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Block by block: an alternative to aerated concrete blocks

As you may be aware, there’s currently a shortage of aerated blocks in the UK, and from speaking to people daily on-site, we know it’s a worry, especially when we’re under pressure to keep up with construction demand.

At the moment, manufacturers are trying to improve the availability of aerated blocks long-term, but in the meantime, there are alternatives that allow builders to get a similar thermal performance. One of these is traditional dense aggregate blocks.

Using dense aggregate blocks instead

When used with the right thickness and type of insulation, medium dense aggregate blocks create a system that meets with the Robust Details Handbook and Part E & L – the current Building Regulations for new and existing residential houses and flats.

Choosing the right insulation however does need a bit of thought: for example, it depends on whether you’re doing a full or partial-fill cavity,  a brick or rendered block outer leaf and can also be influenced by other specification changes elsewhere in your design.

As it’s a technical area, we’ve created a How to switch from aerated to medium dense blocks guide to show the U-Values (the measure of thermal performance) that you can achieve with the right mix of dense aggregate blocks and insulation. You can also pick up a copy in any of our branches so you can have it to hand on-site.

Check it with your designer

There are many different dense blocks out there and they each have their own thermal properties. Jewson use a number of local manufacturers to bring you the best value so alongside using our guide, it’s important to check what you’re using with the project’s architect, designer or SAP assessor to make sure it meets the U-Value needed.

A concrete alternative

While the availability of aerated blocks is being fixed, dense aggregate blocks and insulation are a great alternative. You can also rest assured that there’s enough stock of dense aggregate blocks and insulation within our local branches to help you keep up with demand.

From Ian O-Brien, Category Manager at Jewson: