A strategy for phasing the works was adopted to suit the running of the zoo, beginning with the entrance and the shop. These are the first two buildings which visitors see, so carrying out the initial works here would give an immediate impression that the zoo was improving as an attraction and caring for its building stock. Another consideration was to use these two buildings as a learning exercise for the project team and contractor before embarking on the more extensive works that were needed on the Bear Ravine. There were also concerns that the scale and extent of repairs needed on the Bear Ravine could take a sizable slice of the funds to the detriment of the entrance and shop.
The work within the entrance was also phased to maintain the visitor entrance to the zoo while the shop being refurbished. To facilitate this the work was carried out on three kiosks first, allowing visitors to enter via the remaining two. Following this first phase the three refurbished kiosks were opened and the remaining two were then refurbished.
The majority of the works to the entrance were related to the concrete repairs, but the shop was a more general refurbishment with the concrete repairs as just one part of the overall scope of works. Based on this, it was decided to have separate tenders for a principal contractor and for the concrete repairs. In this second group were contractors who only deal with concrete repair and specialist stone masons with experience of concrete repairs. A local contractor from this second category was appointed.
The grant from the HLF included the cost of a clerk of works and two apprentices who would study part-time and gain practical experience by working alongside the contractor. The longer-term aim was for the apprentices to remain at the zoo to deal with ongoing repairs and maintenance to the other structures. Finding a clerk of works proved to be more difficult than envisaged and although candidates were interviewed, no one suitable had been found by the time the work started on site. However, the eventual outcome proved to be very beneficial, as described later.