9 'affordable' homes!?
After the Grenfell type ACM cladding was removed forensic investigations of the structure were undertaken to evaluate the construction. In short summary - it was found that the 1965 ‘Bison’ panel pre-cast concrete construction system did not meet current engineering standards, that elements fell significantly short and for example concrete cover on reinforcement in some floor slabs was woeful because the original construction quality had been so poor.
An engineered remediation design was reputedly deemed unviable although these reports were not uncovered on accessible portals and were not therefore scrutinised. While it might have been interesting to review factors contributing to the viability of remediation, given the serious findings the blocks were both decanted with the net loss of 272 social housing units, (in a city, like so many, with a dearth of such property).
We could not find any record of comparable investigative testing of other ‘Bison’ system blocks in the city, and would be interested to know about any other such unforseen consequences from this disaster, and whats happening elsewhere across the country in this respect. It seems difficult to find!
A difficult context. All these schemes are in part contingent on the Bakerloo Line being extended...which is becoming increasingly difficult to call on a predictable timescale. Although the Southwark strategy to make the development scale unstopably big seems to get further down the pipeline.
If the Bakerloo Line extension doesn't happen immenently what then might the alternative be for the land stuck in limbo, over a less predictable timescale.
The London public may for example rather have free transport again for school children rather than such capital investment & I think I might agree as this contributes more to a sustainable London overall.
ARB & RIBA need to act on University course assessment criteria in response to the Covid19 crisis, as this seems irresponsible.
It should be recognised that endeavouring to sustain the pre-determined fixed criteria in this context is likely untenable. The expectations being placed on students, staff and universities, driven by fixed assessment criteria, has many consequences. Universities have different student intakes, with some students better capable of addressing this hiatus than others, both materially and mentally, while course structures, their resourcing & capacity for online education are also likely different. Foreign students who have remained in the UK, may be particularly distressed while those with less access to digital resources will likely be disadvantaged, and courses emphasising material outputs will be disadvantaged.
It might seem that, in this context, derogating responsibility to Schools of Architecture to determine the best possible outputs achievable in the context and to their estimations of timescale, could be the best way forward, on the basis of their own expertise.
ARB & RIBA should respond constructively and flexibly to reduce the burden of current expectations, designed for a different world.
Health and resilience qualitative standards are inseparable. To address shortcomings in health and climate change a new synthesis has long been called for. What might the priorities be?
My thoughts for starters.
How about a big push now to ensure adoption of mandatory minimum space and storage standards, balconies for all flats, cross ventilated dual aspect dwellings with min. ceiling heights, limitations on numbers accessing dwellings from a single core, min. amenity space with more resilient water, energy, waste conservation, management and flood resistant installations, and national broadband over a single network.