INCA Case Study: BISF – North Lanarkshire Council


BISF – North Lanarkshire Council

Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: Low Rise, Residential

Architect: North Lanarkshire Council

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: Ailsa Building Contractors

System & Finish: Phenolic EWI system + P Dash

U-value Achieved: 0.17 W/m2k

The BISF (British Iron and Steel Federation) constructed the Newarthill properties in the 1940’s, utilising steel-framed walls that were initially coated in cement render and vertical steel panels. In previous renovations overseen by the Local Authority, the upper level of the building was clad in PVC weatherboard, while the lowest floor had its exterior re-rendered. The building is characterised by its non-traditional construction style.

 The houses had extremely poor thermal performance and the flats were difficult and expensive to heat, especially with the rising fuel prices and current cost of living crisis, meaning some residents were in a state of fuel poverty.

North Lanarkshire Council required an EWI solution that would achieve the following three key objectives:

  1. Improve the thermal performance of the property portfolio
  2. Specify a system that would achieve a U-value of 0.17 W/m2K that would involve as little technical detailing around the property as possible
  3. Ensure the properties had an modern and aesthetically pleasing look as the current exterior was tired and dated

Understanding and appreciating K System’s expertise in this sector and innate ability to deliver best-in-class refrubishments, North Lanarkshire Council appointed the partnership of K Systems and Ailsa Building Contractors to tackle the low rise refurbishment project.

Solution, Specification, Challenges, and Results:

 On initial scope, the K Systems team identified that one of the project’s major challenges was going to be around the technical detailing between the timber frame sheeted ply at the top storey and precast concrete slab at the bottom.

Keen to meet North Lanarkshire Council’s key requirements, several U-value calculations were completed by the experienced K Systems team to support the client’s request of minimal detailing around the property and to support the target 0.17 U-value.

A 120mm Phenolic Insualtion was specified to meet this objective.

The Phenolic EWI system by K Systems utilises phenolic foam insulation boards. This insulation is lightweight and has a high thermal performance, allowing for thinner sections of insulation to achieve optimal thermal efficiency – perfect for the Newarthill project.

K Systems Phenolic is a suitable solution for buildings that are restricted in expanding their footprint due to pavements, passageways, or nearby properties. It can be easily installed on masonry structures, as well as non-traditional and alternative structures, to meet the specific needs of each project.

By installing this Phenolic Insulation system, K Systems was able to achieve the client’s target U-value of 0.17W/m2K, up from 0.32W/m2K.

Addressing the client’s request for a modernised aesthetic, K Systems specified a dash render finish. This render is extremely robust, hard-wearing, and low maintenance, ensuring the properties’ refreshed exterior would remain for years to come.

The dash render specified was also complementary to the existing local property portfolio which was something North Lanarkshire Council had expressed an interest in achieving.

As the Newarthill development was already occupied, another key element of this project was to deliver the refurbishment with minimal disruption to current residents and / or neighbouring houses.

This is one of K Systems strengths, ensuring jobs are delivered in a timely fashion, without delay, without disruption, and with full disclosure of each phase given to residents throughout the project to build rapport, trust, and confidence.

On this particular low rise refurbishment, which had limited access points for all traffic in and out surrounding its immediate vicinity, K Systems had to work closely with the contractor, main contractor, and local authority to ensure they were working in harmony to negate any unnecessary commotion.

K Systems’ technical team also carried out regular site visits to make sure the system was installed to the highest standard, in line with specification, and to ensure all involved parties were delivering to time and budget.

Completed Project:

The refurbishment of properties in Newarthill, Motherwell is a great example of K Systems’ unparalleled ability to deliver constructional excellence that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of its customers.

This low rise refurb completely transformed cold, weathered, distressed housing in a Scotland suburb into warm, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing abodes that:

  • Met the exact requirements of North Lanarkshire Council
  • Reduced energy bills for residents due to improved thermal performance
  • Adhered to strict budgets and timelines for completion


The Newarthill project was a great project to collaborate on with K Systems as it consisted of 55 BISF construction semi-detached houses for North Lanarkshire Council.

The properties had a PVC Clad top panel and rendered wired lath base with an insulation system already installed. 

K Systems had several preconstruction site visits with us to design a phenolic system that made the houses much more energy efficient and more pleasing to the eye as well as meeting the desired U – Value. 

Excellent input in the weekly visits made the contract run very smoothly and helped produce a great focal point for the councils’ investments.

We look forward to many more project collaborations going forward.

Kenny McDermott, Site Manager, Ailsa Contractors

The refurbishment of properties in Newarthill, Motherwell is a great example of K Systems’ unparalleled ability to deliver constructional excellence that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of its customers.

K Systems

INCA Case Studies – view all INCA project case studies: