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Archive for January, 2009

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street January Update

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

My last site visit to Osmo House (we have applied for a name change to Beverston House) involved a number of meetings which I can briefly summarize as follows:

The Environmental Health Enforcement Officer from Westminster City Council, Mr Richard Gittins, confirmed that the property is a House in Multiple Occupation but was not licensable as none of the individual units were occupied by more than four people.  It was highlighted that we will need to install a fully integrated smoke and heat detection system that complies with BS 5839 throughout the property.  It was stressed that this is important if there was a fire within the kitchen on the ground floor that residents on the third floor would be made aware of this as soon as possible, in order that evacuation could take place speedily.

Next on the list was Alex Queisser of Zurich Insurance, who wanted to make sure that our existing buildings and fire insurance were adequate for the property.  She wanted to make sure that all of the equipment we were using on site did not add to any danger and that any structural work was being done in accordance with Building Control Standards.  She was satisfied that everything was being done in the proper manner and requested that we kept our broker, APV Insurance, updated with regard to reinstatement value.

The next meeting was with a specialist fibrous plaster and moulding company, Locker & Riley.  Their representative, Mike Marriotte, was provided with a set of drawings and his task was to evaluate the stripping down and repairing of ceiling cornices throughout the property.  Most of the work on the ground floor and first floor is of a repair nature, where boxing of pipes have cut through the original cornicing over the last hundred or so years.  Whilst there is not a lot of work in the repair, it will be expensive as each moulding is different and there are about four to six layers of paint that need to be removed throughout these floor areas.  Any cornicing on the second floor will be copied as most of it is in a very poor state of repair.  As all of the ceilings will be retained, with an additional layer of half hour rated fire board underside, this will enable us to recornice the entire area with new mouldings to match.  There will not be necessity to fit mouldings to the third floor and lower ground floor as there is nothing to replace.  However, we will obtain quotations to see what the potential cost will be if this feature can be included within the refurbishment costs.

Throughout the day, our architect, Michael Phillips of MPA Architects and our structural engineer, Rob Stoddart of Stoddart Associates, were evaluating the necessary structural details required.  These included the installation of concrete corner ties to the front and rear elevation to tie the entire property together and infill any internal local cracks which resulted from what is perceived to be bomb damage during the 1940’s.  Other structural work includes wall plates to hold down the existing roof structure with additional strengthening within the roof void.  There is a requirement to introduce steels to the second floor to support the overhanging bathroom and restraint straps on both the second and first floors above the entrance to the mews as the rear wall is bowing out in a number of areas which could cause future structural problems.  The worse affected area is the third floor as both the ceiling and floor joists are sagging towards the centre of the property.  This will result in some extensive structural work to the floor but we have decided to keep the ceiling as intact as possible which will result in it sloping to some degree.

We are now starting to build some of the partitions in the property to form bathrooms specifically and the Conservation Officer has allowed us to fit plywood to the wall surfaces in order that these can be tiled to modern day standards.



Project Information:  Freeholders:  P R & G J Brodie, Bankers:  Adam & Co, Accountants:  Haslers, Architects:  Michael Phillips Associates, Contractors:  Elsworth & Bond