Building five new flats

24/05/13 – Update 7: The Final Furlong!

The builders have been steadily moving forward and we’re now coming up to the final stages of the project as the flats take shape.

Dermot, the plasterer, has been making the walls super smooth,flat and perpendicular to the floor, so much so that any visitor just can’t resist touching them! The Big’un from Wigan has been totally transformed!

Meanwhile, the Laundry room has been created in the basement, with a new electrical distribution board which our Facilities Manager, Paul, just can’t stop talking about!

Shower trays are on site and the bathroom shelving units are being constructed, whilst sanitary ware is ready for fitting.

Built in wardrobes are being constructed, which has made the rooms feel much more homely. You can definitely imagine the space being a source of stability for young people trying to find their feet and gain independence.

Finally, painting work has begun, to make the flats feel fresh and clean.

So what’s next?

  • Completion of the built in wardrobes & cupboards
  • Delivery and fitting of kitchen units
  • Lock and door furniture fitting
  • Decoration
  • Fitting of showers and bathroom floors

10/04/13 – Update 6: Swift Progress

We are pleased to report that, having got past some tricky structural issues, work on the Horseferry Road flats is coming along in leaps and bounds. Now that the building is secure, the builders, Mike and Colman, can focus on the internal features.

The old, sloping living room floor is being properly levelled. Whilst the floors on the top and first floors are almost finished, along with double thickness, fire resistant ceilings.












The finer details of the electrical wiring in the kitchens, and some of the plumbing is also coming along nicely.

But the best is left till last: a fantastic new copper heating and water supply manifold has been fitted in the basement (our Facilities Manager, Paul, is very excited about this shiny bit of kit!)

 So what’s next?

  • The plastering of some of the walls starts next week
  • Further work is to be completed on the plumbing connection
  • Work continues laying the floor in the old lounge


14/03/13 – Update 5: Repairing the structural damage


Mike and Colman, from Pembridge Construction, have been busy forming structural corner pieces for the South West corner of the building.<


A large slot is chiselled out in the corner, a nobbly steel bar corner section is inserted, a removable wooden shutter is then attached and liquid high grade concrete is poured in.


This will knit the corner together and prevent any further movement.





Meanwhile, the plumbers are inserting all the pipework, and the electricians are fitting the cables:

plumbing and electrics


And the Big’un from Wigan is about to be boxed in.














The good news is that both the Architect and Structural Engineer have visited the site today and are very pleased with the progress!


So what’s next?

Next week, some of the floors will be re-laid.

Plumbers will continue pipe work especially at the boiler house end.

Electricians will continue re-wiring.



15/02/13 – Update 4: Serious structural issues

<Mike and Colman, our builders, continue their structural work on the top floor as structural grade timber is bolted alongside existing joists which hold up the floor.

Studwork walls are being fitted and the footprint of the top floor works is nearing completion.






But as the structural investigations proceeded, a substantial crack was discovered which can clearly be seen running down the corner. So, in order to prevent further damaged the first of several galvanised steel corner straps has been fitted.

However, immediately below, in the old living room, the crack is much worse. In fact the corner is starting to break apart. This is what must have caused the crack on the outside of the building.

Unfortunately the corner straps will not be strong enough to tie in the walls as the cracking was worse than was expected. In order to strengthen this part of the building, the builders will need to cast some horizontal concrete corner beams with steel reinforcement inside.




<Previous builders had covered up the cracks with plasterboard and great dollops of plaster which can be seen here – so we are relieved we started the building works when we did – otherwise goodness knows what could have happened!

So what’s next?

Mike and Colman will move down to the 1st floor on Monday to remove the floorboards and continue structural and footprint works

Electricians will start on top floor, and cables will be fitted for a newly proposed lighting scheme in our Charity Shop (which is on the ground floor of the building.

A scaffold will be built on the outside to fit helibars to the outside crack.


30/01/13 – Update 3: Up through the hole in the floor

<Mike and Colman continue to make good progress on the building works. On the top floor, the demolition is almost finished and the basic perimeter shape of the first flat should be finished this week. However, there is still a lot to do and the builders have removed the floorboards from parts of the top floor to enable the floors to be better tied into the walls and to enable some further structural work.

The picture here shows two of the dark original beams which have been fitted with a tapered batten in the past to try and level the floors.



But the good news is that the Big’un from Wigan is now in the air!


The Big’un is the long length of heavy duty steel shown on the last update, and it’s now been fitted under the sagging oak beam to hold it up and make it level.

The weight of the Big’un is carried on one side by the walls and on the other side by some new structural grade timbers installed by the builders






But to bring the Big’un up the stairs was just not possible, so a hole was created in the old living room ceiling and it was dragged up to the top floor through the gap!



So what’s next?

Well, works forming the perimeter shape of the 1st new flat will continue and should be finished this week, then the shape of the other top floor flat will be created. Further structural strapping works will commence and when Mike and Colman are ready to start works downstairs, and so the electricians and plumbers can start work on the top floor.


17/01/13 – Update 2: The big’un from Wigan

<Before the works began,some 18 months ago, we had to replace all the carpet on the stairs in the old hostel due to the ‘big flood’ (also known as a burst pipe), and we certainly don’t want to pay to replace the carpet again. So, Mike and Colman (the builders) have covered over the carpet to protect it from damage.

Once the protective cardboard was down, they got to work on the top floor, knocking down some partitions and getting ready for structural works.





You can see from this picture that the former partition wall had been built next to the dark oak supporting beam, rather than below it.

With a building so old, we expected to come across some structural issues, so hopefully this wont set the project back too far. beam, rather than below it. As the beam hadn’t had any support it had started to sag.






The builders have taken delivery of a huge length of steel, which will go under the sagging beam to give it much needed support. It’s a pretty hefty piece of steel, from Wigan, and so has earned the nickname ‘the big’un from Wigan’ !


This is one of 3 ‘steels’ which are to be installed to greatly improve the structural stability of the building. In addition to the steels, some metal ties and big steel straps are also to be installed after the floorboards are removed to tie the floors into the walls and provide reinforcement for the brickwork. This will make the building much stronger and prevent and more structural issues such as the big crack in the brickwork at the front of the building. In conjunction with the internal works, this crack will be fitted with some horizontal stainless threaded bars to be inserted into the horizontal grout and will prevent the crack from getting any worse.

So what’s next?

Well the heating is being drained down at present and the plumbers are about to disconnect the mains water supply, before removing the old temperamental boiler and ‘spaghetti’ pipework. Eventually, heating and hot water connections will be made to the Centre’s main boiler house which will save us longer term maintenance expenditure.

When the builders finish with structural work on the top floor, they’ll move down to the floor below the plumbers and electricians will start to move in above and install the first pipes and wires for the new flats.


17/01/13 – Update 1: The building work has started!


We are pleased to announce that the building work started this week and if all goes to plan the very first residents will be moving in during the summer.

The builders Mike (left) and Colman (right) have already done a fantastic job – they have cleared out the old lounge and kitchen area in the old hostel building.

The next steps are to start removing the partition walling on the top floor. Once that is completed, the plumbers and electricians will move in on the top floor, and Mike and Colman will start on the floor below.



As you can see – they have made great progress – many of the rooms are already stripped bare: