Wandsworth Exchange completes
The tallest structure United Living New Homes has ever constructed forms part of a recently completed development in southwest London.
Built on behalf of London & Quadrant, Wandsworth Exchange includes four newly built structures ranging from 4-27 storeys, providing 201 mixed tenure residential units, basement car parking, retail and commercial space – as well as a new public library to replace the existing, adjacent one.
In addition to the challenges of delivering a project of this size, which contains seven hundred and fifty thousand brick slips, were the added complications of being situated on the busy South Circular road and directly between two burial grounds.
Working alongside the historic Old Garrett Lane Burial Ground demanded much care and consideration in all methods of construction. A 400 year old wall was taken down and painstakingly rebuilt – including some specially sourced bricks – on a new concrete foundation and with hydrated lime mortar, to replicate the structure as originally intended.
A Ministry of Justice licence, allowing the exhumation of remains was not needed. However, some bones were discovered in a large, previously unknown double grave. These were plotted and listed before being respectfully re-buried. This and any other related activities were carried out with the appropriate authorities, alongside an on-site archaeologist. The Southern Burial Ground has also received a new public entrance, with benches and landscaping, improving the appearance of the area.
Proximity to the South Circular road also enhanced hurdles regarding deliveries and general access. Being a red route that is designated to carry more than 30% of London’s traffic, the operation of on time delivery schedules was paramount, as all materials for this large development came via road. A key example is the procurement and delivery of the brick slips used for the exterior. These are produced in Germany, so storing and acquiring these required strong forward planning and tight execution which was proven by Block D finishing ahead of schedule.
The brick slips, which form part of the Corium Cladding system (Class A – Non Combustible), were used for increased fire protection. This was altered early in the project to ensure the building had up to date fire safety to provide peace of mind for anyone who may use the structure.
Throughout the project, United Living worked closely with South Thames College, whose Wandsworth campus borders the site. Twenty-three construction students were provided invaluable experience on a live and busy building site through T-Level work placement trials, which are a mixture of classroom and on-the-job training. The students were also supported via mock interviews and talks with industry professionals.
Gordon O’Regan, Managing Director at United Living New Homes, said: “Wandsworth Exchange includes our tallest structure to date and presented unique logistical challenges. We are proud to have applied our expertise to complete this innovative project, delivering much needed new affordable homes to southwest London.
“Improving communities is a core value of our business, and it has been a pleasure working closely with London & Quadrant to maximise benefits to the area, from supporting construction students to providing new public facilities such as a library.”