Recommending products certified by ACERMI means guaranteeing high-quality structures

Julien GADRAT - Gadrat Architectures & Associés

By Julien GADRAT, founder of Gadrat Architectures & Associés in Bordeaux

Julien GADRAT works in all areas of construction. His vision of architecture is contextual, reconsidering how buildings are used and taking a new perspective on how they are designed, to create innovative, respectful and generous buildings.

School in Loupiac
School in Loupiac

Beware of CO2 emissions!

We mainly work in public procurement, designing schools and recreation centers for children. We are especially attentive to air quality and, as a result, to the sanitary quality of the materials and the potentially harmful emissions of some materials.

A portion of our activity is positioned on negotiated contracts and the fees are low. Like many of my fellow architects and due to a lack of resources, we are not able to call upon specialized consulting firms to conduct accurate testing leading to health data sheets for materials. We do however check for emissions of volatile pollutants: VOC, SVOC and formaldehyde in materials, and we go beyond CE marking, particularly by relying on the ACERMI certification. It's an issue we care about.

Humans are fragile, and this fact is disregarded

In 2016, the French government published a decree making it mandatory to monitor the indoor air quality of premises used by children, beginning in 2018 for schools and daycare centers. In the long term, this requirement is planned for all types of buildings. But young children will be the first beneficiaries, and this is a good thing. Children are much more fragile than adults. Low-quality air, caused by poor quality materials, can cause irreparable damage to children's health.

These are environmental concerns that take account of both the planet and human beings. Humans are fragile, and this fact is disregarded, even though there are scientifically proven links between buildings and health!

We prefer ACERMI ...

Many manufacturers make bold claims or obtain only the general certifications required, but few undertake a voluntary procedure to prove the quality of their products.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that the original goal of construction is to serve people, in terms of use, health and environmental impact.

There are a great many standards, which we meet, of course, including thermal regulations. In this respect, we specify the thermal resistance characteristics of the insulation products to be used in the envelope, roof, walls and flooring. We combine all of these factors to make choices early on, clearly described in the specifications, based on the ACERMI reference systems.

Timber framed buildings represent 70% of our activity. In this case as well, we opt for ACERMI insulation materials, such as rock or glass wool or cellulose wadding.

... because it ensures the final quality of our construction projects

We understand that obtaining an ACERMI certification represents an investment for manufacturers, but for us architects, it guarantees that we will end up with a sound, high-quality building. Suzanne Déoux, a physician and the author of books on health in buildings, also promotes the ACERMI certification at her conferences.

We strive to provide quality within budget constraints. We are committed to a code of conduct; it's a tough path, but it’s all worth it once the building is open to its users and everyone feels good inside.

Download Issue 7 of the newsletter - April 2017