Oct 24, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Russell Roof Tiles is demonstrating growth in its sustainable offering

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Despite a difficult economic climate, social housing projects are gathering pace with recent figures showing a total of 66,640 affordable homes were built in England in 2014-15, 55% higher than in 2013-14.


One topic high on the affordable housing agenda is sustainability, and one supplier is demonstrating considerable growth in its sustainable offering, providing multiple sustainable options for the affordable housing sector.

Russell Roof Tiles is the third largest manufacturer of roof tiles in the UK. The company recently became the only British roof tile manufacturer to have achieved an 'Excellent' rating for responsible sourcing and is a pioneer for sustainability within its sector and the larger housebuilding community. The manufacturer has recently been involved in a social housing project in Cambridgeshire.

Like many other cities within the UK, Cambridge is thriving and has become one of the most popular places to live in the country.

Due to the significant growth within Cambridge, Cambridgeshire County Council’s 2012-2015 Housing Strategy Document aims to provide around 1300 much needed new, affordable homes between 2011 and 2015 for people who are on the full range of incomes in order to meet the demand for housing.

According to the Housing Strategy Document most of the affordable housing planned will be provided by Housing Associations. However, as well as working closely with those providers, the Council has also embarked on a programme of developing its own Affordable Housing.

A significant Cambridge housing project has gone some way towards meeting the targets laid out by the County Council. 20 homes have been built on the council owned site, under a partnership between Cambridge County Council and Keepmoat, a national market leader in sustainable community regeneration and housing.

Russell Roof Tiles, a leading independent manufacturer of a range of concrete roof tiles and fittings, had its Galloway tiles specified for this development due to the security and durability of their interlocking design and the company worked closely with roofers Russell Roofing on the project.

Galloway is a thin leading edge flat interlocking roof tile which has the appearance of a slate when laid broken bonded. Galloway is part of a series of thinner tiles that use 15% less raw materials than standard concrete roof tiles.

The thinner design also makes them an aesthetic substitute for slate. As they are thinner, this also means that more can be packed onto a pallet meaning a lower carbon footprint when transporting them to site.

Russell Roof Tiles was one of the first manufacturers to market with thin leading edge designs – responding to local authority planning requirements for a thinner profile. Russell Roof Tiles now has four thin leading edge products in total Galloway, Lothian, Polden and Moray produced in 13 shades. Thin Leading Edge tiles were created to be approximately half the thickness of standard concrete tile and are on average are 50% less than the cost of most slate roofs.

Concrete tiles are a long life, durable product which requires minimal maintenance once installed, which means they are more financially viable for social landlords as the cost is considerably lower over the lifespan of the roof. Whilst on this particular project the tiles also fulfilled Cambridge County Council’s aims of building high-quality homes that are sustainable in the long-term.

Product specification is the key to sustainable social housing. Whatever the method of construction, to assess the true sustainability credentials of a building, it’s important to take into consideration the whole-life environmental impact of the building products specified. Sustainable building products need to offer durability and longevity, not just low embodied energy.

A roof is an essential element in the overall design of any home. As an integral part of the structure of a building, the materials used have the ability to alter the overall sustainability factor of a property. As roofing product development has evolved, the evidence suggests that concrete roof tiles are a far more sustainable option. Costing less both financially and environmentally.

Andrew Hayward, Managing Director at Russell Roof Tiles, comments: “The developments across Cambridge has been brilliant to work on. Russell Roof Tiles makes every effort possible to provide sustainable, quality products for many social housing projects and it has been a delight to work on this development which provides so much opportunity for growth for the community.

“Russell Roof Tiles is accredited with ‘Excellent’ for BES 6001: Issue 3, showing how serious we are about investing in sustainability right across our procurement process, from raw materials through to energy management throughout our production factories.”

Using modern techniques now enables manufacturers like Russell Roof Tiles to replicate the traditional character of regional clay colours and profiles but with all the long term added benefits of concrete.

Russell Roof Tiles’ ranges of slate and clay effect roof tiles are sympathetic to local materials and are more economic and sustainable than traditional materials. Its dry fix products are all fully compliant with the British Standard Code of practice for tiling and slating (BS 5534:2014). Russell Roof Tiles is currently working with a number of housing associations across the UK on a variety of social and extra care projects.

It’s crucial that as the affordable housing landscape evolves, local authorities continue to work alongside housing associations to deliver more affordable housing and that sustainability remains high on the agenda for developers and tenants alike.

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