CIBSE Award Winning K Section Refurbishment.


Luxury retail experience. 15 million customers. Zero disruption.

Merit has maintained intrusive engineering works to this Grade II listed building without any disruption to the retail experience for over 5 years now.

  • Major improvement in controlling in store comfort levels.
  • Multiple structural improvements to the existing steel building structure.
  • K-Section Refurbishment Project won CIBSE 2014 Award ‘Best Refurbishment Project over £5m’.

Merit has been a multi-project construction provider for all infrastructure projects for Harrods since 2012. Projects have largely focused on reapportioning areas from plant space to retail space with works delivered in a live environment with no disruption to the retail or shopping experience.

Harrods is one of the most famous department stores in the world with 15 million customer visits to the luxury retailer each year. The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has 330 departments covering 1.1 million square feet of retail space. It is the largest department store in Europe and lays claim to having its own unique postcode, SW1X 7XL. The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique, which is Latin for “all things for all people, everywhere”. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and the food halls, are well known.

For the £6m K-Section design and build refurbishment project, Merit’s scope included seven major crane lifts of equipment onto the roof of the building and the associated road closure and management of significant parts of the Knightsbridge road network.

A major contributing factor to the success of these crane lifts was the reduction in number from the originally specified 12 down to 7. This was achieved in two ways – firstly with the use of prefabrication of pipework and steelwork (prefabricated at Merit’s offsite manufacturing facility) and secondly with the use of a ‘spider’ crane in our first lift (this was operated from the rooftop helideck and allowed for local lifting operations). These changes included overall cost saving to the project, reduction in contract duration, reduced contract risk and improved safety through reduced manual handling on site.

Due to the complexity of the project and the number of stakeholders potentially affected by our activities, it was important to establish the stakeholder group. This included Harrods’ senior management and engineering teams; Harrods’ staff; Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) Council; Highways Agency; and UK Power Network to name a few. We also issued letters to residents and adjacent businesses informing them of impending road closures. If any particularly noisy works were undertaken, a minimum of 48 hours’ notice was given to residences and retailers nearby.

Given the Grade II listing of the building, we also worked closely with Harrods and the Heritage Officer regarding any breakthroughs.