Mark Crowsley of Cellecta discusses the continued need for large new schools to install underfloor heating floating floor solutions that achieve excellent acoustic performance as well as efficiency
Schools can be noisy environments – excessive background noise, loud corridors, and adjoining rooms with differing sound requirements equate to a bigger conundrum than that of separating floors and walls in apartments. Get this wrong and it can affect concentration and levels of learning.
Utilising the stipulations laid out in both Building Bulletin 93 and Part E of the Building Regulations, manufacturers are able to put forward a suitable solution that can answer a multitude of situations. The key questions for such projects in terms of underfloor heating systems include:
- how is the building’s structure constructed?
- what are the requirements for each room and separating element?
- is the underfloor heating system suitable for activity in the room, and is it the most efficient for its thermal performance and response?
Working alongside the specifiers, contractors and interior fit-out supply chain at key stages allows the manufacturer’s technical team to offer the most suitable solution.
In a plethora of school projects across the country, there has been an increase in requirements for both better acoustic performance and underfloor heating solutions that are more responsive. In the UK we can experience a multitude of different weathers in one day – cold in the mornings and mild in the afternoons.
Screeded floors can take a lot of time to heat up large class rooms and then retain the heat when temperatures outside have risen, thus leading to windows needing to be opened. The aim then is to have more responsive systems that can still handle the rigours of a school environment such as extruded polystyrene UFH panels under screed boards.
Installing a high-density gypsum panel flooring system can significantly reduce development build times by removing the drying times associated with wet screed floors.
A recent time analysis study showed that dry screed flooring could save between four to eight weeks on a build programme.
Most high-density gypsum panel flooring systems have an interlocking edge detail, not all of which require screws – which provides further time saving benefits. Once installed it accepts foot traffic immediately. Workers are able to install ceramic tiles, carpets and vinyl flooring two hours after applying the adhesive.
A high-density gypsum panel typically weighs 25 kg in comparison to 130 kg for sand cement screed, or 80 kg for 40 mm of anhydrite screed. Utilising a lighter system can reduce the weight of the structure, which can reduce the number of piles required to support the building.
A high-density gypsum panel has low thermal resistance, and its thin profile allows an underfloor heating system to respond quicker, reducing energy needs and lowering running costs. This makes it an ideal solution over screed, particularly where large room volumes are involved.
High-density gypsum panel systems also offer significant logistical benefits through fewer site deliveries. For example, 22 lorry loads would be required to transport 250 cubic metres of traditional wet screed for a 50-unit building; in contrast, only four lorry loads carrying 40 cubic metres of a high-density gypsum panel would be required for the same building.
Underfloor heating within a school environment is ideal; it’s hidden heating, which gives design freedom with clean lines and even controllable comfort.
Mark Crowsley is technical business development manager at Cellecta