Wood for life – why exterior wood products are here to stay

When Gordon Aitken first considered cladding his family home in 2006, he longed for a natural wood finish on his home’s exterior but imagined that he’d be forever maintaining, coating and touching up the façade of his house near Glenrothes in Scotland.

Accoya

10 years later and Gordon has been pleasantly surprised. After choosing to use ACCOYA®, a modified wood, Gordon hasn’t once had to scale a ladder or coat his home’s cladding with tins of lacquer in a full decade, proving how resilient the wood is.

Gordon’s home was the world’s first ever property to be clad with ACCOYA – a virtually rot proof, non-toxic and highly durable natural wood product with a 50 year above ground guarantee. Finished ten years ago and setting a new benchmark for long lasting exterior wood products, this use of ACCOYA has changed the perception of how wood can be used for residential projects.

Bricks and mortar are the mainstays of UK house building. They cope reasonably well with driving rain, gusting winds and freezing temperatures, which unfortunately we’re all so used to. Wood, albeit attractive, natural and environmentally friendly, has for a long time been considered an inferior material, prone to shrinking, warping and rotting. However, things are changing.

Accoya

After 90 years of wood science, the process of transforming softwoods into products mirroring the resilience of tropical hardwoods has recently become widely available. The process is known as acetylation. Acetylation alters the wood’s chemical structure making it practically impermeable to water and therefore not vulnerable to swelling or shrinkage.

ACCOYA’s sister product, MEDITE® TRICOYA® Extreme, made from the same process is an extremely durable wood-based panel, offering the design flexibility of MDF with the resilience of hardwood. It has been described as “absolutely unique” and one of the greatest advances in board products in the last 10 years.

Both products have won a host of awards from environmental bodies around the world, demonstrating the products’ commitment to sustainable building and design.

Wood’s popularity amongst home owners is certainly on the up, and with products such as ACCOYA and MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME making real waves, it seems logical that this upward trend is here to last.

Inspired by design? Visit Accoya’s new blog to view a selection of project stories.

Accoya® chosen for French windows & doors at a country home in Bath

Designed and manufactured by Bath Bespoke, Accoya was selected for the windows and French windows and doors throughout this stunning country home on the outskirts of Bath.Accoya WoodAll the windows and doors were completely bespoke and crafted using traditional methods by the team at Bath Bespoke. Working closely with their clients and their selected architects, Bath Bespoke combined a mixture of styles – some sleek, contemporary elements and some period style mouldings to complement the exposed stone throughout the property.timber windowAccoya was chosen as the ideal wood for the project thanks to its seamless quality finish and its ability not to shrink or swell during seasonal weather changes, meaning Accoya doors and windows open and close effortlessly all year round.

Speaking on their decision to use Accoya for the project, creative director Tom Jones-Marquez said: “Being able to stand by our work is key for us and the stability and durability of Accoya allows us to do this more so, than with any other timber”.

Inspired by design? Visit Accoya’s new blog to view a selection of project stories.

Neaco balustrade available with integral LED lighting

neaco

Architects and interior designers can add an atmospheric touch to their scheme with Neaco’s contemporary balustrade featuring integral LED lighting.

The LED under-lighting can be specified as part of a multitude of modular design options including a comprehensive choice of infills, from toughened glass and rails to mesh, tension wire and perforated panels. Aluminium balustrade is available in a wide variety of solid and metallic finishes and the Spectrum range also includes free-standing structural glass, glass-panelled Juliet balconies and glass-panelled walk-on balconies.

Neaco’s National Sales Manager, Peter Melia, said: “The LED under-lighting is another impressive example of the superior architectural aesthetic which characterises our Spectrum balustrade range. The company boasts a rich pedigree in design innovation. We’ve introduced some exceptionally popular product developments in recent years, including Timberline, a wood-effect aluminium balustrade system with a powder coated finish which reproduces the intricate detailing of natural oak grain, and Neatdek 188 aluminium decking with concealed drainage gaps below the surface to provide an unrivalled combination of privacy, low maintenance and safety underfoot.”

All Neaco products are backed by a class-leading Lifetime Guarantee – further information is available at www.neaco.co.uk

Dependable Heating from Vent-Axia

New energy efficient electric heating has come of age. Whilst many of the UK’s 3.9 million off-grid households have been benefitting from this highly efficient heating technology for some time, those on the gas grid should consider electrical warmth too. With gas security now being brought into question with gas reserves lower than usual at this time of year, the option of electric heating is coming into focus. Sussex-based Vent-Axia’s range of energy efficient electric heating includes Opal Aluminium Radiators, towel rails and Bluethermal™ underfloor heating as well as portable heaters for occasional use.electric heating

“As gas supplies begin to dwindle and the question of energy security is brought into focus, now is an excellent time for homes and businesses to look at electrical heating either as a whole house solution or in certain rooms. With electric radiators, towel rails and underfloor heating all available, there is great choice for efficient, attractive heating” says Tom Emson, Product Marketing Manager, Vent-Axia. “Vent-Axia’s latest heaters are cost effective with low capital and installation cost and are almost maintenance free with no moving parts. Electric heating also offers households the comfort of not having to worry about costly annual boiler checks or plan in fuel deliveries.”

For occasional use, such as during a cold snap or when only a single room needs to be warmed, Vent-Axia has a range of portable heaters which are ideal for providing a heating boost around the home or workplace as well as for warming up summer houses etc. Vent-Axia’s convection heaters and fan heaters both offer multiple heat settings and thermostatic control for added comfort and are lightweight, making them easy to move around to where they are needed.

For more permanent heating, Vent-Axia offers a range of electric heating solutions for every room in the house that are cost effective to install and easy to use. They also cause minimal installation disruption as they don’t require the pipework needed by traditional boiler heating systems. A simple connection to an electricity circuit makes electric heating easy for installers to fit it in a few minutes rather than the day or two needed for a traditional boiler heating system. Not only do these products offer greater flexibility to households since they quickly warm a room providing almost instant comfort, but technological developments now mean their accurate controls ensure they are more energy efficient than ever before.

Vent-Axia’s Opal aluminium radiators feature a digitally controlled thermostat, are slim and stylish in design and offer households attractive, energy efficient, controllable comfort with the radiators featuring dynamic fluid with high thermal inertia. Manufactured from 100% recycled aluminium derived from drink cans, the Opal features 5 pre-set life style functions enabling an easy install. The fast programmable controls and an energy monitor also mean that households can lower energy consumption and so reduce fuel bills.

Also included in Vent-Axia’s electric heating range is a series of attractive towel rails featuring high quality white or chrome finishes with ten different models, split into flat, curved and designer styles. Control is central to the range, with the series featuring an optional advanced controller offering five heat outputs. This not only provides lovely warm, dry towels on chilly mornings but acts as primary heating source offering greater comfort when in the bathroom. 

Vent-Axia

Meanwhile, Vent-Axia’s Bluethermal™ underfloor heating allows low temperature radiant heat to provide evenly distributed warmth, with accurate controls ensuring this form of heating is more energy efficient than ever. And with the thermal output being 2-3 °C lower than using a convection based system, savings of 5-10% of the running cost are realised. The system includes a thermostat controller that monitors both the floor and air temperature so customers gain maximum control over their environment by allowing them to set the thermostat at either the ideal floor or air temperature.

For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590 or visit www.vent-axia.com.

Primary school pupils see the benefits of non-slip decking

An eco friendly school in Liverpool has used Marley Eternit’s JB Citideck® for the walkways surrounding its new innovative eco POD, due to its non-slip properties.

The wooden-clad eco POD at Rice Lane Primary School is part of a number of green initiatives the Eco Stars (a select group of green fingered pupils) at the school have taken responsibility for. The POD is currently being used as a classroom whilst the school is undergoing major building work but will eventually be used by learning mentors as an inspiration space. It will also be used for specialist support and wider training, such as initiatives involving parents in learning.

The wooden structure can easily accommodate a class of 30+ children and has become an instant hit with all 750 pupils and teaching staff alike, as it has a very calming atmosphere.

POD Living Ltd always specifies JB CitiDeck® for its projects because it is assured of the quality and performance. JB CitiDeck® was used for the walkways at both the front and behind the eco classroom – with steps leading to the front doors and a ramp for wheelchair access at the rear.

The safe use of the walkways all year round was the prime concern for the school’s leadership team, so the non-slip timber deck board from Marley Eternit was ideal. JB CitiDeck® is also one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly hard landscaping products available, perfectly complementing environments that use a range of other natural products. The smooth profile of JB CitiDeck® is easy to clean, which is ideal in areas of heavy usage such as a busy school.

JB CitiDeck® was originally developed for use in the Olympic Park, where safety, inclusivity and accessibility were all of paramount importance to the organisers of London 2012. It is now specified for many urban applications and public spaces – from schools and hospitals to housing developments and restaurants.

Rice Lane Primary School Head Teacher Cheryl Chatburn said “The POD has been a revelation for the school, and knowing that pupils can access it safely on JB CitiDeck® non-slip decking provides real peace of mind.”

Dylan Howie from POD Living Ltd said that JB CitiDeck® is the only decking the company will use. “Our PODs are built to the highest possible standard, and we demand the same of everything that goes into the installation – and that’s why we have complete faith in JB CitiDeck®.”

To find out more about using JB CitiDeck® for heritage and conservation projects, contact the technical team on 01427 675588 or

www.marleyeternit.co.uk 

The Vent-Axia Pure Air Sets the Benchmark for Indoor Air Quality

Vent-AxiaventilationWith a growing body of research pointing to the health implications of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in our homes Vent-Axia has set the benchmark for high-level filtration with the launch of the Vent-Axia Pure Air.

Designed specifically to answer the needs of the new build residential market, this indoor air quality filtration system has been developed to work in conjunction with Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) units to offer the ideal indoor environment.

MVHR not only extracts harmful pollutants but also allows the air coming into the home to be filtered, taking out harmful airborne bacteria and dangerous contaminants. The Vent-Axia Pure Air filter then goes one step further to improve IAQ, working with the MVHR system, it is fitted to the intake airflow and incorporates two types of filtration—activated carbon and G4/F7 particulate filters to achieve even higher levels of filtration.

Offering housebuilders a choice of filtration to suit the application, the Vent-Axia Pure Air is available with G4 or F7 particle filters. G4 filters can remove up to 90% of the PM10 particles in the air, including some bacteria, most pollens and many types of industrial dust. Meanwhile, the finer F7 filters are ideal for inner city areas with heavy traffic since they remove up to 80% of the tiny PM2.5 particles, this includes fine diesel particulates.

Meanwhile, enhanced activated carbon filtration removes unpleasant odours and harmful gases such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO²). In urban areas vehicles are responsible for approximately 99% of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution. High levels of NO² can cause respiratory problems and increased incidences of asthma. The Vent-Axia Pure Air therefore filters incoming air, helping to meet World Health Organisation guides for NO².

“Indoor Air Quality is rising up the agenda for housebuilders. This is due to a combination of changes to local construction legislation which puts the responsibility on developers to ensure air to dwellings is filtered to increasingly higher standards and recent IAQ research which has led to increased awareness among homebuyers of the health issues connected with poor indoor air quality in the home. The Vent-Axia Pure Air is designed to give both housebuilders and homebuyers peace of mind by helping provide a healthy indoor environment”, said Ian Mitchell, Product Marketing Manager, New Build Residential.

Designed to improve IAQ in a wide range of new build buildings the Vent-Axia Pure Air is available in different sizes for use in properties from small apartments to large offices. The size of the filtration system needed is determined by the required airflow of each application. Plus the Vent-Axia Pure Airalso has a range of rectangular and round spigot options, including combinations of both to offer unique versatility at the point of installation. The filter unit can be installed vertically or horizontally to optimise available space and fit a multitude of MHVR configurations, this makes the filtration system accessible to wider range of applications.

The Vent-Axia Pure Air provides high-level filtration levels with the particle filters conforming to EN 779 and combined with specially formulated gas filters help meet IAQ levels conforming to EU Directive 2008/50/EC. In addition, the Vent-Axia Pure Air is designed to improve indoor air quality and comfort for occupiers and so external noise is attenuated as it passes through the unit thus reducing induct noise and helping to achieve specified sound levels in dwellings.

A raft of research has recently reported the importance of good IAQ and how the nation’s health is dependent on it. Earlier this year the Royal College of Physicians published the report ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’ revealing how air quality affects health and it has been proven that poor IAQ is a particular health risk. Since this report, consumers have become increasingly conscious of the need for better IAQ.

Meanwhile, ‘The Future of Indoor Air Quality in UK Homes and its Impact on Health’, a report by Professor Hazim Awbi’s at the University of Reading, forecasts that asthma could double by 2050 due to increasingly air-tight homes. It also found that indoor pollutant levels could increase beyond World Health Organisation recommended limits. The research cites MVHR as the most cost-effective solution for achieving an energy efficient air exchange rate and a healthy environment for building occupants.

For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590.

http://www.vent-axia.com/

Guardrail Installation Horrors

Article by Terry Creed, Technical Sales Consultant, Safesite Ltd

roof edge protection

We’ve written in the past about the importance of competency, especially when it comes to fall protection equipment.  I spend a lot of time on roofs and unfortunately come across some shocking work which illustrates what happens when price is chosen over competency.

The following are the latest batch of horrors I’ve seen when out and about on site.

roof safety

This system is installed so poorly it’s quite unbelievable that someone could leave it that way!  The guardrail is too low, weights and feet are in the wrong position, extremely unstable, grub screws loose or missing, uneven…I could go on…..

roof safety

Poor guardrail installation – no mid rail, a fitting is missing completely and the hot vent flue has damaged the rail. And when you look at the installation from the other side, it gets worse.  The photograph below shows that single fixing has been used into the masonry.

Safesite

This is definitely not something we would recommend as the fixings can work loose over time.

guardrail

How NOT to install edge protection around roof access hatches.

Safesite

And finally, if your guardrail needs repairing, please make sure the person carrying out the repair knows what they’re doing. Otherwise this could happen!

Related Posts

There will always be a “cheaper option”

Checking on competency

http://www.safesite.co.uk

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