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Springfarm pilot to assess the options to tackle ‘No Fine’ home insulation issue: McCausland

Housing Minister Nelson McCausland has confirmed the selection of Springfarm in Antrim for a pilot set up to find a solution to insulation issues in ‘No Fines’ housing.
Thursday, 14 November 2013

“No Fines” properties are older houses built with single skinned pre cast concrete walls, without a cavity. The Minister made his announcement during a visit to several ‘No fines’ properties in Springfarm, Antrim where he met with members of the S-IMPLER partnership which is a new initiative designed to achieve effective and economical retro insulation of solid wall homes.

Visiting Springfarm, the Minister said: “The problem of ‘No Fines’ properties is not only a major issue locally an estimated 5,600 such houses built in the province and there are also over 300,000 such cases in Great Britain. At a time when home heating costs are at an all time high, these notoriously hard to heat homes present a major challenge not only for their tenants and their families but also place an onus on government to tackle this blight.

“I am committed to finding a cost-effective solution to this problem and some initial pilot study work has already been done in the Coleraine area. In working with the Housing Executive the S-IMPLER partnership will take forward this innovative pilot in seven affected homes in the Springfarm area of Antrim. The pilot will assess a number of potential methods to insulate such houses and is due to report back next June with their findings and, I look forward to their final recommendations.”

The Minister continued: “I have held a useful engagement today with the partnership and we have looked at affected properties here in Springfarm. It may not be as simple as one solution for all but I was impressed by the plans for the Springfarm pilot. The partners involved have a wide range of experience in these matters.

“Although the pilot will take several months it is imperative that we get it right, if successful our pilot has the potential to resolve this problem across the UK. No one should have to live in sub standard accommodation and one of my key priorities as Housing Minister is to improve the local housing stock to significantly improve thermal comfort for tenants and their families, as well as to help address the issue of fuel poverty.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Under a research scheme funded by central government TSB (Technology Strategy Board) - a partnership has been formed to establish the best solution to improve the Housing Executive’s no-fines concrete stock in terms of external insulation to improve the thermal efficiency of the dwellings.
  2. The S-IMPLER partners include:

    Building Research Establishment Limited
    Leeds Metropolitan University
    University of Salford
    Northern Ireland Housing Executive
    Collaborative Improvement
    Tensor Systems Limited
    VRM Technology Limited
  3. The project will look at providing external insulation to seven No Fines properties in Antrim. The outcome of this will be to provide new policy for energy improvement measures for this construction type.
  4. The project title called S-IMPLER has the following four aims:
    - Increase occupant understanding of retrofit health & financial benefits
    - Reduce solid wall housing retrofit costs
    - Develop Building information Modelling (BIM)
    - Generate monitoring data on actual building performance
  5. The solutions to be considered will be coordinated by an In House No Fines Working Group.
  6. Photos can be viewed later today on the DSD flickr
  7. All Media Queries to DSD Communications Team on 028 9082 9233 or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.