Rare postwar homes across East Durham given makeover in £138m improvement programme

Nov 14, 2019 | Local News

A number of unusual homes in east Durham have been receiving a makeover as part of believe housing’s £138m improvement programme.

Homes built using innovative construction methods straight after World War II have been given a new lease of life. A total of 35 houses constructed with steel frames in the late 1940s have received new roofs to help them serve tenants for many more years to come.

The homes, which became popular because of the space that the steel frame created, were a successful early example of a permanent house built using speedier construction methods. Around 30,000 of the homes, often known as British Iron and Steel Federation (or BISF for short) houses were built across the country from 1946 onwards.

Homes in Clarke Terrace, Burnip Road and Webb Avenue in Murton together with those in Patrick Crescent, South Hetton and Ashbrooke Estate in Shotton Colliery have received new roofs. Properties at Dahlia Crescent and Hazel Crescent in Easington have also benefited from the work.

As well as using steel in the frames of the building, the roof trusses are also steel. This means that specialist materials and methods needed to be used for the replacement roofs, which were last changed in the 1970s.

Investment Programme Manager, Stephen Brown, said: “These homes were really innovative in the 1940s, they pioneered new methods of construction that helped create new and long-lasting homes much more quickly.

“This latest work should help them provide a good home for many more years to come.”

believe housing’s 10-year long home improvement programme is upgrading affordable housing in scores of communities stretching from rural Weardale to the coast. The refurbishments are being carried out in partnership with specialist contractors ENGIE.

Andrew McIntosh, Regional Managing Director for ENGIE, said: “We’re pleased to be progressing this refurbishment programme with believe housing and supporting their ambition to future-proof and upgrade their estates, whilst also getting the opportunity to use our skills to improve homes that are so varied and unusual.

“As a business, we’re focused on working with partners to improve the environment we live in, using the most up-to-date and innovative construction methods, so it’s great to see how methods have changed and evolved.

“This investment and our work will ensure high-quality and sustainable homes for all believe housing residents involved.”

Work has already been completed on homes in Crook, Peterlee and Sherburn Hill. Many of the houses have been transformed with new kitchens, bathrooms and wiring, as well as external improvements.

ENGIE was awarded the £138m contract by believe housing following a competitive bidding process based on value for money and quality. The company has a long and successful track record of working in the area and extensive experience of delivering major projects, while minimising disturbance to residents.

In addition to the home improvements, environmental work is also being carried out in many areas.