Additional intrusive surveys help BAM rise to London Met Uni challenge

Central House (Image courtesy of BAM Construction)

BAM Construction had to perform 50 additional intrusive surveys on a London redevelopment project that has required a far more “radical” approach than originally anticipated.

The contractor has now been working for around 18 months under an extensive pre-contract service agreement (PCSA) ahead of the redevelopment and extension of Central House in Whitechapel, London.

The £78m scheme for Frasers Property has proven to be “highly complex”, with significant design changes involved after the challenges the construction team uncovered during the PCSA work.

Set over a floor area of 22,579 m2, the refurbishment will upgrade the six-storey concrete frame building, as well as adding a further six-storey steel structured extension above.

BAM will retain the façade of the 1960s modernist building, which was formerly the home of the Cass School of Art and Architecture for London Metropolitan University.

Image courtesy of BAM Construction

BAM construction manager Rob Biddle said: “There were very significant structural risks associated with the scheme and it took all the parties to engage in detail to review how best to resolve these. BAM has conducted more than 50 additional intrusive surveys to get to know the building fabric as well as possible. 

“The solution was more radical than originally envisaged, but the client and design teams have been very collaborative and Frasers Property has been patient and excellent to work with despite these immense challenges. Our working relationships have been tested and have stood up extremely well.”

BAM is now in full contract on the Central House project, having started the second phase of works. Piling has recently commenced and the contractor has been using digital techniques to conduct surveys and create virtual tours for the client team as the building progresses.

The scheme is targeting Well Gold in addition to a BREEAM Excellent rating. Work is now expected to complete in autumn 2022, two years later than the original planned completion date of winter 2020.

Rod Stiles, director of BAM Construction in London, said: “BAM’s collegiate and collaborative approach allows us to solve problems, innovate and add value as well as make exceptional buildings. That is our DNA and I’m looking forward to seeing it produce yet another outstanding contribution to London’s skyline.”

Burnley Wilson Fish is acting as quantity surveyor and contract administrator, while the structural engineer is Robert Bird Group and services engineering is via Sweco UK Ltd. BAM’s own Services Engineering team is installing the services.

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