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RICS 150

5 MAR 2018

Stuart Callander & Shonah Urquhart: Dormont Park Passivhaus Development

Stuart Callander MRICS and Shonah Urquhart MRICS were the two surveyors involved in the Dormont Park Passivhaus Development, a first in Scottish sustainability standards. The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early nineties and minimises fuel poverty through the use of renewable energy technology and excellent thermal performance.

In 2006, the Passivhaus standard had been applied in Scotland to a handful of single-dwelling properties, but the Dormont Park development was the first major application of the standard.

Impressive results

Completed in 2011, the development which coupled renewable energy technology and high performing Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery units, delivered impressive results. It is estimated that each house in the development emits around 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – compared with an estimated 63 tonnes emitted by a home built to the building regulations of the time.

As well as being environmentally friendly the project has also helped alleviate the effects of fuel poverty on residents of the development by reducing the cost of heating homes. Better indoor air quality, delivered by the MRHV units should also improve the health outcomes of residents.

Stuart was charged with assessing the risks associated with the use of the new technology in the construction process. This was critical in assessing the high performance technology, such as the tripled glazed windows and the Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery units, which are associated with a number of risks due to their limited supply chain.

As an expert in development appraisals Shonah was responsible for ensuring the project was economically viable and within the constraints of the Government’s grant scheme, which was being piloted specifically for the project. This was particularly challenging as it was a first of its kind and there were no benchmarks to work from. Through their excellent collaborative work, Stuart and Shonah managed to deliver the development on time and within the allocated budget.

The development has become a benchmark for sustainable developments in Scotland and is also an exemplar of how well-constructed new builds can alleviate the pressures of climate change, fuel poverty and to create a healthier and fairer society.