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New Passivhaus project hand-over to Sovereign Housing Association


Kevin Murch, Director, hands over Bevan House in Leypark Road, Exeter, to Sovereign Housing Association, comprising nine new apartments built to Passivhaus Principles. With a construction value of £1.1m, funding of £690,140 was made available through Recycled Capital Grant Funding and £124,360 provided by Exeter City Council.

The six, one-bedroom and three, two-bedroom flats based in Whipton was the first of its type for both C G Fry and Sovereign Housing and reached air integrity below the objective of .75 with some test results achieving more than the original expectation. Purely through passive design elements, the new flats at Bevan House will use approximately 90% less heating energy when compared to a standard UK building (2010 Building Regulation requirements).

C G Fry site manager Aubrey Harris, an air-tightness champion, was a driving force behind the successful completion of this innovative project.

Kevin Murch Construction Director C G Fry & Son says: “This was the first project of its kind that C G Fry has built. It had its unique set of challenges in both design and management which the construction team met head-on. The turning point was Aubrey getting the team to grasp a new concept of building a very different type of project and move forward with it. Naturally there were inevitable problems, however, we worked closely with Tomas Gartner of Gale & Snowden and came up with solutions which were well received. Part of the success of the project was as a result of employing a ‘no-blame’ culture with the sub-contractors and we all worked together as a team for the successful outcome of building to Passivhaus standards.”

Bevan House was named after the late Tony Bevan, a Property Surveyor who worked for Sovereign who passed away in 2011 whilst still in service with the housing association. Well-liked by staff and residents alike, Bevan House is named in his memory.

Sovereign Housing is well-known for its ethos of making a real difference by making sure the homes they build and the services they provide allow residents to live the best life they can. It is the first housing association to deliver apartments to Passivhaus Principles on infill land in Exeter.

Jason Walker, Sovereign’s Development Officer, says: “It’s very pleasing to see these homes completed, particularly as it is the first project of this type for us. We have been working closely with the city council to support its ambitious plans to provide more high-quality affordable homes and free up larger family homes for people on the housing waiting list. CG Fry did an extremely good job in respect to the quality of the build and they exceeded the overall air tightness of the scheme which is a very important aspect in relation to PassivHaus developments.”

The employer’s Agent was Exeter-based Quantity Surveyors Taylor Lewis and local architects Gale and Snowden designed the scheme and were employed by Exeter City Council to ensure the building was compliant.

Tomas Gartner, Senior Architect at Gale & Snowden, says: “Building to Passivhaus standard requires high levels of workmanship, rigorous attention to detail and site supervision. I was particularly impressed with CG Fry's attention to detail, not only during the design but also construction. The site management was exemplary and it was a real joy seeing it all coming together and the outstanding air testing results speak for themselves.”

In the picture:

Front Row: Jason Walker, Sovereign Housing and Kevin Murch, Director C G Fry

Back Row: Cllr. Rob Hannaford / Tomas Gartner, Gale & Snowden / Gary Stenning, Exeter City Council / David Gale, Gale & Snowden and Aubrey Harris, Site Manager

C G Fry & Son: 2nd Nov 2013 12:00:00