The Precast Flooring Federation
60 Charles Street
Leicester LE1 1FB T: 0116 253 6161 F: 0116 251 4568 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Precast Flooring Federation
Achieving Code level Five with Concrete and Masonry (Concrete Centre Publication)
Tarmac Homes Project
A new introduction video is available discussing the Tarmac Homes project. A landmark initiative between Tarmac and its partners Lovell Partnerships and the University of Nottingham's School of the Built Environment, which will demonstrate to the UK housebuilding industry that low and zero-carbon homes can be built easily and affordably using traditional masonry materials and techniques.
To view the video and more about the project on Building's website click here.
If you have a question relating to the Code for Sustainable Homes, please contact us. We will then publish frequently asked questions, along with their answers, on this page.
Cracking the Code
On 13 December 2006, the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) - a national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes - was launched. Since then, several guides have been published, links for which can be found on the left of this page. The Code augurs well for the increased use of precast.
One of the main aims of the Code is to limit emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere arising from the operation of a dwelling and its services. In this respect, the use of concrete for floors increases the thermal mass of a building and hence its efficiency in stabilising internal temperature and reducing the need for heating or air conditioning.
In the Code, credits are awarded based on the use of building elements with higher grades than the mandatory level, and many concrete elements, such as blockwork cavity walls and suspended concrete floors, achieve the highest ratings in the Building Research Establishment’s ‘Green Guide’. The use of byproducts and recycled materials such as ground granulated blast furnace slag (ggbs), pulverised fly ash (pfa), and recycled aggregates can be used to improve the rating. The latter are all used by PFF member companies in producing flooring components.
Two PFF member companies – Forterra and Tarmac – have been independently demonstrating what can be achieved as regards creating homes that are green and sustainable. Forterra's EcoHouse (pictured right) was the first masonry-constructed house to achieve Code Level 4 under the Code for Sustainable Homes. It brings together the latest developments in offsite masonry construction, thermal mass and natural ventilation. Built in 2007 for the BRE’s Offsite exhibition, it demonstrated the use of products and how they can reduce the environmental impact of masonry and concrete construction. The project used masonry panels manufactured offsite, bringing the joint benefits of speed of construction and little or no site wastage, and features prestressed hollowcore floors, precast concrete staircase and a sustainable urban drainage system using the Aquaflow system. The concrete for the foundations and precast flooring used blended cements containing both pfa and ggbs as well as recycled aggregates, while the bricks and blocks all had more than 50 per cent recycled content. Results from two years of testing showed that the Forterra EcoHouse had exceeded all performance expectations and proved that the benefits of thermal mass can be provided in a house built from traditional masonry and concrete construction. The combination has created a house which can store heat in winter and remain cool in summer, aided by the natural ventilation system integral to the design.
Tarmac's Level 4 and Level 6 Homes
In a test-bed initiative led by Tarmac at Nottingham University, two homes have been built - one to Code Level 4 and the other to Code Level 6 (the Government’s ‘zero carbon’ target for all new homes by 2016). Both properties are traditional, semi-detached homes built using brick and block materials to maximise the design contribution of the building fabric and minimise heat loss to reduce the energy demand.
To deliver greater thermal mass, the ground floors of both properties were constructed using preformed expanded polystyrene (EPS) infill panels between and beneath precast concrete floor beams. The floor is finished with a structural concrete topping and the completed ground floor construction can achieve U-values as low as 0.10W/m2K.