Underpinning

Aircrete for foundations

Aircrete is growing in popularity across both Europe and the UK as more and more contractors discover the benefits of using the material in foundations. Aircrete is approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) for use in foundations as it BBA certified and provides a simple, cost-effective solution for reducing heat loss through the ground floor of a property.

Thin-joint masonry

Aircrete blocks are typically used as part of the thin-joint method of construction to improve thermal performance by reducing heat loss throughout a property. Many contractors are already familiar with using Thin-Joint Systems to achieve reduced thermal bridging when constructing walls in residential properties, but there is less recognition of how well they work in foundations. 

RåBuild

Aircrete Foundation Blocks are also used as part of the RåBuild House which is an all-in-one building concept offered by industry experts H+H. The system uses the most innovative building materials and processes throughout the build and can produce a weathertight masonry shell within days. RåBuild is ideal for projects that demand the highest standards of sustainability, rapid construction and cost efficiency - without compromising on build quality.

Benefits of aircrete

Although one of the lightest forms of masonry, aircrete blocks, available in a range of strengths, are fully load-bearing and capable of supporting buildings up to three storeys tall.

The blocks are incredibly easy to use when constructing foundations. The solid blocks are laid onto a strip of poured concrete to match the thickness of the wall. The depth of the foundation will vary depending on the site and the design of the building, but multiple courses of blocks can be laid to the required depth. At perpendicular joints the blocks only need to be butted against each other with no need to use mortar.

Aircrete's relatively low weight makes it far easier to transport, manipulate and lay. Cutting aircrete blocks only requires the use of a hand saw and the ability to manipulate on site means that there is a significant reduction in material wastage. Further benefits of aircrete include an enhanced resistance to sulphate attack and damage associated with freeze/thaw cycles during the cold winter months.

Building efficiencies with aircrete

Recently, independent construction and property consultancy firm Calfordseaden conducted a Foundation Cost Comparison Study using a typical three-bedroom semi-detached UK home. The study found that using aircrete to construct foundations could reduce total build costs by up to 26% through a combination of its improved thermal performance, cost-efficiency and reduced labour costs.

The extremely versatile nature of aircrete makes it ideal as a foundation material when using a number of construction methods, such as H+H's Thin-Joint Systems or RåBuild House.

Aircrete's unique characteristics; low weight, ease of manipulation, great insulation performance and resistance to both sulphate attack and harsh winter weather, means contractors can be confident the material is fit for purpose for foundations in residential properties.

What's more, its ability to reduce heat loss through the ground floor of a property contributes towards a significant reduction in the overall build costs, making it a cost-effective solution for public and private sector builds alike.

For more information on the savings that can be made by using aircrete, download the Foundations Costings Factsheet or contact H+H.

This article is provided by H+H