Siniat has supplied its latest innovation, GTEC Weather Defence, as the sheathing material for the construction of an £11.5 million school in south Wales. Abercynon Community Primary School, in the Rhondda Valley is one of the first projects to use the new gypsum-based board as a key component of the building’s external envelope.

GTEC Weather Defence is ideal for frame-based construction. It is water, weather and mould resistant, and is 30% lighter than cement board alternatives, allowing for faster build times and improved site safety.

The project at Abercynon Primary School is set for completion in Autumn 2013, and achieved major time and cost savings by using GTEC Weather Defence, as Lee Davis, site manager for sub-contractors Manorcraft, said: “GTEC Weather Defence’s reduced weight compared with traditional cement boards made it much easier to handle and install.

“It reduced our plant hire costs, as we did not need to hire scissor lifts for as long as we normally would. When cutting the board we did not need to take it to designated areas on site, nor did we need to use face masks as there wasn’t a problem with dust. As a result the job was completed much faster, more safely and we saved money.”

There is no need for mechanical cutting with power tools. Instead, the board can be cut using a ‘score and snap’ technique. Nor does it produce harmful dust meaning it can be cut in-situ, further reducing installation time.

Siniat say GTEC Weather Defence is highly dimensionally stable, which means gaps between boards are tight and reliable, providing excellent airtightness to help increase the overall thermal efficiency of the building – an important consideration as architects and developers strive to create ever-more efficient buildings.

The board’s technical credentials include acoustic insulation and fire resistance, and is fully non-combustible (Eurolclass A1) for use in projects, such as high rise construction, which have more stringent fire risk demands.

Abercynon Community Primary was delivered under the Welsh government’s South East Wales Schools Capital Working Group. It’s the first school to be delivered under the framework, which emphasises early contractor involvement and efficiency of build. The school is being built on the site of a former educational building and will accommodate 400 pupils – replacing outdated facilities at two nearby schools.