Essay: Propose an inner city manufacture space / develop a design prototype

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  • Propose an inner city manufacture space / develop a design prototype
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Abstract

The project is to propose an inner city manufacture space. The aim is to develop a design prototype for increased value of urban manufacture, that can exist and grow within a high-density city fabric, thus supporting people to have gainful work and maintain their employment, within the heart of a city. It is a challenge to the conventional master plan that focus on provision of luxury flats and office space, with little to no consideration of space for manufacturing and making.The proposal is an open type of design and craft space, with vocational training, industry and crafts-based education, that is accessible to people from different social background; a inner city space of production that offers sustainable, comfortable and flexible workshop environment; and urban manufacturing space that is integrated into its adjacent city fabric, with additional link to connect main road and the Riverside, and enhancement on landscape, public realm and streetscape.

The report evaluates the project from a professional perspective, including: site, authorities, planning of building, practice and project organization, constructions and finance. Due to the nature of the project which is proposing an urban manufacturing space that is utilizing some of the existing retail warehouse space and extending to its back yard which is surrounded by tall residential buildings. The report identifies the challenges of the site and proposal, such as shadowed yard, proposed public plaza within a private development, additional pedestrian crossing, etc. It particularly researched the relevant policies and regulations on the discussions about: Daylight/Sunlight and overshadowing study, and the Rights to Light. The site is surrounded by mid rise residential buildings. How it impacts on the daylight of neighboring buildings and how to get great natural daylight in the workshop space to provide enjoyable working environment is one the main challenges of the project; Construction and maintenance of private streets and open space. Phasing strategy. the project evolves substantial modification of existing retail warehouse, the construction sequence and method and phasing plan are particularly important in maintaining the use of existing retail during construction.

The aim of the report is to see the design project as a simulation of real practice, address the project in context of law, contract, construction methods, finance and current regulations, and discuss the project in detail regards its specific constraints and requirements during the process.

Introduction

The project offered an overall strategy of the site including a mid-rise residential building then focused on mainly manufacture workspace. The proposed manufacture workspace utilised part of the exiting warehouse then extended into its back yard. The programmes include workshop (full production line for making medium size wood furniture), community DIY centre, teaching studios and a rooftop cafe. Existing warehouse maintains its use as retail space but with greater density. The project proposed a public route cutting through the existing warehouse connecting the main road (York Road) with the Riverside. It also creates a public plaza and improved landscape as a whole.
Site
ownership and tenancies, restrictions and conditions, physical survey, conditions and contents, access, adjoining owners, rights and easements.

Ownership and tenancies
The site is shared between a warehouse and a Volkswagen showroom, with associated parking spaces. The showroom is located at the back yard but soon to be relocated to the ground floor of new residential tower at plot opposite the site. The existing warehouse is 1,267 sq meters in area, approximately 49.5m x 38m. A physical survey with sketches of the interior was carried out which is appended in this report. The warehouse use to host a leading lighting manufacturer – the Price’s Candles Factory. It is currently shared between Barker and Stonehouse furniture store and outlet for the Price’s Candles Factory.
Conditions
There is a live planning application for the site. The proposal converts existing Barkers and Stonehouse store, associate storage space, and a TV studio to office with ground floor retail. At the existing Volkswagen showroom area, it proposes to erect a 22-story residential tower featured with views towards the River Thames and to improve public realm with additional ground floor retail units.
Survey
Normally site survey is to be provided by the client from a qualified surveyor. The survey should be checked by the architect on site in any case. A survey should briefly include: information on title, rights, existing structure, accurate levels, boundaries, serice, trial holes, and improvements lines. In the case of this project, the site survey was carried out by myself, existing site plans and photos are appended in this report.
Easement and rights
Three sides of the site have windows directly facing into the yard (shown in the diagram, highlighted in red). Right to Light as it is a legal requirement and should be dealt with by lawyer from the client. (A “right to light” is an easement that gives a landowner the right to receive light through defined apertures in buildings on his or her land.) 1 (GOV.UK, 2018) The architect will provide models for proposed massing to perform such assessment.
Access
Vehicular access to the site is via Bridges Ct. Pedestrian accesses to the site are from both York Road and Bridges Ct. Current pedestrian route to the Riverside is via Bridges Ct, which is not very pleasant experience.The proposal is to have additional pedestrian route cutting through the site to connect between York Road and the Riverside. This will involve the consultation with local Highways authority.
Adjoint owners
There are adjoint owners of the site, which are Price’s Court, Candlemakers Apartments, Orbit Wharf and Vicentia Wharf. From concept design to construction, considerations are given to the adjoint buildings such as right to light, access, drainage, structure, etc. In the proposal, it respects the adjacent buildings, and proposed setbacks and landscape buffer zone to allow sufficient daylight coming through and reduce the noise and pollution.
Brief description – height, levels, use and photos (Pp13)
Authorities
Town and Country Planning, Building Control, services, water and drainage, fire, special requirements, licences and certificates, and health and safety.

Regards to my project, the local planning authority is Wandsworth town borough council, who is responsible for approval of planning application and undertaking statutory consultations on proposed development.
Building control – it’s the minimal standards to ensure buildings are safe and accessible. Approved documents (part A-M) are set out by the government and enforced by the local authorities. Building regulation approval can be achieved through local council, or a private building inspector.
Fire authority – The London Fire Bridge is responsible for enforcement of fire safety law. Comprehensive fire risk assessment must be carried out in every commercial premises, under Fire Safety Reform Order. In Wandsworth Council, this replaces the need of having a fire certificate in most premises. 2 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018) Fire safety is also part of the building inspection process.
Highways England – ‘Highways England is a government-owned company that works with the Department for Transport to operate, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads.’ 3 (En.wikipedia.org, 2018) In my project, it will involve discussion and consultation with the Highways due to proposed link between York Road and the Riverside.
Services – It is statutory responsibility for the local council to consulat The Lead Local Flood Authority for surface water drainage system design for major development in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. A suitable approach to sustainable drainage system is required from the applicants in compliance with the National SuDS Standards, the London Plan Drainage Hierarchy, the Council’s Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Guidance notes. 4 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018, Pp36)
Water and sewerage service provider is Thames Water. New water main and service connection can be applied once planning permission is granted.
Health and safety – HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is responsible for regulation and enforcement of health, safety and welfare in workplace. 5 (Speaight, 2010, Pp161). HSE works closely with local authorities for enforcement of such matters through the HSE/Local Authorities Enforcement Liaison Committee (HELA). 6 (Hse.gov.uk, 2018, Pp6) CDM Regulations are introduced to enhance and regulate health and safety related issues in a contractual relationship. A principal designer and a principal contractor is required for taking responsibilities in pre-construction and construction phases. HSE must be notified for any development carried out unless it is domestic client. The client should notify HSE in writing as soon as reasonably practical before any construction work starts, which can be done by using F10 form. 7 (Hse.gov.uk, 2018)

Planning
Planning of Building: statutory requirements, advisory recommendations, and design for universal access.

Statutory requirements are those obligations imposed by law. Extensive Acts/Regulations are available to cover the design, construction and operation of the buildings. Relating to building and planning, the Acts are such as The Building Regulations, The Party Wall Act, The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order, The Planning Act, The Localism Act, The Growth and Infrastructure Act, etc. A broad list of guides are appended in this report. It is very important to clarify the responsibilities in satisfying statutory obligations in the contract. 8 (Designingbuildings.co.uk, 2018) Standards for buildings are generally controlled by planning, building regulations and fire authority. 9 (Green, 2012, The architect’s guide to running a job, Pp32). Broadly speaking, enforcement on national planning frameworks, with national and regional planning policies, local planning authority has the control of giving permissions to local developments other than permitted development, advising on building’s visual characters, relationship to its context and environmental background. Discussion with planning officer in local council can gain advice on relevant local planning policies, planning application procedure and timescale.
In the case of my project, relevant aspects concerning planning stage are listed below:
Conservation area and protected view corridors
There is no listed building or structure on the site. The site does not fall inside any of the conservation areas in Wandsworth. 10 (Maps.wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018) However the views along both banks of River Thames, which fall inside Wandsworth and its immediately adjacent borough Hammersmith and Fulham are important characters of the conservation areas 11 (LBHF, 2018). Therefore any development carried out along the Riverside should give careful considerations. In Wandsworth town, considering the nature of the typography that is shaped by River Thames, there are six protected local views set out in relevant SPD documents. 12 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018) Although the site is not covered by any of these view corridors, this should be evident in either design and access statement or environmental impact assessment.
2) Daylight/sunlight/overshadowing study
According to Wandsworth council, a daylight and sunlight assessment is required for planning application. 13 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018, Pp4) This study can be carried out by a qualified surveyor, in accordance with the recommendations of the Building Research Establishment report “Site Layout Planning for Daylight & Sunlight 2011”, which is the recognised standard within the London Borough of Wandsworth that daylight and sunlight condition is assessed. 14 (Planning.wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018, Pp2) BRE(Building Research Establishment) is applied as a guide to provide calculation methods and standards but it is not mandatory. 15 (Designingbuildings.co.uk, 2018) In my project particularly, it is important to carry out such study as the site is surrounded by low to mid rise residential buildings. It is not only a planning requirement but also necessary for design process.
3) Mix use development
According to the Core Strategy Policies, the site is proposed for a new focus of the area where mix use development is promoted. A new ‘Important Local Parade’ should be created along York Road. The proposal is inline with the asprision of the planning strategy.
4) Private streets
In my project, the proposal includes a new route that connects between York Road and the Riverside, where public and workshop facilities are located on either side of the corridor. It argues the connectivity and public accessibility for urban manufacture workspace. The corridor is a public accessible route in a private land. A license also should be obtained with the local council before any work starts.16 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018) According to the advance payments code, an appropriate fee or a mortgage should be paid to the local authority of carrying out street works to the standards that the street would be adopted by the highway authority. The local authority can choose to maintain the street on a public expenses if the developer carried out the works within state time and to their satisfaction. It is the architect’s duty to be aware of potential expense to the client of making a new private street. And the architect should advise the client to consult his solicitor for any unclear situations. 17 (Speaight, 2010, Pp65)
5) Open space
Part of the proposal of my project is a public plaza along with improved public realm that would benefit local community. The plaza can be used as event and showcase space for the manufacturer, market and workshops that can be accessible for community, similar to the Blackhorse market and sideshow in north London. Provision of open space generally is promoted and enhanced in Wandsworth borough, especially in open space deficiency area, according to Development Management Policies Document in Wandsworth borough.18 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018, Pp112) It states in Planning Obligation SPD that any residential development greater than 100 units should provide replacement of protected open space; all other development that is larger than 10,000 sqm should contribute to provision of open space through improve public realm. Funding for open space can be provided by the council as part of the CIL(Community Infrastructure Levy) charge.19 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018, Pp34) Current open space are mainly owned and managed by the council, however, there are privately owned and managed open space available in the borough, according to the Open Space Study carried out by the council. 20 (Wandsworth.gov.uk, 2018) In my project, although the residential units are less than 100, as an overall site strategy, the development is greater than 10,000 sqm, therefore the provision of improved public realm and public plaza should be favored by the council.

Practice and project organisation
Practice and project organisation: types of practice, appointment, organisation of design team, procurement, and relationships with clients, users and other stakeholders.

In the scenario of that the client has a tight schedule and reasonable budget, I run a team within a medium scale design studio. In the case of ‘design and build’ route is selected due to the size of the development and great level of efficiency required by the client. The architects should recommend the relevant consultants from their best knowledge. The client will make the decision. Important consultants for planning stages are
Planning consultant – advice on ‘change of use’ of changing partial existing retail space(Class A1) to industrial space (Class B2)
retail consultant – advice on impact of the proposal to existing retail as it involves substantial modification of existing retail layout, access, circulation, shop front, etc. The consultant can also advice how to maintain the viability of the retail during construction.
Traffic engineer – apart from reviews of service/loading strategy, traffic engineer would be very important at this stage to advice on the proposed public route particularly the additional pedestrian cross on York Road, widening existing sidewalk.
Structure, MEP, fire, health and safety, lighting and acoustic consultant – these are basic consultants to make the building function.
As the project progresses, additional consultant may be appointed depending on specific situation.
In terms of organization of the design team, I would start with a small team. The team will get enlarged as project progresses. Depending on skill set required, there might be a shift happening in the team for instance not every team member will continue working till the end of the project. For instance, at feasibility stage, I can allocate three people – one working on proposed manufacture workspace and how it integrated with existing retail, one working on site master plan, and one senior member responsible for coordinating with consultants and overseeing the project. The team can grow to about eight people for planning and detailed design stage then shrink its size after handing over to the contractor, leaving two people commenting and supervising construction documentation.

Construction and Finance

Statutory requirements for construction
All development should be notified to HSE unless it is domestic client. All drawings/designs must be complied with the Building Regulations. Any fixed workplaces to be constructed, in terms of design and material, should be complied with the Workplace Regulations. For notifiable project, a principal designer must be appointed to advise and assist client’s duties in coordinating arrangements for health and safety during planning phase. A principal contractor must be appointed to plan and manage the construction work. The client must ensure a construction phase plan must be prepared by the principal contractor before construction work starts. A health and safety file must be prepared (if the construction involves more than one contractor), reviewed and updated for hand over at the end of the construction and to be kept for future owners. 21 (HSE, 2015)
Structure
The structure design of the project is to be carried out by a qualified structural engineer, to be complied with the Building Regulation Part A. According to HSE, during construction, structural works must be carried out by a competent person with careful consideration to prevent structural collapsing during demolitioning, alternation and dismantling process. The key requirements are:
Structural survey – assessment on existing structure’s age, previous use and type of construction. The survey should also assess any nearby buildings or structure.
Preventing structure collapse – a temporary support must be designed and installed by a competent person. It must be able to carry foreseeable load and should never be overloaded.
Demolitioning and dismantling process – the demolition and dismantling arrangements should be available in writing or in the form of a safety method statement to prevent any accidental collapsing of the structure.
Building control – consultation to the building control department is required before any structure alteration are made to a building. 22 (Hse.gov.uk, 2018)

In my project, the development is privately funded. Phasing strategy is important. For instance, residential building could be constructed for operation first in order to fund the project. A quantity surveyor should be appointed in early stage to advice on cost issue. Client, cost consultant and architect will review the cost plan every week or once every two weeks. Likely Structural and MEP consultant will be involved because the workshop design will need special consideration.

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