When it comes to designing a project, you are normally faced with a number of challenges from the offset, from planning conditions to ensuring the best use of space for the development. however when it comes to the construction of the project, it is key to ensure that you are putting together a design that complies with Building Regulations.
An under performing wall construction can lead to costly remedial work or a lost opportunity to dramatically improve the thermal performance of the overall dwelling, in providing a high performing external facade you are making use of normally the largest thermal element in any build and ensuring that all future compliance issues are resolved.
A common practice is to design your wall thermally to meet the minimum standards in Building Regulations Part L1a – 0.28 W/m2k, this is a good starting point when it comes to achieve compliance, however in today’s climate and with stricter regulations for carbon emissions being implemented all the time, improving on Building Regulations Standards is almost certainly a must.
SAP Calculations or SBEM calculations are required for New build projects and therefore the compliance of the dwelling/building relies on a number of elements all coming into play, a high performing external facade can be a key component in any development.
Key Design Areas
Insulation Lambda Values – When designing your wall partition’s thermal performance, paying attention to the materials within the partition’s Lambda value is essential. Lambda Values are displayed as a W/mk value and can be found in most technical data sheets or alternatively contact the manufacturer. The lambda value works very similar to a u-value, the lower the figure, the more thermally efficient the product. combining a selection of products with low lambda values will ensure that the overall u-value will be low and thermally efficient.
Thermal Bridging – if you are designing a masonry, timber of steel construction wall, thermal bridging can result in the thermal efficiency of a partition being reduced, when designing the partition concentrating on the transfer of heat and the potentially of having an unbroken insulation layer will allow your facade to achieve high levels of thermal efficiency. A number of designs will not allow for a clear insulation section without wall ties/timber/steel sections, however if it is possible to have an insulation layer as a compete layer rather than in between studs, achieving a u-value that improves on Building Regulations will be more achievable.
Thermal Replacement Materials – When it comes to specifying products within your partition, it is always worth looking into alternatives that will provide a better thermal rating, a good example is within a standard brick/block wall construction, substituting a standrd block with a product similar to a Celcon Solar block can allow the design of the wall partition to remain the same whilst improving the thermal performance.