Behind The Scenes at The Grand Exchange
With the demolition of the old Bus Depot site in Bracknell officially completed in November 2019, The Grand Exchange is now ready to embark on the next stage of the build process. Working with Fellows, project management and consultant partner, we’re taking the opportunity to go behind the scenes on the official 25th residential development by SevenCapital – one of the most exciting, forward-thinking developments in our portfolio.
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of work that goes into a SevenCapital development well before construction even begins on the site. What follows is a behind the scenes look at the build process for The Grand Exchange, from the moment the site is purchased to the point it’s officially ready for investors to take ownership and tenants to move into their brand new home.
Planning, Design and Procurement
Following the purchase of the site, the Fellows project team have been working closely with SevenCapital and partner contractors to develop an efficient, cost-effective development within the guidelines of the original planning agreement. With assistance from the local planning authority, the project team has been able to agree the necessary information to discharge all of the pre-commencement planning conditions and enable the ‘formal’ commencement of work on site – starting with the clearing and demolition of site which was achieved on November 2019.
Demolition and Enabling Works
Preparation for the demolition commenced in July 2019 when SevenCapital officially received the keys from the previous tenants and related utilities and services were disconnected. Demolition of all above-ground structures commenced in October 2019 and were completed in December 2019 in readiness for the New Year. It’s planned that the excavation of the existing foundations, concrete and redundant below-ground structures, alongside the treatment and remediation of contaminants within the soil itself will commence in early 2020.
Building Works Commence
Following the complete clear and confirmed safety of the site, construction will begin. It’s anticipated that works will take approximately 112 weeks from this point until completion. The initial stages of the construction will see the installation of the building’s foundations, ground beams, below-ground drainage and stormwater attenuation. Due to the size and height of the scheme, the foundations will be significant and a core element of this impressive build.
At this point, the overall vision of the site and structure will start to take place. The erection of the concrete frame will commence and the car park will be developed and secured, which supports the apartments and floor above as well as the concrete frame to the main structure itself. The installation of roof coverings and waterproofing layers are then of utmost importance as these will make The Grand Exchange watertight and enable the commencement of the apartment fit-out, without being held up by the weather.
As the external features are installed – including cladding and windows – the internal fitting will also begin from the second floor upwards. This is typically the point where activity on site will increase significantly, as multiple subcontractors from a range of different disciplines help bring these stunning apartments and amenities to life. From the reception area to the The Garden Room, The Lexicon Club, The Life-Club Gym and collaborative workspace The Exchange Lab, this is when The Grand Exchange will start to take shape.
This is also the stage where the more recognisable elements are put into place, from the ceilings, floors, tiling and carpentry to kitchens, internal doors and even wardrobes. Mechanical and electrical systems (M&E) are the last to be applied, ensuring that the development has the infrastructure in place to deliver the highest-standard of living.
Finishing External Works
As the interiors are fleshed out, our contractor will employ a separate team to bring life to the outside of the building and complete any high-quality external works. This will include the resurfacing of access into the site such as footpaths, paving to the building perimeter and internal courtyard, soft landscaping, planting, the installation of bin stores, cycle stands and any access controls such as pedestrian gates. At this point The Grand Exchange will become the instantly recognisable landmark that we originally envisioned.
Testing, commissioning, training and handover
The final steps of the process are to ensure that important due diligence is undertaken, including health and safety checks on top of testing and commissioning. This is the stage of the process where certificates are collated and we perform the final checks to ensure The Grand Exchange is built to our expected high-standards.
As handover approaches, the SevenCapital team are briefed on the building before we start our own inspections and ‘snagging’ – checking each and every apartment is up to scratch. Once we’re happy that our clients will receive a smooth handover and the very best product, the completion process can begin. All being well, the project will be handed over and completed by Q2 2022.