Two-storey design: the benefits of a suspended slab

Sooner or later, if you’re designing a two-storey development, the question will arise: Do you want a suspended slab?

Not only is it a good question, but also there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. It all depends on whether the benefits are likely to help you maximise your profit.

The alternative to having a concrete slab – ‘suspended’ between the two levels of the house – is using timber framing to construct the floor of the upper level. While this is also a good option, having a suspended concrete slab does offer certain benefits that are always worth considering.

Yes, there is an additional cost involved in having concrete under foot upstairs, but it’s not usually a huge difference and the benefits often outweigh the additional outlay.

You do also need to bear in mind that a suspended concrete slab will add a little to the construction time. This is simply because it takes time for a concrete slab to cure before building the upper walls can begin, but again you’re likely to win in the long run.

Here are our top five reasons to consider whether a suspended slab is right for your development.

Each benefit translates into a genuine selling point that can help attract the right buyer or tenant.

1. Strength and durability:

Compared to timber, or other second-storey flooring materials, a concrete slab is a rigid and solid product, so it’s not surprising that it’s highly regarded for its superior strength and durability. Knowing their new home has a suspended concrete slab is likely to be a big plus for your would-be buyer.

2. Soundproofing:

Concrete doesn’t transmit as much noise as you might find with a timber-framed upper floor. Family buyers in particular are likely to prefer a suspended slab because mum and dad can be confident they’ll hear less of the kids jumping around upstairs, while they’re trying to enjoy some peace and quiet downstairs. The same principle applies to staircases made of concrete instead of timber.

3. Energy efficiency:

How well a home performs in terms of year-round comfort and lower energy consumption is a growing consideration for would-be homebuyers. Features such as insulation and solar passive design will certainly help your development meet expectations, but a suspended slab can add another layer of energy efficiency. That’s down to the thermal mass of concrete, which absorbs and releases warmth and coolness in a very effective way, making concrete more energy efficient than timber flooring.

4. Ceiling heights:

Potential purchasers and tenants alike love a sense of space and volume when they’re looking for a new home. A suspended slab allows you to maximise your downstairs ceiling heights without necessarily having to spend on extra courses of brickwork. The ceiling batons can be integrated into the underside of the slab, allowing the ceiling plasterboard to be secured directly to the slab.

5. Safety:

One of the main characteristics of concrete is that it doesn’t burn. This offers increased safety in the unhappy event of a fire, giving prospective buyers and tenants extra peace of mind.

 

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