Sheltered housing has just got a whole lot funkier with this contemporary turn on institutional design for a Housing Action Trust. Elsewhere, the social housing sector is stepping up the pressure on off-site manufacturers to meet growing demand …

Panel-wall system
Concept Timber Holdings has designed a
300 mm thick, zero-heat-loss panel-wall system. The environmentally friendly design uses Bitrock for the external cladding, which is made from mill-floor sawdust and lignin, the natural glue derived from timber. Plasterboard is used for the internal cladding and the wall is filled with Warmcel, an insulating material made from recycled newspaper.
Concept Timber 603

Solar-powered thermal storage
Domestic thermal storage specialist Gledhill has introduced the SolarPod for use with solar panels. The Pod provides a transfer station for mains pressure thermal stores, plus energy for heating and hot water. It also allows solar power to be integrated into a conventional domestic system using standard Gledhill appliances, supplementing conventional heating sources such as gas, electric or
oil-fired boilers.
Gledhill 604

Electronic control ignition
Robinson Willey has added an electronic ignition to its Highline range of Firegem Visa 2 radiant/convector fires. Available in black and across the three model variants, Standard, Deluxe and Super Deluxe Electronic, the ignition makes the fires suitable for the elderly and infirm, as only one turn of the control knob is required for ignition. These models also have an improved efficiency rating of 89% and deliver a powered heat output of 4.84 kW.
In addition, all models are supplied with a disabled control handle, raised heat markings for the visually impaired and a flip-top lid with easy-to-follow operating instructions.
Robinson Willey 605

Casement windows
A show home for a 2900-unit regeneration programme in Manchester has been fitted with Rehau PVCu casement windows. The council is upgrading properties in Beswick, Clayton and Openshaw and has created the showhome to give tenants an idea of how their homes will look. The timber windows will be replaced with Rehau's PVCu S706 70 mm window system to ensure low maintenance and energy efficiency.
Rehau 606

External cladding
Broomleigh Housing Association has overclad an 11-storey block in Bromley with Dryvit Outsulation external cladding as part of a refurbishment to provide keyworker accommodation for Bromley Hospital Trust. Overcladding has improved the building's external appearance and U value. Outsulation incorporates expanded polystyrene insulation boards that are fixed on with a polymer-modified cementitious adhesive and/or mechanical fixings. The insulation boards are finished with a coloured acrylic coating. Design and-build contractor on the project was Dew Pitchmastic and contract administrator was Calford Seaden.
Dryvit 607

Roof accessories
Decra Roof Systems has expanded its range of roofing materials to include the Decra 300 High Performance Underlay and the Decra 700 High Performance Breather Membrane. Both are light, strong and easy to fix, and the underlay has been developed to replace traditional BS 747 Type IF bituminous-based felts. Other additions to the range are Decra Eaves Guards, available in two types, the 400 and the 370, which can be used with all five profiles in the Decra range of tiles.
Decra Roof Systems 608

Terracotta-effect cladding
The Dollken range of cladding has been extended to include a terracotta tile effect.
KR Plastics' Dollken cladding is easy to install, improves thermal performance and is appropriate for system-built houses because of its light weight. Panels measure 1055 mm by 339 mm and are mounted onto a grid of wooden battens with insulation fitted into the spaces.
KR Plastics 609

Axial fan
Xpelair's new GXC6SC speed-controlled axial fan is designed to safeguard against flue spillage, preventing carbon monoxide gas leaking from appliances such as boilers into the environment. The fan's extract performance is set according to the results of an annual flue spillage test, and a tamperproof facility prevents tenants from altering the setting.
Xpelair 614

Extended boiler flue
The Keston Celsius 25 modulating gas-condensing boiler has been updated to accommodate a 60 m long flue. The normal
50 mm diameter muPVC standard kitchen wastepipe, which can extend up to 20 m from the boiler to the flue terminal, has been fixed with a 70 mm diameter composite pipe. The new flue can be extended up to 60 m from the boiler vertically or horizontally.
Keston Boilers 615

Traditional tiles
Sandtoft Roof Tiles has introduced the Bridgwater clay tile. The tile is styled on a traditional tile once manufactured in Bridgwater and used in buildings in south-west England. Its colour has been developed to blend sympathetically with old Bridgwater tiles.
Sandtoft Roof Tiles 616

Energy-efficient windows
The windows on almost 1000 apartments at two local authority housing estates in Islington, north London, have been replaced with energy-efficient Kommerling windows from manufacturer Radway Doors and Windows. Kommerling Gold casement and tilt-before-turn windows and patio and residential doors were supplied for apartments on the Elthorne and Girdlestone Estates. The 58 mm Kommerling Gold system uses Pilkington K Glass air-filled glazing with aluminium spacers. This gives a U value of 1.8 W/m2K per unit and a whole window U value of 1.97 W/m2K.
Kommerling 618

Robertson name change
Elgin-based Robertson Timber Products has changed its name to Robertson Timberkit as it prepares to make a major push into the English timber frame market. Work is nearing completion on construction of the company's new £5m factory in County Durham, which will be its supply base to the English market.
Robertson Timberkit 619

What’s the spec?

Newcroft House, stonebridge, London
Just because someone is over the age of 65 doesn’t mean they should have to live in a home with an institutional aesthetic. As part of the regeneration of the Stonebridge Estate in north London, Stonebridge Housing Action Trust gave a group of residents a say in the design of their homes, and the result is radically different from most sheltered housing schemes. The occupants of the 39 one- and two-bedroom apartments are predominantly of Afro-Caribbean origin and wanted brightly coloured interiors, while architects MEPK and Shepheard Epstein & Hunter have come up with a thoroughly contemporary design. The three-storey apartment block is attached to a communal lounge and dining room via a sinuous corridor with glazed resting areas. Apartments are heavily glazed to maximise light, are accessible to wheelchair users and include assisted baths and other features to make life easier for residents. “We have introduced products that have a less institutional look, like the Flush Fit shower, and even the assisted bath is a domestic-looking model. The tenants love it,” says Colin Bateman, senior surveyor with Philip Pank Partnership, the client’s representative on the project. The £3.8m scheme replaces a demolished block of sheltered bedsits, transferred by the London Borough of Brent to Willow Housing, part of Network Housing Group. Project team
Client Willow Housing (Stonebridge HAT)
Planning supervisor Philip Pank Partnership
Architects Shepheard Epstein & Hunter; MEPK
Structural engineer Baldock Quick Partnership
Mechanical and electrical engineer Paul Moy Associates
Fit out and interior design Claude Hooper Interiors
Main contractor Mount Anvil Shower
N&C Phlexicare Building Products 600
Roof coveringSarnafil 601
Velfac 602


When Torwood – the manufacturer supplier to housing association partnership the Amphion Consortium – went into receivership in April, it caused jitters in the affordable housing sector. Certainty of supply of off-site manufacturing technology was brought into question, and at the very time when the government was encouraging greater adoption through the Housing Corporation’s Challenge Fund grant. Building technology consultant MTech has been helping Torwood customers find new suppliers, and says there is no problem sourcing them. “There is still manufacturing supply in the UK, and then the European market has capacity too,” says Darren Richards, operations director with the company. Manufacturers are stepping up production capacity to meet anticipated demand from the housing sector, with modular manufacturer Yorkon doubling production capacity to 600 apartments a year from its factory, and Pace Timber Engineering set to move its Milton Keynes operation to a new, modern factory next year. Others say they are ready to step up capacity as demand grows. “We are not running close to capacity yet,” says John Garbutt, marketing manager with TekHaus timber system maker Kingspan. “We could double, treble or quadruple capacity, but we want to walk before we can run.” The options open to housing providers are being extended all the time by the launch of new systems and components, like Catnic’s liteTile steel roofing system (pictured above), which comprises 6.7 m long tiles. Yorkon 610
Pace Timber Engineering 611
Kingspan 612
Catnic 613

Entry system security device

Security specialist 1st Secure has introduced a device that prevents bogus callers gaining entry to homes. The DoorDefender has a spring mechanism that stops forced entry even when a door is open. Once activated, a 110-decibel alarm is also set off to attract further attention to potential intruders. Suitable for both front and back doors, it is available in chrome or brass to match existing door furniture. 1st Secure 617

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