Repair of fire damaged listed building, Enfield


The building in question was the drawing office of the former Royal Small Arms Company in Enfield.  During the late 1990’s this listed Victorian building was sub-divided and converted into 9 two storey dwellings.  One afternoon the living area on the first floor of the middle dwelling caught fire.  This fire rapidly developed in the open roof void and spread both ways to neighbouring units.  By the time the fire was put out, 7 of the 9 houses had been badly damaged by both fire and water.

Our client, who was the freeholder of the building, appointed BRD Tech to specify and oversee the rebuilding works, tendering and letting the contract and acting as Contract Administrators.  In addition we were asked to liaise with the insurer and the appointed Loss Adjusters.

Our solution

The building was Grade II listed and Listed Building Consent was required before any works could be commenced.  As all the residents had been moved into temporary accommodation, we worked closely with the Local Authority to ensure this process was concluded as quickly as possible.  During this period the building was made safe, cleared of debris and surveyed.  Between the fire and water damage, it became apparent that the dwellings would need to be stripped back to their structural shell and be completely refitted.  The roof formed the crowning glory to the first floor living spaces, being vaulted and supported by 10m clear spanning timber trusses.  This had been destroyed in 7 of the 9 units and required complete replacement.

Work delivered

BRD produced a schedule of works and accompanying construction drawings.  Working with a Quantity Surveying Practice we prepared tender documentation, advised on the selection of a contractor and acted as Contract Administrator during the works.  This process involved day to day liaison with our client, the Loss Adjustors, the contractor and 9 sets of leasehold residents.

A particular difficulty affecting the re-building works was the extremely limited access to the site.  The building is situated in the middle of the redeveloped Royal Small Arms site and is flanked by a canal and tow path on one side and a narrow highway on the other. The building itself was joined at each end to other long Victorian listed terraces. A site compound for storage and deliveries was established remotely in the car park of a local supermarket and all materials in and out of the building had to be man handled along the tow path.

The roof design was a significant part of the works for all involved in the project.  It was determined that the timber was Douglas Fir rather than oak and this involved sourcing 10m lengths of 300x300mm timber.  The structural engineer then had to prove a Victorian truss design so as to match these being replaced in this Listed Building.  A specialist timber fabrication company was called in to manufacturer these trusses and the Contractor had to employ the largest mobile crane in the UK to lift them into position.

Despite these challenges, the team were able to complete the works on budget allowing the residents to move back into their homes for Christmas.

Design and Contract Administrators – BRD Tech Ltd.
Quantity Surveyors – Jelly Associates
Structural Engineer – Peter Hill Partnership
Contractor – ROK
Loss Adjustors – Davies Group & Harris Claims Group
Timber Frame Manufacturer – Carpenter Oak & Woodland