02 May 2019
sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Southwest Nine, Brixton - submitted by Guildmore
Southwest Nine, Barrington Road, Brixton, presents as an attractively designed and well finished residential development which enhances its setting and provides high quality and affordable homes for 104 households - not unlike many other projects of similar scale and complexity across London. What makes Southwest Nine unique is that this successful outcome was achieved in the face of considerable adversity. It demanded a huge commitment and a highly collaborative approach from the client, employer’s agent, contractor, retained architect, and the entire supply chain - with two-day-long progress and design team meetings not unusual in the early stages to get the project back on track.
From the first moment that we saw the site at Barrington, the Guildmore team knew that it would be a very challenging project, and one which would draw upon the full spectrum of skills and experience. Their immediate response – undertaking urgent roof works at risk and intervening to prevent the imminent removal of the crane from site – prevented the situation from deteriorating further.
The list of challenges faced thereafter – from the specialist survey and rectification of the lightweight steel frame, the identification and resolution of non-compliances across most trade packages, the intransigence of utility providers, and the fallout from Grenfell – were addressed in turn. Open communications, clarity of presentation of highly complex and often interrelated issues, and empowered decision making on all sides allowed each challenge to be tackled head-on and resolved in a forthright manner.
The project offers lessons to the wider industry for the management of recovery projects, including the appropriate scoping and execution of due diligence and investigations and the recording and allocation of risks around patent and latent defects, which allowed more of the existing fabric to be reused and certified for compliance.
Most of all, the project demonstrates the value of collaborative working between client, EA and contractor, where the representatives of all parties invested personal and professional commitment to achieving a successful outcome.
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The SECBE 2019 Building Project of the Year over £10m Award is sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.