Built in 1968 and containing 95 flats Surrey Towers is one of the more prominent buildings within the Borough of Runnymede. “With significant experience on the repair and maintenance of housing within high rise buildings Maddisons were an obvious choice for consultation on the refurbishment of Surrey Towers” says Andrew Davidson, Housing Maintenance Manager, Runnymede Borough Council.

Maddisons were appointed to undertake a feasibility report on the general condition of the balcony screens and the current fire precautions of the internal communal areas.

On the external inspection, it was noted that a number of the glazing panels to the balcony screens were cracked. This was due to the mild steel framework corroding from the inside. The timber handrails were also rotten.

Internally there were a number of areas of concern regarding the fire precautions, such as:

  • Inadequate emergency lighting

  • No ventilation to the fire escape staircase

  • Insufficient smoke detectors to cover all communal areas

  • Hoppers to the refuse chute were not fire rated

  • Glazed flat entrance doors & screens did not provide adequate fire protection

  • Glazed apertures to stairwell wall did not provide adequate fire protection

  • Inadequate ventilation to lift lobby landings

Client’s Brief
After submitting a competitive fee bid, the client commissioned Maddisons to prepare a specification for the works and supervise the works to completion. In addition Maddisons were appointed as CDM Co-Ordinators.


  • The project was to be completed in a timely fashion due to the health and safety implications.

  • Close liaison with the residents, planning & building control, the fire brigade and client were essential.

  • Great care was required to minimise any disruption to the use of the building

  • Paramount importance was placed on ensuring rigorous adhesion to considerations of health and safety, both for the residents, the site operatives and the general public.

  • To remain aware of commercial considerations of both cost and quality, whilst ensuring delivery of a technical solution.

  • In order to meet the Council’s objectives of achieving a paperless office environment, all documentation had to be prepared and delivered in an electronic format.

Balcony screens
During the design stage, two options were considered for the replacement balcony screens. A purpose made steel framework or a sectional aluminium system constructed on site, both of which would be clad with a blue composite panel. After careful consideration it was agreed to proceed with the aluminium framework. The steel framework was considered too heavy and too large to safety lift into position from the mastclimbers. It also proved difficult to find a company with tanks large enough to clean the framework after they had been galvanised and before powder coating.

Tender stage
Six contractors were shortlisted following a pre-qualification questionnaire. After a successful tender submission, the main contractor was appointed to undertake the contract.

Post contract stage
The contractor successfully installed the replacement balcony screens and the smoke vents to each landing from six mastclimbers positioned around the building. All the fire precaution work internally was completed on time, however the balcony screens were delayed due to adverse weather conditions.