5 months ago

March 2018

EWI: Q&A rendering.

EWI: Q&A rendering. Silver caters for those who want to become Baumit-approved. Practical sessions include fixing base profiles, boarding and beading. Course-completion results in Baumit onsite support, reports for clients and a Baumitapproved installer card. Gold is for those experienced in EWI systems and competent in rendering. Trainees who complete this course will become a Baumit-approved partner. A host of additional benefits include access to Baumit product marketing materials, and OSCAR Onsite overview and approval. TC: How easy is it for someone operating in the construction sector to diversify into EWI installation? What sort of skills will they require? CK: Anyone with a plastering skillset who wants to move from internal to the external method should be able to diversify. A bit of building knowledge and some trowel skills are a perfect base from which to branch out into EWI. TC: What are some of the challenges that contractors and installers face on EWI projects? CK: The challenge is to be as focused on the minor details as you would the major ones. I’ve seen many an EWI project fail in the hands of an experienced installer because they failed to address a seemingly minor issue. TC: How is the EWI market performing currently? CK: While it is extensively used in Europe, EWI is still a relatively little known technology in the UK but the market is growing gradually as architects, clients and homeowners start to better understand the benefits. In the mid-2010s, the market was driven almost exclusively by funding but became overstretched, and the quality of workmanship dropped as some companies saw an opportunity to make a quick buck. Now that funding has reduced to a much lower level, the market has contracted but as a consequence, quality has increased in the main. “I recently saw a contractor working on top of a 30ft-high pitched roof without the aid of a roof ladder. It was terrifying to watch” TC: Is the Government doing enough to incentivise the market and drive take-up of energy efficiency measures? CK: Funding is a very delicate topic. As we have seen with the Green Deal, good ideas can fall foul of bad execution and the main challenge with funded work is making sure that the work is not only completed, but completed to the right standard. We are trying to help with this by what we are doing with the academy. My personal opinion is that the Government could do more but some clear structure is required about what energy efficiency measures should be used and when. The ‘fabric first’ approach is a simple concept to understand – i.e. upgrade the thermal performance of the building so you need to put less energy in in the first place – but when there are more pressing needs such as a dilapidated boiler, and funding is limited, priorities often change. TC: How do you feel the construction sector is shaping up in 2018? Are there reasons to be positive? CK: The Government’s pledge to address the UK’s energy-deficient housing stock through subsidies and the like gives us very good reason to be positive. TC: Can you describe some of the more interesting projects or jobs you’ve worked on… CK: Our products supplied a 230mm thick render for the building of a ‘hyper-modern country pavilion’ in rural Kent. It looks as spectacular as it sounds, and we were delighted to be involved in the creation of a house that stands as a testament to modern architecture and interior comfort. TC: What about some of the funnier or perhaps alarming things you’ve seen on site? TC: I recently saw a contractor working on top of a 30ft-high pitched roof without the aid of a roof ladder. It was terrifying to watch. Thankfully, he lived to tell the tale. Contact Baumit 01622 710 763 @BaumitUKLtd 72 TC MARCH 2018

FROM THE GROUND UP Karen Everitt at RAVATHERM UK – manufacturer of POLYFOAM XPS insulation – explains the key considerations to make during installation of ground floor insulation. During the construction on any new build or major refurbishment project, careful attention must be paid to the ground floor insulation. Understanding the correct installation methods and why a certain insulation material has been specified ensures the correct thermal efficiency of the finished building, whilst providing a durable and robust solution. The insulation market The recent shortage of polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation has impacted many construction projects. Caused by insufficient supply of Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI), the main constituent of PIR, severe production delays have resulted in a market-wide shortage and extended lead times – not to mention price increases – leading to contractors and specifiers seeking viable alternative insulation products. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation is one of those alternatives, and there are some key considerations for installers to make if XPS is specified. In housing projects for instance, slightly thicker XPS board will likely be required, meaning a little more digging out at the start of construction. As when using any unfamiliar construction product, it is recommended that contractors and specifiers liaise with a reputable XPS manufacturer with a knowledgeable technical team to ensure the key differences of an alternative material against the original specification can be explained. Insulation specification On some projects, contractors may need to be aware why a certain insulation product has been chosen, as factors such as the applied floor loading and the position of the installed insulation need to be taken into consideration prior to installation. Ground bearing floors, for example, can include insulation either below or above the concrete slab. Insulation installed below the slab increases the thermal capacity of the building, helping to maintain steady internal temperatures. If insulation is installed above the slab, the building responds more quickly to an intermittent heating system. Compressive strength of insulation Insulation materials used under slabs, screeds and chipboard should be capable of accommodating the applied loads with the minimum of compression. The loads in a domestic property, for example, are not likely to be significant compared to the requirements for a warehouse or factory whereby the floor will endure heavily trafficked areas on a daily basis. In housing developments, however, some circumstances such as basement constructions or swimming pools do impose greater loads, and benefit from the insulation being laid directly on the ground. Basement projects are increasingly popular in London where many people are ‘building down’ due to space restrictions to build around the home. In these instances, XPS insulation really comes into its own and delivers a durable solution thanks to its compressive strength and low moisture absorption. Our floorboard range, for example, has a moisture absorption of 0.6% by volume when tested in accordance with EN 12087, and can be laid in standing water or up against wet concrete with negligible impact on the performance of the product. The material is also available with both 200 and 300 kPa (Kilopascal) compressive strength – ideal for domestic projects requiring high compressive strength. The position of the insulation As briefly mentioned earlier, the position of the insulation in the floor has an influence over the thermal characteristics the floor brings to the building. Ground bearing floors can include insulation either below or above the concrete slab, and there are factors when choosing either method. Where the insulation is below a slab, screed or timber boards for example, the entire load is acting on the insulation. Point loads are spread by the layers above the insulation so that the load acting on the insulation is lower than the load applied to the floor surface. For instance in most domestic projects, an ‘over slab, under screed’ insulation solution is ideal for intermittent heating regimes, where a homeowner may only turn on the heating twice a day. In this scenario, the insulation should be installed with a vapour control layer over it. Ideally, the insulation should be positioned above the damp proof membrane. Yet in some circumstances this is not always the case. However, if installation doesn’t accord with best practice, the durable qualities of XPS insulation means it is resilient enough to still perform as expected. The versatility of XPS insulation means it’s ideal for a wide range of projects including domestic properties, and even when installed below a damp proof membrane, it can still offer its declared thermal performance, which is reassuring for specifiers and contractors considering switching specifications for future projects. Please contact us for further information: 01429 855100 @RavathermUK MARCH 2018 TC 73

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