b-foam® Ultralight Façade – Reducing Structural Loads of Building and Improving Earthquake Safety

Todays’ avant-garde exterior building designs present challenges to architects and developers alike. Aside from increased costs, the additional weight of these exterior architectural design elements increases the structural reinforcement needs for the building. Moreover, in the earthquake-prone areas, architectural façade elements can be deadly falling debris if they get detached during the quake.

Ra Apartement – Jakarta

UIN – Cibiru

Hotel Neo Gajahmada – Pontianak

Hotel Venus Mangga Dua – Pontianak

So why these elements has to be made with heavy, solid concrete? They are not load bearing, and thus there is no real reasons for making them as such (typical good quality precast element is made of at least 300 MPa concrete). Through their constant innovation pursuits, PT BE Putra develops b-foam® Ultra-Light (UL) architectural façades.
As architectural facades, they fill function perfectly: These UL architectural facades have long service life, are weather-resistant, can withstand small impacts (from flying bird and bats, for examples), and are visually distinguishable from conventional solid precast concrete façades. One big bonus is that these UL architectural façade weighs approximately 1/50, or 2%, of precast concrete façade! This can be a very significant reduction in building total weight, which will benefits multiple areas of the project: reduced foundation requirements, smaller columns and beams, and improved earthquake performance. Not to mention simpler installation, lower costs compared to solid concrete precast elements, and if used to clad significant surface area of the exterior, acts as an effective thermal insulation to reduce A/C consumption of the building.
The key to this greatly reduced mass is that b-foam® UL façade is made with b-foam® Fire-Retardant (FR) EPS foam, which specific mass is less than 1/100 of that of concrete. The foam core is then cased with proprietary fiber-reinforced cementitious layer, then finished with skim coat to make it look exactly like precast concrete elements.
In one of the recent projects where b-foam® UL Façade was employed in combination of b-façade Neo®, TBS Linera, a 16-story service apartment in Jakarta, close to 400 tons of weight was reduced. Earlier option was to only employ b-façade Neo®, which is an EPS foam core precast façade (produced by PT BE Perkasa, another division of Beton Works), as a means to reduce building weight as well as thermal cladding (b-Façade Neo® uses b-foam Neo® carbon-Graphite EPS, which has even better R-Value than the regular b-foam® EPS insulation). This would already have reduced the weight of the building by 260 tons. The usage of b-foam® UL architectural façade further reduced the building weight of approximately 140 tons.
Although the building structures – foundations, columns and beams, have been designed and decided before the client learned about b-foam® UL Architectural façade, TBS Linera will still benefit from greatly increased earthquake performance, as well as improved OTTV (Overall Thermal Transmission Value) – a good indication of its long term electrical consumption efficiency (A/C is by far the Largest component of electricity consumption in most buildings in the tropics)
An earlier example of successful installation of b-foam® UL facades was at the Universitas Islam Nusantara (UIN) Campus in Cibiru, East Bandung. The UL facades were installed at six of the new buildings, to form the Middle Eastern influenced architectural gates. Previously, the method of doing something similar to these architectural touches, is by casting perimeter beams of desired shapes, then filling the remaining space with unreinforced bricks. Not only this method takes a long time, this method is potentially dangerous during earthquake, as loose bricks can fall into people. b-foam® UL façade is also lighter than GRC, aiding further ease of transportation and installation.
The b-foam® UL façade installation at UIN Campus has also withstand the test of weather: about a year since project completion, a tornado passed through the complex, ripping the roof tiles and steel frame in the process. However, the b-foam® UL façade remains perfectly intact during this high wind occurrence.
For intricately detailed ultralight façade elements, PT BE Putra is pleased to partner with PT Indocosta in a joint manufacturing alliance, another ultralight building element pioneer in Indonesia, well equipped with state-of the art equipment to do fine profiled products.

Medina Apartement – Karawaci

Hotel Grand Tebu – Bandung

Wings Hotel (Aston Lake Resort Sentul) – Bogor

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