• Monday , 16 December 2019

Interview – Contech Specialist Building Products


As we look forward to the upcoming Architecture and Building Expo, 6-7 October, Architecture Ireland takes a look at the Expo’s annual Architects’ Choice Awards through a series of interviews with past winning suppliers.

In this article, we speak with Contech Specialist Building Products. In 2016, Contech were awarded the ‘Best Exterior Building Product’ Award for the Schöck Isokorb AXT.

Contech previously won the Architect’s Choice Award in the Best Exterior Building Product category at Architecture Expo 2016. Could you please tell us more about the winning product in question and what impact its success in the Awards has had?

The Schöck Isokorb AXT has been designed to cope specifically with thermal bridging issues at parapet or balustrade locations. The traditional method of wrapping insulation around the parapet wall following its construction can be time consuming, costly and can be limiting in terms of design or choice of finishes. After the AXT is cast in with the parapet wall there are no further insulation measures required and you’ll have a thermally measurable, fire rated and certified (BBA & Passive House) connection.

Winning the Award has generally been positive in terms of raising awareness of this simple but effective little product. Many specifiers in Ireland are certainly familiar with the Schöck Isokorb system but associate its use more in terms of tackling thermal bridging at balcony or canopy details. It was therefore great to focus attention on a different thermal bridging problem area and in so doing demonstrate that Schöck are constantly innovating their range.

Contech will be exhibiting at the Architecture and Building Expo again this year. Are there any particular products or services you’ll be presenting at the show that you could tell us more about here?

We’re really excited to present Schöck’s latest innovation this year, the XT-Combar. This thermal break seeks to eliminate thermal flow through the balcony connection by replacing steel tension bars with Schöck’s own specially developed glass fibre composite material. As a result, Schöck XT-Combar offers up to 30% improved thermal performance than any other thermal insulation element of its kind. The XT-Combar has been confirmed as a certified Passive House Component by the Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt and together with the EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), the XT-Combar significantly contributes to sustainable construction.

As a key provider of specialist building products, what are the main changes you’ve experienced in this sector over the last number of years and are there any future trends you see emerging?

In recent years, it’s been encouraging to see more commercial developments being completed where there are large numbers of balconies which require a thermal break solution. We notice that the specification of a Schöck Isokorb type thermal break is now considered to be an essential element of balcony design.
We expect that in addition to demanding the highest thermal values for their balcony connection detail, that designers will now also focus on the ‘feel’ or ‘bounciness’ of the balcony for the end user. Schöck provide natural frequency calculations for balconies constructed using their thermal breaks which allow you to assess whether the expected frequency is within accepted limits.

When considering ways of minimising thermal bridging, what would be your advice to architects when specifying in this area?

Please contact us to have a chat about your proposed design as Schöck are more than happy to review different options which can be useful in identifying potential issues at an early stage. Architects are also welcome to use Schöck’s Thermal Bridging Portal which is available to access on www.schoeck.co.uk.

Finally, if our readers wish to chat with Contech during or after the Architecture and Building Expo, who, how and where can they find you?

Please drop our stand at C7 and we’d be delighted to show you the new XT-Combar as well as the rest of Schöck’s product range. If you can’t make it to us at the Expo please ring us on 059 915 1350 or email margaret@contech-accessories.ie.

Contech Specialist Building Products, celebrating 25 years in business this year, provides solutions to the construction sector including drainage gullies and channels, thermal break connectors, waterproofing systems, specialist products for repair and refurbishment, reinforcement fibres for concrete, super strength grouts and construction chemicals.

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