- TOTAL COST
- RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
The scheme was comprised of the design, build and delivery of 346 Service Family Homes to an unprecedented and demanding programme, with an average of 15 handovers per week. This involved working collaboratively with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and a team of specially selected sub-contractors and suppliers, adopting a flexible and proactive approach to understanding and meeting the DIO’s key objectives.
The collaborative working and tight planning and management were absolutely fundamental to the success of the project. There were multiple stakeholders – including the DIO, local and planning authorities, the adopting agencies, the Environment Agency as well as the end user and its maintenance contractor – who were all consulted.
Lovell took over a cleared but contaminated site, which had to be totally transformed into an attractive development of homes of different styles and sizes. The first phase of homes had to be ready for occupation at the end of April 2015, with the final phase to be handed over by September 2015.
The client requirement was for four house types. A mixture of 3 and 4 bedroom, 2/3 storey semi and detached dwellings, all with garages.
Our chosen approach was to work on a dedicated, single build route that flowed across the site, building outwards from the southern boundary and concluding with the plots adjacent to the single site entrance.
Our programme of 15 timber frame properties being erected per week, meant that our foundation programme had to be substantially ahead of the timber framers; in order to accommodate the pace of installation. High-performance, self-compacting concrete was used for the house floor slabs to speed construction, laying 20 slabs per week as opposed to a usual average of four. By doing so, we were able to pour the slabs without the need for power floating, reducing slab construction time by nearly 75%.
The use of a timber frame solution significantly reduced the on-site erection period and enabled us to complete 346 new homes in a little over a year to meet the client’s criteria whilst also reducing the overall cost of the scheme.
Our choice of the Open Panel timber frame system was key to delivering the requisite numbers of frames required for the programme. Closed Panel systems could not be manufactured in sufficient quantities. All timber frame panels arrived on site pre-insulated to further ease the programme.
To maintain the pace of build, we had to procure specialist sub-contractors who could deliver the houses at speed and to high quality. Subcontract open days were held to assist in this process and new subcontractors were added to our existing supply chain. The sourcing of such talent is one of the biggest challenges in UK construction to ensure effective procurement and secure adequate and capable resources.
A collaborative approach was essential as we recognised the importance of working with the community to ensure minimum disruption and maximum communication about the development, whilst also ensuring that service families had no problems or issues moving into their new homes. It was always understood that this was not simply about building houses but was also about creating homes – ensuring that the returning troops were able to move into homes, which were comfortable and built to a high standard, without disruption at what was potentially a difficult time for them. To ensure that this happened smoothly, a Community Liaison Officer was appointed and was always available to help families throughout the process. Adding value in this way, as well as in the quality of finished product, was recognised as being essential to this project.
We utilised our experience of delivering Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) compliant properties to find the most cost-effective way to achieve the required CfSH Level 4 and remove the need for Photo Voltaics. We were able to increase the number of points achieved through a ‘fabric first’ approach, increasing the insulation vales (U-values) of the wall construction with the utilisation of a timber frame solution. We also utilised permeable paving blocks to home-zone roads and household driveways, included large scale storm water attenuation to prevent estate flooding, installed insulated beam and block flooring and installed ‘shower-save’ technology and energy efficient light fittings.
The development of the MOD Stafford SFA was a huge logistical task that was made even more challenging by the fact that the project was time critical. The homes were built to accommodate troops from 16 Signal Regiment and 1 Armoured Division Signal Regiment, who were relocating from Germany.
There was no margin for error. The team had to ensure that Beacon Barracks was ready to become the new home of the two Signal regiments. The troops were due to return in phases and there were fixed dates for Sectional handover.
Equally importantly, the houses had to be finished to the right quality. The houses were built to be ‘Lifetime Homes’ and ‘JSP scale’ compliant, achieve ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 (CfSH)’ as well as ‘Secured by Design’.
A key issue in the delivery of this project was the health and safety of all on site. From day one we employed a dedicated on-site Health & Safety Manager.
Due to the large volume of deliveries, traffic movements and plant movements (with up to 15 tele handlers on site at any one time), we also deployed dedicated resource to address spoil and debris on the roads whilst ensuring that pedestrian walkways were constantly reviewed, maintained and adapted to suit the works as they proceeded. A team of personnel and machinery, headed up by an appointed Traffic Manager, was available at all times to solely address these issues and make certain that safe access around the site was preserved.
As part of this dedicated approach to health and safety the Lovell PAVES system was developed, building on and refining existing policy. The system was crucial to the safe and effective delivery of the project due to its demanding scale and intensity.
PAVES stands for ‘pedestrians and vehicles effectively segregated’. It is a traffic management system that helps mitigate the risk of moving vehicles and plant on our sites. The system helps ensure effective segregation of pedestrians and vehicles by providing clearly defined entrances and exits, walkways and crossing points.
“It is brilliant to move in to a brand new build. Everything is so clean and well designed. The layout of our home is great and although there are very few people to have moved in yet, when the estate fills up I’m sure there will be a tremendous feeling of community here. It is a lovely environment in which to bring up our new daughter Primrose, so we are really happy with it.”Lance Corporal Richard Neely
16 Signal Regiment
“Lovell has brought experience and expertise to the delivery team, provided effective Community Liaison for the returning families and surrounding area, whilst working cooperatively at all time with DIO, forging an open and mutually supportive relationship”Stuart Gallacher, Principal Project Manager