Architecture, M&E, utilities coordination
The masterplan successfully achieved by Mohsin Cooper had approval for the access, scale of development, landscaping and layout of the site. The remaining reserved matter related to the 18 properties themselves in terms of their appearance – form and materials. The Council did not support the move towards a contemporary development and were looking for materials and building form in line with the village.
Keeping within the already approved scale and layout, Cityzen developed the property designs into a reserved matters scheme. The challenge was materials, as a diverse palette reflects the development of the village over time. We worked with the developer to achieve an aesthetic for the housing estate that was in line with their brand goals, while also responding to the planning feedback from previous applications. We fixed the appearance and form, which the Planning Officer was able to approve using delegated powers (no planning committee required).
As part of our standard “designing for construction” process, we took account of building regulations and construction considerations at an early stage. This involved the developer confirming a build system, and we assisted with feasibility and cost planning exercises by visiting and liaising with manufacturers. Our client also took on board Cityzen’s goals for moving towards lower carbon construction, and decided on a timber frame solution.
To meet our client’s programme requirements, as soon as the planning application was submitted we detailed the designs to demonstrate the compliance of the scheme, liaising with MLM Building Control. Project progress was rapid – the designs were checked by Building Control and submitted to the timber frame manufacturer within 5 weeks of commencing technical design.
Alongside the architectural design, building services (mechanical and electrical engineering) design was ongoing. With a fabric first strategy, all properties achieved carbon emission reductions 13-24% beyond building regulations. All of the houses were designed with air source heat pumps for heat and hot water, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to further reduce the already low heating demand.
New utilities connections were required, so the loadings for the site were established and Cityzen took forward all the utility applications and correspondence, meeting with distributors on site to ensure their quotes reflected the best option for the site. In terms of electricity, this resulted in a small substation being designed. Wastewater from the housing estate required a new sewer to be constructed within the road.
We coordinated our design work with third parties – civil and structural engineers and the timber frame manufacturer – to deliver a compliant RIBA stage 4 design to the developer, which they took forward on site appointing under a design and build contract.
We have subsequently provided sales plans and visualisations to enable our client to market the site off-plan. Construction commenced early 2020.
Although we usually prefer to work up to and including RIBA stage 5 (overseeing the implementation of the design the client has procured), our services are always tailored to the requirements of each individual client’s delivery strategy and view on the project risks.