PHPD takes a look at the insulation solution which has allowed a developer to maximise the floorspace of thirteen new homes in a building that was formerly a chicken shed.
Maximising the floor area of a new property is high on the agenda of all developers as it helps to enhance the saleable square footage of a property. Solihull-based Ardenvale Ltd paid close attention to this detail when it embarked on transforming a former hen house into thirteen new homes – possibly adding as much as £10,000 to the value of its unusual conversion thanks to the insulation solution.
The West Midlands developer selected products from the Actis Hybrid range when it converted the 10,000 sq ft 1940s one-time hen house into a selection of one and two bedroom cottages. Using insulating vapour control layer Actis H Control Hybrid in the walls gave the builders an extra 3 or 4cm of floorspace at every wall – which, across 13 houses, enabled them to add roughly £10,000 to the overall asking price for the development.
The history of the site
Ardenvale directors Peter and Paula Knott, who specialise in what they call ‘eco grand designs’ bought the derelict, smelly former chicken sheds in rural Chadwick End 20 years ago. They originally converted the building into a warehouse, manufacturing space and offices and used it as the HQ for their specialist printing business, a natural evolution of their combined expertise in chemical engineering and listed building conversion.
After selling that business they converted the whole building into offices before a change in planning law four years ago acted as the spark to transform the former agricultural building yet again.
The change in regulation saw the definition of permitted development expand from merely adding a garage or extension to an existing house to include converting excess commercial buildings to residential properties.
Peter explained: “The hen house’s position in the Green Belt meant that previously it couldn’t be used for residential purposes, but suddenly a new route was opened up for us and we decided to create 13 smaller houses – nine two bedroom and four one bedroom cottages.”
They chose Actis products – insulating vapour control layer H Control Hybrid for the walls and 45mm honeycomb style insulation Hybris, H Control Hybrid and multifoil TS10+ for the roofs – for their combination of thermal efficiency and thinness. This enabled them to maximise floor space and ensure sufficient headroom in the eaves.
Peter added: “One of the things about permitted development is that you have to convert, not knock down and start again. We decided to leave the roofs as they were in good condition. But the structure of the roof was such that unless you use a thin, highly thermally efficient, flexible product like Actis there is not enough void space. We wanted to expose the beams which meant PIR and fibreglass were out of the question. Actis comes into its own in that situation.”
Peter concluded: “The walls are timber framed and using H Control Hybrid was pretty straightforward. Though saving 3 to 4cm per wall doesn’t sound much, if you take it across the whole site it’s added an extra £10,000 in value to the development.”
The first home has just gone on the market with the couple selecting ‘The Barns’ as the name for its new development.