Press reports that traditional forms of construction, such as masonry, would cease to be viable with the introduction of proposed revisions to Part L (Thermal Performance) of the Building Regulations are uninformed. Masonry will continue to offer practical, straightforward and economic solutions for the construction of energy-conscious buildings.
The BDA is among many construction industry organisations participating in consultation to evaluate the practicality of the proposals and their effects on the design of building detail. The DETR is committed to providing a technical guidance publication on achieving compliance with the new regulations, showing 'robust building details' typical of masonry and framed construction.
A steering group comprising technical advisers from materials and component producers, designers, developers, buildingcontrol consultants and contractors has been working with BRE energy-design specialists to devise 'families' of details that are practical and straightforward to assemble.
Meeting the lower U-values proposed for floors, walls, roofs, doors and windows has been considered. Cold bridging and the risk of condensation around openings and at wall, floor, and roof junctions have been studied using computer modelling techniques.
Meeting the tougher U-values without increasing the overall thickness of the wall might be possible using some of the high performance insulation materials available. However, these do have additional cost implications and thicker walls with wider insulated cavities are more likely to be adopted. In this context it is worth noting that BS Code of Practice for Masonry (BS 5628) has been revised to permit cavity widths of up to 300mm, when using appropriate wall ties.