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Apple Building

Oldham Road, Manchester

The Apple Building stands on the Oldham Road in Miles Platting, Manchester, on the junction of a major road into the city. It stands as one of four tower blocks but was the only block to be in private ownership, the others having been refurbished over twenty years ago. As a brick building, albeit with cavity filled insulation, it was a cold structure and alongside the window renewal programme, was in urgent need of thermal improvement as well as redecoration of the tired-looking façade.

The local planning authority have a vision for this part of Manchester and have designated it as a key regeneration area of the city. When approached by the landlord of the private residential block, the planners advised that a render finish to the façade, akin to the previously renovated blocks, would not be deemed suitable and in keeping with the vision for the district. This presented a budget issue to the project so alsecco were contacted to advise on a solution that would deliver an insulated system with a cost-effective but premium finish that retained a brick finish, retained the banding at each floor level and would be fire compliant, resistant to high wind loadings and simple in design and construction. The tested wind chamber results that alsecco are almost uniquely able to offer are in the system BBA certificate and are reassuring for the client for a scheme which is high-rise but also subject to wind vortex challenges caused by other high-rise blocks in the immediate vicinity.

alsecco proposed the Ecomin 400 system with lightweight Meldorer brick slips but with stone effect larger format slips laid at floor slab areas to maintain the banding that the planners wanted replicating. Having provided a number of colour options, the client opted for a textured buff brick slip for the main wall areas and a white stone slip, laid in soldier courses, for the bands. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that the existing bricks were non-standard in size but alsecco are able to manufacture to any size so this problem was quickly resolved and the brick coursing did not have to alter between floor slabs and windows. A large sample panel in the brick and stone options was made and this went through planning with ease.

The construction phase was very straightforward and benefited from the recent installation of new windows. AllRend, who carried out the installation of the Ecomin 400 system, take tremendous pride in their work and the precise setting out of the brick and stone slips is evident from the completed images. The dressing of the mortar joints is clean and neat and the finished elevations have made a dramatic improvement to the overall appearance of the building. The tenants of the building can now look forward to lower heating bills and the landlord will have little trouble in attracting tenants in the rental sector and are already considering this route for future refurbishment schemes.

Testimonial from Richard Jones, Capital Project Director of Ocasa Homes, the building owners:

‘Ocasa approached Alsecco for a project in Manchester, on a 1970’s built high rise tower block, and  from the start the alsecco team were fantastic with the designs and the specifications taking the time to meet and present their product, ‘Ecomin 400 Meldorfer insulated brick slip system’. The team helped us through the process of approval and worked with the contractors and consultants confirming compliance and quality of the install. Now completed, the works look superb and really give the building as new lease of life bringing it back into the 21st century and are a true reflection of the teams great planning and cooperation with the site team, consultants, and the stakeholders. I look forward to our next project where we can look to engage with alsecco again.’