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Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street – July Update

A great deal of work has now been completed to the external fabric of the property, which has resulted in additional structural work to both the front and rear of the building.  A number of cracks have been exposed close to the window reveals and we are replacing bricks where necessary and re-rendering.  Smaller cracks will be repaired in situ.  Our structural engineer, Robert Stodart, has provided us with instructions on how to repair cracks near corners and openings and we are fitting Helifix bars to a number of areas, especially at the back of the property.  These are effective and permanent, introducing substantial reinforcement to the structural integrity of the property.  New coping stones will be supplied and fitted to the roof to replace the existing York Stone surrounds.


Elsworth & Bond are now in the process of cutting and fitting the cast iron down pipes and soil pipes, replacing all of the old defective plastic pipework.


It is good to see that Renderseal have now finished all of the Sika waterproofing to the walls and floors in the basement area.  The floor is now covered with a black bitumen layer, with 75mm of insulation, which has now been covered and protected with solid plastic sheeting.  Once all of the cables have been run and insulated, the builders will lay a 75mm concrete screed, forming the finished floor level throughout the basement.


The under pavement storage areas have also been completed by Renderseal Ltd and are now partially painted.  Elsworth & Bond are in the process of building platforms for the two cold water storage tanks with pumps, which will include TV and video distribution points, and a separate area for all of the water meters.  We are having to glue all of the panels to the wall surface in order to protect our guarantee with Renderseal Ltd.  The other area will be used for storage of rubbish and dustbins allocated to each apartment in the building.


Further work includes the removal of all plaster in the rear courtyard, which has also been scrubbed with wire brushes and is now prepared for rendering and painting.  This will provide maximum light to the well area for the basement flat in particular.  We are proposing to supply and fit triple opening doors which will open out from the sitting room. 


All of the specialist lime plastering has been completed on the upper floors and the new cornicing completed on the second and third floors.  The task that now needs to be completed by our specialist plasterer, Jim Briscoe, includes making moulds of the existing cornicing on the ground and first floors and making good where necessary.  There are a number of places where the complicated cornicing has been damaged or removed over the years and this is something that we wish to replace in accordance with our Listed Building Approval from Westminster Council.  The fireplaces throughout the property are also being boxed out in order to provide a decorative feature for each of the rooms.


After receiving a quotation from the Door Gallery, I was surprized that Edwardian period doors (½ hour fire rated) would be as expensive as £500 each, which does not include the door furniture or fitting.  After discussions with Richard Sugarman, we have decided to use door planks at a cost of £80 each and we will design our own beading, which should bring the total to around £120 per door exclusive of door furniture and fitting.  I have seen a similar approach adopted by the Portman Estate, and it is our intention to copy their concept.


You will note from the photograph that all of the floors between the rafters are thoroughly cleaned and either one or two layers of rockwall insulation has been fitted to decrease sound transmission between the apartments.  The floors on the second and third floors are now ready to receive the Isocheck floor covering and 12mm ply on top for extra rigidity.


The discussions concerning the windows continues with the Conservation Officer, and in order for us to alter the designs to the original windows that would have been installed in 1810 requires Planning and Listed Building Consent.  This will result in a substantial delay, both in the construction of the windows and scaffolding that we presently have in place.  Therefore, I have made the decision to repair those windows that can be economically saved and replace those windows and doors that cannot be repaired.  This has verbally been agreed with the Conservation Officer.


Our focus now is to complete most of the works on the upper floors and for Elsworth & Bond to work their way down to the lower ground floor, where the site office will be located for the duration of the contract. 


Whilst there has been a substantial amount of additional work carried out, we are still optimistic that the property will be available for occupation by Christmas 2009.


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

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