Recipe for Repeat Success
Through this sophisticated and sustainable phased renovation project, Balfour Beatty ushered global foodservice leader, Compass Group, into a new era and mode of collaborative working. With this 227,000-square-foot renovation, the global foodservice management leader embraced a “workplace of the future” model that provided its associates with a collaborative and modern workspace while accommodating growth needs. Phase I included the renovation of 80,000 square-feet on two floors in one of two buildings occupied by Compass Group. The project scope included a conference center with collaboration, training, and multipurpose rooms, and a stately monumental staircase. The renovations provided additional space for department relocations. Phase II included renovating the second building where all six floors, totaling approximately 126,000 square feet, were refreshed. The project was recognized as a 2014 Excellence in Construction Eagle award winner for the Carolinas chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors.
As a nationally and globally known leader in the food service industry, Compass Group knows that not every customer has the same tastes. When the company dreamed of expanding its global headquarters facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, they knew it was important to select a general contractor that followed a similar recipe for success: great people + great service = great results. Balfour Beatty helped Compass Group realize their dream, delivering a world-class and sustainable space that has improved every square inch of operations.
Although Compass Group has occupied and expanded its space in the Yorkmont buildings multiple times since 1995, Balfour Beatty’s recent renovations have truly transformed the workspace in ways that reflect the company’s core values, chief of which are openness and transparency. Prior to Balfour Beatty’s work in the buildings, closed-walled offices and conference rooms as well as cubicles with six foot partitions created boundaries that diminished collaboration while communicating a sense of rigidity and separatism. The transformation Balfour Beatty achieved for Compass Group towards a “workplace of the future” model is manifest through every facet of both buildings. Thanks to Balfour Beatty, the walls have now come down at Compass – both literally and figuratively.
Glass-fronted offices and low-walled workstations were constructed for maximum efficiency and flexibility as well as to take advantage of exterior daylight views. In order to provide privacy for employee personal work areas, the project team erected subtle dividers in the circulation areas to allow visual separation. Offices were constructed along interior walls with maximum adjacencies to workstations and excellent exterior views. Centralized break rooms with modern amenities drive foot traffic towards meeting areas, encouraging the impromptu sharing of ideas and serendipitous networking. Every mode of workspace Compass Group now offers its associates in the renovated buildings is a manifestation of the ‘business casual’ trend that leads to greater collaboration and innovation.
One of the highlights of the new Compass Group Headquarters is their playfully spontaneous writable walls that can be found throughout collaboration areas and meeting rooms. Known as Wink Walls, this “dry erase board effect” was achieved through Balfour Beatty’s application of a clear, specialized marker board paint that magically turns walls into a “write and erase” surface. Though Compass Group’s focus is on fun, it’s also on employee health and wellness. The new headquarters even boasts a few treadmill working stations!
The ceiling transforms from open structure with suspended open wood plank structures and decorative lighting in the public spaces, to closed ceiling with direct/indirect fixtures over work areas, for maximum acoustical value and ambient lighting. The linear direct/indirect lighting was designed to run perpendicular to the column structure of the building curves in order to maintain flexibility within the open office layouts. For a company whose goal is to create relationships with its own customers based on “honesty, respect, fairness, and a commitment to open dialogue and transparency,” it was crucial to construct a headquarters facility that reflected those same values.
The Balfour Beatty team also transformed the elevator lobby of the 2400 building from a dark, traditional space into one that is filled with ambient, natural light and infused with welcoming, modern details. On floors 2-6, back-painted glass runs horizontally within carved MDF panels and serve to organize signage and call buttons. In the 2300 building, this horizontal line is carried throughout the public spaces and features an artwork mural in the large main corridor. This custom artwork is a collage titled “recycled stripes,” which features objects used in ordinary life to create a vertical striping pattern. Simple objects — from plates and eating utensils and to money and mops — perfectly depict the Compass Group business.
Balfour Beatty’s purpose is to be a “relentless ally for the success of each and every dream we are entrusted to build.” On the Compass Group Headquarters project, the Balfour Beatty team consistently demonstrated “relentless ally” behaviors from the early stages of the project planning through scheduling, budgeting, and long after turning over the final floors for tenant occupancy. Because the project team delivered such an exceptional facility, Compass Group has since awarded Balfour Beatty with six additional negotiated construction projects across the country. These projects embody the cost efficiency, speed, quality, flexibility, and innovation that define Balfour Beatty’s signature construction experience.
“Personally, I find it rewarding to have developed such a long-standing relationship with Compass Group that they have relied upon our team to leverage their national power and agility through facilities across the map,” said Mike Wehner, Project Manager for Compass Group’s Headquarters renovation who has also executed work on every single forthcoming project award. “It’s not often you get to go that deep with a client, but when you do, you know it’s a relationship of mutual trust and transparency.”
Balfour Beatty was proud to serve as Compass Group’s construction partner on this sophisticated, socially responsible renovation project that has ushered the company into a new era and mode of collaborative working.