People seeking flats for sale in Hackney may have been very excited to see the wide range of developments emerging around the borough, but one of these has been sent back to the start line.
Taylor Wimpey has taken the radical decision to knock it down and start again in its project at Fish Island on Hackney Wick. This comes after the 148-flat Factory scheme was found to have some “potential structural problems”.
A spokesperson for the builder said this had prompted the decision to knock the structure down and start it all again, commenting: “Health and safety is our top priority and this decision has been carefully and thoroughly considered after close consultation with independent structural engineers.”
The timetable for the demolition and reconstruction work will soon be decided, with the London Legacy Development Corporation in discussions with Taylor Wimpey on the question of whether fresh planning permission will be required for the rebuild.
In one sense, this might seem like a very bad news story, not least for Taylor Wimpey itself, which may feel some embarrassment at what has happened and face significant costs as well.
However, there may be a much more positive side to this, both in terms of the regard the developer has shown for health and safety and what this says about the level of care being taken with at least some new builds.
This is important because although there is a lot of residential construction going on all over London and several other cities right now, many people are not so keen on moving into new builds, amid concerns over their quality.
Late last year, a survey by Buildscan revealed that the typical new build property had no fewer than 157 faults, almost double the number in 2005.
That would appear to justify many doubters’ attitudes, but it seems that when it comes to new developments in Hackney, the importance of quality and safety will be given top priority – even if it does mean literally taking a wrecking ball to the construction schedule.