• 5 April 2019

Residential Transformation for Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Chesser House, located two miles west of the city centre on Gorgie Road, is set for major regeneration under the Embankment West scheme which will transform the area into a sought-after suburb.

MCR Property Group’s £30 m redevelopment of the 1970’s office block, once home to local government offices, will become a prime residential accommodation.

The existing office blocks are set to be converted, retaining much of the original structures. The front block will provide 40 affordable housing units, with the rear block offering 123 residential apartments. All units will be marketed by Regency Residential, the sales arm of MCR Property Group. Open-plan floorplates will form 163 one, two and three-bedroom apartments with the addition of glazed rooftop levels providing expansive windows illuminating the penthouse apartments with natural lighting. This will maximise the available floorspace for residential units, whilst the ground floor level will incorporate retail space and an on-site gym.

The current streetscape is set to be overhauled to allow the building to feel more closely integrated into the public realm, creating an inclusive pedestrian environment. Residents will also have exclusive access to a new central courtyard garden.

With high demand and short supply of modern residential accommodation in the city, the scheme will deliver 40 affordable homes, sure to attract the interest of first-time buyers looking to enter Edinburgh’s robust property market.

Waterman’s structures team have been working closely with MCR Property Group, providing structural engineering services for the major redevelopment. Initially, a series of intrusive investigations were undertaken to establish the condition of the current frame, size and location of reinforcement within the concrete elements and the extent of any carbonation.

As a result, our team determined the building was in a good condition requiring minimal repairs, yielding substantial time and cost savings through utilising retained structures.

Working in synergy we retained the existing structure, floor units tied to the precast concrete panels and in-situ band beams. These connections were enhanced with bolted steel plates, connecting the slabs to the supporting units. The original front and rear façades consisted of 1.6 m wide panels which, when bolted together with enlarged side panels, provide effective reinforced concrete columns.

The existing non-loadbearing partition walls were reconfigured to suit residential accommodation and a lightweight SFS frame was added to provide the new penthouse floors. This was supported on a steel transfer deck, floating above the present roof structure and spanning onto the existing structural column lines. During the refurbishment, it was not possible to remove the original roofs, which meant that a comprehensive survey of the area was unachievable. This resulted in onsite modifications to the transfer structure supports to ensure they each fitted within the design parameters.

Frank Chambers, Associate Director of Structures in Glasgow, commented; “We are delighted to have worked so closely with MCR Property Group on this exciting project which will bring new residential accommodation to Edinburgh, meeting the needs of this increasingly popular city.”

Nick Lake of MCR Property Group commented; “We hope that the conversion of Chesser House will be the first of many projects for MCR in Scotland. Embankment West is designed to dramatically enhance the area, providing well-designed and affordable housing that meet the needs of the city. We are delighted to be working with Waterman Group to deliver 163 homes that will raise the standard of residential accommodation in Edinburgh.”

Demolition commenced in December 2017 with completion scheduled for 2019.

Read our latest edition of Waterman Times here.

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