Cyfarthfa Retail Park



Sustainable Design

The B&Q eco-learning store was designed with sustainability in mind. It applied a unique, collaborative approach between the tenant B&Q, Landlord Hammerson as well as industry partners Tata Steel, Cardiff University and BAM. The store was built in line with B&Q’s 11 point sustainability plan and had both construction and in-use sustainability targets covering recycled content, water efficiency, biodiversity and energy efficiency.

The processes, monitoring and approach to sustainability have been shared with the industry in the form of seminars and conferences publicising early results of a research project and also publications by Cardiff University.

The building was also designed to have low embodied carbon, and achieved 23% less than industry benchmarks for similar retail developments through the use of steel cladding rather than aluminium and insulation with recycled content and cement replacement in the structural concrete.

23% less embodied carbon compared to industry benchmarks

Tackling Climate Change

The bespoke B&Q retail unit was one of the first in the UK to install a roof mounted transpired solar collector (TSC), which uses solar energy to heat the ventilation air supply into the building. A Low Carbon Research Institute / Sustainable Building Envelope Demonstration research project, the TSC has reduced the heat load of the building by 34% and Cardiff University has facilitated a 12 month research programme comparing in-use and design stage energy efficiency.

The building has targeted a 51% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to building control minimum requirements. This was achieved through high air tightness of 2.47m3/hr/m2 and a 30% improvement in thermal insulation values, daylight optimisation, LED lighting and controls, de-stratification fans and the TSC.

Included a roof-mounted transpired solar collector

Resource Efficiency

The bespoke B&Q unit aimed for a high level of recycled content from the start. The project achieved 30% recycled content through the use of the WRAP measurement tool. For example, we used 100% recycled unbound aggregate in some of the substrates for road and building and some of the blockwork contained 70% recycled concrete.

30% recycled content

Responsible Sourcing

100% of the timber used on the project was sourced from FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody certified sources. The B&Q eco-store had a requirement for project FSC Certification. 100% Chain of Custody was achieved on the project, although some PEFC timber was procured due to shortage of supply and programme constraints, the project achieved FSC Partial Project Certification (TT-PRO-004958) in January 2015.

BAM also used local products and contractors throughout the project. 50% of the operatives lived within 20 miles and 62% of subcontractor spend was within 30 miles. Local manufacturers were used to source many products which also helped cut transport emissions. For example Rockwool insulation manufactured in Bridgend, Euroclad cladding from Cardiff, Steel cladding sheets fabricated in Port Talbot and high recycled content concrete manufactured in Tongwynlais. 

100% Chain of Custody,
including our first FSC Partial Project Certification


Originally part of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks complex, the site sits within the Cyfarthfa Conservation Area. Significant archaeological finds were made during the enabling works including forges, coke ovens, kilns, coal stores and a marshalling yard. The archaeological excavations were digitally mapped and recorded and open days were held so the public could see the archaeological remains. The foundations of the new buildings were also redesigned to avoid damaging the remains.

Open days held to view the archaeological remains


Located in the Cyfarthfa Conservation Area, the B&Q store used a wood effect rain screen on the main elevations and an angled roof to reduce the visual impact from nearby Cyfarthfa Castle.

Throughout the project BAM engaged with the local community. Local university and school students visited the site and we organised three career events, which reached over 720 students.

Work placements and work experience positions helped give local people a stepping stone into construction. 82 weeks of employment were created for 19 previously unemployed operatives, two apprentices were employed on site, and we were able to provide a five-day work experience placement to one student. We also engaged with the local Job Centre, assisting the client with end user local employment opportunities.  

Our engagement reached over 720 students

Health and Wellbeing

The project team raised funds for our national charity partners - Macmillan Cancer Support and Alzheimer’s Society, including £110 through a Food Feast Day.

We also encouraged healthy eating in the workforce through ‘Free Fruit Friday’ and installing water coolers for operatives.

£110 raised through a Food Feast day


The bespoke B&Q facility includes a green roof covering 50% of the total area. Supplied and installed by a specialist contractor, drainage, filter and protective layers combined with a roof barrier provide the necessary growing medium for the chosen British seed mix. This consisted of 38 different species including Lady’s Bedstraw, Self-Heal, Wild Marjoram, Cornflower and Sorrel. In total, the building is covered with 3,000m2 of green roof, more than the area covered by 10 tennis courts. The green roof not only supports biodiversity but also improves thermal insulation and reduce rainwater run-off.

Ecology surveys conducted early on in the project identified the presence of Japanese Knotweed in some locations. An invasive species, the plant can grow up to 10cm a day and outcompete native plants. We were able to use specialist root barriers to control and retain future Japanese knotweed growth. 

A nearby nature and heritage trail was protected and tree buffers enhanced. This helped ensure the whole scheme was embedded in its local ecology, providing a long term habitat for fauna and flora. The heritage trail celebrates the site’s industrial heritage and includes information boards and a viewing platform. 

3000m2 green roof

Water Management

The eco-store aims to reduce water consumption as well as using rainwater. Low flow fittings throughout the store helps to reduce water needs while a 900 litre water recycling storage facility provides water for toilet and urinal flushing, as well as store irrigation in the garden centre. 


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