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Our Tops Club BIM Level 2 housing project was winner of the Housing Essex Excellence Awards

Alma Court, New Build Housing on the Tops Club Site


Client: Thurrock Council
Project Value: £6.2m
Brief: New build development to provide 29 homes
Sustainability Initiatives: PhotoVoltaics; Super Insulation; SuDS

This new development provides 29-affordable homes, as well as an 800-foot public playground. The homes are provided within a 4-storey residential block of 3-bedroom maisonettes and a 5-storey “tower” of 2 and 3-bedroom flats. The building is designed to create a neighbourhood of inter-generational families, activate the street frontage, and re-establish the building line to reconnect the adjoining neighbourhoods.

A tough brief for sustainability is achieved with a fabric first approach to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs as well large areas of Photovoltaic cells on the roof, MVHR and grey water recycling. The design of the green roof encourages bio diversity and reduces water runoff which is then supported by an attenuation tank buried beneath the access way to the rear of the building.

As a tight site within a flood risk zone, the new development utilises the natural slope to mitigate the need for a stilted building whilst maximising the site and providing homes with river views. The homes have been designed with large windows and south facing communal gardens, private balconies and roof decks which afford usable, enjoyable outdoor space, enable passive surveillance and a direct connection with the street. New tree planting along Argent street enhances the local amenity and softens the boundary between pedestrians and cars. The development car parking quiets the road by narrowing the street and creating a separation space. Whilst the large front gardens and ramp provide Tops Club with a wide defensible stance, the design of the stairs as a series of steps promotes a sense of human scale interaction.

The new development itself has been designed in dark brick in keeping with the area’s traditional construction of docklands buildings. This strong structural approach has then been lightened in the second storey of maisonettes. These are presented within a light-coloured rain-screen extension stepped back to enable further external space and reduce the building mass. At the same time, brick splays and detailing add character and a modernity to the building architecture. The windows and fenestration, accented by metalwork in champagne, are grouped by brick vertical recessed bays which follow the rhythm of the street and break the façade.

The scheme is Thurrock Council’s first BIM level 2 project and is currently on site and due for completion in 2020. ECD was engaged by Thurrock Council for the design of the Tops Club site as a pilot BIM level 2 project (Stages 1 to 3) with progression into asset BIM model for property management. This process commenced with a series of initial meetings to understand the Councils needs and identify how, as an organisation, BIM implementation could improve their workflow and generate savings.


  • Winner: Housing Excellence Awards: Developments Under 50 Homes category 2019