Following a full-scale fire test on an Airium/LGS floor at Exova Warrington, the team were able to prove high levels of fire protection. With a target of 60 minutes, the test achieved twice that showing 120 minutes of protection (the requirement normally for buildings over 30m or nine storeys). This was a strong performance for a first attempt, and the team are already exploring opportunities to improve the fire performance, as well as reduce the cost of the floor product.
There are two factors that will improve the cost benefits of Hyb-ISS compared to current alternatives for multi-storey buildings - weight and fire resistance.
Firstly, the Hyb-ISS Airium/LGS floor weighs 75kg/m2 so is significantly lighter than current alternatives for multi-storey buildings. The structure and foundations required to support the floor are less, due to the lower mass, and this translates into lower costs. So, for example, composite metal deck/concrete (160mm) weighs 320 kg/m2 so is 4 times heavier than Hyb-ISS; Hollowcore 200mm with 65mm screed (265mm) weighs 400 kg/m2 which is 5 times heavier than Hyb-ISS; and concrete frame, plus 65mm screed (315mm) weighs 730 kg/m2 which is 10 times heavier than Hyb-ISS.
Secondly, there is greater market value for a solid floor product that provides inherent fire resistance across multi-occupancy structures of three storeys or more. Currently Hyb-ISS can meet requirements for up to nine storeys currently and has potential to be used in private sale and private rental apartments, student accommodation, hotels, care homes and schools.
The team's work on business models has begun to try to capture these comparative benefits on cost. If pilots and uptake go well, it could expand into the 10-floor-plus market, currently worth £1 billion per year.
The raw materials used in Hyb-ISS – steel and cement - both have high embodied carbon. However, the unique way the materials are used radically reduces the quantities required, compared to conventional means of creating structures. And as Hyb-ISS is only 20% of the weight of the current concrete floor alternative used in Light Gauge Steel (LGS), this will translate into reduced carbon emissions, which will be tracked as the project progresses.
Hyb-ISS dramatically improves finishing time and this will reduce the total programme time and increase productivity. Time savings will be a key metric measured as this project progresses.