INCA Case Study: Devonshire Mansions, Eastbourne


Devonshire Mansions

​Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: High Rise, Residential

Architect: Archiflair Design Ltd

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: Fullers Plastering

System & Finish: Exicco Drain Cavity & Silkolitt+

U-value Achieved: 0.28 W/m2k

For the perfect example of architectural excellence which not only delivered an impressive aesthetic but improved thermal performance, significant environmental benefits, and a more robust structural foundation, look no further than the eight-storey, three-building BSF project Devonshire Mansions, completed by K Systems, in partnership with Archiflair Design Ltd, Pavehall Ltd, and Fullers Plastering.

Situated in beautiful Eastbourne on the south-east coast of England, Devonshire Mansions were an extremely attractive choice for those wanting stunning sea views and some peace and privacy. However, due to their location in a high exposure area, the buildings were aged and weather-beaten, and required a full overhaul and refurbishment to modernise, align with current safety regulations on high rise buildings, and strengthen the buildings at their core whilst rejuvenating the exterior.

Understanding and appreciating K System’s leading position in marketing and renowned ability for outstanding refurbishment projects, Pavehall contracted K Systems to completely refurbish this residential development and deliver on the following four primary objectives:

  • Remediate unsafe cladding
  • Improve the thermal performance rating of each home
  • Update and seamlessly replicate existing façade
  • Choose a solution with acoustic benefits

 K Systems gives the utmost importance to attention to detail with each and every project, leaving nothing to chance, and always begins a project with a full and comprehensive scoping exercise with all parties involved.

Solution, Specification, Challenges, and Results

On initial inspection, K Systems discovered that Devonshire Mansions would be unlike most retrofit BSF projects as it had a problematic substrate and challenging aesthetic deliverables.

Undeterred however, K Systems worked closely with partners Archiflair Design Ltd, Pavehall Ltd, and Fullers Plastering, using digital technology, to map out the refurbishment project and present the ideal solution to Pavehall for implementation.

After a comprehensive scoping process, K Systems discovered that the existing system had a drained cavity build up and when removed, the sheathing boards were compromised by water. With the Eastbourne buildings being high rise, steel frame and multi-occupancy, K Systems specified the industry-proven K Systems Exicco Cavity Drainage External Wall Insulation System for use.

In an Exicco system, the drained cavity behind the insulation ensures that any interstitial moisture escapes without detriment to the performance of the system. Due to their seafront location, Devonshire Mansions were prone to fierce rain and water exposure, so the Exicco system was the ideal choice to ensure any future moisture or condensation build up was forced out of the system to avoid comprising the substrate or newly installed façade.

Once the strip out of the existing EWI and façade had occurred, further project challenges were discovered – the substrate was far from line and level. This meant that every rail within the newly installed EWI system had to be packed out using steel shims to create a level vertical façade, subsequently adjusting the specified fixing lengths to suit.

The slab edge at every floor level was made up of concrete which K Systems’ rails and intumescent fire barrier fixed into. The challenge was that the fixing heads sheared off due to the hardened slab edge concrete formulation, which after investigation, highlighted a high content of flint present. This was a challenge that fixing couldn’t combat during site testing and required the expertise of K Systems to find a solution.

 A hex head fixing was specified to enable a greater drilling torque in successfully fixing the rails and intumescent fire barrier through the slab and flint build up.

This project is a great example of how K Systems overcame construction challenge after construction challenge to deliver the project within the agreed time constraints.

The initial make-up of the façade had multiple protrusions in forms of balconies causing every sheathing board and insulation board to be cut to fit. Replicating this without negating on the strict site deadlines was a task and a half but under the great install team and K Systems unwavering work ethic and on-site presence, this was achieved.

The newly installed Exicco system was combined with the K Systems M (110mm Mineral Wool) system for optimal thermal performance.

This high performing system provides optimal levels of fire resistance and non-combustibility and its installation at Devonshire Mansions meant that the fire classification of the residential buildings was upgraded to A2-s1, d0 meaning that the development is now considered compliant with the latest building regulations for all high-rise dwellings in England, further ensuring the safety of residents.

With structure, substrate, and insulation system perfected, the final challenge of this project was the exterior finish / façade.

 Devonshire Mansions had an extremely unique exterior finish. The façade included cornice, ashlar lines and coin detailing which was originally achieved in EPS and PVC – two highly combustible materials no longer supported or recommended in the latest building safety regulations.

It was a specific requirement of the Building Safety Fund to remediate the unsafe cladding without losing the exterior design features – something K Systems achieved seamlessly with a lot of complex and expert craftsmanship.

Ashlar line and coin detailing is an aesthetic detail easily achieved with a hot wire / blade in EPS insulation boards, however this is unachievable using Mineral Fibre insulation boards (specified in this project) using the same method. The method used of doubling the board to create these features was unconventional but was the best option in creating a line and level finish and another example of K System’s unmatched prowess in finding solutions to meet and exceed client requirements.

Cornice detailing traditionally formed using specialist businesses could not be used due to their non-compliant inner EPS flammable core. Each cornice was bespoke made to measure and detailed within the new system accordingly to create a water-tight finish while achieving the desired aesthetics and upkeeping with eliminating any cold bridging – therefore improving the overall thermal rating and fire safety rating of the building.

Traditional columns were the last detail installed and a challenge even for the fabricator to make. These columns were roadside and keeping with the front elevation. Originally manufactured in glass fibre but now in aluminium, making them more robust and providing an enhanced fire rating – again, ensuring greater safety for residents.

The eye-catching, waterfront dwellings were finished with Silkolitt+ – a versatile, easy to apply, water repellent, durable, and low maintenance thin coat render, perfectly paired and formulated for use with Exicco systems.

Completed Project

In collaboration with Archiflair Design Ltd, Pavehall Ltd, and Fullers Plastering, K Systems delivered an industry-leading, insulated façade solution for Devonshire Mansions that fulfilled the desired criteria, improved thermal efficiency to 0.26W/m2K and fire safety, enhanced building aesthetics and delivered an outstanding architectural structure that exceeded industry standard – all within budget and to the agreed timeframe.

The commitment of the K Systems team throughout the project, their continuous communication around phases, installations, and detailing, in-depth level of reporting, and consistent presence on site not only ensured a perfect refurbishment, but also instilled 100% confidence in the supply chain throughout, showing the exemplary levels of customer service clients can always expect from K Systems.


 “Working alongside K Systems on a project of the size and nature of Devonshire Mansions was a true pleasure. From initial scope and specification to intricate detailing and innovative finishes, the K Systems team lead by example and made the process and delivery a slick and seamless operation. The refurbishment was a complex case but working together in partnership, we all delivered on excellence, and the beautiful Devonshire development is something we can all proudly put our names to.”

James Fuller, Fullers Plastering

Working alongside K Systems on a project of the size and nature of Devonshire Mansions was a true pleasure. From initial scope and specification to intricate detailing and innovative finishes, the K Systems team lead by example and made the process and delivery a slick and seamless operation.

James Fuller

Fullers Plastering

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