Week 12: Taking steps forward

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 12: Taking steps forward

When I arrived on site this morning Alex and Robbie were busy fixing up the new guttering, a Lindab galvanised steel square guttering system, chosen for long life. There are plenty of jobs still to be done outside – the bulk of the remaining work is external.

Fan test number 4

Another air test was carried out early this week, and we’ve now got the results down to 1.43ach @ 50Pa. You might remember that last week’s fan test had flagged up the damage caused to the air tight layer by replacing the lintels, so the team had lots to do carefully resealing the air tight membrane on the wall to the one on the roof to ensure a complete envelope around the building.

This test was carried out at night after the shop below had shut at 8pm.  We carried out another test in the morning when the shop was open. When we say open we mean literally ” open” as they leave the door open all day unless its below freezing. The result here of 1.46 ach @50Pa is so similar that it means the leakage between the two halves: Office above, Shop below, is minimal. Great news as it suggests we can test the two separately without too much penalty from cross leakage.  Our work on sealing and insulating the Office floor (mostly for noise and fire issues) is bearing fruit!

Walking around the building during these air tests showed us that there are still some issues with air getting in around the windows on the outside of the wall, despite the big improvement thanks to the cavity fill. These will also need careful sealing on the outside to the existing external render, and we hope to finish this this week. Another problem area is the small PVC window at the top of the stairs – it’s still the original window, as problems with being able to order the right sill mean there’s a delay in getting the Munster PVC window in, and despite being carefully taped up, the old window remains a source of unwanted drafts.

This window is really starting to hold things up now, as the team need to be certain that the air tight layer has been completely achieved and all the problems resolved before they can start to put up the external insulation.


The Neopor arrives!

At last the correct insulation has been delivered! The Neopor is on site and ready to go up once the air tight issues have been resolved. However, even this delivery didn’t go smoothly. Our Site Foreman Alex noticed that the Neopor was labelled with a u-value of 0.038 – we needed it to be 0.030 and no more, so he wasn’t prepared to accept the delivery. It took phonecalls to the manufacturers to establish that the material really did have a u-value of 0.030, and had been mislabelled, before it could be unloaded and stored (additionally the labels were on the inside of the packaging rather than the outside, just to further complicate matters).

There are a couple of really interesting points here. On the plus side, Alex’s eagle eye demonstrates the vital importance of good communication and a team who are totally on board and working well together in delivering an EnerPHit build. On a less positive note, it’s frustrating to discover issues as preventable as mislabelling of materials when you think about the already considerable challenges ahead in mainstreaming low energy building.

There are several outstanding jobs before the external insulation can go up: finishing the outside doors and the shop windows, and of course checking everything is sealed and establishing the airtight layer. If the final airtightness is good, the Neopor can be dabbed on, ensuring a good seal at top and bottom. If the result is not so good, then the wall will have to be rendered all over and the Neopor fully sealed to it.

neopor delivery rs