The idea of stay-in-place concrete formwork is not novel in itself, as it is being used by various businesses in countries like Canada, North America and Australia. This process has been widely acclaimed by customers of these businesses due to the innovative processes associated with the product, which are known to save time and costs. RAPFORM’S process is however 100% novel, as the process has been designed and engineered for the specific needs and conditions of Africa and South Africa. Whilst Rapform is in the process of conducting its own product testing, it serves RAPFORM well to present an extract of the technical product specifications of a Canadian business called Nuform, to indicate the technical viability of RAPFORM’S product.The materials used in building with RAPFORM are virtually identical to the materials used by Nuform’s “Conform” product, and therefore provide an excellent comparative benchmark.

RAPFORM uses a unique polymer composition, which provides the raw material basis for manufacturing RAPFORM panels. For ease of reading RAPFORM polymer mix will be referred to as ‘RPM’. ‘RPM’ is a polyvinyl chloride material, which is also rigid and has been specifically blended to produce a set of product qualities suitable for the performance and durability of RAPFORM. ‘RPM’ is a unique mix of PVC material together with additives, which in combination provide the performance properties required for RAPFORM panels.

The RAPFORM engineers together with South Africa’s leading polymer profile producer specially formulated the physical properties of ‘RPM’. The formulation has been based on detailed requirements for the product to excel under the rugged building conditions and environment found in Africa and South Africa.

‘RPM’ is an extruded polymer profile, which provides the formwork system and the interior and exterior finish for both interior and exterior concrete walls. RAPFORM panels provide durable, water-resistant and UV-resistant finishes to concrete walls. RAPFORM panels can withstand harsh atmospheric conditions, needs minimal maintenance and cleans easily.

RAPFORM is composed of RAPFORM panels and injection moulded connector clips, which together provide stay-in-place concrete formwork for concrete walls, along with a permanent finish. The polymer panels are clipped together, and in combination the clips and panels allow for the construction of concrete walls. The concrete walls can be reinforced, as required by the engineering design, by easily installing steel reinforcement bars into the formwork system.

CONFORM® conducted considerable testing “both in-house and through third parties. CONFORM components are manufactured using a polyvinyl chloride, polymer material and there are many inherent advantages in the product.” “The manufacturing process is a high quality, co-extrusion process that creates fused layers of material which do not peel, flake or delaminate and provide a consistent appearance and performance.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Rapform’s manufacturing process and raw materials are exactly the same as used for the Conform product. For the Conform technical Guide and other Nuform product guides please visit Nuform.

The technical information below is not the property of RAPFORM, and RAPFORM will not be held responsible for any unlawful use of the information below. The information below is exclusively the property of NUFORM, who have a valid Copyright to the information and who take all credit for the work presented. NUFORM technical information will only be used as a comparative benchmark for RAPFORM’S product.

Fire Rating

“A bearing concrete wall with CONFORM CF6 formwork, tested in conformance with CAN/ULC-S101, indicated that it met the requirements of this article for a 2 hr fire rating.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

“Based on the CAN/ULC-S101 test, fire consultant, Locke MacKinnon Domingo Gibson & Associates Ltd. (LMDG) determined that walls with CONFORM CF8i formwork meet the requirements for a 2 hr fire rating.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

“Concrete walls with CONFORM are composed of three elements:

- The walls have a structural base of non-combustible concrete with permissible minor combustible components, in accordance with NBC clause 3.1.5.2 and IBC clause 703.4.2.

- The walls have a permanent exterior finish as permitted in non-combustible construction, in accordance with NBC clause 3.1.5.5 and IBC clause 2603.5.5.

- The walls have a permanent interior finish as permitted in non-combustible construction, in accordance with NBC clause 3.1.12.1 and IBC clause 803.1.1.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

“Each of the above elements has been tested separately and combined, to ensure that the walls are in compliance with the building codes. The fire properties of the coextruded polymer material used for CONFORM, known as Royalloy B, has been tested to numerous ASTM standards. The fire properties of Royalloy B, can be found in Table 5.1 which indicates the test method and the test result. The fire performance of CONFORM as the permanent interior wall finish has been tested to the applicable CAN/ULC S102.2 and ASTM E84, Standard Method of test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials. CONFORM is acceptable for all types of building construction with the exception of return air plenums and some locations of high buildings. The interior finish is classified as a Class A finish as per IBC Section 803.1.1. The fire performance results for the surface burning tests are noted in Table 5.2.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.17.30

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.17.41

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)

“Testing has been conducted on a load bearing concrete wall, in accordance with CAN/ULC S101, (ASTM E119 equivalent), Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Tests of Building Construction and Material. Based on this test, and the reviews by several fire consultants, the fire resistance ratings of the concrete walls, as shown in Table 5.3, have been determined. In addition, the results showed compliance to the 15-minute remain-in-place test that is required for fire protection between the exterior foam insulation of the CF8i components and the interior occupied space.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.17.52

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)

“The fire performance rating of CONFORM as a permanent exterior wall finish, both with and without insulation, has been tested to the applicable building code standards. The wall finish was tested and met the requirements of CAN/ULC S134, Standard Method of Fire Test of Exterior Wall Assemblies. This test method, in accordance with the NBC code, provides an assessment of fire spread, vertically and horizontally on the exterior face of exterior wall assemblies. The exterior wall finish is evaluated from fire exposure resulting from a fire compartment venting through an opening in the wall. A similar test NFPA 285, Standard Method of Test of the Evaluation of Flammability Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies with Combustible Components, was also conducted. This test method in conjunction with NFPA 259 and NFPA 268 evaluated and confirmed compliance of the exterior finish for fire exposure, in accordance with the IBC code.” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Energy performance

“Three major factors affecting the thermal performance of a wall system are thermal bridgingair tightness of the enclosure and thermal mass” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).  Below are the test results of the three aforementioned thermal performance factors.

Notes on the table below:

The R-Value is the most common unit of measurement of thermal resistance, and is dependent on a solid material’s resistance to conductive heat transfer. Below are the test results of the Conform product. CF4, CF6and CF8 are walls with a different thickness, being 4 inches, 6 inches and 8 inches. The CF8i is an insulated 8-inch wall.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.25.59

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 14.35.57

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)

Thermal bridging is caused by wood or steel members, especially in light-frame construction. These members act as a thermal bridge causing heat flow to short circuit. Unlike walls with CONFORM, framed systems can suffer from severe thermal bridging and heat loss especially at corners, windows and partitions” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).  See figure 5.6 below:

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 14.06.33

“Compared to many conventional building methods, walls with CONFORM provides a tighter building envelope, without the use of an additional air barrier. For instance, a 4″ concrete wall with CONFORM CF4 formwork has an air leakage rate of 0.020 L/(s • m2) (0.0039 ft3/(min • ft2)) at a pressure differential of 75 Pa (1.57 psf). This is the same level of air tightness required from a 6-mil thick sheet of polyethylene when used as an air barrier” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Thermal mass effect is provided by thermal insulation applied to the exterior of the concrete wall. This thermal mass effect provides for significantly lower energy consumption when compared to lightweight wall systems with the same nominal R-Value. In some climates, the effective R-value of a wall with CONFORM will be twice that of a framed wall insulated to the same nominal level. The R-value of exterior insulation added to a concrete wall with CONFORM CF4, CF6 and CF8 can be based on prescriptive code requirements or determined by a performance approach. The exterior insulation provided by the insulated CONFORM CF8i formwork has a R-value of 13.3, but the thermal mass effect increases the effective R-value” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

“When filled with concrete, CONFORM acts as a vapor and an air barrier. The two 0.100″ thick polymer faces of CONFORM act as the vapor barrier and are more durable than the typical 0.006″ thick sheet of polyethylene used in conventional construction. When tested, a 4″ concrete wall with CF4 showed an air leakage rate of 0.020 L/(s · m2) (0.0039 ft3/(min · ft2)) at a pressure differential of 75 Pa(8) (1.57 psf). Consequently, additional air and vapor barriers are not required when using CONFORM” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Water resistance

“Tests have been conducted to determine the water resistance of concrete walls with CONFORM. For above-grade use, water penetration testing was conducted in accordance with ASTM E547(9) using a pressure differential up to 700 Pa (14.6 psf) across the wall and in accordance with ASTM E331(10) using a pressure differential of 300 Pa (6.24 psf) across a sealed opening. It was established that concrete walls with CONFORM are watertight without the use of additional cladding. In addition, for below-grade or basement use, a wall with CF8i was tested under a 5-foot column of water. During the 24-hour test period no water infiltrated the interior face of the wall. The testing established that basement concrete walls with CONFORM does not require additional dampproofing on the outside, when used below-grade, if built in accordance with the recommended procedures” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Indoor Air Quality

“In recent years, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has become a serious concern, especially due to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and mold growth in houses and schools. The resulting poor IAQ has serious health implications. Epidemiological studies from the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada have consistently shown negative health effects associated with dampness and mold. In children, symptoms most commonly associated with mold include respiratory problems, aches and pains, diarrhea and headaches. In adults, the symptoms can include aching joints, nausea and vomiting, backache, blocked nose and breathlessness. As discussed in the following subsections, CONFORM does not contribute to poor IAQ, but further enhances the IAQ by providing a wall surface that does not off-gas and that is mold and mildew resistant” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)

“Testing and chamber studies(11) have been conducted to assess the Indoor Air Quality of homes using CONFORM(12). The objective was to assess the contribution of volatile organic compounds (VOC), or “off-gassing”, associated with the extruded PVC building components to the concentration of the total VOC (TVOC) found in the indoor air. Based on the testing and analysis, the following was concluded:

• The average TVOC concentration found in three model homes tested for IAQ was less than 0.3 mg/m3. This is significantly less than 1.0 – 2.0 mg/m3 typically found in occupied houses and offices.

• Chamber studies indicated that in the worst-case scenario (a house built using CONFORM and occupied only one month after the building components were extruded – representing the maximum amount of off-gassing from the new material), the concentration of 0.04 mg/L (mg/m3) would contribute less than 15% to the TVOC found in the model homes. Note that the concentration of 0.04 mg/m3 is reaching the limit of analytical detection.

• The “off-gassing” from the extruded CONFORM components is significantly less than the offgassing associated with conventional building products such as: natural wood, laminated wood, particle board, various walls covering, etc. No health hazards or discomfort has been associated with the TVOC levels found in the three model homes tested for IAQ” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Mold Resistance

“The growth of biological pests is assisted and promoted by wet building materials such as gypsum wallboard and wood. These conventional building materials get wet through absorption of water from high indoor humidity, condensation caused by thermal bridging, moist air leaking through the building envelope, or simply by rain/ground water penetrating the interior of the building. CONFORM does not promote or allow the growth of mold and mildew as moisture does not penetrate the interior, and because the polymer surface does not absorb and store moisture. Even high indoor humidity levels will not damage the interior face of the walls, as the polymer surface is moisture resistant and vapor impervious. Testing has been conducted by Underwriters Laboratories to confirm that the polymer and polyurethane insulation of CONFORM, are mold resistant as per ASTM E21 and ASTM C1338” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Acoustic properties

“Almost all building codes require that walls separating dwelling units from each other or from public or service areas have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) of not less than 50 (or 45 if field tested). STC is established in accordance with ASTM E90, Standard Test Method for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission Loss of Building Partitions and Elements. Whereas field testing is conducted in accordance with ASTM E336, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Airborne Sound Insulation in Buildings. The acoustic testing of the concrete walls with CONFORM was conducted in accordance with ASTM E336. Based on this testing, the sound transmission of concrete-filled CONFORM is summarized in Table 5.7. A FSTC rating of 45 is considered equivalent to an STC rating of 50” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.30.09

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)

Weathering

“The polymer used for CONFORM, Royalloy B, has been specifically designed to resist fading and discoloration due to weathering, due to a highly UV resistant outer capstock layer. Accelerated Weathering Tests (Table 5.8) were conducted in accordance with ASTM D4329 and ASTM G53 for 2000 hours. Physical Outdoor Weathering Tests (Tables 5.9 – 5.11) were conducted in accordance with ASTM D4216 and ASTM D1435, for 2 years” (Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides).

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.33.49

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.34.13

(Nuform Building Technologies Inc. (2012), Technical Guide (v 2.0), Retrieved from: http://www.nuformdirect.com/resources/guides)