University has key research role in ‘volumetric’ development

New high quality, affordable, energy efficient homes built in Alva

Date posted

14 March 2018


Scotland’s first volumetric off-site manufactured housing development, built to the Gold Standard of Sustainability, has been officially opened by housing minister Kevin Stewart.

The project, in Queen Street, Alva, Clackmannanshire, comes packed with Edinburgh Napier research expertise.

Link Group Ltd’s £5.3 million construction of 48 homes for social rent began in February 2016, and was supported by a grant of £2,267,616 from the Scottish Government’s Greener Homes Innovation Scheme, a funding scheme which arose from research undertaken in 2012 by the University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction.

As it is the first development of its kind in Scotland, Link and Paragon Housing are working with Edinburgh Napier to carry out an occupancy study of these new properties to measure sound, energy use and sustainability over the first 12 months of tenants living in their new homes.

The University-based Scottish Energy Centre has been involved in knowledge transfer of its sustainability and energy performance expertise to the housing providers, architects and builder. 

The project also draws on research by the University’s Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures and the Robin Mackenzie Partnership acoustic consultants.

Volumetric Construction is a type of off-site manufacturing which increases build quality, while providing the opportunity to reduce construction costs, time and waste.

Developed by Tigh Grian Ltd, on behalf of Link and Paragon Housing Association, the Alva development was built by Marshall Construction Ltd and comprises a mix of one-bedroom cottage flats, and two and three-bedroom homes. Following completion, 14 units were transferred to Paragon, while Link retained ownership of the remaining 34 units.

Dr Jon Stinson, of Edinburgh Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, said: “The project partners and the tenants of these new homes have ventured into the future of low-energy housing in Scotland. We are learning a lot about these Golden Homes, and the lessons learned will shape the development of the next generation of houses.”

Craig Sanderson, Chief Executive of Link Group Ltd, said: “Queen Street has allowed to us to meet our design vision of creating sustainable homes using innovative design and constructive technology. I would also like to thank all of our partners involved in this project – together I feel we have demonstrated the benefits of successful partnership working.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are committed to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes over this Parliament, with at least 35,000 of those for social rent - backed by £3 billion of investment. As the Queen St development shows, working together with housing associations and others, I know that target can be achieved.”

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