Construction Essentials – Thermal Insulation

When asked what the purpose of insulation is, the chances are that the majority of us would answer ‘heat loss reduction’ or ‘used to keep heat in’ or something similar and rightly so. However, the word insulation is a broad term covering all different types of  insulation used for very different purposes including fireproofing, soundproofing, impact cushioning and electrical insulation. Thermal insulation is without a doubt the most popular and widely used in buildings throughout the world to help the
interior achieve what’s known as Thermal Comfort by preventing the excessive loss of heat and to also prevent the gain of heat if the exterior is warmer than the interior. Thermal Comfort is when an individual like you or I, are comfortable with the interior environment of a building, meaning that we are not too hot and not too cold, it’s when we feel just right. This is not just dependent on thermal insulation, the state of mind that is Thermal Comfort also depends on other factors, mainly heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC for short. An abbreviation used by engineers to ensure the comfort of individuals inside a building.

Thermal insulation plays a big part in this however; there are many types of thermal insulation made from a range of different materials that come in all shapes and sizes. These include Glass Wool (one of the most commonly used) Polystyrene, perlite, plant fibre, wood fibre, animal fibre and even simple materials like soil and concrete. These materials are designed specifically as thermal insulators and are not designed for the purpose of reducing sound pressure, however each of the materials will have some effect on sound due to the dead space being filled with an absorptive material. The use of plant fibre, wood fibre, perlite and other loose insulators are perfect for situations where the empty wall cavity cannot be fully accessed to allow installation of squares of glass fibre for example. Once a small point of accessed is found or created leading into the wall cavity, the loose insulation can then be blown in using specialised equipment. However, a high point of entry towards the top of the wall is recommended allowing the wall to ‘fill up without coming straight out of the hole you’re using – common sense plays a big part here. Once the wall has been filled, the access point can be closed and sealed. In cases where a building doesn’t have a wall cavity, exterior insulation can be used, giving the same effect without disturbing the interior of the building. Cladding or render are the two different types of exterior thermal insulation. Cladding comes in the form of timber panels or shingles, clay or stone tiles and panels made from aluminium. There is also a brick finish available should you not want to lose the traditional appearance of your red brick building. Render can be a little less expensive than cladding, however it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing substance to look at when it’s dried but that’s nothing a few coats of colourful paint can’t handle. It resembles interior plastering, as a cement like substance is smoothed over a wire or fibre mesh attached to the buildings exterior. Once dry it may make the building look like a smooth concrete structure, so it’s definitely recommended that you have a nice light coloured paint to apply as soon as it’s dry.

No matter what your thermal insulation needs are, it’s always recommended to get the advice of an energy saving professional when deciding what type would be best for your project.


Massive Fails: Buildings That Didn’t Live Up To Expectations

Most people expect architects to know what they are doing. After all, their key job is to design buildings that are as functional as they are aesthetically appealing. There have, however, been many buildings that simply did not live up to their expectations. While there were different reasons for these buildings being less than they were designed to be, it does bring up the importance of good building design.

Here is a look at a few buildings that were designed a bit less carefully than they should have been:

Walt Disney Concert Hall

In Los Angeles, California, at Disneyland, you can see the Walt Disney Concert Hall that has sparked many conversations about bad building design.

What makes this a bad design? The building itself is very shiny, and while that may not seem to be a problem, shiny buildings will reflect light. When that light is concentrated into a small area, it can cause a laser reaction.

In short, the concert hall tends to send out laser beams that have been known to blind drivers that are passing by neighbouring traffic lights. The building acts as a huge magnifying glass that can heat up sidewalks in the area to nearly 140 degrees.

In 2005 the issue with the Walt Disney Concert Hall was rectified when the offending panels were buffed to remove the glare.

Lotus Riverside

In Shanghai in 2009, a lovely building complex was created. This complex consisted of 11 different buildings and was situated on the side of the river.

By the time that the complex had finished construction, nearly all of the flats inside were sold and just a few days before the final work was done the building itself fell right over into the river. Apparently, the construction of an underground parking garage next to the building was all that it took to topple it over, completely intact.

As reported on the blog China Realtime Report, an investigation revealed the true cause of the collapse. It was found that the complex collapsed when construction began on an underground garage next to the building. Earth was removed from the location of the garage and dumped into a landfill next to a creek, and the weight of the earth was simply too much for the river bank, which collapsed under the pressure.

John Hancock Tower

The John Hancock Center won an award from the American Institute of Architects when it was built in 1977. Now the tallest building in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, the Centre is a landmark in the United States.

Unfortunately, it is not as safe as many would like. The building apparently has difficulties keeping its windows intact. In fact, those windows tend to topple out and drop to the pavement below the building. When winds picked up just a few years after the building was created, more than 60 of its windows fell to the ground below. Police began roping off the area around the Centre during heavy storms just to protect citizens from falling glass and other debris.

Now, the Center’s windows are fixed firmly in place. One of the architects involved in its construction went on to use the new techniques in his design of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France.


This just goes to show that even the world’s most renowned architects can make mistakes. Not every building ever designed has been perfect, and the chances are that there will be more buildings in the future that need a bit of work.

Whatever you are planning to build, be certain that you are careful in choosing your designs. Always make sure that your designs are created using safety measures to protect both the building and the public from harm.

This article was provided by Flat Pack Houses, one of the UK’s leading websites for flat pack homes for sale. Click here to visit their website and learn more.

Asbestos in Properties: Know The Dangers

If your home predates the year 2000, it could contain asbestos building materials. Widely used in the construction of homes and buildings during the 20th century, asbestos has since been linked with causing mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. So before you take on that new construction or renovation project this year, make sure you know how to handle any pre-existing asbestos in your home to keep you—and your workers—safe:

Where Asbestos Is Found

You may not realise it, but there’s a good chance that your house contains more than one asbestos building product. Asbestos was once a popular means of insulating and fireproofing new buildings, so loose asbestos may be found in lofts, wall cavities, and floor cavities, as well as in painted over pipe lagging that helps to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter months. Asbestos-reinforced resin composite materials were often used in toilet cisterns, while asbestos cement was used to make roof gutters, down pipers, and water tanks in home constructed prior to the 1980s. Other asbestos products to keep an eye out for come in the form of wall panelling, textured coatings for ceilings, door gaskets, roofing, shingles, siding, and vinyl and thermoplastic floor tiles. Even the tile backing could contain asbestos paper.

How to Stay Safe

Building materials that contain asbestos may look identical to those that don’t, making them impossible to detect with the naked eye. For this reason, it is imperative that you hire a trained and qualified professional to take samples from your home for analysis. After reviewing the samples under a microscope, the fibre expert will be able to tell you where asbestos lies in your home and how much there is. This analysis should be carried out prior to your scheduled home renovation.

If asbestos is found in your home, don’t panic. Asbestos products are generally considered to be non-threatening as long as they are left undisturbed in your home. Qualified professionals can help you label and monitor the asbestos-containing products so that they are not disturbed during your scheduled renovation project.

If any asbestos materials are found to have been compromised, they may pose a major risk to your health. Do not try to handle these materials on your own. They should be confiscated by licensed asbestos professionals who wear special protective clothing and respirators to keep themselves safe of breathing in the toxic fibres. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need to temporarily evacuate your home to ensure to reduce your risk of exposure. Symptoms of asbestos exposure may not develop for decades, but if you or someone you know has suffered from an asbestos-related illness as a result of exposure, file an asbestos claim today.

Considering Steel for Home Construction is a Brilliant Idea

If you are planning to construct a building, will you not make it happen in lesser time and also ensure that you don’t end up burning holes in your pocket? As we all know, it takes a lot of time and money to construct a building out of bricks and mortars. In this respect, steel will be a wise substitution. Although it’s true that people rarely choose steel for home construction, the commercial and business sectors today consider steel to be the best material for its unmatched quality. In fact, a lot of homeowners have now started queuing at the online stores to buy steel building kits for their new homes.

According to researches, a lot of homeowners and businessmen have kept steel in the top list since it has been found to safeguard buildings against damages during unfavorable weather conditions. Civil engineers have even asserted that buildings made out of steel are so strong and sturdy that earthquakes will not matter at all.


What makes steel score high as a home construction material?


  • What’s best about steel is that it’s a very light component that doesn’t expand or contract owing to changes in climate.
  • Steel is so sturdy that it’s used to build bridges, churches, workshops, garages etc.
  • In terms of durability and strength, steel unquestionably scores higher.
  • In comparison to other materials used for home construction, steel is less expensive and resistant to fire.
  • The majority of pipelines today are constructed out of steel and therefore helps gases, water and petroleum pass in huge amounts from one place to another.


Who can benefit from steel buildings?


  • Students – There are many students who require workshops where they can work on their projects with ease. In this respect, steel is no doubt the best material that can give rise to a well-built workshop. In fact, steel workshops will allow natural light to come in thereby making it easier for students to accomplish their projects.
  • Employers – Every employer who wishes to run a company with a good number of individuals will always prefer to make his/her workplace cozy and free of dangers. In this respect, a steel building can always serve this purpose.
  • Homeowners – Those who head to buy new homes remain worried about its durability. A building made out of steel in this context will surely stand as the safest and strongest platform for lifetime.


Now, if you wish, you can always go online and look for steel structure items for sale. For this, you can always talk to steel building contractors for help.