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Maccreanor Lavington's Passivhaus affordable housing starts on site

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[PLANS + PROJECT DATA] Construction has started in Rainham, east London, on the first completely affordable housing development built to Passivhaus standards in the UK

Work has started on this £8.1 million housing scheme in the London Borough of Havering by Maccreanor Lavington, which is being billed as the first completely affordable Passivhaus development in the UK.

The scheme on a brownfield site formerly owned by the Greater London Authority in Rainham features 51 rented homes split into two rows of three-storey terraces and a row of two-storey terraces. The 5,493m² block is completed by an apartment building. 

Backed by Circle housing group and Climate Energy Homes, the terraced houses have front gardens, ‘upright proportions and
details that allude to London’s Georgian and Victorian terraces’.

Gerard Maccreanor of Maccreanor Lavington said: ‘[This scheme] is an example of how smart thinking, in design and build, can be achieved at reasonable cost and meet the needs of those who need it most.

‘By adopting Passivhaus principles we were able to bring a level of innovation to the project that not only ensured high quality, but the highest standards of sustainability along with affordability – a triumvirate seldom achieved.’

The scheme is due to complete in June 2014.

Maccreanor Lavington Rainham Passivhaus development

Project data

Location Rainham, Essex
Type of project residential
Client Circle and Old Ford Housing
Developer Climate Energy Homes
Main contractor Climate Energy Homes
Circle project manager PRP
Architect Maccreanor Lavington
Planning consultants RPS
Structural engineers BRP Associates
Civil engineer consultant Templeman
Environmental consultant Merebrook
Passivhaus consultant Warm
M&E designer Venables
Funding Circle and Old Ford Housing
Start on site date August 2013
Completion date June 2014
Contract duration 10 months 2 weeks
Gross internal floor area 5493m²
Form of contract JCT  Design & Build 2011
Total cost £8.1 million
Specific environmental targets Passivhaus

Maccreanor Lavington Rainham Passivhaus development


Jonathan Hines, director of Architype and Archihaus

‘As in Europe, Passivhaus in this country is developing from the bottom up, by people and organisations who understand its value, rather than being imposed ‘top down’ by government.

‘Whether or not this is actually the first 100 per cent ‘affordable’ Passivhaus scheme is not the most important thing. I like the unfussy and modest way it has been designed to incorporate Passivhaus standards.

‘Unlike Code for Sustainable Homes level 5 and 6 houses, it does not shout loudly about add-on technology and applied eco-bling. Instead, it quietly integrates sound principles of good fabric-first and simple form, to deliver buildings that, because they are designed to Passivhaus, will deliver exceptional comfort and incredibly low running costs.

‘This project shows that with a sensitive design approach, Passivhaus can be achieved at an affordable cost, in both rural and urban locations.

‘It demonstrates that Passivhaus does not dictate architectural form, style or construction, but does require the application of logical and integrated design thinking – all underpinned by the discipline of PHPP software and developed with the expert advice of consultants such as, in this case, Warm. I hope that the simple and elegant rigourof the design is continued into the construction.

‘Passivhaus is simply a quality assurance standard that delivers comfort and low energy consumption. It is encouraging to see it being adopted by architects such as Maccreanor Lavington and clients such as Circle.’

Passivhaus AJBL

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Readers' comments (1)

  • One aspect not mentioned in the First Look article was the apparently generous floor plan areas. The 4 bed houses seem to be nearly 200m2, the one bed flats just over 93m2 and the 2 bed flats about 107m2. These if correct are considerably in excess of the London Housing Space Standards and recommendations in the RIBA's Case for Space campaign.

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