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A stylish aesthetic has been achieved for a well-received affordable housing development in Newhaven, East Sussex, thanks to specialist corrugated fibre cement sheeting being applied to modular apartments.

Southern Sheeting

Southern Sheeting supplied the facade materials to modular housing builder Boutique Modern to help deliver 13 affordable flats, which the local council is hailing as a “game changer” for social housing.

The units were built offsite at a factory in Newhaven and then loaded onto a flat vehicle and lifted into place at the site using cranes.

A spokesperson for Boutique Modern said: “Southern Sheeting were very helpful and worked hand-in-hand with the manufacturers and specialist sub-contractors to bring the expertise needed at the outset of the project. They supplied us with Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting as vertical wall coverings for the external facade of the building, as well as all fixings and ancillary products.”

The team at Boutique Modern delivered the modular homes for Lewes District Council, with OSM Construction as the main contractor. Boutique Modern manufactured the homes offsite, completing the roof and the external facade on site, with Southern Sheeting detailing and supplying the cladding package.

The two-stage design and build process included the demolition of existing office buildings and then the construction of 13 offsite-manufactured modular apartments, over three storeys, to form Palmerston House. The development includes six two-bedroom apartments and seven one-bedroom apartments.

A spokesperson for Boutique Modern said: “Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting was selected by Boutique Modern to be used as vertical wall cladding on the development as it offered a modern design aesthetic, provides a cost-effective solution and has a reaction to fire classification of A2-s2,d0.

“We have used Southern Sheeting before on smaller projects, but this was the biggest project we have worked with them on. They are the go-to in the South East for cladding and roofing products and expertise.”

Dan Hill, from Southern Sheeting, said: “We love the aesthetic our Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting has created for this modular social housing project. It’s exciting to see it being used in this way in a development that will deliver stand-out and beautiful homes to people in need.”

Profile 3 Eternit corrugated fibre cement sheeting, which was used on the development, is made from a carefully-formulated mix of cement and water, reinforced with a combination of both natural and man-made fibres. The long-lasting nature of this formula has a 50-year-plus life expectancy for all its sheets and accessories.

An added bonus is that the semi-compressed sheets are quick and easy to install and fix, reducing time, labour and costs. Its vapour permeability reduces condensation and offers excellent thermal and noise insulation.

Profile 3 fibre cement sheets are virtually maintenance-free, with no rust or corrosion. This results in highly cost-effective weatherproofing, making the material suitable for exposed coastal settings such as Fort Road in Newhaven. It is also available in a range of colours.

Lewes District Council recently published an interview on YouTube with its Leader and Ward Councillor for Newhaven South, Councillor James MacCleary. He visited the new development and praised it as an exciting and revolutionary style of council housing, built locally, which also reinvested in the town.

He said residents were already moving into the development and that he was thrilled people would be able to enjoy their first Christmases in such a safe and high-quality environment.

The councillor pointed to Palmerston House’s energy efficiency, which should enable it to operate off the grid for three to four months of the year, solar panels and electric charging points, as well as high standards of fire safety. The homes are super insulated, meaning they are 40% more energy efficient than traditional homes.

The district council is hailing the homes as a “game changer” for social housing and a window on the future for residential schemes.

In a recent statement about the development Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing at Lewes District Council, said: “Palmerston House represents a complete and hugely exciting departure in 21st-century housing construction. These wonderful new homes provide a design template that I am certain will be replicated all over the UK as decision-makers discover what we have achieved in Newhaven.

“There is no doubt that this is a game changer, not just in terms of raising the bar for sustainability and fire safety, but also in build quality and finish. The apartments are stunning examples of what social housing professionals should be striving for.”

Championing the development, Cllr MacCleary, added: “When the Co-operative Alliance took over the council last year, we put building homes and reducing carbon output at the heart of our agenda. Palmerston House achieves both of those things.

“On top of that, it is a truly cutting-edge building that just adds to the sense that Newhaven is a town where a lot is happening. It’s a great addition to our town and, most importantly, represents a positive future for local families who can now look forward to spending Christmas together in their new home.”

Boutique Modern began building the homes in October 2019 and delivered them to the site in March 2020. The whole development was completed in September 2020.

Contact Southern Sheeting

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