Meet the Tolent team at Jesmond Assembly
18 September 2020
As the build continues to progress at Jesmond Assembly we caught up with Mike Wood and Steve Church from Tolent, the construction company delivering the project, to find out more about their roles, the development progress and anticipated completion.
Who are Tolent?
We’re a North East based company that provides all types of building and engineering services across the public and private sectors. We’re the Principal Contractor working with Pegasus to construct the Jesmond Assembly development. We employ our own direct labour and a number of specialist subcontractors with 95% of these being local and part of our ongoing supply chain. We’ve worked on a variety of different projects in the North East, perhaps one that many will be aware of is Hadrian’s Tower in the centre of Newcastle.
What are your job roles on site?
Mike: I’m the Project Manager, based full time at the site which means I’m in charge of the entire project, I’m involved in the planning and programming of the project, overseeing site activity and health and safety measures.
Steve: I’m the Contracts Manager, I looked after a number of schemes for Tolent. I visit the site to make sure things are going as planned and if Mike needs assistance with contractors or the delivery of the scheme I can help.
How is Jesmond Assembly progressing?
Work was started at the site in January 2019 with the demolition of the old school buildings with the enabling and ground work preparation following after. Then into the summer of last year we were in a position to begin the construction of the main concrete frame alongside the other required ground works and drainage works that needed to be carried out. Work carried on in line with the schedule with the timber panels, the windows and then onto the brickwork of the building. With the Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) being completed towards the end of 2019 and beginning of this year, the SIPS are great because the panels get water tight quicker enabling quick progress onto the interior dry lining partition works.
The COVID-19 pandemic did hinder our progress slightly as we had to reduce the number of staff on site and implement strict social distancing rules to enable the site to stay open. Whilst we were able to stay open outputs were drastically reduced.
At the moment we’re at fit out stage, we’ve now handed over the two show apartments on the ground floor and as you climb the building the apartments are at varying stages of the fit out but things are progressing well.
Were there any other challenges along the way other than the pandemic?
Not particularly, everything has gone really well. The location is a semi conservation area so we had to get the style of bricks approved by the planners to ensure they fitted well with the other Victorian buildings nearby, and they’re looking fantastic. Despite the area the building doesn’t have a traditional slate tiled roof, it has an aluminium clad roof which looks great and really stands out as is bespoke for the area.
Are there any particular highlights from the job?
We’ve worked closely with the local community throughout the entire process, sharing regular community newsletters and hosting community meetings with those who wish to take part. It’s been nice to work with them to ensure an open and honest communication about any issues, any aspects of the build that might affect them and ways to overcome any issues that may arise. We’ve worked closely with the local school and even helped the care taker out on a few occasions!
There were a lot of challenges due to the proximity of the development to the local Royal Grammar School and Newcastle Preparatory School but we’ve had a good relationship with them throughout and that’s been really positive.
It was great to work with the students from Newcastle Preparatory School on a hoarding design project. All students were challenged to create a piece of artwork inspired by the build environment they see around them and the designs were displayed on the hoarding of the site.
This is also the first project we’ve worked on with Pegasus and we’re looking forward to working with them again on future projects.
Jesmond Assembly, once complete will offer a stunning collection of 63 independent living apartments. With prices starting from £300,000, there is a fantastic selection of one and two bedroom properties that include duplexes. Get in touch with the team to find out more about the homes available and to arrange a viewing: 0191 247 4463 or e mail [email protected]