Member Blog: How to insulate your business from the PIR shortage

24 Jul 2017

The construction sector across Ireland and the UK is currently experiencing a severe shortage of PIR insulation as a result of insufficient supply of Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI).
The shortage was caused primarily by disruption to the raw materials supply chain, with upgrades to major manufacturing plants scheduled and a fire in a Norwegian Nitric Acid plant, which happened at the same time as the industry began to experience the significant upturn in demand for insulating materials.
It is anticipated that the manufacturing supply chain will resolve these issues shortly but it could be a number of months before supply levels return to normal and meet demand. 
So with demand for PIR expected to continue to outstrip supply throughout 2017 and prices expected to increase substantially by over this period, many companies are looking to explore their options.
But what is available to those companies unwilling to pay soaring the costs of PIR or those who cannot wait around for normal supply to return?
In the short term, builders could look at other viable options to replace PIR insulation with alternatives such as polystyrene for sub-floor insulation. This would allow the early stages of construction to proceed and hopefully get contractors past the current impasse. It is important that any changes are considered with the BER rating as a whole.
Quinn Building Products can offer house builders a simple solution to help overcome the current PIR supply issues, that can save you up to €1200 on a typical semi-detached as an added bonus.
By introducing Quinn Lite thermal blocks at a number of key junctions in the structure, we can calculate a thermal bridging factor, which is significantly lower than the default value typically used in BER calculations. By applying this lower value to the original BER calculation we can generally do a direct swap from PIR insulation to EPS insulation in the floor, without increasing the thickness of the insulation, which results in an automatic €400 saving.
In addition, up to €800 can be saved elsewhere in the build by using a combination of reduced levels of insulation in the walls and the roof and a reduced level of renewable technology.
Quinn building products have an experienced technical team on hand, who can provide you with all of the necessary calculations and demonstrate how any proposed changes from the original specification will still be Part L compliant.
If the PIR shortage is causing issues for your company, get in touch and our team will guide you through your options.

Jason Martin, Specification Manager, Quinn Building Products.

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