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Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street – April Update

March 31st, 2009

A further site meeting between Michael Phillips Associates, Elsworth & Bond and Paul Brodie took place on Tuesday 24 March 2009.  The primary purpose of this meeting was to be introduced to the new Conservation Officer at Westminster City Council, Miss Lucy Davis.  Although the ultimate responsibility still rests with Matthew Pendleton, we discussed in detail the modifications that Michael Phillips is proposing with the layout of the property that requires listed building consent.  These primarily deal with the following areas:

Lower Ground Floor
To provide a separate kitchen and an en suite bathroom for bedroom 2 under the existing stone staircase.

Ground Floor
The replanning of the bathroom and shower facility for this two bedroom apartment.

Third Floor
Moving the front door of this apartment onto the third floor and replanning the three bedroom apartment more suitably.

Discussions with Lucy Davis also revolved around fire lining walls and ceilings between each individual flat whilst maintaining lath and plaster walls and ceilings where they exist.  There is always a fine line between maintaining the fabric of this Grade II Listed building and bringing it up to modern day standards.  We also have to consider the cost issue in the time and labour of rebuilding lime plaster walls.  In fact, most of the lime plaster ceilings on the second floor collapsed and we have retained the lath and double tacked fire lined board underside.  This will enable us to fit modern downlighters as a result.

All of the concrete has now been poured into the basement, providing a perfectly flat surface within a one degree tolerance.  All of the brickwork has been hacked back to provide a key for the damp proofing work to be carried out by Renderseal and we expect this work to be completed by the end of April 2009.  All of the rainwater and soil pipes have been air tested and proved to be operating perfectly.

The bay window on the first floor has been entirely demolished and taken away.  We will have curved steel supports manufactured and delivered within the next few weeks.

The curved internal bathroom on the second floor has now been entirely removed and steels put in place to support the new structure.  Once this has been completed, we will use the space for an ensuite shower room and toilet.

Elsworth & Bond continue to find areas of rotten wood which need to be cut out and replaced.  This typically is in areas where old baths and showers used to be located and years of leaking have resulted in rotten timbers.

Although final plans and specifications were agreed with Magnet for the supply and installation of kitchens, Paul and Helen Brodie have spent considerable time with Red Mount Ltd at 151-155 Seymour Place, London W1.  They have provided similar prices but with much more flexibility of design and colour schemes, which we believe will suit this Grade II Listed property.  This is especially true for the kitchen on the first floor which will enable us to incorporate the original arch within it’s design.  The finished designs will be sent to Michael Phillips in order that the electrical layout can be completed for first fixing.

A decision has also been made to finish all of the flooring within the apartments with laminate flooring manufactured by Karndean.  We have chosen Oak Royal RL02 Summer Oak 48″ x 7″ planks which have individual markings, providing a very realistic and durable finish.  The present supply only quotation is £21 per square metre and will require specialist fitting.

A further site meeting has been scheduled for Thursday 2 April 2009.

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

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street – March Update

March 5th, 2009

Progress over the last three or four weeks has been relatively slow as Elsworth & Bond have been concentrating on works to be carried out in the basement.  The number of labourers has increased from seven to fourteen to carry out the labour intensive work of removing over 50 tonnes of rubble in the basement area.  This has been done with the use of kangos and then manually bagging the waste for removal by skips and grab lorries on the ground floor level outside the property.

The right level has now been struck and new rainwater and waste pipes have been laid throughout the basement with the precaution of installing three anti flood valve chambers to the external courtyard, internal hallway and to the front of the property.  These chambers are double sealed and whilst expensive to purchase and install are a necessary precaution in this vulnerable area after heavy downpours. 

 The process of fitting a damp course membrane, steel reinforcement and concrete is progressing, which will enable the builders to finish with a 30/50 cm screed to provide a perfectly flat finish.  This will be carried out once Rentoseal have completely tanked out the basement area which will provide us with a 25 year guarantee for any water ingress that might occur in future.

Due to the digging out, some internal walls had to be removed and rebuilt with engineering bricks to maintain the integrity of the foundations.  The advantage of all this work has enabled us to reconsider the layout of the basement area and incorporate a self contained kitchen and a further ensuite bathroom for Bedroom 2.  This will enhance both the apartment’s value and rental once the development has finished.

We have also agreed with the builder to make use of all the vaults underside of Upper Montagu Street for the meters, water tanks, dustbins & general storage for cleaners, etc. 

Our Architects, Michael Phillips Associates, in conjunction with Paul Brodie, have now completed the electrical layouts for first fix and are presently working on the plumbing layout throughout the building.  The bathroom layouts have also been completed and prices obtained from Marble Arch Bathrooms for the supply of equipment.  We are still finalizing the kitchen layouts and although Magnet have provided detailed plans and pricing, we are obtaining further estimates from Redmount Ltd in Seymour Place, London W1.

Paul Brodie has received prices for the fire alarm and smoke detection system from both EMS Radio Fire & Security Systems and Greg & Co.  The former have recommended a radio system at a cost of £12,000 plus VAT.  It was therefore agreed to instruct Greg & Co to install a hard wire system whilst the property is in it’s present state at half this price and work will commence within the next two weeks.

Soundproofing of the floors has been a continual discussion point and it has now been agreed that further discussions will continue with the Building Control Officer, Jason Dunn, with a view to insulating under the existing boards where plugging does not exist and installing Isocheck 15T on top of the existing floorboards, with a further layer of 6mm plywood and finish with a laminated floor covering which will provide a practical finish throughout the apartments.  This will minimize the height of the threshold between the apartments and the common area, reduce sound transmission between the apartments and reduce costs.

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

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street February Update

February 10th, 2009

Over the last two weeks, we have been concentrating on the structural defects of the property and over the next month or so we will complete the work detailed in the structural drawings prepared by Stodard Associates.  This includes the levelling and strengthening of the third floors, completing all of the partitioning work and providing adequate sound insulation within the floor joists.  You will see from the attached photographs that this is quite a difficult task and has resulted in some damage to the ceiling on the second floor.

Large patches of the lime plaster from the ceiling have dropped, which will require repair and finishing with fire rated plasterboard to keep the ceilings intact.  We have instructed a local plasterer to take squeezes of all of the existing cornice work and make up new cornicing at a price of £20 per metre to supply and fit.

The windows have all been strengthened with concrete lintels within the void above as shown and these will be covered over with lime plaster to match existing.  Whilst strengthening the floors and ceilings we have found a number of rotten timbers which are being replaced as and when required.  This can be clearly seen from the attached photograph.

We have had on site Mr David Parker for a number of weeks now who has been using a proprietory product, Peelaway 1 and 7, to clean up all of the existing cornice and panelling, which has been heavily impregnated with a number of layers of paint.   These are now near completion and are being undercoated for a final coat of paint when the rooms are redecorated.  The photograph shows the detail that has been retained during this extensive restoration work.

A substantial amount of work is being carried out in the basement for the preparation of soil and water pipes throughout the basement.  We have exposed the existing pipework which will be replaced throughout the property using modern day techniques.  The removal of this concrete is both time consuming and expensive and once the new pipework is in place, we will be removing all of the concrete floor to a depth of 0.5m.  This has to be done in stages to avoid any internal walls moving during the process.  The cost of this additional work prior to Renderseal starting and completing the damp course process will be in the region of £22,000 – £25,000 for materials and labour.

It is clear that the property has suffered from extensive poor workmanship carried out during it’s life, with particular reference to the internal brickwork.  We have found dangerous gaps in chimneys and supporting structures are intermixed with wooden braces that have disintegrated over the years.  Even floor joists have been cut about to such an extent that they are now structurally unsound and have to be replaced.

Another meeting has been arranged with our architects, Michael Phillips Associates, to formalize kitchen and bathroom layouts in order that these can be accurately costed.  Our architects have also detailed to Matthew Pendleton at the City of Westminster all of the proposed changes to this listed building, which need approval before works can commence.

These modifications are listed as follows:

  • Ventilation of the kitchens & bathrooms
  • Floor and wall modifications to the bathrooms
  • New stud partitioning throughout
  • Structural alteration and basement waterproofing
  • Proposals for ceilings and cornicing
  • Roof hatches and structural information

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

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street January Update

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

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street December Update

December 24th, 2008

We are now into the second month of refurbishing this Grade II Listed Property.  Elsworth & Bond are coming to the end of the soft strip which entails burning off of all woodwork throughout the property.  This has revealed some very interesting and important architrave details, with individually designed Lion’s heads on the ground floor.  The most important floors of this Edwardian property are the ground and first floors, as they would have been inhabited by the owners.  Therefore, the floorboards are very good quality with Victorian type sound insulation underneath.  Each of the windows have individual wooden shutters which are being refurbished for later use.

The basement, however, is a different story, as a property of this age has no damp course and we are forced to dig out the whole basement area to provide a new damp course.  At the same time, we will be laying new water and sewage pipes and tanking the sidewalls.  This is important to provide a waterproof and well insulated lower ground floor apartment.

The Conservation Officer is requesting that all lime plaster and lath work is retained and repaired throughout, which is a time consuming and expensive exercise.  Problems arise in the bathrooms which did not exist when the property was first built.  This means that tiles cannot be supported on walls built of lath and plaster and this is something that we will be discussing with the Conservation Officer.  Likewise, it is impossible to drill low voltage spotlights into the ceilings unless they are plasterboarded.  We are therefore having to look at different ways of lighting the flats.

As Christmas is round the corner, the site will be closed for two weeks and reopening on 5 January 2009.





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

Redevelopment of 11 Upper Montagu Street, London W1H 2PG

December 1st, 2008

The refurbishment of Osmo House commenced on 3 November 2008, with the nominated main contractors, Elsworth & Bond.

Although Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent was obtained some time ago, it took Brodie Group Ltd a number of years to obtain vacant possession.  The property was originally a house in multiple occupation, providing accommodation of 23 rooms.  The extension and conversion works will now provide six self contained flats and will be ready for occupation in the Autumn of 2009.

The architects involved with the design and overseeing the contract are Michael Phillips Associates.  As this Grade II Listed property is within the Portman Estate, great care needs to be taken with preserving the character of the property.  Therefore, all general repairs and restoration work will provide a high standard of design, with all the new work in order to respect the particular features of the building adjacent to other Listed buildings and the Conservation Area generally.  A report was conducted by Donald Insall Associates to ensure that all historic aspects of the property are recognized and preserved throughout the refurbishment works.

Brodie Group Ltd has ensured that all the local residents, the Portman Estate, the Marylebone Association, and Westminster Council are kept informed of the schedule of works.  The Company is proposing to keep disruption to minimum whilst the internal alterations and restoration work is being carried out.

During the month of November, Elsworth & Bond have carried out the preliminary works and instructed Bernard Simms Associates as Health & Safety Consultants and Stoddard Associates as our Structural Engineers to complete all scale drawings and calculations for work to be undertaken.  Brodie Group Ltd have also consulted and are now members of the Georgian Group and Listed Property Owners Club, who are providing valuable information and advice for this property, which was originally built circa 1810.  The area to the side and rear of the property received serious bomb damage during the Second World War and this has affected the property, especially on the upper floors.

Work to date includes the stripping out of all fixtures, fittings, furniture and possessions.  Furthermore, the removal of all defective plasterwork and wallpaper and paint continues and will not be completed until the end of December 2008.

The next stage is to arrange a meeting with Building Control and the Conservation Officer and establish what should be done with existing walls, ceilings and cornices in order that we comply with our existing permissions and design statements.

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