Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
South West England
Devon and Cornwall Housing / Community Self Build Agency / Plymouth City Council
H+H Celcon Blocks were specified for use on a 24-unit social housing development in Plymouth. H+H was chosen in part due to the lightweight properties and ease of use of the product as half of the units were constructed by veterans, many of whom had never worked on a construction site before.
Having undertaken a similar project in Bristol, the Community Self Build Agency (CBSA) recruited a team of veterans to help build their own homes on the site of a former centre for disabled people in George Place, Plymouth city centre. A total of 24 one-bedroom apartments were constructed for Devon and Cornwall Housing and Plymouth City Council.
12 of the homes were allocated to the self-building veterans, six of the homes were allocated to those with learning disabilities, and the remaining six were allocated for general needs affordable rent.
The site itself was particularly challenging, with change in levels of approximately 2.5m. The physical constraints of the site meant that standard articulated vehicles could not be used for delivering materials. This was overcome by H+H visiting the site beforehand and working closely with Interserve’s site manager to review access and offer delivery of the product via a Draw Bar vehicle with a crane.
Local architect Form Design specified the use of lightweight blocks in order to achieve ‘Robust Details’ for thermal and acoustic performance. Another product was initially considered, however H+H Celcon blocks were chosen in the end primarily due to the positive reputation of the company.
Further benefits of using H+H Celcon Blocks for the project included their low weight, weighing around a third of a traditional masonry block, and ease of use. Many of the veterans working on the site had no previous experience of construction, so it was essential to use a product that was easy to work with on site.
The walls achieve a U-Value of 0.14W/m2K – significantly lower than for walls which use traditional masonry.
The Nelson Project was completed in July 2017 with the first residents moving in shortly afterwards.
The veterans were able to gain recognised qualifications in ‘Working at Height’ and ‘Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels’. They also completed training in carpentry, plastering, bricklaying and general labouring duties and two veterans were entered in the Site Manager Safety Training Scheme.
The scheme scooped ‘Best Smaller Development’ and the ‘Abercrombie Award’ (awarded to the best overall planning project) at the Plymouth City Council Abercrombie Awards in November 2017.
“We were initially nervous about using the aircrete blocks on the outside leaf and needed to check compatibility with the specialist render system first. Once we were satisfied with the performance of the H+H Celcon Blocks, render was applied directly to the product, with support from the H+H Technical Department”.
– Phil Roberts, Senior Design Manager at Interserve