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Balancing Thermal Performance and Fire-Resistance in Panelised Offsite Construction

Image by Morgan Sindall

The optimum balance of performance in a new building is achieved by controlling the fabric and the interfaces between different building elements.

Historically, construction projects haven’t had a great record of replicating design performance levels in the real world. The performance gap can mean that new buildings consume up to twice as much energy as intended.

This is changing as offsite methods become more widespread.

One of the biggest advantages of panelised offsite methods over traditional construction is that performance characteristics of the fabric are inherent in the panel structure and highly controllable. It’s possible to precisely model building performance at the design stage – including careful control over interfaces – and to replicate the performance in the finished building.

Improved Fire Resistance

In applications where uprated fire performance is essential, the i-FAST System offers many of the same benefits as i-SIP. In addition, the insulation and facing board are both rated A1 non-combustible, Class 0 spread of flame. These elements protect the structural framing and staggered studs used in the panels.

i-FAST panels can be configured to deliver a minimum certified 60 or 90 minutes standalone load bearing fire resistance and integrity.

The i-FAST System achieves the ideal balance of fire protection, thermal and acoustic properties, partly through the performance inherent in the panels and partly through careful control over interfaces to minimise air permeability and thermal bridging losses.

Precise Manufacturing

This balancing act is where the manufacturing process comes into its own. With traditional construction, whatever the design specification might say, there’s limited control over what is done onsite, how plans are interpreted or how thoroughly insulating treatments are applied.

In panelised manufactured construction, design and production are integrated. Panel configurations and interfaces are modelled and assessed to achieve the desired combination of properties. They are then manufactured to fine tolerances exactly as specified .

This precise approach helps to address another important element of fire safety. Interfaces are often where fire safety envelopes break down. Careful modelling and exact replication ensure that interfaces perform exactly as specified to ensure there are no gaps in the fire-safety integrity.

If you’d like to know more about the i-FAST System contact enquiries@innovaresystems.co.uk or take a look at our resource centre.

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