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HomeCFA CommentTime to take note…

Time to take note…

Richard Catt announces the launch of a new CFA guidance note on underfloor heating systems in light of future building standards.

IN recent years, underfloor heating systems (UFH) have gained popularity as an efficient and comfortable heating solution for both commercial and domestic spaces. As the industry continues to evolve, I am delighted to announce the launch of a new CFA guidance document that addresses the evolving landscape of underfloor heating, particularly in light of the proposed Future Homes and Building Standards. Consultation for this began in December 2023 and the government retains the ambition to achieve 600,000 heat pump installations annually by 2028.

The forthcoming Future Homes & Building Standards will reshape the heating options for new build properties. The CFA guidance identifies that natural gas boilers, as well as oil and LPG boilers, will no longer meet the carbon reduction targets required for new domestic properties. Instead, air or ground-source heat pumps will become the primary heat sources, making UFH the most practical solution for many new build domestic homes.

The CFA guidance document builds on the 2022 CFA Guide to Contract Flooring (our purely technical guide) and the installation advice it offers for decorative flooring over UFH and aims to provide further advice and guidance within this changing context. It sheds light on basic design considerations and limitations giving a better understanding of glue line temperatures, compared to surface temperatures and the room temperatures achieved. It explains a little about the different UFH systems available, options for floor heat outputs (measured in W/sq m) and what they achieve in different contexts ie homes built at different times and therefore with different insulation properties. It shows calculation that highlight that in the refurbishment sector, older properties (with poor insulation) may not be suitable for UFH as their primary heat source without improvement.

Our new CFA guidance emphasises the unique heating characteristics of UFH, particularly its ability to emit a higher percentage of heat by radiation. Coupled with the large surface area of the floor, this feature allows many dwellings using UFH to achieve the same level of warmth at lower input temperatures, maximising system efficiency and minimising operating costs.

There are lots of positives about UFH that the document recognises.

As the document delves into the specifics of underfloor heating as a primary heat source, it underlines the importance of proper installation and operation. While all floor coverings can be used with UFH, correct installation is crucial to ensure optimal performance. The guidance document also addresses potential pitfalls, such as high temperature spikes or consistent operation at elevated temperatures, which may compromise the integrity of the product or installation. It explains this in more detail and provides a reference document that can be used to support evaluation and explanation of onsite problems.

In the face of these industry-transforming changes, CFA guidance serves as a valuable tool for the entire supply chain. It provides insights into the requirements and considerations for textile, resilient, and timber-based floorcoverings, ensuring that the flooring industry is well-prepared to meet the demands of the evolving heating landscape.

It’s important to note that this new document was developed in collaboration with BEAMA (the trade association representing the UFH industry) and so has wider industry support. It is a member benefit of the CFA, underlining the association’s commitment to providing its members with crucial resources and knowledge. This article not only aims to highlight this new CFA member benefit but also extends an invitation to companies in the industry to join the CFA, and gain access to this and other valuable information that the CFA offers. As the Future Homes and Building Standards loom on the horizon, the CFA and its members are poised to lead the way in embracing these changes, ensuring the continued success of the contract flooring sector.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the Flooring Industry. If you would like an application pack or further information on the benefits of membership, please contact the CFA.
0115 9411126

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