Dorset Homelessness Nov 2013

Pilsdon Project Blessed with Good Weather

Set in the heart of Dorset, CRASH has been assisting The Pilsdon Community Trust for a number of years. Homeless People come to the community from all walks of life, always at a time of crisis, recovering from family breakdown, mental illness, addiction or coping with bereavement.

The need

Phase II, otherwise known as ‘The Loose Boxes’, is now under way. This project involves converting an existing stable block into short-term accommodation for people who have been sleeping rough.

How patrons helped

EC Harris has already undertaken a huge amount of pro bono work on this project as well as donating £15,000 towards the funding as part of the company’s Legacy Project.  Working alongside them is fellow CRASH patron BAM who is tapping into its supply chain to secure materials free of charge or at greatly reduced rates. BAM and EC Harris have also brought in Arup and NVB Architects to assist on the project.

Below is a progress report written by BAM’s Construction Director Nick Goff:

Over the next few months we will be dismantling the existing loose boxes accommodation units and stables then constructing a new shell to provide space for future fit-out works of new accommodation units, multi-purpose space and a food preparation area. We will also be constructing new stables for the cattle.

The structure of the new building will be constructed from timber and the materials used on the envelope and roof will be sourced to provide a similar appearance to the existing building form. This will provide a structurally sound building to develop whilst keeping the charm of the courtyard area.

Recent progress

As we were gifted with good weather during October, we were able to take advantage and complete the groundworks and pour all of the concrete to create the new ground floor slab.

Once the slab was laid and ‘gone off’ (become hard enough to walk on) a course of concrete blocks was laid to create a plinth to allow the timber walls within the stables to sit on.

Scaffold was erected along the line of the front wall to provide a working platform for the timber frame to be erected and means of safe access to the roof.

Timber wall plates were fixed to the rear stone wall and brick and block plinths to the front wall to allow the timber walls and roof rafters to sit on level.

The timber walls were manufactured off-site (in Whitney, Oxfordshire), delivered to site and erected within two of days – simples!

The tricky roof rafters around the curve of the stables have commenced and will continue along the straight to the WC and shower block over the first week in November

What’s next

Now that the all traces of the old timber ‘loose boxes’ have been removed and the groundworks and drainage are complete, it’s time for the new accommodation and stables to be constructed.

During November:

  • The timber walls and roof structure will be completed
  • The vast majority of the roof slate covering will be completed
  • Works within the stables will be started
  • Each timber board to clad the front wall will receive their first coat of decorative stain – individually by hand!

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