An exciting project has seen the transformation of the Engels tower block at City West Housing Trust’s flagship Barton Village development.
The canal-side block is the first of four to be completed in a £14.3 million retro-fit refurbishment programme for the area. City West Housing Trust has transformed the 1960s concrete tower block to create a modern residence that is eco-friendly, secure and energy efficient.
Under the 50-week project, all of the one and two-bedroom apartments have been remodelled to provide occupants with an open plan kitchen and living space, whilst the balconies have been enclosed to create a conservatory area. In addition, all of the windows have been replaced with self-cleaning and energy efficient panes.
Further improvements include the fitting of new kitchens, bathrooms and radiators. Furthermore, the exterior of the building has been completely wrapped with a thermal cladding, which has improved the thermal efficiency and made the building more aesthetically pleasing.
Main contractor for the project is Bullock Construction and the architect is the Halsall Lloyd Partnership.
Collette McKune, Director of Asset Management for City West Housing Trust, said:
“We are delighted to be welcoming residents home to their newly modernised apartments, which provide some of the most cutting edge technology to keep their homes safe, secure and warm at a much lower cost.
“Work finishing on Engels is a very significant milestone in City West’s high rise improvement programme. It is the first of our 12 tower blocks to be completed and it sets the standard for the remainder of the programme. We will be providing sustainable, modern affordable homes for our customers.”
Michael Barton, 49, has lived at Engels House for five years. He praised the project, saying:
“The refurbishments will bring the area into the 21st century and give people real pride in their homes. Because we have been consulted throughout, the work has really brought the community together – community spirit has returned. I can’t wait to move back in.”
One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the wealth of green technologies that have been implemented. Along with a state-of-the-art ventilation system and high insulation cladding, the development has been fitted with the award-winning EcoPod system.
Designed by Belfry, the EcoPod combines highly efficient cascade boilers with solar power. The free energy provided by the solar gain will be used before the cascade boilers switch on and will top up the heating and hot water supply. It is expected that the EcoPod will eliminate fuel poverty and reduce heating costs and carbon emissions by more than 40%.
Collette Mckune said:
“In the past, residents living in these blocks have been faced with fuel poverty, as many of the people who live here are our older and more vulnerable customers, so we knew we had to provide a solution that would address this. The EcoPod allows us to heat these apartments at a cost that the people who live here can more readily afford, so we are tackling fuel poverty head on.
“Crucially, it also alerts us when vulnerable residents are not using their hot water, which is a great early warning mechanism when temperatures plummet in the winter. We can then step in and offer any additional support or sign post them in the direction of where they can access any winter fuel allowances.”
The refurbishment of Barton Village heralds the start of a wider regeneration programme in the Barton area of Eccles, which lies at the heart of the industrial revolution on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal.
The second phase of the high rise improvement programme will see £20 million invested in improving blocks at Ladywell Green in the heart of Eccles. In total, 349 homes at Craunton, Cremer, Ewood and Kemball will be refurbished to the same high standard as Barton Village.
Jon Hinson, Regional Director for Bullock Construction, commented:
“The Engels building at Barton Village is a great example of a tower block, built in the late 1960s, brought back to life in the 21st century, through careful design and considerate construction.
“The building typifies how sustainable methods can be applied successfully to mature buildings to reduce carbon emissions and save on energy costs for the benefit of customers.
“Bullock Construction looks forward to continuing the strong partnering relationship with City West on the following phases at Barton Village and supporting local employment initiatives to get skilled tradesmen back into work.”