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The monolith, brick or the panel — which is more durable and safer?

28 january 2016

At the time of the USSR to receive the apartment in the panel house was considered as a great luck. Since then many years passed, and such houses gradually faded into the background. The market was captivated by new technologies which were much more effective than the old. However because of incomplete information on the Internet many people have absolutely incorrect idea of this or the way of construction of residential buildings.

 For example, not everyone knows as far as service life of monolithic houses surpasses service life panel, what is the difference between types of the fast-built houses among themselves and how steady buildings build by SIP panels.

 To answer these questions "Krisha" interrogated experts.

About subtleties of modern housing construction

Today three types of multistoried housing construction are most widespread in Kazakhstan: panel, monolithic and brick. It should be noted that it is only conditionally possible to call new high-rise buildings brick as buildings with bearing walls ceased to build of a clay brick long ago, and that else are on sale, were constructed long ago. Now as "skeleton" of construction use ferroconcrete and monolithic designs.

 Generally houses presented in the market to the categories "Monolith" are built just on brick and monolithic technology. Also frame and monolithic construction is widespread in our country. It is worth explaining that the brick and monolithic house consists of integral ferroconcrete designs, outside of laid over by a brick or blocks. Between them layers of a insulation and a waterproofing, and the monolith is filled in by means of a timbering in which the reinforcing grid is established. After the first floor is filled in, a timbering remove and rearrange above.

 Unlike the previous type, the monolithic and frame house represents the facilitated construction. At the beginning the framework — columns, plates of overlapping and crossbars gathers, and they are made in factory shops. On a building site elements bring in finished form then mount them in integral system. External and internal walls are made of light materials that allows to adapt planning of a structure for any project.

Often on a framework hang up panels. In this case the bigger quantity of layers and thickness, the better. To the external walls executed on other technologies, approach approximately same: the two-layer are worse, than three-layer; without insulation is worse, than with an insulation; covered with porous materials is worse, than covered with the dense.

Of course such housing has features. Everyone who lived in the monolithic house, knows that the blow sound from the fallen subject in the apartment higher is felt as as a mini-earthquake. Life "delights" in a monolith especially felt by people if there live some children in above floors. But there are also pluses — here it is possible not to be afraid to flood neighbors, out of apartment water won't flow away.

As for panel construction, it is based on use of previously made large ferroconcrete panels and plates produced in a factory. The technologies applied at construction of such houses in the Soviet Union had many minuses. Quality of block houses directly depends on thickness of the panel, a heat-insulation layer and the finishing material — it is necessary to study attentively these parameters before purchase of the apartment in order not to wake up at night from extraneous noises behind a wall.

According to Sergey Sinitsyn, the general director of “Aksay-investment Company” LLP the person who in literal sense constructed all key objects of Almaty (The palace of the Republic, Sports palace, a skating rink of "Medeu", a television tower on Koktobe, etc.), there are cardinal distinctions meanwhile as built last century, and how build now.

"in our country ceased to build standard panel houses long ago. And there are no such plants now and they  aren't necessary to anybody. The technology became outdated. Also everything is difficult with other types of housing construction. For example, on Construction Norms and Regulations in Almaty it is forbidden to build completely brick houses higher than five floors. Almaty is located in a zone of seismic activity. However, it is possible to make a monolithic framework, columns, crossbars and to fill with a brick. But it isn't too reliable. The metal framework is better, but it is much more expensive, approximately for 25–30 %, but serves by two-three times more long" — the expert shared opinion.

However, later Sinitsyn added that there are not so many metal framework producers because it is too expensive.

What are the basic differences?

To demonstrate a difference, in the table below we collected the main differences between three classical technologies of construction.


Panel housing


Brick housing

Period of construction

6 – 12 Months

1 – 2 Year

Over than 1,5 year

Architect forms

Can be only typical

Possible to build any  architectural forms

Possible to build any  architectural forms

Terms of serving

50-75 Years

50 – 150 Years

Over than 30 years

Maximum floors

25 floors maximum

No limit

Usually not high buildings

Finishing material

Additional finishing works upon request

Needs additional expenses on leveling the walls and floor

High expenses for finishing works


Very bad isolation from the noise, insulation depend on the materials made

Medium, depends on technologies used

Perfect isolation and insulation

There is an opinion that one of the main advantages of brick buildings — is ability of a brick to absorb and give moisture that is especially important for climatic zones with the increased humidity of air. It is considered that concrete of such ability is deprived, from here and the phrase came that in brick houses "is breathed easier".

But there are shortcomings, for example high cost of construction and seasonality of decoration works. Sergey Sinitsyn is sure: in Almaty there is no qualitative brick, it needs to be ordered that doesn't reduce the price of the general prime cost of the house at all.

Also the production and technical department engineer of the Aristan Group company Asemgul Rysbekova expressed her opinion, that each type of houses has minuses.

"As monolithic houses are filled in at once on a place, they demand additional costs of decoration, same as brick houses. In addition, for example, if you want to install the external conditioner you should approve drilling a wall in a monolith. In panel houses such problem isn't present. But the monolithic house is steadier in the seismic plan. And on sound insulation it is better" — Rysbekova added.

Frame houses constructed differently

In modern construction there are some close technologies of construction of houses of this type. In low construction it is classical frame houses, and also frame and panel and frame cane buildings where cornerstone is the frame principle of production. However the listed types of construction have distinctions in a way of assembly, a design and, of course, a filler. Unites them — high speed of construction.

As heater at construction of the frame house basalt or mineral wool, and also expanded polystyrene or polyurethane foam usually serves. Earlier the cane and sawdust, it was the reason why used the corresponding name. With external, and sometimes and inside the heater is sewn up cement with plates or plywood which are reverted with front plaster.

We will give the main differences of two most widespread types.

Frame houses

Frame – panel houses

Load carried by wooden or metal frame, the other parts of walls provide insulation and safety functions

houses build on the designer principle of ready-made factory panels

Frame house is not heavy construction and does not need strong foundation, resistant to temperature changes and external influences. It retains heat better

Frame – panel housed resistant to deformation, highly durable and practical to use

Construction takes a few months

A small house can be build during a couple of weeks

On the inside and outside walls are attached sheets of durable and special material that allows to complete decoration immediately

Dimensionally stable way to build the walls and provides many opportunities in the selection methods of internal and external decoration

Prices in Almaty starting from 40$ /square m

Average price in Almaty 100-200$ / square m

By the way, recently in Aktau leased the country's first house built by a combined and frame method. The nine-storey building brought together all for half a year.

SIP panels

Today especially popular in Kazakhstan is use of the structural isolated panels (SIP). They proved in the Europe for a long time. This construction material has the three-layer structure consisting of two tough sheets and a layer of a heater between them. All details of such panels stick together among themselves by means of hot or cold pressing. As Serik Nurshanov, the honourable builder of RK, professor of the Kazakh head architectural and construction academy collected on science low frame houses with use of such panels told us can maintain even strong earthquakes.

"As lungs, they have them small inertness, only the small amplitude of fluctuations is respectively possible. If the building is collected correctly, it is capable to sustain even big pushes.  Besides such houses are much cheaper and more eco-friendly" — Nurshanov shared opinion.

The expert added that the weight of houses from panels usually doesn't exceed 20 tons. At need they can be lifted a special jack without destruction, for example for repair of the foundation. From minuses it should be noted that because of use in a design of wooden elements of the house can easily ignite. Insurers carry frame houses to the wooden at all.

Of course, each type of construction has advantages and shortcomings. The ideal technology which wouldn’t have minuses, today still isn't present. Therefore before purchase of the apartment or house carefully weigh all arguments, proceeding from safety and personal preferences.