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It was a commonly-used reference book, even for many builders and architects who never built housing estates and therefore had little need of a Homebond guarantee. One might design a construction detail of a dwelling differently, but one did it with an awareness of what the manual showed.
It gave the insurance scheme great credibility and standing. A sea change in knowledge and standards Significantly the latest edition is the first since the boom. The Construction Industry Federation and Homebond like the rest of the industry have had time to think about the lack of construction quality that was such a hallmark of mass housing built in the boom, and how to do it better.
Finally there have been countless papers and exemplar projects in the UK, Ireland and further afield showing how mainstream housing construction can and should change. Sadly, as you will see, it has not. However the best way to explain the contents of the new book is that the building culture and technology of has been re-presented, dressed-up in the latest backstop values. Technical details The section on airtightness is welcome but it is not integrated into the rest of the book.
Detail after detail in the seventh edition is identical to the fifth: many, if not most, feature bad thermal bridges that could be easily resolved, such as can be seen in figure one. Incredibly, drawings show cavity walls with 50mm partial-fill insulation, discredited hollow block with internal wall insulation, floor joists built into walls and duplex housing conditions that have been known to run with condensation.
Figure one: outdated details Extracts from the seventh edition of the Homebond House Building Manual It may be argued that the mostly re-used graphics show key concepts and designers and builders are expected to extrapolate from these, but why should they if they bought a new book? How does that help limit risk and deliver high quality buildings?
It may also be argued that the manual is fundamentally about avoiding settlement, cracks and leaks — not about the use of insulation — but this is also unacceptable. As energy efficiency standards rise and rise insulation and structure cannot be separated.
They impact upon each other continuously and the solutions used must be integrated. If the authors of the manual had drawn a wide cavity they would have seen that the window frame is too narrow to act as a fire-rated cavity closer. They would then have had the opportunity to discuss acceptable and non-acceptable cavity closers, and propose methods of holding the window in place: all practical issues builders need to know about.
They would also have had the chance to talk about blown bead insulation and low thermal bridging cavity ties. By not showing under slab insulation or external wall insulation the opportunity to discuss the structural implications of insulation continuity was lost. New details could have shown how thermal and structural continuity is possible with AAC or Foamglas blocks.
Showing woodfibre sarking boards on a warm roof buildup could have given a chance to discuss the types of fixings necessary as well as the practical advantages for roofers, besides the reduction in repeat thermal bridges and improved decrement delay.
In the update table one backstop values have become far more onerous — for instance the backstop is now 0. This is a world apart from Boom-time values, as figure two makes graphically clear. Complying with backstop values is a second — and typically much easier — target.
Of course it is possible to build a wall to 0. To not stress or explain such a crucial and complex issue is unacceptable. Amongst other features it shows a useful chart of nine house types listing the key performance characteristics needed for each to merely comply. Despite every backstop values being exceeded in all cases — for everything from heating systems to thermal bridging to airtightness, not just U-values — each of the nine dwellings just reach the maximum permitted EPC of 0.
Sadly the seventh edition will not help. Unlike the government, Homebond has the ability to be selective; to take a strong position; and to rule-out or promote practices, or forms of construction and technology. Indeed the manual does this in several places, such as in relation to fire or the construction of foundations or walls, but not when it comes to thermal performance. For instance, a builder may wish to build with internally insulated hollow blocks, and may find some guidance on this in TGD L, but the manual has the chance to educate the builder and show why this is a sub-standard form of construction and what other forms will serve the buyer or client better.
This author feels that this edition will inadvertently encourage non-compliant construction. It may also increase the risk of claims against Homebond insurance itself. If the manual is intended to be used by those seeking related insurance, and is promoted as up-to-date and reliable and yet is not, it surely becomes a risk to its authors.
To ensure that the performance gap between required standards and the reality on Irish building sites that has been such a feature of the Boom starts narrowing, instead of widening further, we suggest this manual is either withdrawn and extensively revised, or the industry turns to new, more relevant, sources of guidance and training. Construct Ireland wrote to Homebond prior to going to print to offer a right of reply to many of the points raised in the above article.
He and his team teach thermal bridge analysis and hygrothermal risk evaluation using WUFI.
HOMEBOND MANUAL PDF
Negore Homebond Building Manual New 7th Edition For Sale in Headford, Galway from marcher in The 7th edition manual has over pages, and more than drawings and charts, and colour photographs that detail the construction of a house, including:. House Building Manual Currently out of print House Building Manual 7th Edition Building a house is a complex and skilled job, involving a great variety of details and materials put together by many different trades to hpmebond a finished mannual. Potential buyers watch as sheep farmers gather at Lairg Business Newsletter Read the leading stories from the world of Business. More than 95, copies of previous editions have been distributed. HomeBond first produced its House Building Manual in and people involved in the house building industry will be aware of the extent to which it has been consulted.
The Latest Homebond House Building Manual - A Critique