Stad Marcwis, Anglesey

PHOTOS: Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn Isle of Anglesey County Council

Innovative materials speed up construction. As with many construction projects scheduled in 2020, the council’s main contractor faced challenges arising as a result of both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anglesey County Council commissioned new housing on the site of a former pub to provide much-needed social housing in the local area. As with many construction projects scheduled in 2020, the council’s main contractor faced challenges arising as a result of both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within a couple of weeks of construction starting in February 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. After a short break, housebuilding activity was allowed to continue, but the social distancing requirements slowed progress.

The new Stad Marcwis housing development on the site of the former Marquis Inn in Rhosybol consists of two pairs of semi-detached houses; six three-bedroom houses; one four-bedroom detached house and a set of four low-rise flats.

Anglesey County Council wanted to break up the elevations to add variety and create a more attractive appearance. Main contractor DU Construction suggested using weberwall brick, a brick slip alternative from Saint-Gobain Weber, which can be used to create a realistic brick effect across a range of different applications and substrates.

"We knew about weberwall brick as we’d successfully used it as a soldier detail above a window on a refurbishment project at Bryn Tirion in Beaumaris. This worked out very well in terms of both speed of application and finished appearance, so we recommended this solution to the council." - Mark Blackwell, director of DU Construction

Fortunately, weberwall brick and weberpral M monocouche render that the council specified are both manufactured by Weber in the UK, so these materials were delivered without any delays.

Due to lockdown restrictions, members of the main contractor’s team were unable to travel to the Weber Training Academy in Flitwick to learn about weberwall brick. Instead, two members of Weber’s applications team travelled to DU Construction and held a COVID-19 compliant training day. As a result of this, the applicators were able to carry out what site manager Steven Hughes describes as “a very tidy job”.

As well as hold-ups in supplies of some raw materials, social distancing regulations limited the number of people allowed on-site at one time. The construction team worked hard to make up for lost time, helped by the fact that weberwall brick is more than three times faster to apply than traditional brick slips.

For the Stad Marcwis development, the council chose weberwall brick in Sanded Black with Grey pointing mortar. The brick effect was applied on three sides of each house up to window sill height and on both gables. From the ground floor sills upwards, the houses were rendered with weberpral M in Chalk, a through-coloured monocouche render which provides both decoration and weather protection.

On the flats, weberwall brick was used on the full height of the entrance porches in conjunction with weberpral M monocouche render. Anglesey has a very high wind-driven rain index so the weberwall brick and monocouche render combination offers added protection against the elements.

As well as the soldier wrap that had impressed DU Construction initially, weberwall brick comes in two other designs to accommodate common housing requirements: wall wrap and corner wrap. This minimises the need for cutting and is one of the features that allows the product to be installed quickly and accurately. DU Construction employed all three types of wrap on the development, using around 500sqm on the houses and a further 100sqm on the flats.

All the housing has now been completed and a ten-year guarantee on the Weber materials gives the council peace of mind.

“Stad Marcwis has attracted a lot of interest. Every day we have people driving past and enquiring about the homes and have had lots of admiring comments. I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out and, most importantly, our client is too.” - Steven Hughes, Site Manager

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