Updates

September 2017

25 September 2017

Extra conditions relating to the removal of asbestos panels from the squash courts have been approved by the General Committee and included in the Letter of Award to the Demolition contractor. These relate to monitoring the air quality during the time the panels are removed and having them properly packed in sealed bags and disposal to approved sites with the appropriate certificates.

An additional cost of THB 120,000 has been negotiated including Monitoring THB 55,000, Packaging/Disposal THB 35,000 and Certification THB 30,000. This now brings the contract price to THB 679,500, still well under budget.

13 September 2017

The evaluation and negotiation of tenders for the Silom Wing Project took longer than anticipated but I am pleased to announce that work will finally get underway next week.

The GC has awarded a contract for Hoarding and Demolition Works to Piyamitr Group Co Ltd. They will begin erecting Hoardings on Friday 22nd September after some preparatory work on Monday 18th.

This week a contract will also be let for the Piling Foundations and piling will take place as soon as the demolition work is complete. We expect these preliminary phases of the work will be finished before the middle of November after which construction of the new facilities can begin.

Urbana Co. Ltd have been appointed as Construction Manager for the duration of the project. They will manage the contract package interfaces, coordinate and oversee the activities of the various construction contractors, programme the work and control the budget.

The value of these initial contracts is well within provisions made for these elements in the budget of THB 29 million approved by Members at the January 31st EGM.

Every effort will be made to minimise inconvenience to Members and announcements will be made in advance should access to the Club be affected at any time.

The Silom Sala, Kiddies Pool and Squash courts 2&3 will be closed on Monday 18th September. Squash court 1 will remain in use and temporary family facilities will be open on the Front Lawn including an inflated pool, playground equipment and shaded seating.

These are exciting times. We have a busy season of activities coming up and look forward to seeing you all at the Club.

With best wishes

Jack Dunford, Chairman of the General Committee

 August 2017

11 August 2017

I am delighted to inform you that at last evening’s Extraordinary General Meeting the vote was 43 votes in favour with 161 against the motion:

To put the Poolside Development on hold for a period no longer than three months after the EGM has taken place. During these three months, an independent review should be made of the financing of the poolside development, taking into account the emerging financial shortfalls. An assessment should also be made of all additional cash flow and reserve requirements of the Club, outside the Poolside Development, for the next two years

The motion was also defeated ‘on the floor’ (those present and voting) by 52 votes to 15.  213 votes and abstentions represents a very healthy 36.4% of the voting membership given that so many Members are away at this time.

This was an historic milestone for Club. After years of debate we can finally make a start on realising our dream of a future British Club to be proud of, with complementary facilities providing modern resort-style facilities for families and sports people at the poolside, matched by an elegant eating, drinking, function and entertainment centre in our classic Clubhouse and yes, with some accommodation for visitors as well.

The Silom Wing is just a start, but with the Members’ support this is win-win for everyone. Judging by the excitement and positivity in the bar last night it can all happen sooner rather than later. The General Committee expects to announce the winning contractors by the end of the month and then work can be begin.

I would like to thank everyone who attended or voted last night, so many members who are unable to vote but never-the-less also offer constant support and encouragement, and of course to the many hard working staff and committee members who have made this possible.

Jack Dunford, Chairman of the General Committee

4 August 2017

EGM 10th August 2017

As promised in the Calling Papers for the EGM on 10th August, the GC has reviewed the Club Finances and revised cash flow projections through to the completion of the Silom Wing now scheduled for May 2018.

These updated figures show that, in the view of the GC and confirmed by the Audit Committee, the Club has the available cash to build the Silom Wing without touching staff retirement funds, whist maintaining adequate balances to carry forward.

A summary of the GC review can be found under the EGM Tab on the Club Website Homepage. In summary:

Cash Flow: Operations have slowly returned to normal after the 100-day mourning period. The actual cash balance at 30th June was THB 44 Million compared with the THB 44.9 Million estimated back in January.

Club Funds: With activity picking up and a number of initiatives taken by the GC/ Management to improve revenues, ‘Available Cash’ at the end of the project in May 2018 is projected to be around THB 9 Million, excluding THB 15 Million in the Staff Funds. This is less than THB 1 Million below the January EGM projection for the end of the project.

Project Costs: We will not be able to confirm the cost of the Silom Wing until the tenders have been evaluated and negotiations concluded with the contractors to ensure the best possible deal for the Club.  Results will be announced as soon as possible but the process must remain strictly confidential. Meanwhile the approved budget of baht 29 million stands.

The decision to build the Silom Wing was made with the overwhelming approval of the Members. The discussion on 10th August is whether this should be delayed.

The Audit Committee has reviewed the GC projections as well as independently conducting their own analysis of performance and forecast. It is the Audit Committee’s view that the financial performance will not be as strong this year as last year but still demonstrates a sufficient cash flow to fund the Silom Wing project and replenish funds after completion.

On the basis of the revised projection, the GC considers that a delay in construction is unwarranted, would cause inconvenience to Members and could potentially inflate costs:

  • The treatment of Club funds has been confirmed in independent research as not only compliant with all accounting and regulatory requirements, but very much in the best-practice range.
  • The current schedule is for the noisiest work (demolition and piling) to occur during the rainy season. If the project were delayed 3 months this work would be pushed into the festive season, November through January, the Club’s busiest months.
  • Breaking negotiations with contractors at this point would add further delays and risk price inflation

The GC urges all voting member to vote NO to the proposed motion.  Our facilities are old and fading.  After many years of debate let’s move forward. A tremendous amount of work has been done to prepare the project that will mark our first big step into the 21st Century. Finally we are ready to get started.

I urge you to attend the EGM on 10th August and to cast your vote for the future.

Many questions have been circulating in recent weeks, which go beyond concerns about Club Finances. We have attempted to address as many of these as possible in updated FAQs, which can be found under the Poolside Redevelopment Tab on the Home page.

 Jack Dunford, Chairman of the General Committee

July 2017

21 July 2017

Further to my update last week, once the Silom Wing Project tenders have been evaluated next week we will be ready to start work. However 20 members have requisitioned an EGM seeking to postpone the project for three months whilst an independent review is carried out of the Club finances. We will therefore delay the award of contracts until this meeting has taken place.

In accordance with our Constitution, calling papers were mailed to all voting Members yesterday setting the time and place for the EGM on Thursday 10th August at 7pm in the Surawongse Room. The papers include the Motion put forward by the Signatories with their rationale , as well as Proxy voting forms for those unable to attend.

Acknowledging the vagaries of the postal system and the fact that many Members are away this time of year, the Calling Papers have also been posted on the Club Website and can be accessed on the Website’s Home page or by clicking the above Icon.

 The Calling Papers include a cover letter from the General Committee setting out its views on the Motion with a summary of the current financial situation, urging all eligible voting Members to attend.

 It is no bad thing have an opportunity to clear remaining doubts, but we hope that this EGM will be conclusive and that we can then finally move ahead with this long-awaited and much needed project. Please make every effort to attend, or vote by proxy if that is not possible.

 I look forward to seeing many members on 10th August 2017 at 7pm.

Further to my update last week, once the Silom Wing Project tenders have been evaluated next week we will be ready to start work. However 20 members have requisitioned an EGM seeking to postpone the project for three months whilst an independent review is carried out of the Club finances. We will therefore delay the award of contracts until this meeting has taken place.

In accordance with our Constitution, calling papers were mailed to all voting Members yesterday setting the time and place for the EGM on Thursday 10th August at 7pm in the Surawongse Room. The papers include the Motion put forward by the Signatories with their rationale , as well as Proxy voting forms for those unable to attend.

Acknowledging the vagaries of the postal system and the fact that many Members are away this time of year, the Calling Papers have also been posted on the Club Website and can be accessed on the Website’s Home page or by clicking the above Icon.

 The Calling Papers include a cover letter from the General Committee setting out its views on the Motion with a summary of the current financial situation, urging all eligible voting Members to attend.

 It is no bad thing have an opportunity to clear remaining doubts, but we hope that this EGM will be conclusive and that we can then finally move ahead with this long-awaited and much needed project. Please make every effort to attend, or vote by proxy if that is not possible.

 I look forward to seeing many members on 10th August 2017 at 7pm.

Jack Dunford, Chairman of the General Committee

15 July 2017

I am taking a break and will not be getting back from the UK until next week but I understand that concern is circulating about the Club’s finances and our ability to fund the Silom Wing project which is currently out to tender. The GC will be meeting on 24th July and will review the project when both the treasurer and myself are back in Bangkok.

Meanwhile please note that nothing much has changed since the EGM at the end of January when the Sliom Wing was approved. Although Club activities have remained sluggish throughout the mourning period, most of this year’s budget deficit occurred during the period November through January when many weddings and events were canceled in the immediate period following the death of H.M the King and before the EGM. The overall financial situation has not significantly deteriorated further because expenditures have also been lower than budgeted. Club funds have increased a little to just over baht 44 million.

We expect operations to return to normal as the year progresses especially after the Royal Cremation in October. This will be helped by a new membership marketing strategy just commissioned and more events and functions planned for the coming months.

It is also encouraging that we are now expecting bids from seven contractors selected from nine who expressed interest in tendering for the Silom Wing project. The deadline has been pushed back a little to give adequate time for them to prepare their submissions and the bids will now be opened on 22nd July. These are likely to be very competitive and once we have firm bids we will be able to prepare much more accurate cash flow projections in advance of signing any contracts.

We will issue updates as soon as we have further information.

Jack Dunford, Chairman of the General Committee

June 2017

Issue of tender documents – 20 June 2017

Silom Wing: Nine contractors have expressed an interest in bidding for the project. Tenders were issued to seven pre-qualified contractors on 20 June 2017. The key dates provided to contractors are as follows:

  • Issue of tender queries – 28 June 2017
  • Return of tenders – 14 July 2017
  • Award of contract – 31 July 2017
  • Planned construction period 6 to 8 months

Topographical and geotechnical surveys and asbestos testing and are on-going Results are expected in early July. The conversion of the pavilion into staff house is 75% complete.  Chapman Taylor is looking at a couple of options to remodel the Silom gate to enhance and improve the security and access. These will be incorporated into the final designs.

 

May 2017

Silom Wing: Last year was spent designing the Silom Wing for Membership approval and we now have an exciting project to deliver. We have an excellent qualified Sub Committee under Ali Adam’s chairmanship, which is quickly putting in place everything needed to get started. Contracts have already been signed with Chapman Taylor our Architects and GES Solutions our Quantity Surveyors. By the time you receive this we will also have recruited a Project Manager and should have the necessary BMA demolition and renovation permits. Final design details can then be agreed and detailed drawings prepared for tender. All is looking good for demolition work to begin on schedule in July. We will shortly be updating the website where all of this can be followed in detail.

Every effort will be made to minimise the impact on Members’ enjoyment of the Club during construction and some preparatory work will soon be underway. The Pavilion Café will be closed in June to be refurbished as the new staff facilities and this will improve the Club environment with the reinstatement of the Surawongse Road boundary wall and the tennis court screens, reducing traffic noise and improving security.

A temporary family area will also be created at the northern end of the Front Lawn with shaded seating, an inflatable pool and playground equipment. This will be designed in such a way that events will still be possible on the lawn and furnishings purchased can be used elsewhere when the Silom Wing opens next year.

April 2017

Silom Wing: A Silom Wing Sub-Committee has been established to take over from the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-Committee to deliver the project as approved at the EGM on 31st January. Preparatory work is well underway: requests for the necessary demolition/ building permits have been submitted, architect and quantity surveyor contracts drawn up, and Terms of Reference agreed for the appointment of a project manager. A contract for refurbishing the Pavilion Café as the new staff facility is being finalised and this outlet will close about 8 weeks before the Silom Wing construction starts so that it is ready for use before the existing staff building is knocked down. We are also finalising plans for temporary young family facilities on the Front Lawn during construction, which will include shaded seating, an inflatable pool and playground equipment. All being well, work on the Silom Wing will start on schedule in July.

March 2017

Poolside Redevelopment: Many thanks to everyone who attended the EGM on 31st January or voted by Proxy. I am delighted that the General Committee has been given a clear mandate to proceed with the Silom Wing as the first part of Chapman Taylor’s Poolside redevelopment.

Proxy votes have always been controversial at the British Club with some Members arguing that only those willing to make the effort to attend general meetings and listen to the debate should deserve to vote. Maybe in the old days this was a valid argument but today Members have so many travel and business commitments that on any chosen date many are simply unable to attend. I believe that the vast majority of those who voted by proxy at the EGM were genuinely unable to attend but were keen to vote on this historically important decision. Happily the result was the same whichever way the vote was counted with an overwhelming 80% in favour, both on the floor and including proxies.

The sub-committee has already had preliminary meetings to get the project started and is committed to doing everything possible to deliver it within time and on budget. Member concerns and feedback have been well noted and will be taken into account as the final tendering documents are drawn up. Members will be kept fully informed of progress through Outpost and on the Club Website and in the following pages you will find a brief article by Ali Adam outlining the first steps.

Neilson Hays Library: We have restored relationships with our neighbours at the Neilson Hays library this year. They are now an associated member group, our gate into the library is open at weekends and shortly we expect to sign a contract to run their café again during the second half of 2017 when renovation works are complete. It is surprising that many BC Members are hardly aware that this splendid library exists, literally next door. It is a magnificent old building and besides being a library, it hosts numerous literary, art and musical events. Neilson Hays will hold some of these events at the club during their renovations including Saturday morning children’s story time sessions, providing a great opportunity to build awareness of what our two non-profit associations can provide. Watch out for announcements.

 The Pavilion Café will be closed to become the new Staff House as soon as the Silom Wing construction schedule is finalised. It has been mainly used by non-Members who be will be catered for at the Neilson Hays Library. This will create a much improved staff facility, more modern, better located and with plenty of room for expansion at a later stage if staff numbers increase. It will also enable the Club Suriwongse Road wall to be reinstated, improving security and reducing street noise. Full backdrops will be reinstated on the tennis courts to improve the tennis playing experience.

February 2017

egm-result

6-jan-update

January 2017

A huge amount of work has been done by the architects, engineers and quantity surveyors and we are now ready to present Chapman Taylor’s final design for the poolside redevelopment for your consideration at an EGM on 31st January. Details will be sent out with the calling papers and posted on the website. If approved, this will be a huge milestone for the Club, our largest investment for decades, delivering the first phase of an exciting modern family/ sports hub. The GC believes this will revitalise the Club but Members have to approve it. Please make every effort to be at this crucial EGM, and if you are unable to make it, please send in a proxy vote. Watch out for more information.

December 2016

Poolside Redevelopment: After selecting Chapman Taylor as the winner of the poolside redevelopment Concept Design Competition in September a lot of hard work has been going to translate this into a fully costed and phased Schematic Design for presentation to the Members. We had originally hoped to call the EGM in October, postponed it until November and even this proved optimistic.  The original concept designs were put together in just 4 weeks under competition rules and we have needed additional time to work with the architects, engineers and quantity surveyor to refine design details such as shade and landscaping, determine the optimum choice of construction materials and find the least disruptive phasing for the construction.

As I write this we are very close to finalising the Schematic Design and expect to be calling the EGM in January. The project will be divided into phases, the first being the whole of the Silom end of the Poolside. This will provide a vibrant modern young family hub with kiddies pool, playground / climbing equipment and an air-conditioned care/ play area as well as a games room and the two new squash courts. This includes most of the facilities presented at earlier AGM/ EGMs and the engineers are confident that by the end of 2017 all of this could be completed. Members will initially be asked to approve this first phase but the full scheme will be presented and the timing of subsequent phases will depend on funding projections.

October 2016

Poolside Redevelopment: This month we were pleased to announce Chapman Taylor as the winner of the poolside redevelopment Concept Design Competition with an ‘exciting, bold, contemporary design that dares to be different’. A technical evaluation, member feedback and a staff survey all made Chapman Taylor the clear winner but of course its very modernity juxtaposed with our classic Club House was bound to be controversial. When the original Club House was built over 100 years ago, it was designed for its audience using contemporary material of its time. Chapman Taylor’s vision for the Poolside for the 21st century can be considered to be honouring that heritage not simply mimicking it.

The design brief given to the architects celebrated the fact that the Club has many constituents in its membership and, to survive, needs to cater for all; not just function as a ‘gentleman’s’ club from an age when ‘Britannia Ruled the Waves’.  This design caters for young families and sport enthusiasts allowing the Club to embrace today’s new ‘Cool  Britannia’ whilst distinguishing the Club House heritage offering of ‘Rule Britannia’. The ‘new’ can ‘complement’ the old, a debate perhaps most famously illustrated by the initial shock reaction to I. M. Pei’s Pyramid at the Louvre. Not only is it is now admired with nostalgia across the world; it championed the architectural revolution/solution of contemporary architecture into heritage settings.

We are confident that Chapman Taylor will due full justice to this new British Club icon. They have now been engaged to prepare a more detailed, phased and costed Schematic Design that can then be presented to the Members for consideration at an EGM. The design will be refined to be more engaging, adjusting the layout and materials to take into account feedback from the sub-committee, management and members whilst maintaining the overall integrity of the scheme.

Before we can bring this plan to the Members for consideration we have to be confident that we can afford it. Whilst the Club is in good financial health, the Finance sub-committee reminds us that other commitments such as staff retirement funds cannot be compromised. Phasing of the work will have to take into account likely cash flow and this has to be worked out before we announce the date of the EGM. We currently still expect this to be mid-November. Realistically, work is likely to be phased over at least two years and even then full upgrades to furnishings and fittings may have to come later.

Poolside Redevelopment:  Concept Design Competition Winner

I am pleased to inform you that the General Committee has unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-committee to announce Chapman Taylor as the winner of the Concept Design Competition.

The following are extracts from the Sub-committee report:

The Process:

The Sub-committee was formed from Club Members with technical expertise in the area of redevelopment and interested Members. Based on their collective knowledge it was determined the best way forward was to hold a paid design competition and in the process turn the technical language and the design brief into 3D imagery, understandable to all Members.

The design competition followed the norms of international design. A pre-qualification process invited a number of firms to express their interest  which included Three-D Architects (original designer who worked on the last scheme), Harper Architecture (an active Member who had previously submitted alternative schemes for this redevelopment) as well as two leading international firms with offices here in Bangkok, Chapman Taylor and HBO+EMTB. Other leading design firms were also approached, but declined to join this competitive design competition process.

Four contrasting solutions, each having their own merits, were submitted. A full technical evaluation has been undertaken including interviews with each firm. The concept designs were displayed at the Club; each scheme was placed on the British Club website; an open forum was held with representatives of each firm available to meet Members; and an online survey undertaken to elicit Members’ views.

Chapman Taylor:

As an internationally renowned, award-winning design firm there were great expectations of their submittal. They did not disappoint. Their design was bold, contemporary: daring to be different. They clearly had studied the design brief, the criteria for assessment and had put energy and their creative talents to good use.

A number of features stood out:

 – Their spatial planning to maximise the space, removing the Silom Sala that divided the area allowing them to form integrated zones that can expand and contract with needs, be it for everyday use, special events and future demands.

 – The use of prefabrication to allow for factory quality control of materials, reduce time with the consequential reduction of impact on today’s users of the poolside facilities.

 – Contemporary design and composition, in celebration of the functions rather than style over form. The honesty in their design integrity also shone through in the dialogue with the actual team working on the project.

 – The crafting of a resort zone within the overall context of the Club.

 – The design has honoured the budget restraints

As with any master plan concept, the design is not a fully evolved total solution. There is still work to be undertaken to capture operational efficiencies, phasing of the works, plus technical dialogue to ensure the design is maintenance free (as much as is practically achievable). There is need for further landscaping elements as well as working with the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-committee to ensure that the individual ‘touches’ that matter to the target audience are fully addressed.

The attitude and approach of Chapman Taylor is to work to the brief and to engage with the Club to creatively produce not just amenities, but facilities for all to be proud of.  It is because of this philosophy and approach of Chapman Taylor that the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-Committee is confident in their ability to deliver an exceptional offering that will add value to the Club.

The work of the Sub-committee included a technical evaluation, plus a Member feedback and staff survey.

Technical Evaluation and Surveys:

a) Technical Evaluation

The Sub-committee appointed a specialist 7-person Evaluation Team which carried out a detailed analysis of each scheme based on the following 5 criteria and applying the specified weightings:

Design Solution (25%)

Integrated Design (20%)

Functionality (20%)

Cost (20%)

Phasing (15%)

The Evaluation Team reported its conclusions to the SC on 24th August. The result was that 6 members of the team scored Chapman Taylor 1st and 1 member scored Harper Architecture 1st. 

Overall, Chapman Taylor was ranked 1st, Harper Architecture 2nd, Three D Architects 3rd and HBO +EMTB 4th.

The SC unanimously (14 of 16 members were present at the meeting) recommended to the GC that Taylor Chapman be announced as the winner of the competition.

b) Member Survey

The Member survey was closed at midnight on Monday 29th August with 103 valid responses:

Chapman Taylor 46 (including one absent Member)

Harper Architecture  31 (including one absent Member)

HBO+ EMTB 8

Three D Architects 6

None 12

Sadly there was an attempt to confuse the results with false submissions sent under other Member’s names, all very negative and rather silly since it was simple to check with the Members concerned whether or not they had submitted these returns. 10 returns have therefore been removed from the ‘None’ count, 1 from Harper Architecture, 1 from Three D Architects.  A few others are suspect but these will not have affected the overall result. 

c) Staff Survey

Club Staff were also invited to state which scheme they preferred. 55 staff responded as follows:

Chapman Taylor 27

Harper Architecture  17

HBO+ EMTB 8

Three D Architects 3

The technical evaluations and all surveys therefore arrived at the same conclusion and we will make these documents available as soon as possible.

Next Steps:

The results of the Concept Design competition were conclusive and the General Committee has given the SC approval to work with Chapman Taylor to produce a Final Design for presentation to the Members at an EGM. We thank everyone who took the time to give feedback. Although there were divergent views, there were many very useful comments and suggestions that will be invaluable as the final scheme is worked out. 

The SC will also work closely with the Finance Sub-committee to produce a financial plan with appropriate phasing which will be presented to support the preferred scheme. It is also planned to appoint Currie & Brown as Quantity Surveyors to ensure that final costings are accurate.

There is a lot of important work to be done and it is likely that we will move the EGM back to mid-November to make sure there is adequate time to do this properly. We will announce the date as soon as possible and Members will be kept informed of progress.

We thank each of the 4 Architectural Firms for the hard work and creativity which went into their submissions, members of the Sub-committee for huge amounts of time put into overseeing the process, and once again to all Members who have participated in the process.

We look forward to bringing a final recommended scheme for your consideration soon and to your continued support.

With best wishes,

Jack Dunford

Chairman, the General Committee

Forum-mag-sept

update 2

Outpost-July-16

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