Construction consultancy C4Ci is working with Lime Technology to develop a lime and hemp building panel which can be made by timber frame manufacturers.

At the moment Lime Technology’s Tradical Hemcrete is an on-site product predominantly used by self-builders but with limited appeal to larger commercial users. The material, comprising hemp fibre mixed with a lime binder, is packed into timber formwork where it cures and forms an insulation layer.

“Our challenge is to bring Hemcrete to the volume of timber frame manufacture and we are making strides,” said Luke Whale, managing director of C4Ci.

C4CI is helping Lime Technology design a permanent formwork system using existing timber frame technology, where the Tradical Hemcrete is poured into the formwork, supported by timber studwork, and cures to create a composite panel.

Mr Whale said the panel was a cross-over between timber frame and masonry technology that could offer a new market for timber frame fabricators.

“We have been speaking to timber frame manufacturers and hope to encourage some of them to fabricate the formwork and manufacture the Hemcrete panels in their factories,” added Mr Whale.

Lime Technology is preparing to submit the panels for structural testing and then they will be trialled.

Then funding will be needed to finance the next phase.