St James Homes applied timber frame to develop an urban site it would otherwise have ignored and proved the commercial case for medium-rise timber frame, making it a clear winner in this category, sponsored by Zurich Building Guarantees
St James Homes

Like much innovation, St James Homes' winning solution was driven by necessity. In developing a site close to the River Thames in Woolwich, south-east London, St James Homes found it would not be viable to have piled foundations because of the presence of river wall tie rods and so opted to combine a buoyancy raft foundation with lightweight timber framing, six storeys high. The project effectively took the DETR, Trada and building industry-sponsored TF2000 research project, which two years ago started to investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of six-storey timber frame, out of the BRE's test laboratory and into London's private new homes market. As a pioneer, St James incorporated a number of measures and checks into the building process, and is producing a report on lessons from the project. Working with the housebuilder on the timber frame were timber-frame contractor Bedford & Jennings and consultant Chiltern Clark Bond, which provided timber engineering and design support.

Laing Partnership

A terrace of three homes in east London developed by Bethnal Green and Victoria Park Housing Association are the testbed for Scandinavian innovation. Contractor Laing Partnership has built the homes using H+H Celcon's Jamera aircrete steel reinforced building system, in use in Scandinavia for several decades but new to the UK. The houses' shell combines aircrete block walls, laid using a quick-drying thin mortar, and large reinforced aircrete floor, lintel and roof elements, that are craned into position. The BRE is monitoring the three homes, as part of its sustainability of prefabrication in buildings programme, alongside a traditionally constructed Laing Partnership north-London scheme. Initial feedback on the system is favourable, with construction of the external envelope reduced by a month.

Sentinel Housing

Sentinel Housing Group is developing the 300 homes at the Central Oakridge Estate in Basingstoke, effectively using a kit of steel parts. The homes are built from large, factory-produced recyclable lightweight steel panels, with pre-decked floor cassettes. Although the structure of the homes is highly standardised, exterior detailing is varied, with render, timber and brickwork being applied, demonstrating that factory-built homes don't have to all look the same. Sentinel has worked with architect HTA Architects, contractor Walter Llewellyn and steel frame designer Forge Llewellyn to adapt the solution for the site.

It is truly innovative – the site couldn’t have been developed any other way

Integer Intelligent & Green

Integer first made its name developing a one-off demonstration house on the BRE site in Watford about five years ago. Since then the intelligent and green building principles displayed in that house have further evolved and been used on sites around the country such as Greenfields in Maidenhead, a scheme of 27 intelligent and green apartments developed by Maidenhead and District Housing Association. Integer is now a partnership of around 80 companies, all dedicated to researching and delivering sustainable innovation in housing.