London & South East

Velocity remains on track

Velocity Brooklands

A brand new office development is currently under construction on a site adjacent to the former Brooklands motor racing circuit in Surrey.

The Velocity project is being developed by Exton Estates Limited and comprises the construction of two five-storey office buildings that will provide around 105,000 sq ft of net lettable area (NLA). The project is taking shape on the Brooklands estate in Weybridge, which was previously the home of the famous Brooklands race track. The estate is owned by German car manufacturer Dalmer Chrysler and incorporates Mercedes-Benz World and the Brooklands Museum in addition to a number of new developments.

VolkerFitzpatrick is the main contractor for the £15.3 million project, whilst ESA is the architect and Kevin Griffiths of Gleeds is the project manager.

Construction began in September 2011 with funding provided by leading fund manager Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP.

Work completed so far includes the construction of reinforced concrete frames for each of the buildings, along with the steelwork for the plant and flat roof structure. First-fix mechanical works have now commenced, along with the construction of the car park and the bridge feature at the site entrance.

Velocity Brooklands

Once work is complete, the office buildings will feature curtain walling and a rainscreen façade, along with a glazed atrium that spans the height of the building. A brise soleil stretching the length of both buildings will also be added to the front reception areas. The brise soleil will provide shade to each building whilst at the same time giving the impression that the two buildings form one large office block.

Interestingly the architect has chosen the colour silver for the curtain walling and brise soliel as a direct reference to the history of the site, in particular the Napier Railton race car which holds the all-time race lap record.

The buildings have been designed to be clean, contemporary and dynamic with a visually striking shape. The highly visible raking front elevations have been developed to give the buildings a strong sense of identity and relate to the idea of speed, movement and technological innovation. Although this design is structurally challenging, it does allow for additional flooring on the upper storeys.

All efforts have been made to ensure the buildings are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, with the development expected to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’.

Sustainable features include rainwater harvesting tanks that will be used for washroom facilities and external watering, as well as the incorporation of photovoltaic panels across the roof. The building will also be thermally efficient and lighting systems will include automatic dimming linked to daylight sensors, Passive Infrared Sensor lighting controls (PIR) and LED lighting in key areas. Electric car charging points are also being provided in the car park along with substantial bike storage to promote green travel options.

Velocity Brooklands

A car park will also be constructed and will house a storm water retention system to store excess rainfall. This feature will be installed beneath the car park and will provide a cost-effective method for water retention. The car park will be constructed using a mixture of tarmac and permeable block paving to allow water to soak through with ease.

Additional work will include extensive landscaping around the site to include trees, plants and sustainable shrubs.

As the project is being built on a former motor racing circuit, various parts of the track are being retained by English Heritage for their historic significance. Immediately behind the office site is an original section of the race circuit, which is a listed ancient monument.

In order to work around the designated areas of preservation, a rear entrance to the estate provides access for site traffic and specialist track-way systems have been installed to preserve the ancient track beneath. Considerations have also been taken into account for a hotel that sits adjacent to the development. Construction crews are liaising with hotel staff in order to reduce any unnecessary disturbances, with noisy work being conducted between set timeframes.

Work on the Velocity project is on schedule and external elevations are currently being constructed to make the building watertight. First-fix brackets are being attached for cladding and glazing to be installed, whilst steel work is being installed on the fourth floor for plant rooms and the roof of the upper-storey office areas.

Once the main structure and elevations are complete, the next stage of construction will be conducted on a floor-by-floor basis to provide services and finishes for floors and ceilings.

Gleeds Project Manager, Kevin Griffiths, said:

“In the current market finding clients that are involved in speculative developments are few and far between, so it’s a good to be involved with a project like Velocity where we have a good working relationship with Exton Estates Limited and their funders, Rockspring PIM.

“This project has a confident client who is satisfied that the end result will be provided on time, and that is very satisfying to know.”

The Velocity project is scheduled for completion in September 2012.

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