Over the past 100 years, through-wall construction has probably never seen such a period of significant change as what it has experienced in recent years. Traditional products that have become ingrained in building practices now require adapting because of changes to standards and performance requirements – most notably in relation to fire and thermal. John Taylor, Technical Director at Euroform, discusses the importance of continued product innovation to ensure that popular methods of modern construction – particularly facades in high rise buildings – can still be used.
Following changes to Part L of Building Regulations (England and Wales) surrounding the conservation of fuel and power and Approved Document B in relation to fire safety, there has been a renewed focus on the combustibility and thermal performance of building fabrics. Insurance companies have also tightened their approach and introduced new stipulations which dictate fire strategy. These changes have been welcomed by the industry in the best interest of safety and sustainability, but a new standard has been established for manufacturers and specifiers to comply with.
Building board specialist, Euroform, has responded to these market changes with the launch of A2 Versapanel®… a market-leading cement particle board which has been independently tested in accordance with BS EN 13501-1 and certified as a Euroclass A2 product.
A class of its own
Versapanel® is a widely specified product in building envelope applications and is long established in the market, proven to perform acoustically and deliver exceptional performance in the presence of moisture – cut edges do not require sealing to prevent degradation. In response to market demand for a simplified route to limited combustibility, Euroform has invested in the development of A2 Versapanel® to deliver enhanced fire performance.
The Euroclass A2 certification confirms the high mass and robust exterior lining of the boards is of limited combustibility when exposed to fire conditions.
As compared with standard Versapanel®, the new A2 Versapanel® delivers superior pull out resistance, with comparative tests demonstrating a marked improvement on an already very good performance. Offering superior mechanical performance as compared with exterior gypsum boards, A2 Versapanel® also helps to improve the air tightness of facades when sealed at joints. A wide range of finishes can be applied over A2 Versapanel®, including insulated render systems, terracotta cladding systems, high performance cladding systems and traditional brick coursework.
The launch of A2 Versapanel® is also timely for the construction industry. The simplified route to revised Approved Document B compliance is seeing many developments specify insulation materials which offer limited or non-combustibility – which place additional demands on the performance of the building boards in through-wall build-ups.
In the thick of it
The move to use materials of limited-combustibility in construction, particularly in high-rise buildings has resulted in the specification of heavier and thicker mineral-based external wall insulation. The industry has become accustomed to using light-weight building boards but building boards with a higher mass and robust exterior lining are often required to secure increased volumes of insulation.
A2 Versapanel® is an ideal solution as it offers enhanced mechanical performance and pull out resistance for help attaching insulation. In addition to mechanical strength, A2 Versapanel® also has excellent acoustic properties, which assists developers in constructing buildings which promote occupant comfort by minimising sound transfer from external noise sources.
From a handling perspective, A2 Versapanel® is supplied as standard in 2400mm x 1200mm boards in 10mm and 12mm thicknesses. The product can be cut to size on-site or provided in a pre-fabricated kit to simplify installation processes. CE marked according to BS EN 13986:2004+A1:2015, A2 Versapanel® has been independently tested as A2-s1,d0 reaction to fire according to BS EN 13501-1: 2007+A1:2009.