The Dincel Construction System was specified for the Eclipse Apartments project developed by CHC Affordable Housing.

A not-for-profit development company that delivers affordable and functional housing projects to the ACT community, CHC Affordable Housing has partnered with some of Canberra's leading builders and architects to create properties that are redefining the concept of ‘affordable’.

CHC’s Eclipse development in Bruce, ACT consists of about 200 units distributed across six buildings up to five storeys high. The developer’s brief to the architects and builders was to create a property that could deliver the economic as well as sustainable outcomes desired by their clients.

According to the project manager at the Eclipse Apartments development, the use of Dincel Construction System in the Eclipse project helped achieve organisational objectives, with the environmental advantages in particular playing an important role in their decision-making process.

Dincel systems used in the Eclipse project included the Dincel polymer material certified VOC-free and consisting of heavy metal stabilisers-free, ethylene based rigid PVC with no plasticisers and low VCM<0.5 ppm. Dincel provides custom lengths that virtually eliminate construction waste and related costs. The majority of Dincel walls have been installed without steel reinforcement. The basement retaining walls and Dincel blade columns have been used without horizontal steel bars, allowing the polymer, vertical steel bars and concrete to be completely recycled at the end of the 100-year Dincel lifecycle by simply crushing the Dincel components.

The use of Dincel formwork enabled up to 50% cement replacement with a higher use of flyash – a waste product from the power industry – in the concrete mix, reducing the cost of structural concrete.

The Dincel load bearing wall construction system allowed the use of 150mm slabs in lieu of conventional 200mm thick slabs with a mesh type of reinforcement. The significant reduction in concrete and steel quantities in the floor slabs with virtually no steel in Dincel walls along with the 50% cement replacement represents lower embodied energy efficiency, with an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions.

Dincel is certified waterproof by CSIRO, which means the structure will have an increased lifespan as compared to traditional construction methods; the resultant savings in maintenance costs will also help reduce body corporate fees for low income clients.

Waterproof Dincel is tested to have 180 times less vapour transmission and is certified to be VOC-free. Dincel also prevents thermal bridging, which promotes condensation and fungus development. The PVC material's hygienic properties, which qualify it for hospital applications, ensure the product does not support the growth of mould, fungus, vermin and bacteria. Dincel walls provide the perfect solution to the sick building syndrome and indoor air quality issues.

The use of Dincel Construction System ensured the virtual removal of brick and block layers from the site, allowing the project to substantially reduce the overall construction programme by around 30 percent while also further reducing onsite material wastage.

The considerable savings achieved through the use of Dincel Construction System will mean that the not-for-profit company CHC Affordable Housing can build a greater number of units in future projects for people living on low to moderate incomes.

Green objectives achieved at the Eclipse Apartments project

The lightweight Dincel system incorporates snap-clip joints that eliminate significant construction accident potential while achieving a substantial increase in construction speed. Up to 50 per cent cement replacement and very low construction wastage were key benefits of the Dincel system. Dincel also eliminates the associated problems of materials with a porous nature.

Improved indoor air quality, low embodied energy use (about 40%), and 25% savings in heating and cooling energy with the crack-joint free, waterproof, airtight construction eliminating air leakage, are some of the benefits of the Dincel system.

The Dincel system can be installed by a single trade. Dincel wall systems consisting of purpose in-built service spacers allow power and water reticulation to be done at any stage of construction.

Thanks to the use of Dincel Construction System at the Eclipse project, the original construction programme of 77 weeks was reduced by 26 weeks.

Eclipse Apartments has complied with every aspect of the Green Building Council of Australia's sustainability principles. CHC is committed to ensuring compliance with both national community housing standards and ACT affordable housing regulatory requirements. The Eclipse development has benefited by using the Dincel Construction System, while residents of the units will also benefit in the long term through lower maintenance costs.

Image: Plasterboard Finished Internal Dincel Walls