Loads has happened in 2022. We appointed an Architect and drew up some draft plans. We spent several months consulting with local people and refining. We’ve applied for planning permission and are now starting to have conversations with local contractors.
Throughout this period, our plans have become somewhat more ambitious and at the same time material and labour costs have been escelating steadily. From an initial cost estimate of £375,000, we are now faced with a refurbishment cost of at least £500,000, leaving the charity over £100,000 short of the amount required for even a basic finish. Our contingency figure of £25,000 turned out to be laughably ambitious!
What can we do about this? We need to develop a hub that is fit for the community, whilst also having a low carbon space. We can’t afford to do it all in one go, but funder requirements mean that we have to deliver the spaces for local communities, or risk losing grants. We also need to fully replace the roof, which doesn’t currently comply with building regs and the estimates for the most environmentally sustainable roofing materials are pushing towards six figures.
So we need to prioritise the roof and create the spaces that are needed for local people. We hope to have budget remaining for a full solar array and cavity wall insulation. We may have to delay the exterior clad and our ambitions for renewable Mechanical and Electrical services (M&E). The alternative, of course is to very quickly find £150,000 and get the job finished in one go. Suggestions?
The ambition to create a low carbon building is still very much alive, but the finished hub is likely to take several years, rather than several months to complete.
Being an eco-hub will be a lot more elusive. It requires us to continually seek carbon efficiencies, improve behaviours and build communities of people who are committed to local action on global environmental concerns. It will be a journey with no end; something we continually strive for, without expectation or desire to ever call it done.
More from David's Blog:
Young people are particularly interested in and affected by climate change. I wanted to reflect on the contribution of a 17 year old artist in Whitley Bay, who created an inspiring stop motion animation using her own imagination to consider how our community building might become an eco-hub. The video involved an unbelievable amount of work, hand drawing each individual frame and I think the outcome is truly inspiring. Please, if you have a spare 30 seconds, follow the link to the video.