Traditional and prefabricated method-comparison

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“The difference between extending the house, using the traditional or prefabricated (modular) method”

Redevelopments of houses across the UK are mostly performed in traditional technology. Within the last fifty years, the market of available construction materials has developed significantly – from a wide range of ceramic roof tiles, materials used for the roof truss and flooring chipboard. Also plastic has become extremely popular – used in the manufacture of plumbing pipes or window frames. Thermal, acoustic or waterproof insulation has become a very common addition to the construction of new buildings, or its extensions.

The traditionally built wall is a three-layer structure (also called cavity wall) consisting of a external leaf of brick façade cladding, cavity void with thermal insulation and the inner layer made most often with concrete blocks and finished off from inside the living space with plasterboard or tiles.

However, the last ten years in the construction market significantly changed the situation. A number of new and competing methods has arrived, which are characterized by:

  • Increased thermal insulation parameters
  • Prefabricated (modular) elements are much faster to be produced, delivered and assembled on site. New built wall of the building can be simultaneously being finished on the external facade and internally.
  • Modern prefabricated elements are manufacture with advanced and environment- friendly technology, which is also safe for health. And assembling on site do not require large number of manpower or heavy equipment.

Traditional technology often works:

  • When the specific conditions of the construction site and specific dimensions of proposed design does not allow the use of modular systems, and traditional brick dimensions gives more flexibility.
  • Practically most of the private residential redevelopment project is carried out by small local architectural offices, which are accustomed to use the traditional technologies.
  • Most of the building materials used in the traditional technology are easily available to order even on the short notice.
  • Smaller sized building products are easier to move through the typically narrow walkways and corridors in the standard residential dwelling
  • The prefabricated elements are usually produced in large wholesale quantities. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to place the order for the small individual project.

Another available system on the construction market are Composite Panels – SIP (Structural Insulated Panels)

This is an advanced construction technology, which is characterized by an excellent thermal performance, and despite the relatively low weight of the product, still has a high structural parameter. SIPs can be used to construct elements such as walls, floor or roof of a residential building and office. The system stands out on the field of energy consumption and time savings and is also environment-friendly.

The main advantage of the above-mentioned methodology is an excellent thermal performance. Internal core SIP panel is made of a rigid Polyurethane, which achieves U-value in the range of 0.10 W / m2K, which allows for significant savings in regards of the annual house heating cost.

Integrated thermal insulation of SIP panels reduced the cost of additional insulation layer required when building with the traditional method. The expansion of the roof for the typical loft conversion with the use of SIP panel does not require erecting the timber roof as the panel itself possess sufficient structural properties and thermal insulation.

For those interested in the subject of environmental protection, it is worth to note the fact that the external layer of SIP panel is made from wood originating from organic plantations, and is a renewable material. Factory production of polyurethane insulation does not affect the ozone layer in the atmosphere. These panels are assembled in the factory environment to prevent unnecessary loss of material and energy.

Building with SIP panels usually reduces construction time up to three times. Also the work on the internal part of the building-finish can start earlier, if a ventilated membrane insulation, has been installed.

With the help of computer generated 3D visualizations, it is possible to understand that the described technology is suitable to implement even the most unusual projects. An additional advantage is also the possibility of installing internal plasterboard panels directly to the SIP. The panels are so tight that do not cause the heat loss, and assisted mechanical ventilation allows the heat recovery (MVHR).

Special technology of interconnecting panels allows for continuity polyurethane layer of insulation around the perimeter of the walls and roof of the building, without the issue “Thermal bridging” – so typical for traditional framed walls, where structural posts cause break in thermal insulation.

Due to the high rigidity and durability of SIPs, mounting heavy elements directly to the wall (such as radiators, kitchen cabinets), does not require any additional patressing , which is necessary in a traditional stud wall system.

Using above-mentioned technology is really a good investment, because of the low cost of erecting the building, energy efficiency and further maintenance. SIP technology also meets all the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which relates to all new buildings built after 2010. Both in the private and public sector. SIP building system is an ideal solution in the case of “self-build home ‘- that we discussed in our previous article.

Place the link to the self-build homes

Method is suitable for the construction of small additions to the existing home up to the full construction of a large house. Considering energy savings issue within a full year of house exploitation – the manufacturer gives the guarantee the annual cost of heating your home as £ 200. It is therefore really a substantial saving.

Modular technology of redevelopment

Extending the house with the use of prefabricated elements technology, is perhaps the most time and cost efficient way to increase its volume. It is fast in construction and allows to perfectly match new addition to the existing building, with the possibility of finishing the façade cladding with a wide range of assortment – as bricks, tiles or plaster.

This method differs from the traditional technique, as the elements of the future house like walls, roof, etc., are made in the factory, and when ready – being delivered to the construction site and assembled. So the new building will be ready to be inhabited in just a few days.

Described elements are made of environmentally friendly renewable materials. Significant weight difference in comparison to traditional technology, do not cause heavy loads being passed to the land or to an existing building to which they are attached to.

In less than a week, we can significantly increase the size of our house. In case of the one-storey extension, we can get an extra living room or kitchen. Or in the case of a two- storey extension of our house can double its size – thanks to additional bedroom on the first floor and living room on the ground floor.

The last advantage of this technology is primarily the speed of construction proces, no need for special preparation of construction site. Excavation, heavy equipment is not required. Whole construction process will run smoothly and efficiently, allowing us to avoid unnecessary stress.

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