The appraisal and management of multi-storey dwelling blocks using large concrete panel systems
This exploratory study is concerned with the integrated appraisal of multi-storey dwelling blocks which incorporate large concrete panel systems (LPS). The first step was to look at U.K. multi-storey dwelling stock in general, and under the management of Birmingham City Council in particular. The information has been taken from the databases of three departments in the City of Birmingham, and rearranged in a new database using a suite of PC software called `PROXIMA' for clarity and analysis. One hundred of their stock were built large concrete panel system. Thirteen LPS blocks were chosen for the purpose of this study as case-studies depending mainly on the height and age factors of the block. A new integrated appraisal technique has been created for the LPS dwelling blocks, which takes into account the most physical and social factors affecting the condition and acceptability of these blocks. This appraisal technique is built up in a hierarchical form moving from the general approach to particular elements (a tree model). It comprises two main approaches; physical and social. In the physical approach, the building is viewed as a series of manageable elements and sub-elements to cover every single physical or environmental factor of the block, in which the condition of the block is analysed. A quality score system has been developed which depends mainly on the qualitative and quantitative conditions of each category in the appraisal tree model, and leads to physical ranking order of the study blocks. In the social appraisal approach, the residents' satisfaction and attitude toward their multi-storey dwelling block was analysed in relation to: a. biographical and housing related characteristics; and b. social, physical and environmental factors associated with this sort of dwelling, block and estate in general.The random sample consisted of 268 residents living in the 13 case study blocks. Data collected was analysed using frequency counts, percentages, means, standard deviations, Kendall's tue, r-correlation coefficients, t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple regression analysis. The analysis showed a marginally positive satisfaction and attitude towards living in the block. The five most significant factors associated with the residents' satisfaction and attitude in descending order were: the estate, in general; the service categories in the block, including heating system and lift services; vandalism; the neighbours; and the security system of the block. An important attribute of this method, is that it is relatively inexpensive to implement, especially when compared to alternatives adopted by some local authorities and the BRE. It is designed to save time, money and effort, to aid decision making, and to provide ranked priority to the multi-storey dwelling stock, in addition to many other advantages. A series of solution options to the problems of the block was sought for selection and testing before implementation. The traditional solutions have usually resulted in either demolition or costly physical maintenance and social improvement of the blocks. However, a new solution has now emerged, which is particularly suited to structurally sound units. The solution of `re-cycling' might incorporate the reuse of an entire block or part of it, by removing panels, slabs and so forth from the upper floors in order to reconstruct them as low-rise accommodation.