The regeneration and alteration works at Thornton Heath Church were commissioned by long-term client, the Diocese of Southwark. Baxall were tasked with carrying out a number of internal developments to reorder and transform the 1875 Church into a multi-functional building to meet the needs of the local community.
Prior to the works commencing, the local village hall hosted the community hall and crèche; the Church however, was relatively under-utilised and it was agreed that a more cost effective solution would be to integrate all of these services and facilities into one space, a measure that would also make the local community more inclusive. The Church was transformed into a multi-facility centre housing new offices, a nursery, community hall, kitchen, toilets, showers and a worship area. A new boiler, underfloor heating, flooring and lighting systems were installed to create a more comfortable and cost-effective environment.
A major issue facing the Baxall team was the Grade II listed status of the Church which created a large number of restrictions and challenges. Essentially, the planning, design and construction methodology all had to be approved on a number of levels and meet varying standards and building regulations including those of the Victorian Society, DAC and Ofsted. The Baxall team worked collaboratively with both the client and these various authorities, and were able to collectively resolve a number of issues and restrictions at no detriment to cost or time. A good example was the small main entrance door through which all large and heavy materials had to be transferred. To avoid any building damage, all pillars and surfaces were wrapped in a protective layering and all fixtures were designed to be installed without fittings; a key requirement of the Victorian Society was that anything added in should be removable leaving no trace or markings to the original architecture.
With a very limited budget, problems occurred when components of the original design specification came in over budget. The team carried out a collective value engineering exercise as a means to reduce these costs and source alternative products, design changes and methodologies without detriment to the quality of the client’s specification. Two particular areas of concern were the timber screens and mechanical and electrical services; through liaison with Baxall’s established local supply chain, savings were identified and these costs brought down in line with the original budget figure.
The Contacts Manager and Site Manager liaised daily with the client regarding progress and developed a productive relationship with the local community throughout the works in addition to the various authorities. Through close and regular liaison, works methods were collectively agreed that fully protected the architecture but did not affect timescales nor costs.