Front Cover Story

Icynene spray foam insulation for new Baptist Church in Dumfries

Pic above: The 2000sqm, multi-purpose complex is due for completion in early 2018. Image courtesy of McLean Architects, Glasgow


Designers of a new community Baptist Church, nearing completion in Dumfries, turned to spray applied insulation specialists, Icynene to solve a complex insulation challenge.

The new Church is a 2000sqm, multi-purpose building designed by Glasgow based, McLean Architects and built in the Georgetown district of Dumfries in the Scottish Borders.

The building was conceived as a flexible-use community hub comprising worship, conference and youth facilities together with a full specification games hall and multi-use games area.

For the games hall, McLean Architects designed an 18.00 x 18.00m sq 8.00m high structure comprising a 140mm thick internal leaf of concrete blockwork with an external steel frame, supporting fibre-cement rain- screen cladding.

Here, the placement of insulation between the blockwork and the cladding system proved problematic. Project Architect Kirsty Wilson explains, “The complex latticework of steel frame for the cladding made it extremely difficult to install conventional rigid board insulation. It would have been a hugely labour-intensive and expensive process and achieving the required air tightness standards would have been pretty much impossible.”

Specialist insulation contractors, JSJ Foam Insulation Ltd, who were brought in by main contractors Ashleigh Building of Dumfries, recommended Icynene, a high-performance spray foam insulation system which would be applied directly to the outer face of the blockwork, then covered by the cladding.

Icynene is a predominantly water blown insulation which is applied using a pressurised gun system. Foam is applied as a two-component mixture that comes together at the tip of a gun forming a foam that expands 100- fold within seconds of application, sealing all gaps, service holes and hard to reach spaces, virtually eliminating cold bridging and air leakage.

Air leakage can cause up to 40% of heat loss from a building and traditional forms of insulation are relatively inefficient in sealing the box, as they cannot completely fill all voids or seal the interface between the insulation and the building structure. Nor can they cope with small structural movements which will often lead to air gaps, particularly in difficult to treat situations where access is poor and when voids are of complex geometry.

Jim Shearer of JSJ Foam Insulation takes up the story. “Icynene is nothing like the urethane foams of 20 years ago. Icynene uses water as the blowing agent so the reaction between the two components produces C02 which makes the foam expand.”

He continued, “We sprayed Icynene directly onto the blockwork and over the concealed sections of cladding framework. We had free access to the existing scaffolding platforms so the spraying process was quick and straightforward. We had the job done in under a week.” said Mr Shearer.


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