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Rigifoam Latest News

PIR INSULATION: SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION

Categories: Latest News

By Duncan Goldsmith, managing director at Rigifoam

For decades, from the start of insulating the building envelope, specifiers in the industry have often been misled by false claims.

When SANS 204 was introduced, insulation went from being a nice-to-have to a must-have. But many saw this as a getrich-quick opportunity and the new “gold rush” was on. So-called specialists  came out of the wood works with biased claims, multiple products were offered as solutions and more selling was done on what other products can’t do. As more tenants were seeing the financial rewards of reduced energy costs, the drive to insulate gained momentum, but so did the misleading representation of products. As the world gets smaller with the advancement of the  internet and social media platforms, there is a massive data base of technology that is easily shared. This means that false claims can spread quickly, but they can also be discredited by the push of a button. Today we are faced with setting the record straight by educating specifiers about installed values versus laboratory results. Nature’s elements are not all present in the protocols of testing and some product tests vary differently to their actual performance in installed applications. In addition, some test conditions may favour certain products which don’t perform as well in practice. Closed-cell rigid  insulation is a typical what-you-see-is-what-you-get product and wind, moisture and applied thickness do not change its properties. While SANS204 is a great base, it is not fool-proof and needs more out-of-the-box thinking when using products.

ADDRESSING THE COMPRESSION OF INSULATION

For years there has been concern over the compression of bulk (fibrous core) insulation, and ASHRAE 90.1 has been raising awareness about the compression and moisture of insulation products.  In many applications of over purlin, a large portion of the claimed brochure values are lost when the installed thickness doesn’t equal the supplied thickness. A local association has now finally raised this concern to the SABS TC 59 SC01 to have installation methods changed, by requiring the addition of a spacer, in SANS 204:2011 and SANS 10400-XA:2011. The question that  remains to be answered though, is whether this application will compromise the integrity of fastening clips of concealed-clip roof sheeting? A typical practice in the United States of America (USA) for under-roof bulk insulation is a retaining net between rafters and blanket laid between rafters, with no compression. However, the majority of commercial and retail roofs are insulated  externally.

RATIONAL DESIGN VS DEEMED TO SATISFY

When installing insulation, there are two options. Firstly, the deemed-to-satisfy route involves prescriptive values for compliance. These numbers typically favour products with lower insulation  values like bulk insulation and radiant barriers, but have also proven to be overkill when rational designs are carried out, which brings us to the second point. The rational design route involves calculations carried out by a competent person. This formula is set out in 4.2.1 SANS 10400XA, where all layers of the building envelope, including insulation, lighting, orientation of the  building, HVAC design and more, are calculated to determine the maximum energy demand. From numerous case studies, rational designs prove that up to 40% less PIRcored insulation is  required than what is prescribed in the deemed-to-satisfy route.

Rigifoam’s Lambdaboard®, a PIR foam product, installed vertically and horizontally for a fire test.

FIRE SAFETY – GET THE FACTS

Another very important aspect is fire safety. The global construction industry came under scrutiny last year, following the Grenfell Tower fire in the United Kingdom (UK). Lives were lost and  families lost their livelihood, all because of bad practice in retrofitting the building. The British Building Council and fire authorities did their investigations and simulated fire  tests, using  alternative insulation mediums to conclude the cause of spread flame and preventative methods for the future. Unfortunately, while the investigations were still ongoing, biased specialists and opinionated self-claimed experts came to the forefront and voiced their findings without considering all the facts. PIR insulation mediums were baselessly tarnished. Experts gave opinion and presentations on the Grenfell fire and findings before the investigation were concluded, meaning that it wasn’t based on facts or final findings from the fire investigations. PIR foam became the centre of discussion, and it was even mentioned that the cyanide gasses released (at temperatures beyond which a human can survive) were the same gasses used in World War II concentration camps. However, this is not true. For example, Rigifoam’s LAMBDABOARD®, a PIR foam product, passed the NES713 toxicity test and is deemed safe to use in confined areas.

After Building Research Establishment (BRE) completed testing, the common denominator in all failures was found to be the aluminium composite panel (ACM) rain shield, which has a  thermoplastic core. Even non-combustible mineral wool and phenolic failed when used in combination with ACM. When the rain screen was changed to an A2 filler polyethylene core, both mineral wool and PIR insulation passed the test. These findings are set out in a report* from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, dated 22 January 2018, which  highlights the ACM rain shield panel as a fire hazard on buildings over 18m in height. Of the 312 buildings in England on which ACM panels were installed, 299 failed the BS8414 test standard and replacement projects are on the go. PIR foam was not to blame for the spread of fire, in fact, as one of the main parts of the FM test uses a cone calorimeter to test the loss of mass of a material when it is burnt, photographic evidence shows the charred PIR foam still in place.

NON-COMBUSTIBILITY

All materials will combust if the temperature is high enough. What people need to understand, is the make-up of each product and its application. From the BRE tests it can be derived that even  “non-combustible” products will fail if used incorrectly in application. Thermal insulation is exactly that, these products are not fire barriers and some applications require a highly rated fire  membrane to protect the insulation medium. For example, some mediums such as thermoplastics need it in all applications according to international standards. SANS428 also contradicts itself  in a way as the A1 rating and B1 rating have the same outcome in large-scale part 11 – that of “No flame spread <4 000mm”. So while the A certification is non-combustible, a B (combustible)  material has the same rating as far as flame spread is concerned. Some B1 products don’t even combust and after the test still have 100% of the initial volume before the fire, while on the other hand, thermoplastic materials have melted away or fallen to the ground, but again obtain the same rating. Local test procedures and standards are not accepted internationally and the  majority of underwriters don’t acknowledge SANS428, as many products fail the likes of Factory Mutual/DIN and BS tests, but pass local ones. I believe it is time for the industry to adopt  international tests and standards in order to give specifiers a more accurate understanding of the different insulation materials.

The report from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, dated 22 January 2018, is available on request. W&R

 

CORNUBIA MALL: INSULATING THE EXTENSIVE ROOF

Categories: Latest News

The new 85 000m² Cornubia Mall near Mount Edgecombe in KwaZulu-Natal was designed with interconnected, landscaped walkways, park-like spaces and transparent, double-level display  windows to create an open-air shopping experience. Due to the high humidity and hot climate of the area, the choice of insulation was critical and with leading retail tenants such as Pick n Pay,  Virgin Active and Shoprite cognisant of the benefits of excellent insulation, Rigifoam’s LAMBDABOARD® was specified. Not only does it offer excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties, but once installed, the white face of the board requires nothing more.

COMPLYING WITH SPECIFICATION

During the project, Rigifoam representatives assisted with technical enquiries and advice. Lyle Jeffrey, national sales manager of Rigifoam, points out that LAMBDABOARD® is a closed-cell  material and therefore does not absorb moisture, nor is it affected by air movement. “It has the highest R-value, which is one of four key factors that determine the effectiveness of an insulation material, per 25mm of insulation,” he states. “What you buy, you get. There is no reduction in thermal properties over time and no compressing on thickness during installation. “What’s more, it is the only insulation material approved by the Automatic Sprinkler Inspection Bureau (ASIB) to be installed over sprinklers since it does not soften, melt or drip, thereby blocking the sprinklers’  heads as seen with thermoplastics,” he adds.

AN ARCHITECT’S CHOICE

LAMBDABOARD® further affords an aesthetically pleasing ceiling finish, which greatly benefits shop fitting and overall store appeal. “Its green building credentials are proven and therefore it is considered an eco-friendly product,” says Andre Wiese from Bentel Associates International Architects. “The thermal conductivity of LAMBDABOARD®, 0,0024W/m.K at 22°C, means it offers an excellent, stable R-value, thus allowing the tenants to truly take control of their energy costs.”

UP TO THE CHALLENGE

During the installation of the roof, strong winds, rain and handling roofing sheets between 60m and 80m, as well as the sheer size of the roof, challenged the team. However, LAMBDABOARD®’s rigidity and compressive strength eased installation and perfectly integrated with the roof sheeting, while eliminating thermal bridging in the over-purlin design. Throughout the project, Rigifoam provided technical assistance and roofing contractor, Chartwell Roofing, lauded the team’s prompt deliveries and good service and thanked them for contributing to the project being completed on time.

RIGID INSULATION DOUBLES AS CEILING

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To facilitate a comfortable interior for gym members in the brand new Planet Fitness Megaclub in The Club precinct in Hazelwood, Pretoria, architect Tony Hofman specified a rigid insulation  board that could double up as ceiling face. “Rigifoam’s 80mm LAMBDABOARD® was selected for its good insulation properties and the fact that the rigid board can be installed to serve as a ceiling,” Hofman says. Planet Fitness is situated in Die Klubhuis, also the new home of property developer, Atterbury, and features a running track along the perimeter of the entire building. In the gym portion of the building, Cladco installed Rigifoam’s 80mm LAMBDABOARD between purlins under the sheeting with the services suspended below it. To blend with the interior look of the  rest of the gym, the board was painted black.

MAKE-UP AND PERFORMANCE

LAMBDABOARD is a flexible faced polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation board made on a continuous laminator. The PIR core is a thermosetting, closed-cell foam plastic that offers the highest levels of insulation properties. The PIR cored insulation uses a hydrocarbon-based blowing agent which has zero ozone depletion potential, it does not contribute to global warming and complies with  Kyoto Protocol. It is also HCFC- and HFC-free. According to Duncan Goldsmith, managing director of Rigifoam, LAMBDABOARD has the highest R-value per 25mm thickness, therefore the  design U-value of the insulation system can be achieved with a minimum thickness. “This allows the air-conditioning system in the building to operate economically, keeps energy costs as low as possible and decreases the overall footprint of the building,” he concludes.

QUICK-SPEC LAMBDABOARD:

  • Recyclable.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Moisture-resistant, water-repellent.
  • Resistant to solvents used in construction adhesives.
  • Excellent dimensional stability.
  • Good performance in fire tests.
  • Service temperature range from -30°C to 140°C.
  • Thermoset material does not soften or melt.
  • High compressive strength.

– PHOTOS COURTESY OF Hofman Architects –

Rigid insulation doubles as ceiling

Categories: Latest News

To facilitate a comfortable interior for gym members in the brand new Planet Fitness Megaclub in The Club precinct in Hazelwood, Pretoria, architect Tony Hofman specified a rigid insulation board that could double up as ceiling face. “Rigifoam’s 80mm LAMBDABOARD® was selected for its good insulation properties and the fact that the rigid board can be installed to serve as a ceiling,” Hofman says. Planet Fitness is situated in Die Klubhuis, also the new home of property developer, Atterbury, and features a running track along the perimeter of the entire building. In the gym portion of the building, Cladco installed Rigifoam’s 80mm LAMBDABOARD between purlins under the sheeting with the services suspended below it. To blend with the interior look of the rest of the gym, the board was painted black.

Make-up and performance

LAMBDABOARD is a flexible faced polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation board made on a continuous laminator. The PIR core is a thermosetting, closed-cell foam plastic that offers the highest levels of insulation properties. The PIR cored insulation uses a hydrocarbon-based blowing agent which has zero ozone depletion potential, it does not contribute to global warming and complies with Kyoto Protocol. It is also HCFC- and HFC-free. According to Duncan Goldsmith, managing director of Rigifoam, LAMBDABOARD has the highest R-value per 25mm thickness, therefore the design U-value of the insulation system can be achieved with a minimum thickness. “This allows the air-conditioning system in the building to operate economically, keeps energy costs as low as possible and decreases the overall footprint of the building,” he concludes.

Quick spec – LAMBDABOARD:

  • Recyclable.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Moisture-resistant, water-repellent.
  • Resistant to solvents used in construction adhesives.
  • Excellent dimensional stability.
  • Good performance in fire tests.
  • Service temperature range from -30°C to 140°C.
  • Thermoset material does not soften or melt.
  • High compressive strength.

D&D Roof Insulations – ahead of the game

Categories: Uncategorised

D&D Roof Insulations has been making waves in the industry for many years, and continues to reach for the stars…

Lambdaboard, a product that D&D was instrumental in establishing within the South African roof insulation market.

D&D Roof Insulations, a well-known company specialising in roof insulation materials and thermal efficiency, burst onto the scene in 1999, originally as a distributor of Alucushion and Bubble foil products, as well as other foil laminate products. “We primarily specialise in the supply of roof insulation materials,” explains Bryn Doherty, managing director of D&D Roof Insulations. “So,  large-format steel roof structures with steel cladding, roof sheeting, side cladding, and so on – that’s our primary market and where we have been since inception.” Originally the company also  distributed Structaboard but when that organisation closed down, D&D moved on to bigger and better things. “We then moved into assisting with the launch of other new products into the South African market,” says Doherty. “For example, with Isoboard and Lambdaboard, we were instrumental in establishing them both to the South African roof insulation market. In fact in both cases  we were the first to supply their products specifically for over-purlin roof applications.” D&D has supplied into the faced flexible fibre glass market, and in later years established its own brand –  Starlite®, which has grown tremendously over the past 10 to 12 years to be one of the primary roof insulation products in South Africa.

“We also do a host of other glass fibre products which aren’t our Starlite® brand such as Aerolite, Spunbond, Energylite, Cavitybatt, Factorylite and Factoryboard among others. Recently we  launched our own brand of polyester fibre ceiling insulation known as Starfibre™, which is fast becoming a good option for the housing and retro-fit ceiling market.”

“We’re constantly trying to improve, develop and make things better, in all aspects of our business.”
14 APRIL

D&D’s Starlite brand has grown tremendously over the past 10 to 12 years.

Pretoria-based D&D constantly tries to improve, develop and make things better.

How it works D&D Roof Insulations is successful because the company has carved out a niche for itself. Rather than compete with the hundreds of other insulation manufacturers out there, D&D provides a service to manufacturers and specifiers alike. “We have agreements with manufacturers of
various insulation products – some completely exclusive, some not – but we’ve never been a manufacturer. We specialise in the national and export marketing and distribution of all commercially-available roof and ceiling insulation products in South Africa.” “Whereas you have manufacturers who specialise in manufacturing products,” Bryn explains, “They might not have the marketing expertise, technical know-how and distribution  infrastructure, to get their products out there. So, what we do is work on projects right from inception – we work with the architect to evaluate their needs, making sure that the correct product is specified at the start. Then we work together with the quantity surveyors, to make sure that the product is specified correctly in the Bill of Quantities, to the point where we eventually price on the supply of the product to the roofing sub-contractors, of which 95% of them have accounts with us and deal with us on a daily basis.”

“That is where our niche is, that is where our expertise is,” says Doherty. He adds that D&D’s role in the industry is vital as a go-between for manufacturers, architects and quantity surveyors.  Often the success of a project is let down by incorrect specification. Using the right product for the right application is vitally important. “We have a very good relationship with our manufacturers  and suppliers – because of the volumes we do, and because we work on a national basis. We’re a long-term company, very well-established in the market – we’ve grown with the market and we’ve grown with the standards in the market.” D&D is a dedicated founder member of the Thermal Insulation Products and Systems Association of South Africa (TIPSASA), and is committed to helping that organisation, and others, perfect and bolster the standards that govern the industry. “Years ago, there was a major issue with the fire performance of most roofing insulation products  in South Africa with regard to inadequate legislation in the National Building Regulations,” Doherty explains. “At that stage, to help the industry, we flew over to the UK and visited the British Standards Institution laboratories outside London, where we evaluated their facilities and brought a lot of that information back to South Africa, all at our own cost. We then worked closely with the CSIR’s fire laboratories and assisted in the construction of the first, large-scale SANS 428 fire testing facility in South Africa.” Doherty explains that, not only is D&D committed to providing an  excellent service to the industry, but the company is also committed to helping the industry improve, grow and create a sustainable energy efficient environment that promotes the fight against global warming, carbon footprints and establishing renewable energy sources. “We constantly try to improve, develop and make things better, in all aspects of our business.”

“So, large-format steel roof structures with steel cladding, roof sheeting, side cladding and so on – that’s our primary market and where we have been since inception.”

– All images courtesy of D&D Roof Insulation –

RATIONAL DESIGN LEADS TO COST SAVING ON REFURBISHMENT

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Not only did a rational design approach dictate a significant saving on the amount of insulation required for East Point, but in doing so, it enabled the developer and owner, SA Corporate Real Estate Fund, to direct capital expenditure to other areas where it made a bigger difference in getting the best energy return for the whole building.

According to the architect, Jeffrey Cole, the problem arose from a technical challenge faced by the professional team. “In preparing the feasibility for the project, the project Quantity Surveyor had allowed for 135mm thick fibreglass wool type insulation as per the deemed-to-satisfy compliance of SANS 10400XA. What had not been allowed for was the additional structure required to support the roof sheeting over the 135mm insulation without compressing such, and thereby negatively affecting its performance,” Cole states. “The only option left to the team was to look at board type insulation, but the cost of compliant, deemed-tosatisfy, 80mm Lambdaboard® was again beyond the budget constraints of the project. The only solution was to undertake a rational design on the building in order to reduce the thickness of insulation required and thereby the cost,” he explains