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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Delivering a cladding replacement project in a changing environment


The UK Housing Awards recognise and reward the very best in the UK housing sector. Over the next few months, organisations and individuals shortlisted for a UK Housing Award are giving an insight into their work and why they have been nominated. In this blog, Kier group share their experience of a recent cladding replacement project in Bolanachi Building in Bermondsey, South London.

Recladding projects have never been a more sensitive topic, understandably so post-Grenfell and the Hackitt Review. Which is why it is important to acknowledge examples of good practice, which can provide the sector with important guidance, especially during these changing times.

A project for client the Hyde Group, to reclad the Bolanachi Building in Bermondsey, South London, a nine-storey mixed tenure block of 145 homes, is just such an example.

High levels of collaboration

Just days after arriving on site, Kier found serious complications with the building substructure which looked set to jeopardise timelines. This meant delivering the project to the original specification, using a traditional phased scaffold, was not possible. This was a serious blow for residents who wanted the work completed as soon as possible.

This combination of circumstances prompted us to work collaboratively with the landlord, Hyde Group and the contract agent, Martin Arnold, to find a new way forward. By combining our expertise, we were able to develop an alternative technical solution, to minimise further delays and reduce the impact of the work on individuals living at Bolanachi Buildings.

Together, we came up with the innovative Gridline System – planning and sequencing the work in smaller sections to enable us to re-fix panels in quick succession with a programme of multiple sign offs built into the process. The Gridline System also makes it easy to provide full documentation of all works carried out on the building which subsequently was one of the key recommendations of the Building Safer Futures consultation.

No complaints received from residents

The Gridline System minimised the disruption for residents while the work was carried out and enabled us to focus our engagement effort on those residents who were most affected by the work at any one time.

As well as making available the full programme of works in communal areas, Kier’s liaison officer met with residents at least two weeks ahead of work taking place and afterwards to gather feedback. An open-door policy actively encouraged residents to share their views and raise any concerns.

As a result of an open and honest dialogue with residents throughout the 16-month project we were able to build high levels of trust and no resident complaints were received.

A lasting legacy

While a one-off project, the work at Bolanchi Building has developed a strong methodology and can provide guidance to the industry at a time of uncertainty. During the project, numerous organisations – housing associations, local authorities and other government bodies – visited the site to learn more about the approach and Kier, Hyde and Martin Arnold have all said that the Gridline system and approach to resident engagement will serve as blueprint for future projects.

As a member of the Early Adopters group, Kier is committed to sharing knowledge and best practice with the sector. We believe this is essential as part of the wholesale culture change required to deliver recladding projects on a major scale. We have also recently developed a cross-sector group which is looking at how we can better procure such projects, to enable projects to be delivered in a spirit of true collaboration in the future.

We are proud of what we delivered at Bolanachi: not only has it made a positive difference to the lives of those residents directly affected, this project will leave a lasting legacy and will help to guide the industry as more and more cladding projects are delivered in the future.

To read a fuller case study on Bolanachi Building or to find out more about our technical solution visit Kier's website.

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