HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE ON AVERAGE TO BUILD A 2/3 TYPICAL BEDROOM HOUSE?
The answer could be quite complex – if we assume a 9 x 5m home at height 8.3m we could make a 4 bed with two bathrooms in this footprint and provide c.120m2 of floor space over ground, first and the second floor. If this home was to maximise the benefit of M2 panel -ie be a rendered finish the build would take 3 months because we need to leave the concrete to cure for 28 days. In 5 months we could actually deliver 6 home with a 5 man team as we would move between them as the concrete cures. The shell would be erected in hours. Of course, we have the option to also produce precast units that could leave the factory ready to be craned into position. The disadvantage here is limited design flexibility.
WHAT ARE THE POINTS OF IMPROVED DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STANDARD STRUCTURED INSULATED PANELS AND M2?
The standard SIP panel is a timber panel with insulation in the middle. The wooden SIP panel itself is not waterproof and requires additional services including weatherproofing /render etc to be applied to make the system suitable for use. Also, the timber SIP panel is not fireproof without again additional rendering/brickwork etc. therefore, in summary, the timber SIP is more costly, requires more trades and requires a crane on-site to erect and install. The M2 SIP by GLB is light weight, no crane, when concreted is weatherproof, fireproof, waterproof and structural to 4+ stories, In addition, the carbon footprint of the M2 SIP is lower than that of the timber frame SIP systems.
CAN THE SYSTEM BE EXTENDED ONTO A TRADITIONAL BUILT STRUCTURE
Yes, this can easily be done via installing 40cm Long anchoring bars (rebar) every 30cm in the structure of an insisting building.
DOES THE SYSTEM REQUIRE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS TO HAVE SPECIAL SKILLS?
Two people are required to assemble and spray the panels. The first stage of putting the panel into place does not require any special skills, and the second stage of spraying the panel with shotcrete can be taught to any plaster in seven days.
WHAT CHEMICALS ARE INVOLVED, BESIDE PEARLS?
None, steam only, as the pearls come fire retarded.
ARE ANY OF THESE HIGH-RISK FLAMMABLES OR TOXIC?
The EPS Pearls are Fire retarded so self-extinguishing and as such stable, unless a continuous fuel source is available to feed a fire. EPS is combustible when the temperature goes over 550øC wood combusts at 450øC.
Storage will be within a fire suppression zone as part of our safety design not a requirement of the legislation. (EPS is stored in many shop outlets without risk to consumers or building or staff). The panels are 98% air 2% oil and fire retardant.
WHERE IN THE UK CAN I SEE SOME BUILDINGS THAT ARE COMPLETED?
Yes, St. Georges Hill Surrey – Mansion in 1984 and NYMR Grosmont 2005 – Armstrong Oiler shed by Chris Williams. You can see the photographs on our project page.
DOES THE PRODUCT MEET ALL BUILDING REGULATION IN THE UK?
Yes, we are required to. We work with Butler and Young to ensure our approach and building product is understood. We also have Premier Guarantee which is the buildings warranty approved for the system. Build zone is also in the process of providing a 10-year warranty for our latest projects.
WHERE IN THE UK CAN I SEE SOME BUILDINGS THAT ARE COMPLETED?
Yes, St. Georges Hill Surrey – Mansion in 1984 and NYMR Grosmont 2005 – Armstrong Oiler shed, Family home in Peterborough. You can see the photographs on our project page.
WHAT SPECIFIC H&S ISSUES COME WITH THE PRODUCT OR BUILDING TECHNIQUE?
The main issue is risk of grazes and cuts from the exposed metal from the mesh on the panels – therefore standard HS equipment required, Gloves and wrist straps / sweat bands to stop cuts. Other requirements are in high winds use 2 people to carry and ensure all panels are secured and strapped to stop lifting.
IT SEEMS DIFFICULT TO INSET ADDITIONAL PIPES, CABLES AND THE LIKE AFTER BUILD AS THERE IS NO CAVITY OR IS THERE?
In the UK we specify Plasterboard on the internal walls to allow for extensions and movement of fittings. All ceilings have a variable height void from 38mm- 75mm which again makes movement of fittings easier for homes that do not use the Plasterboard approach a wall chaser will allow new chases to be cut before hitting the mesh.
HOW DOES THE STRUCTURE WITHSTAND IMPACT FROM STORMS, VEHICLES, DO THE PANELS CRACK OR DISTORT?
The video below show how exceptional the system is in withstanding everything from tornadoes to bullets, explosions and earthquakes.
WHAT IS THE RECYCLABLE POTENTIAL IF IN 20 YEARS PROPERTIES NEED TO BE DEMOLISHED?
With the correct equipment it can all be recycled using a vibro impactor. Prior to this because we use conduit for the electrics all wiring can be removed before demolition. Using vibro impactor the concrete is separated from the EPS/Steel mesh, then the mesh can be cut and recycled. The EPS can then be washed and compressed to make new insulation. – however, being recyclable and getting recycled are two different things!
ONCE CONSTRUCTED CAN PROPERTIES BE EXTENDED UPWARDS OR DO SUB-FLOORS NEED EXTRA STRUCTURAL SUPPORT?
The single panel is structural to four stories and if used as internal walls then all elements are structural.
BEING POLYSTERENE THAT MELTS IN THE HEAT, HOW WOULD THESE UNITS WITHSTAND HIGH HEAT OF A FIRE?
The EPS in the M2 Panel does not melt even at temperatures of 1000c the exterior temp is less than 40c. the mesh and concrete conduct energy away to the whole surface (spreads load in the same way). See the test video above.
WOULD THE POLYSTYRENE NOT MELT OR LOSE STRUCTURAL STABILITY UNDER THE RENDERING? WHAT IF THE PANELS WERE CRACKED OR THE RENDERING WAS TO FALL OFF IN FULL OR IN PART EXPOSING THE CORE TO THE SOURCE OF HEAT?
In that case, the EPS would melt but tests have shown this does not happen even after 150 minutes at 1000C – the standard home needs to protect for 60 minutes and even in high rise and public buildings the requirement is only 120 minutes. And as mentioned above, the M2 system does not add fuel to the fire and therefore if there is no continued fuel source the fire will not spread.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL CLADDING OR COATING?
There is no minimum spec as the use of the structural concrete delivers a watertight structural finish that can be painted but not needed to be. However, any additional outer skin can be fixed to the external building fabric, including brick slip, cladding or any acrylic render. CPI has created a single application product for us that increases output without loss of strength or waterproofing.
IS IT POLYSTYRENE COVERED IN A CONCRETE RENDER? IF SO, IT IS NOT PARTICULARLY GREEN...
In comparison to glass, steel, gypsum board and bricks and for structural applications, we can even outperform the carbon balance of wood systems. The concrete we use has a CO2 cost of 121gCO2/kg material. By contrast, plasterboard is nearly 2000 gCO2/kg. When creating a structural external wall for a house, M2 only requires 80mm of concrete, which is the same width as a single, meaning the CO2 output is far less than a traditionally built house.
Also while wood products are considered beneficial CO2 by a number of reports including the one used in the UK wood after use can not be landfilled and CD wood ends up in combustion plants where the CO2 is released (and accounted for as renewable energy and therefore if the CO2 been used in the benchmarking of the build it can not be used again to off-set the energy released at combustion stage and therefore we do not take into account the CO2 Uptake as a general rule, at the same time the renewable energy content of the cement kilns has not been taken into account wrt the carbon footprint of the concrete C20/25 below. But you can see the concrete CO2 is very low by comparison to gypsum and even wood and vinyl flooring which have a massive 2000CO2eg/kg footprint.
EPS is a well-misunderstood product by the masses. When you know it is actually 98% air an 2% oil you can start to understand why its footprint is lower than you might have expected. At the GLB factory, the process of turning EPS pearls into Polystyrene is done using 100% renewable fuel. EPS has a smaller carbon footprint than foamed glass, and similar to Rockwool and mineral wool. Furthermore, by using the GLB system there is a significant amount of Energy/Carbon saved by not using other trades and materials.