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Housing takes on 21-century form

The government is calling for a 21st-century housing stock, housebuilders want 21stcentury levels of building efficiency, and homeowners are demanding 21st-century standards of comfort.

Insulating formwork, a combination of concrete and polystyrene, could be the way forward.

One such building system is Polarwall, which offers levels of design flexibility and construction standards that its manufacturer (also Polarwall) claims are unrivalled. Used throughout the US for domestic and commercial construction, Polarwall provides high levels of thermal and acoustic insulation, structural strength, fire resistance and fast, efficient construction.

It is based on a method of construction known as insulating formwork (ICF) or permanent insulating formwork (PIF). This consists of a sandwich of polystyrene panels in-between which concrete is poured. Any exterior finish can be applied to the panels, from render to fixed brick or timber cladding.

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