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Refits and over-cladding hailed in LSE High Rise report

26 February 2013 No Comment

The London School of Economics (LSE) believes that high-rises could be saved through retro-fitting, bdonline.co.uk reports.

With thousands of high-rises in need of repair and /or renovation, a Policy Exchange thinktank last month controversially suggested that all such estates should be pulled down. However, a report from the LSE presents a contrary argument.

Tower block council housing in the UK

‘High Rise Hope’ says that structures from the 1950s and 1960s exist within a ‘highly energy-inefficient building envelope’  – i.e. poor insulation, leaky windows – but that retrofitting could ‘act as a tool for community regeneration and create a lasting legacy in addition to energy savings’.

Transforming a tower’s energy efficiency through external cladding

high-rise-housing-uk-2

Image source

The LSE report points out that applying external cladding over the building could not only transform a tower’s look but increase its performance by serving as added insulation.

Retrofitting could also answer calls to the housing minister, Mark Prisk, for improved fire safety measures in tower blocks. Coroner Keith Wiseman believes that blocks exceeding 30 metres should be fitted with sprinklers as standard, fia.uk.com writes.

The need for environment improvements is perfect timing for retrofits

Part of the report focused on the over-cladding and re-fitting of three tower blocks in Shepherd’s Bush by ECD Architects. They blocks were given thermal over-cladding, solar thermal collectors and condensing panels – without having to move residents out.

Head of sustainable design at ECD Architects, Mark Elton, said:

“The need for structural repairs and environment improvements is perfect timing for retrofits. With a few exceptions, they aren’t the most beautiful of buildings, so the idea of transforming the look by over-cladding isn’t a controversial one.”

Author: Elizabeth Smythe   Date Written: 26 February 2013

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