Building Safer by Design

23rd March 23

After receiving Royal Assent in April 2022, the Building Safety Act covers a raft of changes for housebuilders and developers to integrate into project development. EOS explains how its systems respond to the new regulations.

It is claimed to be the biggest change in building safety for over 40 years. Among the many changes are a new system of accountability for safety in projects, a construction products regulator, and a refreshed regulatory framework.

The overhaul of regulations will require building owners to demonstrate safety at each of three new ‘gateways’ for planning/design, construction and occupation. Compliance will be monitored by the newly established Building Safety Regulator, with significant powers to demand documents and stop works, and a new National Regulator for Construction Products, with power to remove dangerous products from the market.

Research and perspective interviews with sector experts have equipped EOS and Etex Group partners with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by housing specifiers with a lack of test data seen as a major concern in achieving building safety.

Ensuring robust and predictable performance
The light steel systems designed and manufactured by EOS fully comply with the requirements of Building Regulations and leading warranty providers. Steel is non-combustible and does not add to the fire load of a building therefore the risk of fire during construction and when in use is reduced. According to a poll of the industry undertaken by the NHBC last year, fewer than three in 10 housebuilders expect to use timber frames.

The performances of EOS light steel systems are determined as a result of testing to BS EN 1365-1 for walls and BS EN 1365-2 for floors. Systems are tested and evaluated to provide for a safe ‘worst case’ performance. Loads applied during testing are selected to simulate representative stresses in accordance with the test standard.

From early design and engineering advice to simplifying specification and procurement, products, processes and their whole business philosophy show that as a manufacturer, EOS take their responsibilities extremely seriously. At the heart of this is rigorous testing and a systems approach to their light steel solutions.

Etex Group have three Innovation and Technology Centres where the company has its own fire, acoustic, mechanical, structural and thermal testing facilities, equipment and laboratories. Annually they conduct over 500 tests in Europe alone. Etex also fully support and endorse third party certification such as BBA, BRE Global, Certifire and EOS has also recently gained EPD and BOPAS Accreditation. Etex work closely with certification bodies to jointly develop and design technical solutions.
Mitigating risks
Current regulations typically deal with individual products and how they perform in laboratory tests. However, EOS believe material providers should have full-scale testing regimes that study the performance of products working together to see how they interact in ‘real’ circumstances, like under fire conditions or when exposed to wind and rain.

When walling and flooring systems are built entirely with Etex components and materials in line with their latest standards, after a validation process— Etex award Pre-Assembled Frames (PAF), Thrubuild® and Thruwall® systems with a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty. This approach mitigates risk because these integrated solutions have been tested as complete systems and assessed for compliance with the latest regulations and standards, to ensure reliable performance.

Ground-breaking reforms
The Building Safety Act makes ground-breaking reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers, and protections – so homes across the country are safer. Many of the detailed provisions in the Act will be implemented over the next two years through a programme of secondary legislation.
EOS are continually looking at ways to make the building process not only inherently safer but also to offer performance assurances to architects, housebuilders and specifiers to ensure they can provide sufficient levels of protection to occupants. EOS have developed an award-winning range of unitised loadbearing and non-loadbearing light steel framing systems. By working closely with developers, EOS are now able to provide real scalable light steel frame residential solutions – delivering precision-engineered homes that meet building safety regulations that can be produced at scale better than, faster than and more cost-efficiently than other market offerings.

EOS are committed to technical competence and as part of Etex, have some of the best fire protection experts in the UK on their team. Technical support is there for specifiers throughout the lifecycle of the project, from concept to completion – in person, online, or by phone. For more information click here