With the rising popularity of extensions, loft conversions and garden rooms, the role of effective insulation is crucial in such projects. In a feature from the magazine’s November edition, PBM considers why increasing numbers are choosing to utilise innovative insulation solutions from Actis.
The demand for extensions and loft conversations has soared over the last 18 months as homeowners have looked to ensure their properties were up to the multipurpose requirements of pandemic life. Furthermore, in both general renovation applications and new build projects alike, ensuring the speed and efficiency of construction is growing ever-more in importance as supply chain issues and labour shortages impact on the sector’s capacity.
Increasingly, many in the industry are turning to solutions such as timber frame and the use of products such as the Actis range of innovative building insulation products, including reflective multifoil insulation and membranes for roofs, walls and floors designed to ensure airtightness, acoustic performance, vapour permeability and moisture resistance.
For example, Kent-based garden room specialist Watts and Holden has seen demand for its buildings double over the past year as people work from home, with Actis insulation enjoying a rise in orders as a result. One of the firm’s latest projects, an extension at a house in Maidstone (main picture), doubles as an office by day and a teenage den by night and its timber frame construction meant it took only ten and a half days to build from start to finish.
The option of Actis Hybrid insulation is said to have proved extremely popular with the firm and its customers, not only because of its “impressive thermal efficiency” which reduces heating bills for the owners, but because it is “a dream” for the builders to install. Ben Watts, who has been running the company with business partner Mark Holden for more than 20 years, said: “Timber garden rooms have been rising in popularity anyway over the past few years, but since last March we have been overwhelmed by the increase in our workload.”
Regarding the use of Actis products, he added: “We like the ease of fitment; it’s clean and produces no dust or mess” and in the project itself, 75mm honeycomb Hybris insulation and the supplier’s Boost R Hybrid insulating reflective breather membrane were used in the walls, with 125mm Hybris and insulating vapour control layer H Control Hybrid in the flat roof.
And with the popularity of extensions, garden pods and loft conversions which serve a similar purpose on the rise, many merchants are reporting a huge rise in sales of the necessary insulation products.
For example, Jewson Sales Manager Brad Ellis said: “Insulation and insulating membranes have been flying out of the door over the past year, with a current loft promotion across stores in the south of England generating even more interest.”
Brad’s area covers ten branches in Surrey and Hampshire, two of which are Woking and Leatherhead, and he added: “We have seen a huge uplift in sales for loft conversions and extensions in the area. Improvement projects are currently on the property owners’ minds. We currently have customers using Actis for loft and barn conversions and complete build projects as well as home offices and playrooms.
“We have ensured that the big brands are stocked in these branches to give our customers choices and the ability to purchase the stock then and there. We have purpose-built loft displays in dedicated branches to showcase our extended loft offering, which has proved popular with our core target audience, as well as attracting new customers to the branches who are keen to know more about the products we stock.
He continued: “Our customers have welcomed our loft launch in the area and are now asking questions in the branches about why Actis is so good. As well as Hybris, the core insulation product, sales of H Control Hybrid — an insulating vapour control layer — and insulating breather membrane Boost R Hybrid have also generated interest, with more customers purchasing these products.
“This is largely thanks to the Actis Regional Sales Manager, Liane Bayliss, giving technical training to the sales team who have been massively receptive to the product. Our customers enjoy the flexibility, efficiency and the economic saving that comes with this product when installing on their projects.”
Actis offers a number of support initiatives to its stockists, including training, in-branch promotions, regular prize draws, trade days, and special events — such as Jewson’s fundraising ‘Monster Walk’ which raised over £300,000 for charity — in addition video tutorials and an online U-value simulator. Furthermore, the CE-marked Actis Hybrid range has LABC and LABSS registered details and LABC Warranty approval.
Earlier in the year, it reported record sales of its products with UK and Ireland Sales Director Mark Cooper stating: “We are seeing more and more contractors moving towards using Actis Hybrid in particular as an alternative to traditional forms of insulation. We’re finding that once builders have discovered Actis they tend not to go back to the old ways. So there is a lot of repeat business there.”