Facade Design and Testing
BIACE designs and tests building envelopes and cladding solutions. It undertakes structural, thermal and acoustic testing, for academic research and for industry.
We investigate the building physical properties of the envelope, through finite element heat transfer analysis and in-situ testing and monitoring. Thermal mass, thermal diffusivity and thermal resistance are investigated, for contemporary nZEB constructions and biobased concretes.
BIACE has a particular focus on innovative precast cladding solutions, that use new high performance cements, vacuum insulation and textile reinforcement for low carbon cladding solutions - often for retrofit.
Precast concrete clad, concrete frame buildings abound across Europe, accounting for much of the housing stock, and lots of public and institutional buildings built in the 1960s and 70s. These buildings embody considerable carbon. The bones of these buildings are generally healthy but the skin has degraded. Output from the EC H2020 IMPRESS project included a suite of 6 papers focused on the structural and thermal testing of thin, precast concrete sandwich panels with novel high performance, fibre reinforced concretes and vacuum insulation. These panels spanned 3m with 20mm concrete wythes. The papers include an analysis of the structural composite nature of the panels, thermal testing of panels, the high performance concrete mix, the practical development of panels, shear behaviour of thicker dimensioned panels, and an extensive review of precast sandwich panel innovation, design and testing.