INCA Case Study: Bishop Auckland, Durham


Bishop Auckland, Durham

​Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: Low Rise, Residential

Architect: Durham County Council

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: Westdale Services

System & Finish: K Systems E | EPS + Brick Render

U-value Achieved: 0.30W/m2K

Background and Requirements:

K Systems’ refurbishment of a Durham Homes development in Bishop Auckland, a bustling market town in the Vale of Durham, is a stellar example of the company’s ability to harness years of expertise with forward-thinking innovation to meet the needs of its clients.

Durham Homes commissioned K Systems to refurbish its residential development of 120 terraced houses and had two primary objectives to be fulfilled:

– Improve the thermal performance rating of each home
– A finish indistinguishable from existing brick and stone walls

Having a good reputation for matching systems with finishes to deliver its clients’ visions, K Systems partnered with approved installer, Westdale, to scope out the project and specification in fine detail, with particular focus on insulating properties and aesthetic.

Solution, Specification, and Results:

The Bishop Auckland project, completed in March 2022, is one which the K Systems team spent considerable time planning to ensure the delivery was 100% accurate and fitting of the client’s expectations. Having comprehensively assessed the requirements of the refurbishment, the K Systems E | Expanded Polystyrene Insulation System (EPS) was specified.

This high-performing, lightweight system is based on expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulating panels that incorporate microscopic particles of graphite for enhanced thermal performance that allows heat to dissipate.

K Systems E also has a fire performance rating of B2 -s1, d0 and is known for its low moisture absorption and high resistance to mould growth qualities.

Given the bespoke requirements of the project, the tailored system for Durham Homes was designed using 90mm EPS panels. This resulted in a U-value of 0.30W/m2K being achieved, meaning improved thermal comfort for the residents, whereby they feel warmer for longer in their homes, and subsequently enjoyed lower heating costs.

The system also boasts environmental qualities as its inclusion reduced overall carbon emissions within the Durham Homes development.


Moving on to the finish of the terraced houses, which was perhaps the most challenging element of this particular project. The finish was required to replicate existing aesthetic within the development (red brick and yellow stone walls) yet remain compatible and work seamlessly with the specified insulation system.

K Systems had the ideal solution – a bespoke, specially formulated polymer render finish which simulates the appearance of real bricks. This brick rend was skilfully treated with pigments to ensure the client’s requirements were met and to colour-match the various shades within in the original masonry, with the finish then sealed to provide long-term durability. A dash render finish was applied to the rear of the Bishop Auckland properties.
This particular finish didn’t just ‘fit the bill’ at the time of delivery, but is an economic, durable, lightweight solution, easily applied, with an increased bond strength compared to sand and cement, which will protect the insulation and structural fabric of the homes from environmental deterioration in years to come.

This customised finish and attention to detail is a perfect example of how K Systems works with all clients to fulfil any specific design criteria and go above and beyond the standard requirements to deliver superior quality.

Completed Refurbishment:

K System worked in collaboration with Durham Homes and approved installer Westdale to upgrade these poorly insulated brick and stone terraced houses and deliver a total revamp of the properties, resulting in thermally efficient homes.
The project was complete with minimal disruption to existing residents, and due to forward planning and regular site visits by an experienced K Systems project manager, where processes and progress were monitored and evaluated, the project was completed within the agreed timescale.

Regular inspections and site audits were carried out to ensure the same level of care and attention to detail that applied when specifying the project was being applied during its implementation and delivery.

As a result, K Systems delivered an excellently designed and expertly executed refurbishment, that exceeded the expectations and requirements of the client, Durham Homes, and the residents of the newly improved homes.

To deliver such a large project (120 houses), it requires multiple teams to work seamlessly together and have absolute trust in the other’s skill, vision, and judgement. That’s exactly what we had with K Systems on this Bishop Auckland project. The team’s innate understanding of pairing systems with finishes for optimal performance is second to none and together we delivered a best-in-class refurbishment which was an absolute pleasure.”

Durham Homes

K Systems delivered an excellently designed and expertly executed refurbishment, that exceeded the expectations and requirements of the client, Durham Homes, and the residents of the newly improved homes.

K Systems

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