The UK is at the beginning of one of its biggest ever housebuilding programmes. BEWI Insulation wants to change the way they are built , and also revolutionise bathrooms up and down the country. Michael Hailwood, Director of BEWI, underlines the impact XPS and EPS could have on the industry.
BEWI Insulation manufacturers a comprehensive array of polystyrene products for construction, roofing, domestic and industrial applications, and is hoping to revolutionise the house building industry in the UK; just like it has contributed to on the continent in mainland Europe.
It is seeking to make some of its products central to the UK Government’s long promised housing construction boom, both in building the homes themselves, and then, specifically for its UK division’s JACKOBOARD brand, their bathrooms.
In the UK houses have largely been built the same way for years. Dig a hole, hope the weather stays dry, fill it with concrete, start building upwards using a wood frame, concrete or brick. Nowadays there is a quicker way.
To again go back to basics, the company supplies specifically designed and ready-made polystyrene bases for homes which can be easily assembled on site, and provide good compressive strength, dimensional stability, moisture resistance, and rot resistance. It is also, provides highly efficient insulation. This range is under the JACKODUR Atlas stable
The property’s walls can be built in similar fashion. Structurally supported concrete core filled EPS polystyrene blocks provide instant insulation, are waterproof and help to meet Passivhaus and beyond building requirements which are seen as the future of home construction. This brand is THERMOMUR
Director of BEWI and responsible for the JACKOBOARD brand, Michael Hailwood, said: “This new method of home construction is just getting traction in the UK while elsewhere in Europe, particularly Germany and Scandinavia, it has increasingly becoming the norm. One of the obstacles is informing architects and construction companies in order for them to have the fullest product knowledge to break with tradition and change from building homes the way they always have in the past.”
“Companies can often be resistant to change. In terms of cost the two methods are largely the same, the difference is the speed of construction. Using the new method not only do you have instantly better insulated homes, they can be constructed in a fraction of the time, which is where the major profit benefits come from.”
While the home building technique is new to the UK market, JACKOBOARD has been in the UK since 2012 and is increasingly growing its share of the market. It uses polymer cement coated polystyrene to build the bathrooms of the future.
Mr Hailwood said: “Traditionally, most bathrooms are constructed with plasterboard prior to tiling. However, plasterboard is relatively heavy, retains moisture, needs to be protected from water, can only bear 32kg of weight per metre. Tiling can often far exceed that weight restriction; when you add the weight of the tiles, adhesive and grout, it limits the tile options and in 95% of cases, while the tiles are waterproof, the grout isn’t, merely water resistant. It is relatively heavy for builders to move about and is really a product of a bygone age.”
“However, JACKOBOARD solves all those problems. Finished on both sides with a special coating, it is waterproof, ready to be tiled, rendered or plastered. It has excellent thermal insulation properties, is light, easy to cut and transport, and solves all the traditional problems of bathroom construction. It is also ideal for bathroom flooring and has a number of the same advantages over cement board or MgO board.”
The uses of JACKOBOARD do not end with walls and floors. The company also produces an array of products, from shower trays to seating, washstands and niche-shelf-partition walls.
“Again, the challenge we have faced is getting builders to change their habits but when they use it the benefits are immediate,” said Mr Hailwood. “There is competition in the marketplace, but we know we have the best product. JACKOBOARD is currently made in Germany at one of JACKON’s XPS manufacturing centres”
XPS solutions with innovative force
JACKON Insulation was founded in 1987. With more than 300 employees today, the company is rightly regarded as one of the leading suppliers of XPS solutions in Europe.
The company’s production facilities are located in Mechau, Germany, whilst product management, sales and marketing functions are handled from Steinhagen, Germany.
BEWI Insulation operates under the 1956-founded JACKON Group, a family owned industrial group based in Fredrikstad, Norway. The group, boasting 850 employees in 21 factories located in six countries, and sales organisations in most north European countries, has an annual turnover of more than €400 million.
Polystyrene insulation – comes in many forms. Discussing the endless variations of polystyrene with an expert – EPS, XPS, OPS, PS-I to name but a few – can soon land you in alphabet soup. In summary, it comes in hundreds of different forms and is used in everything from yoghurt pots to the International Space Station.
As a derivative of oil, no-one would pretend polystyrene is perfect from an environmental standpoint. But how the material is used by JACKON, said Mr Hailwood, means its carbon footprint – more to the point, it’s lack of one over the long term – gives the company an edge in the marketplace.
“It is not a single use plastic, every time someone opens the bathroom door it is being re-used, and the insulation properties mean it saves more energy than was used to make it,” he said.
“It is long-lasting, we use recycled plastics in its construction and, as the manufacturer, we can ensure 100% of the waste is captured on site. Once it leaves the warehouse, we are then reliant on builders disposing of unused pieces and waste responsibly and there are recycling centres which accept it.”
“Polystyrene could soon be coming to a home near you!”
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