Newham Council drops dRMM’s timber design for Brickyard development in favour of concrete alternative

5 February 2020

Initially approved in 2018 dRMM created the mixed-use 11-storey design to incorporate cross-laminated timber but the council has revisited the development due to post-Grenfell legislation.

A Newham Council statement stated: “A high-level review of the consented scheme was undertaken to understand how the design could be amended to improve the circulation, massing and appearance alongside changing the primary structure from cross-laminated timber to reinforced concrete frame due to changes to the Building Regulations.”

Alex de Rijke, director at dRMM, said “It was perfectly possible to comply with the building regulations by placing the timber structure inboard of the façade zone.” 

“dRMM’s original scheme was conceived in CLT not only for the enormous environmental benefit in terms of embodied carbon, but also for structural efficiency.” Mr. De Rijke added.

“Residential units above commercial premises require a transfer structure to avoid columns compromising open-plan shops; the lighter weight of a residential timber structure requires significantly less foundation, transfer and ground-level concrete structure than an all-concrete scheme.”

“It is perfectly possible to build engineered timber buildings and comply with the new legislation by placing the timber structure inboard of the façade zone. Complexity is not necessary or inevitable. In reality, the practical construction advantages of prefabricated timber buildings over in-situ concrete are legion, including faster build speed, fewer deliveries, smaller workforce, fewer trades, a safer process and healthier working conditions.”