Cost vs quality

Scope of the Project

Design Criteria

Building A at 12 Palmer Park Avenue is referred to as ‘Cost House’, and the marginal costs over and above the standard refurbishment cost will be kept as low as possible. Building B at 47 Addington Road is referred to as ‘Quality House’, and budgetary constraints were secondary to performance when measures to reduce CO₂ emissions were being considered at design stage. The Project Team implemented quality control measures above the standard quality controls currently implemented by its Technical Inspectors, and a full time site supervisor was employed to manage the project to ensure adequate consideration of technical issues such as airtightness whilst the work was in progress.

Measures installed in Cost House exemplify what Catalyst could feasibly roll out across the stock and Performance House exemplifies what can be achieved where grant funding can eliminate or significantly reduce the marginal costs of eco-refurbishments which exceed the standard refurbishment requirements such as meeting Part L, the Decent Homes standard and the Group’s Lettable Standard. The overarching theme has been cost versus quality as Catalyst has sought out value for money approaches that can feasibly be rolled out across the Group’s stock as well. The aim has also been to identify areas in which reducing costs might prove to be a false economy.

In practical design terms, both buildings have met Part L requirements, and CO₂ emissions, water consumption and fuel costs from both buildings have been significantly reduced. The starting point at design stage for both buildings was to improve the insulation and airtightness of the building envelope, but the types of measures considered for Performance House were less constrained by cost and have a wider range of features which can be utilised by the residents to optimise the performance of the building. The design of Cost House is simpler and less expensive versions of microgeneration have been incorporated in the design.

As both properties were void before the work started, SAP models built on NHER Plan Assessor have provided the baseline data on the energy performance and fuel costs associated with both buildings prior to the eco-refurbishment.

It was decided that the projects would be opened as demonstration projects for key stakeholders including boards, residents groups, local residents and neighbours, local politicians, Catalyst’s Leadership Team, housing associations, local authorities, construction industry professionals and the press will be invited to view the completed projects and share in the lessons learned.