Focus on whole build systems, not products - NBT

Focus on whole build systems, not products - NBT

As construction delivery chain roles have become more fragmented, a lack of joined up thinking has meant that disparate elements of a project don’t always work effectively as a whole, says Andrew Mitchell, managing director of Natural Building Technologies.

This article was originally published in issue 30 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €10, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge

A primary example of this is the critical interfaces between different building envelope elements, particularly structural, acoustic and thermal elements.

Unresolved aspects of the design are often ‘discovered’ during the construction process, leading to delays, waste and bad solutions that can result in significantly increased costs and poor final results.

But the elements within the envelope build-up can only deliver their designed performance if the interface is fully-integrated to prevent thermal bridging and heat loss. If the interfaces are not as robust and well-detailed as they appear on paper, we lose the opportunity for creating more thermally efficient and airtight buildings, while adding significant construction cost through increased time, increased material waste, and failures that can lead to costly snagging.

For some, part of the answer is modular construction and NBT is involved with a number of modular specialists, creating envelope solutions that deliver real, measurable thermal performance, without compromising the integrity of the building or the health of the occupier.

There are also lessons to be learned from the modular approach for the less uniform world of on-site construction. NBT has been pioneering this philosophy by providing new build ‘systems’, as opposed to single product offerings, for the building envelope. These consider the full foundation to wall to roof build-ups for different types of construction, and provide a total solution for the interface design, with an inclusive package of products to cover everything required for consistent installation.

NBT has developed numerous complete interface details to ensure that specific design expertise is invested in the interface.

The company’s systems include solutions for brick clad timber frame structures as well as cross-laminated timber, steel and concrete designs with both clad and rendered external finishes. The company has also developed interface systems for both flat and pitched roof, and foundation build-ups. Next up the company is planning to launch a new raft foundation system to complete the thermal envelope. For more see