As housebuilders increasingly look to utilise building materials and methods that improve the sustainability, cost efficiency and performance of their properties, could modern building components that are founded upon the principles of natural materials provide the solution? Chris Piper, Sales Director for Housing Developers at Ibstock PLC, explores how reconstituted walling stone is growing in popularity with architects, specifiers and developers.
When constructing luxury properties in geographical locations such as the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and Oxfordshire, achieving an authentic exterior is essential, not only to ensure the development is accepted by planning, but to also provide potential occupiers with a high quality home that delivers real kerb appeal and reflects the local vernacular.
Whilst specifying the natural stone of the specific region will appear the obvious choice, and may be a requirement for a small proportion of properties on the development, latest manufacturing advancements are providing professionals with premium reconstituted alternatives that are built upon the form of natural materials, whilst offering cost, sustainability and performance benefits.
This is due to the materials being constructed of carefully selected blends of locally sourced natural aggregates and pigments, which are expertly combined with sand, cement and stones. The end result is a low maintenance building material that authentically reflects the texture and visual appearance of natural stone, at a fraction of the price.
As reconstituted walling stone features a through-colour construction that utilises aggregates from the natural stones it is replicating, this enables developers to successfully reflect and sympathise with the native language of the area, as the profiles perfectly mirror the organic colouring. For example, professionals can recreate the rural aesthetic of the Light Ham of Somerset, or the Buff of the Cotswolds, by specifying reconstituted walling stone in shades such as Milbourne or Penstone in rugged, rustic finishes including Traditional Cottage, Split Finish and Pitched Cottage.
The very nature of the construction process enables manufactures to supply reconstituted stone in a range of course heights and lengths, which supports developers in meeting the individual specification of each property. This also supports the installation of reconstituted profiles in conjunction with additional building components, such as traditional brick and render, to aid the creation of bespoke exteriors for every property, whilst still achieving a cohesive appeal for the whole development.
This not only provides potential occupiers with a personalised touch that makes their property unique from its neighbours, but also adds a contemporary aesthetic that makes the development stand apart from competitor sites, without affecting the planning process.
Tight time scales
For professionals working to tight time scales, the manufacturing process for reconstituted walling stone enables the materials to be delivered on site in a matter of weeks, compared to quarried natural stone that may have significantly longer lead times due to being affected by poor weather and the subsequent extraction issues that can arise.
This, combined with the performance, sustainability and visual appeal benefits, provides an affordable, yet effective, alternative to natural stone that sets the standard for a new generation of traditionally inspired contemporary properties that enable developers to achieve significantly higher margins.