Hassle-free insulated precast concrete flooring


With three key projects under the spotlight, we hear more about Spantherm – the innovative insulated precast concrete ground-floor system that is being adopted by a growing number of housebuilders and developers

Spantherm is an insulated precast concrete ground flooring system. By producing high performance insulated structural concrete units offsite, Creagh has redefined the speed of installing a fully insulated ground-floor. This is the next generation of structural flooring systems, designed as the efficient alternative to labour-intensive beam and block installations.

Spantherm thermally efficient flooring has been utilised at a housing development in Warmington, Peterborough. The new development is being built by NRI Civils, who choose Spantherm as it is designed specifically for use at ground-floor level in residential and small-medium sized commercial projects. They opted for the work to be completed by Creagh’s expert fitting team, requiring no labour from them and saving them time onsite.

Improve efficiencies and reduces labour

Insulated precast concrete,Adam Moody, contracts manager for NRI Civils, said: “We chose Spantherm because one of the things that we are looking for as a business is to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, reduce labour and time onsite and when you’ve got a difficult site, where you’re struggling for storage, that’s exactly where Spantherm is perfect.”

Housebuilders are increasingly exploring the opportunities for new ideas to reduce labour onsite and boost efficiency in the build and it makes sense that they start with the ground-floor. Spantherm is installed in just minutes – not days.

The initial appeal of Spantherm’s insulated precast concrete is clear, as a typical floor on a detached house or a pair of semi-detached homes is fitted onsite in less than two hours. Once in place and grouted, the floor achieves its full structural capability within 72 hours; however, building activity can commence on perimeter walls within 24 hours.

“The team have been absolutely fantastic with the support we get,” adds Adam.

“Anything that we need to discuss with them, they are always on hand, so we have a great relationship. We will definitely be using Spantherm again to help our optimum goal of achieving better efficiency and reducing costs and labour times.”

Easy installation with Spantherm’s insulated precast concrete flooring

Spantherm has also been used to great effect at a housing development in North Muskham, Nottinghamshire, where a new homes development is being built by Geda Construction. With no additional site works or laying out required, a typical 90m² floor can be installed in just 90 minutes and provides level base without camber for timber frame or block construction.

Installation is not affected by adverse weather conditions and secondary screeds with extended drying times are not required. Spantherm is designed to reduce cold bridging at wall/floor junctions making an important contribution to Part L performance. Spantherm is available in three performance options designed to boost your building’s performance within SA and can achieve U-value as low as 0.11W/m2K. It is also a fabric first solution, integrating structural concrete with expanded polystyrene insulation. The tightly butted units lock in the thermal performance efficiently across the slab.

“Geda used Spantherm to push the project along as its one operation that just makes it so much quicker and easier to facilitate onsite,” said Shaun Wormall, site manager for Geda.

“We are impressed on the installation of the slabs and the time that it saves us onsite. From a site management point of view, it’s been really good, Creagh has been very responsive and the production timescales and installation has been quick and painless. We would definitely use Spantherm again, brilliant product, well-managed and well-run.”

Increases productivity and enhances health and safety on site

Spantherm is also being utilised at a new Insulated precast concrete,housing development in Stapleford, Nottingham, and the developer is delighted with the results.

Malcolm Flinn, director of Stapleford Oaks, states: “I chose Spantherm because it’s labour saving, has made life easier for me, and it’s quick, efficient and clean”.

An increasing number of builders in Great Britain are switching from traditional beam and block builds as its significantly reducing labour onsite. Using Spantherm increases productivity and enhances health and safety onsite. It minimises waste and vehicle movements are reduced, all contributing to overall environmental benefits.

“I would use Spantherm again because the block and beam method takes so many more men and machines onsite, and takes a lot longer to lay. It also leaves a lot of work for the bricklayers to do at floor level. With Spantherm we are in and building off it almost straight away” stated Malcolm.


Against brick walls: Metal-faced composite panels for construction

Modern Methods of Construction are a new broom sweeping through the UK building sector, with traditional brick walls starting to get brushed aside, according to a growing number of industry players

At a time when the majority in the sector are exploring alternative methods and materials, some companies are already experienced at using metal-faced composite panels for construction across a growing number of industry sectors.

Phil Montgomery, account manager at Hemsec, a leading manufacturer of such panels, says: “If the masses could see the ease of build and associated benefits when using composite panels then a growing number of builders would question the use of traditional building materials such as brick and block.”

Key structural uses: Panels made of steel and PIR

Composite foam injected PIR panels are ideal for products such as standard or bespoke classroom modules, toilet blocks and other educational annexes.  Schools are able to order with different configurations and finishes, greatly speeding up delivery and construction time. Blocks of flats, homes and commercial buildings are also being built using these panels.

Hemsec is known for working in partnerships with building designers and construction companies, so it becomes relatively simple for companies to work to highly cost-effective programmes.

Hemsec’s composite panels form an integral part of modular building methods, creating a strong, well-insulated and thermally efficient structure, which is also aesthetically pleasing. Although some customers are reluctant to move away from traditional building methods, the advantages are clear, especially in a transforming market where requirements change regularly.

The benefits of insulated panels v traditional methods

Speed of assembly

“The number one advantage is speed of assembly,” says Phil Montgomery. “The time on site is so much shorter and it can be programmed with confidence because it’s not weather-dependent. In the main, most modular buildings are constructed offsite in purpose-built factories, leaving minimal installation when the product goes to site.

“For example, a modular block of single-unit flats takes about 16-17 weeks as opposed to a year for traditional methods of construction, which is a huge advantage.

“Less time on site means more money made. It has always been a challenge to make money in construction, and any builder who can see a way of making more profit is going to find panels a good proposition. The fact that they also lead to better quality, more thermally efficient buildings, surely makes it a viable decision to start using these materials.”

Quality and safety of the build

Improved build quality is a major advantage, according to Phil Montgomery. The company’s customers report a tendency towards far fewer complaints from the end-users of panel-constructed buildings, probably because a panel doesn’t move once erected, therefore there is little or no chance of cracking. Water ingress is also highly unlikely to occur due to the panel’s physical closed-cell structure.

When it comes to safety, Hemsec is constantly testing its panels to a higher degree than almost anywhere else in the world, not only for fire performance, but also strength and adhesion. All the company’s panels hold a CE certificate and its SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) also hold the European Technical Assessment (ETA).

Phil Montgomery puts this into the construction context: “We have always been very strong in the refrigeration industry and our future in the construction markets is to diversify; there is an urgent need to provide low-energy, affordable buildings in the UK and Europe, and through our work with industry heads and influencers, we believe composite panels are a strong part of the solution.

“The CE accreditation and the SIPs’ additional ETA are critical to our ability to supply into this sector because the need to prove the safety case is absolute.”

Aesthetics and wellbeing

There is still an outdated notion that a building constructed using composite panels may appear like an ugly prefabricated house from the 1950s and 60s, but this could not be further from the truth. It is impossible to tell the difference between a panel-built house and one made of brick and plaster today.

“Anything you can build traditionally, you can build using modular methods,” says Chris Griffin, Hemsec’s commercial manager.

“I would go further and say they allow architects more flexibility to build even more creatively than with traditional methods. Since panels are thin but strong, the internal dimensions of a building are considerably larger and this gives the building’s occupants more space. This, in turn, leads to greater wellbeing.

“It’s also easier to make homes and factories accessible to those with disabilities and to be really creative about how a building looks because the panels are so flexible.”

Thermal efficiency

The greatest advantage to society of using insulated panels to create a building’s structure is its thermal efficiency and excellent U-value.

With global warming being a topic that’s not going to go away, it’s becoming imperative to consider ways of making buildings exponentially better insulated. Considering these panels are essentially the same as those used for creating cold stores and refrigeration units, it’s not difficult to grasp that they are equally efficient at keeping cold out and heat in.

This means buildings are much cheaper to heat, too – surely a huge boon for lower-paid householders and companies where making a profit is only going to get harder in the face of global competition.

Further details and to contact www.hemsec.com or 0151 426 7171


Owen Jones

Marketing Developer


Tel: +44 (0)151 426 7171

[email protected]


Twitter: HemsecPanels


Please note: this is a commercial profile.


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New street lights for Telford will save £500,000

New energy-efficient street lights will save Telford and Wrekin half a million pounds and pay for themselves within the first year, according to the borough’s transport chief.

The installation of the LED bulbs is part of a £34million roads upgrade package, contained within the council’s 2019-21 transport budget, which will also see £12.5million spent on road repairs.

The street light switchover will cost a one-off £437,000 with £100,000-a-year maintenance.

The two-year capital programme report, written by highways delivery manager Dominic Proud and contained within the borough’s service and financial plan, will be discussed by councillors this week.

Mr Proud writes: “The council’s new street lighting contract is supported by a major two-year £5.3million investment in upgrading street lighting to LEDs across the borough, helping to reduce our energy costs by nearly half a millions pounds per annum and improve the quality of lighting at the same time. This programme is now close to completion.”

The 2019-21 transport capital plan also includes £5.4million on structures maintenance. and £1.5million for the upkeep of footpaths and £970,000 for drainage maintenance.

Mr Proud writes: “The New Town status of Telford means that much of the infrastructure is deteriorating at a similar rate and is now coming to the end of its useful life.” Spending now, he argues, will prevent the need arising for more drastic work and emergency repairs in the future.

Telford and Wrekin Services, who have been the borough’s highways maintenance contractor for 18 years, will hand the job over to Balfour Beatty Living Places on April 1.

Mr Proud writes: “The new contract will provide significant benefits through better performance management, a focus on getting things right first time as well as providing £1.4m of savings over the course of the contract.

“In addition to this the contract will bring significant social value benefits including growing the current workforce from 14 to 31 full-time equivalents, providing three apprenticeships and one graduate placement.”

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

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Council explains reasons for £45 million street light replacement plan

Bradford Council has revealed more details of why it is planning to spend £45 million replacing the district’s 60,000 street lights in a time of austerity.

Last year the Council announced that it will be replacing every street light in the district with modern, energy efficient LED lighting over the next five years.

The announcement was made on the same day the authority revealed it would be making £13.5 million in savings in 2019-20 and a further £19.9 million in cuts in 2020-21. The news that the street light programme would cost £45 million, at a time when cuts were being made to libraries and other public services, raised a few eyebrows.

A new report released by the Council sheds more light on the costly project. It says the change will reduce the amount of energy used by the district’s streetlights by 65 per cent, saving around £2 million a year.

The report also reveals the company that makes the low pressure sodium lamps that are used in 35,000 of the District’s street lights will cease manufacturing them next year.

It will go before Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee next Tuesday.

Members will be told that part of the funding for the project will be provided from Salix Finance – an organisation dedicated to providing interest free loans for energy saving measures to the public sector. They will provide a £13.189m loan.

The remaining funding, £32.4m, will be provided from Prudential Borrowing.

According to the report: “The project has been assessed over a 50 year period with modest inflation applied

to the costs of energy which is projecting a total saving in energy of £166.5M along with a maintenance saving of £23.6m giving a total saving of £189.13m over 50 years.”

As well as replacing every street light with LED lighting, 17,000 street light columns will be replaced as part of the project.

Members of the committee will be told that the new lighting will effectively be “smart lighting” able to report faults or damage when they occur.

It says the lights will also have a much longer life than the existing lanterns, meaning they will require less maintenance.

Councillors will also be told that the changes are vital in the face of rising energy costs.

The report says: “In view of the projected energy cost increases, in terms of options a do nothing approach would merely leave the Council with increased budget pressures at a time when central government grants are diminishing.”

The meeting takes place in City Hall at 5.30pm.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

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