Metrotile: an answer for old and new!

// the building envelope

There have been many inventive ways that the UK construction industry has established to quickly and efficiently build new homes. From non-traditional properties (also known as ‘pre-fabs’) that were built post war to combat the housing crisis, to the present day were innovative manufacturers are coming up with exciting ways to swiftly house the public, the housing industry is always rife with great ideas for keeping roofs over people’s heads.

Housing Associations, with their vast stocks of homes, find themselves with both of these property types under their watch. From old BISF and Cornish Units - properties that withstood the test of time, despite having low shelf lives  - to modular new build properties that are constructed in a factory and hoisted to site, HAs find themselves having to keep up with Government sustainability and security standards, regardless of whether their homes were made yesterday or in 1949. Juggling so many different housing ages and types can cause a few headaches, however one constant across all properties is that a roofing material can be utilised that ticks all Government boxes and adds more benefits than so-called traditional roofing tiles such as slate or clay. Metrotile Lightweight Steel Roofing can be used across all property types, ensuring one less material to worry about when adhering to Government housing standards. The benefits are also far greater than you might think.

Blackburn-based Easybase have recently developed the Instant Home. Designed to combat the modern crisis, each home is constructed - in two modules, the upper and lower floor - in their factory. Once complete, the homes are transported to site, where they are installed and connected to the national grid within one day. A very impressive, innovative solution to a very real UK problem. Easybase uses Metrotile Roofing as it weighs up to one seventh of a slate or clay roof - a godsend for a home that needs to be transported to site. Each 25 ton home reaches the Government’s Sustainable Homes Level 4 criteria and takes just 16 weeks to construct in Easybase’s facility. Upon completion of their pilot project for Twin Valley Homes (part of the Together Housing Group), Easybase Business Development Manager Kristina Atkins stated:

“Metrotile fits nicely in keeping with our light weight structure and the 40 year warranty is an excellent selling point.  Its also quick and easy to install and looks great. Monmouth Road, Blackburn was our first pilot project but has been the start of things to come. We are currently in talks with various Housing Associations, Local Authorities and various countries including New Zealand, America and Canada.”

Meanwhile in Cannock Chase, the local council needed to refurbish two non-traditional property types - Cornish Units and Reema Homes. Cornish Units have stood the test of time in an unexpected fashion. Built post WWII from materials that allowed a rapid build yet a short life, they were created as a temporary solution to a housing shortage - the idea being they would house those in need of a home while enabling more time for long-lasting properties to be built. However, Cornish Units - and other non-traditional homes, including Reemas, Hawksley Bungalows and BISFs - are still in abundance today with many held in stock by Housing Associations and Local Authorities. The key to this extension of life is in the materials used for refurbishment and Metrotile has found tremendous success in this sector. Rick Pepper, Housing Property Services Manager for Cannock Chase Council stated:

“We decided after talking to Metrotile and in view of their experiences with the “Cornish” houses in Wales, Gloucestershire and Devon to remove the old existing mansard and roof covering, which in any case were getting to the end of their life, and reroof using Metrotile’s “Shingle” profile, which when fitted to the houses looks almost exactly the same as the original roof covering, is easier to fit than concrete tiles, quicker to fit, looks good and is more economic, than more traditional tiles.”

- Rick Pepper, Housing Property Services Manager, Cannock Chase Council

Metrotile’s many benefits has found it success as a roofing material for both innovative, new build housing designs and to significantly increase the lifespan of buildings created as a temporary solution. For more information about Metrotile, visit

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