Thermal Bridging

What is Thermal Bridging / Surface Condensation?

Thermal Bridging is sometimes known as a cold bridge, both are referring to a weak spot in the insulation surrounding a building which occurs when there is a break in the continuity, or a penetration of the insulation. This can lead to the risk of surface condensation and unhappy clients. HRS know it is a problem for many, this is why HRS’s team of thermal experts work closely with many companies from the start of a project, providing expert advice and using sophisticated software to ensure that HRS provide you with the most cost effective solutions.

Common areas where thermal/cold bridging occurs are junctions between floors, walls and ceilings. lintels, jambs and balconies are also problem areas.


What is the best way to avoid Thermal Bridging / Cold Bridging?

The most effective way of avoiding a thermal bridging problem is to design it out. HRS can work closely with you to eradicate or minimize any problem areas.

HRS have a team of Thermal experts that would be happy to look at your drawings and give you advice on the more cost effective way to resolve your thermal bridging issues.

If you would like any advice, more information or a quote, please contact HRS on 0800 030 4391 / email: or click to go to the KNOWLEDGE Hub.

Thermal Bridging also exacerbates heat loss from buildings.  In modern buildings that are well insulated and reasonably airtight, the Thermal Bridging losses can account for a significant percentage of total building heat loss.

Calculation of Thermal Bridging losses (psi values) can be calculated using thermal modelling software.  HRS has dedicated experts to help analyse details, provide quantitative analysis and highlight potential solutions to meet required targets.

Thermal Bridging analysis can assist with meeting Fabric Energy Efficiency targets for Building Regulations and also Code for Sustainable Homes ENE 02 criteria.  Strict energy targets required for the Passivhaus standard may also require thermal modelling.

What is Thermal Bridging analysis?

Building fabric heat loss is calculated and taken into account in Part L Building regulations using the U-values for walls/floor etc. Further heat loss also occurs at junctions such as between walls and roofs, at gutters and around openings such as windows and doors. In these areas, it is known as thermal bridging, the presence of high conductivity materials crossing the insulation lead to a higher heat flow, which is locally higher than in surrounding areas. These add to the total energy demand of the building.

A second consequence of thermal bridging is the lower internal surface temperatures caused by the increased heat flow. Depending on the environmental conditions within the building and the nature of the internal surfaces this can lead to a risk of surface condensation.

Thermal Bridging analysis uses 2D or 3D computer simulation depending on the nature of the detail in question to quantify the heat loss through thermal conductivity at junctions of building components.

Why would I need it?

Thermal Bridging analysis can confirm thermal bridging (psi) values. These can be entered into the SBEM and SAP compliance calculations required for Part L Building Regulations to determine an overall y-value. Results can assist with carbon emissions and fabric energy efficiency targets.

Modelling can also be utilised to determine whether proposed design details pose a risk of surface condensation by calculating the temperature factor

What information will be required to carry out Thermal Bridging/Condensation Analysis?

Information to be provided by the client to HRS will include the following:
Relevant drawing details by Architect /Contractor
Most up to date architect’s/structural details
Thermal conductivities for various elements contained within the details
Proposed building usage (main activity) and expected internal design temperatures if different from the typical known standards

How can HRS help?

HRS has experience of carrying out assessments on a full range of building types and project sizes. HRS also uses approved industry standard (ISO 10211) HEAT software coupled with trained and experienced modellers. This means that we are fully competent and qualified to provide compliant reports for client and local authority requirements.

HRS’s wide ranging technical and practical experience of building technology, design issues and potential faults in buildings allow us to give a high level of service during the modelling, interpreting the results and providing pragmatic solutions.

0800 030 4391

“Thank you for your help and patience getting us through this rather complex procedure.”
Cost Manager, Haden Freeman Ltd

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