Thermal performance of park homes, mobile homes and static caravans

Parkhome

Building regulations do not apply to mobile homes, park homes and static caravans and instead these are subject to thermal performance requirements. This blog post explains what the rules and regulations are.

Park Homes can be difficult to heat, as they typically have thin, single skin walls, and cannot easily be insulated to the same level as traditionally constructed dwellings. Whilst modern versions can be relatively well insulated, with double glazing and energy-efficient boilers, the majority are more likely to be older and built to minimum standards.

Static Caravans for use as ‘Summer holiday accommodation’ only.

Most static caravans are built to BS EN 1647, which does not have quite the same insulation requirements as BS 3632. A holiday home built to this standard is only recommended for summer use as temporary or seasonal accommodation and is not suitable as a permanent residence.

Park Homes

BS3632 sets insulation levels that supposedly ensure that Park Homes are “built and insulated to a standard that will mean they are comfortable for use all year round”, but in reality residents of Park Homes tend to have a higher than average incidence of fuel poverty, with high fuel costs and comparatively poor energy efficiency.

The current provisions for insulation and thermal performance standards in BS3632 are significantly below that set by current building regulations.

The external walls, floor and roof, excluding any door and window openings, are required to be constructed and finished such that the U-value does not exceed:

  • 0.5 W/(m2K) for the wall and floor construction; and
  • 0.3 W/(m2K) for the roof; with
  • Windows and doors with a maximum U-value of 2.0.

It is permissible for a wall, floor or roof to have a higher U-value than the values specified provided the average U-value is achieved. No individual U-value should exceed 0.6 W/(m2K).

It is estimated that there are around 71,000 park homes in occupation; even if all of them were built to either of the above standards, they would be costly to heat and their occupants likely living in fuel poverty. It is however much more likely, that many older homes do not even meet these standards.

Is there a better standard to come?

BS3632 is currently being reviewed via the British Standards Institute; the insulation levels proposed for new units following a revision are for the external walls, floor and roof, excluding any door and window openings, to have average thermal transmittances (U values) of not greater than:

  • 0.35 W/m²K for the walls;
  • 0.35 W/m²K for the floor; and
  • 0.2 W/m²K for the roof.
  • Windows and doors with a a U value not greater than 1.6 W/m²K (complete doors and windows including frames).

Upgrading those already in existence

There isn’t a retrofit standard for Park Homes at this time and as it stands, securing finance to improve them can be difficult.

Park homes don’t need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for re-sale or rental purposes, but one can be lodged in England & Wales for ECO and Green Deal purposes, providing it’s produced in accordance with BRE’s updated guidance document. So there is potentially scope for securing finance providing a payback can be shown.

Existing energy efficiency performance of such properties is often very poor and with limited fuel types available on sites, bottled gas is the typical means of heating most Park Homes; the associated costs and carbon emissions from such heating measures is usually high. A combination of high heating demand and high heating costs results often in an associated high likelihood of occupants living in fuel poverty.

Currently, the cheapest, most effective and preferred method of improving the energy efficiency of a park home, is to put external cladding on it. This can dramatically increase insulation levels, and significantly reduce the heat demand of such dwellings, providing significant cost savings for occupiers and it can be relatively cheap and easy to install. There is also a potential for improving the fire performance of the structure when cladding.

Whilst external cladding will modestly increase the external dimensions, there is guidance from CLG to state that this comparatively modest increase in dimensions will not usually have any significant impact on sites overall, so there is definitely scope (with a site owner’s permission) for these works to be undertaken and doing so can drastically improve the standard of living for the occupants giving financial and health benefits alongside the environmental ones.

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Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer of optimum, premium and high performance rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications.

0 comments on “Thermal performance of park homes, mobile homes and static caravans
  1. Hi, Do you put external cladding on statics? If so how much is it roughly for 35 x 12 Willerby? Need to insulate it for all year round living… thank you.

  2. Hi, we are thinking about improving the thermal efficiency of our holiday static, which we use at all times of the year. As my husband – a profesional ‘handyman’ uses Kingspan products quite a lot, we were thinking of using it betweent the joists under our caravan to try to improve the thermal efficiency this way. However, we are not 100% sure whether it is suitable. Some forums have suggested that it would need weather proofing? Can you help please?

  3. I have a 2004 Willerby Westmorland that has been damaged by a haulage company. The sides need replacing. Where can I find out about the best way to insulate the caravan whilst I am getting it clad? I have seen Jablite, Neopor and your own. Which one is the most suitable to go behind cladding? Is it better to use the shaped insulation or plank style?

    While I am doing all this, is it worth getting the roof replaced and the under floor insulation?

    The double glazing is also being replaced.
    Kindest Regards.

    • Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your question. Our insulation is certainly appropriate for use within static caravans, but we will need to know a bit more information about your project in order to recommend any particular products and advise on installation methods. If you would like to get in touch with our Technical Department on 01544 387 382 we will be able to help a bit more!

      • Thanks for the reply and my apologies for the delay in acknowledging – I didn’t know you had posted a reply until today due to me having misspelt my email address!
        I will give your tech department a call in the morning.
        Kind regards,
        Sue

  4. do you supply any of the top spec caravan companies with your kingspan insulation
    as i am looking for a well insulated new caravan to buy in 2017

  5. Are there regulations that with Gas central heating wet system that all radiators should be fitted as standard with TRV’s, Thermostatic Control valves to each radiator in each room, is there a regulation for this and if so which BS standard does it come under, Thank you

    • Hi Maxwell

      Thanks for your question. As insulation specialists, unfortunately we don’t know too much about radiators! It might be best to contact your local building control for advice?

      Sorry we couldn’t be of more help.

  6. I am sure that I read elsewhere that “Park Homes” are not subject to Building Standards and your article seems to bear this out in that the only authority referred to are the British Standards. Can you confirm if this is the case?

    Also, and whilst I understand that this article relates to the thermal aspects of “Park Homes”, can you comment on whether or not the likes of drainage connections would be subject to building regulations?

    Kind regards

    • Hi Iain

      This post was uploaded quite some time ago now, and while the content is mostly still correct you’re right that the Building Regulations no longer apply.

      BS 3632 is the residential standard for park homes. BS3632:2015 came into place in November 2015, and BS3632:2005 will be withdrawn this month.

      Regarding drainage, we aren’t really in a place to comment given that we are insulation specialists. However, guidance can be found in BS 3632 on the topic.

      Hope this somewhat helps, Iain.

  7. Good evening

    I have just bought a static caravan to live in can you tell me if you insulate the statics? if not can you recommend someone please?

    Kind Regards
    Gillian Foulds

    • Hi Gillian

      We are an insulation manufacturer and not an installer, so unfortunately we are unable to help. We suggest that you contact the manufacturer of your caravan, who will likely be able to advise some reputable installation companies.

      Sorry we can’t be of more help.

  8. Hi,
    The BS3632:2015 does not specify insulation thickness for internal walls. Do internal walls need to be insulated if external walls, roof and floor all meet the BS3632:2015?
    Regards
    Kim Thomas

    • Hi Kim,

      The building standard that is being referred to is for park homes and lodges, which is not generally our area of expertise. It is sometimes a requirement to insulate partition walls between two heated spaces, sometimes for acoustics if not thermal value. The need for separating wall insulation for thermal reasons will be determined by thermal analysis that assesses the thermal performance of the building as a whole, such as SAP calculations. We only provide U-Value calculations for heated to unheated spaces, if there is not a SAP assessor already working on the project, then advice should be sought from someone in this field.

      Hope this helps,
      Yas

  9. Do you have any acoustic information for park/mobile homes? I’m interested to know the highest possible sound attenuation between outside to inside to home. Thanks, Aaron

  10. Hi, could you tell me what insulation is in the roof and side walls of static caravans and is there any liquid chemical you could pour into the walls to make them solid so you could cut and assemble,thankyou,Regards David

    • Hi Dave

      As an insulation manufacturer we cannot provide information on specific caravans unfortunately. We advise that you contact the maker of the caravan in question for more information on this.

      Sorry we can’t be of more help in this instance.

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