Built overlooking the Kent countryside, The Pheasantry is a striking four-storey residence near Royal Tunbridge Wells. Nudura Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) was central in delivering the strength required for its unique, contemporary design combined with a high level of thermal performance.
Having worked in property development for over 50 years, owners Shirley and Vernon Cole wanted to use their vast experience to ﬁnally create a dream home of their own. They set about ﬁnding the ideal plot of land with a view to building a modern, low-maintenance home.
Designed by Gregory Phillips Architects, The Pheasantry is a substantial 4,000+ square foot home. The front elevation has been carefully designed to convey a modest two-storey building with a levelled parking area near the entrance. However, its towards the rear that the property takes full advantage of the topography of the plot. Partially built into the sloping landscape the home opens out into a four-storey design allowing the owners to take full advantage of the extensive views over the nearby High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
When it came to choosing the right building products for this project, Shirley and Vernon considered a raft of sustainable options. They ﬁnally decided on Nudura ICF which would offer the strength required to create a semi-subterranean whilst also offering exceptional energy efﬁcient properties.
The ﬁrst stage of the build was to construct the below-ground levels, consisting of a sub-basement to hold the ducts and machinery and a basement level for the swimming pool and plant equipment. Basement projects require specialist input and Nudura distributors, ICF Southern Ltd, were on hand to ensure correct procedures were followed and work closely with the contractors, who hadn’t built with ICF before.
The basement levels required a signiﬁcant amount of groundwork and the contractors ﬁrst had to dig down approximately six metres before laying a concrete substrate. For the subterranean levels, a 254mm core Nudura block was speciﬁed to give the necessary structural strength and provide superior insulation. The blocks are waterproofed with a Nudura membrane and an additive incorporated into the concrete mix. This waterprooﬁng agent contains active chemicals that react with fresh concrete to generate a non-soluble crystalline formation that seals the concrete against the penetration of water or liquid.
It is calculated that up to 80% of a pool's heat is lost through the sides and bottom of the pool, due to the fact that the ground conducts heat far more efﬁciently than the surface air. The inherent strength and insulating properties of the ICF system meant they were also used to construct the swimming pool, improving the energy efﬁciency of the pool’s heating system and reducing overall running costs. With the basement shell in place, the Nudura system continued upwards to build the main structural wall transitioning to a 152mm core block.
The simplicity and ﬂexibility of the Nudura system were a real beneﬁt in the construction of the striking cantilevered design feature. The ﬁrst-ﬂoor section sits at rights angles to the lower level, overhanging the house by a total of metres. Details such as this are easily achieved with the addition of extra steel reinforcement bars inserted into the Nudura block before the concrete pour stage. This avoids the need for costly RSJs which are required when building with traditional brick or block construction.
Before the build, Vernon and Shirley carried out extensive research into current sustainable technology and the advantages it could offer. ICF structures greatly reduce air inﬁltration, optimise energy performance with U- values as low as 0.11 and offer excellent thermal bridging values. The Cole's opted to combine the excellent insulating properties of Nudura ICF with a sedum green, photovoltaic solar panels, triple-glazed windows and underﬂoor heating supplied by an air source heat pump.
The ICF build and concrete pour were completed in only six weeks and ﬁnished with render and brick slips on the outside, whilst the internal faces were plastered.
Owner Shirley couldn't be happier “We're extremely pleased with the performance of our new home. It is incredibly warm and requires very little additional heating, even during the winter months. We have a lot of experience working in build projects but we'd never used ICF before. ICF Southern was there every step of the way offering their guidance and using their expertise every step of the way.”
As a further testament to the massive strength and durability of Nudura ICF, an unfortunate incident with a visiting lorry shortly after the house had been completed left the building virtually unscathed. The lorry, meanwhile, wasn't quite so lucky and suffered fairly extensive damage!
Nestled in the charming hamlet of Womenswold in the south-east of Canterbury, lies what appears to be a traditional countryside cottage, which to passers-by could easily be believed as having stood undisturbed for hundreds of years.
Polyurethane (PU) products are known to be versatile, innovative and safe – whilst they are used in a variety of applications in construction, packaging, automotive industry and many more – these products are made by reacting diisocyanates and polyols.
With plans to build new homes as quickly and as cost efficient as possible without comprising on safety and quality, working with Nudura, could be the perfect solution for local authorities and developers within the United Kingdom.