Technical expertise saves the day at new centre

Hotel, Sport & Leisure Wed, Nov 24, 2021 3:39 PM

The Chilterns Lifestyle Centre in Amersham will feature a range of leisure, sports, and community facilities.

As each of the activities taking place will require different indoor temperatures – warm or cool – to keep users comfortable, a high-performing insulation solution was essential.

Thermal performance wasn’t the only factor in insulation choice for specialist façade contractor Teampol.

At just 14m high, the Chilterns Lifestyle Centre doesn’t fall under current fire regulations banning combustible insulation. But non-combustibility was still a key consideration in installing 2,300m2 of Knauf Insulation’s OmniFit Slab 35 and Rocksilk RainScreen Slab.

“The original specification was for a combustible phenolic insulation,” said Scott Millins, Quantity Surveyor at Teampol. “But there’s always that concern at the back of my mind of ‘what if the worst happened?’ so I will only use non-combustible insulation whatever the height of the building. Plus, there’s a very real possibility that regulations may change again, and I don’t want my projects to need costly remedial work further down the line.

“I approached several manufacturers for a non-combustible alternative. They weren’t able to do the calculations quickly and couldn’t meet the U-value required without increasing the depth of the rainscreen insulation from 80mm to 120mm, which would have impacted the whole design.”

By this point, finding a solution was critical, otherwise the entire project would be delayed. Millins approached Knauf Insulation’s Specification Team for support and product advice stressing the need for a fast turnaround. Within 24 hours, the Technical Support Team had conducted 3D U-value calculations and a condensation analysis.

They recommended 150mm OmniFit Slab 35 for the steel frame stud with Rocksilk RainScreen Slab for the façade. Crucially, this combination meant they were able to meet the U-value of 0.22 W/m2K and keep to the original 80mm insulation depth specified for the rainscreen.

“Knauf Insulation were fast, responsive and helpful,” explained Scott. “From our initial conversations, it was clear they had the technical expertise, and this was backed up by an extremely quick turnaround for all the supporting calculations that I needed to move forward with the job.”

Both OmniFit Slab 35 and Rocksilk RainScreen Slab offer exceptional levels of thermal performance. They are non-combustible with the best possible Euroclass A1 reaction to fire classification so will not contribute to the development or spread of fire should it occur. Rocksilk RainScreen Slab is BBA certified for use at any height.

OmniFit Slab 35 and Rocksilk RainScreen Slab also have excellent sound absorption characteristics which will help ensure that any sports and community activities taking place inside don’t disturb local residents.

As well as Knauf Insulation’s technical advice and product performance, the consistency and quality of the two products have impressed Millins and the Teampol installation team.

“Installation of both OmniFit Slab 35 and Rocksilk RainScreen Slab has gone extremely smoothly. They’re both quick and easy to fit and it helps that these Mineral Wool products from Knauf Insulation are nice and soft – our installation team love working with them,” added Millins.

This softness is thanks to the ECOSE Technology, Knauf Insulation's unique bio-based binder which contains no added formaldehyde or phenol. Products made with ECOSE Technology are also easy to handle, generate low levels of dust and VOCs and have been awarded the Eurofins Gold Certificate for Indoor Air Comfort.

As well as being kind to installers, ECOSE Technology is made from natural raw materials that are rapidly renewable and is 70% less energy-intensive to manufacture than traditional binders, so it is kinder to the environment too.

Thanks to Knauf Insulation’s rapid response and technical support, Teampol was able to meet the thermal requirements for the Chilterns Lifestyle Centre project using non-combustible insulation – all while keeping to the tight build schedule.

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