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Ore Valley Housing Association, Lochore

Ore Valley Housing Association, Lochore

Retrofit of a traditional four-in-a-block under the Scottish Building Standards Section 7


This case study project is located in the town of Lochore in Fife. Lochore has several derelict and badly maintained dwellings located in and around the town. The region suffers from a deficit of affordable housing and much of the current housing is in disrepair.

Over the years, this deprived housing has caused a decline in the town’s urban image causing residents to become disengaged with the state of the town resulting in a range of social problems among the community. Some developers and social landlords have taken action by recovering under-developed land and building new housing, others have opted for demolishing existing properties and re-building homes.

The project in question is part of a scheme of demolished properties that have since been re-built. With the intention of introducing a retrofit programme to find out how complex and costly it would be, one of the blocks on this street has been side-lined for the development of this enhanced retrofit project.


The project looked at developing partnerships with product partners who have focused their business towards the retrofit market, with aims to implement materials and products to achieve high standards. The project seeks to achieve an energy standard for retrofit, which is urgently needed for traditionally built buildings. The proposal is to use the current Scottish Building Standards (SBS) Section 7 – Sustainability labelling system (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in combination with SBS Section 6 – Energy, to propose energy efficient solutions for the four flats in the block.

Currently, SBS Section 7 is used to label new buildings which aim for energy efficiency and sustainability. This is in preparation towards lower carbon emissions targets as set out in the 2016 Building Regulations. The standard is not applicable to the retrofit of housing but this project proposes to use the standard and report on ways in which it can be adapted to cover retrofit of current housing stock.

With this in mind the project team decided to propose the retrofit of the flats by specifying and designing solutions that would meet various SBS Section 7 levels of performance. It was also decided that the block had to explore various building methods, therefore it was divided into two; with two flats utilising predominantly man-made materials and systems while the other two flats using ecological materials and passive heating and ventilation solutions.

Therefore, two flats were designed to the Gold standard (one man-made and the other ecological), one as a Silver standard and the other as a Bronze standard. The objective was to show the different performances with different specifications but also to observe the cost and complexity of the solutions for replicability purposes in future projects.


After a successful brokering event with many potential companies, manufacturers and service providers; a team of partners was devised to work with:

  • Edinburgh Napier University and the research team at the Scottish Energy Centre,
  • Stuart Hannah of add+ Architecture Design and Development, and
  • contractors and developers Sharp Construction Ltd.


With this partnership, a design and retrofit scheme was created which submitted for planning and building control in May 2014. Once granted planning permission, work went underway in June 2014 and is due to be completed in October 2014.

The first stage of the retrofit involved stripping back the envelope and existing services in the block, with the exception of drainage into the site and properties. An inspection of the buildings structure followed which concluded that many of the suspended timber floors in the ground and intermediate floors needed to be replaced. It also identified that due to many months of water penetration the roof had become un-safe and required replacing.

With this in mind, a new roof was designed, initially as a conventional timber truss and joist system built on-site, however after talking to various product partners there was an opportunity to build a modular roof off-site in a factory setting and crane it into place once completed.

This was developed by Donaldson’s Timber Engineering and MODUROOF who treated this as a trial project, a first in Scotland for retrofit purposes. This permitted the roof to be built off-site complete with tiles and the proposed solar tiles, saving on time and labour costs.

A fly-view video of the installation of the MODUROOF system can be watched here.


So far, the project is still under construction. External insulation, windows and final render finish are complete. Internal work and connection to the various services will be completed in the next couple of weeks. Finishes and commissioning will take place in October while hand-over and occupation will take place in November. Residents will be managed and selected by Ore Valley Housing Association who will hire the block from the developers for a 20 year period.


Upon completion, the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University will conduct a Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) and an early occupation Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) which is hoped can be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

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