INCA Case Study: County Flats, Aberavon


County Flats, Aberavon

Project Type: New Build

Building Type: Low Rise, Residential

Architect: N/A

System Designer: Wetherby Building Systems Ltd

Installer: JG Hale Construction & SO Modular

System & Finish: Wetherby Modular Brick System

U-value Achieved: 0.18 W/m2k

Tai Tarian’s landmark re-development of County Flats in Aberavon, Port Talbot is the first of its kind in Wales, combining three different construction methods to create 127 carbon neutral homes.

The regeneration project has seen the creation 55 new homes and transformed 72 existing homes in this multi-million-pound investment or the client, Tai Tarian and in partnership with modular company SO Modular. The project is funded by the Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) – a Welsh Government programme to encourage and test innovative approaches to constructing social and affordable housing in Wales.

It will achieve carbon neutrality via a range of in-house green and sustainable initiatives, as well as the low-carbon manufacture of the homes and the fuel-saving speed with which the buildings have been completed.

The use of SO Modular’s timber volumetric construction system enabled the three-story block to be erected in just one day. In total, 90 modular pods make up 44 homes.

This phase started with the installation of the site’s only panelised block, consisting of 20 homes in a fully insulated closed panelised system, with windows and doors fitted offsite. It also included the retrofitting of two blocks of flats and six new volumetric homes.

This project is VERY unique as a mix of construction methods have been used to achieve the final/desired finish for the build. The project includes retrofitting external wall insulation, traditional new build construction and modular construction. 

Wetherby Building Systems Ltd were at an advantage for this project, as they were able to supply systems for all aspects, while keeping consistency on the façade. This included, matching the facing bricks required on the new build with the slips required for the retrofit and also the modular units.

Wetherby ‘High Density Ribbed’ EPS Insulation was installed by main contractor JG Hale Construction onto 25mm timber battens and specified at 180mm thick for the existing buildings to achieve 0.18w/mk2.  The modular units were constructed roughly 15 miles away by SO Modular using 50mm of the Ribbed EPS Insulation, again achieving 0.18 as the timber frame was also insulated. The insulation boards have a unique tongue and groove interlocking configuration, designed on larger high density EPS insulation boards (1200mm x 1200mm). This significantly reduces boarding installation times while offering superior strength, high levels of impact resistance and protection against water ingress. The insulation boards are also ribbed which provided the course for the brick slips in colour Handstruck Valencia Mix.

In addition to the external wall insulation works, the existing properties have also been upgraded with a series of environmentally friendly features including solar panels, insulation and double-glazed windows.  The newly built properties will also benefit from air source heat pumps, a system that absorbs heat from the outside air and uses it to heat the homes and hot water. 

As well as reducing the building project’s overall carbon footprint, the use of green materials and technologies also aims to reduce fuel poverty for the development’s tenants, by ensuring all homes are built with the top EPC rating of A. The overall after u-value for the project is an impressive 0.18 W/(m²K).

The pioneering construction methods used on the scheme, are now providing a pilot study for the viability of their use in the wider construction industry.Tai Tarian’s Head of Development, Andrew Hall said:

“Building new homes in our communities is a priority for us and the County Flats project is a real landmark development. 
“Thanks to the hard work of our team and the innovation of our partners…, we are able to build some of the most sustainable homes in Wales.” 

The pioneering construction methods used on the scheme, are now providing a pilot study for the viability of their use in the wider construction industry

Andrew Hall

Head of Development, Tai Tarian

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