Considerately converting commercial buildings into Crown Estate homes – Network Homes

Network Homes’ new high quality residential development in Pimlico, London, involved the conversion of three former commercial buildings – one built in 1850 and the other two in 1979 – by contractor Kingsbury Construction Co Ltd.

Network Homes is one of the largest housing associations in London and the South East. It specialises in development, regeneration, and housing management, owning and managing 19,300 homes across 40 boroughs.

Completed in August 2015, the Grosvenor Road redevelopment forms part of The Crown Estate’s St James’ Market project, providing 12 homes for rent and five for private sale.

Outlining the project, David Foster, Head of Construction for Network Homes said:

“The Crown Estate has granted a lease to Network Homes in order for the site to be refurbished into 17 homes, as part of The Crown Estate’s contribution towards the provision of affordable housing for the St James’s Market Project.

“Network Homes is thrilled to be working with The Crown Estate to redevelop these much-needed affordable homes in such a central, sought-after location in London. It offers Network the opportunity to provide homes below market rent for working Londoners who would otherwise be priced out of the local area.”

The construction work was undertaken in partnership with Kingsbury Construction, as principal contractor; the Welling Partnership, as the employer’s agent; CDMC (Construction, Design and Management Coordinator), and the Rund Partnership, acting as clerk of the works. Once the redevelopment works were completed, Network Homes took over management of  the new properties.

The site is located on an already built up estate (The Crown Reach Estate), with existing residents living less than 200 yards away. The residents were anxious about the impact the works would have on them, even before the works commenced.

You can find out how the Network Homes project team rose to the challenges on the Grosvenor Road development by reading the following examples of best practice introduced:

  • The site hoarding was very well organised and covered in smart, neatly fitting white monoflex sheeting from the client, upon which the project information was displayed on a board setting out the contract plans.
  • The interior of the site was very tidy and a great deal of effort was given to regular cleaning activities.
  • Smoking was confined to a designated area.
  • The inside of the site working area was kept spotless, thanks to a rigorous cleaning regime.
  • Network, together with Kingsbury Construction and partners Welling and Rund Partnership, met the residents before works commenced to ensure an understanding of their concerns, from their own perspective.
  • The issues raised by the residents were overcome through initial face-to-face meetings, a joint effort by the project team. Kingsbury then carried on with the engagement and updated residents both verbally and through newsletters. They were also open to residents visiting the site office.
  • The site management team closely liaised with residents from two large blocks of flats overlooking the project.
  • A feedback survey was conducted at the halfway stage and a Community Engagement Plan was drawn up. This led to a community satisfaction survey which was created, distributed and collated.
  • A Neighbourhood Action Plan was created and a schedule of action was followed.
  • An 80% target was set for recycling and this was surpassed by a 90% achievement.
  • The team also compiled an Environmental Management System for site management to follow. This set out how to manage and reduce waste on site.
  • Site targeting BREEAM Excellent and site carbon footprint was monitored and measured.
  • Regular audits took place and issues were closed out.
  • Workforce medical conditions were recorded at induction.
  • A health check questionnaire was created for the workforce and used for new starters.
  • Most signage was created in dual languages to help operatives for whom English is not their first language.
  • Toolbox talks were given in both English and Gujarati, according to the operatives’ language needs.
  • This support was further extended with English language lessons to help workers integrate into the industry.
  • Occupational health posters and lifestyle support on healthy eating were visibly displayed in the canteen.

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