Project 80, Birmingham
The UK Government has set a target to bring all its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The construction industry will make a big contribution to this with the Government set to introduce new building standards known as the ‘Future Homes Standard’ (FHS), in 2025. While the new standards are not due to be implemented until 2025, Project 80, an initial development of 12 homes in Birmingham, have been built to meet the Future Homes Standards three years ahead of schedule. The development is believed to be the first of its kind in the country and through the use of latest technologies, economic considerations, and modern building techniques, aims to achieve up to 80% less carbon emissions than a standard newbuild development.
As part of the project, Ibstock has supplied its Chesterton Memorial Mixture brick as a facing brick, to help the homes meet the stringent FHS standards. The wirecut, red multicoloured perforated brick is ideal thanks to its F2 graded durability qualities that ensure long term reliability, and weather resistance capabilities, including frost, to help with insulation goals. Furthermore, the brick possesses a low soluble salt content (S2) and has water absorbance of just 7%, with these qualities contributing to Project 80’s performance and environmental goals. The bricks are developed at Ibstock’s Chesterton factory, circa 1hr from the Project 80 site, considering off-site environmental considerations also. All of this is achieved with no compromise to aesthetics despite performance and environmental considerations. Interestingly, feedback from the development includes challenges surrounding ‘full-fill’ PIR insulation, which bricklayers found tricky at times, with small deviations in cavity width having an impact on installation. This has led to the use of a partial-fill 100mm PIR board now being explored as an alternative alongside modifications to heating and ventilation for future FHS building standard developments, proving the success of the project and importance of brickwork within it.
The final result of Project 80 sees the completed houses look like traditional brick construction dwellings, thanks to the flexibility and performance of Ibstock’s trusted Chesterton Memorial Mixture bricks. Their adaptability has ensured that differing methods of construction and the materials used have been harnessed fully to generate the desired results of the project regarding thermal efficiency. With the consideration that from 2025 new homes will have to meet more stringent building fabric requirements; utilise a low carbon form of heating and hot water, and generally, emit 75-80% less carbon than homes built under current regulations, it is impressive to see a company founded in the 1800’s has a portfolio that is able to not only meet, but surpass today’s building requirements and trailblaze for the industry in its journey to becoming more environmentally sustainable