Building in a Royal Park – Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

Leave a comment  →
   by Andy    Leave a comment  →
' . get_the_title() . '

SIPs being manufactured in St. Helens before delivery down South

Hampton Hill Cricket Club, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill


During the tendering process, the club were awarded a £50,000 grant for constructing the new clubhouse to a very high level of energy sustainability. In order to achieve this it was recommended by Macdonald Design that the building should be constructed with SIPs (structurally insulated panels) rather than traditional construction. Whilst this was a slightly more expensive route in the initially, the benefits of SIPs (quicker construction time, high thermal performance, shorter time on site) made this preposition attractive to the club.
(More details on the benefits of SIPs construction).

In the short term, marrying in details of the required foundations particularly in relation to the proximity of tree roots and physically transporting the SIPs onto the site and through the Royal Park, caused some delay which wouldn’t have been there had the building been designed from the outset using SIPs but any time lost during this process would swiftly be made up through the much faster construction process. The target would still be to be working in the dry within three months.

Building in a Royal Park - 1 - Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

Hemsec manufactured SIPs panels

Building in a Royal Park - 2 - Converting Traditional Design into SIPS

SIPs panels arrive on site and the contractor begins the speedy installation process

One of the biggest issues with building SIPs in England is that it is not a terribly well-known building methodology. Consequently, small to medium-sized contractors are naturally wary and even resistant to want to consider working with this product. However JW Cannon saw the massive potential that SIPs offer. Not just in terms of the erection speed but in satisfying the ever more stringent energy efficiency requirements being introduced into the UK. The speed and continuity of construction even during very harsh periods of weather was a key factor in what was a short program window. This was particularly apparent during the very cold winter of 2010 when traditional construction virtually ground to a halt for six weeks. During this period it became obvious that alternate construction methods needed to be explored as had been the case over the previous 50 years in countries that experienced extremes of climate (Canada, US, Scandinavia and Scotland).

JW Cannon agreed to work very closely with Creative Space (one of the leading SIPs installers in the UK) who fit the SIPs manufactured by Hemsec.

Between them and their specialist structural engineer, Saul Slater, they worked closely with Macdonald Design’s concept to convert the original building to a SIPs building. A final project cost and an agreed program were generated with JW Cannon acting as the main contractor. All parties took a commercial view on the overall cost to the club on the basis that this would generate a landmark scheme with potentially massive marketing benefits for the future.

Building on National Trust Land – Groundworks and First Phase Construction

Leave a comment  →
   by Andy    Leave a comment  →
' . get_the_title() . '

Heathcoat Cricket Club, Tiverton, Devon


With work starting in October the target handover was set to be April 1st  2013. As you can see from the attached images, the ground works are now very much underway. As well as the clubhouse works, the club are also committed to providing extensive car parking which will be used not only for the cricketers but also visitors to the estate and the activities that will now be generated adjacent to the clubhouse (dog shows, fayres etc).

Extensive groundworks being preparedExtensive groundworks being undertaken to provide new car parking

Any site of such antiquity is beholding to respect the archeological heritage and the club is required to work closely with an archeological specialist who has had to inspect all of these excavations. The club also appreciate the need to ensure that potential artifacts are either not disturbed or if they are located then they have to be carefully removed and documented.

The National Trust have taken an active part in both the design process and they also need to ensure that the construction process does causes damage in the long-term, is safe for the public and the Estate’s livestock. The Trust’s Architect’s Panel have taken a particularly keen interest in the building and they are excited about the design and see it as a potential landmark and iconic design that can be used as an example for future National Trust projects.

In terms of the clubhouse, the foundations have now been formed with blocks in place and built up ready for the floor beam delivery.

Foundations formed with blocks in place

Foundations formed with blocks in place

Offsite, virtually all of the National Trust timber has been cut and machined from the forests and is ready for assembly with just the trusses to be machined. Pictures of the timber below show the work done by Dan Franklin and his team.

Photos of the National Trust being cut and machined to form the structure of the new clubhouse

The main car park has been leveled; drainage runs are installed with a binding course laid in proportion for a top finish which will be laid at the completion of the construction work. Building Control have inspected phase 1 and are happy. Full design stage approval is subject to agreement of only minor interior detailing.

National Trust timber being cut

National Trust timber being cut by Wooden Ways to form the structure of the new clubhouse

Developing a New Build Property on a Residential Plot

Leave a comment  →
   by Andy    Leave a comment  →
' . get_the_title() . '

Vicarage Close, Kingswood, Surrey


For many years Steve Macdonald, the owner of a five bedroom house in a quiet close in Kingswood in Surrey had been aware of the potential for developing a section of his plot which technically could be classified as rear garden but in reality the space was bordered by the close and would therefore avoid the Local Authority’s resistance to back garden development.

Having had a positive reaction when introducing the project principles to a small developer client and a local planning consultant the architect formed a project team to review the options for the site.

Firstly all parties reviewed the original status of the site gathering as much information as possible. Following a close inspection as to why the south side of the close had been underdeveloped and the rear of the plot not built on originally the most significant discovery and the key to unlocking the development was that 2 TPO (tree protection order) trees had been lost during the hurricane of 1988. These two trees had determined that this section of the site could not be developed. Their loss paved the way for the development potential to be reviewed in a pre-application meeting with the Planning department.

It was decided to go the pre-application route and consequently a scheme that would demolish the host dwelling and develop three new houses on the plot was to be put forward. As a fallback position, construction of a single house on a portion of the site was worked up.

Macdonald Design Ltd - Existing Back Garden

Existing back garden where new property will sit

At the pre-application meeting the principle was to discuss the three plot scheme, but it quickly became apparent that this was viewed as an overdevelopment but on production of the single house scheme Planning were extremely positive.

A detailed appraisal of the single house scheme was issued by Planning and the positive principles and elements that needed to be resolved were adopted and adhered to throughout the ensuing process. Detailed designs were then worked up in close consultation with the developer. This was a crucial integration of design and financial viability with both being of equal importance. For this purpose it should be appreciated that buildings can be too large as well as too small and generating a design that suits the site position, the scale in relation to the other houses in the close, the cost of construction and the potential resale of the proposed house will all lead to the final design.

A design that everyone was happy with and looked contemporary yet followed principles adopted on the close and would sell for a price and at a construction cost that would allow the developer to make an adequate return was developed and was submitted for Planning approval.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s policy for the determination of single plot planning applications was that they would be handled under delegated officer’s powers. In this case, it would be the same officer as had conducted the pre-application assessment. Progress through planning was straightforward given that the project team had taken full heed of the pre-application advice. However, as is usually the case, a certain degree of local concern and objection had arisen, not on technical grounds but more emotively concerned with disruption during the construction process. However, the Ward Counselor, relatively new to the post, became rather concerned about some technical elements of the design. The process became somewhat protracted as in an effort to allay the Councilor’s concerns the case officer suggested that the project team make some minor modifications to the design so the decision could remain under officer’s approval. These changes necessitated a re-consultation exercise as a result of which further minor objections were made and the Councilor then requested that the project be determined, as is his right, by the full Planning Committee. This was an unusual occurrence for a single house scheme and when duly presented was very quickly approved, the Planning Committee had bigger fish to fry!

Click the image below for more visuals of this project.