Would you swap bricks for AAC?

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​Not everyone likes change. It challenges our confidence and creates uncertainty. But what if the change meant achieving the same results quicker and more efficiently?

This sums up lightweight construction. It’s the technology of the building industry but not everyone’s ready to adopt it. However those that have are benefiting from the many advantages the products and process provides. In particular, residential developers are turning to lightweight for faster turn around and to on-sell the advantages to their customers.

So what is lightweight construction and how does it work?

Put simply, lightweight materials replace bricks and mortar and are quicker and cheaper to work with. Timber or light gauge steel framing are used to provide the structural support, then the non-structural cladding – made from materials such as autoclave aerated concrete (AAC) e.g. Hebel – is attached to the framework.

AAC is a proven building product that has been used in Europe for more than 70 years, and in Australia for over 20 years. It’s made by mixing an expanding agent to concrete, causing tiny air bubbles to form. The cement is then cured in a heated environment, and while soft, sliced to size. Panels or blocks are formed then steam cured in an autoclave, making them strong and contributing to their much valued thermal and acoustic capability.

AAC, along with other more recent innovations in lightweight building materials, such as polystyrene and other such external claddings, continue to evolve to deliver substantial advantages to builders and the people who will inhabit the building once completed. Some of these benefits include:

  • Cost effectiveness – fewer construction processes that reduce construction time and costs.
  • Strength and durability – delivers a solid building that stands the test of time in any environment.
  • Ease of handling – light to transport and extremely quick to install, construction can be completed in days, not weeks.
  • Safe and sound – strong thermal, acoustic and fire retardant qualities make it the perfect choice for the harsh Australian environment.
  • Pleasing aesthetics – ideally suited to a wide range of modern building styles, lightweight materials can be moulded or routed to create interesting visual effects and contemporary aesthetics.
  • Cleaner to work with – quicker and easier to clean up traditional materials. This provides advantages when moving trades through site and delivering the project on time.
  • Light on the environment – Australian made, produced using less energy that traditional materials, easily stored and transported, and with built in insulation saving on energy bills – lightweight construction is a win-win for planet earth, developers and clients alike.
  • Furthermore the products have fire retardant properties so with our harsh climate it seems reasonable to consider alternative building materials that better suit the environment and reduce risk. Maybe your next project would benefit from lightweight construction.

While change may be met with resistance, the advantages of lightweight construction in the building industry cannot be ignored. Residential developers who have embraced this technology are experiencing faster turnaround times and are effectively conveying the benefits to their customers.

Comparisons such as Hebel vs brick are gaining a lot of attention and exploring the distinctions and advantages between these two construction methods can help developers make informed decisions and navigate the evolving landscape of building materials. By replacing traditional bricks and mortar with lightweight materials like autoclave aerated concrete (AAC) such as Hebel, construction processes are streamlined, costs are reduced, and strength and durability are maintained. With its ease of handling, safety features, pleasing aesthetics, and positive environmental impact, lightweight construction presents a compelling option for future projects.

As the industry continues to evolve, considering alternative building materials that are efficient, sustainable, and tailored to the environment becomes increasingly important. Embracing lightweight construction can pave the way for a more efficient and environmentally conscious future in the building industry.

Get in touch with us today to discuss the best product mix to suit your project needs.

Article by Julia Sampo

February 1, 2018

Julia has over 10 years of experience across the marketing field in the construction industry. Her passions include design, building innovation, as well as travel, and the culinary arts.

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