Minavil House Case Study

EDC was appointed to coordinate issues onsite with the utility cupboards at Minavil House, a residential development comprising of 251 apartments, which includes a mix of units for sale and rent.

The scheme also includes a supermarket, office space, a flexible A Class unit adjacent to the canal. The design is organised into five residential blocks stepping from 26 to 10-storeys.



EDC were appointed by HG Construction to resolve the coordination issues onsite with their utility cupboards. The MEP design of the utility cupboards did not work due to the incorrect configurations where the kit selected did not fit. The PUC’s needed to be re-designed to resolve this issue.

EDC were tasked with standardising the utility cupboard schedule down from 50 different types of cupboards. Working collaboratively with Alan Camp Architects, EDC rationalised this down to 3 standard types and 1 non prefabricated type.

The result of this process was a packaged utility cupboard or PUC that HG could utilise on all their sites.

These design initiatives by EDC enabled HG to:

  • Reduce the required quantity of PUC’s which increased the speed of production.
  • Reduce the cost of re-work onsite as they were manufactured in a factory.
  • Shorter time on site allowing predictable completion dates and improved levels of productivity on site.
  • Reduce Health & Safety risks with the ability to reduce the required number of people on site required (HSE is easier to control in a factory environment).
  • Increase sustainability with less packaging and waste there was a reduced impact on the environment and surrounding area.
  • Reduce site issues with less noise and disruption on site, fewer deliveries and less wastage collection.
  • Cost certainty was achieved with consistent quality, reduced maintenance and reduced construction time.
  • Ensured quality through the consistency of the factory controlled environment and reduced damage from handling and the use of sealed modular units.

The proposed residential development comprises a supermarket, office space, a flexible A Class unit adjacent to the canal and 251 apartments, which includes a mix of units for sale and for rent.

The design is organised into five residential blocks stepping from 26 to 10-storeys, carefully orientated to maximise light and views whilst minimising impact on the surrounding area and designed to respond to the evolving townscape informed by the Alperton Masterplan and GLA Housing Zone.

With such a complex mix of lower level uses and upper level residential layouts the consented planning scheme became a complex mix of changing floor plates layouts coupled with a large amount of varying flat designs totaling in the region of 50no. types.

To help HG Construction to deliver the scheme as efficiently as possible by utilising off site ‘standardised’ utility cupboard designs to allow HG M&E to construct these off site.

ACA with the project team proceeded to deconstruct the consented scheme layouts into the component parts and rebuilt these designs in Revit 3D software with a view to standardise and minimise the utility cupboard designs.

Through a number of integrated workshops focused particularly on this task to continually iterate with Mechanical and Electrical designers along with specialist fabricators the utility cupboard designs became rationalised to only 3no. handed types across the approx. 50no. flat types.

Each mechanical and electrical component was carefully considered and selected and then designed into the smallest possible utility cupboard to maximise the resultant space in each apartment. This process was completed over a 2/3 month period being finalised with a full plot and type utility cupboard schedule and fabrication shop drawings prepared by EDC allowing the offsite utility cupboard manufacturing to commence in tandem with the structural frame of the building. The utility cupboard designs have also been scheduled for manufacturer to allow them to be taken to site for installation as floors are completed to minimise time and space in storage.

The speed and accuracy of this utility cupboard standardisation designs is a direct result of the highly developed collaborative BIM design approach adopted by the design team to be able to consider and manage a large number of design variables to ultimately deliver an efficient specialist design to cover a large and complex scheme and then also assist with the unit by unit off site manufacture to site delivery and installation, all helping the Contractor to deliver important components on the critical construction path of the project.

Gurj Bahra RIBA Partner for and on behalf of ALAN CAMP ARCHITECTS

What problems did EDC solve?

EDC were brought onboard early to work in collaboration with Alan Camp Architects, HG’s lead designer to work on reducing the original 50 types of utility cupboards to a workable number. 

Compliance risks were reduced as EDC identified design issues with the original MEP design such as the fibre solution proposed being incompatible with client requirements. These issues were identified early by EDC and a workable solution was agreed with the end client that aligned with their expectations.

"By engaging early with the architect and project team, we were able to design a solution that reduced the number of utility cupboard types from 50 to 3. This significantly reduced production costs and ultimately programme for HG. We focused on ensuring that the utility cupboards were fully coordinated by modelling them in Revit MEP in collaboration with the architect. This ensured all MEP equipment selected fitted correctly in the utility cupboards and there were no coordination issues on site whilst also removing risk of any potential re-work."
Images via FAL & Alan Camp Architects
Minavil House Construction Phase