It’s time to make insulated foundation systems the standard when planning, designing and building new homes and extensions.

While traditional raft, strip or concrete slab foundations may seem like the easier and more cost-effective solution, the truth is insulated foundation systems offer many additional benefits at a comparable cost, and in some cases may actually be priced less than its traditional counterparts. Typical 3D detail showing the KORE Insulated Foundation System with cavity wall construction.

Cost aside, KORE’s Insulated Foundation System, for example, offers several advantages over traditional methods such as raft and strip foundations.

High Thermal Performance

KORE’s Insulated Foundation System virtually eliminates the thermal bridge at the wall-to-floor junction. The completed ground floor construction is wrapped in a continuous layer of Expanded Polystyrene insulation.

This ensures there is a thermal break between the ground floor and any non-insulating materials. Depending on the perimeter to area ratio, many projects easily achieve ground floor U-values of 0.10W/m2K – easily exceeding the requirements of Near Zero Energy Building (Part L 2019) and other low energy building methods.

In addition to providing low ground floor U-values, KORE’s Insulated Foundation System, when combined with underfloor heating, reduces heat loss through rising walls from an average of 65 per cent down to 12 per cent.

Easily accommodates heavy loading

The structural strength of KORE’s Insulated Foundation System is the result of a combination of EPS, concrete and steel. The system can accommodate heavy internal loads in areas such as internal load bearing walls, thickening the concrete slab by 100mm and installing EPS300 underneath the thickened slab area.

Typical detail showing 150mm concrete slab with a 100mm thickening to accommodate heavy internal loading.

Typical size loads for a two-storey house built with standard concrete block work are 4.5-5.5 tonnes per linear metre at the perimeter.

The Insulated Foundation System can easily accommodate these loads while providing spare capacity. The system can be utilised for domestic and commercial applications with proper planning and design by a qualified engineer.

Suitable for most ground conditions

While the soil on site should always be assessed by a qualified engineer to confirm its likely bearing capacity, the Insulated Foundation System can be engineered for most ground conditions.

This includes loose, medium or dense sand or gravel (or a combination), loose, medium or compact sand, soft, firm and stiff clays, among other conditions.

The most common approach in dealing with sites with poor ground conditions is to increase the depth of the T2 Permeable Stone layer under the EPS from the standard depth, typically 200mm.

As the load spreads as it travels downwards, the deeper the hardcore the smaller the load exerted on the underlying soil. On poorer grounds, a geotextile can be laid on the excavated surface before placing the hardcore. Other methods include piling when necessary.

Typical EPS layout: EPS300 at the perimeter and EPS100 for floor insulation.

Reduced material and labour costs

No longer does it have to take four weeks or more to install a foundation for a new home or extension. An insulated foundation system manufactured from KORE EPS can be installed in just a few days.

KORE provides a general setting out plan for each system supplied. The EPS delivered to site is profiled at our manufacturing facility to the exact specification as per the engineer and is simply installed on site, on top of the stone and blinding layers.

This results in reduced labour costs. The concrete required for the slab is also reduced by as much as 60 per cent, resulting in additional cost savings.

A fully engineered system

KORE’s Insulated Foundation System is fully engineered to the specification of each individual project. This includes:
• Initial site investigation (ground conditions) and design
• Ground preparation requirements
• Granular fill & pad foundation requirements
• Below ground services requirements
• Radon membrane requirements
• Reinforcement requirements dependent on the layout, superstructure and the loading
• Concrete placement

The system provides qualified engineers with an additional revenue stream as the system must be fully designed and inspected at stages throughout each project.

KORE works with structural engineers from across Ireland and is actively seeking new engineers to partner with on an ongoing basis. KORE can provide guidance in the form of a structural design manual.

Aerial view of system with EPS layers, steel reinforcement and underfloor heating system. Photo credit Circa Design Ltd (Architects Designers) & Circa Design Construction (main contractors).

Utilising the strength and benefits of EPS

Expanded Polystyrene is a proven material with decades of use around the globe. It is non-toxic, chemically inert and made up of 98 per cent air.

KORE’s Insulated Foundation System utilises EPS100 (thermal conductivity 0.036W/mK & compressive strength of 100 kPa at 10 per cent compression) and structural grade EPS300 (thermal conductivity 0.032W/mK & compressive strength of 300 kPa at 10 per cent compression) and is manufactured to last the entire lifespan of a building. At the end of its useful life it can be recycled and repurposed into a variety of other products.

KORE EPS will not degrade over time, is rot-proof, mould and water resistant, and can be installed in damp conditions – perfect for the Irish and UK climate.

KORE’s Expanded Polystyrene holds a third-party Environmental Product Declaration by the Irish Green Building Council and EPD Ireland, and can be used towards achieving BREEAM, LEED and the Home Performance Index certification.

Start designing the future today

A high-performance thermal envelope starts with the foundation. As we increase the amount of insulation in the walls and roof, the foundation is often overlooked.

With increased insulation in other areas of a building, heat will travel to the area of least resistance, often the wall-to-floor junction, looking to escape.

As a result, there could be an increased risk of condensation around the skirting board. KORE’s Insulated Foundation System mitigates this risk by eliminating the cold bridge, contributing to the overall Building Energy Rating with a material that is versatile, safe and easy to work with and install.

For engineers looking to futureproof their business and specify innovative products for their customers, KORE’s Insulated Foundation System is the only choice.

Not only does the system provide superior thermal performance for buildings at a comparable cost, it adds an additional revenue stream for qualified structural engineers looking to partner with KORE on commercial and domestic projects nationwide.

For more information, to request a quotation or book a free continuing professional development course on KORE’s Insulated Foundation System visit, email or call +353 49 433 6998.