The Challenge:

​The occupier, London Borough Camden Council wanted an exemplary building to demonstrate how mixed uses and the highest standards of sustainability (which they insist upon as a planning authority) could be met in their own project. Commissioned during the recession, the project was under intense public scrutiny to ensure rigorous cost control.

Our brief required a major leisure centre (including two swimming pools), a library, café and highly visible service centre to provide information and services to Camden residents. Above the public floors we were challenged to provide 10 storeys of office space for Camden staff. This had to meet ambitious objectives for culture change, providing a range of workplace types that foster better communication and team spirit.

To complicate matters, the 5 Pancras Square site is restricted on all sides and neighbours the busy St Pancras international station, resulting in a meticulous approach to construction, planning and approval.

The Solution:

The in-house services and supply chain were immediately mobilised, sourcing 539 hotel rooms and providing 25 vehicles to transport residents to their accommodation and a full evacuation and relocation was completed by 11.30pm.

Operatives were on site from 7.30pm and off site supervisors located additional labour and materials. Teams worked through the night to fit fire door closers to prevent the evacuation of another tower block. On completion of the emergency works and reoccupation of the buildings a programme of additional fire upgrades were carried out, including new front doors to 506 flats, heat and smoke detectors e, fire safety signage throughout the buildings, compartmentalisation works and the removal of all external cladding and insulation from the building façade. The team worked closely with the client to programme the works and communicated with residents, ensuring they were happy to allow access and deliver the works on time.

The Impact:

Resident liaison was of paramount importance and the team worked closely with the client to develop a joint communication approach for residents and the local community to ensure they were updated continuously and any fears allayed. Non-access issues reduced from an initial 60% to less than 2%.

As an added benefit to residents the team provided free PAT testing to white goods (washing machines, tumble dryers, hair dryers, dishwashers, fridge freezers and hair straighteners), replacing any that failed via Camden’s Central Procurement Centre.

All the buildings were brought up to the correct safety standards, mitigating any risk to residents' safety and all residents were back in their homes within two weeks of the evacuation. The ongoing works to raise the standards of safety and compliance throughout the estate will ensure the estate provides families with homes for generations to come.

" The Kier team work collaboratively with us and our residents to ensure minimal disruption. Offering practical solutions that make it easier to things moving, they understand the way the sites are run, instilling trust and confidence in what they are contracted to do on our behalf. Since the beginning of the relationship, Kier has reacted positively and sensibly to address challenges and have dealt with them in a firm but productive way. Long may this continue "
Mike Bennett London Borough of Camden Council

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