Design for Manufacture / Oxley Woods
“Oxley Woods achieves something which should have happened sixty years ago. This is mass factory- produced housing, erected in three days, incorporating top technology, top energy performance, varied house designs, a choice of cladding materials and a wide variety of estate layouts. It is radical, innovative and an outstanding step away from the tradition mud and mess of the domestic building site.
The project represents a thorough-going attempt at innovation within the all-too risk-averse conventional housebuilders’ market. It points the way forward to achieving high environmental standards in quality housebuilding where design comes first.”
Manser Medal Judges
Oxley Woods is the first of the Design for Manufacture competition winners to be built. In April 2007 the first houses went on sale, with residents moving into the homes in Summer 2007.
The variety of house types and sizes and range from two to five bedroom houses, most with gardens and including housing association lets, shared ownership and traditional sales, has encouraged a varied and vibrant community to build up in
Residents have responded enthusiastically to their new homes, in particular the larger living spaces and sustainable benefits.
The houses were designed to exceed 2002 Part L Building Regulations, meeting Code Level 3 in the Code for Sustainable Homes. It is predicted that the good insulation and airtight design of the homes, in conjunction with the low energy ventilation system of the EcoHat, will significantly reduce the energy required to heat and cool the homes compared to standard homes.
RSHP is continuing to work with service engineer RYBKA and manufacturer Wood Newton to explore the next phase of work on the design of the house, with the aim of building on higher density sites with mid rise apartments, mixed tenure blocks and as individual homes, and using proven technology to reach Code Level 4-6 for carbon dioxide emissions in the Code for Sustainable Homes.
The volume of the house is adaptable both in terms of orientation, regional variation of scale, proportion and material and is conceived for life-long living, with an inherent flexibility both in the short and long term. Internal layouts are free-span – ie without structural pillars and walls, maximising flexibility. To further enhance the range of choice, RRP envisages a range of add-on elements to give distinct identity. These elements include canopies, balconies, planted walls and study rooms.
Modern Methods of Construction allow components to be manufactured off-site, either as modules or ‘flat-pack’ for ease of transportation. Not only does this decrease construction times, it also reduces waste and energy used in the transportation of materials to site. Even without the distinctive EcoHat, the Oxley Woods houses represent a reduction of approximately 27 per cent in carbon dioxide emissions, compared with a conventional new-build house of similar size. This reduction rises to almost 40 per cent with the inclusion of the EcoHat, 50 per cent when the EcoHat is attached to a hot water system, and more than 70 per cent if the EcoHat utilises geothermal energy sources through a local bore hole.
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