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Shared supply chain responsibility crucial to creating energy-compliant properties

Building regulations set U-values, which measure heat loss through structural elements such as walls, windows, and roofs, as a means of creating more energy- efficient, comfortable properties. 

 

The standards apply to new buildings and renovations. For housebuilders, meeting required U-value targets is not only a matter of achieving compliance and good building practice. They face being penalised in the form of a hefty fine when a building falls short of expected energy performance. 

 

All supply chain parties involved in the building delivery process – from the architect and main contractor, through to the material manufacturer and product installer – are to some degree liable in the event of building failure. This could also cost stakeholders from a reputational point of view, not to mention the negative effect a shortfall in energy standards has on the environment and the efforts to tackle climate change. 

 

Any changes to U-value performance outside of the regulations must be agreed upon by a local authority’s building control team. Therefore, housebuilders should display the utmost clarity in their engagement with officials, giving a clear indication of the need for revised targets and how they will be met.

 

Current U-value targets for walls, floors and roofs followed an uplift in Part L Building Regulations to reduce carbon emissions by 31% for dwellings and 27% for other buildings. The upgrade is in lieu of a further tightening of standards in 2025 with the introduction of the Future Homes Standard. The amended Part L legislation focuses on fabric-first design as being key to achieving compliant buildings. 

 

A lady and man looking at a window wearing safety clothing

Structurally strong and durable with a consistent thermal performance, PIR insulation’s attributes are ideal for regulating elemental heat loss and gain as part of a fabric-first approach to building design. As a manufacturer committed to innovating insulation products that facilitate energy-compliant properties and inspire best practice principles, Recticel has produced a PIR board that enhances the builder experience and meets the end user’s performance requirements. 

 

Benefits of multi-value Eurowall®+

Eurowall®+, a rigid full-fill PIR board reduces labour times thanks to its slim, easy-handling capability. These excellent characteristics, which encourage cost-effective installation, do not compromise the board’s long-term thermal performance. A 90mm Eurowall®+ PIR board attains a U-value of 0.18 W/m2K in a 100mm masonry cavity wall. The 10mm gap makes for a more convenient fit for bricklayers, thus the installation process is more efficient and less time-consuming.   

 

With Eurowall®+ achieving maximum energy efficiency despite its slender composition – its key feature is a tongue-and-groove joint on the board’s four sides – housebuilders can save on elemental sizing. This potential for wall and floor thickness reduction has a two-fold benefit: builders can increase the number of properties per plot and optimise valuable development space, whilstproperty owners can enjoy additional living room.  

 

With successive governments seeking a solution to the ongoing housing shortage as the population increases and the amount of suitable land decreases, so the need for innovative PIR solutions grows ever vital. Furthermore, their evolution must take into account increasingly stringent energy standards, without which net zero will remain an ambition. 

 

Acquiring a good understanding of U-values and their relation to current energy compliance should be of foremost consideration for housebuilders. However, each element of the supply chain should be aware of its responsibility in this area. It will take a team effort to deliver the thermally efficient homes needed to enshrine our environment’s future sustainability. Hence, all building stakeholders, whatever their place in the delivery chain, should ultimately consider themselves a housebuilder. 

 

To assess your building’s U-value performance in accordance with building regulations, use Recticel’s U-value calculator: www.recticelinsulation.com/en-gb/u-value-calculator

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