• New build, accessible, non-certified passive house bungalow for a wheelchair user
  • Very challenging contaminated site with planning issues and restricted access
  • First bungalow in South Tyneside to have an EPC energy rating in Band A
  • Features 6.5kW of PV solar panels and two Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries

Completed in September 2020

In June 2014 new bold design were appointed to design a new accessible and sustainable home in South Shields for a client who had tragically been left paralysed from the waist down after an accident in 2012

The client purchased a site at auction early in 2015, a former Council Parks Maintenance Depot in the corner of West Park. The old Park Keeper’s Lodge was still standing on the site and this was demolished in 2018

The planning process was extended over two years by the discovery of significant contamination of the soil on the site. undoubtedly resulting from decades of use by the Council as a Parks Maintenance Depot. Spillages of leaded fuel and oil on the site from machinery and the laying of lead water pipes resulted in environmentally unacceptable levels of contamination which the Council’s Planning Department insisted had to be removed at the client’s cost. The site was also infested with Japanese Knotweed which also infests other parts of the Park

In addition to the site contamination issues, the Council’s Planning Department were extremely obstructive when the client expressed a wish to have a contemporary new home on his secluded site rather than to replicate the red-brick vernacular of the old Park Keeper’s Lodge. This led to unnecessarily protracted discussions with Planning on the design and materials for the new building which were developed closely with the client and his Care Team and which were also driven by wheelchair accessibility and very high environmental credentials

Conditional Planning Consent was finally achieved in April 2016. The combined cost of soil decontamination and removal of the Japanese Knotweed rhizomes was in excess of £80k, funded entirely by the client as the Council refused to take any responsibility for the pollution of the site. The matter was eventually referred to the Local Government Ombudsman who, not surprisingly, found in favour of the Council in spite of our evidence

Work on site eventually commenced in July 2018 with a projected completion date in February 2019. Initially progress was good but a number of issues with a new airtightness product which did not work and a poorly performing sub-contractor caused a sequence of delays which had a huge knock-on effect on progress by following trades and hence the completion date. As a result, the main contractor’s cash-flow problems became increasingly challenging and the company went into administration in November 2019

At the time that work on site ceased, the building was approx. 85% complete, having achieved an airtightness figure of 0.46 ac/h @ 50 Pa, well within the required Passivhaus threshold of 0.6. PHPP calculations showed that Passivhaus certification would not be achieved but SAP calculations show that it will achieve an EPC rating of A

The building has been designed using Passivhaus technical principles to achieve very low energy demands and high levels of indoor air quality. The building fabric U-values are 0.1 W/sqm/degC and the triple-glazed windows and doors achieve 0.8 and 1.1 respectively. Glue-laminated timber has been used for the roof structure rather than steelwork to reduce thermal bridging. The mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR) recycles at least 90% of the heat generated inside the building while producing filtered fresh air to breathe

The south-facing roof incorporates a 6.5kW photovoltaic array of 22 solar panels which are linked to two Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries and wiring for an electric vehicle charging point in the garage. This means that demand for electricity from the grid is likely to be extremely low, if not zero. The home incorporates a number of assistive technology features which will enable the client to control his heating, lighting, ventilation, door entry, CCTV security cameras, external blinds and the integrated sound system from a tablet or from his mobile phone

Work on site re-commenced in February 2020 with a new main contractor and progress towards completion of this flagship project when, towards the end of March 2020, work stopped again due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Work on site re-commenced again in May 2020 and Practical Completion was finally achieved in September 2020

This has been an extremely challenging and frustrating project, not only for the client who finally moved into his new home in October 2020, but for the Design Team, the client’s Care Team, the original main contractor, the current main contractor and all the sub-contractors

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