Ziegel hollow core clay blocks are commonly used in many EU countries and are beginning to make inroads here. While the sq.m. cost of the materials is similar to conventional walling in the UK there are several major advantages:
- The speed of building is greatly increased
- There is very little water involved (about 5% compared with traditional brickwork) so drying out times are drastically cut
- The insulation values are much better (although for really good insulation values such as with the PassivhausSee more on the Passivhaus standard. The PassivHaus Institute has pioneered a standard for low energy buildings. It includes very low energy usage and ways of achieving this. The word is derived from the idea of buildings which are fundamentally low energy and passive solar heated rather than using extra gadgets to heat them. See Passivhaus for the UK branch of the organisation. standard they will require extra insulation adding either internally or externally
They can be used either as a single skin or with cavity[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - A space enclosed by elements of a building (including a suspended ceiling[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - A part of a building which encloses and is exposed overhead in a room, protected shaft or circulation space. (The soffit of a rooflight is included as part of the surface of the ceiling, but not the frame. An upstand below a rooflight would be considered as a wall.)) or contained within an element, but not a room, cupboard, circulation space, protected shaft or space within a fluepipe to conduct gas, typically ventilation air or boiler exhaust. see Flue, chute, duct, pipe or conduit. wall.
There is a Porotherm U-Value Indicator which gives values for different wall types
Here are a couple of videos showing how these blocks are used with very narrow mortar beds.
The Building Regulations part A covers the structure of a building. The Approved DocumentsThese are a part of the Building RegulationsThese are the legal regulations which govern how a house is constructed. (not to be confused with Planning Permission which is about whether you are allowed to build the house at all or what it might look like) see Building Regulations) which ensure, if you follow them, that your plans will be automatically approved. The full set of the documents is available here part Apart A of the Building Regulations Approved Documents relates to Structure. See an abridged version which covers house building go into a lot of detail for traditional masonry buildings but almost none for timber frame, steel frame, earth building SIPsStructural Insulated Panels - prefabricated (usually in a factory) timber panels often forming part of an integrated building system and aimed at fast site erection. see more on SIPs etc. For these you will need to consult a structural engineer (while SIPs structures are usually handled by the manufacturer)
With most forms of construction there will be implications concerning fire safety. These are covered in the Building Regulations and you can see examples of how to conform with these in the Approved Documents Part B (Fire Safety)
The regulations include a section called “Part C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture” which covers site remediation along with protection from nasties which might affect the construction and occupants such as damp, rain, radon etc. There is an abridged version of the Approved DocumentThese are a part of the Building Regulations which ensure, if you follow them, that your plans will be automatically approved. The full set of the documents is available here specially for houses.