Housing Specification Blog

Meeting the brief – the performance challenge

May 28, 2015 PaulGroves Housing DesignHousing IssuesInnovationsPlanning & Legislation

It is nearly a year since the Zero Carbon Hub published the ‘Closing the Gap’ report, but has anything changed? Ian Loughnane, Business Unit Director at Kingspan Timber Solutions, a company that is project and performance centric, shares his thoughts on where the industry is today:

“I am in no doubt that since the publication of the Zero Carbon Hub’s report, there has been an industry step-change and more construction professionals are embracing fabric first principles, focusing on the building fabric and using offsite technology to deliver high performance solutions. Here at Kingspan Timber Solutions our focus is firmly on value creation and by using the right mix of products, we are able to deliver hybrid solutions, optimised for value and performance. That sounds good but what does that actually mean in practise and how do we select the right mix of products?

Delivering onsite energy performance as specified in the brief is a ‘team game’ with professionals uniting to achieve the required U-value, airtightness and Psi value rated. The devil is always in the detail and in the past what was intended by the designer did not always get reproduced onsite and the end result was the performance gap highlighted by the Carbon Hub.

At Kingspan Timber Solutions we factory fit industry leading Kingspan insulation to a high standard – with no gaps or slumping in use. Our jointing details are not just about making the building ‘stand up’ but also include air seals and are detailed to minimise bridging losses. Our membranes are good quality, selected to deliver the condensation control and airtightness required by the project and what’s more – it works!

We know it works because increasingly we use air-testing to demonstrate the quality of our work. The client knows that the details on the drawings will be as-built onsite and will perform as designed – as long as follow on trades use comparable discipline in maintaining air integrity and careful installation. Now more tradesmen are becoming experienced in modern building techniques and are familiar with the fabric first building methodology – we find this is no longer an issue.

An example of this is the Kingspan TEK Building System, a structurally insulated panel which carries BBA Approval Certification. Together with strength and stability, thermal performance is one of the key areas delivered by this product with U-values typically between 0.19 W/m2K and 0.20 W/m2K. With extra insulation, U-values as low as 0.10 W/m2K are achievable.

We therefore now know, with the BBA Certification together with our own research and experience – the performance of this system. After being precision manufactured in factory controlled conditions our trained installation teams install the product accurately with the required fixings, sealants and tapes to provide a finished structure that you can have confident in.

In summary, the Zero Carbon Hub’s report raised awareness and now it is up to our industry to not only take on-board the findings but to invest in product research and testing, together with staff development, to ensure we meet the energy performance brief and the transition to a low-carbon economy set out in the government’s Construction 2025 Strategy.”

To find out more about Kingspan Timber Solutions visit: www.kingspantimbersolutions.co.uk

To book a CPD session: call: 01767 676400 or email: info@kingspantimbersolutions.com

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