What a Transformation!

A housing regeneration scheme, which has transformed homes beyond recognition, has used EWI systems from Wetherby to help complete the incredible makeover. Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) has undertaken a £1.8m project to improve the internal and external appearance of five three storey blocks of flats in Warrington, Cheshire.

The scope of the works included new windows and doors, new roofs, solar PV, external wall insulation, new heating systems, new ventilation systems, additional parking and communal area upgrades.

External wall insulation (EWI) was a crucial element of the scheme and not only offered the most significant energy-savings, but also provided a complete transformation of the exterior of the buildings.

The installation of EWI posed many challenges as the walls provided very little by the way of thermal properties, with the area underneath the windows consisting of a single timber panel. This panel had to be subsequently reinforced with a single skin of brickwork, meaning the selected insulation system needed to be applied to two different substrates to provide complete coverage of each elevation.

In terms of the aesthetics, with the development being situated along a major route into the town centre and directly adjacent to a new health and leisure complex, it was crucial that a visually appealing exterior was created. John McCall Architects set itself the task of producing an architecturally interesting façade that provided areas of contrasting colours, shades and materials to break up the mass of the buildings and alter the streetscape.

GGHT-warrington

As a result, Wetherby’s BBA approved EpsiWall system was specified, incorporating EpsiTherm graphite enhanced EPS insulation and finished with 1.5mm K Silicone Render in bright white to create a clean, modern canvas for the buildings. Elements of pastel green and blue render were applied randomly to various elevations, as well as around windows that had been given a decorative raised profile. To complete the façade, areas of coloured Cedral Weatherboard cladding, in complementary tones, were applied to break up the design, providing interest and depth.

The appearance of robust brick was also a requirement on this development, but with bricks in short supply, and cost prohibitive, Wetherby’s mid-grey brick effect render was applied to the ground floor of each of the five blocks of flats. A more cost effective alternative, the brick effect render provided the look of genuine brick, while adding another dimension to the façade.

Commenting on the project, James Nicholls from John McCall Architects said: “This scheme, which lines a major gateway into Warrington, was designed to create a visual identity for the five housing blocks. The materials and colours were carefully chosen and play a really important part in giving the buildings a new lease of life due to their clean design creating a modern and attractive façade.”

Mark Moore, Energy Solutions Manager for GGHT, added: “This project has completely transformed this area and exceeded all of our expectations. The work has completely revitalised the area, with residents now proud to say they live in the Alder Green flats.

“Not only are the buildings unrecognisable, but they are significantly more energy efficient and now meet current building regulations. We have genuinely helped to bring families out of fuel poverty and, while we are still waiting for the exact cost savings that tenants will make, it is likely to be more than £250 a year.”