Rock Grove, Liverpool

Rock Grove, Liverpool

Client: Liverpool Mutual Homes
Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects
Main contractor: Mitie
Type of works: supply of Marley Eternit's Natura Pro fibre-cement overclad solution.

A housing refurbishment in Rock Grove, Liverpool, has demonstrated how a Natura Pro fibre-cement overclad solution from Marley Eternit can visually transform tired looking buildings with a low-maintenance decorative rainscreen facade.

Natura Pro was fitted on 52 apartments at Rock Grove, which are owned by Liverpool Mutual Homes. Built in the 1970’s the plain red brickwork exterior of the buildings were looking dated and unpopular with residents.

Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects were therefore briefed by the client to find a cost-effective method of improving the appearance of the brickwork facades. The client specified that all materials used on the project should be low maintenance as the housing association manages a large number of properties across the city and needed a solution that would not require ongoing resources.

After a thorough evaluation of all the alternatives, including assessment of technical performances and viewing of samples, it was shown that fibre-cement Natura Pro from Marley Eternit best met the client’s requirement for low maintenance, visual appeal and value for money.

As well as creating a low-maintenance solution for Liverpool Mutual Homes, Natura Pro’s coating protects against various types of staining, including graffiti produced by common aerosols and other paints, which the client felt would be an additional benefit to the upgrade.

The specifiers chose the colour Anthracite from the Natura Pro range because it is a through-coloured panel. This provided the best solution for the weatherboard effect around the main entrances as the panels could be sized to board widths without the cut edges detracting from its overall visual appeal. Marley Eternit’s horizontal joint profiles (HJP) were used to create 15mm spacings between the boards, giving a more contemporary appearance than a traditional shiplap configuration.

Large single Natura Pro panels were then used to replace painted timber boarding above and below the windows that had deteriorated beyond repair. Using a single panel approximately 2m2 ensured a speedy overclad installation and minimised disruption to residents.

“We specified Natura Pro because we knew that the fibre cement will provide our client with a long term low-maintenance overclad solution,” said David Anderson of Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects. “We really appreciated the support and guidance offered by Marley Eternit on this project and their suggestion of a through-coloured Natura Pro option proved to be the perfect solution.”

The Natura Pro panels were installed by main contractor Mitie and were screw fixed to timber battens mounted on the original brickwork walls.

“The overclad solution has transformed the buildings at Rock Grove,” said Dot Fowell, Project Officer at Liverpool Mutual Homes. “We had considered demolition and rebuilding but an overclad solution soon became the obvious choice as it was much more cost effective and ultimately achieved the same objective – making the buildings look like new. The fact that the residents could stay in their homes during the work was an additional advantage.”

Natura Pro has an installed life expectancy of around 50 years, meaning it provides excellent long-term value for money. Marley Eternit fibre-cement cladding, which has Class 0 fire performance, can achieve an A+ rating as defined in the BRE Green Guide to Specification (based on generic rating for autoclaved fibre cement single sheet - (Element Ref: 80623042, 806230422, 806230447, 806230450)

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