Everything You Need To Know About EPS Building Systems

EPS may mean Expanded Polystyrene but it also stands for the three things which are crucial to modern construction – Economy, Performance and Sustainability.

Only EPS offers a unique combination of attributes and advantages which has led to it being the leading choice for decades for architects and construction specifiers.


  • Roof, floor and wall insulation
  • Sub-structures and void-fill blocks for civil engineering
  • Foundation systems
  • Clay Heave protection
  • Bridge, rail and road widening schemes
  • Underground heating system support
  • Interior and exterior decorative mouldings

Attributes and applications of EPS

Lightweight It is therefore an excellent substitute for infill materials and ballast where it also brings load and fill times down in time-critical build projects.

expanded-polystyreneHigh Strength and Structural Stability It is ideal for use in many construction and civil engineering applications, particularly as a structural base infill, for example in road, railway and bridge infrastructures.

Economy Floor construction with EPS requires only one waterproof membrane to be installed, not the two needed for mineral wool or PU foam – saving on both material and labour. And for a given insulation performance, EPS itself costs less than these competing materials.

Insulation In the construction sector, Its BRE ‘A-plus’ rating means it is the perfect choice for use in under-floor, between-floor, walling and roofing applications where it is able to give a constant insulation value across the full service life of the building.

Design Versatility Ease of cutting or moulding allows the factory production or on-site preparation of complex shapes to match the most demanding architectural and design requirements – usually without the need for specialist cutting tools or skills.

Expanded_polystyrene_foam_dunnageAccredited Performance EPS has BBA Approval, BRE Certification and many wider industry accreditations. Its light weight, high compressive and impact strength, insulation, safety and eco-credentials combine to make it the preferred option for so many architectural and construction applications.

Resistance to Water Ingress After almost 30 years in the ground, samples of EPS retrieved from locations as little as 200mm above the groundwater level all have less than 1% water content by volume.

Safety in installation and use EPS is non-toxic, chemically inert, non-irritant and rot-proof. Fungi and bacteria cannot grow on EPS and it is insoluble and non-hygroscopic.

Sustainability Credentials At every stage of its life cycle, from production to recovery or recycling, EPS offers exceptional eco-credentials and is therefore ideally suited to the new generation of eco-friendly building projects.

What goes into EPS?

Put simply, EPS is 98% air and 2% plastic. It uses, as its base material, styrene monomer. The monomer is a by-product of petroleum and naphtha produced during oil refining which provides a ready and continuous source. Styrene also occurs naturally in many foods such as strawberries, coffee beans, beer and wine.


How is it used in Construction?

Basically EPS is a fill material like Murram in a foundation. It does not provide additional structural stability to the building but it does take up the space where something more expensive and heavier would have gone.

So for instance, in a residential house we don’t really need a 200mm stone wall, now with our climate. But we also cannot cut that stone to say the 75mm that we ‘just need’ because it then will fail. But what if we can get the same functionality with a different material?

Here, EPS is used as insulation between a masonry and concrete block wall.
EPS is used for walling. In this construction, the EPS panels are fixed to structural members (not in the photo). Then fibre sheeting and plaster in this case will be the structural glue for the wall.
EPS blocks have excellent compression strength, good work-ability and durability. It is widely used in modern bridges as a filler material which saves substantial concrete and cost. EPS also used as a void former in bridges for service and utility piping usage. Source LinkedIn
As you can see in this photo, for a wall, the EPS reduces the volume of concrete required, thus even with a stone wall, this option still works out to be less costly.
EPS Can also be made into standard size panels which are used in prefabricated construction as the image below.
This will be an example of factory sized panels. They are then simply fixed to place reducing cost of labor, time of construction and of course overall project cost

What Can You Build With EPS?

Anything, really.

  • Multi Storey Buildings – up to 4 floors. If you need to go higher, you can construct your structural grid in steel or concrete and use EPS for partitions.
  • Residential Homes
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Mass housing – staff housing, police housing etc

Here are some Google images on application of EPS construction

  • To start your search here are some price indications from Koto Housing. Click here to check out more prices or get a quote.

    A 3 bedroom bungalow with master en-suite bathroom plus one shared bathroom. PRICE: Kshs. 4,100,000/=
    A 3 bedroom bungalow with master en-suite bathroom plus one shared bathroom. PRICE: Kshs. 4,100,000/=

    A stunning and luxurious 5 bedroom mansion with three en-suite bedrooms, a family room and a dining area. This mansion has a plinth area 215sqm. PRICE: On Application
    A stunning and luxurious 5 bedroom mansion with three en-suite bedrooms, a family room and a dining area. This mansion has a plinth area 215sqm. PRICE: On Application

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