This project was one of the first in the country to complete certification against the newly created BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment Scheme. It involved the conversion of office accommodation on the first floor above shops and below existing residential units into three apartments. The local authority placed a planning condition of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ on the project, which given the constrained nature of the site and small size of development, was considered onerous and a challenge, particularly as the developers and contractors had no experience of working to BREEAM requirements.
Blewburton were involved from a very early stage of the scheme, before work on site began and it was this, along with both the developer and contractor full and open engagement which allowed the scheme to attain the ‘Excellent’ rating required.
Interestingly, there are no standout ‘green’ measures on this project and compliance was largely down to adopting good practice and ‘going-the-extra-mile’ when required. Perhaps the biggest issue was the decision to replace the windows, which significantly helped with energy credits, but other beneficial approaches saw the installation of sparrow boxes, the provision of energy efficient white goods, energy monitoring display units and good attention by the contractor to issues such as site energy and water use monitoring, compliance with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and a good Site Waste Management Plan.
It was to both Blewburton and the rest of the project team’s surprise that the project was nominated for a BREEAM award within the refurbishment category in the autumn of 2013 and a huge thrill to win the award and be presented with a trophy by Michaela Strachan at EcoBuild 2014. When asked why the scheme had won, a representative from the BRE stated, ‘We were impressed by the fact the project had so many replicable lessons for other similar projects to learn from…’ and it is this comment that we feel highlights nicely the benefits of working with The Blewburton Partnership on these types of scheme.