Du Cane Road, Hammersmith, London - Pilot

About the building

The five blocks of flats forming the Du Cane Road site were built in the late 1970s using the ‘Bison’ wall frame construction system. Standards of construction at the time, particularly with regard to insulation, were often low and the existing flats suffered poor energy efficiency, condensation and high heating costs. The site is sandwiched between a busy main road and an above-ground section of the Central underground line. Although demolition and new build were considered, the site constraints and associated costs meant that refurbishment was a more cost effective way of improving the flats.

A condition of planning approval and funding was that the 112 flats should achieve an Ecohomes ‘Very Good’ rating. While the flats were being refurbished a new floor was added to the top of each block, along with infill between two pairs of blocks, to create 44 new flats that were subject to a Code for Sustainable Homes assessment. The project provided an ideal opportunity to pilot the new BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment Scheme on a large-scale, complex project with considerable site and cost constraints.

Ducane Housing Association had three key objectives – a design that:

  • did not require the use of renewable technology (due to cost and suitability considerations) or mains gas (due to safety concerns),
  • could be carried out in phases so that existing occupants could be moved into new / refurbished dwellings, therefore maintaining some level of rental income,
  • would achieve ‘Decent Homes’ standard.

Further information

Key facts

  • BREEAM rating: Very Good
  • Score: 60.48%
  • House Type: One and three bedroom flats
  • Size: Total internal floor area 9,788 m2
  • Stage: Post-refurbishment
  • BREEAM version: Domestic Refurbishment - Pilot

Overview of environmental features

This pilot project included the following features:

  • Insulated render system applied to rear and end outside walls with 50 mm of rigid PIR insulation
  • Internal insulation applied to front walls.
  • Insulation to exposed floors of flats over underground parking.
  • Replacement of existing storage heaters with modern slimline heaters with automatic charge controls.
  • New, low-heat-loss hot water cylinders and insulated pipe work.
  • New double glazed windows and doors – u-value 1.6 W/m2K
  • Airtightness post refurbishment – 6.5-9 m3/hr/m2 at 50 Pa
  • Dual-flush WCs, flow restrictors on taps and showers, and low water capacity baths

The BREEAM assessment

Maximum BREEAM credits were awarded in the Management category, and the refurbished dwellings also scored well in the Energy, Materials, Waste and Water categories.

Green strategy

  • The refurbishment followed the ‘fabric first’ approach, whereby the energy demand was reduced by adding wall insulation, and installing new windows and doors with lower u-values.
  • Water use has been reduced by installing dual-flush toilets, flow restrictors on taps and showers and baths with low water capacity. Baths have not been fitted in the one bedroom flats, just showers. This has reduced the water consumption to less than 105 litres per person per day.
  • In order to reduce domestic waste, a 30 litre fixed recycling bin has been provided in the kitchen, and the properties are included on the doorstep recycling scheme of Hammersmith & Fulham District Council

Project team

  • Client: Ducane Housing Association
  • Developer: Apollo Housing
  • Architect: Arc7
  • BREEAM Assessor: Proport Eco-Services

Post-occupation monitoring

Post-occupation monitoring carried out by the developer found:

  • considerable improvement in levels of thermal comfort,
  • lower bills,
  • the condensation problem had been eliminated.


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