Coldean Community Hub

Coldean Community Hub Housing - Artists Impression

Case Study – Structural and Civil Engineering Feasibility Reporting for a Sustainable Housing and Community Hub

Gyoury Self regularly provides professional structural and civil reporting input on feasibility studies for construction projects. Our clients range from local authorities, property investors, developers and land owners, to not-for-profit housing organisations and trusts. We are usually commissioned to provide reporting where the proposed project is large or complex, or where some complications regarding the proposed development may arise.

In this instance, we were commissioned by Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust to produce a structural and civil engineering feasibility report for a proposed new community-led scheme to be developed in collaboration with Coldean Community Organisation.

The initial scheme, located on urban fringe site 21A behind the University of Brighton’s Varley Halls of Residence in Coldean, included construction of:

  • 16 affordable and highly sustainable family homes.
  • A community hub building with sports facilities for local people.
  • Light industrial/commercial or storage facilities.

It also required construction of an access road from a new housing development by Hyde Housing which is due be built to the northwest of site 21A. Provision also needed to be made for a temporary access road.

Gyoury Self was the structural and civil engineering design consultant for Phase 2 and Phase 3 construction of the Varley Park Halls of Residence so we were well placed to undertake the initial site survey, having already gained in-depth knowledge and information on the terrain, geology and drainage at the adjacent site.

As the client’s aim was to develop a low-impact, sustainable scheme, the feasibility study had to take specific project objectives into consideration. These included:

  • Use of low or no-dig construction methods and maximising off-site construction wherever possible.
  • Structures would be timber framed with green roofs, built to meet Design Working Life Category 4 standards.
  • A Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) approach to site drainage. As well as adoption of Rain Water capture and grey watering recycling systems.
  • Construction materials and components to be selected in accordance with BRE green guide to ensure that they have a low environmental impact.
  • 0% carbon emissions.

Accordingly, our structural and civil engineering study provided a comprehensive review with recommendations for:

  • Ground Conditions and Flood Risk.
  • Earthworks – The need for a 3D ground modelling ‘cut and fill’ exercise to address the considerable level change across the site.
  • Retaining Walls – Grading the ground to minimise the need for retaining walls.
  • Substructure – Issues and expense associated to ‘no dig’ construction methods and the various available alternatives.
  • Superstructure – Sustainable building options for off-site, prefabricated timber framing systems and pre-fabricated straw SIPS panels, plus recycled shipping containers and ‘rammed earth walls’ using local sourced natural materials. Also green roofs and a range of photo-voltaic panel systems.
  • Sustainable below ground foul water systems, with options for off-grid foul water treatment systems (including biodisc, biorock, and reed-bed/plant based treatment alternatives).
  • Details of suitable surface water drainage systems and permeable external paving.
  • An appraisal of all site risks and further information required prior to next design stage.

Gyoury Self was delighted to be involved in the initial stages of this exciting community-led project which could potentially provide high-quality, sustainable affordable housing, sports and community facilities to members of the Coldean neighbourhood


Do you need a structural engineer for feasibility reporting?

We offer a range of services for the assessment, analysis and resolution of structural and civil engineering challenges of any scale. Including:

  • Structural and Civil Engineering Feasibility Reports
  • Structural and Engineering Reports
  • Structural Defects Analysis

Please call T: 01273 414413 to speak with an engineer, or contact us to find out how we can help.


Image Credits: Studio Sevens, Taus Larsen Architecture, Coldean Community Organisation

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