Ark Soane

March 2024


Part of a mixed-use project in Acton delivered by Jerram Falkus, an established construction company operating for over 140 years, Ark Soane was able to meet the growing need for both school places and high-quality homes in this area through a combined education and residential development.

The wider project comprised of three new tower blocks: two seven-storey and one twelve-storey. The ground, first and second floors were developed to accommodate phase two of Ark Soane Academy, a new £7.5m 1,200-place secondary school providing a fresh and modern environment to enhance learning.

The project also benefitted from easy access to reliable transport links and a variety of excellent amenities already in the area, including The Woodlands Park and a vibrant high street.

Safety first

Safety is paramount in any project but can become even more complex when a development is multi-storey and mixed-use. As part of the Ark Soane project NHBC were engaged to check the design and construction on site against the Building Regulations for statutory compliance based on BS9999:2017.

The work on this project included considering numerous exit discounting scenarios, as well as multiple locations of fire origin in order to model ‘worst case scenarios’ and ensure there was always sufficient escape capacity.

Louis Taylor, Principal Commercial Surveyor at NHBC explained “We checked the developing fire engineer’s strategy to ensure it modelled fires in differing locations in the building and subsequent discounting scenarios. This progressed to additional capacity being provided and ancillary escape routes, as well as an intelligent alarm system. The team also commented on the need for dry riser and firefighting shafts to the building due to its assembly use, which were subsequently adopted with any variations then agreed with the fire authority.”

Working smarter for safety

By engaging with NHBC at the beginning of the project and reviewing the proposals early on in in the process the wider team were able to identify any necessary changes, leading to a safer building.

A review of fire engineering proposals highlighted the need in the designs for additional escape capacity and the provision of firefighting shafts. If the project had been sent to the fire brigade without these shafts, objections may have been raised to the proposals which could have led to costly remedial work and unavoidable delays to the build programme.

Working with NHBC

NHBC provided full Building Control Services from design inception to completion on site for the Ark Soane development including the shellworks to the school that form part of the same building as the residential elements.

Rachel Rodrigues, Group Marketing Manager at Jerram Falkus, said “Working with NHBC for Building Control on this project has been beneficial as it reduced risks through the identification of key issues early in the design phase. This meant the fire brigade consultation stage was straightforward, preventing delays and avoiding the challenge of having to make potentially complex changes on site during build.”