Category Archives: Case Studies

House Builder in Bury St Edmunds – Contractors Seamans Building provide high-quality new house building, construction, design and build services in East Anglia

Affordable rent and shared housing development in Parham

Seamans Building is delighted to have handed over the second phase of a new development in Parham, Suffolk – 1-9 Flaxen Fields.

The homes, built on behalf of the Orwell Housing Association, are a mix of nine two- and three-bedroom properties for affordable rent and shared ownership.

The first phase of the scheme, consisting of 10 homes, was handed over in August 2022, with work immediately starting on phase two.

First, our team worked on the foundations and piling groundworks, completing them by September 2022.

They then moved onto the traditional brick and block work, which included some gabled brickwork, and was completed last autumn. Once the brickwork was completed, work began on constructing the roof.

As we entered the new year, attention shifted to the internal work and the first mechanical and electrics containment installations before plastering commenced.

The homes were then fitted out with kitchens, bathrooms and all the modern conveniences you would expect in a modern, newbuild home.

While this work was taking place, Seamans’ external groundworks contractor undertook the installation of below ground services, laying the new road and pedestrian footpaths.

Work also included laying the gas and water mains as well as installing electric cabling to all plots.

External ground reinstalments were completed before the final surface finishes to the car park and road spaces.

Finally, the rear and front gardens were landscaped and turfed, including the installation of fences and secure gates, ready for the new occupants to move in.

Steven Revell, Senior Contracts Manager, said: “I am very proud of the work Seamans have completed in Parham, every home is finished to a superb standard.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all our contractors for their hard work constructing these new homes. This includes the client’s Employers Agent, Richard Mays MRICS of Hyam QS Ltd.

“We wish the new occupants the very best in their new homes.”

For updates on our latest project updates, visit our blog page here.

Castle Community Rooms in Framlingham

Seamans Building is proud to have completed work on the new Castle Community Rooms in Framlingham.

The new building replaces St Michael’s Rooms, an important part of the community for more than 130 years that had sadly come to the end of its structural life.

St Michael’s Rooms had also shot to fame as the headquarters of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club in the award-winning BBC series, The Detectorists.

The new building, designed by James Gorst Architects, of Framlingham, is a multi-purpose space seating up to 120 people which can accommodate a variety of activities including music performances, dance classes and film screenings.

Castle Community Rooms

Photograph credit: Lorenzo Zandri

Castle Community Rooms includes a large hall with a tall, vaulted ceiling, offering stunning views of the nearby St Michael’s Church and its churchyard.

It also includes a meeting room, office, toilet facilities and a large kitchen area.

Its engineered timber frame construction includes a repeating roof structure with glulam beams spanning the length of the building and was constructed on specialist piled foundations to protect archaeology and to avoid tree root protection areas.

The building takes advantage of renewable technology and is highly insulated to maximise the energy efficiency of the building.

Black zinc cladding envelopes the building creating a larger eaves overhang for protection, together with the large oak dormer, offering a modern contrast to the traditional Suffolk black barn.

Ben Whatling, Director at Seamans, said: “This was a fantastic project to work on and it is wonderful to see it now in full use.

“St Michael’s Rooms was a much-loved building in the town and we were eager for its replacement to be even better.

“We have really enjoyed working on this important project for Framlingham.”

Castle Community Rooms

Photography credit: Lorenzo Zandri

A spokesman for St Michael’s Church, said: “We are delighted have worked with Seamans on this exciting new facility for Framlingham, to replace St Michaels Rooms which had stood on the site for the last 130 years.

“As was the case with St Michaels rooms, Castle Community Rooms will be an essential hub for Framlingham’s social and recreational activities, just a very short walk from the town centre. “

For more on Seamans’ projects, see here.


School science block in Bury St Edmunds

Seamans Building completed construction of a new two-storey science block at a Bury St Edmunds school – managing the project with little disruption to the school timetable.

The standalone science block at St Benedict’s Catholic School, designed by Hoopers Architects, included a science lab on each floor with a green stained timber circulation module at the front of the building.

The circulation module was designed with ‘board on board’ vertical cladding and houses an external staircase, a lift core, a first-floor balcony and ground floor WC and lobby space.

Ben Whatling, at Seamans, said: “This was a challenging build as work on the new science block took place during term time and one of the principal objectives was to maintain the functionality of the school and allow students to continue their studies uninterrupted.

“This included making sure access was maintained through a separate students’ entrance, ensuring accommodation of the school’s fire safety plans and guaranteeing the school site was secure at all times.

“It was a very compact site too, which only added to the project’s complexity.

“However, we like a challenge at Seamans – and really enjoyed constructing this superb new building.

“We were lucky to work with an excellent team at the school, who we formed a close working relationship with during our time on site, to ensure normal school operations were maintained throughout.

“This was a very interesting project to work on and we hope the students are enjoying their new science block.”

Thanks to excellent project management and strong communication between school staff, designers and Seamans, existing bus park routines and student drop offs were maintained throughout construction.

Hoopers architects, said: “Seamans offer a quality service, particularly well suited to the education sector, and we are extremely pleased with the end result.”

Work on the project was completed in February 2021.

Photography credit: Juli Richter

Refurbishment and extension of Northside House for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Seamans Building is delighted to have delivered the refurbishment and extension of Northside House – an NHS mental health centre in Norwich.

The project, on behalf of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), comprised of three phases of construction, completed in 2017.

Phase one of the project involved initial enabling work to one ward and the refurbishment of two further wards.

The second phase included tree clearance, construction of a retaining wall, the creation of earth mounds and the relocation of gas and water mains, in preparation for phase three.

For phase three, Seamans constructed a new eight-bedroom ward while refurbishing a further ward.

The new ward, designed by Hoopers Architects Ltd, is a part steel frame construction, with piled foundations, masonry walls and Britplas secure doors and windows.

Work on Northside House, which was previously known as The Norvic Clinic, also included the construction of a timber flat roof, with a single ply membrane, internal finishes and mechanical and electrical works.

Ben Whatling, Production Director at Seamans Building said: “This was a fascinating project to work on.

“We are proud of the work undertaken by Seamans alongside Hoopers Architects and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to deliver this hugely important project.”

Stuart Richardson, chief executive with NSFT, said post-completion: “The new-look wards at Northside House are ensuring that our service users can receive safe, high-quality care closer to home without the need to be sent out of area for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

“The extensive project has also significantly improved the facilities in which our service users receive care, which is vitally important as many may remain within the units for several years while we work intensely with them to help them recover better mental health.

“Providing care from a comfortable environment also encourages more effective relationships with staff, which can help to diffuse any potentially difficult situations which may arise without the need to increase physical or procedural security.”

You can find out more about our previous projects, benefiting a range of sectors, on our projects page.

Stunning and spacious barn set in the beautiful Norfolk countryside

Seamans are proud to have worked on Long House in Cockthorpe – a superb, spacious house in the beautiful Norfolk countryside you can stay in yourself.

The building, designed by Sir Michael and Lady Patty Hopkins, follows the proportions of a traditional Norfolk barn.

Its imposing front flint wall supports a series of clerestory windows that extend along the entire length of the house.

However, the true complexity of the design becomes apparent on entering the building.

It features an open plan ground floor area with a spiral staircase leading to a landing.

This landing runs the entire perimeter of the central core, providing an open vaulted area which serves four double bedrooms on the first floor.

An attractive courtyard separates the main house from a self-contained annex, providing an additional double-bedroom and ensuite facilities.

The internal walls are finished with ash faced plywood panelling with a white stucco finish, with the majority of floor space finished with tiles.

Heating is supplied by a ground source heat pump via underfloor heating on the ground floor, and radiators on the first floor.

Heat recovery ventilation helps with the economic running of the property.

Large, glazed sliding doors give easy access to two semi-enclosed courtyards to the east and west of the house.

The building’s upper gallery allows extensive view of the surrounding countryside, including exceptional views over the salt marshes and creeks of the North Sea coast.

The building was constructed for Living Architecture, a not-for-profit holiday home rental company giving families the chance to stay in architecturally impressive domestic properties across the UK.

It’s incredible holiday homes include another Seamans build, the eye-catching Balancing Barn in Thorington.

Duncan Haydon, Managing Director at Seamans, said: “Long House was a fantastic property to work on, adding to Living Architecture’s already stellar line-up of architecturally stunning holiday homes to let.

“The building combines the traditional look of a Norfolk barn with the latest in architectural design, with a stunning modern finish.

“I’m sure anyone staying at the property will have a holiday of a lifetime.”

Photography credit: © Jack Hobhouse

Sophisticated and modern space for learning at Culford School

Seamans Building was commissioned to construct a new, hi-tech Learning Resource Centre at Culford School in Suffolk.

The modern building, which sits in 480 acres of parkland, offers students a perfect space for learning.

Dynamic, cost-effective and sustainable, the building was designed with students in mind, giving them the ideal area for their studies.

The building has become a focal point in the school’s grounds, perfectly complementing the school’s historic buildings.

Image of Culford School learning resource centre at dusk

Work on the centre began in September 2014 following a competition to find the most suitable design, with Seamans winning the role as contractor.

The stunning building features a Glulam Portal frame with a curved wall, supporting a mezzanine floor area, with a slate roof and cedar walls.

It features a sophisticated Electrical and Mechanical system which allows controlled fresh air into the building.

This is complimented by the building’s heat recovery unit, with warm air circulated around the building and extracted by vents.

The centre also includes high-quality insulation and controlled use of heat gain through glazed areas, assisting the building’s temperature control.

In addition, careful consideration has gone into acoustics in the building, with measures taken to prevent sound reverberation.

Seamans worked closely with the client to ensure the project reflected their values, while maintaining the essential features that make it such a complimentary feature in the school’s grounds.

Duncan Haydon, Managing Director at Seamans, said: “This has been a fantastic project to work on and we are very proud of all that has been achieved.

“The Learning Resource Centre provides a superb, modern learning space for Culford School students today and well into the future.”

Work to complete the centre finished in August 2015.

Culford School - pupils working in the upper level of the learning resource centre.

Seamans Building also constructed Culford School’s new Patterson Centre for Creative Technology and the refurbishment of the school’s art rooms.

Award-winning Balancing Barn in Thorington creates unique holiday experience

Seamans Building is proud to have constructed the award-winning Balancing Barn in Thorington Suffolk.

Work on the eye-catching building, designed by Netherlands-based MVRDV Architects, with Mole Architects overseeing construction, began in April 2009.

Built for client Living Architecture for use as a holiday let, construction was completed in September 2010.

Living Architecture commissioned the barn with the aim of making modern architecture more accessible to the general public.

Featuring an innovative cantilever design, with around half of the structure suspended over a sloping bank, the Balancing Barn certainly has the ‘wow factor’.

Balancing Barn Suffolk

Construction began with the basement and its substantial concrete foundations.

The cantilever was achieved using a substantial steel framework, which then carries the building’s insulated timber framed walls and roof.

These were then clad in stainless steel, polished tiles which reflect the surrounding nature and changing seasons.

The spectacular building includes a large kitchen and dining room and four double bedrooms – each with its own bathroom and toilet.

At the overhanging end of the barn there’s a spacious living area with windows overlooking a lake and open countryside, and a glazed area of floor overlooking the landscaped area below.

Inside the building, the walls are lined with ash faced plywood panels and its support structures cased to match.

The rooms are decorated with pixelated modern tiling based on cloud studies by John Constable and county scenes by Thomas Gainsborough – the county’s most renowned artists.

In addition, the barn is completed with bespoke furnishing and fittings, creating a special space perfect for a getaway.

Duncan Haydon, Managing Director at Seamans Building, said: “This was a great project to work on and one we are very proud of.

“With such an innovative and eye-catching design, this was a challenging build at times.

“We were delighted with how the Balancing Barn turned out – it is such an impressive building both inside and out.

“The client’s goal was to make modern architecture more accessible to the public, and they have certainly achieved that.

“Anyone staying in the Balancing Barn is in for an experience of a lifetime.”

Balancing Barn, Suffolk outdoor shot of building. Built by Seamans Building

Restoring Woodbridge’s famous Tide Mill to its former glory

Seamans Building was delighted to work on a major refurbishment of the Grade I listed Woodbridge Tide Mill.

Work to restore the historic riverside building, a landmark in the town, began in May 2011.

Working alongside local architect Tim Buxbaum, with funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the refurbishment was completed in April 2012.

After asbestos was removed from the building, our team restored the internal layout and installed a new staircase.

Specialists then replaced the old wooden cog wheels before starting work to refurbish the milling equipment.

A brand-new water wheel, replicating the mill’s existing wheel, was constructed by off-site specialists.

Seamans constructed a new covered building to enclose the building’s new water mill wheel.

An old external staircase was removed, the weather boarding overhauled and roof tiles checked and replaced.

After that, the mill pond was drained and cleared, and a new inter-tidal slipway constructed.

A walkway was also constructed above the river, so visitors can view the water wheel and access the rear of the mill.

Additionally, a new disabled toilet was constructed.

The majority of work took place during the summer, bringing its own challenges.

Despite the mill being closed during the refurbishment, there were still large numbers of tourists nearby, visiting the adjacent marina, restaurants, galleries and the historic quay.

This required careful management of the site to maintain access and logistics, while ensuring safety throughout.

Bob Sharpe, site manager on the project, said: “Working with the tide was one of the biggest challenges.

“Installing the new water mill, while having to judge how much time we had before the tide came in was tricky.

“Everything at the Tide Mill had to be purpose built too – everything was bespoke.”

The historic mill is now fully operational and after 850 years, is still running flour milling demonstrations for delighted visitors.

David Hart, Contracts Manager at Seamans Building, added: “The Tide Mill is among the most recognisable landmarks in Woodbridge and the town is rightly proud of its rich history.

“It feels like a history lesson working on a job like this – you learn so much about the building and its importance to the town.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working on this project, restoring such a significant historic building back to its former glory.”

You can find out more about our previous projects, benefiting a range of sectors, on our projects page.

Refurbishment of historic Grade II listed building in Yoxford

Seamans Building is proud to have completed the refurbishment of a Grade II listed country house in Yoxford – believed to date back to the 16th Century.

Work on Grove Park began in October 2018 and was completed in September 2020.

The impressive Georgian mansion sits in 35 acres of beautiful, secluded parkland, boasting incredible countryside views.

It was rebuilt in the 1770s and features a red brick build under a pitched slate roof.

It features ten principal bedrooms, six bathrooms and a variety of reception rooms arranged over three floors.

Externally, the extensive refurbishment included scaffolding the building as well as enclosing it under a temporary roof.

The roof was stripped and replaced with new Welsh slates while repair work was undertaken on stonework detailing, brickwork, windows and external doors.

The team also went to work rebuilding and repairing chimneys and completing underpinning works.

Internally, the project included installing new insulated concrete floors, bracing and replastering walls, fitting new sanitaryware and redecorating the interior throughout.

In addition, the building required a complete rewire of its electrics, as well as the installation of a new oil-fired heating and hot water system.

The project also included constructing a brand-new orangery. This was built from Haddonstone materials and fitted with Crittall doors and windows, with a large patent glazed rooflight.

Donna Barford, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Seamans Building, said: “This was a fantastic project to work on and we are delighted with how the refurbishment has turned out.”

“Grove Park was in need of significant building work, and it is wonderful to see it back to its best.”

“We are pleased to have delivered the refurbishment of such a historically important building.”

You can find out more about our previous projects, benefiting a range of sectors, on our case studies page.

Photography Credit: Simply C Photography

Woodland retirement dream home built in Cambridgeshire countryside

Contemporary, open-plan, visual concrete and timber home in woodland surroundings

Seamans Building is delighted to have delivered Coille Beag – a modern, four-bedroom detached house in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Nestled in a small patch of woodland, the client wanted a low maintenance, easily accessible home for their retirement.

Additionally, they desired a strong physical and visual contrast between their new home’s incredible natural surroundings in Whittlesford and the setting of their original home.

Work on the building, designed by Snell David Architects, started in April 2018 and completed in October 2019.

Cast insitu concrete is used to create the open-plan, ground floor structure, including the home’s master bedroom suite.

Despite the woodland surroundings, the building boasts optimal views and natural light. This is thanks to the placement of the wings, which follow a path around the existing trees.

The impressive building is finished with stylish, vertical ribbed boards, and large glazed sliding Schuco aluminium doors and windows.

The finish is further enhanced by the use of hardwood joinery for the staircases, doors and bespoke fittings. Therefore, enhancing the strong contrast against the visual concrete.

In addition, the property consists of a high-quality fitted kitchen by David Hall Furniture, sanitaryware and floor finishes. So, the indoor spaces is a special as the exterior.

And the project is set to become even more special as time goes by. The architects envision the surrounding woodland growing up around the new building, bringing the house and nature even closer together.

Following the completion of the project, the client said: “We are delighted with the finished product and also the workmanship of all the various trades that Seamans employed.

“I would recommend Seamans to you without hesitation.”

Ben Whatling, Production Director at Seamans Building, added: “This was a challenging project where the client placed a great emphasis on quality of the finished product; the margin for error when working to such a bespoke design in visual concrete and the success with the interaction of other building elements is a credit to all those involved.

“We hope the client enjoys their new home as much as we did building it.”

Photography credits: David Valinsky.