ROCKPANEL breathes fresh life into a landmark project

An ambitious project in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is breathing fresh life into a deprived neighbourhood. The £16 million project at the Edward Woods Estate in Hammersmith, West London has used the decorative ROCKPANEL façade cladding among other building materials to rejuvenate the tower blocks and the surrounding area and is as a result fostering greater pride and social cohesion within the community.

Creating a striking and well-insulated building

The façade system specified for the tower blocks was a combination of ROCKPANEL cladding and ROCKWOOL Rockshield. Melbourne Barrett, Executive Director of Housing and Regeneration London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Council said:

“With this refurbishment the objectives were to achieve a cost effective, high performing, safe and attractive construction which would benefit our tenants. With these four aims in mind, the right building materials were sourced to enable the objectives to be achieved.” 

The ROCKPANEL cladding applied in these tower blocks is fire-safe and rated with European Fire Classification B-s1, d0. Its recently introduced 
FS-Xtra boards offer even greater fire-safety. Applied on an aluminium or steel supporting structure and fixed with blind rivets, FS-Xtra meets the requirements for European fire class A2-s1, d0. Especially in relation to the fire risk in high rise buildings such as tower blocks, fire-safe board material whilst also providing an opportunity to create unlimited cutting edge design is a must.

The ROCKPANEL boards specified also benefited from a ProtectPlus finish, an extra protection layer which gives optimum protection for external cladding against weathering, UV radiation, graffiti, and pollution and has excellent self-cleaning properties. As a result, the façade will maintain the aesthetics for decades to come with minimum maintenance required.

The Edward Woods Estate

This estate is the third most deprived neighbourhood in the borough, comprising 754 flats built in the 1960s – 528 in three 24-storey towers and 226 in four low-rise blocks.

The Edward Woods Estate suffered from many of the social issues faced by many other inner city estates across the UK. The estate lacked communal facilities, had inadequate security, refuse and recycling facilities, and graffiti and vandalism were prevalent.

Additionally, the existing building was at the end of its lifecycle. The exposed concrete and brickwork panels required significant repair work. The flats were cold and plagued by condensation, as a consequence, residents faced excessively high fuel bills in part due to the building’s poor insulation and were at risk of fuel poverty.

Partnership creates a building that works

Working with project partners ECD Architects and Breyer Group, the council involved residents in the scheme from the start. Representatives from the residents worked with the design consultants, using their local knowledge to help steer the proposals for the benefit of all who live there.

Now, through a comprehensive programme of renovation work the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has reversed the cycle of decline and significantly improved the aesthetics and thermal performance of the buildings in the estate. The scheme is seen as a flagship for building-integrated renewable technologies within the Borough.

Fast and efficient installation

The existing mosaic wall panels were overclad externally with ROCKPANEL Rockclad and Woods boards to further reduce heat loss and to give the tower blocks an attractive appearance. Irfan Dhoia, Commercial Manager at Breyer Group Ltd said:

“Cladding a building of this size requires building materials with which you can work quickly and efficiently. ROCKPANEL is lightweight and easy to cut and shape so detailing can be completed quickly and easily, even when the building is in use by the tenants,” 

Revolutionising energy efficiency

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and other energy efficiency schemes have provided the funding and impetus for refurbishing tower blocks, such as at the Edward Woods Estate, to boost energy efficiency, but the potential for these refurbishments to act as a tool for the regeneration of communities adds an additional element to help create a lasting legacy.

Lucy Ivimy, Cabinet Member for Housing at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council says,

“The Edward Woods Estate is a landmark project for the borough and is a great example of how energy efficiency measures can be installed in our existing stock to improve the living environment for residents. We have been impressed with the support and guidance provided by the ROCKWOOL Group throughout the project,”

An attractive façade with a fresh appearance for decades to come

ROCKWOOL products have successfully improved both the life of the building and enhanced the residents’ comfort while at the same time helping reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint. Ian Sarchett, Managing Director of ECD Architects said:

“By cladding the tower blocks with ROCKPANEL we achieved an attractive façade which enhances the tenants’ and local community’s identification with the building. This building can now make a positive contribution to local regeneration activity,” 

A successful regeneration solution

By using ROCKWOOL products, the original Edward Woods Estate buildings were saved from demolition, and instead fully regenerated with a new and creative design; a long-lasting solution to benefit both tenants and the building’s owners. This was achieved at lower cost, with tenants experiencing minimum disruption to their lives and a maximised healthy indoor climate and benefits to the environment and the regeneration of the whole area.

Project key data

Location: West London, United Kingdom
Type of project: Social Housing Refurbishment
Value of the refurbishment: £16 million
Volume: 9000 m² ROCKPANEL Rockclad (Xtreme) / ROCKPANEL Woods
Façade construction: Ventilated rainscreen cladding
Fixing: Rivets into aluminium adjustable frame
ROCKPANEL Rockclad (Xtreme)

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