Zero Carbon Homes Amendment Replaced

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.42.34The House of Lords have accepted the Government amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill which sets a duty on the Secretary of State to review minimum energy performance requirements. It replaces the Lords’ amendment to reintroduce the central, carbon compliance element of the Zero Carbon Homes standard.

The review is described as “a full and comprehensive review of energy standards based on cost effectiveness and the impact on housing supply”. A briefing prepared by the House of Commons Library on the Housing and Planning Bill has been published which includes information about carbon compliance.

On publication, the Government said the Bill would kick-start a “national crusade to get 1 million homes built by 2020” and transform “generation rent into generation buy.”

The supply-side measures in the Bill are primarily focused on speeding up the planning system with the aim of delivering more housing. There is also a clear focus on home ownership, with measures to facilitate the building of Starter Homes; self/custom build housing; and the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants following a voluntary agreement with the National Housing Federation (NHF).

View the bill in full here, or click on the image

New Bill provides boost for Housebuilding

The government has announced a new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill as part of the Queen’s speech. The new Bill will contain measures to further strengthen neighbourhood planning and make the compulsory purchase order process ‘clearer, fairer and faster’.

The Bill, which comes less than a week after the Housing and Planning Act achieved Royal Assent, aims to support the government’s ambition to deliver one million new homes, whilst protecting areas such as the green belt, and deliver “the homes and infrastructure that this country needs”.

It will address the “overuse, and in some cases, misuse” of planning conditions. It also seeks to bolster neighbourhood planning, streamline the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process and reform the Land Registry.

The Bill will ensure that local planning authorities can only impose pre-commencement planning conditions where it is absolutely necessary. By addressing the overuse and sometimes misuse of certain planning conditions, the legislation will be geared to ensure that new housing can commence without unnecessary delay, the government said.

The new Bill will also further strengthen neighbourhood planning, handing more power to local people and making more transparent the local government duty to support groups. The Bill will also aim to improve the process for reviewing and updating plans.

Under the Bill, the compulsory purchase order process will be clearer, faster and fairer for those involved in it, the government said. This area of the Bill will also include reform of the context in which compensation is negotiated, “often a very significant and complex part of finalising a compulsory purchase deal”.

The Bill will also enable the privatisation the Land Registry “which would support the delivery of a modern, digitally-based land registration service that will benefit the Land Registry’s customers, such as people buying or selling their home.”

Alumasc & Cornerstone Help Lift Residents Out of Fuel Poverty

An innovative scheme to install energy efficiency measures at a park home site in Elton, Cheshire is lifting vulnerable residents out of fuel poverty. The scheme is being managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council, part funded by National Energy Action. Approved installer Cornerstone have installed the Alumasc Swistherm EWI system improving thermal performance and providing an aesthetic transformation to the homes.Park Homes EWI

On average, park home residents are older and on lower incomes than the general population, and as a result, are more likely to be in fuel poverty. Due to technical challenges and a historical lack of funding, this is the first significant subsidised energy efficiency scheme in Cheshire West and Chester to target park homes.

Orchard Park is situated in a rural off-gas area within Cheshire and contains 109 privately owned park homes. All residents with non-insulated properties expressed interest in the scheme, with those living in the oldest park homes prioritised for works.

Site surveys and consultations with residents commenced in late 2015, with all measures on course to be completed by the end of April 2016. 48 propertiPark Homes EWI 2es will receive external wall insulation, with loft and underfloor insulation also installed where possible, along with heat recovery units fitted in 15 of the properties.

Monitoring of the thermal performance of the park homes before and after the installation of insulation and heat recovery units is being undertaken by National Energy Action. The installation of a range of product combinations will enable National Energy Action to make direct comparisons between the solutions, which will inform best practice in park home retrofit on a national basis.

All properties receiving insulation will feel considerably warmer. Residents will therefore use less energy in heating their homes, and will enjoy significant reductions in their fuel bills. The insulation will also refresh the external appearance of each park home.

Success for ATBS and Alumasc at the Home Building and Renovating Show

The National Homebuilding and Renovating Show is the UK’s largest self-build and renovation event – which is why it provided the perfect showcase for a new collaboration between two industry innovators.

Advanced Thermal Build Solutions (ATBS) is a design and build company, that utilises both the revolutionary Insulated Concrete Formwork system Sunbloc and the flooring system V-Tec.

Sunbloc is the latest and most advanced system of its kind and the only ICF system to be designed and manufactured in the UK. It suits any application from simple extensions through to commercial builds up to five stories. Sunbloc provides an economic and environmentally friendly method of wall construction with optimum insulation for living accommodation. The system is of modular size, lightweight and robust, and is set out on site, then pump filled with concrete. The completed Sunbloc wall can then be finished using a simple render or traditional facings such as brick, tiles, brick slips or weather boarding. To compliment Sunbloc walls, the V-Tec flooring system has been designed to provide a clear span, reinforced and insulated concrete floor.

UnknownHaving used Alumasc Renders successfully on previous projects, an installer at ATBS suggested that their facade systems might be suitable for use with Sunbloc. Discussions followed and Alumasc were invited to join ATBS on their stand at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC in Birmingham in April. In combination they provided a rapid build system, enabling a basement plus 2 storey extension to a Nisa store, to be completed within 7 days, followed by an application of Alumasc’s Silkolitt silicone render – much to the proprietor’s delight.

Managing Director of ATBS, Hallam Funke explains: “In addition to a number of other finishes we use with Sunbloc, Alumasc’s Silkolitt Silicone Render and Acrylic Brick Slips work seamlessly with our systems and have already produced impressive results on 3 of our projects.

“Alumasc’s Area Sales Manager Nigel Walters certainly went the extra mile in spending a whole day on our stand, helping our many visitors with their facade-related questions”.

He adds: “At ATBS we like to build strategic partnerships with key industry colleagues and very much look forward to future collaborations with Alumasc.”

BlogPic1Nigel Walters of Alumasc concludes: “The new products from ATBS are exciting and innovative and sit perfectly within the Alumasc sustainability ethos. It was a pleasure
spending time with them at the show, which will hopefully lead to a number of joint opportunities in the not-too-distant future.”

Alumasc’s thin-coat ST Silkolitt silicone renders are used to create a contemporary finish in both new-build and re-modelling applications. They are highly water-repellent, vapour permeable, weather resistant and available in a range of colours.

The Alumasc Acrylic Brick Slip system offers an easy to apply, lightweight, high performance realistic brick finish, where the use of real bricks would not be viable.

For more information on the Sunbloc and V-Tec Flooring systems, contact ATBS on 01580 767703 or visit

For more information on Alumasc External Wall Insulation and Render Systems, call us on 01744 648400.

Alumasc deliver thermal success in Goole

The Kingsway refurbishment project in the Goole area of Yorkshire comprises a selection of social housing properties, owned and maintained by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Goole102 properties were selected by the Council for exterior refurbishment, to improve thermal performance and to visually regenerate the area and maximise the lifespan of the properties.

Alumasc’s Swisslab EWI system was specified for all property elevations, using 120mm Kooltherm phenolic insulation. This decision was based on the Council’s successful use of Swisslab on previous schemes and the ongoing technical support provided by Alumasc to meet the challenges of the project.

The ambitious energy efficiency improvements required, could only be achieved by using 120mm Kooltherm phenolic board. Other insulation options available for use with Swisslab would have been too thick. With the specification of this system, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has far exceeded the requirements of most local authorities, leading to ‘U’ values of around 0.15W/m2K – far lower than most results achieved using other insulation thicknesses.

The properties were a complex mix of ages, styles and sizes, including detached properties c1800, terraced homes c1900 and semi-detached houses constructed in the 1950s. The period properties presented the challenge of maintaining their features and character and some of the homes had been subject to multiple extensions over the years, meaning significant works were needed to ensure a fluid and seamless finish.

Goole3_Before&AfterA combination of Alumasc’s brick-effect render (M.R. Rendabrick) and Silkolitt silicone render was determined by the surrounding properties to ensure those being refurbished blended in.

Considerable attention was required at one particular property where differing land levels meant side streets sloped down past the house. Alumasc worked closely with Westdale to find a solution which involved a combination of Swisslab being installed to pavement level and Alumasc’s M.R. S2 used below the damp proof course level to avoid bridging the property’s dpc with a non-porous material.

For more information on Swisslab External Wall Insulation, click here.

Panmure Street Project Wins RICS Award

Alumasc’s Ventilated System project at Panmure Street, Glasgow picked up a Highly Commended Award courtesy of Registered Conractor CCG at The RICS Awards 2016. The awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the environment. Panmure Street, Glasgow

The Panmure Street development in Glasgow demonstrates the benefits and versatility of utilising the AVS (Alumasc Ventilated System). The key driver for the specification of AVS was its ability to replicate traditional construction design whilst being adaptable for the closed panel production line.

CCG, who has recently invested over £12m in a state-of-the-art factory, was the off-site manufacturer (OSM) and main contractor on the scheme, which consisted of a closed panel, fully off-site manufactured solution.

Only a small element of external on-site fabric work was required. Alumasc’s lightweight acrylic brick slips were used as the final finish, giving the construction the desired traditional finish.