29/03/2019: Planning Progress
Since the last update we have been making slow but steady progress on the expansion project. Our objective is to obtain the maximum space at the least cost whilst adhering to the regulatory safety and building standards.
We have completed the layout redesign of the above ground levels to accommodate the new positioning of stairs, wudhu areas etc and have been making good progress with the building regulations engineering and architecture. We have had meetings with building control in relation to fire escapes and they’re happy with the proposals alhamdulillah. Now that we are nearing the completion of the design for above ground levels we can concentrate on the basement.
I know it seems the wrong way round – when we do the construction we will be digging out and building the basement before we build the above ground levels. However, in planning it is the other way round. The basement has to be designed in accordance with the building that is going on top of it. The building that it will need to support. For this basement phase we will also need to engage with specialist architects who have the appropriate licenses – generally speaking there hasn’t been much interest however we have now managed to find someone and have just formally engaged them.
In other basement related news there is a sewage pipe that currently would go through the middle of our future basement that would effectively divide it into two separate halls with two separate entrances. However, we conducted a sewer survey to see if this sewage pipe can be redirected – alhamdulillah it looks like it’s possible and will mean we can have one large hall in the basement.
We have hired a Contract and Programme Manager for our expansion project to ensure we conduct the project in line with best industry practise, manage risk effectively, engage with contractors and provide a realistic schedule.
And finally something that should have been mentioned in the last update – while we can push forward with the project as much as possible during this planning phase, realistically we won’t be able to start construction itself until we raise more funds. Ideally we need to reach 3/4s of our target before we start construction to ensure there are no delays (especially delays that carry cost) and minimise disruption to services. However we’ll keep working on fundraising in sha Allah.
20/12/2018: Basement Complexities
We had plans to start the extension in September. But if you take a look around the Masjid nothing has changed. So … what happened?
Our plans to include an expansion to the basement has increased the complexity of the project considerably. It’s a tricky job requiring specialists from the beginning – from the structural engineers to the contractors who will carry out the actual work. The existing layouts need to be reworked to accommodate access to the basement. The engineering calculations for the super structure will have to be provided to the basement specialists so they can ensure the foundations are up to scratch. The work itself also needs to be carried out in a safe and secure manner to avoid collapsing the main road, water pipes etc. Alhamdulillah our community has continued to grow and demand for our services continues to increase. We needed to ensure that we would have enough capacity in the short to medium term, at the most economical cost, to accommodate this rapidly growing community. Without the basement expansion we’d just quickly become limited again. And if we didn’t do the basement now we wouldn’t be able to do it later. With regards to progress we could have started demolishing the single storey portion of the masjid but we wouldn’t have been in a position to continue with further work.
So what have we done? Alhamdulillah we’ve got all the planning permission sorted and we are working with the architects on the layout, the super structure and the building regulations application. To support this work, in October, we commissioned a piling test in the basement which involved boring a hole 5 metres down from the basement level to check the soil content.
A full piling report was produced which was sent to the architects for analysis – we’ll see what happens from there.
So we have been working on the expansion project – but it’s all been background work. However we understand that you, the brothers and sisters who have donated generously towards the project, need to be kept up to date on what’s happening.
We apologise for the delay in the communications and in sha Allah we’ll provide updates more regularly from now on – every 2 to 3 months but definitely no later than 3 months. When we reach major milestones then we’ll definitely communicate this out as soon as possible. It’s December now so in sha Allah the next update will come in February/March unless we get something more concrete sooner (if you’ll pardon the pun).
JazakAllah khair for your continued support and please continue to make du’a for this project to be a success.