Hydrock have been supporters of East Street Mews throughout the project’s design process, providing consultancy, structural engineering and building performance engineering services on a pro-bono basis.
In addition to this work Hydrock are proudly fundraising for LandAid, our charity partner, throughout 2018-19 as their charity of the year.
We asked Issac Climpson and Jack Tasman a few questions on their experiences of working on this innovative refurbishment and how they are using their expertise to turn this derelict building into an excellent place to live for young disadvantaged people in Bristol.
Isaac Climpson, Structural Engineer, joined Hydrock four years ago as part of their highly-regarded graduate programme.
Isaac, what work have you been involved in at East Street Mews?
“As part of the East Street Mews project team, our first task on the structural engineering side was to undertake a structural survey of the main buildings in order to figure out the condition of the existing walls, floors, and ceilings. We also assessed water damage to the fabric of the building and the condition of the multiple outbuildings at the rear of the property.
We used the results of the structural survey to work through the architect’s drawing’s [The Bush Consultancy], helping the design team to realise the plans for the building. We worked together, reviewing drawings and apartment layouts with a view to reduce the number of structural alterations required to make the refurbishment as efficient as possible, given the state of the building. We did this by reusing existing door openings and strengthening the floors, the floors were all over the place.
This combined work has helped form a strategy to inform Willmott Dixon‘s construction process.”
How have you found working on the East Street Mews project?
“In construction, everyone has their preferred ways of working, but because of the differences this project, we have been working much more closely with some of the project partners than may be typical on another scheme.
Working with Willmott Dixon from the offset has been really positive, from walking the site with Marcus (construction manager) to understand how the building work will be approached, to discussing the procurement of materials, and adjusting our recommendations depending on what materials can be procured. For example, for the 2 bedroom dwelling at the rear of the property, we originally suggested timber frames but Willmott Dixon have been able to procure a Metsec (SFS) solution from their supply chain partner which will is a great alternative.
Often it is design, then build; the two can be quite separate; depending on the project. That is not the case here and the collaboration with the wider construction and design teams has been a really positive experience and has helped us come up with the right solutions on balance.”
Isaac, LandAid has been selected as Hydrock’s charity of the year, what does this mean?
“We have been doing lots of fundraising around Hydrock’s offices over the last year in addition to the project work on East Street Mews.
We are fortunate to work for a business that supports all of our considerable fundraising efforts by matching donations so while I’m not sure what the total is at the moment, I know it will be doubled at the end of the year.
With all of the different activities we have had from raffles, to rounders and fancy dress, I know we have made a huge effort to support this excellent charity and hits work to reduce youth homelessness.”
Jack Tasman, Mechanical Design Engineer, has almost completed his HND qualification in Mechanical Engineering as an apprentice at Hydrock.
Jack, how have you been involved in the East Street Mews Project?
“Working on the Building Performance side, we have created a model of the building on Bedminster Parade to analyse it’s position, air quality, sunlight and the building’s fabric and how they will impact on it’s heating and cooling to create an efficient building. We then considered the amount and type of plant equipment, like boilers, required in the building to ensure that demand for water and heat in the building is met readily. Both the air quality and daylight assessments meant that we worked with the architect to inform the design of the apartments, ensuring they received good levels of daylight and limited air pollution in this city centre location.
As part of this process, we have looked at creating different heating options particularly, considering where we can reduce the running cost for the eventual residents by selecting the correct equipment, while being mindful of what the project team may be able to procure. We are also trying to leave this specification as flexible as possible to adapt to what is available further down the line.”
Does working on East Street Mews differ from your typical work?
“In some ways it is the same but in others it is quite different! Typically we would make a recommendation for a property based on our model, analysis and client requirements and (as long as the recommendation is within the budget), it would be fine. Creating different options for say, heating, and leaving space for flexibility in procurement has been a constraint at times, but because it has encouraged collaborative working, it has been a positive and interesting way to approach a project as well. We have worked much more closely with other partners in the project as a result.
In addition to this, our recommendations have been focussed keeping energy bills low for the ultimate residents of East Street Mews, that has remained a key concern.”
Jack, you mention keeping a focus on the young people who will live in the new homes created at East Street Mews, did they have an impact to your approach on this project?
“Absolutely, as I mentioned, throughout the project we have remained mindful of the young people who will live at East Street Mews.
I attended the annual event of Developing Health & Independence at the end of 2018 and it helped to understand not only the excellent work that DHI does, but also who will live in the property once the work is completed. Hearing the positive stories of how people were once homeless turned their lives around with the right support was really powerful.
It would be easy to see this as any other building, focus on deadlines and getting the work ‘out the door’ but knowing that our expertise can make a real difference young people’s lives for years to come in Bristol, the city I’m from, is a great feeling.
I’ve also decided to run my first marathon to support the fundraising for LandAid’s later this year! “
Thank you to both Isaac and Jack for speaking to us.