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Making Nelson House shipshape

Nelson House

A £2.5 million refurbishment project is dramatically transforming Nelson House – a 1960s-built tower block of council flats in Upper Church Lane, Tipton.

The project is being carried out for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, to designs by the council’s Urban Design and Building Services department. Main Contractors are Lovell Partnerships.

The nine-storey block, containing 34 flats, is of concrete frame construction with brickwork and blockwork cavity wall infill panels.

The work, due for completion in July 2017, is making good progress and includes the installation of a new pitched roof to replace the current flat roof, as well as replacement aluminium/timber composite framed windows and balcony doors.

New balcony rails with tinted glass panels are also being installed, together with a positive ventilation system.

The external elevations are being re-clad with decorative panelling and insulated render and the block’s front and rear communal entrances are being remodelled.

External landscape works include the construction of an additional car parking area and disabled car parking spaces together with an extensive planting scheme.

Internally, corridors and communal areas are also being refurbished, including the installation of low energy LED lighting operated by passive infra-red sensors, the installation of fire alarms and smoke detectors, re-decoration with fire retardant paint, and the addition of new floor finishes. New entrance doors are also being fitted to individual flats.

Tony Davies, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s project manager for the scheme said:

“Major refurbishment of high rise blocks such as this is quite complex especially when the flats remain fully occupied throughout the contract but the tenants are happy with the work and the project is going very well and is on programme – it’s looking good and everyone is pleased with it.”

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, cabinet member for housing, said: “This work is long overdue for tenants here and we appreciate their patience. Not only will the renovation create better homes for the people living here, it will also lengthen the building’s lifespan and improve its appearance.

“I’m extremely proud that we have managed to continue investing in our council homes, despite such challenging financial times. In this block’s case, the work was delayed due to Government cutting the funding for our housing investment programme and we have had to find the money ourselves.

“This is the 35th block that the council has refurbished over the last 10 years and this is part of an ongoing refurbishment programme for the borough’s tower blocks.

“Since 2014 we have completed refurbishment works to eight high rise blocks and invested around £75 million in our council housing which includes spending £50 million on a package of internal improvements to upgrade 6,000 council properties.

“We have refurbished a number of other blocks in Sandwell and residents have always been delighted with the positive change it has made to their lives.”

Carl Yale, partnering manager for Lovell in the Midlands, said: “This block really is getting the full works in terms of refurbishment and I am sure residents will be delighted with it.

“They have been very enthusiastic in our meetings with them and are looking forward to how great the block will look, and also how they’ll be able to keep warmer in the winter and enjoy lower fuel bills at the same time.”

One of Lovell’s other recently refurbished blocks for Sandwell Metropolitan Council was at Charlemont Farm, which has received a number of industry accolades, including being ‘highly commended’ at the recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards.

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