Speed was of the essence. The first phase of the Silk Meadows development included 11 homes set along a newly constructed street. The street snaked through this Crest Nicholson development of two, three and four bedroom houses on the outskirts of Taunton. The urgency was because this phase of the 67-home development contained the three show homes needed to market the development.

H+H’s Rå Build method of thin joint aircrete construction provided the housebuilder with the ideal solution. “The thin joint system enabled us to go from slab to finished house in 12 weeks for the three show homes,” says Tony Daniels, site manager at housebuilder Crest Nicholson.

This was the fourth site on which the housebuilder has used the Rå Build method to ensure a fast build for its show homes. To familiarise the operatives with the advantages of the Rå Build method of construction, H+H provided half a day’s training for brickwork contractor Cropper and Naum prior to work starting on site,.

To help speed construction further, retrofit joist hangers were used to support the home’s timber intermediate floors. This construction method eliminated the need to cut blocks at joist level because the joist hangers fit into slots cut into the thin joint masonry after the wall has been constructed. A spinning laser is used to ensure slots are at the correct height and level.

Because the floor heights can be set independently of joints on the cavity wall’s inner leaf, using retrofit joist hangers allowed Crest Nicholson to order fixtures such as the staircase in advance, rather than having to wait until the floor has been installed to establish its dimensions. Retrofitting the joist hangers also helps keep the building airtight because the support slots do not penetrate the aircrete blockwork inner leaf.

In addition to the first phase of the development, Crest Nicholson will also use H+H’s Rå Build method to construct the final two homes on the development. The foundations for these are complete and currently form the development’s customer car park. Using the Rå Build method will enable the final two homes to be completed quickly and with minimum disruption to the development’s new residents once the development is complete.