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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

Retrofitting old buildings

When we were approached in 2017 by a community group called the 50+ Llandaff group to convert a former council toilet into a community facility we were intrigued. The building had 2 different forms of construction - solid stone wall and 1970s basic cavity wall and needed a new timber frame extension.

The brief was for: A tourist information point; Accessible toilet and a Space for the daily activities run by volunteers which needed to be suitable for older people. There were some obvious planning hurdles as the building was immediately next to the Bishop's Palace, a scheduled ancient monument, plus we had some bats and a requirement for an archaeological dig which took place during an extremely wet September in 2019.

The client was also very keen for us to make the building as environmentally sustainable as possible. So we took a fabric first approach, adding different insulations to suit the different constructions and made the envelope as airtight as possible. The building has therefore become a demonstration retrofit project for existing homes,

We included a ventilation system capable of dealing with a large variation in users numbers, which included a heat exchanger, we also installed an air source heat pump for the underfloor heating. We added a mixture of PhotoVoltaic(PV) panels and PV slates to generate electricity and a rainwater harvesting tank for the toilet.

Covid obviously delayed things on site, together with the opening of the building, however it was officially opened by Baroness Ilora Finlay on 23td June 2022. The link below is to a short video we prepared to talk about the sustainability aspects of the project


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