Bespoke Lumen Rooflights help transform modest traditional London apartment into a luxurious modernist home

Lumen has supplied five stunning bespoke rooflights for an exciting mid-Victorian apartment conversion in South West London.

The client, Zach Pulman Design, commissioned the rooflights to exacting specifications in terms of sizes, appearance and operation, with concealed electric actuation and electric blinds.

Lumen Rooflight

The new rooflights have helped to transform what was a modest traditional apartment into a luxurious modernist home.

bespoke rooflight

Why choose resin bound surfacing for residential developments?

Photograph courtesy of Clearstone

Resin bound surfacing has transformed housing developments in recent years throughout the UK.

Gone are the days of using block paving or concrete to create functional driveways, paths and garden areas; now homeowners want to create an outside space which looks beautiful, is easy to maintain and stands the test of time.

What is resin bound surfacing?

Resin bound surfacing is where natural stone and resin are mixed together and then laid onto a prepared surface. The material is then trowelled down to a smooth finish and once complete, the depth of a resin bound paving surface should be anywhere between 12 and 24mm, depending on the application and the size and type of stone used in the process.

Resin bound surfacing is often mistaken with resin bonded surfacing, and it is easy to see why with very similar sounding names.

Resin bonded surfacing however is where natural stone is laid onto a pre-spread resin base, and once this process is complete a film of resin is then applied to the surface.

Resin bonded surfacing has more of a textured look and often has the appearance of loose gravel. A typical depth of a Resin bonded surface is around 6 to 8mm.

Photograph courtesy of The Yorkshire Resin Company Ltd

Why use resin bound surfacing compared to other surface materials?

More and more homeowners and clients appreciate the benefits they get with resin bound surfacing. It is not only visually attractive and gives their property ‘kerb appeal’, but is also very practical. It requires very little maintenance and there are no loose stones that can cause an unsightly mess.

The physical properties of the resin bound surfacing with the natural aggregate and resin form to create an extremely durable surface, which will give years of outstanding performance to homeowners.

Compared to other surfacing materials/types, resin bound surfacing has clear benefits. Block paving, although can look clean and pleasing to the eye when first laid, is prone to degredation over time.

The colour fades even after a year or two, and as the blocks are fixed onto a simple substrate with no movement considered, they are prone to cracks and displacement.

Another headache for homeowners with block paving is weed growth within the surface joints, or in between the paving slabs. As resin bound surfacing is constructed of many particles of stone mixed with resin, it is virtually impossible for cracks or displacement.

The durability of the surface means it can withstand heavy loadings e.g. cars, plus the aesthetics is guaranteed for many years from UV degredation and colour discolouration.

Another advantage of resin bound surfacing compared with block paving is the time saving benefit during installation. This particular factor refers to refurbishment projects, where it is possible to lay the resin bound material directly over existing concrete driveways (after the concrete has been cleaned and primed). This saves time and ultimately labour costs, as the original concrete substrate needs little work to prepare.

A good quality concrete surface is generally considered to be robust and hard-wearing, and should give homeowners many years of functional paving. However, they generally are quite impervious and can only soak in a limited amount of water. Once the concrete has taken in all the water that is possible, this decreases the permeability of the structure which then results in surface overflow. This water runoff then contributes to potential flooding.

Resin bound surfaces are fully permeable and as a result water is able to drain through the surface effectively, preventing any surface water build up.

A good quality resin bound surface will be fully compliant with the requirements of Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), which was introduced in 2011 to better manage water run off in urban areas.

It is also possible to install a resin bound surface in a wide range of colours and textures to create a really unique look. It is now best practice in the design and installation of resin bound surfacing to use edge profiling, to contain, shape and complement the resin surfacing.

Edge profiles for resin bound surfacing

To really create an eye-catching resin bound floor, whether it be for driveways, paths or garden areas, it is highly recommended that distinctive edges are used to contain the resin material.

Installers and designers commonly design the resin bound surfacing right up to brickwork, timber, paving, or other existing features of a property. However home owners and designers now favour a more clinical finish to their installations, and prefer the use of stainless steel edge profiles to provide edging to their beautiful resin flooring.

Dural UK supply a range of edge profiles, including Durosol Straight Edging Profiles, Durosol Flexible Profiles and Movement Joint Profiles. All three ranges provide high quality edge protection to resin bound surfaces, and are available in a variety of sizes, depths and materials to suit all kinds of installations and requirements.

The flooring experts at Dural are able to assist in selecting the right edge profiling to match any resin bound surfacing installation.

Holiday Inn Express uses innovative hybrid air conditioning


A new 250-bedroom hotel has become the first in the UK to use an innovative hybrid air conditioning technology that removes the need to install leak detection equipment in occupied rooms.

The Holiday Inn Express Birmingham City Centre in central Birmingham is using Mitsubishi Electric’s Hybrid VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) system to keep guests comfortable in a controllable, energy efficient way, whilst still offering the full flexibility of design and installation that VRF air conditioning is synonymous with.

“We needed reliable and effective air conditioning that is easy to use from the guest’s perspective but which is also more cost effective for the hotel moving forward as it removes the annual maintenance costs associated with a leak detection system”, explained Mark Foster, Managing Director of Centre Island, which will manage the hotel.

“The added advantage of using Mitsubishi Electric equipment is that we can control the whole system centrally, which minimises energy use for the business whilst still allowing guests to have individual control within their rooms. This also ensures we can stop rooms being heated or cooled when they are empty”.

The design for the air conditioning system was put together by SISK Design and Build Contractors who worked with Building Services Consultancy DW Pointer. Together they committed to providing a VRF system that did not need the significant cost of adding leak detection units in all of the bedrooms.

“We proposed Hybrid VRF as it completely removes leak detection in occupied spaces whilst still offering the flexibility of a VRF system,” said Brian Inett of John Sisk & Son.

“We were already aware of the Hybrid system and had been looking for a suitable project to use it on, so this was an ideal solution for the client, especially as it does away with the annual costs of leak detection maintenance.”

The 18-storey hotel in Holliday Street, Birmingham, which was designed by Liverpool-based KKA Architecture, will use 16 outdoor condensing units to operate 250 slim ducted indoor units in a clever design that has one outdoor unit serving one wing on each of two floors to minimise the refrigerant pipework within the building.

“Hybrid VRF uses water to transfer heating and cooling around the building, which removes the need for refrigerant leak detection in occupied spaces,” said Dennis Winter of installer Dragon Air Conditioning Ltd.

“But there are also other benefits to the project as the system is being installed in phases which matches the way the hotel is being built.”

The hotel, which is to open in April 2017 will employ around 60 people when complete and forms part of the Arena Central redevelopment scheme in Birmingham City Centre which will also be home to the new HSBC headquarters.

“There are a lot of hotels that are now coming to terms with how to keep guests comfortable whilst complying with new legislation on refrigerants and leak detection,” explained Mitsubishi Electric’s Mark Grayston Senior Product Manager for VRF & Hybrid VRF.

“This is why we have developed the Hybrid VRF system and this new development points the way to delivering the highest levels of guest comfort without adding significantly to install and maintenance costs.”

Further details on the innovative, award-winning system can be found at the dedicated website:

What is the best form of access and egress?

By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Limited

My recent Blog discussing the issue of rescue from fixed ladders and the HSE’s report on hooped ladders and fall arrest systems prompted a question on the issue of access and egress. While many roofs have fall protection systems installed, getting on and off the roof safely can pose a problem so a safe and secure means of entry and exit is vital.

Over the years I’ve often been asked “which form of roof access is best?”  The Health & Safety at Work etc Act places a duty on both the employer and employee to maintain safe access to the place of work at all times.  Similarly, safe egress must be ensured.  Safe access to a roof requires careful planning, particularly where work is progressing along the roof.

Typical methods to access roofs include general access scaffolds such as stair towers, mobile scaffold towers and tower scaffolds, ladders, roof access hatches and mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS).  However, as with any form of equipment, these will only really offer protection with the correct level of training and competency.

  • General access scaffolds – Inappropriate erection and misuse of tower scaffolds causes a number of accidents each year so it’s essential that they are only erected by a competent person and that those using the scaffold have been trained in correct usage and in the potential dangers.
  • Ladders – Ladders are one of the most commonly used pieces of access equipment and can be used for short duration, low risk work, however a third of all reported fall from height incidents involve ladders and stepladders.  This is mainly as a result of inappropriate ladder selection for the task or misuse due to lack of training.


  • Roof access hatches – These tend to be a safer option when accessed via stairs or retractable stairs, however in many instances the last few metres are ascended via a safety ladder which in turn leads to additional risks.
  • Mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS).  These are ideal for short duration work such as inspection or minor maintenance work and can provide excellent safe access to the roof. Risks associated with scaffold erection can often be avoided when a MEWP is used as a means of access to the roof, but please note, the equipment must be designed to allow safe access from the MEWP to the roof itself.


Generally, the safest way to access any roof is by way of a fixed internal or external staircase.  Should staircase access be unavailable, then there are many factors to consider before selecting the appropriate access equipment. A thorough risk assessment should be undertaken to identify the risks and assess the safest and most practical method of access.

If you are ever in any doubt, don’t proceed and seek professional advice.

Panasonic announces PRO Awards deadline extension


Panasonic has announced a deadline extension for submitting entries into the PRO Awards 2016. Installers, Architects, Consultants, Distributors and Engineers will now have until 31st October 2016 to put their best projects forward.

The PRO Awards are free to enter and open to projects featuring Panasonic heating and cooling systems, in a residential, public authority or commercial environment. There are many great prizes up for grabs including a once in a lifetime trip to Japan, plus international recognition for the winner of each category. Other prizes include Panasonic Lumix cameras, awarded to all qualifying entrants.

“Our aim is to showcase the very best in the industry and we are excited to see this year’s projects,” says Marc Overson, UK & Ireland Country Manager at Panasonic Heating and Cooling Solutions. “We are delighted with the entries we have already received and are keen to see even more companies seeking the recognition their projects deserve. There are many benefits to winning one of Panasonic’s PRO Awards including wider industry recognition, PR exposure, plus an invitation to join a VIP trip to visit Panasonic’s HQ in Japan.”

A panel of prestigious judges from across Europe with expertise in architecture, building services and the heating/cooling industry will be looking for applications that demonstrate flair and innovation while showcasing sustainable design, efficiency, cost effectiveness and aesthetics.

Award entries are invited in the following categories:

  • Best Residential Project
  • Best Hospitality Project
  • Best Retail Project
  • Best Commercial Project

For further information, FAQ, full details of all the entry criteria and enter online, go to

“We were invited to enter the Panasonic Pro Awards to showcase a large heat pump project that we had recently completed. We were absolutely delighted to win an award, as was the client that we had worked on the project with. It is a great way to show to our clients that we go the extra mile. We use the award logo on all of our company literature and website which has raised our profile within the industry. The cherry on the cake was an incredible, all expenses paid winners trip to Japan, where we visited the Panasonic Centre in Tokyo, the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town and experienced the amazing food in Japan. It was a once in a lifetime trip.” – Ecosphere Renewables, 2014 PRO Award winner of Best Social Housing Project.

“FWP were proud to have recently won the Panasonic Sustainable Project of the Year Award for the design and installation of the air to water heat pump system in Carluccio’s, Meadowhall. We were able to offer lower energy consumption and therefore a significant carbon footprint reduction and cost savings due to our design. A benefit of being involved in the awards process has been the recognition of our work on the project, in particular our efforts around sustainability across our designs and installations.  It was particularly pleasing for this project to be recognised at the awards as it has allowed us to update our literature that is directed towards potential clients.” – FWP Air Conditioning, 2014 PRO Award Winner of Sustainable Project of the Year

‘Winning the Panasonic Pro award for the Mulberry Properties development – Straffan Manor, highlighted the quality of the houses, the innovation in the heating system and the various technologies which can be cleverly combined to achieve an A2 Building Energy Rating. The prize included a trip to Japan with an inspirational visit to the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town. This gave us a glimpse into a possible future where cutting edge technology allows us to live sustainably’- Shane Duffy, Commercial Heating Manager, Heat Merchants, 2014 PRO Award Winner of Best Multi-Dwelling Project.

To learn more about Panasonic:

Everglade offers the Ultion lock as standard on composite doors

Everglade Windows

London-based fabricator Everglade is offering customers the Ultion 3-star cylinder lock as standard on its full range of Palladio and Solidor composite doors.

“There was a big buzz about Ultion at this year’s FIT Show,” says Everglade Sales Director Jay Patel, “and we thought it was the perfect product for adding extra value for our customers.

“As a business with a retail history, we understand how important it is to give our customers a competitive edge, which is why our full range of Kömmerling PVCu windows and doors is Secured by Design accredited.

“Security is always high on the agenda for homeowners, and since Ultion’s research found that 43 percent of home intrusions are made by forcing the lock, it makes sense to invest in offering even better security on cylinders.”

Everglade added the Ultion lock to its composite doors after showing the Ultion security video to their installer customers at the Everglade Customer Conference in May.

“They were really impressed with the cylinder’s lock-down mode and the Sold Secure Diamond testing,” continues Jay.

“Adding Ultion as standard to our composite door range means installers can offer their customers an ultra-secure lock for their homes which is backed by an impressive £1,000 guarantee from Ultion and extra convenience with its clever ‘keyring’ technology.

“Everglade is committed to offering a total value-added package for customers to help them grow their businesses. We combine a great product range made from the best components in the industry with great service and expert manufacturing for a full package that their customers want. That’s why this brilliant piece of hardware is such a welcome addition to our range.”

The Ultion lock is fitted across Everglade’s complete range of Palladio and Solidor composite doors. For more information, call 020 8998 8775.

Using Cembrit Alpina natural roof slates is a breeze on the Devon coast


Cembrit’s Alpina natural slates have been used to great effect in the redevelopment of an award-winning holiday park in North Devon. The aesthetically pleasing material harmonises seamlessly with the coastal surroundings.

Located on the coast of North Devon, Woolacombe Bay Holiday Village is a seaside resort which lies at the mouth of a valley in the parish of Mortehoe. Voted as Britain’s Best Holiday Park in 2015, the development is a popular destination for family holidays. A recent construction project saw £4m redevelopment and extension of the resort’s entertainment complex. This included a brand new roof with the Cembrit Alpina slates providing an impressive, stylish roof covering.

Woolacombe Bay Holiday Village welcomes thousands of visitors every year, many attracted by its close proximity to the Tarka Trail and Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. The old entertainment complex was a listed, low rise (single storey) deep plan, flat roof, brick building constructed in the 1970s.  Designed by Peregrine Mears Architects, the project presented an interesting design challenge – how to create a large building that is a suitable extension to a listed building. This called for a sensitive, imaginative design approach. In order to break up the mass of the building and at the same time, reflect something of the form of the original structure, a series of pitched roofs was created, with the form being influenced by the beach huts on nearby Woolacombe Beach.

Cembrit’s Alpina natural slates have been chosen due to their attractive appearance and long-lasting benefits. Barnstaple-based Roofing Contractor, DJT Roofing, specified and installed approximately 35,000 Grey/Green Cembrit Alpina natural slates on the multi-pitched roof. The company used the hook fixing method to secure the slates and lock them together tightly to achieve a neat finish.

“Being close to the coastline, resistance to wind lift was a major performance criterion for this substantial project,” comments Darren Todd, Owner, DJT Roofing. “Cembrit Alpina natural slates can withstand the most severe weather conditions and are unaffected by sunlight making them the perfect product for this type of coastal development. The design was also complicated and the Alpina slates were a joy to install, despite the challenges posed by the many pitches of the roof. The finished roof is also attractive and blends into the surroundings perfectly.”

Alpina is a Brazilian natural slate, selected from the finest deposits and produced at some of the best facilities in Papagaios, Brazil. It is available in two colours, graphite and grey green and in a variety of sizes. With its flat surface and pleasing shade variations, Alpina slate can be relied upon to create an attractive, high-performance roof.

Alpina slate is a tough natural material which has been tested to ensure it meets the current national standard, BS EN 12326-1:2004. Alpina slate has virtually no unstable minerals such as pyrites, graphite, carbon and un-oxidised irons and will withstand the most severe weather conditions: they are unaffected by sunlight, ultraviolet light and even acid rain. Laid correctly Alpina slate will last the lifetime of a building and are ideal for use on any type of project.

For further information on Cembrit, visit:, or call +44 (0)20 8301 8900. 

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