A Grand Design with help from Rapid Readymix

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A Grand Design with help from Rapid Readymix

by Rapid Ready Mix

Location – Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 2PW

We were contacted by a regular client of ours to help with a unique job opportunity that required our services. The contract was to replace a number of damaged floor tiles within the Houses of Parliament.

Once they had investigated the job onsite in further detail it soon became apparent the full extent of the works.

Underneath the floor tiles that had originally been requested for replacement required further works beneath as the concrete had given way over the years. This in turn had allowed the tiles to become loose and broken over time.
In order to repair the damaged floor, they required two lorries to cover the amount of concrete and a pump was a necessity due to lack of accessibility and to keep the mess minimal.
It was specified all vehicles had to arrive onsite together and crucial no mess was allowed to be left.

Sufficient amounts of tarpaulin sheets were provided by the contractors to ensure the flooring beneath both vehicles and the pump with line were protected from any mess or spillages which avoided hours of cleaning.

The work required completed within the specified 4 hour time slot, from start to finish. The work went according to plan and all specifications were met and most importantly no mess left onsite.

When building the ice cube like home it was clear they would need to use the highest quality building materials as the sculpture of such extravagant designed features would require.  That’s where Rapid Readymix, the Merton based supplier of quality concrete and screed became involved in the project.
“Rapid Readymix laid all the foundations for the Slip house. The concrete provided was a specialised mix design for this project. This type of specific mix is often required when building atypical structures such as the Slip House; otherwise there can be numerous problems not only for the builder but also the architects. Furthermore they would have to ensure the concrete can sustain the weight of the property, If not it could cause the building to crack and consequently the house would be unsafe.”

The architect for the project was award winning Carl Turner, a founding Director of Carl Turner Architects (CTA). He leads the practice and is directly involved with all projects.

“We are working to develop this model for multiple developments and as affordable housing.
Living and working (‘Living over the shop’) is something that really interests us.  We see a prototype new ‘terraced’ house, squeezed into under-utilised city (Brownfield) sites. This flexible type of home can allow for the artisan or home-worker to sub-let or downsize.“

This style of project can also have positive effects on the community Carl explains “This can enliven local communities and produce ‘homes’ which create opportunities rather than be dormitories or financial assets. Slip House is flexible and can be used as a single home, studio workspace and apartment, or two apartments”.

The perimeter walls are load bearing, freeing up the internal areas of supporting columns or additional load bearing walls. The house’s open-plan layout ensures that walls / dividers are simple to erect and require minimal construction effort. This aspect of Slip House is not only financially sustainable but also environmentally so, as it helps to ensure the permanence of the overall structure, as minimal modifications can allow the house to adapt to changing lives and living situations indefinitely.

Carl continued “Our approach was to model the building as a series of simple orthogonal box forms that use the full width of the site. This allows future buildings to simply adjoin the flank walls. The house takes the idea of three slipped boxes. The boxes are carefully placed to maximise light and outlook from inside while not intruding on neighbour’s outlook. The shifting planes also break up the bulk of the building and give it its sculptural quality”.

James Harveson (Rapid Ready Mix) summed it up “There was very little margin for error but with the latest state of the art machinery we were able to provide this mix on time and to the right specification. We also cube tested the concrete to reassure our customer of the quality product provided. Quality is not only in our logo, ethos but most importantly the product we supply.

This feature is brought to you by Rapid Readymix who create the speciality concrete which is manufactured in their mobile batching plant units.  When they deliver the concrete they use trucks which are mounted with their in-transit mixers. This enables them to offer speciality mixes of concrete for various types of buildings with specific designs, such as the slip house.

Photography: Courtesy of Tim Crocker www.timcrocker.co.uk

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