Change of use

PRO Structures has specialised in change of use, refurbishment and repurposing of buildings in recent years. With a need to minimise use of resources and waste from the building sector, there is a high demand for old and disused agricultural, industrial and office properties to be converted into residential.

This kind of work often includes interesting challenges, as the requirements for the new usage is often very different from its prior needs, and it may be both necessary and desirable to retain key features and structural elements while making major structural changes to the building as a whole. Examples of our work in this field include:

 

Caerwents Farm, Gloucestershire – three barn conversion projects

PRO Structures completed the structural design to create a third two-storey residential building from a historic agricultural barn, for Michael Keen and Sons Ltd at Caerwent’s Farm in Gloucestershire. The first such conversion we did for them dates back to shortly after we started PRO Structures in 2008, working with Vista Architects, and the second – the Dutch barn featured above, with Richard Biddulph Architects – in 2017. The most recent design, again by Richard Biddulph Architects, will see a 75 sq m cart shed transformed into a two bedroom dwelling later this year.

 

Weir House, St Annes – creating 30 new apartments from a 1960s office building

This fascinating project is set to create 30 new apartments out of an old 1960s office building called Weir House is helping to regenerate the area of St Anne’s in Bristol by providing vital new affordable dwellings for Merlin Housing Society, who are working in partnership with Bristol City Council and developer Prelon Developments. To achieve the client’s vision and meet the design brief, we worked closely with Angus Meek Architects, as well as GeoTesting Services on the geotechnical side.

It was a structurally challenging scheme, as the office block is L-shaped, with a modular steel frame, and the new proposals involve the need for lightweight partitions and re-cladding of the external elevations in order to ‘cut and carve’ the building  into flats. In dividing it up in this way, the structural design alterations included working around the existing internal columns, while needing to remove some cross-bracing, and rationalising the building’s stability by stiffening the affected areas. PRO Structures’ work also involved justifying the existing timber and roof members to make sure the building would work to the new tolerances and loads.

Alliance Property Care – Change of use to create 10 new apartments plus a new build in Shirehampton

Our client, social housing provider Alliance Property Care, who own and manage around 6,500 homes in the South West, proposes to modify an existing 3-storey commercial building to provide an additional lightweight 2nd floor while changing the 1st and 2nd floors, currently made up of offices and a break-out area, into 10 residential apartments. The ground floor will remain in use as a Job Centre, which Alliance currently leases out.

Our design to replace the existing second floor with a lightweight alternative will make it both easier and more cost-effective in build terms. Meanwhile, we are also working with Alliance on designs for of a new 3-storey apartment building situated on adjacent land at 24 Pembroke Road, Shirehampton.