Behind the scenes of the Coombe Girls’ School kitchen refurbishment

Collaboration was crucial to this successful partnership between an Allied and a Professional FCSI member

Chiller Box first worked with Julian Edwards FCSI from GY5, who is also chair of the FCSI UK&I, on a school project over five years ago. It was a fantastic development with great feedback from both the client and Julian. So, when a project at Coombe Girls’ School came up, Julian contacted the director, Michael giving them the opportunity to tender for the work. Chiller Box went into a huge amount of detail for their submission and completed various site visits with different members of the team including electricians and flooring experts. After a presentation by Julian for the school board, they were impressed with the strength of what Chiller Box submitted as it was very detailed and accurate.

Speaking about the tender process, Julian said: “The Coombe Girls’ School project was subject to an independent design and project specification. It involved me consulting with several kitchen houses and this resulted in a mini competitive tender. During this process, Chiller Box obtained the highest tender score based on their references, compliance, systems and procedures, as well as a competitive price. One area they scored particularly well in was their references having completed projects to a high standard in the past.” 

Getting the project underway

The kitchen design was already done but Chiller Box were brought in to complete the build work over the summer holiday. They had a tight timeframe to work to, from receipt of order to completion with just five and a half weeks to turn around seven weeks of work. This was a complete turnkey project, so it involved a full strip out, new flooring, walls, ceilings, ventilation, electrics, plumbing and installation of the new equipment.

Managing the supply chain

The industry was still facing supply issues, and this had to be considered at the start of the project so Chiller Box could ensure the kitchen would be fully functioning ready for the pupils returning. They did have to make some changes to the equipment, but they had factored in a contingency to their quote in case product changes were required.

Understanding the education sectors

Chiller Box really wanted to work on this project as they’ve got a good working relationship with Julian and it was great to build on one of their strengths, which is education projects. Having experience in the education sector made a big difference as they understand the importance of meeting timescales and their strong project management skills helped to achieve this. There is no scope for a school project slipping behind.

The team also understand the required procedures for working in schools and they have the right accreditations.

A happy Chiller Box customer

Feeding back on his experience of this project, Julian added: “We found Chiller Box to be hugely pro-active right from the start of project. There were a lot of discussions around the potential logistical challenges that come with working in schools and Chiller Box were great at helping overcome any issues. We found them to be hugely enthusiastic about the project and they were extremely easy to run ideas by, for what was quite a complicated project. The frequency of their site meetings was appreciated, and their open and frequent communication helped us in ensuring the project started and completed on time. For me, being a school catering consultant, it is vital that school chefs are able to cook hot meals for their students on the first day of term.”

To begin with Michael was leading the project but due to both directors having holidays booked over the summer there were times when Marios stepped in and managed the project. Both directors were fully involved with the handover and resolution of snags. The joint expertise ensured a smooth project delivery.

Chiller Box is proud to be an Allied member of the FCSI UK & Ireland. If you would like to know more about their work visit

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