Following a strategic review of 15 high-rise blocks of flats in Wirral, Wirral Partnership Homes (WPH) has adopted an asset management approach that will see eight blocks of flats refurbished (as part of a £31M investment programme) and seven blocks of flats decommissioned.
The investment scheme – known as the high rise improvement project – began in 2010. Bullock Construction is the main contractor on the project and is working with a number of partner agencies in order to achieve the highest possible standards across the sites.
The work includes extensive internal and external improvements to the blocks, including new kitchens, bathrooms, heating, insulation and roofing. The upgrade of kitchens and bathrooms include a range of modern fixtures and fittings, including dual flush WCs, flow restrictors, A/A* rated appliances and low energy lighting, amongst others.
Meanwhile, an innovative, eco-friendly and award winning communal heating system known as EcoPod, is being retrofitted into three blocks. Developed by Belfry, the award-winning system utilises a host of renewables such as thermal solar panels, high efficiency cascade boilers and air source heat pumps.
The works on the accommodation blocks also includes the installation of new security systems and the upgrade of communal areas. As the tower blocks previously lacked recycling facilities, WPH and Wirral Borough Council are taking the opportunity to implement a recycling strategy.
More than 140 people are being employed on the project, with on average 60% of the work force based locally to the project. The commitment of WPH and Bullock has facilitated the creation of 7 full time permanent posts in addition to additional training opportunities.
Bullock Construction Trainee Site Manager, Katie Kay, commented:
“Working here has given me great experience and helped me get my career back on track.”
Speaking about the impact that the high rise improvement programme has had on the local area, Brian Simpson, WPH Chief Executive said:
“WPH is committed to providing good quality homes that meet the current and future aspirations of our tenants. However it was important to carry out an initial strategic review of all high rise stock in order to ensure that our investment decisions represented value for money. We have now successfully re-housed all tenants from those blocks to be de-commissioned. The eight blocks benefitting from our £31M investment programme are being totally transformed to provide modern homes with 21st century facilities. The feedback from tenants has been excellent. The level of investment has also produced many positive benefits for the local community in terms of employment, training and the use of local sub-contractors and suppliers. This is part of WPH’s on-going commitment to providing homes and building communities.”
The high rise improvement programme is scheduled to reach completion in December 2013.