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CASPAR's teething troubles


LEEDS' City-centre Apartments for Single People at Affordable Rents (CASPAR) development was hailed as a significant architectural work and a ground breaking example of affordable housing when it was completed June 2000.

The five-storey timber frame block of flats was designed to be built as a so-called 'semivolumetric' system.

Pre-built in a factory in Bedfordshire by Volumetric, the kitchen, hallway and bathroom of each flat were contained within a rectangular block that was craned into place. A flatpack structure containing the bedroom, study and lounge was then assembled and attached to each block on site.

Following completion, some residents complained of sloping floors. Joseph Rowntree Foundation director Richard Best claims these are at the join between the flat-pack sections and Volumetric blocks.

Other complaints from residents, including rainwater leaks from balconies, have led design and build contractor Kajima to start legal proceedings against Volumetric and its parent company Potton for breach of contract under the Defective Premises Act.

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