Papa Westray Installs

Preparing for Papa Westray was no easy job. To carry out client surveys, we were required to fly out, as there were only two boats a week out to the island. As there was no car ferry, our surveyor packed his bag, took the short flight and then used a bike to go from job to job and even camped out! He carried out all the EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) and technical surveys.

Once all the surveys and paperwork had been completed, and the council had offered them their grants customers proceeded with the following insulation measures:

  • Loft Insulation
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • External Wall Insulation

Our biggest challenge was logistics. The only way to get materials and vehicles to the island was a load-on load-off cargo boat for containers (only allowing two 20ft containers max per trip). There is no roll-on roll-off ferry to Papa Westray!

We hired two containers and loaded them full of loft, internal and external insulation materials/tools. We had to transport the materials to the container and then organise delivery of the container to the harbour, ensuring we arrived neither too early or too late as this would involve further cost. The containers were craned onto the boat along with the van that the installers would be using.

Once the containers arrived in Papa Westray, they had to be craned off. We had thought we could leave them on the quayside – unfortunately, this was not possible, and we had the help of a friendly local farmer who used his large tractor with forks on the front to move them. He then kindly let us use his land to store them on until we completed all the jobs.

The van was craned off and this stayed for the duration of the project. Each of the teams used the van to carry out their work. The men were ferried in from Westray with their tools in bags, this meant that they had to take two ferries, one from Kirkwall to Westray and then from Westray to Papa Westray and, on some days, we had to hire the second boat to Papa Westray, as it only sailed for schoolchildren and there was no commercial sailing. We had to leave the van in Westray while they were working in Papa Westray. We had a great deal of help from locals to find the properties, as Satnav won’t work and the mobile signal is very poor.

Once all the works were complete, the installers travelled back to Westray and the container and van were craned back onto the boat with, once again, the help of our friendly farmer.

We arranged accommodation on the island for three weeks for the three specialist teams carrying out the work. It required two boat journeys to get to the island, one to Westray and, on some days, we even had a second boat to Papa Westray, as it only sailed for schoolchildren.

Firstly, our enabling team went out to prepare all the houses for external insulation – this involved taking off drainpipes, extending drainage pipe and erecting scaffolding.

They were then followed by our installation team, which carried out the insulation on the external wall insulation. While this was ongoing, we had to fly our manager out as a customer needed some clarification over his internal wall insulation that was due to start. As there was no transport, the customer had to come and collect him from the island airport.

Our internal team then went out to do internal and loft insulation. While each team was out they shared the small van that was on the island, and we also borrowed another van from a very kind islander for three weeks.

Our enabling team then headed back out via the two boats to Papa Westray to re enable the houses. We had to hand-carry-on downpipes, connectors, tools and their luggage, as they were required to stay out there for a few days.

When all the houses were complete, we had to pack the containers back up with all the rubbish, as there was no means of disposal on the island.

Once they were off the boat, we got them delivered back to the hire company to then organise for a van and two men to empty them and take the rubbish to the tip.

Thank you Papa Westray for helping us deliver the energy savings to your community.

Since completing our installs on the island, we have had an influx of calls from other island members, requesting us to come back out and survey their houses, as they wish to have insulation through the Scottish Government’s HEEPS: ABS Scheme.