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High quality homes

Existing Homes 

What we did

Existing homes on the estate were built mid-1970 to a non-traditional Poulson design, consisting of brick and block gables and timber frame front and rear elevations between in terrace arrangements. As a result, the properties suffered from poor energy efficiency, particularly due to the timber sections where minimal or no insulation was provided.

Due to a lack of traditional cavity walls, an alternative method of External Wall Insulation (EWI) was used, which encased external walls with a mix of render, fibre cement and brick slip cladding. This provided us with the opportunity to improve the visual appearance of properties on the estate and the ability to blend in with private properties which had not received the investment works with the use of brick slip cladding in key areas across the estate.

New roof coverings were also installed at the same time with loft insulation increased to provider greater levels of energy efficiency.

Due to the existing layout of the estate, based on the once popular Radburn concept, most properties across the estate had very little defensible private space and limited on plot parking. Through the wider infrastructure works, we have been able to provide private front and rear gardens with the installation of new fencing to divide previously underutilised open spaces into private rear gardens. We have also been able to provide private driveways to most properties across the estate, and where this hasn’t been possible, identified on street parking which is overlooked has been provided.

Several properties have also been re-orientated by swapping front and back doors/entrances to enable the fronts of properties to face onto the street scene rather than rear communal open spaces.

How it went

Delivery of the EWI and roofing element of the scheme was well received by residents and, apart from a relatively small number of cases where we were unable to gain access, the works largely progressed as planned. The visual impact of just this element of work made a striking difference to the appearance of the estate and anecdotal evidence collected to date suggests that properties are generally warmer and more efficient to heat as a result of the work. Once woks are all complete, we expect that the properties EPC rating will increase from a low D to a C rating.

Completing the works on a fully occupied housing estate has proven to be a challenge from the outset and simply would not be possible without the presence of a dedicated, onsite resident liaison officer (RLO). The RLO role has provided a clear point of contact for residents to raise concerns so they can be dealt with quickly by the site team.

We decided to deliver the works in staged work packages, delivering the EWI and roofing and demolition elements of the scheme first and then moving onto delivering the infrastructure works and garden improvements alongside the new build construction. We learnt quickly that trying to deliver multiple works across the estate was not sustainable and moved to a ‘zoned’ approach with the intention of completing sections of the estate area by area, on reflection, we probably would have taken this approach from the outset.

Lessons learned

  • Sequencing of works needs careful consideration (especially if multiple streams of worked are planned at once), although we’re not sure if there is a right answer to this
  • The onsite, full time RLO has been essential to the delivery of the works.

By far our biggest lesson learned from the whole scheme is not to allow an estate to deteriorate to the point where significant multi-million pound investment is required.