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First look at Bell Phillips' east London housing retrofit

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Bell Phillips Architects has released these photos of its £8.5 million, RIBA competition-winning retrofit of a housing estate in Plaistow, east London

The practice managed to reduced energy consumption in a typical 67m² two-bed flat on the Brooks Road Estate by 62 per cent and heating costs reduced by 55 per cent.

The work, which included extensive internal and external refurbishment of nearly 200 existing post-war low-rise homes, was carried out in five phases over a period of seven years with the final stage having just completed.

Shortlisted for last year’s 3R Awards, the project was part of a wider estate renewal which replaced existing post-war buildings with new-build terraced houses.

The architect’s view

Due to the various challenges presented by the different buildings, each phase was addressed as a separate project with a particular response to the challenges presented. As a result the project is made up of a collection of buildings which are tied together by consistent themes but offer variation and richness.
From the outset and throughout the process we worked in close consultation with residents, stakeholders, contractors and the local authority to provide a series of improvements at a range of scales, from estate-wide improvements such as the redistribution of public and private amenity space to small-scale proposals such as the design of new entrance porches for individual houses.


Project data

Architects:  Bell Phillips Architects
Location: Brooks Road Estate, Plaistow, London E13
Type of Project: Extensive internal and external refurbishment of large local authority housing estate in east London including new bathrooms and kitchens, new double-glazed windows, insulated render overcladding, new entrance canopies, refuse stores, communal walkways and stairs, refurbishment of communal areas and public realm works including new landscaping and remodelling of highways.
Structural Engineers: Michael Hadi Associates
Project Architect:  Bell Phillips architects
Design Team: Tim Bell, Hari Phillips, Melissa Dowler, Jun Kee Min, Richard Eden
Client: London Borough of Newham
Start on site date: 2004
Contract duration: 2004 – 2010 (in five phases)
Gross internal floor area: Approx. 15,000m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: Phase 1-2: PPC 2000, Phase 3-5: JCT Intermediate Form
Total cost: £8.5 million       
M&E consultant: 
Fulcrum Consulting (now part of Mott MacDonald) 
Quantity surveyor: 
IGM Associates
Main contractor: Phase 1-2:  Mulalley, Phase 3: Lenguard, Phase 4: Frencon, Phase 5: Mansell
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Windows: Sampson, Rationel, Newco; Render: Sto, Weatherby; Cladding: Eternit Natura (Phase 1), Stokes Tiles (Phase 2); Bricks: Ibstock (Phase 2)
Annual CO2 emissions: SAP calculations were undertaken to quantify the improvement in the performance of the building envelope and the energy saved. For a typical 67sqm 2-bed flat it was found that the energy consumption was reduced by 62% and heating costs reduced by 55%.
Energy consumption prior to refurbishment: 338.21 kWh/m2 per year

Energy consumption after refurbishment: 130.44 kWh/m2 per year

Heating costs prior to refurbishment: £306.68 per year

Energy costs after refurbishment: £138.96 per year

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