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Evaluation of the durability of ETICS : additional requirements in Belgium.

Even though ETICS are installed in Belgium since the early seventies, the use was quite limited compared to other European countries. This is due to the following reasons. First, solutions are used based on traditional materials such as insulated cavity walls with a veneer wall - external leaf- made off clay units in particular. Secondly, the image of ETICS has suffered from ‘less successful' realisations (damages) due to the transfer of the technique in another context of building customs, a lack of adequate training of the installers and finally due to some questionable ETICS having resulted in an abnormal number of damages. An improved confidence in the technique has necessitated the development of a more stringent durability test method, which has resulted in a better adequation with the climatic actions. Based on the specifications of UEAtc and later on those of ETAG004, the procedure involves the determination of the resistance to hygrothermal ageing according to ETAG004 followed by wet frost-thaw cycles adapted from the simulated method, not depending on the water absorption of the render system. This procedure takes better into account the Belgian winter climate characterised by many rainy days and a permanent high humidity in combination with frost-thaw cycles. The evaluation is also completed with the measurement of the bond strength at the ‘reinforcement' giving a better idea of the loss of strength of the render applied on a ‘weak' insulation material. As a result of this evaluation, additional requirements have been established. This optimized procedure is already used to deliver a voluntary Belgian Technical Approval (ATG). At the present day, thanks to a better trust and the Energy Performance of Building context, the use of ETICS is growing rapidly in Belgium.


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