Murphy completed this new-build, mixed-use scheme in Regent’s Park, London, comprising 14 flats, two houses, three retail units and an underground basement. The contract included the demolition of an existing structure and a former tyre garage. Construction meanwhile involved a five-storey building to the front of the site which accommodates a commercial unit on the ground floor, and 14 residential flats on the upper floors.
To the rear of the site, there are two maisonette houses between the basement and first floor, with a further two commercial units on the ground and first floor. The basement has seven car parking spaces served by a car lift, as well as the mechanical and electrical plant rooms, cycle racks and a storage lock-up for each flat.
This was a very dense inner city site. Therefore, building a scheme of flats and houses that made up 1,400sqm of internal floor area – plus a further 480sqm of commercial space – inevitably presented construction challenges. Before construction even began, the demolition and removals process was complicated by having to safely remove asbestos-containing materials from the site.
But the biggest test arose from the main building cantilevering over a Network Rail tunnel. Innovative design was needed to ensure the stability of the tunnel was not affected. The location of the tunnel, together with numerous party walls to the boundaries, made this innovation essential, and particularly complex to overcome.
Clearing the site prior to construction involved the careful demolition of the steel-framed garage and concrete office building. Before this, various asbestos containing materials were removed by a specialist sub-contractor – all in compliance with the most up-to-date industry standards.
In terms of the cantilevering challenge, several trial holes were completed for design purposes, including a 6m square shaft to 10m depth against the Network Rail tunnel wall. This testing was vital for the safe completion of the project. During this works we took advantage of the open shaft to take more accurate sound and vibration readings to help with the design process.
Also, to make the scheme as energy-efficient as possible, the façade to the main building had vertical rows of solar panels installed, which provide power to a central boiler plant. This in turn produces hot water and under-floor heating for the flats. This is backed up by a gas central boiler to provide energy when the solar output runs out.
Additionally, an Evinox Modusat communal satellite heating system was installed, giving residents the same control as having their own boiler or tank. This ensures they only pay for what they use. Importantly, this makes the building’s energy supply cost efficient as well as energy efficient.