02 February 2021

Torridge Way Blocks A&B

  • Region: Devon
  • Client: Plymouth Community Homes
  • Value: £1m
  • Contract terms: JCT Intermediate
  • Contract length: 37 weeks
  • Completed: June 2018
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey: 95%
  • Challenges: Occupied buildings


Torridge Way is a mid-rise block of 40 flats in central Plymouth, with Blocks A and B facing each other across the street and one block situated above live commercial premises. The blocks are surrounded by occupied residential properties and are in proximity to two churches and a high school.

External refurbishment works to 40 flats within two midrise blocks homes including scaffolding, external wall insulation, structural repairs, mechanical ventilation, new windows, balcony repairs, and general repairs.

Key component work to each block included:

  • Scaffolding and access routes to support the local shops which remained open;
  • Removal of existing windows including surround lining 'pods', install new windows; install new External Wall Insulation (EWI Rockwool ) system to all blocks;
  • New fire breaks;
  • Structural repairs including new brick ties to secure the existing structure;
  • Internal M&E upgrades/mechanical ventilation;
  • Remove existing roof coverings, install new insulated roof coverings;
  • New balcony asphalt flooring; 
  • Carrying out investigative works early identified the roof was severely damaged and required complete removal and replacement.

Our approved roofing manufacturer IKO provided a specification for a new three-layer elastomeric high performance felt system, including vapor control layer followed by 130mm insulation, 2mm underlay and finished with a 5kg/m2 UV protected mineral cap sheet.

A vigilant period of due diligence included some early enabling work benchmarking trials to aid and mitigate design challenges including:

  • Showing careful consideration for the removal of the existing insulation and the installation of new Rockwool Duo Slab insulation within the rainscreen cladding framing, including new horizontal and vertical fire barriers around every door and window opening providing a 60-minute fire barrier. We factored within our programme the need for temporary and permanent fireproofing each day to ensure the building was never left at risk with a photographic fire stopping log in place.
  • Our design lead solution provided a focus on how all externally accessible ducting within the rainscreen cladding system, could be fire proofed using the new Rockwool Duo Slab insulation neatly formed around the ducting. The same approach applied to existing services contained within conduits beneath the insulation within the rainscreen cladding system, this time formed using Rockwool Duo Slab ‘Flexi’ insulation around the conduits, providing a minimum of 30mm of insulation cover over the conduit housing.
  • The opening of existing EWI system to form the new fire breaks required careful sequencing, with a detailed design showing all areas of the building to be cut open within the existing EWI façade ready for the installation of Lamella Mineral Wool at the same thickness of thermal insulation (circa 100mm) forming the new fire barriers.
  • Pipe collars were investigated, specified and installed during pre-works surveys to ensure the method of installation would not create a clash point within the system. This ensured all new Rockwool FirePro Firestop Pipe Collars provided a minimum 60-minute fire resistance to all pipework penetrations through the external walls and through the newly installed fire barriers.

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