Thames Valley Housing Association

New Build Housing at Palace Road, Brixton

the project

We were appointed by Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Trust to act as Employer’s Agent for the design and construction of 11 new build flats at Palace Road in Brixton. The existing building was a derelict care home which had fallen into a poor state of repair and was at risk of squatters and vandalism.

Our client had obtained conditional planning permission to demolish the existing structure and erect a new building containing ten shared ownership units and one affordable rent unit.

our role

FFT’s brief was to review all current project information, make recommendations for further investigations, prepare a tender package, review tenders and produce a tender report, prepare the contract documents and administrate the contract acting as the client’s agent for the duration of the works up to the end of the rectification period.

the challenges

From reviewing existing survey and design information, we established that there were party wall requirements with both a neighbouring building and a Thames Water underground reservoir, thus our appointment was extended to include party wall services.

FFT recommended various surveys to supplement our client’s existing project information including, phase 1 & 2 site investigations, asbestos surveys, ecological surveys, drainage surveys and unexploded ordinance surveys.

the solution

FFT made initial contact with the relevant freeholders and statutory bodies to instigate early notice of proposed works falling under the Party Wall Act etc 1996. Following appointment of a Contractor, we worked with the Contractor’s design team to prepare robust party wall award documents including foundation designs, calculations and condition surveys to ensure awards were obtained in a timely manner.

Pre-tender surveys were expedited by FFT pre-tender and included as part of a comprehensive tender package – the additional survey information provided important knowledge for the pricing contractors such as the presence of asbestos in the building, need for a UXO watching brief during excavation and advised on foundation types which would be suitable given the ground conditions. The survey information helped to mitigate risk assigned to our client in the pre-contract negotiations and obtain a fixed cost following the tender process.

Following completion of the tender process, FFT chaired Contractor interviews and a tender report. FFT chaired all pre-contract meetings, prepared the contract documents and are currently administrating the works which have been on site since October 2018 and are due to complete in February 2020.

added value

FFT worked closely with the Contractor and client during pre-contract negotiations where it was established that the planning stage drawings had various elements of non-compliance with the building regulations and the London housing design guide. Pre-contract meetings helped a clear activity plan to be established before entry into contract and starting on site in terms of design and construction.  Through instructing a robust package of surveys before tendering, risk was mitigated from the eventual tender returns and this was also reflected in overall costs which came back.

Early involvement in respect of party wall aimed to avoid delays later in the construction and required considerable input from both FFT and the Contractor’s design team to come to terms on awards with adjacent freeholders and Thames Water.

FFT worked with the Contractor and client’s Principal Designer rapidly once in Contract to obtain a section 80 notice for demolition works and to obtain a comprehensive, adequate. The aforementioned were required to permit a safe programme of demolition to commence in a short period of time to secure grant funding.

Following entry into Contract, we have commenced administration of the works on site and chair monthly progress meetings, undertake monthly valuations, carry out bi-weekly progress inspections, acting as the main point of contract between the client and Contractor teams.