Polarwall - insulating concrete formwork

Frequently asked questions

1. Does Polarwall Cost more than traditional construction methods?

2. How fast can Polarwall be built?

3. What equipment, plant or machinery is needed?

4. Are there any health & safety implications?

5. Is a structural engineer required?

6. Are there any implications on my planning permission if I change to Polarwall?

7. Is Polarwall kind to the environment?

8. Is there a need for constant maintenance with the product?

9. Do I need a specialist contractor to assemble Polarwall?

10. Can I get a mortgage or insurance with Polarwall and how does Building Control view the product?

11. Is steel reinforcement required?

12. How are services chased into Polarwall?

13. What internal finishes can be used?

14. What claddings can be used with Polarwall?

15. How do I obtain a costing for the product?

16. What concrete specification is used?

NO: Polarwall is a very cost effective method of building. Unlike traditional building methods that rely upon a high percentage of skilled labour, such as brick & block layers, Polarwall does not need the same skill levels to assemble the structure, therefore a costly part of the build can be minimised.

As the rate of build speed is a lot higher than traditional block construction (about 50% quicker), then the building can be assembled quicker, reducing the time in which development capital is tied up.

First and second fix can take place without the outer cladding of the building been in position. This can increase the speed of the total build time and remove the cladding from the critical path of the project, unlike a traditionally constructed building. [Top]_________________________________________________________________

An experienced installer can reach build speed levels of around 2-3 sq.m per hour. This includes formation of window profiles and bracing of the wall prior to concrete placement.

It will take competent contractors 2 or 3 projects to reach this level. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Polarwall is assembled using lightweight components; therefore no heavy lifting equipment is required. The best tools will be found in any contractors van, and no specialist machinery is required.

An adjustable chop saw and bench saw is invaluable as cutting the plastic and high-density insulation is made much easier.

A concrete pump is the only specialist plant required when the concrete is poured into the formwork. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Every building site must follow the obvious rules and regulations relating to safety of its employees and visitors. The actual building process with Polarwall is very safe, relying on lightweight components to build the structure. No heavy or manual lifting is needed, allowing the contractors to carry out the job unhindered.

When the concrete is poured, care and attention must be used to provide a safe working environment. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Yes: As with any construction project, a structural engineer is required to sign off the design and specification of the building to ensure it complies with the relevant building regulations. Polarwall is no different.

Polarwall has a number of qualified structural engineers who have a close understanding of the product and concrete design. We recommend the use of these engineers to who will be able to deliver the best economic design for your project. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Absolutely not. Planning permissions mainly consider the visual appearance and setting of the building within its immediate environment. It does not have any influence on the building materials used. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Yes: Although the production of concrete is not the most environmentally acceptable material, it is the sustainability and whole life environmental cost that must be considered.

Concrete is a long lasting material. When it is fully covered with a high-density insulation it is now protected from the effects of weathering, increasing its longevity. The insulation gives excellent energy performance levels throughout the building’s life reducing its impact on the environment. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

No: Polarwall’s main advantage over traditional and timber building methods is it's robustness, meaning maintenance should virtually be eliminated throughout the building’s life. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Polarwall supplies its product to its Approved Installers. These are contractors who have undertaken formal training and are assessed for their competence by us.

Although we only supply through these installers, they are merely standard builders and contractors who have seen the benefits that Polarwall can provide. Therefore no specialist skills are needed other than a good understanding of the building process.

Polarwall provides training to contractors who are interested in building with the system. This is backed by full technical and on-site support during the first project. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Yes: Polarwall has all the necessary technical approvals required by these organisations, without which they would not ordinarily grant approval. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Generally not. Concrete is a fantastic material when it is compressed, which is the natural action of floors and roofs bearing onto a wall. Therefore where Polarwall is constructed above ground no steel should be needed, other than that which is placed above an opening such as a window to act as a lintel.

When Polarwall is used for a retaining wall such as a basement the concrete is now placed into tension. To enhance the strength, reinforcing steel is used to stop any flexing in the concrete.

As with any structure, Polarwall will require a qualified structural engineer to design and specify the product, this will include any reinforcing steel needed. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Services are chased into the wall using a flat-bottomed router to rout out roughly 20-25mm of the internal polystyrene face. Ensure that electric cables are placed inside a hard uPVC conduit as the plasterziser in the cable can react with the polystyrene causing brittleness in the cable. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

The best way to internally line a Polarwall structure is to mechanically fix plasterboard to the plastic rail. Using the plasterboard manufacturers recommendations for screw centres, each section of plasterboard is fixed into position with joints taped and filled. A single skim of plaster can then be used to finish the wall. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

There is no restriction on cladding types. Brick, renders, slate, tile or timber can all be used with the product. [Top] _________________________________________________________________

Send in your plans of a development you are working on and we will be able to give a full cost projection on our materials.

We will also provide you with the approximate volume of concrete that is required for the project, an estimate of the man-hours needed for the assembly of the formwork etc… [Top] _________________________________________________________________

A normal concrete specification using a minimum strength of RC25 is used for structures that are un-reinforced. Where reinforcement is present a minimum strength concrete design using RC35 is used. Concrete should be obtained from a QSRMC or BSI kite marked supplier. [Top] _________________________________________________________________