Nonsuch Abbeyfield, Surrey

Delivering M&E solutions for a later-living scheme which combines private residential with affordable rental with amenities and communal space for socialising.

Nonsuch Abbeyfield

Nonsuch Abbeyfield is a new-build scheme of 60 apartments for sale or rent, designed for over 65s to offer independent living in low-maintenance homes with on-site facilities and communal spaces to socialise.

Run by not-for-profit organisation Abbeyfield Southern Oaks, it is a 3-storey building which brings together different uses under one roof from one- or two-bedroom, self-contained residential apartments to a central core providing facilities and amenities.

Located in the Surrey village of Ewell on what was originally a sports field, the concrete frame building comprises three wings which join a central communal area. This central core houses the facilities including restaurant, cinema, fitness suite, hairdresser and lounges which have to meet a range of different regulations.

Construction was carried out by Castleoak with WT Partnerships the project manager. Hydrock was asked to advise on the technical design and to oversee the work for quality control and consistency. We also assisted in keeping the project on schedule and evaluated the CHP system which was chosen to provide more cost-effective and sustainable heating and hot water.

We then supported the handover of the finished development, commissioning and testing the equipment.

While offering care support and assistance for residents if needed, the support system is designed to be subtle so as not to feel institutional. It operates a digital warden system which uses Wi-Fi technology. Each apartment is equipped with an iPad through which residents can contact reception, or raise the alarm if help is needed. It also gives them video calls to friends and family.

Hydrock tested each home for Wi-Fi dead spots to ensure consistent coverage and service. The system has a back-up which alerts the reception staff and the operator if the Wi-Fi signal is lost.

As this wasn’t a traditional residential scheme, we also undertook additional checks on the fire alarms to factor in that older residents may have problems with their hearing. This is particularly important in the bedroom areas to make sure that each fire alarm was reaching a minimum of 75db.

We also worked closely with the interior designer to make sure that lighting and other services integrated well within the spaces to maintain the high-quality feel of the development.

Nonsuch Abbeyfield is a short walk from the local shops and train station and is set within landscaped grounds with communal terraces and outdoor activity space. There are also charging points for electric vehicles and mobility scooters.