Growing Timber Homes

Brooks Dye Works, a regeneration scheme in St. Werburghs, Bristol is one of the latest developments to benefit from an innovative timber frame design, expertise and product innovation.

Brooks Dye Works comprises of 113 one, two, three and four-bedroom homes centred around the restored iconic chimney, with each property offering open plan, flexible living with parking and access to outside space. The former Brooks Laundry dates to the 19th century when the site was used for industrial units by Brooks Dyers and Cleaners.

The site is regenerated with young professionals and young families purchasing the properties. Improvements were made to the public realm, with pedestrian access to the neighbouring Mina Road Park extended opening up routes and spaces which had been lost since the 1950’s. The new Alfred Brooks Square, centres around the restored chimney and creates a focal point for the community.

Appointed by developer Acorn Property Group (Acorn), Taylor Lane worked with main contractor, Halsall Construction to deliver all 113 properties. “Through careful planning, our teams worked to ensure the scheme aligned with our ‘different by design’ ethos, complemented the surrounding area, whilst also making improvements to the public realm,” said Dave Gittins, Construction Director, Acorn’s Bristol Region. “Designed for modern living, the homes have been built with sustainability in mind, coupled with our usual high standards of construction detail and thoughtful interiors.”

Alongside its advanced wall system, Taylor Lane supplied Acorn with prefabricated pitched roof cassettes helping to reduce time on-site. Two blocks of six terraced houses enabled Taylor Lane Timber Frame to showcase its design skill and one of the many benefits of offsite timber frame construction. Each of the 12 properties features a pitched roof with vaulted ceilings on the second floor. Taylor Lane engineered these so that the insulated roof cassettes could be fabricated offsite at its factory in Herefordshire and assembled on-site in around 10 days. This reduced the build time, minimised working at height and omitted the labour-intensive process of insulating between rafters onsite.

The task was particularly complex at the design stage and during construction as the project included some intricate and site specific details. Taylor Lane had to contend with a variety of substrates, building up from block and beam slabs, cast concrete slabs, and in some instances, over a steel frame for the underground carpark. Different tolerances and settlement issues had to be factored in.

Also, some of the properties were near existing dwellings so appropriate products and methods had to be used to ensure compliance, particularly with fire regulations. The development includes a mix of two- and three-storey terraced houses and apartment blocks. Numerous roofs were designed to accommodate the different property types, including pitched truss, cut, and flat roofs. There is a complex fall design for the apartment roofs. To ensure the development blends well with its surroundings some properties have parapets, a popular and traditional architectural feature in Bristol.

Factory-formed floor cassettes were also manufactured offsite to create roofs for the apartment blocks.

Taylor Lane then constructed the appropriate falls using decked cassettes and firring. Where possible, the roofs were formed at floor or slab level and lifted to wall plate level to minimise the requirement for working at height. Even with restricted lay-down space, in some instances, the cassettes could be installed directly from the lorry bed to final position, such was the speed of installation.

Taylor Lane is based on Rotherwas Industrial Estate in Hereford, operating across 75,000sq ft of manufacturing space, and from a second manufacturing facility in Nantyglo, South Wales – Taylor Lane (Wales) Ltd. The company was acquired by the Cala Group in May 2023 and is looking to produce circa. 2,000 new homes per annum over the next five years. Each of the homes at Brooks Dye Works is now sold and occupied.

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