Knight Harwood Ltd’s considerate re-construction of a fire-damaged town house

The contractor’s Red Lodge project in Palace Court involved the demolition of the condemned eight-storey house in London’s Notting Hill and its considerate restoration to its former glory with the new build of a 20,000 square foot house.

Describing the brief, Senior Project Manager Jason Marshall said:

“The original building had caught fire and was structurally damaged beyond repair and so this project came about from a need to demolish the existing building to ground floor level and rebuild. The demolition was particularly challenging as the existing building was deemed as a “dangerous structure” by Westminster City Council; this meant that temporary works, scaffold design and the neighbouring buildings all had to be very carefully considered.

“The new structure is a steel frame design with lightweight slab infills and the envelope is a mix of masonry and steel framing system. The fit-out includes exceptionally high level finishes sourced from market leading suppliers across Europe.”

As a main contractor Knight Harwood prides itself on constructing new buildings, altering, refurbishing and remodelling dilapidated buildings and completing interior fit-outs.

Any construction project within the heart of busy west London is not without its challenges; on this project, local residents were unaware of the extent of works permitted to take place within the parameters stipulated by Westminster City Council.

You can read many more examples of best practice implemented by Knight Harwood:

  • The necessary signage warning of hazards on site was proportionate without being overdone.
  • The pedestrian entrance was well signed.
  • Operatives were very well presented on site, wearing branded Hi Vis and were encouraged to look presentable on leaving site.
  • The stacked welfare facility is located on an over-pavement scaffold gantry with shielded netting.
  • A computer generated image gave passers-by a flavour of the project when completed.
  • A monthly informative newsletter was issued by the scheme to neighbours to ensure good channels of communication. This was also published on a number of information boards posted around the project, highlighting the latest information and developments.
  • Noise was an overriding consideration, with the programmed use of two-on and two-off noisy working regime hours, and this was discussed with neighbours in advance. We therefore regularly engage with the community and offer an open door policy should any issues arise.
  • Standards of behaviour on site and issues such as the use of mobile phones and radios are induction topics.
  • A Corporate Social Responsibility approach was evident on site. Community activity included support for local charities involving individual efforts, as well as support from the company and site.
  • The site team made contact with local schools, arranging events such as a painting competition.
  • The site actively supporting local suppliers, cafes and shops.
  • Contact information and a note on delivery times was displayed for passers-by on the public noticeboard.
  • Relevant environmental topics were covered in the site rules. Environmental alerts, posters and relevant toolbox talks kept the workforce appraised on the project’s approach and targets.
  • The management of environmental issues was covered by an extensive induction briefing.
  • No significant ecology issues were noted from the survey programme and the site was clearly environmentally and biodiversity aware, with environmental risk management evident. Trees and plant life was protected under an ecology plan.
  • The supply chain was advised of what is expected of them in terms of the environment under the sustainability policy.
  • The SWMP (Site Waste Management Plan) was displayed and monitored and feedback was required on the final disposal of waste. Around 99.2% of waste was diverted from landfill.
  • Environmental target results were posted for the benefit of passers-by and operatives.
  • Sustainability was a design factor on this project.
  • Discussions were held with the London Fire Brigade and LUL (London Underground Ltd) and a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) area was designated on site.
  • Data including travel distances, mode of transport, water and power use, was collected to enable the site’s carbon footprint to be calculated. New planting was undertaken to reduce the carbon footprint, an exceptional provision for this size of project.
  • The site entrance was controlled with a lock and a ‘call for access’ sign at the project office.
  • Visitors were signed in and all workers received inductions and were issued with PPE, including boots.
  • Risk management was managed through daily briefings and supervisors’ meetings, with outcomes cascaded through the workforce.
  • The busy neighbourhood, with passers-by and schoolchildren regularly passing by the site, was taken into consideration when arranging deliveries. This was assisted by an activity/hazard board at the entrance.
  • The accident/incident/near miss flow chart-managed reporting regime was robust and flexible according to trends.
  • Good performance and ideas are recognised by a voucher.
  • A fire plan was in place and practiced by the fire brigade who were using the site as a case study, due to the background of the project involving a building which underwent extensive fire damage.
  • The performance under the campaign approach-managed health and safety plan was seen to be at a consistently exceptional level, as evidenced from reports made by the visiting health and safety advisor.
  • A defibrillator was available on site.
  • A ‘you said/we did’ board gives additional opportunities for the workforce consultation and feedback on many issues, including safety. 
  • General health issues are addressed with screening at the induction.
  • It was company policy to engage trade apprentices on site, with new talent recognised and encouraged with training and advancement.
  • Subcontractors were encouraged to recruit locally and apprentices and trainees had received training on site.
  • Day release for new staff was noted and a graduate recruitment scheme was in place.
  • Diversity and inclusion on site was promoted by relevant posters displayed for the workforce.
  • The training programme included a crane rescue exercise.

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