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At a cost of £32 the land in Francis Road (then known as Elizabeth Road, Caterham) was purchased on 12 May 1894 for a new church building to be called Oak Hall. The church building was completed in July and August at a cost of £206 and opened on Thursday 13 September 1894.

Fast forward 125 years and Oakhall has a new church building in the heart of the Caterham community which has been shortlisted for a 2019 South East LABC Building Excellence Award.

Chawton Hill undertook the roles of Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor and Principal Designer calling on over 18 years of ecclesiastical experience to deliver another exceptional church building. A building that invites people in to a large multi-use auditorium, office space, cafe, classrooms and nursery complete with generous new parking areas.

The project involved the demolition of derelict offices, a local eyesore for many years, removal of foundations and reworking of ground levels, erection of a new steel framed building over clad with a variety of materials including textured blockwork, through-colour rendering, brickwork and glazed curtain walling.

The new church is striking in appearance due to the variety of roof levels with varying pitches, interesting and varied façade treatments and large glazed areas. Inside the building the finish is of high quality, including hardwood joinery, acoustic folding partitions, various flooring types and excellent sanitary & services provisions. These are all highlighted by the vast amount of natural light afforded by the clever use of large glazed elements.

Chairing client briefing and design team meetings, we were able to effectively coordinate design requirements and balance aspirations within the project budget. Regular collaboration between the client and consultant teams, and latterly the Contractor’s team helped facilitate the delivery of a project that everyone who was involved can be proud of and achieves high levels (EPC B rating) of energy performance and sustainability. For example PV panels and a heat recovery system for the meeting rooms and the crèche were used to maximise energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

“a fabulous building which is already making an impact” is how Peter Thompson (former Operations Director) describes the new Oakhall church building.

Winner of Best Public Service Building in the 2019 Local Authority Building Control Awards in the South East.