www.bblb-architects.co.uk / Issue 5 / Summer 2010
Vision / Commitment / skiLLs & expertise / DeLiVery
The first phase of Earlsdon Park masterplan in Coventry is now
complete, and has already earned a Built in Quality award
Key figures in Midlands’ residential
sector discuss potential implications
London Array Operations Building for E.ON
Hemp - how can it be used in the construction industry?
HealthTec, a new innovation for Walsall
focus on residential Carbon trust zooms in
on Local service Centre
Issues currently facing the Residential market Stoke Local Council’s Local Services
Centre building secured a Carbon Trust
are stifling the sector’s ability to address pent up grant at design stage to help fund the
demand and drive the sector forward. project and was part of the Low Carbon
The Carbon Trust has produced a
as part of the Planning Consent. Thus, many short film about the Local Service Centre
terry BoLton, pArtner R.S.L’s had stopped, or severely reduced,
firstname.lastname@example.org which is featured on the Carbon Trust
their own building programmes. Following website.
the credit crunch with the virtual cessation of
private sector house building, it was inevitable
that affordable housing would also diminish to
In our experience underlying consumer
demand for new housing remains. However,
This has prompted many R.S.L’s to resurrect
despite price falls, it is obvious that increasingly
their building programmes. Of course there
restrictive borrowing criteria continue to stifle
is an inevitable time lag involved in getting
first time buyer access to the housing ladder
back up to speed and this is reinforced by the
and first time buyers are crucial to opening up
comparative shortage of available land and
the market. The banks and mortgage lenders
the expectation of land values of land owners more informAtion AVAiLABLe At:
are impeded by the cost of their borrowing –
borrowing at short term rates to lend long term
(see earlier). The whole process is further http://bit.ly/buQmZe
exacerbated by the reduction of grant levels to
– there is a £300m ‘hole’ which until recently
R.S.L’s by the HCA. This has prompted R.S.L’s BBLB architects worked closely
the government was plugging with ‘quantitate
to investigate alternative funding models to with the City of Stoke on Trent and the
easing’. This has now ceased leaving lenders
bring forward development, including building Carillion design team to help provide the
in a very difficult position.
private market sector housing, to use the profits city with a sustainable environmentally
Land to part fund affordable provision. The question friendly building that demonstrates the
The expected ‘fire sale’ of cheap land resulting arises as to whether they have the expertise use of low to zero carbon technology
from the credit crunch as has occurred in and mechanisms in place to compete with the and considered passive design
previous recessions has not happened this major private sector house builders. measures which have helped the LSC
time. Firstly, owner’s expectations of value achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating
have not moved to reflect current reality. The
Housing Cost from the BRE.
The cost of housing is being inexorably driven
banks have been reluctant to crystallise their
up as a result of a number of factors. The
debt when their borrowers have gone into
continuing issue of contributions, currently in
receivership/administration because of the
the form of S106 contributions, to be either WeLCome to tHe summer issue of
impact on their balance sheet. Meanwhile the
replaced or supplemented by CIL’s. There is
major house builders have painfully written
talk now of the imposition of minimum sizes for
down the value of their land banks and thus are
houses – no doubt a good thing but still with
not willing to pay pre crunch (high) land values.
This however, brings us back full circle to land We hope that you will enjoy reading
And of course, we have the imposition by the
owners’ now inflated land value expectations. this issue of BBLB News.
previous Government of criteria to deliver zero
In addition to pieces about BBLB
private sector Housing carbon dwellings by 2016, together with the
and our projects we have also included
We are seeing the major players slowly requirement by many Local Authorities for the
articles about topical subjects which we
returning, and the sector is starting to pick provision of on site renewables (the ‘Merton’
hope will be of interest to you. If anyone
up. Understandably but perhaps somewhat rule).
else in your organisation would like to
disappointingly, their aspirations are a little timid All of these carry cost penalties. The
receive a copy please let us know.
and conservative, with very few 3 storey houses, previous government’s own figures suggest an
If there is anything you would like more
or flats and nothing particularly contemporary, additional £25,000-£30,000 build cost to achieve
details on, or you are interested to find
reverting back to traditional 2 storey design Sustainable Homes Code 6 for a two bedroom
out more about how BBLB could assist
and 2/3 bed terrace or semi detached houses house. Therefore, if the cost of building and
you with current or upcoming projects,
and 4/5 bed detached. In fairness this probably enhancement of standards of houses is to
please call Debbie Ward on telephone:
more closely reflects peoples (buyers) increase and the desire to keep down the sales
aspirations. However, it is unfortunate that the value of housing remains, the only element
opportunity has not been taken to be more providing flexibility to achieve these aims is the
adventurous, after all the numerous television cost of land. Is, then, the further reduction in
housing programmes have surely identified a land values at the necessary level of availability
strong demand for contemporary design. to meet demand realistic or achievable?
Affordable Housing In summary: the flickering pulse of the recovering The Old Library, Hagley Road
housing market needs every encouragement. Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1QH
Affordable (social) housing pre crash had
Telephone: +44 (0)1384 880 550
largely ended up being delivered to R.S.L’s Are we optimistic, in light of the issues discussed
by private house builders as part of S106 here, that such encouragement prevails? www.bblb-architects.co.uk
agreements with levels of provision stipulated email@example.com
2 BBLB neWs
Award winning home for
The BREEAM Excellent offices at Earlsdon Park in Coventry
are now complete, with the scheme winning a Built in Quality
Award in the Commercial Category.
The QCDA Headquarters building forms formed between these two buildings linking
part of the first phase of BBLB architect’s the public frontage of the Butts Road through
masterplan for Earlsdon Park in Coventry - to a landscaped courtyard beyond.
and at the recent Celebrating Construction Within the building the ground floor retail
awards evening the BBLB/Sisk team won a element of the scheme engages with this new
Built in Quality Award for the delivery of this street, and a double height colonnade provides
BREEAM Excellent office scheme. a sense of enclosure, definition and shelter.
Earlsdon Park is a high quality mixed use Internally the office space wraps around a
development located near to the city centre central atrium which allows natural light and
fronting the Butts Road. It is a 10-storey ventilation deep into the building.
commercial building providing approx The atrium also facilitates heat recovery
84,000sqft office space, 8,400sqft ground floor and helps to heat or cool the building as
retail/café space and a 500 space multistorey necessary. This key feature forms an integral
carpark which forms a podium acting as part of the sustainable strategy which lies at
external terrace for the office floors above. the centre of the design and has contributed
The building sits adjacent to the locally to the building’s BREEAM Excellent rating.
listed 1930’s former Technical College which Other sustainable features include a ground
still houses an art deco two storey 650 seat source heat pump, night time purging and
theatre. A new pedestrian street has been rainwater harvesting.
BBLB neWs 3
Hemp - A miracle Crop?
Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomasses - Hemp lime is
a composite construction material that is becoming financially
viable as a low impact, carbon-negative, sustainable form of
Hemp’s high percentage of cellulose makes it
the number one producer of biomass on earth.
Wood from most trees registers less cellulose
and takes much longer to mature. Hemp can
grow from germination to maturity in 3 to 4
months and produces up to 25 tonnes of dry
matter per hectare per year.
Hemp grows best in warm, humid areas but
only requires a bare minimum of 10 inches of
rain and a temperate climate which means it adjustment. Having a low impact, carbon- (www.limetechnology. co.uk) and Lhoist UK
can be grown on vast portions of the earth’s negative, sustainable form of construction (www.lhoist.co.uk) to promote a proprietary
land surfaces. For a crop, hemp is relatively that can be used in volume house building or brand (Tradical) for what they have called
environmentally friendly as it requires few even multi-storey office blocks, factories and ‘hemcrete’ construction. Lime Technology Ltd
pesticides and no herbicides. And we can warehouses is an exciting development that has set up a factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire,
keep growing it every year. provides a genuine solution to demands for where the Tradical lime binder is being
zero-carbon construction. manufactured.
With so many different uses and the ability
The most typical form of hemp lime This means that these companies can offer the
to replenish vital nutrients to the soil
construction uses conventional timber frames supply of UK manufactured materials whereas
rather than strip them, hemp could make
with panels constructed of timber studs, and previously the technology and materials were
the difference between bankruptcy and
the hemp lime cast around the frame to create imported from France. Lime Technology Ltd
prosperity to farmers in many countries.
a solid wall. There is often no need to use uses the registered name Hemcrete® but the
Hemp could have a major impact in
timber sheathing boards, breather membranes, hemp shiv aggregate and the lime binder are
our growing construction industry by
internal finishes like plasterboard and external now referred to as Tradical products.
replacing or supplementing everything
cladding which can make normal timber frame The Renewable House built by Linford
from fibreboard to concrete.
construction rather complicated. Construction at the BRE Innovation Park has
Hemp could be part of the answer to
been created to demonstrate that mainstream
petroleum dependance for everything
affordable homes can be constructed from
from plastics to fuel
renewable materials, meeting both housing
Using hemp would also reduce our
demands and environmental targets. A key
consumption of cotton. Cotton uses a
building material was Hemcrete®.
large proportion of the U.S.’s pesticides,
Hemcrete® is an established walling material
damages the soil, uses over twice as much
for carbon negative highly thermally efficient
water to grow and produces less than half
walls which has the following advantages over
the crop of hemp equivalent.
traditional building materials:
Hemp has great value as a source of
nutrition for humans and an even greater Hemcrete® absorbs CO2 in its manufacture
potential as feed for animals. and so has a negative embodied CO2.
The hemp lime provides a solid wall,
For a typical wall section Hemcrete® will
Each of these uses could easily be enough to acoustic and thermal insulation, and even an
have an eCO2 of 130kg CO2/m2 less than
make hemp a valuable crop. Combined they internal finish. Weather protection of the hemp
traditional brick and block.
make it impossible to ignore, yet it seems that lime is needed to shed precipitation and this
Hemcrete® is highly insulating resulting in
to date we are pretty much doing just that. can be provided by different finishes, including
thin walls with a very low U value ideal for
lime render, lapped timber boards, shingles,
meeting the higher levels of the Code for
Hemp in the Construction industry rainscreen tiles or lime-mortared brickwork.
Hemp lime is a composite construction This uncomplicated method can reduce labour
Unlike other insulators Hemcrete® also
material that can be used for walls, insulation costs, speed up construction and simplify the
has thermal inertia similar to thermal mass
of roofs and floors and as part of timber-framed building process.
and so houses built of Hemcrete® change
buildings. It provides very good thermal and The carbon sequestration and storage
temperature very slowly reducing heating
acoustic performance, and offers a genuinely capacity of hemp lime is a significant benefit of
loads significantly below lighter weight
zero-carbon contribution to sustainable the material. As government policy becomes
buildings with the same U value.
construction. Hemp masonry is breathable and increasingly concerned with reducing carbon
is able to absorb and emit moisture, leading to emissions and finding more efficient ways
Source for much of this article is: Hemp lime
much healthier buildings. of meeting current targets, hemp lime can construction - A guide to building with hemp lime
Hemp lime provides a form of construction make a major contribution to this, offering composites by Rachel Bevan and Tom Woolley.
that can be built onsite quickly and efficiently a genuinely zero-carbon contribution Published by IHS BRE Press and available from:
or prefabricated offsite, allowing conventional to sustainable construction policies. www.brebookshop.com
mainstream builders to incorporate the Hemcore (www.hemcore.co.uk) have been Images reproduced with courtesy of Lime
materials into their normal practices with little working closely with Lime Technology Ltd Technology: www.limetechnology.co.uk
4 BBLB neWs
London Array - Dong Energy,
E.ON and Masdar
This Operations and Maintenance building, designed by BBLB
architects will provide an operational facility for the London Array LONDON ARRAY WILL
Offshore Wind Farm. MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL
The new building, designed to BREEAM measures. The maintenance building and offices TO THE UK
Excellent, will provide a facility for the control, take advantage of natural light and incorporate
operation and maintenance of the wind farm. MMC, extensive grass roof and CHP . GOVERNMENT’S
London Array will be constructed in two When fully operational London Array will TARGET OF
phases. The first 630MW phase will consist make a substantial contribution to the UK
of 175 turbines, generating up to 630MW of Government’s target of providing 15.4% of all
electricity. This is enough to meet the electricity electricity supply from renewable sources by OF ALL ELECTRICITY
needs of over 470,000 homes – two thirds of 2015. It will also avoid the emission of millions SUPPLY FROM
the homes in Kent. of tonnes of carbon dioxide over its life.
The distinct architectural concept has been The new Operations and Maintenance base
designed specifically around the exposed marine will be located in the Port of Ramsgate. SOURCES BY 2015.
conditions and driven by positive sustainable
COMMUNITY & LEISURE Dorrington’s Horseshoes
The Horseshoes Inn is an 18th Century The re-planning of the interior, to make
Grade II Listed Coaching Inn located in more efficient use of the space and exploit
Dorrington, Shropshire. The refurbishment the siting, included reorientation of the
and extension of the pub was completed lounge and bar areas to overlook and
in April and reopened to the public on St integrate with a newly created landscaped
Georges Day, 23rd April 2010. courtyard and garden with views out
The property comprised a collection towards the Shropshire Hills. The rooms on
of 18th and 19th century buildings which the first floor were completely refurbished
have evolved and extended in a piecemeal to provide five double bedrooms, each
way throughout its 200 year history. Our with an en-suite. Staff accommodation
challenge was to enhance the setting of was provided on the second floor.
the building, re-plan and refurbish the The Village Post Office was relocated
interior spaces and extend the lounge and from an outbuilding to the rear and placed
bar areas in order to meet the aspirations within the main building fronting onto the
of our client, Village Green Inns Ltd. main road.
BBLB neWs 5
potential planning policy
Changes, what would it mean
for the residential sector?
Britain’s housing market is failing to meet the nation’s needs, rg: (Galij was equally concerned that
development activity would be sharply
so a panel of experts were asked to judge if the Conservatives’ curtailed, by the ‘localism‘ approach.) The
planning reforms offer solutions. Alun Thorne of the Birmingham Green Paper proposals are far too radical.
We all want less red tape, but you do need
Post hosted the Round Table which was organised as a result of
a formal planning structure within which
BBLB’s concerns of the effect of draft policies being issued by everyone can operate.
the Conservatives. tB: Exactly. We need a ‘looser’ system, but
it has to be hung upon a national framework,
otherwise you‘ll end up arm-wrestling with
planning officers on issues of aesthetics.
eC: We are already seeing how planning
staff, who are there to provide objectivity and
balance, trying to become so inclusive that
they end up with fifteen different views on an
Jt: Everyone pays lip service to the need for
affordable housing in rural areas, but already
we can see that in one district people fully
support development, but in the next village,
there is equally strong opposition to the
building of homes.
tB: Will the Green Paper become reality
though, or is it simply an inspirational
document which will be forgotten...?
The debate veered from criticisms of the Green rg: The government is obsessed by tinkering
JA: I think they (the Conservatives) now realise
Paper, to a critique of the present planning with the planning system. It tries to be too
there is an awful lot of stuff here which will never
system, and back again. inclusive, and makes too many revisions of
work. I suspect they now see this as a starting
sL: I suspect the idea of localism has drawn on point. They want to change from top-down to
the experiences of Germany and Switzerland, JA: The Green Paper talks of consensus, but bottom-up, whereas they should be looking
where a local approach has worked. that is an ideal which will never be achieved. for a blend. At the moment, they have lots of
The idea that applicants could ’buy off‘ their ideas, but it’s like a jigsaw with pieces which
JA: The Tories are promising more than they
neighbours is equally odd, and a nightmare don’t fit together. Whatever system they adopt
can deliver, because their ideas don’t take
waiting to happen. it will need some element of central control,
account of local authority planning boundaries,
and we don‘t know how many houses we need. rg: Under those circumstances, I think a above the new local structure, to make it work.
We know what assumptions Gordon Brown developer’s tool-kit would have to include shelves As so often, politicians see a weakness, but
made to calculate housing growth, but we have of brown envelopes. If everything in the Green attack the process, not the product.
no idea what assumptions the Tories will use. Paper was implemented, nothing would be built. rg: I believe they are now starting to describe
If you don’t have five-year land plans, how do We would move from a planning landscape the Green Paper as a ‘conversation’, as
you know what you are trying to achieve? dominated by NIMBYs, to a BANANA republic opposed to a strategic blueprint. Let’s hope it
(Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Me). is a conversation in which we, and the rest of
Jt: There is also an assumption that all people
want to buy their own homes, which certainly JA: I think the paper’s core problem is that its the property community, can play a full part.
isn’t the case. authors assume planning is black and white,
whereas it is many shades of grey. Planning
JB: We can see why the Tories want to
is about opinions, and interpretations, and
introduce planning reform, because the current
weighing up the pros and cons. When you sL: Simon Linford, Founder of C-Zero
system is too bureaucratic, stifles development
are involved in community engagement, you JA: John Acres, Planning Director, Catesby
and is far too complex. Property Group
can never get full agreement - apart from
eC: It’s about development control, not Jt: Jean Teichmann, Head of Development,
the basics, that grass is green and the sky is
Wrekin Housing Trust
about delivery, at the moment. There should blue. These proposals have been devised by JB: John Bradshaw, Partner at BBLB architects
be a presumption in favour of planning focus groups to appeal to voters in the South- eC: Elle Cass, Partner, King Sturge
proposals, unless they are demonstrated to East, they are simply hunches about what will rg: Robert Galij, Planning Director at Barratt
be unacceptable, at least that is what you are Homes
appeal. If the Green Paper was implemented,
taught in college. Unfortunately, in the real world, tB: Terry Bolton, Partner at BBLB architects
local politicians would have incredible powers,
many local authorities have a presumption and I think it’s quite possible that councillors A longer version of this article was published in
against development, even though that is what the Birmingham Post in March 2010. Thanks go
would refuse applications, because of the level
to Alun Thorne for allowing use of this text.
drives our economy. of local opposition, knowing the plans would
be approved on appeal.
6 BBLB neWs
BBLB INHOUSE staff Profiles
favourite piece of Architecture
Frank Gehry’s works make my heart
etone College, Nuneaton race, in their built form but also on 2d
plan, I love how the Bilbao Guggenheim
A new Post 16 Centre at Etone Technology be flexible and be built to reflect the looks like a flower.
Language Applied Learning College is on site strong family and community ethos of the
in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The scheme is college. The exemplar facilities will include Why i joined the industry
being built on the college grounds and will Technology studios, Performance Arts suite, I had finished my A levels and been
enable the delivery of a variety of Post 16 cutting edge Business facilities and ICT offered a place at art college, with a
courses, for learners in North Warwickshire. suites with Media Production capabilities. few more weeks of ‘freedom’ before the
The £6.1m development has beendesigned to Thomas Vale has now been appointed as course commenced they sent us some
high sustainable environmental standards contractor by the school and BBLB has been homework in the post. So that was
with a view to achieving BREEAM Excellent novated across to complete the working it, with my youthful wisdom I thought
and will have the capacity to accommodate drawings. The project has recently started employment would be easier than doing
250 students with the possibility of future on site and following further analysis of a bit of homework! So I got a job as a
expansion. initial framework choice, steelwork options draftsperson in a timber frame design
The school’s brief included wanting “a are being coordinated as an alternative to office and set out upon a journey that
brand new, state of the art facility, which a concrete frame. The project is due to be has brought me to BBLB.
will respond to the educational, social and completed by late April 2011 and be ready
economic challenges of the 21st Century”. to accept students from September 2011.
The centre will embrace new technology,
COMMUNITY & LEISURE
favourite piece of Architecture
I am torn on this one but have narrowed
it down to two. As a student I was lucky
enough to get a tour of the Lloyds
myplace, Walsall Building in London which was a fantastic
experience. The attention to detail is
Walsall Council has appointed BBLB to assist flexible design aims to inspire young people to fantastic. Rogers even designed the lift
them in delivering a ‘World Class’ youth facility get involved with the centre, and be an integral controls to fit with the whole building
under the Government’s ‘myplace’ initiative, on part of the activities and create its own unique aesthetic. A great example of macro to
a site at Joseph Lecke. It is currently subject to community identity. micro design.
confirmation of £1.287m of BIG lottery funding. The new scheme will deliver an attractive and A few years ago I visited Barcelona and
The new building is a two-storey stand alone safe place for young people to go in their leisure was totally bowled over by the temple of
building located immediately adjacent to a new time where they can get involved in a wide Sagrada Familia, the as yet unfinished
school. It will provide flexible spaces for training range of exciting activities and enable more pinnacle of the career of Antoni Gaudi.
and a variety of activities as well as a health young people, particularly those from the most Even as a building site the scale and
clinic. Local young people have been consulted disadvantaged backgrounds, to participate in symbolism combined with intricate
on the scheme, indeed many of the facilities positive activities that support their personal detailing was amazing. We plan to return
have been proposed by them. The creative and and social development. in 2012 when it is due for completion.
BBLB neWs 7
HEALTH & EDUCATION
new Project Wins
In addition to the walsall myplace project
we have also recently won the Leicester
myplace scheme with Miller Construction.
The myplace scheme will revitalise
the Haymarket Theatre in the centre of
Leicester with a grant of £5m from the BIG
lottery and a further £1.5M from Leicester
Leicester City Youth Hub will consist of
Healthtec, Walsall six themed zones, each offering different
activities and spaces where young people
walsall HealthTec will be a 14-19 centre to be provided would support other curriculum can meet. Activities on
specialising in Health and social wellbeing activities in the secondary, primary and special offer are anticipated to
diplomas. whilst the HealthTec idea exists in sectors. include a climbing wall,
other locations this will be the first purpose The HealthTec in walsall will offer learners of roller-skating, sports area,
built facility in the country. The project is a all ages and abilities opportunities to develop performing arts space,
£5.5M, 20,000sq ft scheme, that is being enterprise, IT, personal, learning and thinking recording studio, dance
built using the sCAPe framework with skills through ‘Hands on Health’ experiences, and aerobics rooms and a youth disco.
willmott Dixon as Contractor. - vivid simulations which replicate real life The project, led by Leicester City
The brief to BBLB is to produce an situations in health and social care. It provides Council, aims to bring young people aged
award winning, sustainable building that is opportunities to enhance the curriculum offer 13-19 together from diverse backgrounds,
BReeAM excellent and in particular focuses in science, personal, social and relationships including those facing challenges such as
on maximising carbon reduction. education as well as new 14-19 qualifications lack of confidence and self-esteem, social
The new HealthTec scheme is to be built on including diplomas in society Health and isolation and discrimination.
a section of the Alumwell Business & enterprise Development, Public services, Business
College site. The skills Centre will provide Administration and Finance, Hospitality,
facilities for use by all schools in walsall and it sport and Active Leisure and Information eco Hybrid &
is expected that the range of accommodation Technology.
BBLB are part of the Miller Construction
team that Hinckley & Bosworth Borough
Council has commissioned for the Design
EDUCATION and Construction
of six Hybrid Units
space and first floor
office space and
16 industrial units
(total GIFA approx 40,000 square feet) at
Greenfields Business Park. The project is
currently on site.
The units will have the following key
sustainable features: Timber Cladding,
Church stretton school & sedum Roofs, Renewable energy
including roof mounted wind turbines
Community sports facilities (hybrid units only), Passive Ventilation
and Permeable Paving. The scheme is
The new Church stretton Leisure Centre linked internally to the existing swimming pool targeted to achieve BReeAM ratings of
provides a wide range of modern, state-of- area by an exhibition space where local artists “excellent” for the Hybrid Units and “very
the-art facilities including a multi-purpose, will have the opportunity to display their work. good” for the Industrial Units. william
four-court sports hall, a fitness suite and dance The scheme combines the needs of the saunders is the employer’s Agent on the
studio and associated dry-side and community school and the town of Church stretton with the project.
changing areas. intention that both the indoor and outdoor sports
The outdoor facilities include five school/ facilities will primarily be used by the school
county grade tennis courts and a new MUGA,
40m x 30m with floodlighting.
during school hours but would be available for
use by the local community at other times.
we will be updating our website
The school has a new main entrance with Additionally the existing caretaker’s bungalow
in July - please take a look, we
reception and associated staff offices, and has been converted and refurbished for the
would welcome any comments and
a general purpose meeting room that will Busy Bee‘s nursery, with re-siting of the existing
be available for various courses and also nursery building to the east of the caretaker’s
community hire. These new facilities are all bungalow for use as a children’s centre. www.bblb-architects.co.uk
BBLB architects llp www.bblb-architects.co.uk Printed on 50% recycled paper