Architects and building designers are looking to lightweight building material companies such as Cemintel™ to create products that meet the new demands of urban density.

Australia’s growing population is placing an exponential demand on land with families moving to newly developed suburbs in areas that were only a few years ago zoned rural.

Building material companies are closely monitoring this growth, researching and analysing the way forward to work with design and build trends in this growing urban density. Unlike the quarter acre blocks of the 1970s and 80s, home building trends have moved towards smaller blocks with councils amending existing legislation to facilitate development applications. Where 500sqm-sized blocks were previously deemed too small to be approved for build, they are now being seen as a solution for addressing suburban land shortage.

To work within the constraints of these compact blocks, two storey homes are being designed with smaller environmental footprints. Designers and builders are looking to lightweight building material companies such as Cemintel to address the requirements of these new developments with products that are aesthetically pleasing, yet simplify the construction process.

Corresponding to the change in lot sizes, several new building materials have been introduced as designers look for alternatives to traditional cladding and masonry. Materials used in dwelling constructions have significantly changed over time, contributing to the sustained downward trend in the use of bricks over the past 40 years.

Key reasons for the increasing preference for newer building materials include time savings achieved on site, minimal requirement for maintenance and the ability to achieve unique finishes.

For instance, there was a trend in the 1990s-2000s with the rise of the ‘McMansions’ in newly developed suburbs. These developments witnessed a definite shift towards composite construction materials increasing the demand for brick veneer and non-brick cladding materials.

Cemintel saw a dramatic rise in its standard fibre cement products due to this trend, with demand increasing for more creative products such as Designer Series and BareStone.

Designer Series is a range of pre-finished cement bonded fibrous wood particle panels that provide a low-maintenance yet creative design and build solution. Offering endless design possibilities and allowing easy installation, these panels are selected by designers, architects, builders and homeowners to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance, and constructed to high standards using quality building materials.

Key considerations for designers include the optimum use of decreased sized blocks, smart use of roof space, focus on thinner walls, maximising natural lighting, and ventilation and sound reduction.

Urban density in the future will not only affect inner city suburbs, but also the outer suburbs of metro cities. Cemintel is continually researching and developing new products to meet this demand.

Cemintel’s BareStone is an exterior cladding system, featuring a stylish, on-trend appearance of raw concrete that is attractive to designers and homeowners, yet holds the properties of a prefinished lightweight panel system to benefit installers and builders. The panel incorporates the revolutionary CeminSeal waterblock technology that reduces water penetration into the sheet, providing a low-maintenance and sustainable solution.

With these examples of creative, ready to install, low maintenance walling facade products, Cemintel is meeting the changing needs of the market.

Cemintel is calling on designers and architects to consciously think and start working towards smart, creative designs that address this urban density issue. The Cemintel 9 Dots Awards program is aimed at professional and student architects and designers to encourage a dialogue centred on the urban density theme, with the competition requiring them to design a strata development using Cemintel products.