Nottingham City Homes - EWI to 1100 Properties
Through the Efficiency East Midlands solid wall insulation framework, Nottingham City Homes appointed Sustainable Building Services (UK) Ltd (SBS) to install external wall insulation to over 1,100 private and social housing properties.
The immediate challenge was planning permission. The properties were made of solid brick and the local authority had concerns about whether the externally insulation would have any adverse impact upon each area’s character and appearance. For several months prior to commencement, SBS and the system designer, PermaRock Products took a collaborative role in design, detailing and planning meetings. By providing product samples, visualisations and other evidence, they demonstrated that the result would enhance the quality and appearance of the housing stock. Planning consent was duly granted.
Close supply chain collaboration also helped NCH to achieve greater cost certainty, to agree the most cost-effective designs and detailing from the outset, and to apply a number of best practice techniques. Important elements included full resident engagement at every stage of the customer journey, using ECO funding to support works to social and private properties, and establishing pilot properties that residents could then visit to see how the finished work would look.
The scheme was divided into three phases and incorporated over 30 different property archetypes. Phase 1 focused on 355 properties in the Lenton Abbey area, all made of solid brick but comprising a mix of semi-detached, mid-terrace and end-terrace houses. The same works were offered to private residents in the area. Phase 2 focused on 135 NCH properties in Sneinton and the third phase entailed treating 560 solid brick properties in Aspley.
SBS and PermaRock set up a bespoke facility to provide more than 375 operatives, local apprentices, NCH and other stakeholders with high quality, project-specific training. The centre accurately reproduced the detailing of the various property archetypes. This accelerated progress because it meant that trained staff could move straight from one property type to another.
SBS site managers made routine inspections but the project also benefited from ongoing quality inspections by PermaRock technicians who worked on the site full time. These measures ensured strict adherence to the specification. Delivery was also overseen by E.ON's full-time inspector who shared office space with SBS, PermaRock and NCH's project liaison officer.
SBS also worked closely with Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP). They hosted a series of community marketing events with PermaRock and made strenuous efforts to promote the benefits of the scheme/funding to private homeowners. NEP undertook Green Deal assessments, issued EPCs and took initial deposits.
The use of ECO and Green Deal Communities funding made the prospect of EWI installation very attractive to many private residents, as did the economies resulting from having SBS staff, materials and equipment already present. In all 105 homeowners and their families were able to take advantage of the subsidised works.
Work proceeded quickly. Ultimately, all NCH properties were completed on budget, three months ahead of schedule. Strict quality controls ensured that all properties were accepted at handover, with no rectification notices issued in any of the three phases.
As a result of the works, thousands of local residents now enjoy better living conditions, improved energy efficiency and appreciable annual savings on their energy bills.
The work also created substantial training and employment opportunities for local people. Ultimately, more than 40% of the workers on the scheme lived within 10 miles of the centre of Nottingham.
Such was the scheme's success that it featured as an example of industry best practice in 'Each Home Counts' - a major independent report commissioned by the UK Government. The report cited the scheme's emphasis on quality, the clarity of the offer, cost certainty, consistency of delivery, supply chain collaboration and the maintenance of "the highest quality standards" by the project partners.
Each Home Counts - an extract:
"To ensure the highest quality standards, each property underwent a full pre installation survey, including ventilation, moisture and electrical and gas requirements. Full-time on-site technical support and quality management were provided by PermaRock and a fully equipped on-site EWI training facility provided project specific training... This was backed by comprehensive technical and design support for all aspects of the EWI system design and detailing, keeping the focus on quality at all times."
- 100% handover success
- Zero defects
- Zero H&S incidents
- 6% predictability (time by property)
- Customer satisfaction score: 'excellent'
- 375 operatives trained