Langford Close, Guildford

With housing demand at an all-time high, the development of the site of the former Hare & Hounds public house in Guildford was an enticing proposition.

Cutting-edge materials make light work of pub redevelopment

Developer Agilitee Ltd gained planning permission to build nine new homes on the Guildford site comprising three detached homes, a pair of semi-detached houses and a row of four terraced houses.

With tight timescales to meet, Agilitee turned to Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to accelerate the building process, utilising time-saving building materials and techniques including an energy-efficient Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) system. This uses polystyrene connected with a web system that allows the forms to be stacked and steel reinforced. The polystyrene forms are then built up on site and filled with ready-mixed concrete. The polystyrene and concrete combination provides a thermal mass, allowing structures to be heated and cooled more effectively.

To make the exterior weatherproof and aesthetically appealing, Complete Rendering Systems (CRS), run by brothers Bradley and Ryan Halls, recommended weberwall brick for the final finish. This brick slip alternative which can be used to create a realistic brick effect across a range of different applications and substrates.

Bradley and Ryan Halls have more than 20 years’ experience in rendering and plastering and the pair are no strangers to Weber products. Their high standard of work has been recognised by the Evening Standard which awarded CRS Job of the Year 2019 for its external rendering on a prestigious £9m home in Esher, Surrey.

“We’ve worked with weberwall brick previously, which gave me confidence as I knew the system would be suitable for the scheme,” says Bradley. “It’s less bulky and much easier to handle around the scaffold. From a practical point of view, it also means that you don’t need forklifts around the site loading up pallets of bricks saving us space and time.”

The planning authorities stipulated that the development should complement nearby housing. After presenting weberwall brick colour samples to the council, CRS placed an order for 400m2 of weberwall brick in Antique Red Multi to cover the detached homes front and back, as well as the front walls of the terraced houses.

Chaminda Narayan, managing director of Agilitee, says: “I didn’t need much persuading as I was already familiar with weberwall brick. It looks good: uniform, neat. Having completed several ICF builds, we knew it would be a lot quicker than traditional brick. We were also able to add whatever brick patterns we wanted, such as quoins and a soldier course at the windows, so we didn’t have to compromise on our vision for the site.”

The weberwall brick product comes in 12 colours and three different designs to accommodate common housing requirements: wall wrap, corner wrap and soldier wrap. This minimises the need for cutting and is one of the features that allows the product to be installed quickly and accurately.

All three types of wrap were used on the development. CRS customised the standard soldier wraps slightly to meet the precise needs of each property. In total, around 280 linear metres of corner wrap was needed.

The gable ends were then coated in render using weberend MT system finished in Winter White. Quoin details on the external corners between the render and brickwork were used to create a more traditional look.

More than three times faster to apply than traditional brick slips, weberwall brick is easy to handle and apply, being remarkably lightweight. In fact, one sheet of 20 weberwall brick weighs the same as a single house brick.

Work on the development started in February 2020 and, after weather related delays, is expected to be completed in autumn 2021, marketed under the name ‘Langford Close’.

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