JMS Leicester rise to the challenge with ambitious property designs

March 12, 2020 News

At JMS Leicester the challenges have come thick and fast recently, thanks to an architect’s love of steep roofs, and a residential conversion that had the initial contractor stumped… quite literally. Fortunately, with our expertise on hand, and a few creative and cost-effective solutions up our sleeves, we managed to ensure all these ambitious architectural plans and unique property designs could get the go ahead.

Propping up APAC’s new venture

“A local contractor had been working with the APAC group, who are a major importer of wedding props, floristry, and event décor. They supply many of the largest retailers in the UK, including most of the household name supermarkets,” explains JMS Leicester’s Lynn Clancy. “Their large-scale warehousing unit is based near Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, and the contractor is designing a large retail centre for them on site.”

Faced with such a large-scale project that would involve superstructure, substructure and associated civil works for the proposed single storey retail centre, the contractor decided to turn to JMS to assist with some of the challenges involved in bringing such an ambitious and complicated project to life.

“We are currently engaged with the design side of things, and from a technical standpoint, there are several, let us say… interesting issues that the site presents. Early on, we identified the poor ground conditions, which caused concern for both the client and the contractor,” says Lynn.

Initially, piling seemed like the obvious solution, but the JMS team identified a more commercially viable solution for APAC.

“Using modelling, we were able to demonstrate that if the project adopted vibro-compaction, it would ultimately be more commercially viable, and the client was delighted to go ahead. Often, as part of our involvement in a project, we will look deep into the issues a client faces, and consider the best ways to create a solution that not only works perfectly, but offers maximum commercial value.”

“The architect’s choice of fairly steep pitched roofs for the retail units in this project also caused some concern for the contractor. However, by beefing up the steelwork, which will limit lateral deflections, we have now been able to ensure this striking feature can be incorporated into the construction.”

It seems like JMS have really impressed both client and contractor on this project, as we have now been lined up to assist with another large warehouse facility on a neighbouring site.

A house with a view… and a runway

It isn’t just vast industrial developments that are keeping the JMS Leicester team busy. When our engineers touched down at a former RAF control centre recently for a private property conversion with a difference, they discovered some novel and unique issues that required their expert guidance.

“One of our residential clients is turning the disused RAF control centre into a dream home, and we have been tasked with providing structural and drainage designs to enable the dwelling to stand up to modern conditions,” explains Lynn.

The existing structure has been derelict for decades. And although the building in its current form, with blast resistant brickwork and a thick, reinforced raft foundation, remains largely intact, cracks have appeared in the masonry. They will need careful repair work as the design requires that most of the original structure is retained.

“The client and architect also had their heart set on a mezzanine level. With the nature of the building, they were worried this would not be possible. Thankfully, after some creative and structural problem solving at our end, which meant keeping the thickness of the floor construction to an absolute minimum, we found a way to ensure they got to add this feature. There were smiles all round that day.”

Another factor that we have resolved is the issue of large trees growing right next to the edge of the original raft foundation. The pressure of their huge roots has caused significant issues to the foundations. The easy bit was felling the trees, but we were able to find a way to reinforce the foundation and mitigate the damage that had been done over the last few decades.

So with another grand-design worthy property ready to take off, and a great new shopping centre to attract people to the area, JMS are truly making their mark on the landscape and lifestyle of Leicestershire.

For more information on JMS projects, visit our website.


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