Insulation wise

The Thermal Insulation Products & Systems Association SA (TIPSASA) and its members are driving technical competence, innovation, sustainability and high standards in the insulation industry. Membership of this organisation confirms a commitment to compliance with standards, quality assurance and regulatory requirements. 

DAS Conferences 

During 2023, TIPSASA had the privilege of participating in the DAS Conferences, which were held nationally. Regrettably, there are still some professionals who do not see the need for the installation of insulation, as they regard it as “ineffective”. 

It can be ineffective if it is incorrectly installed, sub-standard or the incorrect material is used for the occupancy classification. However, it is inexcusable that professionals still allow contractors to change the material specification for something similar and cheaper, and/or non-compliant with SANS 10400-XA requirements. 

The South African National Building Regulation A25 (5) clearly states: “Any person who, having obtained approval in terms of the Act for the erection of any building, deviates to any material degree from any plan, drawing or particulars approved by the local authority shall, except where such deviation has been approved, be guilty of an offence.” 

Insulation wise

The incorrect “installation” of insulation. Judging from the material thickness, it is obvious that the material also does not comply with the required thermal resistance in accordance with SANS 10400-XA.

Installing insulation correctly is crucial for several reasons, as it plays a significant role in the energy efficiency, comfort and overall performance of a building. 

Insulation installation  

The most common problems are: 

  1. Leaving insulation rolls on top of ceilings without installing it. 
  2. Once installed, other contractors (such as electrical), working in the ceiling void, move insulation around and don’t correct it once work is done, rendering it ineffective. 
  3. Leaving gaps, creating thermal bridges. 
  4. Installing insulation over light fixtures without protective cones, creating a potential fire hazard. 

Basic principles of insulation 

All thermal insulation materials work on a single basic principle: Heat moves from warmer to colder areas. Therefore, on cold days, heat from inside a building seeks to get outside. On warmer days, the heat from outside the building seeks to get inside. Insulation is the material that slows this process. 

Insulation wise

Insulation material moved to allow for electrical installation and not placed back in the correct position.

Benefits of insulation 

  • Energy efficiency: Properly installed insulation reduces the need for heating and cooling systems to work excessively, leading to lower energy consumption and, consequently, reduced utility bills. 
  • Comfort: It helps to create a consistent and comfortable indoor environment by preventing the loss or gain of heat. Insulation regulates indoor temperatures, keeping them stable throughout the year, regardless of external weather conditions. 
  • Reduced heating and cooling costs: By preventing the escape of heated or cooled air from the interior of a building, insulation reduces the workload on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, lowering energy consumption, resulting in cost savings on heating and cooling bills. 
  • Environmental impact: Reduced energy consumption contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. Proper insulation aligns with environmental sustainability goals by promoting energy efficiency and reducing the overall demand for resources. 
  • Moisture control: Properly installed insulation helps to control moisture levels within a building, can prevent condensation and mould growth by regulating the temperature, and reduces the risk of water vapour accumulation in walls and ceilings. 
  • Structural integrity: Insulation can contribute to the structural integrity of a building by protecting it from temperature-related stresses. By minimising temperature fluctuations, insulation helps to prevent materials from expanding and contracting, reducing the risk of structural damage over time. 
  • Sound control: Insulation can act as a sound barrier, reducing the transmission of noise between different areas of a building. This is particularly important in residential buildings, offices and other spaces where noise control is a consideration. 
  • Regulatory compliance: The South African Energy-Efficiency Regulations were promulgated in 2011. In accordance with Regulation X Environmental Sustainability Section A energy usage in buildings, it is a regulatory requirement to comply with Regulation XA1, XA2 and XA3. The application of the South African National Building Regulations SANS 10400-XA energy usage in buildings, gives clear guidelines on compliance requirements for insulation.  

Installing insulation correctly ensures compliance with these regulations and standard, which is essential to achieve energy efficiency, comfort and overall compliance with the performance requirements of a building. 

Conclusion 

Whilst thermal efficiency is important, thermal insulation must first and foremost comply with health and safety regulations. It is no use specifying or using a product that has good thermal properties but is a fire hazard. 

Specification remains a critical part of a project. It is important to specify the right product at the design stage, as the material must be suitable for the occupancy and application and installed in accordance with manufacturers’ installation specifications. 

Insulation is only ineffective if not installed properly or when substituted with non-compliant products. 

For more information, contact TIPSASA: 

Tel: 0861 000 334 / 082 305 8559 

Website: www.tipsasa.co.za  

 

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