Terry Kirby MCIOB
Berkeley Homes East Thames
Fourteen weeks behind with facade erection after the Grenfell fire forced a total envelope redesign, Terry Kirby built the facade bottom up and top down simultaneously to maintain programme. Through hard work, canny problem solving and determined leadership, he completed on time and within the contingency budget. He even won the High Rise of the Year award to make good on his strategy of winning enough time on the external envelope to deliver a challenging internal fit-out in style.
About the Project
Birch House, Kidbrooke Village, Greenwich, London
Client: Berkeley Homes
With this project for a complex cantilevered tower on a small footprint incorporating 90 units, all with different layouts and requiring 76 separate kitchen types in total, Terry Kirby knew he had to buy as much time as possible for the internal construction and fit-out. Rapid completion of the external envelope works would give him it, so he drove the facade design hard. He was just about to sign a procurement contract for a lightweight panel system that allowed for speedy installation when the Grenfell Tower fire wiped out all his progress. Rightly re-evaluating the facade composition, he moved to a total redesign that challenged not just his whole programming strategy but also cost.
By this point, though, Terry was 14 weeks behind on the facade erection date. So he introduced extra horizontal expansion joints in strategic areas to divide the facade into a series of boxes, and built it bottom up and top down simultaneously to hit the original scaffold-down date.
Nor was that the only consequence of the facade redesign he had to deal with. The cavity behind the facade had grown bigger to accommodate mineral wool insulation rather than the now discarded plastic foam. While this required a redesign of the lattice steel works to support the rainwater pipes, Terry also turned the challenge into an opportunity. He used the deeper cavity to run the pipes inside the facade, reducing the post-completion damage risk.
Hard work and extensive knowledge, problem solving and leadership – Terry brought it all to bear to cope with the extra pressure on an already difficult build. He still managed to complete on time and within the contingency budget. His triumph in the High Rise of the Year award vindicated his strategy of ensuring enough time to deliver a challenging internal fit-out in style.