StructureTone set to crack top-end UK fit-out market with Willis Building in the City

Image of Foster and Partners’ Willis Building in the City of London, to be fitted out by StructureTone

US contractor StructureTone has won a £40m deal to fit out British Land’s Willis Building – which is likely to be the biggest fit-out job in Britain in 2007.

Located in the City and designed by Foster and Partners, the Willis Building is set to be one of London’s tallest towers when it is completed in 2008. At 51 Lime Street, it will be a near neighbour of the Swiss Re building, also by Foster and Partners.

StructureTone’s British operation has focused on datacentre schemes and projects for US clients. It hopes to use this contract as a springboard into the wider market. Senior sources say this could include chasing work at the Shard of Glass at London Bridge, if that scheme gets the go-ahead next year.

Dean Manning, the managing director of StructureTone, said: “Willis is one of the world’s leading risk management and insurance intermediaries and the Willis Building is a significant project for StructureTone UK. The addition of Willis to our client portfolio further strengthens our position as a market leader in the London fit-out market.”

The deal involves fitting out the basement, ground floor and floors two to 23 of the 29-storey tower. StructureTone will also glaze the front offices.

The interior design for the Willis Building was carried out by architect Swanke Hayden Connell, which has just been appointed to design the interior of Willis’ adjacent Fenchurch Avenue Building. This will be leased to Kennedys solicitors.

Work on the Willis Building was delayed by at least three months after the collapse of its cladding contractor, Schmidlin, last March. This postponed the handover from shell-and-core contractor Mace to StructureTone.

It is estimated the cladding, now being carried out by Mero-Schmidlin, will be finished in February next year, but this is weather-dependent. Temporary waterproofing has been carried out on the higher levels to enable StructureTone to fit out the lower floors.

Gary Mills, StructureTone’s project director, said the fit-out was expected to start on site within two weeks.