Prefabricated straw panels in UK Schools

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Carole de Fays

Chargée de mission projets européens

3997 Last modified by the author on 31/03/2020 - 11:01
Prefabricated straw panels in UK Schools

Prefabricated straw bale construction systems use a natural, low carbon, renewable product, providing high levels of thermal insulation. This modular approach appeals to the creative side of architects and can make life much easier for builders.

ModCell® is an example of a UK system that uses these excellent thermal insulation qualities of straw and timber to make prefabricated straw panels for schools and other buildings.

Schools built using prefabricated straw bale panels are designed to meet the exact needs of each school, providing spaces and relationships that meet curriculum and functional requirements. They also meet Building Bulletin guidance in creative ways, and anticipate increases in Building Regulation standards.
The material palette and construction method enable teaching and learning opportunities to be integrated into the design and construction process, providing important added value for students and the wider community. Additional benefits of this process include: quick and efficient installation on site; excellent quality control; cost savings due to reduced construction time; waste reduction; involvement and ownership by the local community. They use local labour to deliver a high quality, modern method of construction, reducing the negative impacts of building on the environment. The prefabricated panels are constructed in what they call a temporary ‘Flying Factory™‘, which can be located within ten miles of the construction site. 

Technical Details

A common misconception about straw buildings is that fire and moisture pose particular risks. ModCell® lime rendered panels have a fire rating of over 2 hours and have been subjected to accelerated weathering tests and a range of structural and performance tests at the BRE’s Centre for Innovation in Construction Materials at Bath University.
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