Rochdale Upperbanks - Case Study
Full permission, no restrictions

The project

Rochdale Upperbanks is a regeneration project delivered by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council, with Willmott Dixon acting as the main contractors. It is situated next to the new Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development in the town centre. Built on the location of a former health centre and car dealership, the development brings new life to a formerly disused brownfield site.

“We are hugely proud to continue to play our part in shaping the future of Rochdale town centre,” said, Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North. “This project was built for the people of Rochdale by the people of Rochdale, and we worked with our local supply chain partners to create sustainable employment opportunities and a lasting positive legacy in this community.”

The Upperbanks scheme comprises 242 studio, one-bed and two-bed apartments, all with balconies, housed in two nine-storey apartment blocks and a 146-room Hampton by Hilton Hotel.

Rochdale Upperbanks

Rochdale Upperbanks

The challenge

To help build comfortable living spaces in a busy town centre, the new apartments were designed with added protection against noise pollution. The location also brought additional challenges like access and restricted on-site storage space for building materials and machinery.

Because the buildings are higher than 18 metres, the materials used in the façade had to be non-combustible in line with Approved Document B (ADB)1. This project commenced before further statutory guidance was introduced to ADB in December 2022 for residential buildings (purpose groups 1 & 2) above 11metres. Aiming to optimise energy efficiency and create a healthy environment for the buildings’ occupants, an ambitious thermal performance target of 0.15 W/m2K was also set.

The solution

More than 5,000 square metres of ROCKWOOL insulation was  specified by the architects for the whole façade system. A decision the specialist façade installer Longworth fully agreed with: “Longworth and Rockwool have a fantastic partnership and we have worked on many projects together. We know the quality of the ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation and it is a product we fully trust,” explains Stephen Barnett, Procurement Director at Longworth. “ROCKWOOL’s RainScreen Duo Slab® fits well with the Euramax Traditional Standing Seam Cladding System we installed.”

RainScreen Duo Slab® is a stone wool insulation product specifically developed for use within ventilated cladding systems and sealed systems such as curtain walling. Manufactured using Dual Density technology, the outer surface of each slab features a higher density than the underside. This provides a firm and robust surface for the application of fixings, while the resilient underside can accommodate unevenness in the substrate. RainScreen Duo Slab also has a Euroclass reaction to fire rating of A1 - the highest available.

Other ROCKWOOL products installed included RWA45 and Soffit Slabs, which also boast a Euroclass A1 classification. Multiple-purpose, RWA45  can be applied to an array of general building applications providing acoustic, thermal and fire protection of partition walls, ceilings, floors and roofs. ROCKWOOL Soffit Slab is purpose-designed for concrete soffits giving thermal insulation and acoustic absorption and up to 4 hours’ fire protection. 

The specification team at ROCKWOOL was actively involved in the whole process from the start. It prepared the required U-value calculations and advised on the correct combination and installation of insulation products to ensure the fire safety of the building including the use of ROCKWOOL cavity barriers and firestopping products

The ROCKWOOL team also worked with the architects to achieve the best possible acoustic performance by managing the acoustic calculations and recommending the most efficient slab thickness.

Working closely with the distributor, the team also arranged just-in-time delivery of materials to the site to help manage the storage space restrictions.

The result

Upperbanks is part of a wider £400m transformation of Rochdale town centre, turning the former brownfield site into new, comfortable and safe homes and contributing to a vibrant town centre atmosphere.

Anthony Dillon concludes: “The local pride in Rochdale Riverside and the continued level of inward investment being attracted to exciting developments such as Upperbanks make it a blueprint for vital town centre regeneration across the UK.”



  1.  In England, the latest ADB provides guidance for buildings (11-18m) that serve a residential purpose to use material classed as A2-s1, d0 or better and in Scotland this applies to buildings over 11m.

Webpage history

Our experts continually review and update our articles when legislation changes or new information becomes available. 

First published: 02/04/24