, Buckley Gray Yeoman, in producing a contemporary design, which encompassed a hint of Jersey history, together with the specification of high quality materials, planning was secured.

The shape and location of the site presented significant challenges for the architects and the construction teams alike.  The narrowness at the Western end, with a curved boundary to the East, plus unusual ground conditions (it was unknown if the town spring ran under the property) and the need for shoring up neighbouring property, were all factors which contributed to the challenge.  The site was restrictive and positioned on a busy road junction, so great care and thorough planning had to be adopted throughout the process.


An in-situ concrete structural frame was designed to allow the building to be tailored to the site. The curved boundary to the East lent itself to the replication of a traditional ³Martello Tower². The challenge, however, was how to treat and cover such a large curvature.  Originally the plan had been to reflect the original building and to use block work with a painted render finish.  However, on reflection it was felt that this would conflict with the aspirations for a high quality building and materials used in the construction and fit out.  The challenge was on to find the perfect solution and traditional Jersey granite was selected, although this in itself presented further issues through its unconventional and unfamiliar use. Working closely with the quarry and stonemasons, the team secured a supply of individually cut granite blocks that could be fixed to the curved wall. These blocks had to be radiused and cut precisely to ensure an even finish across the wall.  The stone was laid in horizontal bands to create a linear effect, made more pronounced through the use of recessed mortar joints.


The availability of parking became the final challenge on the 43 Hilgrove Street site.  The original building specifications required the new office to have sufficient parking for the chartered surveyors within the practice as they would regularly undertake site visits.  As lack of space was an issue throughout the project, an innovative solution to the company¹s car parking needs had to be sourced.  This came in the form of car park stackers, the first to be put into commercial use in Jersey.  This device allows two cars to be parked on top of one another, using the space that traditionally only one car would have used.


Although there were many challenges that had to be overcome in the
construction of 43 Hilgrove Street, the finished product has surpassed the expectations of the whole team.  The result is a bright environment with high levels of natural daylight.  The parking issue was resolved with the use of car park stackers, which enables staff to conduct site visits easily from their central town location.  There has been no wastage of space on site, every square inch has been utilised.  The building itself is efficient and economic to run.

The stone wall has a high thermal mass offering excellent energy efficiency, whilst the deep set slot windows let in light whilst shading from direct sunlight. Pilkington Suncool HP 30/17 Glazing was specified to all windows to minimise solar gain and achieve the required 2.0 w/m2 u-value.


The building has generated considerable positive comment from the general public as well as from clients of Buckley & Company.  It possesses a unique and contemporary design, yet blends seamlessly with the traditional architecture of St Helier.  The building has proved that the regeneration of Œold¹ areas of St Helier is feasible and can be adapted to create tailored working environments from sites which
might otherwise be allowed to deteriorate and become an eye sore in the heart of the town.  The project has also demonstrated to all of those who believe that the Waterfront is the only option for new office space that the trend does not have to be slavishly followed.  In short, 43 Hilgrove Street not only functions as an office space, it is also a talking point and exemplar for regeneration of the town. The team had hoped that this would be the case and are proud to have achieved such a stunning final product.

In Pictures