Building on National Trust Land – Working in the Dry


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BUILDING ON NATIONAL TRUST LAND
Heathcoat Cricket Club, Tiverton, Devon

WORKING IN THE DRY

See this Cricket pavilion built from storm damaged trees on ITV Westcountry.

itv article heathcoat cricket club

In the previous blog, we expressed our excitement and appreciation for the manner in which the traditional structure has been formed. But, now that the flesh has been applied to the bones of the building the final form is really taking shape.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club

Interior spaces and rooms are starting to take on their finished scale. The club is now starting to take ownership of what it is going to deliver cricket from the site.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club

The overriding feeling is one of excitement and satisfaction that no compromises have been made with any of the internal spaces. The size of the bar and kitchen are much more appropriate for the various different activities that the club generates through the previous building. The clubroom itself is twice the size and yet because the beautiful beamed roof structure the previous atmosphere and intimacy is still in evidence.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club

Most importantly the whole ground will be visible from any position of the bar and clubroom whereas previously if you sat at either end only half the ground would be visible. Club members here already have been reported as having staked a claim for one position at the bar or other. From a programme point of view, the project is a couple of days ahead of schedule which is a remarkable achievement considering the horrendous weather conditions which is down in part to several influencing factors. The design process has been well-coordinated and precise, the commitment of all those working on its construction has been ensured as many of those employed on the project are club members and cashflow has been maintained thanks to the ECB’s quick turnaround of grant valuations.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club

The club are now focusing on a final funding drive to ensure that the new clubhouse opens, it will boast new furniture and fittings rather than need to re-use the old stoned furnishings. If you would like to learn more or contribute towards this project and help the final push then please contact Andy Macdonald on 0203 397 2227.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club

How the clubhouse is expected to look

Building on National Trust Land – A Stunning Building Begins to Emerge


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BUILDING ON NATIONAL TRUST LAND
Heathcoat Cricket Club, Tiverton, Devon

A STUNNING BUILDING BEGINS TO EMERGE

With a final push just before Christmas the building fabricators Wooden Ways erected all of the timber structure. It soon became apparent that this was going to be very much more than just a sporting clubhouse. The sheer size of the main timber flitch beams and main posts as well as the beautiful roof structure will ensure that this will became a landmark project for both the National Trust and the ECB. But, most importantly, its size and scale sits beautifully within the Knightshayes ground.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club construction - 1

It is always interesting to first view a structure as it starts to come alive but for all those who attended the pre-Christmas site meeting it was genuinely exhilarating. The representation from the National Trust were enthused and delighted by the presence the building already has. The materials that have been used and the traditional skills and standards of craftsmanship that had been employed.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club construction - 2

The interior clubroom space with the exposed beams and roof structure will be dramatic enough but the large uninterrupted visitors of their ground and the stunning Devon countryside which is a backdrop to the ground, will make this one of the finest cricket viewing experiences in this country. Heathcoat has always been a wonderful ground to play at and it will now have a clubhouse that will be worthy of the location.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club construction - 2

Macdonald Design have worked on the creation of many sports buildings but they do end up being quite formulaic employing the use of standard building materials and generating interest through careful use of detail. But, to be involved working with very natural products cut and shaped in a traditional way is incredibly exciting. The mix of natural twists in the traditional beams link to the precision cutting and interlocking of the structure reminds you of the skills that were honed over centuries before the days of mass production and building systems. Such is the strength of the core structure it was able to self-support without needing to employ screws, bolts, glue or any additional braces.

National Trust Land - Heathcoat Cricket Club construction - 4

Building on National Trust Land – Procurement and Project Implementation


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BUILDING ON NATIONAL TRUST LAND
Heathcoat Cricket Club, Tiverton, Devon

PROCUREMENT AND PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

Following successful planning and National Trust approval, Heathcoat C.C., led by Chairman John Smith, reviewed the best ways of procuring and constructing their new clubhouse within the tight budget that they had available. This building would need to retain its iconic status within the Knightshayes National Trust site whilst being built as economically as possible on National Trust Land.

Planning and the National Trust had given their approval to a timber frame building that would match the existing building as closely as possible whilst conforming to the stringent design guidelines set by crickets governing body the ECB.

Heathcoat CC Existing clubhouse constructed in 1928

During the early procurement stage various timber frame companies were approached to provide their estimated costs for building such a building. However the project really made significant progress when the National Trust approached the club to offer an alternative timber solution to the modular timber frame companies that the club had previously been negotiating with. The Trust, in order to make a contribution to the project, volunteered to provide the timber that would form the structural shell of the building. The timber would be cut from felled trees from the Estate at Knightshayes itself. Whilst providing the timber at a far reduced cost this technique would also recreate the process behind the construction of the existing clubhouse in 1928. The timber would be cut and machined by a local wood yard to mirror, as faithfully as possible, the techniques and existing detailing thereby providing a beautiful tribute to the craftsmanship and the building that had served the club for so many years.

Having now established this principle, the club acted as the main contractor and appointed sub-contractors to undertake the various elements of the project. As a result, in early September 2012, Macdonald Design and the project team assembled with representatives of the National Trust and the appointed contractors to organize the programming for the new clubhouse construction. The construction team was now ready!

The next key stage was to pin down and confirm the building detailing in sufficient detailing to be able to establish firm and fixed costs and an achievable programme.

building on national trust land - Macdonald Design Ltd

Visual of how the clubhouse will look upon completion

Working closely together, a timber fabrication company (Wooden Ways), the structural engineer (Paul Squibbs), the local Building Control officer and Macdonald Design formed a design team to take the various traditional construction processes and hone them into a building that would secure the approval of Building Control, National Trust and the ECB. Having achieved this, a cost plan was generated that married in with the budget set by the funding bodies, ECB and Viridor.

To augment the commercial supply element a host of local professionals, tradesmen and suppliers pledged their support for the project. Many of these provided their time and/or products either free of charge or in lieu of some other benefit like club membership etc.

With projects of this type, the key is to tap into the community aspect especially when constructing a building that will provide the focus for a large number of sporting and social activities for a wide cross section of the local public. In this way, it helps return clubs to their traditional place at the very heart of their community.

Building in a Royal Park – Converting Traditional Design into SIPS


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SIPs being manufactured in St. Helens before delivery down South

BUILDING IN A ROYAL PARK
Hampton Hill Cricket Club, Bushy Park, Hampton Hill

CONVERTING TRADITIONAL DESIGN INTO SIPS

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


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BUILDING ON NATIONAL TRUST LAND
Heathcoat Cricket Club, Tiverton, Devon

GROUNDWORKS AND FIRST PHASE CONSTRUCTION

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


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DEVELOPING A NEW BUILD PROPERTY ON RESIDENTIAL PLOT
Vicarage Close, Kingswood, Surrey

PLANNING PROCESS – BLOG THREE

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.