Abbeyfield care home, Worcester

Civil and structural engineering delivered to support the development of a new Abbeyfield care home providing 37 apartments.

Abbeyfield care home, Worcester

Working with leading construction group, Thomas Vale, and end client The Abbeyfield Society, our multi-disciplinary team provided infrastructure, civil and structural engineering services for the design and build of a new care home facility in Worcester. This development is the county’s first not-for-profit retirement community.

The Abbeyfield Society is a global charity providing housing, support and care for people at different stages of later life. The Society wanted to provide high-quality, community-focused retirement living for the over 55s in Worcester.

This residential development is located within walking distance of Worcester town centre and comprises 37 retirement apartments spread over three-storeys, with a central communal space, activity rooms, restaurant and a health and beauty suite.

The home was built using a combination of load bearing masonry and structural steelwork. A steel transfer level was provided at the first floor to facilitate the ground floor communal areas. Due to the overall height restriction imposed by the local planning authority we used Tata Slimflor beams in the transfer level, keeping the structural zones to an absolute minimum.

The building is located within an existing, narrow, residential road and surrounded by adjacent terrace houses, which were approximately 70 years old. We supported our client by exploring a range of solutions to determine how to safely erect the new structure given the challenges of this specific area, whilst maintaining the proposed schedule for completion.

One of the main issues was that, due to access, the crane size had to be limited. This also meant that the crane would not be able to reach across the whole building footprint from one single position. There were also very few positions where the crane could be located and all of those would mean that the crane would effectively be “built in” as the structure was erected with no way to remove it.

Various solutions were considered to overcome these issues, including, changing the construction to more expensive methods. In the end it was decided that the structure would be built in sections allowing the crane to move around the site. This meant that the temporary stability of the structure had to be considered and the contractor was advised which sections could be built and to what level before adjacent sections would need to be constructed. However, the issue of “building the crane in” could not be overcome, but a solution was devised that allowed for part of the structure at low level to be left out, this allowed space for the crane to be removed and the area completed afterwards.

The new facility opened in March 2016 and was short-listed for the West Midlands Regional Institution of Structural Engineers award.