Crofts High Rise refurbishment
A major programme of improvements has been carried out on The Crofts, comprising three high-rise blocks of flats, situated in Smethwick. National housing and regeneration specialist Keepmoat was appointed on behalf of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to undertake the refurbishments.
Now complete, the project took place as part of Sandwell Council’s housing department policy to upgrade its housing stock when required. Sandwell Council began to look at the designs in 2012, and the project went onsite in July 2014. The work reached completion in March 2016.
Tony Davies, of Sandwell Councils Urban Design and Building Services, told Premier Construction:
“Sandwell MBC, through their housing investment scheme, allocated funding for refurbishing their housing stock and there was one site in particular they wanted to refurbish – The Crofts. The blocks were built in early 1960s so they had a fairly basic construction as typical of that period; the properties had single glazed metal windows, no insulation and a flat roof that leaked – so the time came for them to be modernised and given a new lease of life.
“With a refurbishment project there are so many unforeseen issues, especially with this one in particular with it being a 1960s building – however overall it ran very well, it was finished within the programme and budget.
“Predominantly it was an external refurbishment; we overclad the building with a mixture of insulated render, and a decorative laminate board with insulation at the back of it to act as a rainscreen system.”
Aluminium sheeted steel framed pitched roofs replaced the existing flat roofing which ensured an additional 30 years life with very little roof maintenance. New windows were fitted, other external works were carried out and internal positive mechanical ventilation was installed, along with a series of fire precaution works.
“For the tenants there was some disturbance with the noise from drilling and repairing and window replacement, but all of the tenants stayed in the flats during the process. As part of the contract we did have a large onsite cabin available, with a TV, sofa and washing machine to give the tenants somewhere to escape to if the noise became too much,” said Tony.
“We now have a building that is fully insulated with a specific type of windows (timber aluminium composite), heating bills are vastly reduced and draughts have been eliminated. We also enclosed the balconies to provide the tenants with a sun terrace. Due to the fact we involved the tenants in consultation at the very start, there is a real sense of ownership amongst the tenants – they really see the value in the properties.
“For the council it means that the tenants have a better quality of life. Not only do we improve the living conditions but also improve the health of the tenants, which is important.”