Flat in mansion block, Clapham
Andy, Agi & Kalman.

When Andy and Agi decided to do up their top floor flat they wanted to make sure that they solved the draughts, damp and condensation problems. After a period of wet weather, there were patches of damp on the walls. Being up high, the flat didn’t feel cosy, hearing the wind whistling and feeling the cold, particularly through the windows (despite double glazing in some windows). They wanted a new bathroom and kitchen and a fresh, clean look, and decided to do a more or less complete renovation.

As an engineer and with an interest in sustainable architecture, Andy spent time researching materials and energy efficiency. When it came to final decisions they wanted to work with an expert to bring hands-on experience and do the energy calculations. They were aware that making good specifications, for example, choosing the right size of boiler for your space and level of insulation, isn’t something that all installers can do well. Ecofurb hadn’t been set up yet, but they found Parity Projects and got an advice report (similar to today’s Ecofurb Plan).

As Parity hadn’t yet launched Ecofurb, they found their own contractors. Their experience with an independent builder who became unreliable is one of those that began to show us the need for an end to end service, with access to contractors we can vouch for, and support for clients throughout.

Living in a share of freehold in a conservation area and being the first in the block to extensively renovate felt like a challenge, but they found most of the changes they wanted were approved, and happily their neighbours were tolerant while they had the work carried out!

“Insulation is all important.”

They had the beautiful bay at the front renovated, with double glazed sash windows and draughtproofing, and installed new double glazed windows at the back.

Being in a mansion block where external wall insulation wasn’t an option, the internal walls were insulated throughout. Initially, there were complications with access to the loft, but later they succeeded in incorporating loft insulation. It was plain that without this it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve the efficiency they were after.

A new boiler was installed, and passive stack ventilation with heat recovery was introduced in two out of the four chimney breasts.

Since finishing the work they say their flat is transformed: it feels smart and easy to live in, and never too hot or cold. They’ve also noticed an about 30% reduction on their energy bills each year. And that having a less draughty and warmer space makes working at home much more comfortable and affordable.

Andy and Agi wanted to use building materials that had a low or positive effect on air quality in their home and selected insulation, plasterboards, skimming material, woods, paints and adhesives to ensure they allowed the building to breath and were low toxicity. Many of the products were natural, such as wood fibre internal wall insulation, hemp ceiling insulation, keratin coated plasterboard, and lime based and VOC absorbing paints.

Asked what their one peice of advice they would give to anyone planning a renovation they said “be very sure about your builder. If you have any doubts, whether it’s about technical abilities or other aspects then keep looking for alternatives.”

WORK CARRIED OUT

  • Internal wall insulation
  • Suspended floor insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Double glazed sash windows and draughtproofing in the period feature bay
  • New double glazing at rear of property
  • High spec gas boiler and heating controls
  • Passive stack ventilation with heat recovery
  • LED lights

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