Project Description

Complete development of a mixed-use multi-storey building incorporating a church, retail and hospitality outlets

Maylands Plaza, Hightown, Hemel Hempstead is Hightown’s flagship development on Maylands Avenue. This attractive and functional centre was built in the ‘heart’ of the Maylands Business Park to help retain businesses, employees and drive future investment in the area. The site delivered 130 one and two-bedroom apartments in two modern apartment blocks, both over 8 storeys, offering affordable accommodation for local workers. Alongside the residential part of the building, Maylands Plaza was created to provide a social hub for businesses, workers and residents. The site included 10 new shops for national and local brands as well as being the new site for a local church the Adeyfield Free Church. All of this activity is focused around a central public square.

The project, although large and not without its challenges, was a fairly straight forward concrete framed construction. We were able to save the project a considerable amount of time and money through our alternative tender bid by looking at where savings could be made on the inherited design.

We were able to secure the project by working with the architect and contractor to provide an alternative tender bid that met the client’s brief but also offered substantial savings in time and cost. We worked with the project team to rationalise the apartment layouts to allow the columns to pass uninterrupted from ground to roof and eliminate the transfer slabs between the retail and residential space.


Project Team

Client: Hightown Housing Association

Architect: Tooley and Foster Partnership

Contractor: Places For People (formally Allenbuild)

After discussions with the contractor, we specified a power floated floor to eliminate the screed. The process is a much quicker and less labour-intensive process than hand trowelling floor screed. This also means the load is significantly lightened on every floor, allowing greater floor spans, a reduction in the number of columns required and fewer piles.

We combined 3D modelling techniques with FEA (Finite Element Analysis Software) and were able to give the Church a column-free double-storey space for their meetings by using a 500mm thick, 12m long transfer slab to support the residential floors above and account for this in the design so above floor heights wouldn’t be affected. FEA is software that allows us to predict how a product will react to real-world forces i.e. weight and vibration so we can devise a suitable solution more quickly than traditional methods.

The project was completed in 2016 and the site opened for business and residents in August 2017.

If you have a large or challenging mixed-use project call 01993 225085 or email us on

The client Hightown produced two videos for Maylands Plaza.

A timelapse of the plaza as it was being built and also a virtual tour of the plaza once the project was completed.

Highlands promotional video for Maylands Plaza