The construction of the hall has gone out to tender and the resultsare being analysed. At a meeting in mid-October, we were able to brief the parish council representatives about progress and some of the problems found as the expert input to the project progresses.
The solution to the problem of the poor quality soft ground under the hall is a much more expensive foundation with piling than was anticipated. Fortunately, the original cost estimate that we were given was prudently constructed to allow for unforeseen costs. Much more difficult to foresee was the cost of meeting current expectations from the water authority on handling drainage from the site. In the past, it was accepted that rainwater could find its way into the brook but nowadays mitigation has to be put in place to protect not only the village but also the Trent Valley. In our case this means a storage tank under the car park. Sticking with the theme of drainage, as the new building will be closer to the pavement, there is a drain under the current grassy area which has to be moved rather than built over.
These extras, plus a background change in some building costs, will certainly push us close to the limit on our construction budget. The knock-on effect of this is that it will reduce the funds we hope to use for the initial equipping of the hall. We had hoped to get as much of this sorted at the beginning but we may just have to be more patient. While building the new hall itself and improving the car park have been the priorities, John Perks also been applying for grants to improve the appearance of the whole site with a landscaping scheme. Sadly, although we were close, in the end the grant application for our landscaping scheme did not win, this is very disappointing.
In terms of when we can get started, the project team is still aiming for a December start but it may well be after Christmas. Ahead of this, we need a pre-demolition asbestos survey which will cause damage to the hall. Our safety consultant has explained that there is likely to be little or no asbestos in the hall but there is a chance that small amounts may have been used to fill gaps around windows or under the wooden floor. If so, his opinion is that this would be of the type that is very low risk and is actually quite easy to have removed safely. There is no question of putting anyone at risk. This work has to be done in advance as if it appears as a new problem during demolition it would cause a lot of delay and expense. The other issue that has to be resolved is getting permission to move the above mentioned drain and on this we are completely at the mercy of Seven Trent.
With the construction sorted, we are working on the finer detail so that the building works for the community. For example, no one wants a slippery floor where there might be spillage or a kitchen that does not function. We are looking at ways of increasing the energy efficiency but have been advised that solar panels would not be a good investment for this building, assuming we had the funds.
The plan for the next few weeks is to close after the activities on Friday November 30th and to clear the hall that weekend. I am grateful for the offer of storage I have had and would welcome more. firstname.lastname@example.org
Village hall: plans for a closing party to say thank you to everyone.
Following the success of the music festival in June, we are in discussion with Symphonic Winds about putting on an afternoon concert and with Agent Utah about an evening one. The dates under discussion are November 3rd and 10th, both are Saturdays. These are not fundraisers and we aim to offer tickets for either no charge or a minimal one as a way of saying thank you to the village for supporting the hall’s redevelopment. Final details will be put out in next month’s parish magazine, on the village hall website, social media and spread by word of mouth.
In the meantime the structural engineer has finalised a solution for the foundations. The ground underneath was found to be ‘soft’. Consultants have been appointed to advise on the electrics, acoustic performance of the hall and lighting for the whole site. When the hall closes on 30th November there will be an intrusive asbestos survey before demolition is allowed. We have a project manager from Armson’s who is ably guiding us through it all.
The fine detail of the building inside is being brought to a conclusion with the team from BiDesign. This is not an easy task as every decision affects the next one. The aim is to specify fittings that are both affordable and that will last. Planning the kitchen and storage areas for optimum use by has entailed a lot of detailed work. Every project requires an element of compromise. Storage is an issue in every hall and we visited quite a few to get ideas. We have made use of this information and also taken on board the advice that long term storage does need to be charged for. This will not be popular but it reflects the cost that we have had to go to provide secure space. Similarly, there will be a donation box on the front of the building and casual users of the car park not attending the hall will be encouraged to make an offering. Again, this is because there is a considerable cost in providing a safe surface. People are generous at Ticknall village hall car park, so we live in hope.
As submitted to the September parish magazine:
At last: a date for closing the village hall.
The site has been studied with core samples drilled down to nearly 3 metres where a layer of gravel and sand is found throughout the midlands. The strength of the soil is weaker than hoped so we are waiting for advice from the structural engineer as to how best to support the structure. The worst case scenario would be that we might have to opt for a steel framed building. It is also likely that water storage tanks have to be placed under the car park to slow the flow of water at times of flood risk. We have to follow the experts’ advice on such issues and there is a line in the budget for unforeseen costs.
A timeline has now been produced and the hall will close on 30th November. We will find a way to mark that occasion. Demolition is anticipated in December and a start on construction could be in the New Year with the hope of reopening in early August 2019. This is all subject to a contract being in place and the selected firm being available to start, of course, but it is felt to be a reasonable guess and users of the hall need to have more certainty than we have been able to offer before now.
There is no asbestos in the building (data from 2005) but we have to have another survey as part of the demolition procedure.
Work continues on pulling together the legal framework for handling the funds and also in pulling together the final strands of a complicated financial package. Some small grants are also in our sights so that we can equip the hall to a good standard within the final budget. The hall and parish council representatives do meet to review progress. Their support is greatly appreciated as there are many strands to this project.
The History Group is going through our extensive archive making a catalogue and photographing fascinating old material. I am very grateful as they will be able to advise on what we might usefully send to the county archives. There is a wealth of material that has been kept since 1937. It will be a great relief to get it sorted appropriately.
The best way to check something is to clean it. In the absence of our caretaker we can see just how things are wearing. Even the wonderful wooden floor is starting to show its age after 45 years. So we do have to get on with the replacement, we may not make the hoped for start date but it is more important that we get the job right. We are doing all we can to get to the tendering stage as soon as possible
Progress with the village hall ( August info).
Before the new village hall can go to tender with building contractors three tasks have to be completed. The first is finalising the financial package and the second is completing all the technical work specifying exactly how it should be built. Finally, a legal agreement will need to drawn up between the parish council and the hall trustees before any work can start.
The parish council has received notification that the loan can be drawn down to support the project. Obviously, there will be further work behind the scenes to make this happen but it is a crucial step and we are very grateful to the parish council for pursuing this on our behalf. The other work in hand is to finalise just how much money is available through what is known as section 106 monies paid to the district council by developers to be used for the benefit of the community. To this are added the monies given over the years by the parish council, savings by the village hall committee and finally the money raised so generously by the appeals committee as reported in last month’s magazine. Also, we have not given up on seeking grants that would make it possible to have the hall fully equipped and functional from day one. How much of our wish list is achievable will only be known when the final tender is agreed.
In the meantime, architectural work has been started. This has triggered ground investigation at the site to make sure that the specification for the foundations is correct. Issues of soil strength and height of water table have to be considered. To satisfy planning conditions we also have to have a tree survey. We already know that there are no bats roosting and that there is no asbestos in the building.
Construction projects are always complex, we have taken advice and appointed a project manager who will work with all the other professionals to keep things on track and with the quantity surveyor to make sure that costs are controlled. We may not make our hoped for start date of October 1st but it should not be too long after that. In the meantime, the hall continues to be in use and provisional plans are being made for the relocation of our regular users. Having tried to avoid any further expenditure on the current hall, the potholes in the car park became so bad that leaving them for another three or four months was not tenable. Similarly, I am very grateful to David Baxter for literally bailing us out of a plumbing crisis during a busy weekend. It has also been very heartening, on the back of the progress made, that individuals within the village are coming forward with very useful ideas and are volunteering to run with them on our behalf.
Given everything that is happening, we felt it was time to complete the red line on the thermometer outside the hall, very apt, given the weather!