A West Midlands development company has increased the value of an unusual construction by £10,000. The original chicken shed structure has been transformed into a baker’s dozen of small country homes – by using insulation which maximises the saleable square footage of the property.
Solihull-based Ardenvale Ltd chose to use products from the Actis Hybrid range, supplied by the Birminham branch of Encon Insulation, when it converted the 10,000 sq ft 1940s one time hen house into a selection of one and two bedroom cottages.
Using insulating vapour control layer Actis H Control Hybrid in the walls gave the builders an extra 3 or 4 cm of floorspace at every wall – which, across 13 houses, enabled them to add an additional £10,000 to the overall asking price for the development.
Ardenvale directors Peter and Paula Knott bought the derelict, smelly former chicken sheds in rural Chadwick End 20 years ago, originally converted the building into a warehouse, manufacturing space and offices for their printing company. After selling that business they converted the whole building into offices before a change in planning law four years ago opened up the possibility to make more of the space, expanding development permission from merely garage extensions to converting commercial buildings into residential properties.
Peter explained: “The hen house’s position in the Green Belt meant that previously it couldn’t be used for residential purposes, but suddenly a new route was opened up for us and we decided to create 13 smaller houses – nine two bedroom and four one bedroom cottages.”
The couple specified Actis products – insulating vapour control layer H Control Hybrid for the walls and 45mm honeycomb style insulation Hybris, H Control Hybrid and multifoil TS10+ for the roofs – for their combination of thermal efficiency and thinness. This enabled them to maximise floor space and ensure sufficient headroom in the eaves.
Peter added: “One of the things about permitted development is that you have to convert, not knock down and start again. We decided to leave the roofs as they were in good condition. But the structure of the roof was such that unless you use a thin, highly thermally efficient, flexible product like Actis there is not enough void space. We wanted to expose the beams which meant PIR and fibreglass were out of the question. Actis comes into its own in that situation.
“The walls are timber framed and using H Control Hybrid was pretty straightforward. Though saving 3 to 4cm per wall doesn’t sound much, if you take it across the whole site it’s added an extra £10,000 in value to the development.”
The first home has just gone on the market. Peter’s original choice of name “The Hen House” has unfortunate connotations in his native north east – so he and Paula decided to play safe and call it “The Barns” instead!