Part of an ongoing bathroom refurbishment programme, housing association Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd has installed Marbrex as a wall covering in over 4,500 homes. Now in its fourth year the programme has seen over 80% of residents choose Marbrex over a tiled alternative. The panels are supplied by stockist, EWE Plastics of Caernarfon, Gwynedd via Travis Perkins Group Managed Services.
The housing association conducted a value engineering project to determine the suitability of the cladding product prior to specification. “Marbrex was compared against the alternatives available and came out on top,” said Paul Painter, supply chain manager for Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd.
Originally specified for its cleanability, speed of installation has proven to be the greatest benefit for Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd. “The time taken to complete the work has been cut in a big way. We’re also expecting a long term maintenance saving but it’s a bit early to comment on this at this stage,” continued Paul. Marbrex can be installed in around half the time required for tiling, it can even be fitted over existing tiles. If the walls are clean, dry and flat then little preparation is required before the panels are fixed into place. As an added bonus, no grout is needed.
Will Evans, director of EWE Building Plastics rate’s the decorative cladding, “Marbrex is a great product for both the client and the installer. The client has access to a wide range of contemporary and stylish designs. There are also the low maintenance benefits that come with the elimination of grout and a reduction in condensation-related issues, whether on the wall or the ceiling; it’s also easy to clean and maintain. For the installer the simplicity of the installation means that work can be carried out quickly, and often with very little disruption to the resident. In addition to the cost benefits associated with labour saving and reduced timescales, Marbrex is also highly competitive against the cost of standard tiles.”
Commenting on the contract and the long-term supply of goods through local businesses, Andrew Craig, accounts manager, North & Mid-Wales and Merseyside, Travis Perkins Group Managed Services said: “All materials have been made readily available with very little disruption to the contract. The service from EWE Plastics has been excellent with materials being delivered on time to our stores, resulting in our KPI results hitting targets with deliveries on time to the client. It is always the intention of Managed Services to use local suppliers where practical, as has happened in this instance. We also believe this has had the knock-on effect of benefitting local employment, as EWE and Travis Perkins have employed more people and taken on apprentices which have gone on to full time employment.”
Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd is investing £136 million in its housing stock to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. It is responsible for the management and maintenance of around 6,300 homes across Gwynedd. A high percentage of its housing is located in Bangor, Caernarfon, Pwllheli, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dolgellau and Bala. Its stock also includes 400 sheltered units for older and more vulnerable residents.