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Ben Crom Close, Kilkeel


This social housing project consists of eight 2-storey semi-detached houses plus single-storey sheltered accommodation in twelve self-contained units with kitchen, bathroom, living/dining room and bedroom/s (10 x 1-bedroom; 2 x 2-bedroom units). The sheltered living is complemented by communal living spaces, lounge, office, stores, assisted bathroom.

The site had previously contained a range of hospital buildings and car parking, and the contamination survey revealed contaminants in soil and water plus elevated levels of radon. Appropriate remediation measures were employed to mitigate these risks to acceptable levels, including capping, the removal of contaminated soil in grassed areas and its replacement with suitable soil, and the inclusion of ventilated voids and radon barriers below solid slabs in our structural designs.

The site gently slopes from north to south, dropping approximately 2m. Site investigations concluded that made ground lay to a depth of 0.85m, underlain by glacial deposits and bedrock. The lower corner of the site was raised slightly and two concrete-core retaining walls were designed to establish levels with trench-fill and strip foundations used to the varying depths required to sit on suitable bearing strata. Ground beams were placed across pads over soft pockets of ground. An obsolete well came to light during excavation by construction workers. It was filled, capped and bridged with ground beams.

The houses are timber-framed with brick cladding. The single-storey block is built on a steel frame with masonry infill and a fully glazed feature wall rises from ground level to apex.

A storm sewer was requisitioned to link the site with the local sewage system and both storm and foul drainage were connected to existing capacity with minor diversions to improve the drainage run, as approved by NIWater.

A new entrance was negotiated with TransportNI and an access road designed to required standards for drainage, paths, street lighting, etc.

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