Using weberwall brick to help exceed Future Homes Standard – part one: the factory process

As a company that wants to make a difference in the world of lightweight construction, sustainability drives everything we do at Saint-Gobain Weber. 

Here, in the first of a two-part series, Kelvin Green, senior product marketing manager at Weber, discusses why weberwall brick has been installed by offsite manufacturer LoCaL Homes on an affordable housing development for Platform Housing Group.

MMC weberwall brick at LoCaL Homes

We designed weberwall brick to bridge the requirements between a traditional finish and the speed and efficiency provided by modern methods of construction (MMC). 

Proven to use up to 67% less energy during the construction process and reduce up to 80% of waste compared to alternative methods, MMC is gaining widespread traction throughout the construction industry. 

More and more clients are moving towards more sustainable methods of construction, recognising that offsite and MMC provide a way forward as pressure to build more affordable housing continues to rise.

MMC for affordable housing

One of those clients is Platform Housing Group, which builds around 1,600 new homes every year. 

Having worked with leading offsite housing manufacturer LoCaL Homes on a number of projects previously, Platform Housing partnered with the company to develop 41 affordable energy-efficient homes on London Road in Kirton, Lincolnshire.

The development, comprising a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, includes six bungalows built to meet the Future Homes Standard set to come into force in 2025 – a first for Platform Housing Group.  

This was achieved by designing the homes using fabric first principles, resulting in the buildings requiring considerably less energy. 

LoCaL Homes’ designs focus on three key elements to achieve energy efficiency and thermal performance: U-values; airtightness; and thermal bridging.

The bungalows were made using the ECO200 system, which is a low-carbon closed timber frame panel system with factory fitted triple-glazed windows, PV panels on the roof and air source heat pumps. The remaining 35 houses in this project have been constructed using the manufacturer’s ECO100 timber frame.

The ECO100 and ECO200 homes will achieve U-values of 0.25W/m2K and 0.15W/(m²K) respectively.

Blending traditional with modern

Although clients are more open to MMC, many still want new build homes to have a traditional appearance. In fact, around 70% of the UK’s new homes are built with a brick façade. 

Therefore, while the industry wants to embrace MMC, it’s clear to see that there is still a demand for a traditional type of finish.

This is something Platform Housing wanted to achieve, which was made possible by weberwall brick. It provides clients with something that looks traditional but represents the way of the future because it’s a modern method of construction. 

Platform Housing opted for weberwall brick for two of its bungalows and four of its houses. They chose Special Buff weberwall brick for the bungalows and Special Red weberwall brick for the houses. Both were finished with Cotswold weberwall brick pointing mortar to match the other properties on the development, ensuring that the whole site was in keeping with the local area to meet planning requirements. 

Ease of application

For LoCaL Homes, the benefit of using weberwall brick is that it works seamlessly with its ECO closed panel system and can be installed in the company’s factory in Walsall. 

LoCaL Homes’ staff were trained by Weber’s applications team in how to apply weberwall brick – which can be installed up to three times faster than traditional brick slip.

A layer of weberwall brick external adhesive was applied directly onto the panels, followed by a weber standard meshcloth, and a second pass of the adhesive to encapsulate the mesh and secure the weberwall brick.

The precise setting out method is supplied, enabling projects to be priced accurately with very little wastage. Lasers were used in the factory to ensure accuracy when applying.

Once the weberwall brick panels had been fixed, weberwall brick pointing mortar was applied.

The benefits of using weberwall brick

Not only is weberwall brick quicker to install, but it is lightweight, non-hazardous, and easy to cut. To help the application process become even more efficient, we’ve developed several pre-designed elements including corner wraps, soldier courses, and stretcher header courses. This not only improves the installation but also makes the brick effect look more authentic. 

For LoCaL Homes, another benefit of keeping all elements of the build within the factory is the ability to buy product and store it in secure, weather tight facilities which helps to maintain a steady flow of products. 

These homes in Kirton provide an excellent example of how traditional finishes can be expertly integrated with MMC. 

Read the second part of this blog series to find out how the homes were completed on site. 

Part one: the factory process

weberwall brick Using weberwall brick to help exceed Future Homes Standard Part one: the factory process

Part two: Site Installation - coming next week!

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