Breathing new life into Leicester waterfront as regeneration gets underway

April 23, 2020 News

A modern and contemporary three storey block of 28 new apartments on the banks of the river soar is reaching completion. Architecturally designed by Staniforth Architects of Leicester the scheme offers potential residents a desirable location overlooking the River Soar.

JMS were commissioned to undertake the structural and civil engineering design of the entire project and engaged with client and architect to ensure the scheme remained economic and practical to build, especially due to limited access on site and a number of Planning Authority challenges.

Levels for the development have been a key factor as the site is within close proximity of a flood plane. Other challenges related to poor ground conditions leading to a piled foundation solution and the incorporation of gas mitigation measures.

Although the scheme utilised the form of a load-bearing masonry structure, as preferred by the Private Developer, a number of precast concrete elements were incorporated to facilitate the build, namely – PC piling and ground beams, beam & block flooring on the ground floor (forming a ventilation void below), PCU hollow core slabs for the upper floors, stairs and flat roof over. Interestingly, PC lift shafts were also installed which enabled speed of construction around the lobby and staircase areas hence providing internal access to differing levels during the rest of the build.

Areas of the roof construction have been designated as “brown” and allowance within the design was necessary to carry additional weight from loose laid aggregate materials. These provide suitable habits that encourage wildlife, such as insects and birds. In addition, PV panels have been installed across part of the roof which will generate a portion of the energy that the building requires and is in keeping with the desire to minimum the building’s carbon footprint.

At first glance the building seems technically unremarkable, however careful conceptual planning of both the structural configuration and civil engineering (the latter relating to the eternal car parking and below ground drainage) enabled the development to proceed at pace, to be practical to build and to remain highly cost effective. For example, by careful arrangement of the direction of PC floor/roof spans; loadings at foundation level were more uniform, and this resulted in a simpler PC piling and ground beam installation throughout. This example shows that the design of the substructure elements of the build produced an efficient process for the contractor and sub-contractor by taking much less time than it would have otherwise been.

As the building reaches completion, it’s quality of construction and overall aesthetics are a testament to the efforts made by the architect, client and JMS; a project that will enhance the local area, become an attractive residence and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The building will require little maintenance and provide an energy efficient environment for the occupants. It captures the essence of good collaboration between the all stakeholders; and JMS are proud to have been a major part of the scheme.

It is anticipated that similar future projects will be in the pipeline and JMS looks forward to participating in these developments.

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