6 months ago

Insulate Magazine Issue 14 - January 2018

Featuring exclusive articles, standing out from the crowd, NIA conference review, keeping everything moving and Review, Reflect and Reset the new year edition of insulation provides a kick start to 2018...


Exclusive Insulate Column 26

Keeping Everything Moving Supply and Demand The last few years have seen the construction industry supply chain adapting to the avail bility - or lack of it - of certain materials. Now similar upheaval has hit insulation, are manufacturers, suppliers and installers stepping up to the plate? Is there a good enough understanding about product substitutions? by Paul Forrester. The construction industry is a restless beast, unable to remain still and which responds badly to restraint. After all, building projects are living, breathing things; perpetually animated, gears grinding, cogs whirring, keeping the wheels of productivity turning. Except for when they stop. And building projects do stop. However much people don’t want them to, and however much people dislike it when they do, the restless beast ends up caged. Time, money, weather, accidents, site issues, supply issues, force majeure … you name it, it can bring things to a halt and cause delays. No Quick Fixes When it comes to shortages of building materials, sites have had to get used to long lead times on bricks and roof tiles in the last couple of years. Both are fundamental to the appearance of the building for which they’re intended; any combination of local vernacular, planning conditions and design intent mean swapping them is not necessarily the work of a moment. Even if a change can be made, the lead times on an alternative may be no better, and project planning has had to adapt accordingly. Aerated/lightweight blocks have suffered shortages too but, since they’re not a facing material, changing to another block type is not an aesthetic issue. The difference in thermal performance between a lightweight block and a dense block, however, is a whole other hurdle. No Room for the Future Specifications, for cavity wall constructions in particular, have been carefully engineered around the contribution a thermally efficient block on the inner leaf makes. That leaves only a narrow window for an alternative product to 27