SSW Chapel – Doing a Renovation in 6 Days!

I am happy to let you know that the SSW Chapel is up and running. It was renovated in 6 days and is now the smartest conference area in Sydney because it allows both recording and live streaming.

We made this video showcasing our experience doing the reno, and the beautiful outcome, because I loved working with Soho Projects.

We also redesigned the venue website using a cool Parallax theme – see www.sswchapel.com.au

Contact Uly if you want to book it for your event.

The Renovation

Renovations are like software – it’s easier if you don’t change the plan. In other words, it’s never easy.

But what you can do to make it easier, is cut a big project into a smaller one. SSW is divided into an upstairs and a downstairs, so we decided to do this renovation in 2 parts: the upstairs first and the downstairs later.

SSW Chapel renovations 1

Figure: The SSW Chapel, halfway renovated

We had done our planning, but it felt like every time we sat with the architect, new ideas and new products were evaluated and things changed.

We had a community event coming up, an Angular Hack Day, to bring the new Angular 2 to developers. We decided we needed to finish the SSW Chapel for the event, and to make it look awesome. The only problem was that we had scheduled this event in 6 days’ time, and the renovations hadn’t even started.

It was a crazy idea, but we knew that this decision was key. We felt that our plans were done, or at least 95%, and we needed to pull the trigger on the project and go through with it.

When you only have 6 days you can’t change your mind too often.

The first thing we needed was a builder, one who was up to the task, and our architect suggested Josh at Soho, who has a large array of experience with commercial projects. When he arrived, he made a suggestion that changed the whole project – knocking down the large middle wall between Suites 12 and 15, doubling the conference area. It was a defining moment in creating the space that we have today. We agreed it was a great idea, and even though we only had 6 days, we got it done.

The Chapel worked great for the Scott Hanselman event. We had 294 people take tickets for that event, and we couldn’t have done it if we still had the wall! With the wall taken out, the Chapel became a hall that could fit a full crowd and look amazing. There’s still more to go – the downstairs area. I’ll let you know when that’s done.

The lessons learned:

  1. Sometimes you’ve just got to kick it off – you don’t need your plans to be 100% to start
  2. Choose someone with experience: a project runs well when you choose someone with good experience
  3. A ticking clock is really good at making you make fast decisions – it stops the “analysis by paralysis”
  4. Cut a big project into small pieces