ALBERT COURT – BASEMENT DEVELOPMENT

Albert Court suffered a major fire in 2007, with resulting damage to some 15 flats.

As part of the Board’s response to this fire, a full review was undertaken of fire safety and fire precautions at the block.  Tim worked closely with the appointed consultants, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) in reviewing the recommendations identified by the FPA and reporting upon the implications of these recommendations to the Management Board, and thereinafter ensuring the successful implementation of the recommendations with the on-site property management and building management staff.

A state of the art wireless fire alarm and detection system was installed to all apartments, linking with intermediate transmitter ariels and relay panels to the main control panel at the porter’s desk.

One of the risks identified was the presence of a charitable kitchen sited in the basement area which had operated for some 40 years, serving the students of the neighbouring Imperial College.  The position of this accommodation was high-risk, both in relation to the means of escape for the users and also for the fire brigade’s ability access the area in the event of a fire.

Tim identified alternative accommodation within the block, re-siting the kitchen and dining room facilities and associated accommodation to basement storage vaults to the north of the building.  These vaults had been used for storage over many years, were of poor quality, with compacted earth floors and restricted head height.

Tim prepared, submitted and managed Planning and Listed Building submissions to the Local Authority, and after a period of 18 months, successfully obtained the necessary statutory approvals.  Thereafter Tim worked closely with the Management Board and their appointed legal advisors in agreeing terms for the relocation of the kitchen and dining room uses to the northern vaults with the Management Company taking possession of the vacated accommodation.

Tim worked in conjunction with the charitable kitchens’ architectural and contract team in relation to the alterations to the northern vaults to provide the necessary kitchen accommodation.  These works include the excavation of floor levels to increase the storey height by 1 m, structural alterations to internal load-bearing walls and foundations, as well as alterations externally to create new entrances, and underpinning of internal and external load-bearing walls.

Schedules of Condition were prepared for all flats 2 storeys above the development site which could be affected by the works.

Tim has agreed detailed terms and conditions with the developer with the aim of minimising the noise nuisance and disruption to lessees in the immediate vicinity, as well as to the wider lessees’ body.

Tim also guided the developer’s team in relation to a range of demolition techniques available with the aim of maximising the contractor’s productive time on site whilst minimising the risk of nuisance to adjoining flats.  Tim continues to inspect the works regularly, in conjunction with the block’s appointed structural engineer.  The works having commenced in mid-2013 are expected to run through to the end of 2014 before these are complete.

For further information please contact Tim Greenwood (timgreenwood@tg-a.co.uk, tel: 01293 804671).