Archive 2016 08

Modern Methods of Construction Building the modern way Firms are embracing new methods of construction with a study revealing the majority have used innovative techniques in the last three years. Claire Cameron takes a look at what is on offer ACCORDING to the National House Building Council’s ‘Modern Methods of Construction: Views from the Industry’ report, 98 per cent of the 135 large and medium-sized house builders surveyed are attracted to MMC’s perceived faster build ability with many believing the method has a role to play in improving the quality of construction, overcoming current skills shortages and increasing output. New techniques like single-envelope cladding and concrete canvas are increasing in popularity, while straw and hempcrete are perhaps two of the more unlikely construction materials. Ex-Straw-dinary creations Firms should consider building with straw because “it’s the material of the future,” says Barbara Jones, director of natural building specialists Straw Works. “It is structurally strong, very durable, highly insulating, and can provide buildings to a passive house standard if required.” Based in Todmorden in Yorkshire, Straw Works has been involved in the creation of more than 300 residential and commercial buildings using straw bales and natural materials. These include EcoHub at Lordship recreation ground in Haringey, a terrace of two loadbearing straw houses in Elmfield and the www.builderandengineer.18 The straw bale kitchen at The Outback Centre, Calderdale strawbale kitchen at The Outback Centre in Calderdale. Best used as a wall building material, as insulation in walls, floors and roofs, or as a fibre binder in clay plaster, the agricultural by-product can also be supplied as pre-fabricated panels (e.g. Ecococon, Modcel) which can speed up build time and provide exact costs for delivery and installation, explains Jones. And putting aside the “flat and very regular” pre-fabricated version, straw “is beautiful and organic in shape and texture,” says Jones. There are four ways to build with it – loadbearing, infill, hybrid and prefabricated panel. “Loadbearing has no frame so straw Driving single envelope construction Single envelope cladding is one of the latest in a series of new innovative designs developed for warehouse and distribution facilities. Tony Wall, managing director of composite panel construction specialist ISD Solutions explains The requirement for low cost, ultramodern and virtually airtight cold store and warehouse solutions has seen a step change in design and building practice with insulated composite panels and single envelope construction fast outpacing traditional building methods. With rising energy costs and ever tougher efficiency targets, it’s hardly surprising. By applying smart design, expert delivery and proven know-how, ISD says cost reductions of up to 20 per cent can be achieved whilst delivering virtually airtight, high-performing buildings with low lifetime running costs. Build time is also 20 per cent faster than conventional methods and the strength and spanning characteristics of composite roof and wall panels significantly reduces the requirement for secondary steelwork. Single envelope cold storage requires an estimated 30 per cent fewer raw materials and can also deliver significantly lower longterm running costs due to increased thermal efficiency and air tightness. Single envelope design for Aldi’s cold store warehouse in Goldthorpe The reduced Global Warming Potential (GWP) of modern composite panels can also help meet WRAP and BREEAM targets. Recent completed projects include facilities for Aldi, Morrisons, Costco and M&S which have all benefited from composite panel construction. n

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