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  • Writer's pictureEcosafe

Building Futures: From Derelict Social Club to 12 Starter Homes

Updated: Mar 26

A picture of a white, modern building, with black cladding that has been refurbished from an old social club in Plymouth by Ecosafe Group.

In March 2022, Ecosafe Group, in partnership with Pivotal Homes, undertook a transformative project to convert a derelict social club in Plymouth into a modern residential building. This £1.6 million initiative aimed to create 12 self-contained, one-bedroom flats across three floors, including the addition of a new roof to accommodate an extra storey, and dedicated facilities for support staff. The project was designed not just as a construction task but as a mission to provide sustainable homes to those requiring specialised support, underlining Ecosafe Group's commitment to empowering individuals towards more independent living.

As with any significant construction endeavour, this project faced its fair share of challenges. Among the initial hurdles was the site clearance. The location, previously a social club, was a neglected hotspot for fly-tipping which presented a daunting array of hazards for the team. It was laden with a vast accumulation of waste, necessitating an extensive cleanup operation. The removal of the debris alone required four 40-yard roll-on roll-off skips and an additional four grab lorries, each filled to capacity with general rubbish.

Compounding the logistical complexities, the site offered limited space for essential infrastructure, such as storage containers and welfare facilities, posing a strategic challenge in managing the project's footprint while ensuring the well-being and efficiency of the workforce. This phase of the project not only highlighted the physical obstacles we overcame but also underscores the team's unwavering commitment to the project.

At the forefront of our sustainability efforts was the installation of 20 Solar PV panels, generating a commendable 7.9 kW of output. Further complementing this green approach, we incorporated electric car chargers for four parking bays, encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles among residents and contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Innovation was woven through every aspect of the project, with the use of posi joists being a standout example. These engineered joists, chosen over traditional timber, allowed for wider spans in the building's structure, thereby creating more spacious and versatile living areas. Additionally, this choice facilitated easier and more efficient installation of essential services, showcasing our commitment to intelligent design and construction excellence.

Enhancing security and convenience, each flat was equipped with a video entry system linked directly to the main entrance, ensuring a safe and secure living environment for all residents. This modern amenity reflects our broader approach to integrating technology into our projects, improving the quality of life for the inhabitants.

The project's social value was further amplified through our engagement with the local workforce. By employing local tradespeople, we not only contributed to the local economy but also fostered a sense of community pride and ownership in the project. Additionally, the provision of a free bike shed promoted a healthy, eco-friendly mode of transportation, supporting both physical well-being and environmental sustainability.

Another aspect of our project was maintaining open communication with the surrounding community to integrate the development seamlessly into the neighbourhood. We engaged in regular dialogues with stakeholders, providing daily updates through various communication channels, including text, calls, emails, and WhatsApp. Additionally, we invited neighbors to view the progress and plans firsthand, ensuring transparency and fostering a positive relationship with the community.

The outcome of this project has been overwhelmingly positive, providing high-quality, sustainable living options for young people transitioning to independence. The feedback from stakeholders highlights the project's success. Councillor Jemima Laing, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, highly praised the new flats as "absolutely fantastic," offering a significant accommodation option for care-experienced young people in Plymouth. Joy Kingsbury, CEO of Pivotal, praised Ecosafe Group's flexible approach, innovative ideas, and high-quality build, noting that it enhanced Pivotal's reputation among commissioners, support providers, and customers alike.

“Pivotal rely on high quality builders to deliver the bespoke homes we design and provide for people who are often excluded from other housing projects.
Ecosafe are flexible in their approach, bring ideas to the final project, deliver a high quality build and ensure the positive reputation Pivotal builds with commissioners, support providers and customers is upheld and enhanced. They have an open and honest approach and take a great pride in the homes they build.
We hope to work in partnership with Ecosafe to deliver more Pivotal homes across the South West” - Joy Kingsbury, CEO, Pivotal Homes

This Plymouth project is a testament to Ecosafe Group's dedication to creating safer homes and brighter futures. By addressing significant challenges with innovative solutions, we have not only revitalised a community but also set a precedent for future sustainable housing projects.

The project stands as a testament to the power of vision, collaboration, and sustainable innovation in transforming not just physical spaces but lives. Through the challenges of extensive site clearance, environmental stewardship, and community engagement, Ecosafe Group has not only constructed 12 self-contained flats but also laid the foundation for a brighter, more sustainable future for these young people.

As we reflect on the journey from a neglected site to a vibrant residential complex, it is clear that the success of the project extends far beyond its physical completion. It represents a significant milestone in our ongoing mission to build safer, greener, and more inclusive communities. The lessons learned, relationships forged, and achievements garnered along the way show our dedication to excellence and our role as pioneers in sustainable development.

Ecosafe Group remain committed to pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in the construction and maintenance sector, driven by a vision of creating spaces that not only meet today's needs but also safeguard tomorrow's possibilities.

To work with us on your next project, please contact us on or call us on 01202 017917.



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