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INCA Case Study: Cartcraigs, Glasgow


Cartcraigs, Glasgow

Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: High Rise, Residential

Architect: Mast Architects

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: PWM

System & Finish: K Systems Mineral Thin Wool System

U-value Achieved: 0.18w(M2k)

Background and Requirements:

Cartcraigs high-rise was originally built in the 1960’s with a grey cladding finish but due to decades of traditional Scottish weather, the building was dull, weather-beaten, and extremely dated.

With its stature and prominent location, the building should have been an attractive living option in southside Glasgow but instead was unappealing to potential residents, an eyesore for surrounding neighbours, and in desperate need of modernisation. The building also had a below-par thermal performance rating making it extremely difficult and expensive for tenants to heat their flats – so much so that many occupants were considered in a state of fuel poverty.

The Wheatley Group chose K Systems to work on this project due to its industry leading knowledge and long-standing reputation for delivering superior quality builds across the UK. The main project requirements were to:

– Significantly lower heating costs for residents
– Improve thermal comfort for residents
– Achieve an A1 non-combustible fire rating
– Deliver a modern, clean, crisp, smooth exterior finish

K Systems teamed up with Mast Architects, CCG, and PWM to tackle the mammoth refurbishment of the 17-storey building and transform it from run-down residence to prestigious property.

Solution, Specification, and Results:

After a comprehensive scoping process taking into consideration client requirements, project objectives, budgets and timeframes, K Systems put forward the industry-proven Mineral Thin Wool insulation system for the project to address the aged façade and significantly boost thermal performance of the building.

K Systems Mineral Wool insulation (a mat of rock fibres which prevents the movement of air) has an industry-leading ability to generate exceptional thermal performance. That made it the perfect choice for the Cartcraigs refurbishment as it would combat the heating issues faced by residents whilst retaining the solid foundations of the existing building.

Other technical benefits which made the K Systems Mineral Wool system the ideal specification for this refurbishment include:

– its level of fire resistance and non-combustibility, an A1 rating, ensuring the building met all safety regulations for buildings over 11m in Scotland
– its excellent acoustic properties
– its environmentally friendly composition as it is free from gases with ODP (ozone depletion properties) or GWP (global warming potential)

The original fabric of the building was 25mm cavity construction with reinforced concrete inner leaf shaped panels which could be seen beneath the present grey façade panelling. The refurbishment by K Systems enhanced that by implementing the Mineral Wool insulation system and a 160mm grey and white façade that not only delivered a more aesthetically pleasing look as required but will now better withstand the Scottish elements too.


There were two specific challenges the K Systems team faced on this project – attention to detail and minimising disruption.

As a number of flats within the Cartcraigs building were already occupied by residents, the K Systems team was required to deliver the project with minimal disruption or inconvenience to existing residents of the tower block and surrounding estates at all stages. Thanks to expert planning, strict timeframes and project sprints, this was easily achieved by K Systems – something resident and client feedback confirmed and solidified.

Delivering a robust, aesthetic, and safe solution is K Systems bread and butter but the organisation gives the utmost importance to attention to detail with each and every project and leaves nothing to chance.

When devising the refurbishment programme, K Systems commissioned wind load calculations and pull-out tests to determine the optimum fixings and washers to be used to anchor the EWI system to the different substrates.
Digital technology was also deployed to produce models and CGIs to not only guide the design process but ensure compliance with all health and safety regulations for buildings over 11m in Scotland, and indeed safe working conditions for all parties involved throughout the refurbishment.

The refurbishment of Cartcraigs took place during a global pandemic when the construction industry was significantly impacted in terms of workforce and availability of materials, and many organisations were delaying projects or failing to meet completion deadlines.

It was an extremely challenging environment to work within, however, that didn’t occur with this project. K Systems had a concrete, thorough methodology and project delivery programme in place to ensure a successful refurbishment, on time, within budget, and non-compromising on quality. Again, showcasing its ability as an organisation to raise the bar in terms of delivery for clients.

Completed Project:

Cartcraigs is a prime example of K Systems’ ability to go above and beyond for its clients and deliver a market-leading refurbishment of a high-rise residential building.

Having received the K Systems treatment in 2021, Cartcraigs was transformed from a dull, weather-beaten eyesore in the city with an extremely poor thermal performance to a modern, fit-for-purpose tower block with a significantly improved u-value rating of 0.18W(M2k), the highest standard fire safety rating required for tall buildings across Scotland, and an enhanced exterior finish.

K Systems provided a great overall package from the inception of this project with design advice, through the technical stage, with assistance throughs specification then with the provision of weekly reports and checks once the project got on site.

K Systems

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