Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) was announced winner of the ‘Innovation’ award at this year’s prestigious Constructing Excellence in Wales Awards.

The annual awards are recognised across the Welsh built environment as the biggest and brightest celebration of best practice across Wales.

MHA received the award in recognition of their unique ‘Start Up’ ‘Slim Down’ homes, created in partnership with Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture (WSofA), Monmouthshire County Council, LRM Planning and funded by Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme.

The innovative design concepts brought to life the specific housing ‘wants and needs’ of  two definitive demographics; older people wanting to downsize and younger ‘first timers’.  The designs were rolled out across two MHA owned, ex-garage sites in Caldicot and Abergavenny, significantly regenerating two previously derelict sites.

Karen Tarbox, Director of Property Services said “MHA are extremely proud of these homes and to have won such a prestigious award really is the icing on the cake.  These highly sustainable, contemporary designs have reaped plaudits from across the housing sector and more importantly, are loved by the people who live in the homes.  We are also one of the first Welsh RSL’s to utilise their own in-house building team during the construction process.  The result of a successful collaboration and shared vision with WSofA, which we are delighted to be replicating on two further sites in Chepstow, both of which will again be funded by the Welsh Government’s innovative housing funding stream.”

A total of 8 homes were built over the two sites.  A terraced mews comprising four, spacious one bedroom, two-storey houses built specifically for under 35’s and 4 inter-locking courtyard bungalows for older people looking to downsize without compromising on space.

Prof Wayne Forster, Welsh School of Architecture said “The homes were designed so occupiers could enjoy space and light and views to outside spaces.  Both developments have intimate scales and were founded on principles of making ‘places for people’, responding to the privacy of existing adjoining properties by providing private courts and patios”.

Each home has been built to be highly sustainable and energy efficient, with a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) in excess of 100.