Approved inspectors

Compliance with building regulations is sometimes seen as an annoying layer of bureaucracy to be disposed of as cheaply as possible. Oculus, however, believe passionately that the provision of building control significantly improves building standards. Oculus provides a high quality, professional building control service that meets the needs, and aspirations of its clients whilst ensuring compliance. By becoming involved in the early stages of a project clients avoid expensive, abortive design work and the experienced consultants ensure a smooth transition from design through to construction on site.  Oculus is a member of the ACAI and through their membership have signed up to the Building Control Performance Standards and provide a service well in excess of the minimum recognised standards.

Oculus lead the way in providing a professional, efficient and cost-effective building control service

Oculus invests heavily in training to ensure the team has a full, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the discipline.  This combined with a passion, commitment and enthusiasm ensures the best possible service for their clients.  As a result they are able to bring real innovation and an enlightened approach to the Design Team.

As a Corporate Approved Inspector, Oculus, lead the way in providing a professional, efficient and cost effective building control service with many benefits and advantages over the service traditionally provided by the Local Authority including:

  • A flexible and non-bureaucratic approach to the privatised building control system.
  • Early involvement - Oculus are strong advocates of being available for early consultation on projects to avoid abortive design work, delays and potential conflicts.  As an integral member of the Design Team they give guidance on Building Regulations related matters at an early stage ensuring a smooth transition from design to construction on site.
  • A single point of contact regardless of the location of the project, simplifying project administration and aiding communication.
  • Knowledgeable and consistent interpretation of the Building Regulations and allied legislation.  This is particularly valuable for multiple retail outlets and other repetitive applications where consistency of approach is helpful and lends itself to ‘type-approvals’ for standard designs.
  • Competitive fees that are realistic to adequately resource the project – they do not provide unrealistically competitive fees purely to win the project without consideration of resourcing.
  • Structural design checked in-house by an experienced Structural Engineer.
  • A wealth of experience on establishing principles on important matters such as fire strategy and fire engineering approaches to fire safety.
  • Stage approvals where by design information is made available on a rolling programme. Oculus’s building control system gives greater flexibility as there are no bureaucratic statutory time limits.
  • Site inspections carried out qualified Chartered Building Control Surveyors during construction of the project undertaken at a frequency to suit the complexity and the construction programme.Experience and expertise in applying the Building Regulations to historic buildings.

CASE STUDY
The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough building situated in the heart of Bath was formerly part of the City of Bath College. A Grade II listed building from the Georgian period designed by John Pinch the Elder. The conversion to a 5* luxury hotel presented many challenges. The new multi-storey Lower Borough Walls wing reflects the host building architecturally. In the heart of the hotel lies Spa Village Bath, which is quite unique insofar as it has access to the natural thermal mineral-rich waters, making it the only natural thermal spa inside a hotel in the UK.

The main stair protection was particularly challenging as enclosing it was not an option from a conservation perspective. A solution of discreetly placed fire curtains operating on the fire alarm system to provide protection was developed. There are also isolated areas with sprinkler protection to provide an alternative to passive fire protection.

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CASE STUDY
Shakespeare's New Place / Nash's House

Spearheaded by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a new oak and bronze gateway was created that opens on the original threshold of Shakespeare's New Place. This new permanent exhibition brings to life the story of Shakespeare's New Place and the personal life of its most famous occupant, and where he had his family home for 19 years. 

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CASE STUDY
Airbus - AWIC

The new £40m Aircraft Wing Integration Centre is arranged to maximise opportunities for departments to share spaces, equipment and ideas and will provide an innovative, highly flexible and easily adaptable physical test environment that forms a proving ground for the future technologies. This includes Airbus’ Wings of tomorrow programme, part of which focuses on exploring how wings can be more efficient, lighter and easier to make and assemble, looking at the best materials to use, assembly techniques and new technologies in aerodynamics and wing architecture. Covering 9,050m2 the scheme comprises hangar facilities including a 'Strong Floor' and relocatable ‘Strong Wall’, a high capacity hydraulic system to power multiple test rigs, three overhead cranes, laboratories, testing control rooms and open plan offices. As this facility is to be used to develop new technologies it was clearly important to build in flexibility for future uses. The delivery team was involved through this period and translated the design development into physical form with the same mind-set.

The ‘Strong Floor’ itself is 40 metres long by 18 metres wide and is housed within a building over 25 metres tall to allow the testing of full size wings from the largest Airbus aircraft including long term fatigue testing. A total of 1,440 cubic metres of concrete was used for the floor which took some 23 hours to cast to a total depth of two metres. The steel reinforcement amounted to a total of approximately 280 tonnes of rebar, estimated to be around 54 km laid end-to-end.

The 'Strong Wall' is 14 metres long, 10 metres high, 4.5 metres deep and has a total weight of 220 tonnes. It is made up of four modules and can be configured in two separate two module walls or a single four module wall. The mounting surfaces are machined to a close tolerance and when erected on the strong floor all points on the flange faces are within +/-1mm of a flat vertical plane. The structure is designed to cope with billions of load cycles so resistance to fatigue is the determining factor as well as its immense strength.

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