Global Holdings' Largest Full Timber Structure

Global Holdings’ Construction of Largest Full Timber Structure in the UK

Memery Crystal advised Global Holdings on the design, development and construction of its net-zero carbon office building, the UK’s largest full timber workplace structure to date.

The LETI Pioneer building comprises 95,000 square feet of space and was designed with circular economy principles in mind, with green construction methods and sustainable materials to be used during the building process. It is set to deliver a significantly reduced carbon footprint relative to typical office buildings, outperforming the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Office target. It also exceeds GLA and Camden policy targets for energy efficiency and sustainability.

In addition to its green design principles, the LETI Pioneer building also prioritises human wellbeing. The building features landscaped terraces on most levels, a communal yoga deck and rooftop garden, a ground-level restaurant and active commuting hub, and large windows to maximise natural daylight. Enabling works will begin this year, with on-site work to commence in early 2024 and a projected completion date of Q1 2026.

Memery Crystal advised Global Holdings with a team including Head of Construction Jo Kelly, Legal Director James Ashwin, and paralegal Meera Pankhania.

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An Interview with Jo Kelly at Memery Crystal:

Can you tell us a little more about this project and the role that the Memery Crystal team played in seeing it to completion?

It’s an exciting project to be working on with Global Holdings, especially given the size of the development and the sustainability and green credentials it is set to deliver.

Memery Crystal’s role is primarily advising on the legal documentation for this project including appointing the consultants including the designers, Piercy & Co (architects) and Heyne Tillet Steel (structural engineers). We have also advised on the appointment of the enabling contractor, Erith Construction Limited and the main contractor who is in the process of being appointed.

Our role is to ensure the legal documents reflect the full scope of services the consultants and contractors are undertaking and, more importantly, the legal documents encourage coordination and innovation between the construction supply chain.

The client has worked extremely hard to ensure a collaborative approach to this project, for example, bringing in the contractors and sub-contractors early so they can provide advice on the buildability of the design with the designers.

We also need to ensure the legal pack of documents we produce meets the requirements of any third-party lender that may be involved in financing the project and any tenants that may take space in the completed building.

In what ways were your team’s skills best suited to ensuring the project’s success?

The team working on this project is well structured to ensure we provide an efficient service. I am the supervising partner and I’II be involved in key decisions on the legal documents. However, James Ashwin, supported by Meera Pankhania, has, and continues to lead on the day-to-day running of the project. The success on the legal documents and procurement process has been a real team effort!

The team are excellent at problem-solving and are willing to work with, for example, a consultant, on a tricky legal issue in the contract to come up with a solution that works for both parties.

Meera is particularly good at document management and chasing up documents. This is critical with the number of documents we are managing on a project of this size and complexity!

Did you encounter any significant obstacles during your work on the LETI Pioneer building? If so, how did you overcome them?

We haven’t encountered any significant obstacles during the procurement process. The design team and contractors seem excited about being part of this innovative project and have been relatively easy to deal with. According to industry costs consultants, the inflationary pressures within the construction industry that have been experienced since COVID appear to be easing and the procurement lead in time for construction products has also improved. In my view, both of these factors have helped the project.

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