Innovative Construction Products and Techniques

BD 2503
community, opportunity, prosperity

Innovative Construction Products and Techniques
BD 2503

January 2008 Communities and Local Government: London

The authors of this report are employed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). The work reported herein was carried out under contract placed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Any views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department. Department for Communities and Local Government Eland House Bressenden Place London SW1E 5DU Telephone: 020 7944 4400 Website: © Crown Copyright, 2008 Copyright in the typographical arrangement rests with the Crown. This publication, excluding logos, may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research, private study or for internal circulation within an organisation. This is subject to it being reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title of the publication specified. Any other use of the contents of this publication would require a copyright licence. Please apply for a Click-Use Licence for core material at, or by writing to the Office of Public Sector Information, Information Policy Team, St Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BQ. Fax: 01603 723000 or email: If you require this publication in an alternative format please email Communities and Local Government Publications PO Box 236 Wetherby West Yorkshire LS23 7NB Tel: 08701 226 236 Fax: 08701 226 237 Textphone: 08701 207 405 Email: or online via the Communities and Local Government website: January 2008 Product Code: 07 BD 04986

Executive Summary



Executive summary
This report provides information on a range of issues concerning Innovative Construction Products and Techniques (ICPT), with particular regard to the fire safety and robustness of new and emerging products and systems. The overall aim of the project is to assist in ensuring that construction innovation is embraced and encouraged in a way that maintains the required levels of fire safety and structural integrity. This report details the various types of ICPT and considers their comparative use by the market. A steering group of representative stakeholders provided invaluable input to the project and considered a range of issues including fire spread, integrity of compartmentation, cavity barriers, external cladding, structural insulated panel systems (SIPS) and workmanship. This scoping study has identified the need to undertake more detailed work to ascertain the real fire performance of several modern methods of construction utilising ICPT. A prioritised programme of detailed work needed to resolve these issues has been developed in consultation with the Project Steering Group. This report will be of interest to key stakeholders including the Fire and Rescue Service, national and local authority building control bodies, insurers, mortgage lenders, manufacturers and housing associations.

1 2.2 Definitions Market share 5 6 6 8 8 8 10 14 18 21 32 2.3 Task 3: Identification of issues of concern in relation to ICPT (building systems) 2.2 Task 2 Identification of the various different types of ICPT (building systems) and their level of use within the marketplace 2. in terms of Parts A and B and Regulation 7.1 Task 1 Formation of a steering group and associated information gathering 2.2.6 Task 6: Robustness and the potential whole-life impact of alterations to buildings utilising ICPT 2.5 Task 5: Consideration of ICPT.7 Task 7: Development and prioritising of a programme of work required in support of possible changes to regulatory and design requirements in relation to ICPT 3 4 Appendix A Appendix B Conclusions References Summary of the research Definition of building systems 35 37 38 39 .4 Task 4: Identification of specific products in relation to ICPT and their performance in fire 2.2.4 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Contents 1 2 Introduction and objectives Programme of work 2. property protection and sustainability 2.

This project was commissioned under the Department of Communities and Local Government Fire Safety Framework Agreement with the BRE-led consortium. for further work that might be needed. . The overall aim of the project is to assist in ensuring that construction innovation is embraced and encouraged in a way that maintains fire safety and structural integrity.Introduction and objectives | 5 Chapter 1 Introduction and objectives This is the final report due for the project. The programme of work undertaken has met the key objectives of the project. It is clear that change is essential if the construction industry is to meet the challenging requirements of the modern world. cavity barriers. The specific objectives of this project are: • To consider ICPT. including brick and block. Innovative Construction Products and Techniques (ICPT). with particular emphasis on innovative methods of construction. • To produce a prioritised programme of further work needed on the issues raised above. where a database of performance in real fires does not exist. by providing the Department of Communities and Local Government with an understanding of the range of issues associated with ICPT and to provide recommendations. where relevant. their respective inter-relationships. This should include the possible development of suitable methods of test and assessment that cover all forms of construction. It is necessary to ensure that innovation does not have a detrimental impact on the safety of those in and around the built environment. and priorities. Many of the issues discussed are concerned with the quality of workmanship and attention to detail. These are issues that not only impact on ICPT but can affect all forms of construction. fire compartmentation/separation and.

a number of organisations have participated in the project. These organisations represent key stakeholders including insurers. assessing and validating the performance of ICPT. mortgage providers. The project is very wide ranging and covers a number of separate disciplines. The table below shows the constitution of the steering group (excluding members of the BRE consortium). The steering group meetings and subsequent discussions and correspondence have been a key element in the success of the project. Three steering group meetings were held over the course of the project. In particular. The organisations consulted cover the key stakeholders involved in the process of implementing. industry groups or associations were involved rather than individual companies or named individuals. . Wherever possible.6 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Chapter 2 Programme of work 2.1 Task 1 Formation of a steering group and associated information gathering The programme of work included a requirement for key stakeholder involvement to ensure broad representation and consultation. the provision of information from the Fire and Rescue Service and the insurance industry means that the findings and recommendations from the project are informed by current real-life incidents. In addition to the project team. a number of experts from within BRE and from the consortium have provided input to specific areas. 27th June and 2nd October 2006. all taking place at BRE Garston on 28th March. For this reason. the Fire and Rescue Service and building control.

Programme of work | 7 Table 1 Constitution of project steering group Name Glyn Evans Andrew Heywood Neil Smith Keith Snook Affiliation Fire Brigades Union Council of Mortgage Lenders National House Building Council Royal Institution of British Architects Chief Fire Officers Association Chief Fire Officers Association Norwich Union Royal Sun Alliance Fire Protection Association Department of Communities and Local Government Department of Communities and Local Government AEA Technology Representing FBU CML NHBC RIBA Simon Hunt Andy Howard Alister Smith Mark Newton Dave Sibert Richard Shipman CFOA CFOA Association of British Insurers Association of British Insurers FPA Department of Communities and Local Government Department of Communities and Local Government Department of Communities and Local Government Construction Products Association Department of Communities and Local Government HBF Housing Corporation Anthony Burd Mike Payne Mike Wood John Fay Pilkington Department of Communities and Local Government Home Builders Federation Housing Corporation Dave Mitchell Clive Clowes .

although the information available may not be particularly accurate.84 billion in 2005. 2.2. Individual sectors within the industry produce their own figures. this figure rises to 4. including new build. When new build only is considered and civil engineering works excluded.2 Task 2 Identification of the various different types of ICPT (building systems) and their level of use within the marketplace Definitions A number of generic definitions have been produced by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the recently formed National House Building Council Foundation (NHBCF) established in partnership with the BRE Trust. this represents a current take up of only 2%. These three sectors provide a combined market size projected to be £777 million3. This market can be further divided between portable buildings (£1. This consequently leads to confusion and misrepresentation of the true value and size of the UK offsite market.78bn).8 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques 2. It is expected that these markets will continue to grow. with military establishments and hotels also showing substantial growth. The modular construction market in the UK was £1. As a percentage of the new-build market. Housing is anticipated to become the third largest market by 2009. refurbishment and repair.1% of the construction market as a whole.2 Market share Information on the precise level of use of the various systems is unclear. and civil engineering projects2. The situation is illustrated in Figure 1.2. These include: • Volumetric or modular construction • Panellised • Hybrid (semi-volumetric) • Site-based systems Examples of each of the categories are included in Appendix B. These figures are frequently quoted without a clear understanding of how the information was actually derived. to cover building systems.06bn) and permanent buildings (£0. However. it is certainly able to identify trends in the market.1 2. The UK offsite market makes up 2. . The largest markets are education and healthcare.1%. with a combined market size anticipated to be in excess of £1 billion.

2 billion.Programme of work | 9 Figure 1 UK market for portable and permanent prefabricated buildings 2000 1500 £m Portable 1000 Permanent 500 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 In total. Currently. the market has achieved a growth rate of 7% between 2000 and 2005 and is forecast to grow at 12% between 2005 and 2009.7 million and is expected to rise to £854. However. The Government will commit to 1600 affordable houses in rural areas and 8000 key worker accommodation units. there is a significant difference between the portable and permanent market. The relative position of each material is illustrated in Figure 2 below. steel is forecast to have the greater growth rate from 2005 to 2009 of 23%. timber and steel are used at an equivalent level. The Government’s large new-build programme in this area is worth more than £1. The growth in permanent buildings has been 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2000 and 2005 and is forecast to grow at 24% CAGR between 2005 and 2009. . However.2 million by 2009. Materials used in modular construction are timber. Figure 2 UK market for permanent prefabricated buildings by material 1000 800 £m Timber Steel 600 400 200 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Concrete The offsite market for permanent new-build projects using a steel solution is currently £377. an absolute growth of 226% or 23% CAGR3. Portable buildings have shown a flat rate of growth between 2000 and 2005 and are forecast to remain static to 2009. Innovative Construction Products and Techniques (ICPT) will have a significant role in meeting the current and future levels of demand for housing. This can be further broken down by material. steel and concrete.

many entered the private housing market through the right-to-buy legislation. An excellent source of information on non-traditional housing in the UK is available through the CML website5. Although the vast majority of these systems were originally built as public sector dwellings. Mortgage lenders The principal concern for mortgage lenders is based on experience of postwar system-built houses using non-traditional forms of construction. Also other key stakeholders. a number of influential bodies have contributed to the development of a new certification standard for innovative housing systems – LPS 202010. The principal identified concerns of the various sectors of the industry are summarised below. In general. For example. A number of housing systems were designated as defective under the 1984 Housing Defects legislation. Two of the principal organisations involved in developing the scope of the standard were the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Based on the experience gained from the previous generation of nontraditional forms of construction. The research focused on UK experience and did not include evidence from Europe. The post-war situation in terms of demand for dwellings and shortage of skilled workers in many ways mirrors the current situation.10 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques 2.”4. Problems were also identified with Large Panel System (LPS) buildings used to construct many of the high-rise towers built during the 1950s and 1960s. the concerns of insurers and lenders extend beyond housing to cover all other sectors. These are taken from the consultation process to develop LPS 202010. “Experiences in the past may well affect lenders’ willingness to lend on new construction types which are unfamiliar and which may appear to exhibit some of the same characteristics as those they have had problems with in the past. These opinions are based on individual experiences and not from major independent studies.3 Task 3: Identification of issues of concern in relation to ICPT (building systems) A number of recent initiatives have attempted to identify and address the concerns of key players in the supply and procurement of ICPT. the key issues for lenders in relation to ICPT are: • Durability – what is the track record of the ICPT? Has experience been gained in the UK or elsewhere where environmental conditions may be significantly different? • Whole life costs – will they affect demand over the longer term? . However. such as the Fire and Rescue Service. were not part of the consultation process leading to the development of LPS 202010. such initiatives have concentrated primarily on the housing sector.

A number of these issues will affect the future value of the property and are therefore of particular interest to lenders. insurers are concerned about the absence of an appropriate risk profile to apply to the various forms of ICPT. Insurers may require higher standards to compensate for the absence of a “track record”. It sees the development of a certification standard and accreditation scheme as a crucial step in providing the reassurance required to overcome the concerns. “The risk profile of a property – number and cost of expected claims – is the key piece of information that insurers need to underwrite the risk”6. Information on risks to ICPT properties is currently anecdotal. The key areas identified by the ABI are resilience and repairability. Insurers While lenders’ concerns are based on past experience of non-traditional forms of construction and associated defects. Insurers would like to see equivalent performance to conventional build against a range of common risks. The insurance industry has identified a range of perils that affect buildings. The CML has been active in a number of forums considering the issue of ICPT in the residential sector. Many of the specific issues raised are similar to the concerns of the lenders. Such requirements may be seen as unfair by manufacturers as they are asked to provide evidence of performance over and above that required for traditional products. these are: • Flooding • Driving rain • Fire • Subsidence • Windstorm .Programme of work | 11 • Repairability – how easy is it to repair defects? Will costs be comparable with traditional construction types? • Projected life span – is the life span sufficient for the property to maintain adequate security over the term of the loan? • Adaptability – will it be possible to modify or extend the initial construction? • Availability of insurance – both for new build and over the longer term • Maintenance of demand – in order to maintain security over the term of the loan the design must be such that demand is sustained over time.

There is concern among insurers that even relatively minor damage could result in extensive repairs to a whole series of inter-related components or localised repair requiring specialist skills and/or components. in discussion with loss adjusters. Available experimental evidence suggests that disproportionate collapse is unlikely (see Section 2. The key features to consider in relation to repair are: • Costs and availability of replacement parts • Costs and availability of labour – can local labour be used or only specialist contractors? If local labour is used is there a danger they will not understand the system. produced specific damage and repair scenarios to provide a more objective way to measure the key performance indicators of resilience and repairability.12 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques During discussions with BRE as part of the focus groups to develop the LPS 2020 standard10. moving furniture or DIY) • Attempted theft by forcing doorframe to gain access The most significant consequence of any of the events identified above is the cost of repair. element or component to resist damage resulting from accidental events. damaging the internal linings and external cladding above the window • 1 m deep dirty water flood lasting two days • Subsidence event resulting in a 5 cm drop on one corner of the building • Gas explosion in kitchen area • Vehicle impact on exterior corner. the relevant scenarios for comparison against conventional buildings are: • Storm with wind speeds exceeding 80 km/h on average for eight hours with occasional gusts of more than 120 km/h • Leak of 1000 litres of water from an upstairs room due to a burst pipe • Single room fire breaking out through the window. so the repair is not carried out to adequate standards? • Extent and speed to which a building could be dried out in a flood and then made good • Degree of inter-connection between structural elements – particularly important for modular construction . Resilience is defined as the ability of a system. resulting in a 1 m deformation • Internal impact damage that exposes building insulation material (e. In relation to resilience. the ABI.g.6).

Fire and Rescue Service One of the principal concerns for the Fire and Rescue Service is that when attending a fire.18 1.64 0.86 1. they are.5 1.09 Cost Rank 2 6 5 1 4 7 Overall ranking 1 2 2 2 5 6 0 0 0 0 7 7 7 7 1 0.6). Cultural and aesthetic considerations mean that many innovative structural forms “mimic” traditional forms of construction. The Fire and Rescue Service has expressed concern over the increasing use of polymeric materials . in many cases.09 0 0 3 7 9 9 6 8 9 9 A recent Technical Claims Forum held by the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters7 identified fire and flood as areas of specific concern and highlighted the issue of disproportionate damage.55 0.Programme of work | 13 The resilience scenarios defined above were informed from discussions with loss adjusters.32 0. The specific perils were ranked in terms of frequency and cost. A number of issues arose which have already been discussed in relation to the concerns of insurers and lenders. This can lead to mistaken assumptions regarding committing fire fighters into the building. including the availability of replacement materials and the availability of labour with the necessary expertise to undertake repairs.14 0.45 0.18 0. Available experimental evidence suggests that disproportionate collapse is unlikely (see Section 2. Composite panel systems used in inappropriate environments were cited as a specific example where the costs of repair were significantly different to those for alternative traditional materials. This information is summarised in Table 2.64 Rank 4 1 2 6 5 3 Rating 1. no longer aware of the nature of the building and the key structural elements. Table 2 Summary of perils identified by loss adjusters Peril Frequency Rating Fire Water leak Storm Flood Subsidence Vandalism or theft Gas explosion Vehicle impact Internal impact Lightning 0.36 0.

such as occurred in the Beaufort Park development in Colindale in July 2006. would fall into this category. have also brought into question the practice of allowing partial occupation of a partially completed building to provide the income streams required to complete the project. 2.4 Task 4: Identification of specific products in relation to ICPT and their performance in fire Alongside off-site manufacture (OSM) and site-based systems a number of new innovative products have emerged over the last few years. cladding systems. Melting of the thermal insulation can also provide an effective route for fire to spread by bypassing any cavity barriers or fire stopping present. There is some concern that specific forms of construction are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a fire during construction. These are often not fixed until the entire superstructure has been erected. One particular feature of these incidents was the number of serious fires occurring in the construction phase. This issue is not dealt with through the Building Regulations Approved Documents which apply only to completed buildings. preformed service installations etc.14 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques in building construction. meaning that large building frames are often completely unprotected for a short period of time. In relation to the classification system discussed in the context of building systems. where phased evacuation would be the normal procedure. these are generally referred to as sub-assemblies and components. door sets. From fire investigation reports it is clear that a number of serious fires have occurred as a consequence of a small ignition source leading to extensive fire spread within concealed cavities. Recent fires. Fire safety on construction sites is addressed by the Construction (Health. However. . Typically. This category is intended to cover approaches that fall short of being classified as systematic OSM but which utilise several factory-fabricated innovative sub-assemblies or components in an otherwise traditionally built structural form. thermal insulation is protected from the effects of a fully developed fire by fire-resistant plasterboard. Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. schemes incorporating the use of floor or roof cassettes. which might otherwise be part of the fabrication process in the other OSM categories should not be included as sub-assemblies or components in this category. This issue is relevant to external walls. where the ignition source is within the cavity itself there is no intrinsic fire resistance. This is particularly so where light framing systems rely on sheathing boards for their fire protection. precast concrete foundation assemblies. It is particularly significant where multi-occupant residential buildings are concerned. Traditionally constructed schemes utilising manufactured units such as windows. In general. Many modern building systems contain polymeric insulation sheets in order to reduce thermal losses. roof trusses etc. internal walls and cavities between floors. During the course of the study BRE had access to a number of fire investigation reports.

Deep joists (up to ~ 0.Programme of work | 15 Solid timber joists are increasingly being replaced by engineered products such as timber “I” beams and lattice joists which are lighter and stiffer than solid timber. Figure 3 Engineered floor joists Floor cassettes are prefabricated framed units which are delivered to site ready-assembled. The floor joists may be timber. Floor cassettes provide the benefits of off-site quality control and may be used as part of a panellised system to produce framed structures. Figure 4 Floor cassette as part of steel-framed system . light gauge steel or composite. Floor cassettes may be formed using the engineered joists described above.5 m) up to 12 m long can be produced allowing much larger distances to be spanned without the need for intermediate structural support.

Some cladding systems would incorporate traditional materials such as brick and block but there are a large number of lightweight systems designed for ease and speed of construction. 15-30 mm). Many of these systems have been developed in Europe and the United States specifically for application on MMC systems. Prefabricated lift shafts may fall into this category. although in some cases purlins are used. Much thinner than a conventional brick (approx. Timber grain weathering board is often used as a cladding for composite panels. Insulation may be applied to the frame and timber battens fixed to the insulation from which the tiles can be hung. composite panels and render systems. brick slips may be applied directly onto insulation or onto another backing board or sheet. However. Both faces of the panel are normally finished with a sheet material. A number of innovative façade systems are available including rainscreen systems. A number of different finishes are available in terms of colour and texture. The tiles are clipped onto a metal frame and are open jointed with no pointing or grouting required. A number of systems (particularly cladding systems) are generally integrated with various forms of modern methods of construction (MMC). . and insulation is included within the structure of the panel. Both systems can be applied to traditional masonry construction or framed construction.16 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Roof cassettes comprise panels that span from eaves to ridge. steel or timber frames. Tile hanging – used as an alternative cladding to bricks and applied in the same manner as roof tiles with an overlap. Renders – two types of render system are currently used. Timber cladding – can be manufactured in the factory producing a highquality finish that can be applied easily and quickly on site. They can be combined with insulation in prefabricated composite panels. Insulated renders are also available. effective and durable means of cladding buildings constructed using MMC. when applying render to a framed structure it is generally recommended that a drained and ventilated cavity is provided. The system can be applied to buildings with concrete. They are attached to panels using either an adhesive or a clip-on fixing system. Timber composite panels are manufactured combining timber with other materials under high pressure and heat to produce a durable end-product. Plastic systems are also available which attempt to replicate the appearance of timber boards. External cladding may be used to provide the weatherproof façade to new buildings or as a means of renovating existing buildings. cement-based and polymer-based. They often require no intermediate structural support. Terracotta cladding – rainscreen terracotta cladding provides a fast. Some of the more commonly used cladding systems (in relation to domestic dwellings) are described below: Brick slips – may be used as an alternative façade to traditional brickwork.

This type of construction has been popular in the selfbuild sector due to the ease with which an energy efficient. . A number of innovative jointing systems are available for precast concrete construction. A number of systems are available. Cement-based render results in a thicker construction than polymer-based render. These allow for full continuity of reinforcement with short lap lengths through the use of high-strength cementitious materials such as CRC Jointcast. These systems are relatively thin with the render applied onto a layer of insulation.Programme of work | 17 In traditional masonry construction. Some renders require the application of only one coat while other systems may require up to three coats. Polymer cement renders provide an alternative to sand and cement renders and can be applied to a concrete block or framed construction forming a weatherproof composite wall. airtight construction can be produced. Renders are applied to timber frame systems using a steel mesh that bonds the render to the frame. Figure 5 Cruciform connection between precast units using CRC Jointcast Insulating formwork derives its name from the fact that an insulation material (often expanded polystyrene) is used as permanent shuttering for a cast-insitu concrete wall. Detailing is generally standardised with the use of bell-cast and other stop beads where appropriate. Application of the render often involves the use of a premixed dry powder with water and applying the mixture using traditional plastering techniques. some of which rely on two sheets of insulating material tied together while others are in the form of large building blocks. renders are generally cement-based and applied directly to the masonry.

One particular aspect relates to the anticipated larger deformations associated with long span engineered floor joists. Part A of Schedule 1 deals with structural safety and Part B deals with fire safety. in terms of Parts A and B and Regulation 7. In respect of Parts A and B it is not possible to test a completed building to establish if these requirements have been met. are based on pre-existing knowledge of how construction systems tend to behave as a whole. In most cases this would involve destructive testing of each and every building. Where ICPT is used. Instead. there is the potential that the tests and standards that have been developed using experience of conventional construction may be inappropriate for an innovative product or system where modes of failure may exist that had not previously been envisaged. the design and construction of a building are assessed against guidance set out in Approved Documents and in associated test and design standards which. in turn. Regulation 7 provides that materials and workmanship used in the construction should be such that the requirements in Schedule 1 are achieved in the completed building and throughout its design life.18 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Figure 6 Insulated concrete formwork Many of the concerns expressed regarding the performance of individual products mirror those discussed in relation to system performance. 2. The current locus of Parts A and B of the Building Regulations is limited by Regulation 8 to the health and safety of people (including the Fire and Rescue Service) in and around buildings. This has implications for fire fighters who may rely on experience with traditional flooring systems to decide when structural stability is a problem for access to floors above fire floors.5 Task 5: Consideration of ICPT. . property protection and sustainability Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations sets down functional requirements for the design and construction of buildings.

In certain instances. it cannot form part of a standardised test and assessment regime. One specific example would . in practice. through research projects such as the effects of damage to passive fire protection in offshore structures undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). However. there is evidence that the assessment methods commonly used to show compliance with the Regulations may not always take into account the key performance criteria in relation to systems such as modern building envelopes and modular construction. The Building Regulations set baseline standards to ensure the safety and health of those in and around buildings. systems and techniques are. Whilst sensitivity to workmanship can be considered. However.2 of the Approved Document supporting Regulation 7 it is stated that materials chosen to minimise the environmental impact of building work “must not have any adverse implications for the health and safety standards of the building work”. In most situations the guidance in Approved Document B has been found to provide acceptable levels of safety in relation to the performance in fire of construction products and systems. systems and techniques apparently capable of meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations. The test procedures outlined in Section 3 would allow such a situation to be identified prior to construction. through achieving a satisfactory performance in either bench-scale reaction to fire tests or isolated element fire resistance tests. the test methods described in Section 3 do consider workmanship issues to a limited extent in that they incorporate some features associated with system behaviour and the interaction between components. more vulnerable to poor workmanship than others. the extent to which poor workmanship is replicated in a test will always be a matter of some debate. This is particularly true of the fire situation where many of the protective measures are not visible or accessible in the completed building. Some materials. can be difficult to fire stop adequately. In paragraph 0. However. in specific circumstances. Workmanship issues in construction are a function of training and supervision on site. However. in practice a BCB is unlikely to be able to do this without considerable resources. It is not possible to replicate the variety of standards of workmanship within a test and assessment scheme. This issue could be covered to some extent by Regulation 7. however.Programme of work | 19 In principle building control bodies (BCBs) could reject a proposed building design even where it meets the guidance given in the relevant ADs if the BCB considers that the nature of the construction system is such that functional requirements would not be met. This has been an issue throughout this scoping study in relation to both test evidence and the results from real fires. where measures to enhance the thermal performance of buildings have led to the creation of voids or cavities which. materials or products are controlled in terms of performance. A number of products. may still be inappropriate in relation to the end use and the interconnection with other parts of the building.

This report has investigated current and developing methods of test and assessment in relation to performance in fire. a number of specific points can be made. . A number of initiatives are currently underway to develop test and assessment procedures which more accurately represent performance under realistic scenarios. However. materials and techniques used in innovative construction projects could result in future fire-related problems which were not foreseen.20 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques be the limiting of the rate of heat release or fire growth for internal linings (walls and ceilings) where the guidance refers to performance against standard test procedures. • The involvement of key stakeholders including product manufacturers will be essential in developing future research and development strategies in relation to ICPT. the inappropriate use of materials intended to minimise the environmental impact of building work has compromised the fire performance. the development of industry standards may help to bridge this gap and offer an alternative approach for showing compliance with statutory requirements. A number of test methods are available that more accurately reflect the end-use condition in relation to both the choice of materials for construction and the issue of workmanship. a review of available research and an assessment of test and assessment methods. This includes the development of performance testing of buildings as a tool for demonstrating compliance with the Building Regulations and involves a trend towards larger-scale system tests. From a consideration of the concerns of key stakeholders. • For the non-regulatory stakeholders. • Evidence from some research projects8 and real fire incidents has tended to show that. Concerns have been raised by some stakeholders that the rapid increase in the interest and use of modern systems. in certain cases. imposing this type of approach on all ICPT systems and sub-assemblies would be difficult given the lack of any clear definition. • There is a gap between the test and assessment procedures used to show compliance with the provisions for health and safety in the Building Regulations and the requirements of those with an interest in the longterm investment in property and for meeting the costs of repair and essential maintenance.

typical examples of steel and timber frame construction provide high levels of ‘robustness’. reducing the corner buttressing effect. However. Work by the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) and BRE has shown that. which was tested by SCI in the 1990s. such as a large vehicle impact. The house showed no signs of distress and the frame was clearly capable of redistributing the load from the absent studs. The disproportionate collapse tests on the TF2000 building (Figure 8) included the removal of an internal timber frame load-bearing wall and separate removal of a 4 m length of brickwork and timber framing in the external wall. Clearly the danger of such events increases when building components and systems are new and therefore potentially not understood. in their original state at least. resulted in no collapse. Both of these examples give reassurance that the systems involved may also have sufficient ‘robustness’ (achieved through load-sharing between numerous elements) to overcome misinformed alterations during their service life. This test. Figure 7 shows a light steel-framed house produced using the Surebuild system. none of these experiments adequately simulate the dynamic response of an impact scenario. The external wall was breached near the corner of the structure at ground level. worth recalling information that was presented in an earlier report. excessive deflection or even minor cracking of the brickwork. A similar member removal scenario was undertaken on the concrete framed building at Cardington (Figure 9). it is. however. Strain rate may play a crucial part in providing the alternative load paths required to enable load shedding. Before considering the implications of alterations. the equivalent of a major accident.6 Task 6: Robustness and the potential whole-life impact of alterations to buildings utilising ICPT This section of the project focused in particular on the effect that ‘misinformed’ alterations to buildings constructed using ICPT may have on the subsequent structural integrity of those buildings. Key elements were removed including the brick cladding and a number of studs on the front elevation.Programme of work | 21 2. Very high strain rates such as those associated with explosions or vehicle impacts may have more serious consequences. .

22 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Figure 7 Robustness test on Surebuild steel-framed house Figure 8 Six-storey TF2000 timber-framed structure at Cardington .

Programme of work | 23 Figure 9 Cutting out concrete from column by hydro-demolition However. the principle applies to many of the concerns of the key stakeholders . whilst there have been robustness studies on framed construction. Requirement A3 states that: The building shall be constructed so that in the event of an accident the building will not suffer collapse to an extent disproportionate to the cause9. SIPs are increasingly being used in the UK and throughout Europe. There are around ten SIPs manufacturers in the UK and double that number of contractors trained and skilled in SIPs construction. such as structural insulated panels (SIPs). The requirement in the Building Regulations with respect to disproportionate collapse is particularly relevant in relation to the perceived concerns of key stakeholders. it is estimated that more than 2000 homes have been built with SIPs to date. The number of homes built using SIPs is predicted to increase dramatically throughout the next decade. and ease and speed of construction. These systems build on the advantages and groundbreaking developments achieved by their predecessors and exploit new techniques of manufacturing and material technology. Although this provision arose from the progressive collapse which occurred following a relatively small gas explosion in a large panel system tower block in 1968. In the UK. mainly because of their energy efficiency. BRE research shows that the UK construction industry embraces and increasingly uses a number of ‘second generation’ lightweight construction systems.

For buildings constructed using ICPT. This lack of understanding would make the buildings constructed using ICPT more prone to loss of structural integrity as a result of alterations and repairs.24 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques expressed during the course of the project. For example. The issues raised in terms of alterations are: . a connection between a wall panel and a floor slab would be designed to provide the required transfer of loads. For traditional buildings. and to mark the load-bearing components. Whether the accidental event is an explosion. it is assumed that sufficient knowledge is widely available for the people involved in the alterations to make an informed decision. there is concern that the event may lead to disproportionate collapse or disproportionate damage. the steel studs in a wall panel should only be replaced by studs with similar strength and deflection characteristics. fire or a minor alteration to the existing structure. Detailing Requirements: For buildings using ICPT. vehicle impact. the new connection should be able to transfer the required loads. Proper Use of Components: Certain components of a building have their particular functions and may not be replaced by components that look similar but might structurally behave in a different manner. For example. If the connection details are required to be changed owing to alterations or repairs. the knowledge regarding the structural behaviour of new building components and systems might not be available or well understood by all parties involved in the alterations or repair of buildings. Approved Document A classifies buildings according to categories based on occupancy type and height of structure. The important information about the building and construction process which needs to be known for an informed decision-making process is: Load-bearing Components: The load-bearing components in a building need to be identified so that during alterations and repair. Of particular concern are those buildings falling into Class 2A or 2B. the detailing can be critical in providing integrity to the building. The method used for identifying load-bearing components could be to provide guidance in the ‘Home Owners’ Manual’. particularly in relation to medium-rise residential buildings. the integrity of the building can be assured. Many of the issues that would impact on the long-term integrity of ICPT buildings have been highlighted in discussions with various stakeholder groups during the development of LPS 202010. For residential buildings. this is more important. Problems can arise regarding the structural integrity of any building as a result of alterations. where inexperienced personnel might undertake the alterations.

The impact of such damage might only be clear some time after the building has been in operation. this may not be always possible. similar would be required for satisfactory repairs or alterations. in LPS 2020 the manufacturers have been asked to specify how the system/component can cope with the insertion of an opening such as a door or window. The change of use can also be due to requirements to withstand additional loads. . • The practicability of installation (buildability) for buildings constructed using ICPT has to be assessed in accordance with LPS 2020 to confirm that the procedures provided in the manufacturer’s instructions are practical and adoptable. even without alteration. • The components used in alterations or repairs may interact with the existing components and may degrade or cause the existing components to degrade over the long term (e. bi-metallic corrosion).g. LPS 2020 asks the manufacturers to provide details of these so that the building owners are aware of the requirements. For example. For example. the loadbearing capacity of the structural members. The adaptability would determine how well the system and its design would cope with potential change of use or demand over time. damage to layers that protect structural members from corrosion/rot will affect the durability and. consequently.Programme of work | 25 • Some of the components/materials used in innovative construction are of a specialist nature. The repairs and alterations need to be carried out using the manufacturer’s instructions used for the original construction to achieve the same standard as the new-built building. If damage occurs to the building. for example. hanging of loads on internal/external faces of walls. This gives rise to the issues described below: • The availability of specialist components/materials for alteration or repair purposes is a concern raised by the lenders and insurers. This implies that if the construction of the original building required the involvement of a trained or qualified workforce. occupants would generally demand like-for-like repair. as required in LPS 2020. With some forms of ICPT. • Some alterations or repair procedures may require specialist/certified tradesmen or other specialist services (such as design by a structural engineer). • The need for evaluation of the adaptability of systems/components. One means for controlling this is to ask manufacturers to provide information on approved methods of repair when using different components/systems than those originally used. These issues include: • Long-term consequences of damage during transportation/storage/ erection. may affect longterm structural integrity. LPS 2020 also identifies issues that.

• Different types of boards have substantially different performance but may not look that different. • A maintenance regime should be planned for all components. cracking in the heat-affected zone close to the weld. • Structural insulated panel systems (SIPS). ‘Traditionally’ used in commercial applications but now increasingly used for apartment buildings when height exceeds say. Buildings constructed using ICPT in the residential sector are most vulnerable to the issues raised above as there is a higher possibility of residents undertaking alterations without the involvement of sufficiently knowledgeable and/or experienced professional advisors. • Steel frame – construction using hot-rolled steel components. The main forms of ICPT used for residential buildings include: • Light steel frame – this includes frames constructed using sticks. the consequent lack of inherent buildability may lead to improvisation on site. Often used with composite steel-concrete floor slabs. Identification of such possibilities should be carried out at the design stage. Lack of maintenance of one component/system could affect the integrity of other components. • Inadvertent use of components that. For example.g.26 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques • Where the buildability for buildings constructed using ICPT has not been considered adequately. Figure 10 shows failure of a brittle sheathing board during a racking test. degradation of seals may lead to façade leakage. panels and modules using light gauge (cold-formed) galvanised steel. or be properly understood by laymen carrying out repair or alterations. which would impact adversely on the integrity of the building. use of welding when bolts will not fit can lead to corrosion problems at the location of welding. bi-metallic corrosion) would result in a building with durability and potentially integrity problems. . interact and degrade over the long term (e. For example. which in turn may lead to durability and consequent integrity problems with structural components. through choice of materials. or an inadequate weld if there are problems of access etc. • Cutting holes in the sheathing board will significantly affect the performance of the panel. • Timber frame. six storeys. • Sheathing board used in the light steel and timber panels may provide both fire protection and racking resistance. If the sheathing board needs to be altered or replaced this could affect the performance of the panels.

The unbraced frame had almost no stiffness whereas the double cross-braced panel showed good stiffness and strength. During repairs. appropriate fixings should be specified and installed correctly. The actions that might give rise to loss of performance could be: • Cutting of bracing • Moving the bracing away from node points (which can seriously reduce structural efficiency) Figures 11 and 12 show two panels. type and positions) are also very important as they enable the performance of the sheathing boards to be exploited. one with no bracing and one with bracing. • Fixings (number. The difference between these represents an upper bound to the loss of performance that would occur if bracing were cut or removed. both structurally and in a fire. Figure 10 Tensile failure of brittle board in racking test Other important issues for consideration include: • Bracing may be used to provide lateral resistance to the panels used in frame construction.Programme of work | 27 • Replacement of sheathing board with a ‘wrong’ alternative may affect the performance of the panel. .

• Steel members need to be ‘warm frame’ (insulation present on outside) to avoid condensation leading to possible corrosion. say 50%. The insulation should be maintained so that any damage is rectified.g. the insulation should not be removed as a result of alterations. or additional members might need to be added if retrofitting a Velux-type window in a roof. Furthermore. the adequacy of existing structural support should be assessed. to provide an opening. e. For example. these should not be removed. • Noggins may be present in the frame to provide lateral restraint to studs.28 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Figure 11 Panel without bracing in the racking test rig Figure 12 Panel with diagonal strap bracing on both faces. • When new openings are introduced in the frame. This could reduce the axial capacity of the studs by. . studs may need doubling up around openings to cope with gravity load.

or steel joist. especially when brittle materials are used as face veneers. A second cause of damage can be over-tight tolerances in the dimensioning of the recesses. Any alterations/repairs which would affect this should be avoided. large damage (greater than about 30%) is likely to impact on the panels’ load-bearing behaviour and cannot be restored. Whilst ‘traditional’ notching of solid timber elements may be acceptable. if not impossible. This has potential to markedly reduce the structural performance of the wall SIP units as the breakage destroys the continuity within the wall. • Damage to SIPs during construction/maintenance/change of use: Rewiring of buildings needs to be monitored as timber frame practice is often adopted as panels look similar. and wiring has been observed to be recessed into the facing materials. Sandwich wall manufacturers provide repair kits. However. its function as a load transferring and shielding connection between the panel and the next level of construction is weakened. • The SIPs act as diaphragms to provide resistance to (primarily) wind loads. Damage occurring within the wall area is equally difficult to repair especially when damage occurs within the central part of the panel. When handling panels damage can occur. • Durability of holding-down provisions is a concern for the long-term integrity of the structure. The load-bearing function of the skins in SIPs is often not appreciated by structural engineers and on-site professionals. causing the cracking. if the continuity in the facing board is irreversibly damaged. This type of damage has the potential to reduce the structural performance of the wall assembly. to repair and broken panels should be replaced since.Programme of work | 29 • Notching of frame elements to enable the passage of new services etc may cause a significant reduction in structural performance. could be disastrous. adapted or altered. unsupported board edges can be prone to impact and tend to break off. • Important issues relating to on-site construction practices during erection and after completion/maintenance schedules have not been independently reviewed. Protruding. especially when the internal core is recessed to include internal horizontal and vertical jointing. so the damaged panel should be replaced. applying the same process but removing the flange of a timber I-joist. allowing for cosmetic remedial action to be undertaken. This destroys the continuity of the face layers and impacts on the load-bearing performance and fire performance of the panels. breaking and sometimes delamination of boards along its length/height upon insertion of the jointing section. Cutting holes in the panels may significantly affect their diaphragm action or weaken the panel joints. . Both types of damage are difficult. Any damage to the facing veneers should be assessed carefully even if sacrificial lining is hiding the panel surface in the final wall assembly. There is no clear industry/independent guidance on how these systems are to be maintained.

the long-term performance of SIPs is unknown. Supporting information in the USA. This includes (amongst other testing) fire-resistance testing which must be completed successfully to obtain a certificate.1: 1996 allows this between timber frame and masonry cladding. or new openings or extensions. fire damage can be extensive. there is no unified industry practice and design concepts vary considerably. generic study has been undertaken. The post-fire stability of structures is not addressed directly through fire testing. no solid members are used in the wall sections as all loads are transferred through the panel skins. This needs to be considered by structural engineers when assessing a change in load-transferring structure. Maintenance schedules and requirements need to be formalised and referenced in generic guidance documents. However. for example. and the long-term performance of the foamed core. In some cases. How and when degraded panel components should be inspected and assessed is not considered. the repairability of SIP structures when damaged in use needs to be examined. due to changes in room layout. However. and spread beyond the fire compartment. The extent of damage sustained by SIPs in realistic fire scenarios is not known. The reliability of the structural performance of all panel components over time requires investigation and quantification. Most currently available SIP systems have been independently certified by notified bodies such as the British Board of Agreement (BBA). could probably be assembled and examined but no strategic. . The behaviour of the board materials is thought to be well understood and researched. residential apartments. for example. • Design may rely on load sharing between the cladding and the frame: • British Standard BS5268-6. A maintenance schedule needs to consider the aging behaviour of the glued connections within the panel. • Similar guidance for light steel frame construction is provided in SCI P30111.30 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques • Performance of SIPs after fire damage: A generic method of establishing the fire performance of SIP buildings (beyond fire resistance requirements) is needed. but knowledge needs to be extended to cover the various core materials and glue bonds used in SIP construction. In SIPs this cannot be assumed without verification as the load-bearing mechanism is fundamentally different. and are likely to remain structurally load-bearing after the fire has died down in the compartment. where SIPs have been used since the 1950s. • As with all novel forms of construction. In a real building. the damage sustained by a structure after this compliance period is not assessed. • Some SIP systems use larger section timber to transfer localised loads through the building. Similarly. These issues did not have major implications in the past because most traditional forms of construction have extended fire resistance through redundant load paths.

Programme of work | 31 The structural integrity of the building may be compromised if the originally used cladding is replaced. the apparent unquantified risk of the different ICPT can be targeted and resolved. The marking should include information about: • the type of component. if the hole is near the beam (which is often the case). e. the profiled decking separates from the concrete and composite interaction is lost. type of sheathing. With the help of available information.g. • A ‘known’ problem with composite steel-concrete construction is cutting holes in the slab (e. construction. • Substitution of heavier materials than those originally used could cause a problem. • Issuing of a building handbook and homeowners’ manual would result in dissemination of relevant knowledge to parties involved in making alteration/repair decisions for buildings constructed using ICPT. • The essential skills which would be required for supporting growth in the ICPT building sector should be identified. • Adequate and clear marking of components would ensure that correct choices are made when alterations or repairs are carried out. The cutting has to be carried out by trained specialists as. e. The same would be true for cladding removed to provide significant openings such as patio doors. • Widespread adoption of standards such as LPS 2020 would result in the provision of adequate information from manufacturers of new components/systems. Guidance on carrying out this operation is provided in SCI P30012. using diamond drilling). the concrete flange of the composite beam will be affected and this (depending on position within the span) can seriously affect both the strength and stiffness of the beam. Additionally. Training in these skills should be organised so that the ‘population’ that understands the new systems and techniques grows. replacing a lightweight roof covering with heavier. for passage of services).g. unless the cutting is done carefully (i. for example. load-bearing or non load-bearing member. • the purpose of the component. as a result of either alterations or repair. with something which has an inferior structural performance (stiffness and/or strength) or reduced fire resistance.g. • The issues resulting from the use of specialist materials/components/skills can be resolved to a certain extent by minimising their use where practicable. more traditional. • Regulatory changes should be brought in to ensure that somebody with sufficient knowledge/experience is always consulted where the alteration/repair decisions could impact on the integrity of the building. .e.

the following have been highlighted as worthy of further study: • More information is required on the performance of ICPT in service. This could be a useful starting point in developing subsequent research priorities in this area. For many large framed systems the benefits of structural continuity can lead to load redistribution from heated areas to cooler undamaged areas. recourse should be made to existing methods of collecting data to identify specific areas of concern. A web-based database would provide a useful and accessible means of information for key stakeholders. Adoption of standards such as LPS 2020 is the right way forward for resolving many issues related to the use of ICPT. particularly engineered solutions. however this might be achieved. The other important area would be changes in the regulations to ensure that somebody with sufficient knowledge/experience is always consulted where the alteration/repair decisions would impact on the integrity of the building. The new methods of construction provide numerous benefits for the construction industry. 2. • System performance – for many forms of construction. In the absence of a historical database of performance. Of particular concern is the degree of damage resulting from specific events. is not a sensible option as the new methods provide numerous benefits that outweigh the potential issues noted here (assuming the latter are controlled through the measures proposed herewith). The database of real fire events held by the London Fire Brigade may be one area which could play a part in identifying particular areas of concern. Of the issues addressed within the project. these benefits do not necessarily apply to light framed systems where . It is essential that these innovative methods are embraced without having a negative impact on the structural integrity of buildings. the interaction between members and the ability of connections to withstand the large forces and deformations present during and immediately after a fire are a critical factor.32 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques The ‘dumbing down’ of systems. In order to achieve this. there is a need to provide sufficient information (where lacking) to the users of the ICPT so that informed decisions can be made when alterations and repair are carried out. However.7 Task 7 Development and prioritising of a programme of work required in support of possible changes to regulatory and design requirements in relation to ICPT The main objective of this project has been to develop a programme of potential further work which emerges from the study of ICPT and which is relevant to the Building Regulations and to other parties concerned with property protection and business continuity.

The traditional means of complying with the Building Regulations requirement to limit the rate of heat release of external facades has been to rely on small-scale reaction to fire tests which deal principally only with the surface spread of flame. • It is generally assumed that concrete is an inherently fire-resistant material. This issue of the integrity of the joint between compartment walls and floors was identified in a previous research project. The vulnerability of certain design solutions to poor workmanship or poor site supervision could also be investigated. The existing guidance should be reviewed in relation to a more realistic assessment procedure that would consider the effect of an ignition source within the cavity itself. Brittle connections may not be able to transmit the large tensile and prying forces generated during a fire. BD2413 – The Integrity of Compartmentation in Buildings During a Fire.Programme of work | 33 connections are principally designed to resist shear force. connections and the presence or otherwise of a ventilated cavity. Modern systems are dependent on supporting framework. notably the Fire and Rescue Service. and premature failure of the connections would prevent the individual members attaining their anticipated fire resistance period. • Facade performance should be investigated with reference to Regulation 7 dealing with material suitability and workmanship issues. Large-scale fire testing. such as that outlined in emerging national. The tests on which these provisions are based are many years old and the results are not directly . • Cavity barriers and fire stopping – the existing requirement assumes a fire on the protected inner face of external or internal panel systems. As well as vertical flame spread. international and industry standards. A large-scale test method has been developed to consider these issues. Fire design normally extends no further than ensuring compliance with “deemed to satisfy” provisions from British Standards covering overall dimensions and cover to reinforcement. Of particular concern is the issue of potential disproportionate collapse following a fire. It is strongly recommended that a research project is initiated in collaboration with manufacturers to establish the relationship between the results from standard fire tests and performance under realistic conditions. Evidence from real fire investigations shows that such a scenario is of practical concern. Consideration should be given to encouraging the greater use of this test method. as there is evidence that critical fire barriers are not always correctly installed or indeed always present. • There is a need to evaluate the performance of engineered floor joists in fire under realistic conditions in relation to loading and clear span. there is a possibility of burning through the cladding to provide a route back into the building. Information on deflection under fire conditions and residual load-bearing capacity would be of great benefit to key stakeholders. • Throughout the project key stakeholders and technical experts have raised questions about the performance of SIPS. would allow a proper evaluation of system performance.

The relationship between these mix designs using modern cements and the traditional reliance on outdated test results needs to be established.34 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques applicable to the modern cements used particularly in ICPT products. where cement replacement materials and fillers are often used to improve service performance. .

The principal objective of this project was to develop and prioritise a programme of further work in relation to ICPT. • Developing a more robust database for collating information. likely impact and scale of study required. . • Exploring the impact of new techniques and processes (cavities and fire stopping. Table 3 overleaf identifies and prioritises areas for further research. On the basis of contribution and feedback from the steering group.Conclusions | 35 Chapter 3 Conclusions The research has identified three broad areas for action: • Use of new materials or permutations of materials (engineered timber products. connections between elements and the risk profile associated with different stages in the construction process). new concrete mixes and structural insulated panels). Specific actions in the categories above have been prioritised according to the volume of use.

including cement replacement materials. possibility of disproportionate collapse and effect of different filler materials and adhesives. Experimental study required to investigate relative performance of materials/products/systems where seat of fire is within the cavity. Guidance is required on measures to minimise the risk of a serious fire occurring during the construction phase. Would have to manage the interests of insurers. Industry support required. This often leads to substantial economic losses. This could be extended to cover long span beams in general. In terms of life safety. Some inherent fire performance required. The risk of fire initiation is often very high at a time when the building has little or no inherent fire protection. Reference to Regulation 7. Web-based system preferred. Structural performance likely to be very different to conventional floor joists. Information required related to form of construction and individual products. strength and fire performance. Many of the real fire incidents brought to the attention of the project team during the course of the study have involved fires during the construction phase. Experimental programme to investigate the performance of a range of modern concretes. the issue of partial occupation of incomplete residential schemes should also be addressed. Series of large-scale fire tests undertaken with industrial support to demonstrate best practice in relation to the design of connections and fire stopping. particularly where ICPT are involved. Ranking 1 Database of real fire incidents 2 Cavity barriers/cavity fires/fire stopping 3 Fires in the construction stage 4 Performance of modern concrete materials 5 Performance of engineered timber products System performance in fire 6 7 .36 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Table 3 Prioritised topics for further research work Topic The performance in fire of structural insulated panel systems (SIPS) Comments Large-scale testing required to ascertain residual strength. Require input from all key stakeholders. manufacturers and avoid impinging on legal cases. in relation to long-term durability.

published by the Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association in partnership with the Steel Construction Institute. Composite Slabs and Beams Using Steel Decking: Best Practice for Design and Construction. BRE/Council of Mortgage Lenders. 2004. LPS 2020: 2006. 8. 2. MCRMA Technical Paper No. Steel Construction Institute. 2000 Edition . Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 10. 13 – SCI Publication No. BRE Draft Report. P301. 9. Closing report for ODPM. Structure. SCI Publication No.cml. BRE Certification 11. Mullett D L and Rackham J W. 8. Modern methods of construction in Germany – playing the off-site rule. 6. Loss Prevention Standard – Standard for Innovative Systems. 5. The Building Regulations 2000. 2001 12. Ascot. Loughborough University Market Transformation Programme. Buildoffsite report. March 2003 Approved Document A. Building Design Using Cold Formed Steel Sections – Light Steel Framing in Residential Construction. Modern Methods of Construction. Gorgolewski M T and Lawson R M. Report of a DTI Global Watch mission. The Value of the UK Market for Offsite. 3. 4. BRE report 203-001. Grubb P J. www.References | 37 Chapter 4 References Post Magazine. 2006 Council of Mortgage Lenders. March 2004 Chris Goodier and Alistair Gibb. July 2002 www. P300. Elements and Components for Residential Buildings. 16-17 Fire safety of light steel framed houses (CC2318). Non-traditional housing in the UK – A brief review. 29th May 2006. Modern Methods of Construction. Couchman G H.

cavity barriers. where relevant. • To produce a prioritised programme of further work needed on the issues raised above. with particular emphasis on innovative methods of construction. The report provides information on a range of issues concerning Innovative Construction Products and Techniques (ICPT) with particular regard to fire safety and robustness of new and emerging products and systems. where a database of performance in real fires does not exist. external cladding. manufacturers and housing associations. national and local authority building control bodies. structural insulated panel systems (SIPS) and workmanship. insurers. This report will be of interest to key stakeholders including the Fire and Rescue Service. The programme of work undertaken has met the key objectives of the project.38 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Appendix A Summary of the research The overall aim of the project is to assist in ensuring that construction innovation is embraced and encouraged in a way that maintains fire safety and structural integrity. fire compartmentation/separation and. This should include the possible development of suitable methods of test and assessment that cover all forms of construction.The specific objectives of this project are: • To consider ICPT. integrity of compartmentation. A prioritised programme of further work has been developed in consultation with the Project Steering Group. The issues considered by the Project Steering Group include fire spread. . mortgage lenders. their respective inter-relationships. cavity barriers.

less disruption. reduced defects and snagging on site. A family-sized dwelling may typically be manufactured as four modules plus an additional roof module. Modules may be brought to site in a variety of different forms. rapid assembly. better working conditions. . and efficiency in the production process with the potential benefits of economies of scale. such as kitchens and bathrooms. increased predictability and control. This approach is particularly suited to areas where there are large amounts of services. Figure A1.Definition of building systems | 39 Appendix B Definition of building systems Off-site manufacture (OSM) – volumetric Volumetric construction (also known as modular construction) involves the production of three-dimensional units in controlled factory conditions prior to transportation to site. A volumetric construction unit being fitted Volumetric construction can have many benefits over other forms of construction including improved quality. ranging from a basic structural shell to one where all internal and external finishes and services are already installed.

Steel-framed panels are most commonly “open” and do not include insulation. internal wall finishes and external claddings. They therefore can be classified as established or traditional construction. Experience in use has allowed some to view these systems as having a satisfactory “track record” of performance. More complex panels – typically referred to as closed panels – involve more factorybased fabrication and may include lining materials and insulation. external cladding and internal finishing occurring on site. Steel panels used to form the structural frame Timber frame panel systems have been used for many years. They may also include services. The most common approach is to use open panels or frames which consist of a skeletal structure only. . Insulation to external walls is normally applied to the outside of the frame and often supplemented by additional insulation placed between the studs. This creates a “warm frame” construction that is very effective in reducing cold bridging across steel members. doors. Such panels may also be referred to as “subframes”. with services. With modern systems. Such “conventional” panels would normally arrive on site with the sheathing board (generally oriented strand board – OSB) fixed but without insulation or internal boards.40 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Off-site manufacture – panellised Flat panel units are produced in a factory and assembled on site to produce a three-dimensional structure. windows. Figure A2. service conduits. lining boards etc. linings and window frames can all be fitted in the factory. insulation.

to inorganic mineral fibre. such as PUR and PIR. Floor and wall units are produced off-site in a factory and erected on-site to form robust structures ideal for all repetitive cellular projects. XPS and mineral fibre wool have to be glued to the faces in an additional manufacturing step. studs may.Definition of building systems | 41 Figure A3. Bespoke housing systems are being developed for both single owner/occupier premises and multiple occupancy flats and apartments. leading to better thermal performance for . be used at corners and around openings. In a SIP structure the insulating layer is more continuous than in other systems. Building envelope panels with factory fitted insulation and decorative cladding can also be used as loadbearing elements. doors and finishes. Such applications are very common in continental Europe. The face layers of the panel may be cement or gypsum-based building boards or oriented strand board (OSB). however. They are essentially a sandwich construction comprising two layers of high-density sheet material bonded to a low-density cellular core structure. used as principal load-bearing components in domestic and light industrial construction. particularly for flats. They have no internal studs within the panels and rely on the bond between the foam and the sheet material to form a load-bearing unit. SIP panels have been widely used in North America for a number of years. rigid foam cores. Foams such as EPS. The materials used as core substrate are diverse and range from synthetic. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are prefabricated lightweight building units. such as extruded and expanded polystyrene (EPS and XPS) or polyurethane (PUR) and its derivative polyisocyanurate (PIR). windows. particularly in Germany1. are suited to a continuous production process. A panellised timber frame system Concrete panels have been used since the end of the Second World War in non-traditional construction. Self-adhesive synthetic foam cores. Panels can include services.

A timber SIP system (these joints are typically nailed together) Panellised systems are more flexible and can more easily accommodate variations in form and design. with fewer restrictions on room size and layout. Figure A4. However. boarding or panelling are commonly used . Furthermore. Spaces such as bedrooms and living spaces lend themselves to panel construction systems. Complete cassettes incorporating sheathing. compared to volumetric construction.42 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques a given thickness of panel due to the absence of thermal bridges associated with the presence of studs. providing greater choice for the client and designer. To obtain the maximum benefit from panellised systems the following points should be taken into consideration: • Providing a factory-made kit of parts delivered to site for fast erection to form the building frame • For maximum economy the panels should follow a common design incorporating repeatable sizes from which the building can be formed • Use of a standard library of components will reduce costs • Increasing the amount of finishing within the factory will optimise construction efficiency but may have implications for transportation costs and damage to units in transit • Panels may be in the form of roof. the levels of finish and services which can be accommodated are lower. panellised systems can be stacked flat. enabling more efficient transportation to site. wall or floor panels.

. Examples would include “TunnelForm” or aerated concrete systems. As with both volumetric and panellised approaches. volumetric units (often referred to as “pods”) are used for the service-intensive and standardised areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Semi-volumetric/hybrid is focused on providing the benefits of volumetric construction for heavily serviced areas. Reinforcement and service conduits can be placed within the moulds as necessary prior to pouring the concrete. The hybrid approach is sometimes used to provide added flexibility on complex sites and those requiring additional communal areas (such as student accommodation). Such an approach combines the benefits of mass production.hour cycle. with the remainder of the dwelling or building constructed using panels. Site-based systems This category is intended to encompass schemes utilising innovative building techniques and structural systems that fall outside the OSM categories. The presence of innovation is an essential feature that might be present in a nonOSM building.Definition of building systems | 43 Off-site manufacture – hybrid A hybrid method. Typically. the degree of prefabrication is variable. Transport is reduced compared to volumetric construction but the quality of off-site manufacture is maintained for areas where specific performance requirements must be met. and openings for stair wells and interconnecting doors can also be formed. This may take the form of a technique familiar in other sectors but not generally used in construction (technology transfer) or through traditional components being combined in an innovative manner. factory production and standardisation with flexibility of options. combines both panellised and volumetric approaches. also referred to as semi-volumetric. The moulds are heated overnight to accelerate the cure of the concrete and allow the moulds to be removed and reused on a 24. The “TunnelForm” system utilises L-shaped steel shutters to cast concrete tunnels.

thin joint blockwork and aerated concrete planks. TunnelForm construction Figure A6. free-flowing adhesive. The mortar is mixed on site to produce a smooth. It is similar in principle to beam and block floors. Thin joint blockwork is constructed using a special mortar bed of approximately 4 mm. A site-based system using reinforced aerated concrete slabs in standard sizes can be used for floors and roofs. The blocks can be used as a direct substitute for conventional blockwork or in conjunction with aerated concrete planks. Aircrete block and plank system Aerated concrete products There are two types of aerated concrete products on the market.44 | Innovative Construction Products and Techniques Figure A5. The slabs are joined together using a tongue and grooved joint along . The blocks may be larger than normal blocks and dimensionally more accurate.

The product can be used as a direct substitute for conventional blockwork or in conjunction with aerated concrete planks. The floor joints are then finished using a bonding grout and a self-levelling bonded screed.Definition of building systems | 45 their length to ensure a good mechanical joint. . The planks are used to form the floor and roof elements of buildings.

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