With space so often at a premium on construction sites, every additional square metre of floor space offers added value to the client. And many of today’s multi-storey developments and high-rise buildings are designed to incorporate balconies and terraces over headed space to maximise floor space. But Balconies and terraces are notoriously problematic for architects, designers and contractors as they battle to meet the three separate regulatory challenges.
As well as meeting the thermal performance requirements of Building Regulations Part L, designers must also ensure that balconies and terraces comply with Approved Document M: Access to and Use of Buildings. Approved Document M details the requirement that there must be a smooth transition from the internal space onto the terrace without any step or change in floor height. It states that: ‘People, regardless of disability, age or gender, should be able to gain access to buildings and to gain access within buildings and use their facilities, both as visitors and as people who live or work in them.’
Another key specification in the design of a balcony or terrace is stipulated by the NHBC Standards – the document that sets the benchmark for acceptable levels of design, material specification and workmanship for newly-built homes registered with NHBC. In Chapter 7.1 ‘Flat roofs and balconies’, the standards state that a minimum void of no less than 75mm is required. With this in mind, it’s even more important that the insulation specified is as thin as possible.
One common used compromise has been to install insulation both on top of and on the underside of the balcony or terrace. Not only can this be time-consuming, technically challenging and pose a condensation risk, it can also add unnecessary costs and increase the overall thickness of the construction.
The solution to this growth in demand for improved thermal performance whilst keeping building fabric as thin as possible is the BBA Certified, unique, and ultra-thin ProTherm Quantum VIP system inverted insulation system introduced by waterproofing and green roof specialist Radmat Building Products.
Powered by the same technology used to keep donor organs and drugs at a stable temperature, Radmat’s ProTherm Quantum Inverted Roof System achieves an exceptionally low U-value of 0.15 W/m2K whilst using 80% less thickness than a traditional extruded polystyrene insulation (XPS).
Manufactured in a state-of-the-art production facility by Kingspan Insulation, the vacuum insulated panels consist of a microporous core which is evacuated of air and moisture prior to being encased and sealed in a thin, gas-tight special hybrid aluminium. This combination provides outstanding thermal conductivity of 0.008 W/m2K with a 40mm thickness – compared with thermal conductivity of 0.034 W/m2K for 200mm thick XPS and 0.038 W/m2K for 220mm thick EPS – thereby achieving the thinnest possible insulation solution available.
This is where Radmat continues to set the bar for the roofing industry. By designing and supplying every element of the inverted flat roofing systems to deliver exactly what it promises – the contractor and client achieves exceptional U-values, waterproofing integrity and long term performance as standard.