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BRE Victorian residential RetroFit

Client: Building Research Establishment
Location: Watford, Herts
Approved Installer: Underpin & Makegood Ltd
Reference No: CS043

The BRE's flagship project, 'Rethinking Housing Refurbishment', looked at ways in which housing renovation methods could be improved in order to provide industry and homeowners with examples of best practice for sustainable housing refurbishment. At the BRE site in Watford, a disused Victorian stable block was turned into three sustainable homes fit for 21st century living, alongside education and training workshops and a visitor centre. The aim was to demonstrate how older buildings with solid walls, poor insulation, draughty windows, inadequate heating and in a state of general disrepair could be transformed to provide attractive, flexible and energy efficient accommodation for the future. Several areas of the building were suffering from structural failure, particularly one corner where ground movement had resulted in severe diagonal cracking and unstable gable masonry.

Helifix Solution

Helifix was approached by the project engineers to design a suitable repair scheme which was then undertaken by our local Approved Installer. Pairs of stainless steel HeliBars were grouted into the mortar beds at five levels around the failed corner to secure the structure. Crack stitching, using individually grouted HeliBars, was undertaken in several areas Angled grouted CemTies were installed to stablise the gable end masonry BowTies were installed through the gable wall and into the roof purlin ends to secure the wall. All products were fully concealed and structural integrity was restored to the building. As the UK has the world's oldest housing stock, with 20% being over 100 years old and six million classified as 'non decent', this important BRE project, which improved the energy performance of the building from an F to a B rating, emphasised the social, financial and environmental benefits of sustainable refurbishment to secure the future of many currently low grade and vacant properties.