Stewart Milne Timber Systems - Paintworks scheme

Project Details

Project - Paintworks scheme
Sector - Commercial
Company - Stewart Milne Timber Systems
Technology - Timber Frame

Project Overview

Stewart Milne Timber systems provided the structural timber wall, floor and roof elements which formed part of the Crest Nicholson Paintworks scheme in Bristol. Based in the heart of Bristol's Creative Quarter the original paintworks site was built in 1850 and used as a Victorian paint and varnish factory, and has since undergone a huge reinvention during the last decade and is now one of the most inspiring living spaces in Bristol.

Timber fabric construction addressed the specification requirements for a low carbon development with speed of build and efficiency of programme matching the criteria.The selection of timber frame for the build method was extensively researched and fully planned well ahead of the construction phase. This allowed the development to proceed faster than in masonry or steel to keep up with the excellent sales rate, enabling the development to be "civilised" quickly and maintained a safe environment for workers and residents alike.

Throughout the entire process the concept stayed the same and, if anything, the buildings have become even more special than first imagined. The existing colours and graphics at Paintworks have been encompassed and a number of new buildings that have their own identity.

We have a long standing working relationship with the developer on this scheme, Crest Nicholson, one of the Uk's leading residential property developers. They approached us to provide them with the technical and operational support to design, manufacture, supply and erect timber frame kits to the project. The site consisted of 96 units, split into 8 terraces of houses and 4 Blocks of Flats, with the timber frame element being an order value of circa £1.2m.

This is a tight inner city site with speed and quality of build being paramount to deliver the project on time and within budget. This was a challenging development, which consisted of the largest podium slab in Europe, a mixture of high rise concrete frame structures of residential apartments and commercial accommodations and timber frame townhouses with a high specification of external and internal features. The scheme focussed on the use of cycle routes and pedestrian links so logistical access to the units needed careful planning. The project required CSH4 and BREEAM Very Good standards to be met.

Our approach and engagement helped the scheme get recognition with Dominic Hampton, Project Manager and the team at Paintworks, achieving a Quality Award, Seal of Excellence and Regional Award in the NHBC Pride in the Job Awards. Dominic was also nominated for the National Awards.

The 'Pride in the Job' competition is one of the housebuilding industry's most prestigious awards, recognising Site Managers who achieve the highest standards in housebuilding. The category was judged by Building Inspectors and Inspection Managers and an independent judging panel who assessed the quality of building work from foundations, the structural timber frame through to finishing touches across the three stages of inspection. The inspection took place throughout the project programme to monitor the progress of the development.

The specific form of timber frame used had to overcome the challenges of a very tight site and the fact that only one crane was available to be accommodated whilst building on two fronts in both timber frame and in pre-cast concrete.

For this project after considerable collaboration and deliberation it was decided to utilise a timber frame solution that involved small panels and loose joists that could be pre-loaded into position and then manually erected, therefore minimising the "hook time" on the single crane on the project. Large panel, floor and wall cassettes would have meant the introduction of additional cranes where there was no room and would have increased the project cost without any benefit being realised.