St Albans shop fit-out specialist Hannaford

A look ahead for the fit-out sector in 2017

The UK interior fit-out and refurbishment market is estimated to have seen substantial growth of 8% per annum in 2014 and 2015, according to a new report by AMA Research.   Fit-out and refurbishment output continued to increase during the last recession, albeit at lower levels of 2-4% per year, as many major clients, particularly in the office and retail sectors, commissioned interior refurbishment works rather than costlier new build projects.

Overall, commercial offices constitute the largest market for interior refurbishment and fit-out with around 27% of projects focused on Central London, constituting the largest market.   Despite renewed growth in speculative development, many estate holders remain cautious, opting to ‘stay and refurbish’, as a shortage of affordable Grade-A space looks likely to drive up demand for high quality refurbishment.   As a result, retrofit refurbishment and remodelling of existing space into Grade-A space is providing the main focus for occupiers over the short to medium term, says the report.

In the retail sector, where Hannaford is a specialist in high-end fit-outs, store conversions and interior refurbishments, especially among the grocery multiples, are far more significant areas of activity than new build.   The trend towards online shopping, changes in consumer food shopping habits and the changing composition of the High Street are among factors driving these changes.   Reductions in government capital spending in education and healthcare have forced a significant shift in development programmes from new build to lower cost remodelling and refurbishment of existing buildings.  Hannaford is currently working within the care home sector, undertaking a number of upgrade projects for a major organisation.

In the education arena, the conversion of Local Authority supported schools to Academies and Free Schools, the creation of new primary school places and the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) are all factors driving demand for fit-out and interior refurbishment, an area in which Hannaford has recently become involved.   In the higher education sector too, there are significant opportunities for fit-out and refurbishment work going forward, as universities remodel their capital programmes to meet revised funding expectations.   The main emphasis on construction projects in the higher education sector is now towards refurbishment and upgrade of existing facilities as well as ongoing maintenance and improvements and less towards new build projects, unless privately funded.

According to the research, the outlook for fit-out and refurbishment work in the leisure sector remains mixed with significant expansion plans announced by the budget hotels, hospitality sector and budget fitness clubs, contrasting with less buoyant prospects for sectors such as the betting industry. This would square with Hannaford’s outlook, as the St Albans based commercial joinery and fit-out company is currently working on a fit-out for a major London restaurant chain, as well as a number of other privately funded projects.

During summer 2016 the general feeling in the fit-out market has been one of waiting for the fallout of ‘Brexit’, effectively placing a pause on expectations. Notwithstanding this, there was an expectation that input costs (labour, plant, materials) would continue to increase after the ‘Brexit’ vote, regardless of outcome.

Whilst there is buoyancy in the market, the short-term impact of Brexit has led to price increases due to the weak pound but it’s unknown what the effect of leaving the EU will be in the medium term. At present, industry commentators report little evidence of schemes being cancelled or put on hold, although uncertainty over the future direction of the economy may put off some investors.

Unsurprisingly, the research found London remains the most active in terms of redevelopment activity but regions outside the capital are benefiting from the heat of the London market, with developers starting to invest in areas surrounding major cities such as Cardiff, Bristol, Watford, St Albans and Oxford.

According to Richard Williams, Finance Director for Hannaford, the market for fit-out and refurbishment still has plenty of opportunities for 2017 and beyond:

“Hannaford has been around for over 70 years, during which time the market has been cyclical in nature, in line with the wider economy. As we’ve diversified our commercial joinery and project management expertise into new markets, however, the business has increased its capacity and we forecast another busy year ahead, particularly within the hospitality, care and education sectors.”

FSC Friday 2016

Hannaford celebrates FSC Friday 2016

As retail brands seek to innovate and differentiate, St Albans based commercial joinery firm, Hannaford, is increasingly being called upon to deliver unique projects using wood, often blended with other materials to create stunning interiors.

Hannaford excels in the production of unique reception desks, bars, counters, storage units and other contemporary furniture. Where visual impact, accuracy, durability and restrictions on space are critical elements, Hannaford’s project team always strives to exceed client expectations.

As well as being highly creative, the business is also extremely conscious of the environment. Hannaford was one of the first certified members of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a non-government organisation which is tasked with ensuring there’s a sustainable balance of tree planting and timber usage for future generations. Wherever possible, Hannaford specifies timber acquired from sources accredited by FSC.

In 2008, FSC launched its annual celebration of responsible forestry, called FSC Friday, which takes place on the last Friday of September.

Every year, schools, businesses and other organisations across the UK get involved in spreading the word about the importance of responsible forestry. FSC Friday became an international event in 2009 and it is now  celebrated in 31 countries.

Businesses have celebrated FSC Friday in various ways over the years, such as holding staff awareness days or offering customer promotions. If you register online, we will send you materials to display and distribute at your workplace.

One of Hannaford’s stated aims is to minimise the impact of its commercial joinery business on the environment and the firm takes the issue of sustainability very seriously. It recycles and reuses, purchases environmentally friendly materials and office consumables, as well as implementing practical methods to reduce energy consumption.

Commented Hannaford’s Finance Director, Richard Williams:

“Sustainability is important to our business and is also of increasing importance to our clients, when specifying materials. We’ve been pleased to actively participate in this year’s FSC Friday campaign to highlight the benefits of responsible forestry.”

Hannaford Wood 7565_400

Serious about sustainability

At Hannaford, it’s our stated aim to minimise the impact of our commercial joinery business on the environment and we take the issue of sustainability very seriously. We recycle and reuse, purchase environmentally friendly materials and office consumables, as well as implementing practical methods to reduce our energy consumption.

Wherever possible, the wood we use in our projects is acquired from sources accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Hannaford was one of the first certified members of this non-government organisation, which ensures the balance of tree planting and timber usage for future generations.

In addition to the care taken in sourcing our materials, the management of any waste is equally imperative to our company. Only licensed waste contractors offering the highest recycling rates are appointed and all sub-contractors meet our stringent requirements for environmental standards. Furthermore our project management personnel undergo necessary refresher training specifically related to the Construction Design Management Regulations (CDM).

Hannaford holds the following international standards:

ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems
ISO 14001 Environmental Standard
ISO 18001 Health and Safety Standard


The value of skills

As retail brands seek to innovate and differentiate, Hannaford’s skill in commercial joinery is increasingly being called upon.

Over the past 80 years, Hannaford has established a reputation as one of the foremost exponents of restorative and classical joinery. Its work includes the intricate skilled repair of paneling, mouldings, architraves, staircases and doors.

To maintain its position as leaders in joinery of distinction, Hannaford has made a commitment to invest in skills development, to secure the future of its business and is a proud advocate of Apprenticeships. Hannaford has its own Apprenticeship scheme, which is managed in partnership with Building Crafts College in London.

The term ‘Apprenticeship’ is very old, dating back to as early as 1300AD, having evolved from the Latin ‘Apprenditcius’, meaning to be indentured to a master craftsman in order to learn a skilled trade.

Centuries on, the ‘modus operandi’ of the Apprenticeship hasn’t changed, even if the way they are delivered and funded has.  For over 80 years, Hannaford has delivered joinery of distinction and it looks forward to the next 80 thanks to the focus and investment it’s making on training up the next generation of master craftsmen.

According to a global skills study carried out by PwC, “Businesses need to get out of the mindset that new skills always equals new people. The most successful organisations will combine recruitment with internal mobility and the development of their own people to be more adaptable to its evolving strategy and business environment.”
For more information about Apprenticeship opportunities at Hannaford, please contact us   (link to contacts page)

Ruby Violet London

Hannaford loves ice cream!

We were delighted to be appointed by artisan ice cream maker, Ruby Violet, which has just opened the doors to its second parlour and café in London.

Located in the Midland Goods Shed, just off the popular Granary Square precinct of King’s Cross, Ruby Violet asked Hannaford to help create and install its interior fit out.

A short stroll from Regent’s Canal, the new parlour officially opened on 21 May and Ruby Violet was overwhelmed by support from local businesses, tourists and residents alike, who were excited to discover they could now find small-batch, handmade ices and sorbets being served close to their homes or places of work.

For further information about Ruby Violet ice cream, visit