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Latent Capacity

Davies Maguire have extensive experience in airspace development above existing buildings, utilising the latent capacity of a structure. We carry out detailed analysis of existing structures to determine the potential of the structure and foundations, and are able to maximise this by designing the optimal lightweight extensions.

Determining the latent capacity of an existing building can often be difficult, as the level of information available can vary widely. Davies Maguire have developed a wealth of experience across buildings of different types and ages, gathering as much information as possible from archival sources as well as our own site visits and experience of similar structures.

We are then able to scope targeted structural investigations on key elements, which allow us to drill down further into the exact structural makeup of the building. Using all of this information, we can carry out extensive back-analysis of the structure’s capacity, as well working with trusted geotechnical engineers to assess the existing foundations. Even though historic structures frequently do not meet the requirements of modern codes, we are often able to justify additional capacity by comparing the historic and proposed use of a building.

Alongside assessing the existing structure, we design lightweight extensions that can make the most of the available capacity. We frequently investigate the use of modern methods of construction, such as light gauge steel frame and panelised construction options, working closely with contractors to maximise the potential commercial, sustainability, quality, and programme benefits. The low weight and embodied carbon of timber solutions also make this an attractive option, and we are able to carefully engineer these to achieve the required fire performance.

By combining analysis of existing buildings with optimised extension design, we can help clients maximise the potential of their buildings, while avoiding both expensive and time-consuming demolition, and messy and intrusive strengthening work.