EPS panels are a hot topic when it comes to insurance, as certain types are deemed to be a 'high risk', and therefore difficult and expensive to insure.
There are several different types of EPS panels and you may not know what type your building contains, but they can have a significant impact upon your insurance premiums. AB Phillips have been successful in navigating the insurance market and reducing insurance premiums due to their extensive knowledge and understanding of these panels. Our insurance experts can:
- determine what type of EPS panels your building contains
- advise on what you can do to lower your insurance premiums
- negotiate with insurers to broker an insurance deal that protects your interests.
We work with an extensive network of insurers and we know how to get the right deal for your situation.
Due to our expert knowledge in this area, we have partnered with the Insulated Panel Council of Australia (IPCA) as their preferred insurance provider for their members.
What are EPS panels?
Expanded Polystyrene Panels (EPS) are a type of Insulated Sandwich Panel (ISP), and have been used for commercial construction in Australia for the past 50 years. Insulated Sandwich Panels (ISP) are made when three separate elements are “sandwiched together” to form one structure. The combined properties of the high tensile and compressive strength of the outer steel skins and the high shear strength of the inner core leads to a building material which has a much longer spanning capacity and is lighter in weight than traditional building materials.
EPS is manufactured from styrene monomer, using a polymerisation process which produces translucent spherical beads of polystyrene, about the size of sugar granules. During this process a low boiling point hydrocarbon, usually pentane gas, is added to the material to assist expansion during subsequent processing.The flame retardant predominately used for expanded polystyrene is hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). HBCD is added during the polymerisation process and is retained within the polymer matrix.
Labelling of Insulated Panels
Advantages of insulated sandwich panels
- Significantly reduces the amount of energy required to keep buildings within a comfortable temperature range.
- Light weight, low maintenance, recyclable and reusable.
- Uses the non ozone depleting insulants.
- Steel skins can be made with between 10-30% recycled material.
- Reduces landfill over standard framed construction methods.
- Provides continuous insulation that reduces or eliminates thermal bridging.
- Provides a consistent level of insulation that is impervious to compression, water vapour, vermin and rot.
- Reduces air-leakage/infiltration rates.
- Significantly shortens construction time
Disadvantages of insulated sandwich panels
The perceived disadvantage of ISP has been its performance in fires. The most common criticisms of ISP in fire conditions relate to the delaminating of the outer skins exposing the core, the structural ability of the Panels to stay in place and not collapse during a fire and fire spreading within the Panel. There have been improvements over time to ISP and addition of fire retardants, metal fixings, not using plastic fixings, etc. The objective of the Code of Practice ("the CODE") is to bring all of these improvements, and others in further research and testing, together into one system and industry CODE.
(Source: Insulated Panel Council of Australia)