Concept Design of the Royal London Building

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The Royal London Building, the former Bank and Metropolitan, The Regency style building in Lichfield Passage and Wulfruna Street and Chambers now occupied by ‘Diffusion’, will become available for re-use as a result of the construction of the new teaching facilities, administrative offices and Student Union recreation facilities at the university. Such is a concept design whose main aim is to create and promote an inspirational environment where a great number of student and staff can interact.

The main purpose of this report is to provide a brief bundle of information on how the existing building can be demolished economically and a recommended concept design approach for the new building, by evaluating the available options. The concept design report will include; Existing condition of building elements and systems, Opportunities for re-use of existing building elements and systems, Test / Fit scenarios based on the General Functional Program Development of a detailed Functional Program, Site opportunities and constraints, Architectural design concepts, Approach to Sustainable Design and Structural, Mechanical and Electrical system concepts respectively.

Concept design

The concept design is mostly the big picture which shows us the problem to be solved and how it will be solved. The concept design process will involve four steps; the first step will be thorough inspection of the existing building conditions and how it’s going to be demolished. Here options on the reuse of construction materials are weighed. The second step will involve finding a way to fit the new buildings in the available space (McKinney, 2004). In this case, space has to be adequately available for the teaching facilities, administration facilities and the student centre. The next step will be development of a detailed program on functions, whereby interviews and surveys have to be conducted to determine the specific requirement of each facility. Thus, this informs the concept design process on how the building will be constructed. The development of a concept design option, is the last stage in the concept design process which idealizes the construction of the new building.

The existing building as stated earlier, The Royal London Building, the former Bank and Metropolitan, The Regency style building in Lichfield Passage and Wulfruna Street, and Chambers now occupied by ‘Diffusion’ will be subject to demolition. Demolishing these buildings will require several considerations together with health and safety to prevent hazards associated with it.

Before any building demolition occurs, consideration have to be taken first. The few factors to be considered are functionality, cost and space needed from the building. Also, regulations should be considered incase there are some which could restrict their demolition. Other important factors to consider is the area where the building is located, the building material and the major purpose of demolition. The way that debris will be disposed should also be considered to avoid any injuries associated with them.

Health and safety considerations

 When it comes to safety and health in the construction activity, this is one of the most important part which should never be neglected (Doty 2012). The skills of the employees matter a lot, for instance only trained personnel should handle more explosive and dangerous materials. Qualified and experienced employees tend to be more careful and responsible while handling them.

In equipment, during demolition, employees should be knowledgeable when it comes to all aspects of work. They should understand all the equipment required for demolition and the protective equipment to be worn during the demolition process (Doty 2012). The importance of being conversant with the equipment is that it can help save lives and also prevent future demolition injuries which might occur. During the demolition process, bracings should be created in walkways and ceilings in case one wants to access the building during the demolition process. Its importance comes about incase an accident occurs, it will provide extra support preventing injuries and in worst cases death. Hoarding on site should be placed to show demolition is ongoing.

Before demolition begins, a final sweep should be carried out. It involves doing a thorough check in each room, hallways and wardrobes to make sure that everything important everyone is out. A safe distance should be kept get and all workers should be out of it before demolition process begins. An individual should be tasked to conduct the final sweep and alert the person in charge to begin the process.

Once demolition has taken place, well equipped and protected employees should clean up all the debris. It is a very dangerous state and so necessary precautions have to be taken to prevent accidents among the employees. The health of an employee is always important to enable them work effectively and efficiently throughout the demolition process.

Techniques to be used

When it comes to the demolition process, various steps have to be taken. These are; surveying, removal of dangerous materials, preparation of plan and safety measures. In determining the type of technology to be used, the structure height, site conditions, structure location and structure shape have to be considered. There are two types of demolition methods used, they can be non-explosive and explosive demolition. In non- explosive demolition, no explosives are used in bringing down a building. Alternatively, different equipment is used and they are; sledge hammer, excavators and bulldozers, wrecking ball and high reach excavators.

Figure 1: Demolition Process

Source: (Mabelle 2007)

Demolition by use of machines, as in figure 1 and 2, involves a top down technique whereby floors are demolished one by one. In this method the machine is lifted to the top of the building, where the demolition process begins. For safety purposes, the movement of the mechanical plant is prohibited within 2m of the edge of the building or within 1m of any floor opening. These machines can involve hydraulic crushers which uses the technique of hydraulic thrust to break down the concrete through a long boom arm (Mabelle 2007). A wrecking ball, involves a crane equipped with a huge steel ball, can also be used. The method is suitable when there is adequate space and also demands high level skill operators and also well-maintained equipment. This is one dangerous method which does not require non-qualified personnel on site (Masonry 2015).

Figure 2: Demolition Process

Source: (Masonry 2015)

In explosive method, as shown in figure 3, it involves use of detonative to bring down a structure or the inward violent bursting to allow the elimination of structural supports. Method always demands the expertise of a specialised engineer in demolition since very technical explosives are used. The implosion method, can be by making the building fall like a tree or making it fall into its own footprint. The environmental considerations when using explosive methods are; to look out for adjacent properties not to be damaged by flying debris during their collapse, air pollution by the massive dust and airborne particles, massive disruption of traffic and pedestrian movement in the city and finally shock, and vibration effect to adjacent properties not to affect their structural stability. It is known to save cost and time for tall structures (Harris 2011).

Figure 3: Using Explosives

Source: (Harris 2011)

To reduce the effects of implosion method of building destruction, a new approach known as the Soundless Chemical Demolition Agents(SCDAs), in figure 4, has been developed. The method is modified in a way to use lime-based chemicals to bring down the building therefore replacing the traditional explosive means. It fractures the large rock boulders or concrete to manageable sizes and demolishes the rock structures too (Griffin 2015).

Figure 4: Soundless Chemical Demolition Agents


Source: (Griffin 2015)

 Thus, this would be the most suitable method in bringing down these buildings since they are located in the urban centre and its benefit is; it is noiseless, it is vibration free compares to the traditional explosives, as for dust gas and fly rocks it is also pollution free with high safety and there is high protection for everyone involved. Materials can easily be recycled since there is no maximum damaged. Despite its cost, this is the most efficient method to be used due to its environmental advantage. Considering in terms of cost, then use of explosives would be the recommended method (Griffin 2015).

New development

Façade retention is providing support for existing party walls as the new internal floor structures and layouts are constructed to meet the needs of modern design. Double skin glazed façade will be used to minimize the amount of solar gained into the building as for the walls, light steel infill should be considered as substructure and designs are shown in Appendices A and B respectively.


In building and construction, several types of foundations are used depending on the ground conditions and the type of structure to be constructed. Foundations help distribute load from the building into the ground. In determining the type of foundation to be used in the building, soil analysis has to be carried out first. Combined pad and strip foundations can be used in construction of these buildings due to the favourable ground conditions available.

Pad foundations are used to support a single or several columns transferring the load to the ground. They are mostly rectangular or square in shape while the area is mostly determined by the bearing capacity of the soil. For any multiple columns of the buildings, pad foundation is the most suitable type to be used. With this type of foundation, the slab thickness has to be sufficient to ensure well load distribution.

Strip foundation will be used to support if any, closely spaced columns and walls. Strip as a foundation type has several advantages which are; it is able to withstand great loads, doesn’t require special training requirements for personnel it is easy to build, they provide very long service, they save on cost since they are much cheaper to acquire than that of in-situ structures and finally is that they insulate much better compared to other foundation types.

Structural frames

In building and construction, structural frames are the systems which resists loads in a building. The structural members of the building transfer the load through the interconnected. The main purpose of this members is to provide stability to the building. They are sets of complex columns, beams, trusses, girders and spandrels connected to each other with the columns connected to the foundation. The kind of beams preferred here should be reinforced concrete beams.

Internal floors and ceilings

Generally, the floors will be designed in a way to spread the vertical loads into both the primary and secondary beams, as for the horizontal loads they will be distributed into the erected columns. Ideally the internal floors can be made of beam and block, for all the floors. In this method, precast reinforced concrete beams are arranged and laid in rows, with their ends resting on the damp-proof course(DPC) on the inner leaf in a way similar to the traditional joists. The inverted T profile is then designed in a way it can accommodate 100mm standard concrete blocks, and in-between the walls infilling is done which makes this construction method to be quick and inexpensive (McCoy, N., Woodcock, D. & Brown, C. , 2017). As for the beams to be used, the standard size is 150mm deep and for longer span a depth of 225mm is to be used. For achievement of greater strength, the rows are laid together closely with the blocks being laid sideways.

External wall enclosure

Cladding is a very important material when it comes to buildings and so the most durable type of cladding should be considered. Stucco cladding can be considered since it is cheap to acquire, it is versatile aesthetically, durable, resistant to fire and the basic materials are plentiful in supply. As for the student centre, the brick/stone recycled from the demolished buildings can be used since it is strong with long longevity and requires low maintenance.

Roof types

The type of roof chosen is always of great importance since it brings out the aesthetics of the building. Interlocking tiles will be the best option for the administration to use for the new building since it reduces the necessity of overlapping as compared to the traditional tiles. One great importance of this kind of roofs that it is easy to lay and weather tight. The structural engineer is then to choose the pitch and roof structure so that the choice of tiles can later be determined. A green roof is suitable for the student centre at this point, where drought resistant grass and flowers are planted. The flat roof acts as a recreation point and study area, filters the pollutants in the air and also controls the storm water runoff.

Atrium roof structure

Inclusion of atriums in roof structure at the centre of public buildings, is of importance since it improves its aesthetic, maximizes benefits of direct solar gain, exposes adjacent indoor spaces to daylight and increases inhabitant’s interaction and socialization. this daily light penetration reduces the amount of artificial lighting and thus lowering the cost that would have been spent.

            When designing the atrium, various opening characteristics are to be considered such as the opening size, location, position, and location. In size, the new building will use the optimal size since air temperature stratification will be affected by increasing if the atrium is of greater size. As for location, an optimum size also will be considered as per the structural engineers’ prescription. This factor also affects the direction of flow of air. An example is pressurized ventilation, in this model, the vertical vent provides good distribution of cool air to the round level due to the high thermal buoyancy effect. The roof properties also affect the atrium position in terms of thermal comfort and low maintenance cost (Berardo, K. & Deardorff, D., 2012).

Fire protection and escape routes-new building and atrium

Planning for fire protection involves designing it against the sources of fire. The source can be; manmade fire, natural, incidental and finally wildfire in any case. It always important to ensure human life protection. In the buildings, will be designed in a way enhancing fire department access. The layouts will then be designed in a less complex manner to enable firefighters access each room freely. There will be rapid access to fire features such as the fire alarm control, fire department connections, fire command centre, fire pump room, key boxes and hose valves.

            The minimum building construction requirements should be met to protect the building from fire hazards. The features to be observed include position of the exit, occupancy types, interior finish, fire ratings and separations requirements. Life safety, as a factor, will address the exit access paths, exit remoteness, exit discharge, area of refuge, the occupancy, door locking arrangements and finally the accessible exits. Fire detection and notification systems should be checked during design, whether the buildings can enhance the survivability of the systems, the efficiency of the alarm and notification systems and mass notification. Smoke detectors will be put in stairwells, elevators, corridors, telecom rooms and electrical rooms for easy detection.

            In special fire protection requirements, the smoke control systems will  be engineered to work efficiently, the atrium space has to be optimum to avoid fire hazards associated with it and finally the fireproofing and firestopping systems need to be put at accessible places in the building (Lataille, 2003). Other requirements to be observed during the fire protection installation include the emergency power, lighting and exit signage and fire suppression requirements such as the water supply systems. The manual pull stations, will be put averagely within 3to 3.5m of all exits with centres of 60m, within the building.

Areas where the principle of buildability can be employed

Buildability is how far the design of a building facilitates easy construction while subjected to the overall requirements necessary for a complete building. Principles of buildability include the designers should try and produce the simplest possible details of a building, innovative ideas should be used to ease the construction of a building, the building should recognize the tolerances normally attained at site level, it should have proper scheduling, to reduce time consumption, repetition and standardization should be appropriate and finally project team members with knowledge on the design should be allowed to participate.

            In the construction of the new building, all relevant team members and the students will be involved in the construction of the institution facilities. During early construction stages, timing should be considered to avoid damage of structural work by the weather (Highfield, 1991). Another area to employ buildability principles is below the ground work, they should be carried out carefully to reduce total amount of time. This ensures safety and minimizes the effect of work due to the surrounding buildings. To maximize constructability performance of the project, the design tools, plant and equipment should be easily accessible. In optimization of the building, locally available and materials from the old building should be used.


Economical and efficient design requires proper planning and involvement of all the project teams. Double skin glazed façade will be used to minimize the amount of solar gained. The main advantage of using double skin glazed is that they extract heat during the cooling season. The additional skin may then form a buffer zone to reduce heat loss and enable passive solar gain. For the foundation types, strip for wall and closely spaced columns is cheap to acquire the materials and easy to use thus making it less expensive. Fire protection will be accurately placed to protect the lives of people working in the building and those who will occupy it later.

The new building focuses on reducing the demand of resources by retaining as many structural elements as possible. To preserve the environment and to promote the localized manufacturing community, the materials should be specified. To reduce the repair cost, and the long maintenance cost, the new building elements are to be constructed in a durable manner. As an education project, the facility will be at a great position to showcase sustainability and education

Advantages of the design

o The main advantage of this design is that it is cost effective since materials from the old building are reused.

o Recycling of building materials from the demolished building yields significant environmental and economic benefits.

o It promotes historic preservation of the building by conserving energy and resources. Environmentally, it will lower pollution since the materials to be wasted are recycled.

o The design will provide employment to the locals around.

o Fire safety equipment shall be well placed, making it easy to identify the fire hazards, people are not at risk.

o The machines will be well positioned to prevent overheating that would be associated with, if not regularly checked and properly maintained.


Berardo, K. & Deardorff, D., 2012. Building cultural competence: innovative activities                                    and models. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing LLC.

Doty, M., 2012. Lost Dallas.

Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing.

Griffin, D. H., 2015. D. H. Griffin Companies. [Online]                                                      

Available at:

Harris, T., 2011. How Building Implosions Work. [Online]                                                

Available at: ; implosion.htm

Highfield, D., 1991. The construction of new buildings behind historic façades. London New    York : E. & F.N. Spon Van Nostrand Reinhold, Inc.

Lataille, J. I., 2003. Fire protection engineering in building design. Amsterdam Boston:             Butterworth-Heinemann Print.

Mabelle, 2007. Demolition Services. [Online]

Available at: :            demolition-techniques-and-advantages-disadvantages.html

Masonry, D., 2015. Safe WaYS to Achieve Masonry Demolition. [Online]

Available at:         demolition/

McCoy, N., Woodcock, D. & Brown, C. , 2017. Architecture that speaks: S.C.P. Vosper and ten            remarkable buildings at Texas A & M. College Station: Texas A & M University Press.

McKinney, R. E., 2004. Environmental pollution control microbiology. Print ed. New York: M.         Dekker.

Appendix A: Master Plan

  Source: (Author, 2018)


Appendix B: Elevations and Sections

            Source: (Author, 2018)

August 01, 2023


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