Case Study:
1st Knutsford
Scouts HQ

Project Overview

Project Type:

New build Scout Hut

Project Status:

Completed on site

The Client:

1st Knutsford Scouts group

The Brief:

1st Knutsford Scout group approached Hive to provide a new HQ building fit for the 21st century to replace their aging facility, with inclusive access and cycle provision.

The aim was to deliver a low maintenance, high-quality contemporary building for the Scouts, with room for future growth. The client also wanted the facility to be suitable for use by other groups, so it could earn additional income and ensure long term viability.

The Strategy:

As soon as we saw the site, it was clear the constraints were considerable and varied.

  • Ecologically protected Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and RAMSAR Phase 1 location, with potential for various protected fauna
  • Designated conservation area
  • Site ringed by trees, all protected by Tree Preservation Order, with the root protection area covering most of site
  • Prone to vandalism
  • Highly sensitive public space in a park in the heart of the town
  • Access limited by a rail bridge and narrow lanes, with implications for CDM design planning and construction logistics

Our approach was to work with the trees rather than against them, largely keeping within the footprint of the existing building, with a minor increase where there was least impact on the trees. We also designed from the outset for mini-piled foundations for trees, and decided on an off-site fabricated build to both minimise CDM risks and maximise the performance of the building.

We developed a flexible plan, with a single large hall capable of accommodating larger groups. The hall could also be separated into two smaller rooms operating independently, allowing for more diverse uses. Service spaces are housed in a wing off the side of this main space and provide improved facilities for storage and for drying equipment after camps.

The brief required an architecturally robust building able to withstand the wear and tear it will no doubt face. Our solution is a cross-laminated, timber panel construction with tough yet beautiful wood faced interiors. External materials are contemporary, robust, low maintenance and sensitive, without being pastiche, with high quality fibre cement panels to unprotected facades and natural timber cladding to street sides, and black metal roofing. Cladding is also detailed to provide habitat for fauna and increase biodiversity.

Instead of security bars, the entrance is protected by a sliding steel screen cut to a pattern of local flora and fauna developed by the children.

Community engagement was critical to our strategy. Extensive public consultation was carried out with social media, press coverage and open days. Any critical comments were given real consideration. The result was huge public support for the planning application, which was approved by the local authority.

Extensive investigation by Hive went into assessing if the site and access would permit the crane and delivery vehicles needed to facilitate the build method. This included checking a rail bridge height, HGV swept path around a 90 degree corner that could only be achieved by arranging for temporary closure of some on street parking spaces. In addition we had to check the crane needed could fit onto the limited hardstanding space, reach the far corner of the site, and turn as needed. To achieve this we had to arrange for approval for pollarding and crown lifting work to protected trees.

The Service:

Full architectural service

The complexity of the site means our input throughout is vital to ensuring the intended solution is delivered with maximum value.

"We have been delighted with the incredible level of support that we received from Hive throughout the project."

"We have felt fortunate to have had Hive as a partner and they have been key to making our tricky design, planning and build process run smoothly."

"Hive quickly developed a thorough understanding of our numerous requirements and produced a scheme that was both fully functional and sympathetic to its unique location."

Martin Relton, District Commissioner, Knutsford District Scouts
Martin Relton, District Commissioner, Knutsford District Scouts
Martin Relton, District Commissioner, Knutsford District Scouts

The Result :

The Scout group were funding the build themselves and we worked with them on this to help raise funds including accessing grant funding. Planning approval is essential to most funding sources, so getting this swiftly was critical. Early value engineering by Hive and the QS suggested that CLT would increase cost but we took it upon ourselves to seek out suppliers and found one that was keen and working with them to make some minor adjustments we could deliver at a cost neutral level. The added value of this system though was huge creating a robust yet beautiful finish that has received much admiration by users.

The build method is highly air tight and well insulated with wood fibre board insulation to create a comfortable yet affordable to run building.

Although we didn’t have the budget to benchmark it we believe the building has very low embodied carbon with the super structure, insulation and timber cladding being carbon sequestering products.

The Scout group have been able to expand their members and let the space out to provide an income stream making the building economically as well as ecologically sustainable.

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