Timber frame, modular buildings and conservatory roofs are all growth areas for ACTIS Hybrid
With the Structural Timber Association predicting that the UK timber frame market will account for 27% of new housing by 2017, it’s hardly surprising that sales of ACTIS Hybrid to this sector are on the rise.

Modular buildings such as ecopods, outdoor classrooms and holidays lets as well as entire loft systems are another growth area. And manufacturers of replacement conservatory roof systems, popular among homeowners who realise that life under glass is often either too hot or too cold, are also increasingly choosing ACTIS Hybrid products!

And with the combination of a shortage of housing, rising household numbers and a skills shortage it seems likely that off-site construction could form a larger percentage of the overall build market in the future. Or at least it should, believes ACTIS UK and Ireland director Matthew King.

“Timber frame homes and modular buildings have a typically far shorter construction period than their brick and block equivalents. Creating the panels and associated services offsite is far quicker, while the on-site component requires around 20% fewer labour days than a traditional build. The added benefit that the skilled element (bricklaying for example) represents a smaller percentage of the overall build time frees up more skilled man hours which can be spent on building the next property, and so on,” he explained.

“As well as being largely non-weather dependent, much of the construction, including wiring, plumbing and insulation, takes place off site. Indeed the ACTIS Hybrid system can be installed effectively with ease by someone who has had minimal training. As this three in one system is quicker to install than traditional insulation, with builders reporting time savings of 25 to 50%, this in turn also frees up more man hours.

“New construction methods mean the quality of a closed panel timber frame house is every bit as good – indeed often better in terms of thermal efficiency – than a traditional brick and block construction. So while building these requires fewer skilled workers the lower skill base is not reflected in the final result.”

One timber frame specialist which has switched to the ACTIS Hybrid system is Scandia-Hus, which has built around 4,000 homes across the UK.

It recently installed two products from the Hybrid range in one of its three bedroom show homes and carried out a thermal imaging study before deciding whether to use the system in most of its properties.

Scandia-Hus MD Peter Dawson said: “We were extremely pleased with the installation side of the material and believe that we can reduce insulation installation time by up to 30%. Previously, insulation was installed in two phases - the first in the factory and the second on site after the first fix was complete.

“Due to the use of service voids and the ease of installation the insulation will now generally be installed in one phase on site. This also ensures that the air tightness of the building is not compromised by follow up trades. Other benefits were minimal wastage (just three black sacks) and site cleanliness.”

Modular building company Lancashire-based Pod Living Ltd specialises in designer eco-friendly buildings for schools and hotels and has decided to use the Hybrid system in all its ongoing projects.

“We were so impressed by the performance, not to mention how quick and easy it was to use. We’ll use it from now on in all our pods as it is better, lighter and cheaper than the alternatives.

“We wanted to use eco-friendly insulation products but couldn’t get the U- values we wanted with other green systems.
“ACTIS Hybrid has lots of positives. It’s good for U-values, is very light, environmentally excellent and doesn’t take up much room. It’s very easy to work with, makes no mess and you can cut it with a normal saw. Using this has cut our insulation installation labour time in half.”

Complete loft system manufacturer Trussloft UK Ltd, trading as Moduloft, began using the ACTIS Hybrid system two years ago. It has been so successful it now uses honeycomb insulation Hybris and vapour control layer HControl Hybrid in the bulk of its modular attics.

Moduloft buyer Paul Thompson explained: “The Hybrid system saves time, is easy to use and handle, the cost is comparable to our other alternatives and there’s no wastage.
And the fact that Hybrid is lightweight, cost effective, thermally impressive, clean and easy to install is proving a big draw to companies specialising in replacement solid roof systems.

Since switching to the Hybrid system one customer, York-based Wetheralds, has received LABC Registered Details for its replacement roof system, while another replacement roof system specialist, Sentinel, said it chose Hybrid because it is cost effective, waste efficient, light, easy and quick to install.

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