Council houses across Wrexham are set to receive a face lift due to an external improvement programme, which will insulate and improve the outer appearance of the properties…
Tenants living in non-traditional Council Houses across Wrexham County Borough are set to see a significant drop in their energy bills, and radical improvements to the outer appearance of their properties, thanks to an extensive external improvements programme being undertaken by Wrexham Council’s Housing Department.
Over the next 12 months, 190 properties will benefit from the scheme. The process will see a 100mm layer of insulation applied to the outside walls and elevations of the properties, making the homes far more energy efficient and cheaper to heat.
The project will also make it possible to significantly improve the outer appearance of the houses, thanks to the work the Housing Department have put in to improving the designs of the render and brick slips which cover the insulation. This will mean properties, which are nearly 60 years old in some cases, will effectively look like brand new buildings from the outside. The ‘brick slips’ will give the properties the appearance of traditional brick houses (as illustrated in the computer generated image above), resulting in a massive physical transformation to many streets around the local area, where non-traditional houses have stood virtually unchanged for several decades.
‘Non-traditional’ properties include houses constructed from steel, concrete and other brick alternatives such as Swedish timber. Most of Wrexham’s non-traditional properties were erected in the late 1940’s and 1950’s to tackle the huge post-war demand for housing. The houses were prefabricated, meaning they could be mass produced in factories, then shipped and assembled on site. This assembly line process allowed a greater number of houses to be erected in a far shorter time than traditional brick houses.
Despite lasting decades longer than was originally expected, many non-traditional houses are now showing signs of age and are significantly less efficient at holding in heat than their modern day equivalents. According to the Energy Saving Trust, around 45% of the heat lost in houses such as these is through the walls.
Applying External Wall Insulation should make the properties at least as efficient, if not more so, than traditional brick built homes, and tenants should see a significant fall in their energy bills as a result.
As well as helping the houses to hold in heat, installing External Wall Insulation will also help fill in cracks to reduce drafts and improve sound resistance, reduce co2 emissions, and increase the overall lifespan of the property by protecting the structure.
At a recent open day event held at a local activity centre in Cefn Mawr, tenants were invited to come and view the proposed designs for the new look of their properties. Computer generated images (pictured), provided by the Housing Department, have made it possible to see the dramatic difference the attractive brick slip and wall rendering will have on properties.
“This is the most significant programme of improvements these properties have received for several decades,” explained Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Ian Roberts. “The houses are going to look just like new once the work is finished, and you cannot underestimate the impact that the physical transformation of these streets is going have on the local community. It will be a massive step in turning these streets into neighbourhoods that tenants can really be proud of.”
Tenants attending the open day were also hugely impressed with the proposed designs. “I live in a non-traditional steel house, and we’ve always suffered from the property being hard to heat in the winter,” explained one Cefn resident. “Not only that, but the steel heats up in the sun so it’s too hot in the summer too. We had new central heating systems put in recently, which has helped with the fuel bills, but this insulation is going to make a huge difference. Some of the steel houses are really showing their age now, but the designs I’ve seen today for how our row of houses is going to look are lovely. They will look like new houses rather than your stereotypical ‘council’ houses, and that will make such a difference to the community. It’s great to know that we are finally going to have this work done. I can’t wait!”
The External Insulation Project is part of Wrexham Housing’s extensive works programme to ensure that all its properties achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by the 2020 deadline.
Wrexham County Borough Council