Spring Newsletter 2022

In this issue:

Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022

We are delighted to announce that Martin Arnold has been recognised, along with The Hyde Group, EQUANS, Hamilton (Building Contractors) Ltd and AliDeck, for our successful work at Artesian House in Bermondsey.

After a truly collaborative project, we have been shortlisted as finalists in the Integration & Collaborative Working category of the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022.

We look forward to the winners being announced at the Awards Ceremony in June.

Artesian House – Quality Through Collaboration

Artesian House was the first part of a major regeneration programme for Bermondsey Spa which would eventually deliver 2,000 new homes in the London Borough of Southwark. The highest part of the building stands at 7 storeys, lowering by a storey where each core divides, resulting in a stepped roof.

After the Grenfell Tower disaster, Hyde Housing commissioned Martin Arnold to visit the site, identify potential ACM materials, and coordinate a sampling programme. After conducting a Type 4 survey of the building, we identified the presence of ACM materials and were instructed to design and manage the replacement of the cladding, as well as the decking and balcony component systems. In addition, fire stopping issues within the building itself necessitated the removal of sections of ceilings to carry out works between the flats and communal areas.

Artesian House has an undulating exterior and comprises three different wall types. These factors both posed considerable challenges to the successful delivery of an effective refurbishment.

The building’s original construction was challenging due to the curvature of the walkways at all levels. This resulted in frequent design meetings between Martin Arnold, EQUANS, Hamilton and AliDeck at each stage of the project. These were crucial to ensuring that we had considered key junctions to all three of the wall types, maintaining the required u-values and compliance with the regulations, all while trying to fix straight boards onto curved walkways.

MA’s enhanced presence on site, with a CoW on site every day, meant we were always available to discuss issues with EQUANS and Hamilton as they were identified and collaboratively formulate a solution. Not only were we able to keep the project’s budget under control, but the programme was largely unaffected by the need for variations when they arose.

As Artesian House was to remain occupied while works were carried out, robust Resident Liaison was essential to ensuring that residents were kept informed and re-assured. While 2021 saw the easing of a substantial number of lockdown restrictions, Martin Arnold, Hyde Housing and EQUANS organised a series of virtual Resident Engagement events via Zoom to enable us to update residents in a Covid secure manner.

The decision to remove and replace external cladding panels in sections and instalments helped us to ensure that each flat remained watertight at the end of each working day. This contributed to the high levels of Resident Satisfaction experienced throughout the project.

The project received an A1 EWS1 rated certificate, the first time Hyde Housing had achieved this on a major recladding project. Hyde Housing have commended the works and are using this scheme as a benchmark standard for other projects of a similar nature.

The New Building Regulations Coming In June

Changes to the Building Regulations will come into effect on the 15th of June. Under the new rules, CO2 emissions from new homes in England will need to be 30% lower than currently allowed while all other new buildings, such as offices and shops, will need to produce 27% less emissions.

In addition to the new Building Regulations, the Government has also published 5 updated and new Approved Documents which cover the conservation of fuel and power, ventilation requirements and overheating. These are:

  • Approved Document L, volume 1: dwellings (Conservation of fuel and power)
  • Approved Document L, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings
  • Approved Document F, volume 1: dwellings (Ventilation)
  • Approved Document F, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings
  • Approved Document O (Overheating)

Under the new rules,

  • Maximum limits have been set to the amount of glazing permitted on new residential buildings
  • New homes must be designed to reduce overheating
  • Energy efficiency in new homes will be measured against the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard
  • New and replacement heating systems will be limited to a maximum flow temperature requirement of 55°C
  • New or replacement heating system designs will need to accept low-carbon heating in future, including integrating the latest Ecodesign appliance benchmarks
  • Non-residential buildings will need to be designed with sufficient ventilation to prevent the spread of airborne viruses
  • Part O introduces measures to ensure overheating strategies can be safely operated by residents
  • The amount of noise and pollution near the home needs to be taken into consideration when devising overheating strategies
  • Technical guidance on the installation of electric car charging points has been issued

The new Building Regulations are part of a Government drive to achieve Net Zero by 2030 and are widely seen as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard, which is currently under consultation and will be introduced in 2025.

A transition period will be in place which exempts Planning Permission applications, building notices or initial notices that were submitted before the 15th of June. These will still be allowed to be built as long as actual building work begins before the 15th of June 2023.

After these dates, the construction industry will be compelled to work towards the eventual, long-term aim of all homes producing 75-80% less carbon.

Rye Lane – Luxury Homes in Peckham

Martin Arnold were appointed on this new-build residential development consisting of 22 luxury apartments.

Located on the western side of Peckham, 190 Rye Lane consists of 22 shared ownership apartments, commercial retail and landscaped areas. Apartments benefit from a balcony terrace whilst a private landscaped courtyard features in the middle and rear of the development.

Works involved demolition of existing structures and retention of the facade which fronts onto Rye Lane.

Martin Arnold’s engagement at 190 Rye Lane consisted of Employer’s Agent, Clerk of Works and Cost Consultancy services through to completion. As part of these roles, we produced the Employer’s Requirements, JCT Contract and finalised the project finances which allowed us to administer and deliver the scheme to our client’s satisfaction.

Construction quality was monitored throughout the build by our expert site inspectors who coordinated inspections right up to handover. Martin Arnold was also appointed as Party Wall surveyor and ensured all neighbourly matters were addressed throughout the project.

Martin Arnold played an integral part in delivery of this project to ensure the scheme delivered on time and within budget.

A number of challenges on this project required careful planning due to design complexity and logistical constraints on site, these included;
Retention of the façade due to the poor condition of the existing structure.
Working within a constrained site to accommodate a commercial basement which equates to 70% of the site footprint.
We had to accommodate intricate changes post contract which included altering the layout of the proposed basement to ensure adequate distance was retained from neighbouring structures and from the pavement of Rye Lane.
The development falls within the boundaries of Peckham’s Conservation Area and although not listed, there was a requirement to preserve and enhance the building which positively contributed to the current architectural feel in the area.

PAS 9980: BSI Unveils New Cladding Fire Risk Guidance

PAS 9980: BSI Unveils New Cladding Fire Risk Guidance
Shortly after Grenfell, the Government’s Building Safety Programme was tasked with identifying remedial measures to protect the safety of high-rise residents. The Government’s Independent Expert Advisory Panel then published a Consolidated Advice Note which has resulted in a highly risk-adverse approach to building safety with many building owners adopting policies and procedures that went well beyond Government guidance, including their management of buildings that were already adequately safe.

As a result, the BSI has developed PAS 9980:2022 in conjunction with various experts in fire, Health & Safety, engineering and housing. This new PAS (Publicly Available Specification) supersedes the Consolidated Advice Note, which has now been withdrawn, and provides guidance on assessing the risk of fire spread in high-rise buildings. Crucially, it also acknowledges that not all buildings will require an appraisal. This is, in part, an effort to reassure residents who may believe that their homes are less safe than they really are.

The new Fire Safety Bill includes a requirement for a building’s owner to ensure that a building’s external wall system is checked during a Fire Risk Assessment. PAS9980 helps building owners to meet this requirement by guiding the Fire Risk Assessment of a building through a consistent, five step approach to determine if remedial work is necessary in the individual context of each property:

  • A building can be deemed Low Risk if it is determined that external spread is likely to be within normal expectations and, if so, no remediation is necessary.
  • If external spread is likely to be more rapid than normally expected but if the heightened risk from fire spread is “tolerable”, then Medium Risk might be awarded.
  • If external spread is likely to be more rapid than normally expected and clearly unacceptable, then High Risk must be awarded with a requirement for action necessary.
  • The PAS also identifies proportional steps building owners should take to improve a building’s risk rating and ensure that residents are kept safe without shouldering the financial cost of unnecessary works.

PAS 9980 is intended for use by Fire Engineers, and other competent professionals conducting Fire Risk Appraisals of External Walls. Its approach to risk assessments is aimed at making it easier to train professionals to gain competency in conducting them and thus easier to attract more professionals into the field.

The PAS itself is not intended for use by laypersons but provides recommendations for the competence of professionals completing appraisals. As such, it can be referenced to verify that professionals appointed to conduct appraisals are appropriately trained, skilled, and qualified.

PAS 9980 has been published as a free download which is available directly from the BSI’s website.

Tender Prices & Market Commentary

Cost increases in the supply of materials and labour remain a prominent feature in the market and with the unsettling events taking place in Ukraine this is likely to continue as input costs continue to rise. There had previously been some talk within the industry that prices would begin to settle in the first half of 2022 however the current situation in Eastern Europe has drastically affected this.

Oil, wholesale gas and electricity increases are affecting all parts of the market. British Steel have issued a market wide note increasing all steel prices by £250/tonne and nearly all of the larger cost consultancy practices have upgraded their inflation forecasts for 2022.

BCIS forecast inflation uplift of 4.5% across 2022 but most private practices are forecasting in excess of 5% and certain materials are set to increase 8-10% across the year. General inflation in the wider economy is forecast to increase to 8% this year before reducing.

This continues to fuel concern in the contracting market around fixing prices and we continue to advise clients to potentially seek alternative approaches to fixed price positions and to consult as fully as possible with the supply chain.

Your Invite to Martin Arnold’s Drinks Reception in Brighton

Our annual drinks reception is always one of the highlights of CIH Brighton and something we have missed over the last couple of years. Now that restrictions have ceased, we are excited to announce that the return of CIH Brighton also means the return of our drinks reception and we would be delighted if you could join us.

Places at the reception are filling up fast so, if you haven’t already booked your spot, please email events@martinarnold.co.uk to RSVP.

We will see you there!