Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP

Redevelopment of Winchester House, St Leonards-on-Sea

the project

We were appointed by Optivo in October 2016 to provide Employer’s Agent services for the conversion of a derelict early Victorian building which had formally been used as a school. Our client had purchased the property with the intention of converting it into 20Nr one and two bed units and constructing a substantial extension to provide a further 6Nr two bed units for general needs housing.

The scheme was partially funded by a grant provided by a local initiative known as Coastal Spaces Project which was formed to turn empty, run down and derelict properties into quality affordable homes.

The project aimed to meet the growing housing demand across a range of tenures and provide improvements to the public realm. Our client hoped to relieve the pressure of local housing need without compromising on quality.

our role

We secured Planning Permission for the extension and conversion and went to competitive tender to secure the contractor DCB (Kent) Ltd.

FFT have then monitored the work on site, reporting back to our client in the role of Employer’s Agent.

the challenges

The existing building had stood empty for over ten years and within that time the roof had developed major leaks which had severely damaged the structure of the building. When our client purchased the building, the extent of the damage was unknown as access was limited due to the site being deemed a dangerous structure.

Once the strip out of the building began, it was clear that the damage was far more severe than was first anticipated and a great deal of work would be required to stabilise the structure, which in turn would affect the programme and the cost of the project.

the solution

FFT were required to provide a more 'hands on' role within the project to speed up decision making and increase monitoring on site so that cost and programme could be reported back to our client on a more regular basis.

added value

By increasing site presence, we were able to keep a track of additional work required and look at alternatives that would have less impact on costs and timescales.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to hand the project over to our client as yet owing to various delays with Southern Water providing the connection to the mains water.