Together with our project partners at Brooks Devlin, Capita Symonds and EH Smith, along with specialist product suppliers, we gathered together 17 housing associations and representatives from the HCA to share Passivhaus construction principles at a dedicated event in Birmingham City Centre on 21st February.
Our affordable PassivHaus project was initially created in response to a call for solutions by the BRE in 2011. The event was an opportunity share our knowledge with developers interested in how to design and build Passivhaus standard housing. We began with presentations from the design team to explain the technicalities and design based on passivHaus principles, followed by an exhibition from specialist product suppliers.
Responses to the presentations from our audience addressed important questions about lifecycle costings, ongoing maintenance, simplification of mechanical and electrical engineering in early design stages and alternative systems.
Over the last few months we have been carrying out a detailed R&D project into making Passivhaus design principles a financially viable option for social housing. Working alongside environmental designers, and certified European Passivhaus consultants Brooks Devlin, our proposals for an affordable Passivhaus were created initially in response to a call for solutions by the BRE Passivhaus competition in 2011.
We took up the challenge to develop our proposals further because we think that construction standards in the UK will require a significant move towards Passivhaus principles. We are launching the project at an event in February aimed at local authorities and housing associations in order to disprove the myths surrounding Passivhaus build costs and share our research.
Axis Design have been working with Birmingham City Council since 2009 to help deliver the local authority’s ambitious social housing project, Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT). To date we have designed new housing on seven different sites across Birmingham and over the last few months, the team’s hard work has been rewarded with a total of four awards including the top prize in two of the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremonies.
“I think that one of the things that impressed me, and still does, is the quality of the team. They’ve got very strong leadership, officers, developer partners – everybody lived and breathed this enterprise. The dedication is amazing.” Mary Holt director of planning and development at Scott Wilson and judge for the ‘Best Use of Housing’ category at the Regeneration & Renewal Awards, 2011.
In November we were pleased to achieve another double win at the Inside Housing Magazine Awards (left); taking the trophy in the Outstanding Achievement in Housing in England category and also becoming the overall UK winner.
An update on one of our previous projects… A number of years ago we designed the first phase of a project called Pride in Camp Hill in Tuttle Hill, Nuneaton. We’ve mentioned it here previously in the project section but we’re returning to it again today and sharing more images because we’ve just discovered that the development has been awarded ‘Project of the Decade’ at the recent Regen WM awards. The awards covered a number of categories including this overarching one that asks the chair of the panel to choose their favourite of all the shortlisted nominations.
We’re delighted to have been involved in a project that has achieved such a fantastic accolade. Thanks to all the team members at Pride in Camp Hill and Lovell that we collaborated with.
Our latest housing planning submission is a development of our BMHT work, delivering 12 new Code Level 4 houses on a difficult infill site in Bartley Green. Unusually for a project like this, the best layout solution proved to be to follow a similar arrangement to the previous housing on the site. The challenge with new housing however is the provision of right level of off street parking in locations that had none previously, and delivering the right quality of housing that meets standards such as Lifetime Homes and HCA quality indicators.
The first of our Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust projects was handed over recently and we were delighted to take part in the ceremony and meet the family moving in. Here are some details from the press release:
“The homes are the first to be delivered by Birmingham City Council’s Municipal Housing Trust under its large-scale new-build housing programme. The scheme, which will see more than 550 new council homes built in the city, is being carried out with investment from Birmingham City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The first four families received the keys to their new homes from Councillor John Lines, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing, and Lovell regional director David Gough at a specially-arranged ceremony.Mumtaz Begum, 32, was one of the first tenants to take possession of her four-bedroom house. She and her family are set to move from their current home in Acocks Green to their new property in the next few weeks.”It all seems so unreal. I had given up hope of ever transferring to a bigger property,” she says. “I’m just so happy at the move. Previously there were six of us living in a three-bedroom property, and with two disabled children, it was a real struggle. This new home represents a fresh start for the whole family and we all can’t wait to move in.”
The quality of supported housing for the 55+ market in the UK is a topic we’ve been discussing here at Axis Design a lot over the last few years. This year’s brief for the British Homes Awards gave us the opportunity to explore some of our ideas and show how we believe the industry could turn to existing housing solutions from the holiday home sector combined with improved landscape and infrastructure to meet the aspirations of retiring baby boomers.
Here’s our response to the Lifetime Homes challenge set by the British Homes Awards 2009 (click images for full size):
Eco Lodge Parks
Asset rich but cash poor; dire pension and savings forecast; inheritance tax worries; probably working until our seventies. The kids could help but they are mortgaged to the hilt and need help with childcare and top up fees.
Today’s reality for the youth of the 60’s, nurtured on the NHS, fashioned on the Mini, honed by world travel, inspired by JFK, rock & roll heavy…. their 21st century living is essentially about affordability and equity release creating third age choices and financial security.
What if we could sell up the family home, spend one third of the proceeds on a third age home, then invest the rest, buy a villa in Goa, or help the family?
In eco-Lodge Parks you can….. and even generate letting income over the next 20 years.
Thanks to Jez Sanders from Red Landscape for collaborating with us on this work. Although we didn’t make the shortlist we’re still very pleased with the concept and hope to get the opportunity to develop it in the future.
Today sees the official opening of the passive solar spaces we designed on behalf of Waterloo Housing for the latest phase of Brandwood End in Kings Heath. Thanks to funding assistance from Birmingham City Council we’ve been able to provide two storey glazed spaces to the rear of ten houses of mixed tenure. Designed as flexible spaces alongside the kitchen/dining room we believe that the life style benefits of sun spaces are equally as important as the energy/economic benefits.