RICS accolade recognises housing scheme excellence – Maerdy Court
Achieving national recognition after making the shortlist of the prestigious RICS Awards 2016, Wales, is a project involving the superbly executed refurbishment of Maerdy Court – a sheltered housing scheme in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
RCT Homes won the award for their scheme, carried out as part of their Planned Maintenance Programme, and involving 46 weeks of works in total, completely transforming the homes and living spaces for its older tenants.
The project involved the transformation of a three storey block – originally containing ex-council bedsits – into 15 stylish, modern flats in a building suitable for able-bodied, wheelchair users and visually impaired tenants.
“This project was a long time in the planning and it was good to achieve recognition for all the hard work that had gone into it to produce a good quality product. The tenants absolutely love it too,” said Mark Wardill, senior quantity surveyor at RCT Homes.
“The main contractors R & M Williams did a superb job. The quality of the workmanship was excellent and they got it right first time. There were no issues at all and the contract was finished on time and on budget. The contractors also worked well with the new tenants, some of whom have dementia.
“R & M Williams have worked for us in the past and we will be continuing this good working relationship.”
Before the works were carried out the building suffered from dated layouts, colour schemes and lighting. Shared bathroom facilities offered residents limited personal accessibility and convenience.
The development proved so popular that is now fully occupied and has a waiting list, with all the flats being taken on the opening day of the new development. “Some of those who managed to obtain a flat in the scheme actually cried with joy at how nice they thought the accommodation was. We were also pleased to see the difference the project had made to the building,” said Mark Wardill.
He added: “The project was a comprehensive refurbishment scheme which involved the complete strip out of the original interior and extensive remodelling to provide spacious new flats complete with new kitchens and bathrooms.”
“The property was also refurbished to Royal National Institute for the Blind’s ‘Visually Better’ standards to cater for the needs of any visually impaired tenants. This included special features such as contrasting coloured tiles around plug sockets and contrasting coloured worktops and flooring, making each more easily visible.
“In addition each of the tenants wears a fob with a tracking system as well as a call button so that they can be quickly located within the building.”
Further brand new facilities within the building include a communal lounge complete with hearing loop, a communal kitchen, a laundry room and a treatment room for activities such as hairdressing.
Eco-friendly features of the project include daylight sensor activated lighting in the communal areas, solar panels and a high level of external wall insulation.
Mark Wardill said: “When we fitted the external wall insulation, it was designed in such a way as to make the building look more like a row of terraced houses, in order to better blend with the local streetscape.”
Further works included the refurbishment of the communal garden which was also designed to be wheelchair friendly, as well as including colour contrasted railings to assist visually impaired people.
“When the work was completed we held an open day to encourage new tenants as some of the previous bedsits had been empty – and every single flat was taken on that day,” concluded Mark Wardill.