When it comes to the specifying a solution for suspended ground floors, speed of construction and thermal performance are often ranked high on a UK housebuilder’s wish list. This is especially true in the domestic new-build sector. And with the ongoing difficulties in sourcing concrete blocks, floors that have traditionally been constructed from concrete beam and block are gradually being replaced by newer, more cost effective methods.
Our client, a renowned UK national house builder, enlisted us to work alongside their in-house design team to devise an alternative flooring solution for their latest domestic new-build plot in Northumberland.
The brief was simple. They wanted a beam and block alternative that was quick to install, offered a high level of thermal insulation / structural performance, and which also proved advantageous from a cost perspective. The BBA approved S and B EPS Warmbeam® (Top Sheet System) was considered a perfect solution to their requirements.
The S and B EPS Warmbeam® (Top Sheet System) offers a strong, insulated alternative to traditional concrete beam and block floors. As with traditional ground flooring methods, a DPC is laid on top of the load bearing and end walls and pre-stressed concrete floor beams are positioned at specified locations and centres.
At this point, precision-profiled Warmbeam® EPS start panels are positioned against the inside face of the wall. The adjacent beam is then moved into position to support the profiled edge of the panel and the flat face of the panel provides a tight friction fit against the wall.
Central infill panels are then carefully cut to size and slotted securely between the remaining beams, ensuring care is taken to accommodate service penetrations.
Minor gaps in the insulation are sealed with small offcuts of EPS and expanding foam is used to reduce the occurrence of thermal bridging. End panels are finally inserted to completed the infill installation.
Once a level floor zone has been achieved, a Warmbeam® EPS Top Sheet is laid over the entire floor area, again making way for service penetrations and part sheet widths where necessary.
Whilst not specified on this particular project, at this stage gas barriers and underfloor heating pipes can be installed. These can be secured to the top sheet insulation material using standard pipe clips.
Perimeter edge strips are installed to prevent cold bridging and a structural concrete topping (floor screed) is carefully poured and levelled to provide a thermally efficient surface.
S and B EPS Warmbeam® Top Sheet System Benefits:
High thermal performance – helps to eliminate cold bridging
The Site Manager on this particular project was delighted with the whole process. He said “From specification to the final laying of the screed topping, the team at S and B have been absolutely outstanding.
“The Warmbeam® Top Sheet System was so quick and simple to install that we virtually doubled the speed of production. With EPS insulation boards being light and portable, the overall amount of manual handling on site was reduced. Boards were easy to cut and position, which again reduced labour time and costs and all of our offcuts were collected and recycled. This not only helped us from a waste perspective – but it’s also good to know you’re doing something positive for the environment as well.”
S and B EPS Managing Director Darren Smith commented “Seeing our very own Warmbeam® EPS System being successfully used on such a local project is fantastic.”
Work is well underway on the development of luxury cinema construction all over the UK.
S and B EPS Ltd are delighted to be the manufacturing partner, alongside American company Stadium Seating Enterprises and EOMAC UK Ltd., providing state of the art DryFit™ PREFoam™ Stadium Seating Riser System solutions for the expansion of the auditoria seating areas.
The latest project located in the heart of Sheffield’s ‘The Moor’ shopping district, will become host to a brand new, 9 screen multiplex cinema, as well as accommodating a number of new shops and restaurants. The focus is to provide an opulent social hub in an area currently undergoing significant re-development.
Standing by his customer promise of ‘you’ll always have the best seat in the house’, CEO of the Light Cinemas, Keith Pullinger insists that “every seat is designed to be extra wide, with a generous amount of legroom as standard”. Customer comfort, well formulated sightlines and good disabled access are all a major consideration in the company’s contemporary cinema experience.
Naturally, on a build of this scale, it was crucial to specify a rapid, yet robust method of construction for the expansion of the auditoria seating areas and Stadium Seating Enterprises’ innovative DryFit™ PREFoam™ Stadium Riser System, installed by EOMAC Ltd and locally sourced and manufactured by S and B EPS, proves to be the perfect solution.
Supplied in various thicknesses and weighing an average of half a kilo per cubic foot, the modular polystyrene blocks are 100% recyclable and extremely lightweight, keeping manual handling to a minimum.
Pre-engineered in the United States and pre-fabricated locally in the UK, the EPS insulation is supplied cut to size and each piece numbered, so they can be easily manoeuvred through pedestrian doorways and areas still undergoing construction.
The polystyrene foam blocks are delivered per auditorium and are coordinated with the installation crew at EOMAC on site for a just-in-time delivery schedule to minimize downtime of the theatre and maximize efficiency of the installation. A full set of detailed shop drawings are prepared and supplied to the installing contractor by Stadium Seating Enterprises so they are aware of the intended location for each piece of EPS block.
Installation couldn’t be simpler or quicker either. The pre-numbered blocks slot together like a jigsaw puzzle and are adhesively and mechanically fixed on the riser and tread of each level. EOMAC has experience installing these riser systems on multiple projects throughout the United States and Canada and has now brought this technology to the UK alongside Stadium Seating Enterprises, manufactured by S and B EPS out of Cramlington.
The insulation is then encapsulated in two layers of 18mm plywood, ready to accept the finished flooring surface.
A great plus point on these types of schemes is that because of the geometry of the blocks, the weight is distributed evenly across the surface and no point load is achieved.
S and B’s Managing Director Darren Smith, said: “This is a very exciting project for S and B EPS to be involved in and hopefully the first of many.
“Although the technology has been used on stadia seating across the United States for a number of years, it is still a unique concept in the UK. The collaboration between Stadium Seating, EOMAC and S and B has evolved over a period of 4 years, with much collaboration having taken place during that time.
“It’s particularly satisfying that from a simple introductory Skype call, we are now manufacturing and witnessing the installation of their PREFoam™ EPS systems on local UK based projects and theatres.
“The flexibility and speed of installation is absolutely key to this system’s success. Since all systems are custom designed and manufactured for each individual application, the fact that they’re of a modular nature means that they’re ideal for either new construction or retrofit and renovation situations.
“Steel, concrete and EPS components can be made in virtually any height or depth and can easily be adapted to conform to virtually any platform design, shape or configuration in any cinema, theatre, lecture hall, worship facility or performing arts auditorium.
“The possibilities are endless and I’ve no doubt that this method is set to revolutionise the design and construction of staged seating projects in the UK in the future”.
The Light Cinema, Sheffield, is due to open its doors in Spring 2017.
This is a very exciting project for S and B EPS to be involved in and hopefully the first of many