Ease of handling, excellent sound insulation properties and good fixing strength were key facts in an architect's choice of Celcon aircrete blocks for an extension to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple.
The project is a 1000m² extension to the psychiatric unit at the hospital. This comprises 36 ensuite bedrooms, two dining rooms, offices, games room, seclusion room, day, treatment and therapy rooms.
Commented a spokesman for Atkins Architects, Exeter: "The ease of handling lightweight Celcon aircrete blocks is a great benefit on a project of this size, and our calculations show that the sound insulation properties are very good, which is of particular importance given the use of the building. The fixing strength of Celcon aircrete is also very good."
Dave Pearce, project manager for construction company Bluestone added: "I prefer using aircrete to dense aggregate blocks. Overall its buildability is better. Apart from being lighter to handle it is easy to cut with a saw and off-cuts can be used elsewhere on the project, so there's less wastage. Its good thermal insulation properties also help to meet Part L of the Building Regulations."
The extension at North Devon District Hospital is of traditional construction. Celcon's Hi 7 aircrete blocks were used for the inner leaves of the external cavity wall with a fully filled cavity. Celcon Hi Ten aircrete blocks were used for the corridor walls. Both are load-bearing to support a traditional cut warm roof laid with concrete tiles and incorporating two lantern and two dormer lights.