Cwrt Rhos Fynach, Rhos on Sea

Quality homes designed, constructed and built from Wales’ woodland resource by local companies, to meet our housing needs – surely a win, win, win for our economy, environment and society?

Cwrt Rhos Fynach, Rhos on Sea was designed by Cru Architects, for Wales and West Housing Association to meet the needs of Conwy Borough Council in North Wales. Housing up to 26 residents in 11 flats, it was constructed and built by Williams Homes (Bala) Ltd using home-grown timber.

Benefits Of Using Home-Grown Timber

The Rhos on Sea project demonstrates that in Wales we have the raw materials and technical capacity to create a modern high performance and sustainable built environment. The project presents a model that if repeated all over Wales using a multitude of offsite techniques[1] available to clients would transform the quality and sustainability of the built environment and create additional economic and social value. This projects gives more confidence to an emerging Welsh industry that aspires to supply both the Welsh and English markets.

Wales has 13.8% forest cover. The European average forest cover is 37%.  Increasing the forest cover of Wales would be good for bio-diversity, water, air, amenity, flood prevention and soil health. It could also supply a sustainable construction resource for our future generations.

85% of timber used in construction is imported.  This means that there is a substantial market demand to enable expansion of the UK timber industry.  Increased production of home-grown timber is good because:

  • It improves the balance-of-trade,
  • It creates employment – particularly in rural areas
  • It encourages forest planting, which is good for the environment.

Increasing forestry and increased construction timber form part of climate change mitigation strategies.  Forests provide a permanent carbon store. When timber is used in long life applications such as a construction beam, a carbon store is then created in buildings. Both forests and construction timber can be accounted for in a way that helps Wales meet its climate change commitments.

The Rhos on sea projects contributes to climate change mitigation in 3 key ways. (1) The high performance housing reduces operational energy consumption. (2) The use of homegrown timber creates carbon store that can be quantified and accounted for to help Wales meet its climate change commitments. (3) The indirect stimulation to forest planting is a further benefit, although difficult to quantify.

The Rhos on Sea apartments demonstrate that home-grown timber is suitable for use in modern timber frame construction. The project demonstrates that with a motivated client, it is entirely possible to construct modern affordable high performance Welsh houses in a way that stimulates the development of Welsh businesses and the local timber industry and creates confidence about future demand.

[1] Open panel, closed panel, pre-insulted panel, volumetric etc.