The project was to convert, alter, extend, demolish, rebuild and refurbish the derelict Abbey Brewery site West Malling into new apartments.
The main 3 storey building stood centrally within the site, with a 2 storey structure to the north shared a boundary whilst stores adjoined the boundary to the south with housing. To the east and rear of the site the topography sloped steeply down some 8m to existing housing.
The existing gatehouse building was to be demolished whilst its adjoining 2 storey structure was to be extended. The stores adjacent the south boundary were also to be demolished and replaced with new parking areas and garage structures.
The central building was to be converted into four storeys by adding an additional floor providing new rooms in the roof. The building was then doubled in size by the addition of a new 4 storey extension mirroring the existing building. The ground floor required concrete machinery plinths to be carefully reduced to enable the existing ground floor to be reused and free up conversion of the basement, to residential accommodation.
A survey of the various existing buildings was carried out to confirm all steel beam sizes, column sizes, wall thicknesses. Trial pits were carried out to establish existing footing details. Brick samples were taken for laboratory testing to establish mortar and brick strengths, whilst core samples were taken from the concrete floors to check for reinforcement and for laboratory testing to establish concrete strength. Timber floors were inspected for rot and woodworm with all existing sizes noted and designed around.
consulting engineering, structural engineering, Transport engineering, flood risk prevention, civil engineering, rail engineering, rail engineering
The majority of steel beams were dated around the early 20th century and the historic sections book was referred to establish beam properties. The steel and cast iron columns were also checked by this method with the wall thicknesses checked by carefully drilling small holes in the wall of the columns.
The proposal to convert the two storey building adjacent the cemetery created problems, as the cemetery at a higher level and graves backed onto the building. External access was not therefore possible and therefore all new damp proofing details had to be contained within the structure with the minimum loss of room space.
The new buildings had to match the existing. Therefore bricks were sourced from various demolished buildings around the local area of approx. the same age and structural properties. The new garages were located at the rear of the site. To avoid loading the steep slopes at the rear containing unstable soils, a piled foundation solution was adopted, this transferring the imposed loads to stable strata, and avoiding the possibility of landslip.
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