Village prefabs get a useful makeover

Win Dolan Liam Porter with insulation used in the Pegswood EWI scheme.
Win Dolan Liam Porter with insulation used in the Pegswood EWI scheme.

AFTER lasting longer than expected, dozens of prefabricated homes in a Northumberland village have finally been transformed.

An investment programme worth around £400,000 from Isos Housing has changed the look and running costs of these properties in Pegswood and other housing in the area has been improved as well.

The social landlord is working in partnership with Green Deal provider Cosyseal and specialist contractors Sykes to carry out External Wall Insulation (EWI) on the 48 prefabs.

Funding was provided by a Government grant under the ECO (Energy Companies Obligation) scheme and the improvements will reduce the size of the residents’ energy bills.

All the ‘Airey-type’ homes were built using prefabricated concrete panels in the 1950s and were only supposed to last a decade.

But more than 60 years later they are still standing, although they have always been difficult to heat due to the poor thermal performance of concrete and the walls being solid with no cavity to insulate.

Isos has owned the properties since 2007, when the not-for-profit company acquired all the homes previously owned and managed by Castle Morpeth Borough Council.

The programme of EWI work has seen insulation panels attached to the exterior of the houses and then layers of render applied on top.

Win Dolan, 62, has lived in her Hebron Avenue home all her life as she was born and brought up there and eventually took on the tenancy from her mother.

Today she lives in the property with her husband Derek.

She said: “This is the only home I’ve ever known. We used to have a coal fire as we never had radiators when I was young, so you had to decide when you were going to run upstairs to bed at night because it was so cold.

“I never had so many colds or bad chests as most people though. You had to be hardy – and just put another jumper on!

“The insulation work has only been finished eight weeks, but already we don’t have the heating on as much. You can put the heating on for an hour, but then it has to go off as it gets too hot.”

Isos has been working to insulate its Pegswood solid wall properties since August and expects the project to be completed later this month.

On top of this, it is investing in a roofs and rainwater goods programme that will benefit around 300 homes in Pegswood, including the prefabs.

Wensley Roofing is carrying out the works, which include full main roof replacements along with flat roofs where necessary.

It is also replacing fascias, soffits and rainwater goods in UPVC.

Isos is one of the fastest growing housing providers in the North East, with over 12,000 homes across the region, and more of its properties in Northumberland will benefit from EWI works in the coming months.