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It’s virtually possible – a BTR virtual top out and resi virtual tours

Virtual tours are to be offered at the Springfields Independent Living facility in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicester, as the project delivered by contractor Willmott Dixon nears completion.

Set to complete in 2021, the £12.5 million project is being created on behalf of emh care & support and will feature 65 one and two-bedroom apartments alongside communal areas such as a beauty salon, hairdressers and bistro.

Designed by BRP architects, the homes have been created to provide residents with an inclusive living environment. The apartments will be offered both on preference and individual care and support needs, with 50 available for rent and 15 for sale on a shared ownership basis.


Due to the current national lockdown restrictions, the scheme’s show homes are currently closed and face-to-face viewings are not able to go ahead as normal. To ensure tours can still take place, Willmott Dixon is using its 360 Matterport camera to enable emh care & support to welcome potential tenants and homeowners virtually to the new development.

Michelle Cotterill, director at Willmott Dixon, comments: “Throughout the project, we have been working closely with emh care & support to ensure we are creating a scheme that will make the local community proud. We are delighted that, as we near project completion, we have been able to continue supporting the customer with our innovative Matterport scanning cameras.”

“Technology has played a major role throughout the whole development process, from the use of building information modelling (BIM) in the design of the scheme, to the implementation of offsite manufacturing in the build process.”

Situated at the heart of the National Forest, the development features apartments dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of its residents. Each apartment is completely self-contained and designed to allow wheelchairs and mobility aids to be used. The homes have been finished to the highest specification, ensuring residents can live in comfort in a spacious modern home.

The development also features a video door entry system, with all apartments also having access to their own secure entrance and fibre optic broadband. Once operational, the independent living facility will also have a dedicated team of staff available 24 hours a day, to support residents with flexible packages of care to suit individual needs. 

Jo Grainger, executive director at emh care & support, says: “The way that we would usually connect with people to tell them about our new homes has had to change completely due to the local and national restrictions of the pandemic.”

“The use of technology available to us, and the flexibility and support from Wilmott Dixon throughout the project has meant that we have still been able to generate a lot of interest and applications for this amazing new facility. We are now looking forward to an amazing opening and to welcoming people to their new homes.”

Cotterill adds: “Like the rest of the nation, the construction industry has been forced to find new ways of working throughout the pandemic. Therefore, I am particularly proud of our team’s ability to keep 100% of our sites operational throughout the numerous lockdowns – this has enabled us to continue our work providing much-needed high-quality housing for the community in Ashby, while also ensuring that residents can move into the development as soon as possible.”  

Moda's The Mercian tops out with a virtual 'pass the hard hat' video

Moda Living, a high-profile UK developer and operator of homes for rent, and main contractor Jon Sisk & Son have released a commemorative video to mark the topping out at The Mercian – Birmingham’s tallest residential tower.

With the limitations of the current lockdown restrictions, the milestone was marked virtually. Moda, its investment partner Apache Capital, and Sisk were joined by sub-contractors Morrisroe, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Glenn Howells Architects and more, in a video passing a hard hat to The Mercian’s rooftop, where the final pour took place.

As well as taking inspiration from the recent viral ‘pass it on’ challenge seen across social media, the video also shows five ceremonial mementos used historically to mark the topping out of a development to ward off any evil spirits.

As Birmingham’s tallest residential tower, The Mercian will be a local landmark that ‘knits itself into the fabric of the city as a destination the local population can be proud of’. 

Designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects and delivered by Sisk, The Mercian will be home to 481 apartments for rent, ranging from studios to three-beds, with a range of amenities, including 24-hour concierge, shared lounges, flexible workspaces and a cinema room and private dining spaces for residents to hire.

On track to complete in 2022, The Mercian will also provide residents with quality health and wellness zones, including a 200m podium open-air running track on the roof and high-spec residents’ gym, as well as a host of partnerships and services from local health and wellness brands across Birmingham.  

It’s virtually possible – a BTR virtual top out and resi virtual tours

In addition, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has funded a training hub during the construction of The Mercian, creating 140 job opportunities for locals by offering construction training and a guaranteed job interview after completing a 20-day course.

Moda recently received planning permission on a second neighbourhood in Birmingham, Great Charles Street, which will deliver 720 homes for rent alongside new public realm, mixed commercial space, and a range of amenities. 

Tony Brooks, managing director at Moda Living, says: “Marking this milestone at The Mercian is testament to the fantastic teams that are part of the DNA at Moda and Sisk, who have worked tirelessly, and always with our workers safety at the forefront to keep the site open and on track, even during uncertain times.”

“It’s been exciting to see the building take shape and become a landmark on Birmingham’s skyline. It reflects the ambition and resilience we have come to expect from the people of this city, and we can’t wait to open to doors to Birmingham’s first Next Generation Neighbourhood.” 

Paul Brown, chief operations officer of UK construction and civil engineering at John Sisk & Son, adds: “Sisk is delighted to achieve topping out The Mercian, against the backdrop of Covid-19 this is an extra special milestone. To reach this stage has required a massive amount of effort from everybody involved, we would like to thank all of our team and supply chain partners in The Midlands for their dedication and commitment so far.”

“We look forward to building on our positive relationships with Moda Living to complete The Mercian in 2022 and WMCA at our on-site training hub, to continue providing employment and training opportunities for local people in Birmingham.” 

You can view the video below:


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