Charlemont Farm Estate in West Bromwich was constructed in the early 1960s as a mix of low- and high-rise dwellings. Four nine-storey blocks, of concrete frame structure with facing brickwork and blockwork cavity wall infill panels were built in1961.
Construction methods and subsequent poor maintenance led to the blocks suffering high heat loss through single-glazed windows and un-insulated walls. There was also water penetration through the flat roofs.
Sandwell Council’s Urban Design and Building Services department was tasked with producing refurbishment proposals that would provide at least another 30 years’ life span for the blocks. The specification had to include full use of recycled and sustainable materials.
With the work on the blocks now complete the most noticeable transformation is in the external appearance, thanks to the use of Trespa® Meteon® Wood Decors exterior wood tone cladding.
‘The Trespa® cladding has made a huge impact on the blocks and we have received a number of compliments from tenants and the local community about their modern appearance,’ says Tony Davies, lead architect on the project for Sandwell Council.
The product was suggested by installer Simco of Walsall in discussion with main contractor Lovell. A competitor product had also been considered but was rejected because of the quality of the Trespa® material and the cost-reducing lack of wastage. Sandwell had had previous experience of using Trespa® Meteon® on other high-rise blocks on the nearby Kenrick Park Estate where concrete balcony panels had been over clad.
At Charlemont Farm Estate the Trespa® panels were applied in a random pattern sequence covering the newly applied external insulation. Each of the four blocks had its own individual colour scheme chosen by the tenants themselves. New aluminium/timber tilt and turn windows were installed reducing maintenance dramatically as they could be cleaned safely from inside each property. All plant was re-sited to the top of each block and covered with a sloping roof in effect adding a further storey.
Trespa® Meteon® panels perform exceptionally well outdoors with neither sun nor rain having any significant effect on the surface. The high-pressure compact laminate with an integral surface is manufactured using Trespa’s unique in-house technologies that utilise dry-forming and electron beam curing. A mix of Trespa® Meteon® panels covering 2300 square metres was used on each block in addition to 900 square metres of Slate Wood. All panels were 8mm thick FR Grade.