Modern methods of construction for affordable homes
The Housing Innovation Showcase is a £3.3m joint venture between Kingdom Housing Association and Fife Council, supported by Fife Construction Forum and Green Business Fife. The project saw the construction of 27 new homes using sustainable building methods and products, as part of a trial to identify the best systems available on the market for mainstream affordable housing programmes.
The organisers outlined their vision at this year’s Ecobuild exhibition and the finished development will be open to the public from the 15th to the 31st May 2012. The homes have been built by seven different partners in 10 different designs and construction methods, including leading regional housebuilder Campion Homes which has used Porotherm.
Darren White, sales director Porotherm, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected for such a pioneering project. The Housing Innovation Showcase will really drill down into the different products and systems that are available on the market, and allow for them to be reviewed on a number of criteria – from the inherent green credentials of the materials and thermal performance of the finished structure, to the cost considerations of value and labour.
The decision by Fife Council and Kingdom Housing Association to conduct an experiment of this scale is to be commended. It reflects not only their commitment to sustainable construction, but also the significant improvements made in quality, sustainable, building materials in over the last few years and will allow people to see first-hand the advancements the industry is making.”
A key element will be a comprehensive monitoring programme of the performance of the different systems, and a comparative analysis of the benefits of different renewable energy options and other enhanced specifications on some of the properties.
Darren added: “Porotherm has outstanding environmental properties and is both cost-effective and time-efficient to install. It has a proven track record on the continent as a popular choice for internal and cavity walls, and continues to make significant strides into the UK market. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed project and the many different building styles and products on display.”
The Porotherm system has been used in the construction of Plot 14, a pair of two-bedroom cottages by Fife developer Campion Homes. External walls have been constructed with a monolithic 190mm block with insulated external render, with the smaller 100mm Porotherm blocks used for the cavity party walls.
Dougie Herd, Campion Homes Construction Director, added: “We’d never worked with Porotherm before but we found it straightforward to use and achieved incredibly fast construction speeds. As a modern method of construction the Porotherm system hits the mark in almost every aspect. Not only is it fast, but it is also sustainable. The thin joint mortar reduced the amount of water we used and, because the blocks are so easy to cut to size, we produced very little waste on site. The finish is particularly neat which gives the team huge job satisfaction, not to mention the lightweight blocks which make for easier transportation around the site, a welcome addition for the brickies!”
Wienerberger’s Porotherm clay blocks are precision-engineered to create a superflat horizontal surface which requires less than 1mm mortar and no mortar in the vertical joints, reducing water use on site by up to 95 per cent. The blocks use up to 30 per cent materials from recycled and alternative sources and are 100 per cent recyclable at the end of their life.
In addition to the ‘green’ credentials of the system in terms of construction, the honeycomb internal structure of the blocks gives the Porotherm wall huge insulative value, making the finished structure incredibly thermally efficient and contributing to reduced energy use by occupiers and helping to meet Part L standards.
Add this to the other major benefit of the Porotherm system, the speed of construction which is possible thanks to the precision-engineered blocks and quick drying thin-joint mortar, which can be up to five times faster than traditional masonry methods, and its potential for the affordable housebuilding sector is clear.