Alumasc & Kingspan Improve BISF Houses For Moss Bank Residents

Alumasc And Kingspan Insulation Working Together To Improve BISF Houses At Moss Bank.

Industry giants Alumasc and Kingspan Insulation have joined forces in a major social housing refurbishment project that is already changing the lives of tenants.

Managed by Merseyside based housing association Helena Partnerships, the scheme, in the Moss Bank area of St Helens, comprises 107 British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) homes, well known for their poor thermal insulation and environmental performance. Helena’s proposed program of works, pinpointed a number of key objectives required to extend the life¬span of the properties for a minimum of 30 years.

Major consideration was given to external structure, wind and weather tightness, insulation, reduction of CO2 emissions and carbon footprint, improvements to the immediate environment in terms of hard and soft landscaping and local street scene. All of these factors contributed to improving the lives of Moss Bank residents, both socially and environmentally.
The completed project was recognised by the Green Organisation and awarded a prestigious Green Apple Award in November 2010, for helping residents to reduce carbon emissions from their homes.
External wall insulation (EWI) makes a significant contribution to thermal efficiency and improved aesthetics, and as such, was a key element in the refurbishment package, which also included new roofs, windows, doors and solar panels.

Following intensive research into the choice of systems and manufacturers available, Helena’s design team specified Alumasc Swisspan EWI system incorporating 100mm of Kingspan Kooltherm K5 External Wall Board insulation, which was installed to the ground and first floor walls by Alumasc approved Installer Forrest of Preston.

The Swisspan system is used regularly for upgrading social housing to meet the Decent Homes Standard and non-traditional, hard to treat properties such as BISF, Cornish, Crudens, Unity and Airey. When used with Kingspan Kooltherm K5, the result is a high performance, fully weather resistant and energy efficient facade. Since the refurbishment, the U value of the properties has reduced from 2.09W/m2.K to 0.257W/m2.K, significantly reducing the cost of fuel bills.
Stephen Woodward, Contract Manager for Helena, was involved from the outset and explains how the project was approached: Much of the liaison between Helena, Alumasc, Kingspan and Forrest was undertaken at the early stages to make certain that the specification was right for our property types. Following initial preparation, the steel columns at the base of the properties were inspected to establish their condition, giving us the opportunity to carry out any remedial work. Swisspan was then applied and further liaison was ongoing with all partners during the scheme to ensure materials were ordered and delivered in sufficient time.

From design stage through to installation, partnership working was essential for the success of the project. Following initial consultations, Helena completed two pilot properties, enabling all partners to identify any potential issues with the retrofit, while also giving residents the chance to see what their refurbished properties would look like. Technical representatives from Alumasc were on hand throughout the project, assisting Forrest with on and off-site training, to ensure the correct installation of the Swisspan system and promoting longevity of performance.
Forrest installed the Swisspan system using over-cladding techniques designed to create less site waste and minimise disruption to residents, who were able to remain in their properties throughout the installation.
During the pilot project, extreme winter weather presented a further challenge. Garry Vickers, of Forrest, explains; “The cold, wet weather we encountered during the Moss Bank project could have caused delays during the curing process. As installers, we were tasked with ensuring this didn’t happen and, working with Alumasc, we adopted a number of methods to keep the product dry. During the pilot scheme we provided external protection to the site, shielding the properties from damp and frost. Once perfected, these measures were implemented throughout the main project as and when required. A schedule was also adopted to complete as much work as possible during dryer months, avoiding any potential delays to the contract programme.
The existing cladding systems at Moss Bank were non-structural; therefore the load of the new EWI system had to be directed to the structural stanchions of the properties. By design, Alumasc’s BBA Approved Swisspan EWI system is ideally suited to this type of application due to a horizontal galvanized steel rail system that can be mechanically fixed to the structural elements of the building, providing support for the insulation panels. Swisspan is also fully warranted, weather resistant and vapour permeable, offering a range of attractive render finishes including aggregate dashed, textured and coloured coatings.
Kooltherm K5 External Wall Boards are designed for use behind traditional polymer modified renders, providing the ideal insulation solution for use with Swisspan.
To request literature on Alumasc’s External Wall Insulation systems please contact Alumasc on 0808 100 2008 or for further information visit
For further details on Kingspan Kooltherm K5 External Wall Boards visit
For further information about the Moss Bank retrofit scheme, please contact Faye Saville at Helena Partnerships on 01744 671 561 or email fa**********@he****************.uk