Insulslab gets Lovell Project back on track

Insulslab foundations on a construction site

An affordable homes development for Milton Keynes Council was kept on track thanks to the time and cost saving benefits of the fully integrated and super insulated foundation system, Insulslab.

Housing specialist Lovell was overseeing the Briar Hill project in Milton Keynes, which comprised the construction of 13 wheelchair standard compliant bungalows on the site of a former care home. In the early stages of the project, obstructions in the ground were encountered that proved to be remnants of former foundations that had not been fully removed.

Despite a previous extensive physical ground investigation, the remaining elements of these foundations had not been struck. As a result, the ground worker had started on-site and a trench foundation system was being utilised, hence the discovery of the obstructions was likely to delay the project by a number of weeks, which in turn would delay the completion date and add to the cost.

To remedy the situation, Lovell could either dig out and break up the old foundations, which would have been time consuming and costly, or find an alternative foundation solution – which led to the specification of Insulslab.

Based on a cast in-situ foundation system, which comprises a series of interlocking expanded polystyrene pods, Insulslab is a fully integrated and super insulated foundation system. Thanks to factors such as minimal excavation, low levels of waste and fewer construction stages it is ideal for projects where time and budget are of the essence.

It took just five days to install Insulslab on all plots, which would not have been possible with beam and block or trench systems given the site conditions.

Moreover, because Insulslab does not require rebar or steel reinforcement, the Lovell team was able to use it easily on the site in spite of the limited room to manoeuvre.

"This was the first time we had used Insulslab in the Midlands," explained Richard Burns, Technical Co-ordinator, Lovell Midlands. "Using the system enabled us to accelerate the programme and regain the time that was lost through unforeseen circumstances without digging the ground out further. Insulslab was very quick to turn around the system designs and the thermal performance of the system helped us to achieve the Level 4 required by the Code for Sustainable Homes".

"We've been extremely impressed by the manufacturer’s prompt and efficient service, as well as the Insulslab system, and are now looking to use it at two more sites."

Bob Brennan, Director, Brennan Build & Civil Engineering – the ground worker on the Briar Hill development added: "Having previously used Insulslab on another site, I knew first hand that it was quick, easy and safe to install. It’s an excellent system for time saving, even when dealing with unexpected ground conditions, and it really helped us to turn this development around."

Michael Gilliead, National Sales Manager, Insulslab concluded: "Insulslab is a tried and tested system, suitable for a wide range of ground conditions. It really comes into its own on challenging sites and can deliver significant commercial advantages. Thanks to its flexibility and efficient installation, Insulslab can still be considered even when a project is underway – as the Briar Hill project has successfully demonstrated."