SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 7 – AUGUST 2021

Polyfoam XPS - The Build Up

It can be a minefield picking out the differences between construction products, especially with so many competing claims about what is the ‘best’ solution.

Insulation solutions are the perfect example – all offer a low thermal conductivity, but exactly how low do you need to go? Does it automatically follow that the insulation with the lowest thermal conductivity is the ‘best’ solution?

It all depends what you are specifying a solution for. Here at The Build Up, we try to take a broader view of building construction and performance, aiming for the best quality and the best long-term outcomes. This month we’re getting into the correct calculation of ground floor U-values, and looking at a comparison between XPS and PIR insulation. Read on to find out more.

If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, or if you have suggestions for topics you’d like to see us cover in future editions, send us an email or reach us via LinkedIn.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible. Our blog post series is demystifying some of those standards.
Men pouring screeed on ground floor

What do architects need to know about calculating U-values for ground floors?

Last month we looked at the fundamentals of U-value calculations and what you needed to know about the combined method. This month, we’ve written about the specifics of ground floor U-values. Heat loss through a ground floor is different to any other construction element, and we look at the detail of what information helps us to provide you with the most accurate calculation.

Read our blog post to learn everything you need to know about BS EN ISO 13370

Design Resources

Raw material shortages, international shipping delays and product price increases are all putting a squeeze on the construction industry at the moment. It’s more common than ever for contractors to seek approval for alternative solutions that are more readily available or more cost effective.

If you’re a regular specifier of PIR insulation and you’re finding that price rises and product shortages are hampering your projects, you might be interested in our new article that sets out why XPS could be your new go-to floor insulation of choice.

Read more about our comparison of XPS and PIR floor insulation here.

Technical Support for BS6229

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

So far in this issue of The Build Up we’ve looked at U-values for ground floors, and comparisons between XPS and PIR insulation.

We’re developing a range of resources about why XPS insulation is the ideal ground floor insulation solution. You can view our accredited online CPD session, and in the next few weeks we’ll publish a new white paper looking in detail at ground floor performance requirements and insulation options.

We are also developing a white paper and other resources looking at the use of XPS insulation in the base of masonry cavity walls, below DPC level.

While we work on these new in-depth publications, you can download our current white paper on inverted flat roof specification, including the assessment and certification of insulation systems

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What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

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SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 6 – JULY 2021

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What makes a high quality building? The style of architecture? The feel of the internal finishes? Or the underlying building performance?

An argument could be made for any of those three things individually, or how they all interact in combination. A strong argument can be made that the highest quality buildings deliver energy efficiency and thermal comfort, with good indoor air quality and acoustic comfort as well.

The experience and knowledge required to routinely deliver high quality, high performance buildings exists – and a wealth of it is available for anybody to take advantage of. That ‘s what this month’s issue is about.

Feedback and suggestions are always welcome by email, or reach us via the LinkedIn button at the bottom of the newsletter.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible. Our blog post series is demystifying some of those standards.
What-do-architects-need-to-know-about-BS-EN-ISO-6946-and-calculating-U-values

What do architects need to know about BS EN ISO 6946?

There are multiple facets to building performance, but the starting point for many is the U-values that different building elements have to achieve to keep thermal transmittance low. How are U-values calculated? Read our blog post to learn everything you need to know about the BS EN ISO 6946 standard.

Design Resources

We’ve never had the pleasure of working on a project with the team at Greengauge Building Energy Consultants, but their newsletter is one we always look out for in our inbox. Each month The Heat of the Moment features Greengauge’s own detailed and authoritative construction-related insights, alongside interesting bits and pieces that have caught the attention of the team. Subscribe to the newsletter at the Greengauge website.

For designers looking to gain a better understanding of energy efficient buildings or to learn more about the Passivhaus standard, the Passivhaus in Plain English blog archive is an ideal place to start. As the name of the blog suggests, architect and Passive House Designer, Elrond Burrell, spent several years posting about building performance in a way that is accessible to all readers.

Classroom

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

  • What is XPS insulation?
  • How does it perform compared to other common insulation types?
  • What makes it the ideal, robust choice for insulating ground floors?

Our CPD presentation, accredited by the CPD Certification Service, answers all of these questions and more in just fifteen minutes of your time. View the session online and claim your CPD certificate today.

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What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

  • Young Indian designer transforms building energy modelling (via CIAT)
  • World’s first 3D-printed steel footbridge and digital twin completed (via BIM +)

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SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 5 – JUNE 2021

Polyfoam XPS - The Build Up

Welcome to the June edition of The Build Up, and welcome to the increasing numbers of you subscribing. Thanks for reading and choosing to have us drop into your inbox on the last Friday of every month.

We’ve covered some different and varied topics over the last few months, but we’re back on familiar territory in this edition: flat roofing. As ever, please send your feedback or suggestions to us by email, or reach us via LinkedIn. 

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible. Our new blog post series is demystifying some of those standards.

This month’s subject is a document called ETAG 031. How does it affect the inverted roof solutions you specify, and how much do you need to know about it?

Standards

What do architects need to know about ETAG031?

For architects and specifiers looking to include an inverted flat roof as part of a construction project, ETAG 031 is a document that is very likely to be referenced in technical literature for inverted roof solutions. But what is ETAG 031, and how much do you need to know about it to help you successfully specify an inverted roof? Find out about ETAG 031 here.

Design Resources

A few newsletters ago we mentioned Passive House + magazine, and their excellent in-depth coverage of low energy construction. In June they hosted their first online roundtable event, with an impressive array of expert speakers discussing the topic of thermal bridging. The event is free to view online here.

With over 300 to choose from, it’s impossible to single out one episode of the House Planning Help podcast as being the best place to start listening. The podcast covers every aspect of self-build and low energy design and construction. Many of the huge variety of subjects are of interest to designers and specifiers, and the guest is always an expert with lots of practical experience. Our recommendation: look for a topic that interests you, and start from there!

Technical Support for BS6229

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

Whether it’s guidance on designing and specifying extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation, or U-value calculations and condensation risk analyses, we’ve got you covered.

Polyfoam XPS’s technical staff have years of experience in the construction industry generally, and insulation manufacturing specifically, and are on hand to offer advice and answer questions at any stage of a project. Contact us through the website or email technical@polyfoamxps.co.uk.

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What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

  • Willmott Dixon maps waste firms to reduce carbon emissions (via bimplus)
  • UKGBC launches new Solutions Library to enable sustainable buildings (via CIAT)
  • Three new tools to reduce embodied carbon (via bimplus)

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SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 4 – MAY 2021

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Welcome to May’s edition of The Build Up. In the spirit of being clear and unambiguous, let’s get straight down to business. As always, if you want to get in touch, you can contact us here or reach us via the LinkedIn button at the bottom of the newsletter.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible. Our latest blog post series sets out to demystify some of those standards.

Classroom

What do architects need to know about the Code for Construction Product Information?

This month we’re focusing on the Code for Construction Product Information. What is it and how might it effect the way you work? Although not yet officially launched, a recent consultation on a draft version has shone a spotlight on how designers and specifiers might interact with product manufacturers in the future. Find out what you need to know about the CCPI here.

Design Resources

Following on from the theme of this month’s featured blog post, the two resources we’re highlighting both do an excellent job of making complex information more accessible and clearer to understand.

The Designing Buildings Wiki is a crowd-sourced hub of construction knowledge, backed by high profile associations and organisations. There is an existing wealth of information, to which anybody can contribute in accordance with the site’s guidelines.

Building Regulations are a notoriously complex set of documents. The third edition of Guide to the Building Regulations sets out the structure of the regulations, their requirements, and the technical guidance of the Approved Documents, in a way that is easy to navigate and is arguably more logical than the ‘official’ publications. Approved Document B has been updated a number of times since the book’s publication date, but it remains a useful reference.

A construction office

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

On the subject of making information about construction products clearer and more accessible, why not book one of our CPD sessions?

What is extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation? How does it perform compared to other common insulation types? What makes it the ideal choice for below ground, ground floor, and inverted flat roof applications?

Our CPD presentation, accredited by the CPD Certification Service, answers all of these questions. View the seminar online (coming soon) or contact us to arrange online delivery to your team.

Newspaper

What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

  • Tallest modular building in the world completes construction (via CIAT)
  • Building insulation: Is hydrogen our get out of jail free card? (via Energy Monitor)
  • Concrete batteries could create rechargeable buildings (via CIAT)
  • Building Services Design and Energy Modelling for Local Authority Housing Scheme (via GreenGauge)

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SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 3 – APRIL 2021

Polyfoam XPS - The Build-Up

This month’s edition of The Build Up focuses on product manufacturing. We’re nearing the halfway point of the year, which means we’re also nearing the halfway point of the transition period from CE marking to UKCA marking.

What does that mean for the products you specify? We’ll try to answer that question, as well as give our regular round-up of news stories and useful design resources.

If there are any topics you’d like to see us cover in the newsletter, or if you have any feedback on what we’re sending out each month, you can contact us us at any time, or reach us via LinkedIn.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible.

Our new blog post series is demystifying some of those standards. We’re explaining how we apply them as part of providing you with extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation products, and technical services such as U-value calculations. This month, we’ve chosen to focus on BS EN 13164 – what it is, how it relates to CE marking, and the transition to the UKCA mark.

Standards

What do architects need to know about BS EN 13164?

BS EN 13164 is one of a number of harmonised European Standards relating to the manufacture of thermal insulation products for construction. It covers extruded polystyrene (XPS) specifically. Read More.

Design Resources

The Get It Right Initiative, known as GIRI, is working to promote a culture within UK construction of learning from mistakes and seeking to eliminate error. Making improvements in this area would reduce waste and potentially save billions of pounds.

One of their resources is the Guide to Improving Value by Reducing Design Error, produced by the GIRI design working group.

At the end of 2020, GIRI hosted a webinar featuring the co-founder and director of the Designing Buildings Wiki. The session focused on knowledge sharing, and how better knowledge sharing can help to reduce error.

Technical Support for BS6229

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

As this month’s new blog post looks at manufacturing standards for thermal insulation products, it’s worth recapping what Polyfoam XPS produces at its Hartlepool plant.

We manufacture extruded polystyrene insulation, in accordance with BS EN 13164, for use in ground floor and inverted roof applications. You can view our complete range of Floorboard and Roofboard products, as well as accessories such as Slimline Zero WFRL for inverted roofs.

Product literature, declarations of performance and BBA certificates are all available online, or you can contact us to discuss which XPS product is best suited to your project.

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SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 2 – MARCH 2021

Polyfoam XPS - The Build-Up
Welcome to The Build Up, the Polyfoam XPS email newsletter. This month we’re focusing on flat roof design and specification, including how to achieve inverted flat roofs that perform as intended. As well as the usual round-up of news stories that have caught our eye, this month’s resources include a new white paper we’ve put together.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told that they need to know all about standards and codes of practice. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible.

Our new blog post series is demystifying some of those standards. We’re explaining how we apply them as part of providing you with extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation products, and technical services such as U-value calculations. This month it is the code of practice for flat roofs, BS 6229.

guidelines folders

What do architects need to know about BS 6229:2018?

Design Resources

    • Inspiration to achieve better buildings doesn’t come much better than Passive House + magazine. Every issue features multiple in-depth case studies telling the stories of low energy new-build and retrofit projects. Each is illustrated with site photos and supported by in-depth technical detail of how the end result was achieved. Comprehensive news articles, enlightening expert columnists, and technical examinations of current building performance issues complete each highly readable edition.

 

  • Although focused on helping to put London “on the path to a zero carbon future”, the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) is creating resources that any construction professional can apply to their work, wherever they are based. Their Climate Emergency Design Guide is helping architects to approach a topic for which no formal standard currently exists, while documents like this Net Zero 1-Pager give a useful summary for anyone looking to engage with this complex topic.

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

We’re excited to launch our new white paper, which is a detailed look at how the performance of inverted roofs is assessed and certified. If buildings are going to perform as they were designed to then it’s essential that designers and specifiers have confidence in the products and systems they select. This white paper explains everything you might look for in an inverted roof system.

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What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

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Thanks for reading this issue of The Build Up by Polyfoam XPS. To ensure you receive next months issue please subscribe.

SPECIFIER NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 1 – FEBRUARY 2021

Polyfoam XPS - The Build-Up
Welcome to the first issue of the Polyfoam XPS email newsletter The Build-Up. Every month we’re putting together a round-up of useful resources and interesting news, focusing on delivering quality across design, specification and construction.

About Us

Polyfoam XPS Ltd is a leading manufacturer of closed cell, extruded polystyrene insulation. Through our Floorboard and Roofboard ranges, Polyfoam XPS Ltd offers high quality, high performance, rigid, closed cell, extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation for use in domestic, commercial and industrial buildings alike.

Demystifying Standards

Architects and specifiers are often told which standards or codes of practice they should be working to, and what they need to know about them. But many standards are big documents with a hefty price tag, meaning they are not always accessible or digestible.

In a new series of blog posts, we’ll demystify some of those standards. We’ll explain how we apply them as part of providing you with XPS insulation products, and technical services such as U-value calculations.

Technical Support for BS6229

What do architects and design professionals need to know about BR 443?

Any designers who perform their own U-value calculations should already be familiar with BR 443 and be applying its conventions. For designers who obtain calculations from elsewhere, however, do they need to know what is in the document? Read more

Design Resources

  • 99% Invisible is a long-running, design-focused, US-based podcast. Episodes cover building design, climate change and much more. We recommend browsing the archive and picking whatever sounds most interesting to you, but a good starting point is the episode about the invention of air conditioning and how it influenced the outcome of the 1980 US election.
  • In Designed to Perform, architect Tom Dollard offers practical advice on how to address the performance gap in buildings. Illustrated throughout with comprehensive thermally modelled details, the book identifies common building fabric issues and offers the solutions to create comfortable, low energy homes.
A construction office

Getting More From Polyfoam XPS

In need of more technical insight after reading this newsletter? The Polyfoam XPS blog is a hub for information about XPS insulation, ground floor and flat roof design and construction, relevant standards, and industry issues. Not sure where to start? Our most popular post is Bearing the Load: Floorboard Insulation, or you can browse the blog and pick out topics of interest.

What Caught Our Eye This Month ?

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