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Business: Refurbishment by building contractors Skinners commended at prestigious retail awards

Refurbishment by building contractors Skinners commended at prestigious retail awards

An Ayrshire firm of building contractors has ended the year on a triumphant note after receiving recognition for work carried out at an Aberdeen shopping centre.

[UKPRwire, Sun Jan 03 2010] An Ayrshire firm of building contractors has ended the year on a triumphant note after receiving recognition for work carried out at an Aberdeen shopping centre.

At the recent British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) Gold Awards, the Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership (a joint venture between Land Securities and British Land) achieved a commendation for the £2 million refurbishment to Aberdeen’s St Nicholas Centre – work which was carried out by building contractors William Skinner & Son, based at St Quivox in Ayr. The commendation was awarded in the Best In-Town Retail Scheme (under 300,000 sq ft) category.

The exclusive Gold Awards are leading accolades within the shopping centre and retail destination industry. They reward excellence in retail-led developments and recognise projects that generate improvements in the quality of the built environment. The awards also recognise stores and operations within that environment.

The St Nicholas Centre and its sister centre the Bon Accord form the established prime shopping location for the City of Aberdeen. The St Nicholas Centre is a busy covered shopping centre leading from Aberdeen’s main street (Union Street) to the Bon Accord Centre.

The St Nicholas Centre has circa 13 million footfall per annum which equates to an average weekly footfall of 260,000. It contains 25 shop units within approx 100,000 sq ft.

Construction began in 1983 with the centre’s doors opening 1985.

20 years after the centre opening, it was decided that the centre would benefit from a refurbishment to give it a fresh and modern new look to complement its array of vibrant fashion retailers.

The project comprised of the refurbishment of the shopping mall common areas (805 square metres), (8665 square feet.), including the renewal of floor surfaces, pilaster finishes, ceiling finishes, lighting features, upgrading the sprinkler system, replacing entrance screens and doors, installing new entrance signage/canopies and mechanical & electrical upgrades.

The concept for the refresh scheme is taken from geological formations and the use of light to create a space that is inviting, fresh and contemporary; encouraging shoppers to increase their dwell time within the centre. Customers are enticed into the centre from Union Street via a crisp clean back-lit white box with ‘st nicholas’ simply applied in a sophisticated and understated manner in a black font (matched with new branding guidelines). The theme of light continues internally with a double ribbon of light which flows down the length of the mall eventually terminating at an external white light box at the Schoolhill entrance.

The ‘ribbon of light’ and ‘light boxes’ are conceived as highly crafted pure elements linking all aspects of design both externally and internally in a holistic approach.

A waved timber ceiling brings warmth and texture to the central focus space. The undulation elegantly conceals the structure whilst also allowing to maximise floor to ceiling heights and the horizontal slats visually slows down the space with the richness of the timber complementing the white simplicity of the Barrisol ribbons.

The flooring uses various textures and sizes of sand colour ceramic tiles which move away from the rigorous geometric patterns that dominate many shopping centres. The mall is punctuated by geologically inspired extrusions of pilasters. These elements are clad in thin strips of ceramic tile that give the impression of the build up of geological layers. The pilasters are lit with blue accent lighting to emphasise these features.

Simple clean lines with a restricted palette of materials and contemporary detailing are used throughout the refresh designs to give the customer a sense of design quality and creating a calm, relaxed and aspirational retail experience.

The final cost of the refurbishment works cost approx. £2 million. The works were completed on time and on budget.

The refurbishment on the mall has improved the centre’s economic sustainability, making the centre an attractive proposition for tenants in Aberdeen’s increasingly competitive market.

The Skinners team worked hard to ensure that there was minimum disruption to the normal smooth running of the Centre during the time that the refurbishment works were underway.

William Skinner & Son managing director Sandy Cunningham said: “Retail refurbishment has always been one of our company’s traditional core specialisations, and we are proud to add the St Nicholas Centre in Aberdeen to our portfolio of successfully completed projects and to have our work recognised by the British Council of Shopping Centres.”

Katherine Armstead, portfolio manager for Land Securities in Scotland commented: “We are delighted our St Nicholas Centre refurbishment was recognised at this prestigious event. We are dedicated to improving the shopping environments of our properties for retailers and customers, and industry awards such as these acknowledge the investment and continued progress we make in creating centres fit for the 21st century and beyond.”

Land Securities is one of the UK’s leading real estate investment trusts. Its Scottish portfolio comprises four retail parks and four shopping centres including:

* The Centre shopping centre and extensive retail warehousing developments in Livingston
* Livingston Designer Outlet (joint ownership with Morley)
* Bon Accord and St Nicholas Centres in Aberdeen (joint ownership with British Land)
* Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow (a joint venture with Henderson Global Investors)
* Kingsway West retail park in Dundee

In March 2004, Land Securities entered into a joint venture with British Land to create the Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership which now includes its joint Aberdeen holdings.


Building contractors William Skinner & Son’s Ayrshire and Cambridgeshire bases cover Scotland, South East and Eastern England with a range of activities centred on building refurbishment, mainly of retail stores and shopping centres. Joinery manufacture, metal fabrication, special finishes and terrazzo tiling are amongst the special skills offered.

William Skinner & Son are approved Sika Trocal single ply roofing membrane installers. Experienced and highly skilled operatives carry out a range of schemes from small repairs to major installations on very large buildings, and are trained to apply the Kemper roof repair system. Skinners frequently supply and fix ward decking systems in conjunction with roofing works.

The Company also offers contract maintenance and has recently diversified further into custom garden structures, notably treehouses, and solar thermal systems – for which it is now fully Microgeneration Certified.

Skinners’ recently introduced renewable energy survey service is already in demand, supporting its offer to install any kind of renewable energy system.

Founded in Ayrshire in 1964, Skinners made their first move down south into England six years ago. But the company’s recent expansion and diversification into new areas of business made it necessary the purchase of their own larger facilities comprising an 8,000 sq. ft yard, 1,900 sq. ft of office space, and a 1,620 sq. ft warehouse.

The new premises in Meldreth, near Cambridge, were officially opened in 2008 by Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire.

William Skinner & Son managing director Sandy Cunningham said: “Our commitment at Cambridge is a measure of the importance to us of the market in London, the South East, Midlands and East Anglia.

"The Meldreth base provides high quality warehouse, workshop and office accommodation from which we are already developing our capacity and increasing our market penetration. It is capable of supporting several times its present level of activity.”

Further information:

Sandy Cunningham
Managing Director
William Skinner & Son
Cunningham House
St Quivox
Ayr KA6 5HQ
Ayrshire, Scotland

Tel: 0845 051 9060
Fax: 01292 671133


William Skinner & Son
Southern Office
College Farm Business Centre
North End

Tel: 0845 051 9070
Fax: 01763 262916


Building contractors William Skinner & Son are founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.

Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of industry, commerce and business services available within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.

Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel and South Ayrshire Council. and member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.

For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail


Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:

South Ayrshire Council
Clydesdale Bank
Turnberry Hotel and Golf Resort
Ayr Racecourse
Western House Hotel
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Accident & Injury Claims Centre
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers
Donald Ross Estate Agents:
William Skinner & Son Building Contractors
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants
Paligap Creative Agency
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects
Brunston Castle Golf Club
Fouters Restaurant
Christie Financial Planning Ltd
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors
Kestrel Press
Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy
West Sound Radio
Easton Property
Easton Kitchens & Bathrooms

Issued by:

Murdoch MacDonald
Fame Publicity Services
Telephone: 01292 281498
Mobile: 07833 667322

Company: Fame Publicity Services
Contact Name: murdochmcd
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Contact Phone: 00 44 1292 281498
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