Work begins on BRE refurbished house

June 11, 2013
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Scottish building contractor Cruden Building & Renewals will start work today on the BRE Refurbished House, one of ten demonstration homes being built on the BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig that will be used to shape future housing in the country.

Using historical design information and traditional materials, the builders will recreate a full-scale four-in-a-block typical Scottish apartment dwelling, of which there 265 thousand in the country and 3 million of a similar design in England.

This type of dwelling, where there are two flats on the ground floor and two on the first floor, is one of the worst performing apartment building types both thermally and acoustically in the UK.

Each of the four compartments of the dwelling will be refurbished employing different retrofit approaches and using different materials and technologies. The units will then be monitored over time to provide real performance data on energy efficiency and thermal comfort, indoor air quality, acoustic performance and cost. The embodied energy of the materials used in the retrofit will also be considered.

The project, which is being delivered by BRE Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Historic Scotland will enable a robust assessment to be made on the cost effectiveness of fabric upgrades for this building style, for walls, windows, roofs and services. The adopted methodology will also allow an upscaling approach to be developed which can be rolled out to multiple dwellings making them more energy efficient, less costly to run and with minimum carbon emissions.

BRE Scotland Director David Kelly said “Scotland has a high level of fuel poverty, with approximately 25% of homes spending more than 10% of their total income on energy bills. This is a shocking and unacceptable situation and one which we aim to change with the host of new knowledge this project will generate. We are delighted to be working with Cruden Building & Renewals on this project. Their expertise and knowledge will be hugely valuable in informing the outcomes of this research.”

Allan Callaghan, Managing Director of Cruden Building & Renewals, said “We are pleased to be co-funding and developing the Refurbished house at the BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig. We have jointly created a unique project which will not only provide design, specification and cost data for retrofit installation, but allow post completion monitoring of performance.”

He added: ‘Ultimately we hope to achieve a measure of cost effective improvements for Scotland’s and the UK’s existing housing stock that will improve the quality of people’s lives, address the fuel poverty issue and reduce carbon emissions in line with Government targets.’

For more information, please contact Linda McKeown at BRE on 01923 664569, mobile 077 722 28768, email

The BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig, launched in September 2012 by Cabinet Minister Alex Neil, showcases the future of Scottish construction. Featuring ten full scale homes and buildings, the Park demonstrates indigenous designs, materials, techniques and technologies that will address the major challenges faced by the local and global built environment not least the drive to reduce carbon emissions.

Inspired by the BRE Innovation Park in Watford- which pioneered zero carbon housing not only in the UK but around the world, the goal for the Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig is to have a similar impact in Scotland, creating growth opportunities for the construction sector and its supply chain at home and internationally.

The next phase of buildings to be completed on the Park this year include:

  • The Applegreen Home – an offsite manufactured volumetric steel frame system house with integrated renewables manufactured by Applegreen Homes. The project has significant potential to deliver an affordable, high performance, high quality solution for the volume housing market.
  • The Zero Waste Scotland House – a demonstration of how the latest principles in resource efficiency and waste reduction can be applied in house building. As well as facilitating sustainable living for occupants, the design of the house will ensure maximum recycling and re-use of products at its end of life.
  • Homegrown Timber House – created by Anderson Bell and Christie Architects, in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, this house will showcase the use of innovative homegrown timber products to deliver an affordable, low embodied energy, healthy and thermally efficient dwelling. It will also explore key issues of developing in a denser, more street friendly way in line with Scottish town character.
  • The Curriculum House – designed and constructed by pre-apprentice and apprentice students, this demonstration home will provide a live learning environment for Motherwell College’s CADD, Architectural Design and Construction courses.


Once completed Ravenscraig will be home to over 10,000 people and is expected to create 12,000 jobs and attract in excess of £1.2 billion of private sector investment over the next 15 to 20 years.

Work is already underway on the £200 million first phase of the redevelopment of the 1,100 acre site, with a £30 million regional sports facility, a £70 million campus for Motherwell College and 850 new houses now under construction. Plans have also just been unveiled for the £600 million second phase of the development which will create a new town centre for

BRE Scotland

Based at East Kilbride in Glasgow since 1949, BRE Scotland provides consultancy, research and testing services related to a range of important issues in the built environment. BRE Scotland promotes, within Scotland, the full range of services of the BRE Trust companies, BRE and BRE Global world leading research, consultancy, training, testing and certification organisations delivering sustainability and innovation across the built environment and beyond.

BRE Innovation Park

The BRE Innovation Park showcases the very latest innovative methods of construction and cutting edge, practical and affordable sustainability.

The Park, at the centre of BRE’s Watford site, features a number of demonstration properties near-zero carbon homes, and over 200 innovative and emerging technologies. Since its official opening in June 2005 by the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, the Park has attracted over 20,000 visitors as well as VIP guests including HRH Prince of Wales, Government Ministers and senior civil servants.