Fresh guidance for house builders on underfloor heating

Neil Smith, head of research and innovation at NHBC

Neil Smith, head of research and innovation at NHBC

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New guidance outlining best practice for the installation of underfloor heating has been issued by the NHBC Foundation.

The number of new homes with underfloor heating has increased in recent years because it helps free up wall space and can have energy efficiency advantages. Underfloor heating can also be particularly well suited to retirement housing, where there is a need to maintain constant warm temperatures.

However, this is a relatively unfamiliar technology with a range of potential risks. For example, the pipework is concealed, so there is risk of damage from subsequent building work or drilling into the floor should the builder not have accurate information on the layout of the system. Also, installation is often undertaken before the residents’ final furniture layout and preferences for carpets or rugs, have been decided, which might result in restricted heat transfer.

Underfloor heating: a guide for house builders sets out a number of recommendations to make sure underfloor heating is as effective as possible. These range from making sure pipework distribution is properly planned to maintain an even temperature across each room, to recommending that installation takes place after external windows and doors have been fitted and once the home is watertight to mitigate the risk of frost damage.

Neil Smith, Head of Research and Innovation at NHBC, said: “Underfloor heating systems offer many advantages in new homes, including improved aesthetics and comfort levels. It also has a part to play in improving energy efficiency, provided the system is correctly designed and installed and set to operate properly.

“This best practice guidance is aimed at helping smaller companies in particular to get things right and ensure that systems deliver all of their advantages in practice whilst avoiding potential problems. We are grateful to the building services industry experts at BSRIA for their support in the development of this guide.”