WHERE CAN I SEE SOME BUILDINGS THAT ARE COMPLETED?
Although the manufacturing facility is new to the UK, there are over 1 million buildings made using M2 technology around the world. There are three older projects made using the M2 technology within the UK. St. Georges Hill Surrey – Mansion in 1984 and NYMR Grosmont 2005 – Armstrong Oiler shed and the founder of Green Life Buildings home. You can see the photographs on our project page.
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 existing building.
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. For larger structures, the M2 double panel is suitable.
HOW ARE ADDITIONAL PIPES, AND CABLES INSET AFTER BUILD AS THERE IS NO CAVITY?
In the UK we can specify plasterboard on the internal walls to allow for extensions and movement of fittings. All ceilings have a 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 LONG DOES IT TAKE ON AVERAGE TO BUILD A TYPICAL HOUSE?
The GLB M2 shell can be erected in hours!
The more detailed answers depend on how the house is being constructed:
Single home of 9 x 5m 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, on the first and second floor. Using a rendered finish, the build would be less than 3 months from finalisation of design to handover, allowing time for the concrete to cure (28 days).
A six home project would be completed in five months, with a five person team, by moving between them as the concrete cures.
For Large scale projects we can provide several hundred homes in less than 5 months but we are restricted by the capacity of the building site and not the factory. Our factory has the current capacity for more than 2000 SQM of panels per day, based on a 400 SQM building, that is 5 houses per day, which can be increased as required.
Other options include precast units that could be made away from the building site, ready to be craned into position either as panels or modules. The disadvantage here is that precast units limit your 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, overall, 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, and when concreted is weatherproof, fireproof, waterproof, and structural to 4+ stories, and no cranes are needed. In addition, the carbon footprint of the M2 SIP is lower than that of the timber frame SIP systems.
WHAT CHEMICALS ARE INVOLVED, BESIDE PEARLS?
The pearls are expanded using steam this then makes the pearls expand to form EPS. Expanded Polystyrene Sheet’s (EPS) are 98% air, the remaining 2% is made up of oil and fire retardant.
ARE THE SIP M2 PANELS HIGH-RISK FLAMMABLES AND/OR TOXIC?
The EPS Pearls are Fire retardant, so they are 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, whereas wood combusts at 450øC. EPS is stored in many shop outlets without risk to consumers, the building, or staff. The panels are 98% air, 2% oil and fire retardant.
DOES THE PRODUCT MEET ALL BUILDING REGULATION IN THE UK?
Yes, we work with Butler and Young to ensure our approach and building product is understood. We continually improve the system and work with trade associations and hold building warranties approved for the system.
DOES THE SYSTEM REQUIRE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS TO HAVE SPECIAL SKILLS?
The panels can be set up and assembled using just two people, minimal equipment and no lifting equipment required. The spraying of the panel with shotcrete some would argue is easier than applying plaster undercoat.
Where a concrete form is used then spraying is not needed.
WHAT SPECIFIC H&S ISSUES COME WITH THE PRODUCT OR BUILDING TECHNIQUE?
This form of construction is much less risk than others, but we still need to be aware of grazes and cuts from the exposed metal from the mesh on the panels – therefore standard health and safety equipment is required, such as, gloves and wrist/arm straps to stop cuts. Other requirements are that in high winds two people should carry a panel and ensure that they are secured and strapped to stop lifting. Concrete powder should be kept away from skin by appropriate planning and where needed the use of PPE.
HOW DOES THE STRUCTURE WITHSTAND IMPACT FROM STORMS OR VEHICLES?
The video below shows how exceptional the system is in withstanding everything from tornadoes to bullets, explosions, and earthquakes.
DOEN’T POLYSTERENE MELT IN THE HEAT? HOW WOULD THESE UNITS WITHSTAND THE HIGH HEAT OF A FIRE?
The EPS in the M2 Panel does not melt as it is kept cool. In the test video you can see the temperatures applied exceeds 1000c but the exterior temperature is measured at less than 40c. The mesh and concrete conduct energy away to the whole surface (spreads load in the same way).
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 eventually melt but tests have shown that 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 this is not a necessity. However, any additional outer skin can be fixed to the external building fabric, including brick slip, cladding, or any acrylic render. A single application of speciality blended concrete products for us are used to increases output without loss of strength or waterproofing.
IS THE POLYSTYRENE (EPS) PANEL COVERED IN A CONCRETE RENDER? IF SO, THAT DOES NOT SOUND PARTICULARLY GREEN…
The design of the panel is such that concrete and metal are reduced in weight and volume but by integrating with the EPS insulation it can be used on its own as single panels for 4 stories.
In comparison to glass, steel, gypsum board, and bricks and for structural applications, the M2 system utilises less CO2 in construction and in use, 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 2000gCO2/kg. When creating a structural external wall for a house, M2 only requires 80mm of concrete, which is the same width as a single brick, meaning the CO2 output is far less than a traditionally built house.
EPS is misunderstood as a product by the masses. When you know it is actually 98% air and 2% oil you can start to understand why its footprint is lower than you might have expected. EPS has a smaller carbon footprint than foamed glass and is 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.
WHAT IS THE RECYCLABLE POTENTIAL IF IN 70 YEARS PROPERTIES WERE TO BE DEMOLISHED?
With the correct equipment the building can be recycled, using a vibro impactor. Prior to this, all wiring can be removed before demolition because we use conduit for the electrics. Using a 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.