Symmetrys was asked to advise on a project that made the news when a coalition of residents in East London fought to stop the demolition of their homes. Two blocks in Whitechapel, containing 80 homes, were earmarked for demolition citing that it would take a lot of costly structural work to make the blocks habitable. The report initially stated that it would cost over £6M to carry out these works. As a result, the destruction of the blocks and rebuilding of the prime site became the preferred option by the Local Authority.
We were commissioned to complete a full survey and report on the overall condition of the buildings from a structural view point. Our findings were that the buildings were structurally sound with only cosmetic defects being apparent. In fact, we established that it would take an estimate of only £1.8M of works to totally refurbish the blocks, including new roofs and windows.
With the relief of the local tenants, who could happily stay where many of them have lived for generations, it begs the question why we don’t look at our existing stock in the first instance, as refurbishments are often a more cost-effective, more carbon efficient and socially accepted solution.
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