Residential winner at BREEAM awards 2016

Residential winner at BREEAM awards 2016

The conversion of a Victorian warehouse known locally as The Joinery, has demonstrated that a collaborative approach and a focus on sustainability can help to deliver affordable inner city living. A part refurbishment, part new build housing scheme, The Joinery has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating and won the residential category at the BREEAM awards.


The development is located in Courtauld Road, Islington, North London. It has created 52 units, a mix of 44 warehouse-inspired and new build apartments and eight town houses, across a mix of tenures. Built by developer United Living for client Family Mosaic, the project is the culmination of a larger scheme that has provided 132 new homes in the borough to meet the needs of people who either cannot afford to buy a home, or can only afford to buy a share of one.


The project saw the complication of refurbishing a Victorian warehouse into affordable housing. There was an added challenge in that Family Mosaic set an objective for the project to become an exemplar of low energy, sustainable housing as part of a commitment to help provide energy efficient, and therefore low cost in use, homes for future generations. Close collaboration between client, developer, architect and consultant from the outset and a shared vision to imbed BREEAM into the delivery process and objectives for the completed scheme helped realise the clients’ vision.


By adopting BREEAM methodologies from the outset such as careful sourcing of materials and considering energy and water usage and through the adoption of inclusivity in the decision making process from all parties, the result has been an inspiring and ground-breaking approach to residential construction.


The project features five distinct blocks, with the original warehouse refurbished to create 15 apartments over four storeys. A combined heating and power plant serves all of the new units and a mixture of photovoltaic panels, careful layout and good thermal envelope ensured that the highest possible credits within BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment was achieved.


The Energy strategy lead to the project achieving full BREEAM credits in improvements in energy efficiency rating: – energy efficiency rating post refurbishment; primary energy demand; renewable technology, including energy-labelled white goods; and lighting. Additional environmental benefits included enhanced natural daylight, green roofs, efficient water fixtures to reduce potable water consumption and acoustic insulation to minimise airborne and impact sound.


The advantage of this scheme was that the client Family Mosaic, Pollard Thomas Edwards and Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects, sustainability consultant EcoFirst Consult and contractor United Living were all on board and sharing the clients goals from an early stage. Before planning, energy statements were sought, a great deal of work was undertaken to look into how a scheme of this size could adopt a long term environmentally sustainable energy system to benefit the occupiers, housing association and planners.


The consultation process also made sure that any advice and recommendations from the Architectural Liaison officer were incorporated into the design and construction, to achieve Secure by Design certification and Life Time Homes Standard. Such has been the success of the collaborative approach and its results, is that the development has been shortlisted as Best Designed Development of the Year in the Inside Housing Top 60 Developments awards. It’s also taken the Gold Award at the Green Apple Awards.


Sara Bennett, BREEAM, CSH and SAP assessor at EcoFirst commented: “Having a certified BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment Excellent scheme for a refurbishment of a warehouse in Islington shows planning authorities, other developers, landlords and private buyers what is possible in today’s affordable housing crisis within this area. Not only does it have the advantage of future proofing the affordability of running an apartment in London, but also offering the health benefits and built in accessibility for any changes in the life of occupancy within the development. Having a broad and holistic view of a development shows the private buyer an advantage over other developments, as well as being more attractive for shared ownership buyers.”

Steve Carden, Business Unit Director for construction (South) at United Living, said: “This has been an incredible rewarding project for both United Living and our project partners Family Mosaic and EcoFirst consult. From our perspective, the BREEAM award is firm recognition of United Living’s ability to achieve excellence through partnerships on both refurbishment and new build work.”


Sara Mairs of EcoFirst added: “We are delighted to have won a BREEAM Residential Award 2016. The Award demonstrates United Living’s and Family Mosaic’s dedication and approach to sustainability and sustainable practices which have been embedded into both our values and our everyday operations. Achieving BREEAM excellence is no mean feat, and Courtauld Road is an exemplar of sustainable development for a mixed tenure scheme.”


Dick Mortimer, Director of Development and Sales at Family Mosaic, said: “The development of sustainable housing is about more than just energy efficiency and low running costs: it’s about building homes that will last the distance for future generations. Developments like Courtauld Road are no easy feat and represent what can be achieved when all parties commit to a collaborative approach that draws on wide expertise.”


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