Silver Winner in 2024 | Low Rise Accommodation

Martin Bennett MCIOB
Willmott Dixon
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Willmott Dixon

Caerphilly Housing Pilot Site

Construction of 18 apartments across two sites, completed in 56 weeks. 

Genuine ‘firsts’ in the construction sector are rare, which makes Martin Bennett’s construction of the first Passivhaus homes in Wales with cost-efficient light steel framing particularly admirable. 

About the Project

Construction of 18 apartments across two sites, completed in 56 weeks. 

Genuine ‘firsts’ in the construction sector are rare, which makes Martin Bennett’s construction of the first Passivhaus homes in Wales with cost-efficient light steel framing particularly admirable. 

Brought into the project thanks to his successful management of a similar scheme in Bristol, Martin used his experience of, and passion for, modern methods of construction to great effect. He had a supplier design a fully panelised light-gauge steel-frame system that was flood-resilient and Passivhaus-capable – and allowed internal works to start before the facade was installed. 

He recognised that starting on the one-block site first would capture programming advantage. It also gave the team the opportunity to fix design and scheduling issues and identify efficiencies that could then be used on the larger, two-block site. 

Getting the strict requirements of Passivhaus right demands total focus. Martin organised toolbox talks and lessons learnt workshops to develop and understand solutions, and drove a rigorous inspection regime. Given that the Passivhaus airtightness requirement is the equivalent of having a hole in the building envelope smaller than a 5p piece for every five square metres (compared with five 20p pieces for the same area under the building regulations), he clearly made all the right choices.