A government and council-funded development in Llanharry is well underway, with the construction of purpose-built accommodation for adults with autism on track for completion in August.
The five-bed building on Elm Road was originally supported housing for the elderly, but the decision was made to repurpose the property for adults with high functioning autism. The initial site visit found that the building was not fit for the intended purpose, and it would not allow for the open plan design that had been planned, so the structure was demolished in April 2021.
The building will have five en-suite bedrooms and one self-contained flat, all suitable for adults with learning difficulties. Designed on a single floor, the residents will have access to a communal kitchen and two communal lounges, with a separate laundry area and a sensory room. Jonathan Davies, Asset Regeneration Manager at Trivallis, explains that: “It has been great to work so closely with our partners so that we can accommodate any specific requests for the building. The sensory room will be finished with additional electric sockets for the easy installation of sensory technology as well as colour changing lights.”
The design of the building brings a first for Trivallis, with the installation of a ‘green’ roof. This is a sustainable urban drainage system, which uses plants and other vegetation as a covering for the roof to offset the increase of drainage that will be required by the new, bigger footprint of the building.
Joanne Hoare, Development and Planned Maintenance Contract Manager at Trivallis, said: “Installing a green roof is very exciting, as it is the first one we have done. It is also a ‘blue’ roof, as there will be solar panels too. We call it glass and grass!”. The roof is also the first green blue roof to fitted on a residential property in Wales.
The team will be putting other measures in place to improve the EPCA rating of the building; air source heat pumps will be used to power the underfloor heating and electrics, car charging points outside, and not using gas will all help to make the Elm Road structure environmentally friendly.
Construction of the building began in December 2021, though there were a couple of issues that hindered work. “The biggest challenge that we have faced are the increases in costs sector-wide as a result of the pandemic, but we have been able to put a plan in place to mitigate these costs over a 40 year time period. As well as this, our original timber frame contractor went into administration when we began building, but as we were only in the early stages of the build, it didn’t cause too much of a problem and we sourced a new contractor from England” Jonathan explains.
The building process to date has been quicker than many traditional builds due to the structure being made out of pre-built timber frames that join together. These frames, along with the other materials needed on site, arrived on lorries, and as expected, there has been more traffic than normal on Elm Road. But Joanne says: “There is a lot of support in the neighbourhood for this project, and we have done all we can to ensure that local residents are kept up to date with what is happening. Before we started work, we carried out multiple leaflet and letter drops to inform the community of our plans, and we continue to have regular contact with those living around the area.”
Internal communication is equally as important in projects such as this. Josh Holvey, of P&P Building Contractors, said: “We [the partners] all have a great relationship, and we wouldn’t be as progressed as we are if we didn’t have such good relationships and communication”. Partners working on the build include: Alex Beckham, RCTCBC; Josh Holvey, P&P Builders; Steve Flay, P&P Builders; Chris Brimble, Arden Kitt Architects, Paul Griffiths, RPA Group; Mark Abraham, CTM UHB; Greenhat Fire Safety Consultants; Capita CDM Advisors; Asbri Planning; Rhomco Party Wall Advisors
With the accommodation scheduled to be completed in August, six residents have already been selected by the council to live in the new complex. These individuals were allocated early on in the project which has meant small elements were able to be added to the inside to suit the needs of the residents, without impacting the timing or budget of the build. Additional doors, sensory lighting, and other specialist accommodations were able to be made to ensure the residents will be as comfortable as possible.
With the build over halfway, it is currently on budget and scheduled to be finished on time. An event to showcase the completed project will be held prior to residents moving in and provide an opportunity for partners and Trivallis staff to view the unique design and structure.
For more information on other developments, visit What we’re building now – Trivallis.
Take a look at what the project will look like once it is completed: