External Refurbishment of “Boat Blocks” Birmingham

Engie/Birmingham City Council

Nature of Work Undertaken 

Engie had been appointed to deliver this high-profile project for Birmingham City Council as one of the Council’s framework contractors. The scheme was to be delivered by two contractors, two blocks each, and consisted of the external refurbishment of 4 tower blocks in Birmingham known as the ‘boat blocks’. These 13-storey blocks of identical design were the first residential tower blocks to be constructed in post war Birmingham in 1954.

The blocks suffered from poor thermal performance and required upgrades of the external brick wall and windows to provide warmer homes and lower fuel bills for residents. The existing structure suffered with cold bridges particularly with the concrete window surrounds and party wall junctions.

We worked closely with Engie to specify a non-combustible mineral wool insulation with a render/brick slip finish. This EWI system, which was taken into the window reveals to meet with the new frames, covered the façade with a safe system that does not increase the risk of fire spread, overcomes cold bridges whilst allowing different palettes/colours of materials to be applied providing aesthetic improvements. The existing balconies were re- designed to be enclosed, allowing the amenity to be used all year round and had a protected façade to prohibit children climbing and falling near the balcony edge. To complement the new balconies, new windows were introduced with an improved thermal and acoustic specification.

The design is fully compliant with current standards and Building Regulations Approved Documents and enhances the importance of these blocks, providing a sustainable solution to extend the life of the blocks for future years.

Services Provided 

  • Measured Surveys
  • Submission of planning application (RIBA 3)
  • Management of Building Regulations Application (RIBA 4)
  • Contractor Design Services (RIBA 5-7)



Project info

  • Contract value: £9,200,000

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Michael Dyson Associates Ltd
Our details
Michael Dyson Associates Ltd
01484 666888
Michael Dyson Associates Ltd
West House
West Yorkshire

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