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Highland Soap Factory- Fort William

Project management of a new factory for the Highland Soap Company, Fort William.

Business Stream: Building Surveying

The project was to build a new larger manufacturing premises to enable the Highland Soap Company to expand while retaining their Highland base and loyal workforce.

Located on the site of the former British Alcan Recreation Club, which was part of Old Inverlochy Farm, our client’s desire was to create a mixed-use space combining the factory and visitor experience, farm-shop and café.

Galbraith prepared initial plans meeting the client brief which our in-house planning team successfully negotiated through the planning process and liaised with Historic Environment Scotland to preserve the rural nature of the site. Ecological surveys were commissioned and the resident bats rehomed under strict licence. A Traffic Assessment was also required for the main entrance. Planning permission was granted in October 2019.

Initially it was hoped that some of the original farm building could be retained but a detailed investigation and survey by our Building Surveying department noted numerous defects resulting from decades of modifications to the original structure to suit the changing needs. The most economical solution was demolition. Earlier surveys had also revealed the presence of asbestos and following removal under licence, the entire building was razed to the ground in late 2019.

Work started immediately following demolition to prepare the ground. A contractor was appointed for the new build and the project was managed by John Pullen, who is our Project Manager based in our Inverness office.

Completion of the building was expected in time for the 2020 tourist season. However, all construction activities in Scotland were paused by the Scottish Government in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With a phased lifting of the restrictions now in place, works have recommenced.  The site is operating with new enhanced safety measures in place and Galbraith looks forward to completing the works in the autumn to reveal a truly stunning building, supporting a home grown Scottish business.