ACN Webinar - Friday 24 April 2020

Can we safely refurbish high rise buildings?


Bob Stagg - Conisbee

Nick Hufton - Shepheard Epstein Hunter

Jon Pagan - IFC Group

Time; 8:15 - 9.15am

The first high rise residential tower block was finished in 1951 and was viewed as an economical way of tackling slum housing in the UK. By 1975 440,000 high-rise flats for public housing had been provided, including Grenfell Tower, completed in 1974. Six years prior the completion of Grenfell, a gas explosion caused the partial collapse of a tower block at Ronan Point, East London, killing four people, which exposed a design fault in that particular method of construction.

Many high rise blocks have been given make overs in one form or another both internally and externally, however the cost of maintaining these building was becoming more and more of a burden for the owners irrespective of the social concerns that living in these type of units had on the welfare of some occupants.

The fire at Grenfell Tower three years ago has focused the mind on the continual upkeep of high rise buildings and the economic, practical and social benefits of refurbishing them.

Come and join us for our first ACN Webinar session where three expert presenters will give their view on this contentious subject.



Bob Stagg

Bob  graduated from City University in 1977 with a degree in Civil Engineering and worked in the structural engineer's office in the London Borough of Brent, where he was involved with new build design and the regeneration of many existing council properties including high rise housing blocks such as the large Bison Wallframe estate at Chalkhill.


He moved to Building Design Partnership in 1987 continuing his involvement with appraisal, repair and refurbishment of existing buildings of all types and ages but particularly the high rise residential estates in Newham and south east London in general, including Ronan Point just as it was being dismantled.


In 1997 Bob joined Alan Conisbee and Associates, continuing his focus on remedial and refurbishment projects including historic buildings such as the Royal Albert Hall and some of the housing stock in Islington, Southwark, Thamesmead and many other locations.


He has a particular interest in the issue of disproportionate collapse, large panel system (LPS) buildings and structural safety in general.  He is also interested in buildability issues, the practical aspects of how buildings perform throughout their life and the environmental issues associated with refurbishing buildings rather than demolition/rebuild. 


Bob had a long association with the Institution of Structural Engineers at national and local levels, having served on their council and various committees.  In the 1990s he lectured on a number of CPD courses on assessing existing buildings during the 1990s and co-authored two of their publications including “Appraisal of Existing Structures (2nd and 3rd editions)”. 


Nick Hufton
Shepheard Epstein Hunter

Nick is qualified as an Architect and Project Manager and has been Managing Director of Shepheard Epstein Hunter since 2017.  He has almost 30 years’ experience in architectural projects at all scales from small scale extensions through to large scale masterplans, with a strong emphasis on community focused and sustainable design.


His most recent residential projects include a community led masterplan for the refurbishment of a 1970’s estate in Milton Keynes and the delivery stages of East City Point, a development of 649 homes in Canning Town, including the innovative LABC award winning Atrium Building.  His experience also includes refurbishment of a number of 1960’s & 70’s residential estates for the London Borough of Camden and several notable concrete university buildings.

John Pagan
IFC Group

John is a Chartered Fire Engineer and Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers. He has been working in fire engineering since 1995 and originally started with Warrington Fire where he worked for over 16 years. He was eventually appointed as General Manager of the Fire Engineering division, a position held for several years.

In 2011 he became Director of Fire Safety Engineering at International Fire Consultants.
His experience covers a wide range of building types, including, residential, schools and hospitals and all areas of fire engineering, including fire strategies, smoke modelling, structural fire engineering and radiation analysis.

Since 2013 he has also held the position of Chairman of the Fire Engineering Council of the Fire Industry Association.

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