New deal sees Siniat acquire EOS Facades


EOS Facades, a leading innovator in light gauge steel construction, is pleased to announce that the company has been acquired by the prominent dry construction solutions company, Siniat.

The acquisition follows a decade of significant investment in developing the EOS Facades product and service range, underpinned by investment in state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technology, coming together to deliver award winning steel framing systems across a wide range of construction sectors.

Significant investment has resulted in EOS experiencing considerable growth through forming strategic alliances with some major players in the construction industry, including Kier, Bam and Barratt London. EOS has been directly involved with such high profile projects as the £80m North West Cambridge Development, Fulham Wharf, Enderby Wharf and the Education Funding Agency project to deliver six schools, worth £44m across the Midlands.

In January 2016 EOS announced investment in the company’s fifth Howick machine – the only FRAMA machine in the UK – which is providing unique sections and pre-assembled elements for the offsite and volumetric modular building sector.

EOS Facades’ ambition to become the leading player in Steel Frame Systems will be accelerated by the Siniat deal, providing an outstanding opportunity to combine its technical expertise and specialist knowledge with those of Siniat to create innovative new solutions for light steel frame designers, engineer and installers.

Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS Facades said,

“This as an investment for the future and for manufacturing jobs here in County Durham.  EOS Facades is an ambitious company and this deal will open up further opportunities for investment and innovation to ensure we remain at the forefront of research and development and to meet the exacting demands of the construction industry.

He continues,

“Siniat’s vision is to be the leading expert in dry construction; Steel Frame Systems is a key component of this service offer. Our combination of technical knowledge, innovation and manufacturing expertise will allow us to bring new solutions to create the buildings of tomorrow.”

The EOS Facades product range includes:

  • Facade (Panels) – an innovative panel system which is fully engineered and assembled offsite in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The fully engineered framed solution is designed to accommodate the fixing of any type of facade panelling or curtain walling system.
  • Facade (Stud & Track) – bespoke system, custom-manufactured to exacting requirements to meet our client’s needs. Suitable for all types of infill panels into primary framed hot rolled Steel and In-situ concrete framed buildings.
  • Flooring System – flooring systems range from lattice beam solutions to fully panellised flooring systems. Suitable for all types of load bearing floors from intermediate separating floors to bespoke mezzanine flooring solutions.
  • Roofing System – extensive roofing range from truss and flat-to-pitch roofing systems to providing ground-breaking ‘room-in-the-roof’ solutions.
  • High Bay Walling – Can be used internally to provide single span stud walls up to 10m in a variety of sizes up to 250mm deep stud and track capability in gauges from 1.2 to 2mm thick allowing us to tailor sections to meet exact project requirements. 

  • Continuous Walling – used predominantly to maximise the internal floor area or in instances where cladding cannot incorporate horizontal deflection joints at each floor level.


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Unity and Continuity – The Benefits of Retaining Project Teams


Image by Simon Kennedy

With the number of professionals involved in the design and construction journey, the structure and composition of project teams changes throughout the duration of each project. Due to individuals providing specialist knowledge and components during each phase of the build – there is a requirement for enhanced collaboration within the construction industry, which has often been described as fragmented.

Working in such a project-based industry can be challenging due to the interactions taking place between many unfamiliar teams for a relatively short period of time. This can complicate an already demanding environment when it comes to communication, in which technical language and mixed skillsets are so prominent. Failure to establish clear and efficient procedures and collaborative practices across the teams can be problematic. However, when executed accurately, it is a great incentive for main contractors to retain project teams across numerous builds. By forming strong relationships and good working practices – seamless collaboration can be achieved across construction teams.

With the use of BIM technology, which is now at the forefront of almost every construction project in the UK, the industry is able to collaboratively tackle challenges. BIM models define objects as building elements and systems which encompass all the information related to the project and its processes. This allows multi-disciplinary teams to work in unity, bringing their design data into a single intelligent model. This process helps to identify design faults, predict and execute the desired building performance, as well as assess and address lifecycle issues during the design stage.

In order to reap the maximum benefits of succinct teamwork during a project, collaborative practices must be incorporated at the very beginning of the initial design process. This can include procurement routes, problem resolution procedures and information management procedures.


The benefits of this approach were clearly demonstrated throughout the design and build of the BSkyB Believe in Better Building project which involved high levels of collaboration. This typically comprises a mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and 2D for drafting of statutory approval documentation and Production Information. CAD standards are managed to BS 1192:2007 and electronic sharing of data is carried out from a common data environment (CDE), often managed by the contractor. In this instance, architects and engineers worked together in a shared office throughout the project – allowing them to make real time decisions. Due to the speed of build that the structure provided, the X-LAM team based themselves alongside the design team in order to contribute to the decisions while they were being made.

A key demonstration of the use of collaborative working during this project was shown through the detailing of the windows and the interface between them – with the cassettes and glulam frame. As the teams were based in the same office, workshops were able to be quickly assembled in order to ensure the correct details could be developed to meet the requirements for the whole team.

It is clear that there is an imperative to improve industry performance, with increasing requirements to design and construct in a more detailed manner and at a rapid pace – these processes are reliant upon effective communication. Construction professionals must work together to steer the industry towards a more collaborative culture through the use of innovations such as BIM technology.

Learnings and Understanding

The X-LAM Alliance can assist at every stage of your construction journey – from pre-tender design through to onsite delivery and everything in between. As industry specialists, the X-LAM Alliance offer one hour CPD seminars. These development sessions are tailored to meet the requirements of architects, engineers, specifiers and cover the technical and performance benefits, including an introduction to the CLT Construction Specifier, which will open the gates to value engineering and associated cost savings at a much earlier stage in the design process/procurement process.

For more information please visit:

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Axter waterproofing at Centenary Quay


Axter Ltd are proud to have provided the waterproofing for Centenary Quay, Crest Nicholson’s vibrant development on Southampton’s waterfront, including 102 apartments with high rise penthouse flats, retail and commercial space.

Built by Willmott Dixon, phase three of the regeneration incorporated a bio-diverse living roof as well as amenity space built above a Morrisons supermarket. With fully accessible amenity gardens including a flowing water feature, it was vital a robust specification was delivered.

Axter provided all the waterproofing for the development, utilising their Wilotekt Plus system on the podium, to deliver a reliable waterproofing system robust enough to accommodate the water feature and fully accessible amenity space above. Axter also developed a bespoke bio-diverse living roof specification to complement the natural coastal surroundings.

This included specially selected grass and flower species, chosen for their ability to withstand windy coastal conditions. When established, these plants will provide shelter and forage to a range of invertebrates and birds.

Axter worked alongside horticulture specialists and substrate and seed providers to ensure all elements of the roof complied with the Bio-Diversity Design Report for the development.

For more information please contact Axter Ltd 01473 724 056

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High Performance Building is not a ‘Back of an Envelope’ Calculation

By-lined article by Ian Loughnane, Business Unit Director for Kingspan Timber Solutions


Following government calls for faster delivery, lower costs and increased sustainability from the industry, timber and offsite construction are perfectly placed to meet expanding housing demand. Ian Loughnane, Business Unit Director for Kingspan Timber Solutions, explains why.

 “Achieving the design performance as detailed in the build specification can present challenges – eliminating the gap between design and as-built performance is a key issue within the construction industry. Developers, architects, engineers and Local Authorities are beginning to recognise the impact of building details and specification on in use energy performance and are keen to promote best practice.

Whilst renewable technology has its place, there is no doubt that the building energy performance of the external fabric is the most cost effective and reliable solution. This is what Fabric First and Passivhaus principles are all about – high performance insulation, good airtightness, the minimisation of cold bridging and harvesting the sun’s energy through solar gain via south-facing windows. In essence this means that the building does the work, rather than relying on occupiers operating and maintaining renewable energy devices.

Whilst benefits of Fabric First are well documented, we still find some projects that only specify

U-Values whilst the SAP rating of a dwelling is driven by the interlinked properties of U-Values, Psi values and airtightness. I suspect that this is because U-Values are readily calculated whilst the overall Y-Value can only be determined by once the building details are known and the individual junction Psi values input against actual junction length. The SAP assessment of a building is now a design exercise of real merit as a recent exercise we carried out with Award Energy demonstrated.

Our initial proposal was based on a U-Value of 0.14 W/m2K based on ‘Ultima’, our patented Kooltherm insulated wall system. This system benefits from excellent Psi values and the SAP exercise demonstrated that an easily achieved airtightness of 5 m3/ along with a range of Y-Values all less than 0.04 allowed us to relax the U-Value to 0.16 W/m2K.The end result was a fabric first solution, elimination of roof PV and an external wall thickness consistent with the original inefficient masonry design which preserved internal floor space and overall brick cladding setting out.

Another example of this designed fabric based approach is Hanham Hall – recognised as one of the first zero carbon communities in England. Located on the outskirts of Bristol, Hanham Hall is the first significant development of its type for Barratt Homes and represents a step forward in the development of modern, energy efficient homes.


The development has a range of house types plus the refurbishment of the original Grade II* listed Hanham Hall. The development is set in twelve acres; at its heart is a green space providing a relaxing and tranquil environment for the residents.

Barratt Homes are keen to determine whether the expected standard of energy efficiency has been achieved and approached the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) to develop a monitoring scheme. BSRIA will use energy and environmental monitoring equipment, such as the Wi5 data collection hub and conduct a performance evaluation at 185 dwellings at Hanham Hall. In addition, ten properties, selected by Barratt Homes, will be subjected to a more in-depth evaluation to further the knowledge and lessons learned from this exercise will be published.

The Kingspan TEK® Building System used at Hanham Hall comprises 142 mm thick structural insulated panels connected with a unique jointing system for walls and roofs, and intermediate floors using I-beams or open web joists. The panels consist of a high performance rigid urethane insulation core, manufactured with a blowing agent that has zero Ozone Depletion Potential and low Global Warming Potential. The core is sandwiched between two layers of 15mm oriented strand board (OSB) – the structural system can achieve:

•Whole wall and roof U-values of 0.21 – 0.10 W/m2K or better

•Air leakage levels routinely 1m3/hour/m2 at 50Pascals of pressure


The risk of a performance gap between in use and design is much reduced by adopting a manufactured offsite solution constructed in quality controlled factory conditions.  As such we await the results from the extensive testing at Hanham Hall with interest rather than fear.”

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Shining example of contemporary design


Vicaima Dekordor 3D Grey in model IG1V/15

Leading internal door manufacturer Vicaima has just launched a stunning collection of door models as part of their Dekordor 3D range.  Incorporating aluminium inlays in 5 contemporary designs, Vicaima have captured the current vogue for metallic embellishment which is one of the themes of international interior design for 2016.   The new inlay models are available in a choice of 5 Dekordor 3D finishes so can provide contrast and scope that is sure to command attention.

Dekordor 3D, with its horizontal embossed finish creates an innovative and thoroughly modern door appearance which is ideally suited to a multitude of applications from homes to hotels and from offices to community buildings.  The highly tactile surface and visual impact created by Dekordor 3D has proved to be a key reason why it is often selected to make a big impression, especially as an entrance door and frame system to apartments or hotel rooms. Now with the addition of these new metallic inlay models the range offers even greater possibilities.


Vicaima Dekordor 3D White in model IG4H/15

The Dekordor 3D Aluminium Inlay collection is available in a choice of 5 contrasting face finishes including, Grey, Black, Oak, Camel and White and inlay models include both vertical and horizontal designs so present plenty of diversity.  All doors are FSC certified for environmental peace of mind and can be supplied with a range of performance specifications comprising fire rated, acoustic and security, which includes Secure by Design to Part Q requirements. Where a complete theme is desired, Vicaima are also able to supply as part of a matching doorset (door, Frame and architrave) plus wall panels where required.

Dekordor 3D with Aluminium Inlay are made on a to-order basis and as such can accommodate a wide selection of configuration possibilities to make specification easy, with pairs, over height dimensions, inverse (flush wall fitting) and pivotal, to ensure that individual requirements can be appropriately satisfied. So if you want to set a shining example, specify Dekordor 3D Inlays and see how it stands out for your project.

For further details about Vicaima Dekordor 3D inlays visit the Vicaima website, alternatively call 01793 532333 for a copy of the new literature or face samples.

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Micro Joints – The Discreet New Way To Protect Tiles Installed Over Underfloor Heating Systems


The popularity of underfloor heating systems has increased significantly in recent years, as they provide a cost-effective, comfortable, unobtrusive heating solution for millions of homes.  However, these systems often cause movement between the subfloor and the top substrate in the form of expansions and contractions.  Failing to accommodate for this movement will almost certainly result in cracked tiling surfaces.

Dural UK are proud to have developed a solution in the form of Micro Joint Infill, which provides discreet stress protection for tiles and natural stone on heated floors.

Benefits of Micro Joint Infill for tiles on underfloor heating systems

Micro Joint Infill has been specially developed for tiled flooring installations which are laid over underfloor heating systems, particularly for residential developments.  It provides effective movement protection for tiles and natural stone on heated floors.  It means a tiled flooring installation with Micro Joint Infill used is able to effectively absorb the movement energy transferred from the subfloor, protecting the tiles from cracking and loosening.

Importantly, it can be colour matched to the existing grout or tile colour for a discreet appearance – in fact any colour in the RAL chart.  The Micro Joint Infill is simply applied into the grout line spaces in between tiles and can be used on Brick Bond or Opus floor tile layouts.  Due to the colour matched nature of the Micro Joint Infill it helps to create a beautiful, seamless design to the tiled flooring.

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Altro Pisces harnesses innovative technology to create home-from-home wet environments


Altro has unveiled innovative Altro PiscesTM, a wet environment safety flooring for shoes and bare feet which combines all the benefits of safety flooring with the look and feel of home.

Altro Pisces is the first flooring to be developed with new AltroBeadTM Technology, giving a soft and domestic feel developed with comfort, warmth and relaxation in mind and avoiding the clinical feel that some home-from-home environments create. With a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of ≥50, a soft-look finish and 16 attractive shades, Altro Pisces allows you to bridge the gap between high-performance safety flooring and demands for domestic-style flooring, bringing together the best of both worlds.

Altro Pisces uses unique AltroBead Technology. For each of the shades, tiny beads in three carefully selected hues are blended and evenly distributed into the flooring on top of the base colour. The result is the consistent, soft appearance that you would expect and want from domestic interiors. The subtle blend of four colours in each shade makes matching or choosing walls and fixtures much easier.


Developed for environments such as care homes, student accommodation, spas and social housing, Altro Pisces has been designed to fit perfectly with Altro WhiterockTM hygienic wall cladding, forming a sealed, watertight system for enhanced safety and hygiene. Combined with the smooth appearance of Altro Whiterock SatinsTM or Altro Whiterock DigicladTM, it creates an impressive high-end look and allows tailored designs, resulting in exactly the look and feel required.

When it comes to safety, Altro Pisces is uncompromising. It provides slip-resistance of one in a million against common contaminants found in wet environments including shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (tested using slider 96 (shoes) and slider 55 (bare feet)). It provides a high level of slip-resistance whether wet or dry, putting less pressure on maintenance teams to keep flooring dry. This means that carers can focus on bathing, drying and dressing residents without having to worry about them or their patient slipping. With the product durability you would expect from Altro, Altro Pisces maintains its slip-resistance throughout its lifetime, making it resistant to wear and tear from shoes yet developed to go easy on bare feet.

Altro Pisces’ nature-inspired shades and soft finish make it the perfect choice for home adaptations, where keeping vulnerable users and their carers safe is paramount. Being able to put Altro safety flooring into a home environment helps maintain independence, playing a role in keeping someone in their own home for as long as possible. To make it easier for carers and cleaning teams, Altro Pisces contains Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR™ Technology so cleaning is an easier and quicker job.

In line with Altro’s commitment to sustainability, Altro Pisces is manufactured using responsibly sourced materials. It is 100% recyclable post-installation which means any off-cuts can be recycled through the Recofloor™ scheme. Clean off-cuts can be collected free of charge from dedicated collection sites around the UK and sent to be recycled into other PVC products, reducing waste sent to landfill.

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Flooring, Health & Safety, Healthcare Buildings, Interior Design | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Structural Timber Awards 2016 – Submission Deadline: 31 May 2016

Enter and Celebrate the Best in the Most Sustainable Structural Solution

Product Round Up BSkyB Build in Better Building (BiBB) Jan 2016

Product Round Up BSkyB Build in Better Building (BiBB) Jan 2016

Returning for 2016, the Structural Timber Awards will reward outstanding projects, innovative products and dynamic people – all promoting excellence in structural timber across the UK.  Across key sectors of construction, the Awards will showcase innovation, celebrate best practice and recognise expertise in timber technology and the ways it contributes to an attractive, energy efficient and sustainable built environment.

The 2016 Awards will be presented at a high profile dinner on 19 October 2016 at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham. Enter before 31 May 2016 to be in with a chance to be recognised and rewarded at this fantastic event.

The Awards, now considered one of the highlights of the timber calendar, will see over 500 national business leaders and distinguished figures from the construction industry assemble to honour the finest projects, products and people in timber technology.


This year there is 16 award categories and all are available to enter FREE of CHARGE, including: Best Social Housing Project, Best Private Housing Project, Best Self-Build Project, Best Education Project, Best Healthcare Project, Best Commercial Project, Best Retail Project, Best Low Energy Project, Engineer of the Year, Architect of the Year, Client of the Year, Contractor of the Year, Product Innovation Award, Product Marketing Award, Pioneer Award and Project of the Year.

Entries will be judged by the following panel of recognised and respected industry experts and will be chaired by Andrew Carpenter of the Structural Timber Association:

Gary Ramsay – Structural Timber Magazine
Martin Milner – Milner Associates
Oliver Novakovic – Barratt Developments
Rick Burgess – PRP Architects
Liz Male – Liz Male Consulting
Steve Cook – Willmott Dixon
Charlie Law – Sustainable Construction Solutions
Mike Cook – Buro Happold
John Allen – MACE
Tim Snelson – Arup
Carol Costello – Cullinan Studio
Darren Dancey – Crest Nicholson
Frank Werling – METSA Wood
Rosi Fieldson – Simons Group
David Hopkins – Timber Trade Federation
Craig White – White Design & Modcell

You’ve got to be in it to win it! If you have an outstanding project, innovative product and/or dynamic people promoting excellence in structural timber across the UK, then enter The Structural Timber Awards by 31 May 2016 to receive the recognition you deserve!

Enter any of the categories free of charge at

If you are interested in sponsoring this prestigious event, please contact Amy Pryce on: 01743 290011 or


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Achieving Best Value is Not Purely About Build Costs


By-line article by Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures:

There are many aspects to consider when designing a building – from the structural system and performance to the aesthetics and sustainability.  Clearly the build cost plays a crucial part in the decision making process – but does the lowest cost option really offer the best value?

Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures, offers his perspective on how to select the optimum building solution to meet the budget and specific needs of the client.

Meeting the Brief

“Every project is unique – the client’s brief influences each design decision. Defining key drivers is therefore crucial in establishing the desired project outcomes.  If the client intends to occupy the building for years to come, the brief may vary from developers with a remit to achieve a quick and efficient sale or, in the case of supermarkets – start trading and generating revenue as soon as practically possible.

There are numerous routes to take along the design and construction journey – selecting the core structural solution, is one of the most important decisions. Structural timber systems, in my view, can ‘tick’ many of the build and performance boxes.

Achieving Optimum Performance

By taking a holistic approach to building design and construction, contractors can transform traditional projects into more cost-effective, energy-efficiency developments that improve the bottom line. This presents a major opportunity and one that should not to be missed.

The envelope needs to work for the owners and occupiers to ensure it is energy efficient, low maintenance and provide a comfortable environment when the building is in use.  There are many factors involved in achieving this – not only those that are visible. Considerations such as thermal performance, acoustic resistance, acoustic absorption, airtightness and fire performance are all important factors when considering the build.

Timber is uniquely placed to deliver on requirements, not only for its sustainable credentials and aesthetic appeal but also its structural strength and adaptability.

Design for Manufacturer and Assembly (DfMA)

By taking full advantage of offsite manufacturing techniques and exploiting Design for Manufacturer and Assembly protocols – structures can be optimised in terms of budget, sustainability and performance.  DfMA is used as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to simplify and reduce manufacturing and assembly costs, with quantifiable improvements.

Offsite construction has been gaining ground as a build method that offers numerous benefits. A reduction in construction time being one of the most notable; as buildings rapidly manufactured offsite are less weather dependant. This, together with an improvement in quality through enhanced production processes in factory controlled conditions, offers more predictable build programmes.

Measuring Best Value

Value engineering in construction has enormous benefits to both developers and clients alike. The multi-step process is an integral part of the design and development stages and is aimed at increasing value.

The time invested in value engineering produces results. This can be a cost-saving measure; however it is becoming a respected project management technique that addresses all aspects of the building lifecycle – from the initial construction through to the sustainability of sourced materials and utility efficiencies of the final project.

Measuring value is a complex and individual equation – specific to each project and client brief. Using DfMA protocols and offsite techniques to fully optimise the structure in terms of budget, sustainability and performance – in my opinion, is essential to all construction projects.

Initial upfront investment in a robust, airtight building, will reap benefits in the long term from reduced maintenance and running costs – vital for public buildings such as schools and hospitals.  Housing developers, retailers and commercial end users have a different set of priorities with speed of construction rating one of the highest. Optimised hybrid structures offer a rapid return on investment for developers, together with delivering  quick and efficient build process for the retail and commercial sector – getting buildings on stream and operational in the optimum time.”

Optimised Hybrid Structures – CPD

By selecting the most effective combination of systems and materials to meet the brief and performance specification, B & K Structures, as the UK’s leading sustainable frame contractor, specialise in the design, manufacture and delivery of optimised hybrid structures

For more information or book an Optimised Hybrid CPD session, please:

Call:  01773 853 400   Email:    Visit:

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Five-star luxury at the touch of a button


With comfort and luxury at every turn, Geberit AquaClean 8000plus shower toilets were the natural choice for the five-star Park Hyatt Vienna Hotel.

In the heart of Vienna’s old town, a 100-year-old bank building was converted into a luxury hotel. Today, the Park Hyatt Vienna combines contemporary architecture with the ambiance expected from a heritage building.

The conversion involved gutting the historical complex and redesigning it from scratch, with all conversion measures implemented in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Monuments Office and carried out by craftspeople in line with the original. In order to optimise room heights and functional areas, numerous ceilings and walls were removed and built back in at a different location, with the architects paying particular attention to protecting the historical components from damage.

Converting the two-story basement – where the former bank safes were located – into a spa area with a large swimming pool proved a major challenge in terms of structural engineering. To gain more room height, the suspended ceiling was removed and new beams added. To do this, the entire building had to be painstakingly lifted using hydraulic jacks so as to not damage the heritage-protected seamless marble slabs in the former cashier hall located above, which now houses the restaurant The Bank.

Due to the building structure, it was not possible to build standard rooms. As a result, virtually no two hotel rooms are alike.

When furnishing the 143 spacious hotel rooms, the interior designers combined timeless, elegant design with local Viennese flair. The market-leading Geberit AquaClean shower toilets are a feature of the 108 luxurious and spacious hotel rooms, plus 35 suites, offering guests the opportunity to indulge in spa-like comfort throughout their stay.

The Geberit AquaClean 8000plus combines the functions of a toilet and a bidet in one compact unit. At the touch of a button the shower toilet washes the user clean with a gentle, airy water spray at body temperature. The intensity of the water can be adjusted to one of five levels, while the oscillating spray provides a particularly beneficial clean.


The Geberit AquaClean 8000plus also offers many pampering functions in addition to the shower function, including an adjustable spray temperature and intensity, a pulsating massage function has an invigorating effect, an integrated warm-air dryer and an automatic odour extraction function, which fills the room with fresh, clean air.

“Shower toilets are a standard feature at the Park Hyatt Vienna because they offer unparalleled comfort and are also expected by international guests,” explains Dietmar Ploberger, Project Manager at Signa Development, the company responsible for the conversion.

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Redland adds Rapid Roof Vent Tile for Slate 10


Redland is adding to its range with a new Rapid Roof Vent Tile designed to be used alongside the iconic Redland Slate 10 tile range.

With rising demand in the new-build and reroofing markets, the Rapid Roof Vent Tile for Slate 10 will assist contractors in providing mechanical, soil or roof space ventilation to comply with BS 5250:2011, reducing the risk of harmful condensation in the roof.

Designed to look like a standard roof tile, the Rapid Roof Vent Tile comes with an Underlay Seal for improved fit and controlled ventilation.

The Rapid Roof Vent Tile has been meticulously tested in a wind tunnel, ensuring it provides superior weather performance, making it suitable for use in all UK exposure zones. The vents have an impressive pitch range of between 17.5° and 60°, which guarantees their versatility in all roofing situations and conditions.

Available in four colours, Grey, Terracotta, Black and Brown, the vent is compatible with the full Slate 10 range including the Landmark 10 Slate, Saxon 10 Slate, Richmond 10 Slate and MockBond Richmond 10 Slate tile ranges.

In stock from April 2016, the vent is supplied in single packs allowing perfect ventilation for any roof containing Slate 10 tiles.

Further information can be found in the vents section of the Redland website at

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EOS Facades on a roll!

EOS Airframe

EOS Airframe

One of the UK’s leading specialist metal roll-forming companies, EOS Facades, is expanding its section capability with a significant investment in new roll-forming machinery that has been specially commissioned and shipped halfway around the world to the manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Originating from New Zealand, this Howick machine along with four others already owned by EOS Facades currently roll sections ranging from 65mm, 100mm and 150mm deep in a range of gauges from 1mm, 1.2mm and 1.6mm thick.

Current outlets for the multi-award winning EOS Facade sections include SFS infill walling and cladding markets plus the interior fit-out market.  The introduction of the new machinery will significantly complement the range of sections available and this will expand EOS’ target market with a particular focus on the opportunity to supply the volumetric modular building industry with sections now ranging from 150mm deep to 250mm deep and in gauge thicknesses ranging from 1.2mm to 2mm.

Sections provided by EOS Facades can be supplied in ‘loose’ bundles to make up in situ installation or as fully made up  infill wallings produced offsite as pre-fabricated cassettes or lattice beams for both roofing and flooring applications.  The prefabricated elements can also be fitted with insulation, lining boards and decking boards or even assembled in to volumetric modular space frames.

The flexibility of the EOS Facades approach means that the company now has the ‘full gamut’ of sections to suit the requirements of the offsite manufacturing industry – from panelised washrooms and bathroom pods to full volumetric module structures.  The degree of value-added componentry to the sections/frames is completely customised to suit client requirements.

Design detailing is supported by a team of CAD engineers who will optimise section sizes for the required application and ensure that maximum value-engineering is obtained.  This is a key part of the customer-focused service that EOS Facades offer.

Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS Facades comments, “The introduction of the new machinery completes the section range that we have been aspiring to offer for some time now.  Being able to offer a complete range of section and gauge sizes now ensures that we have become a ‘one stop shop’ for metal sections within the offsite manufacturing sector.”

New Howick Frame Machine

New Howick Frame Machine

All of the section range offered by EOS Facades provide the unique swaging technology and dimpling characteristics that come as standard with Howick machines.  This means that panels and cassettes that require boarding are presented with completely flush faces, negating the requirement for packers and shims.  It also means that tight tolerances can be provided as the stud and track sections effectively self-align, thereby ensuring that dimensional parameters are achieved without the need for complex jigging or clamping.

Thompson comments, “As we see a groundswell of activity within the offsite manufacturing arena again there has been no better time for us to make our investment in new machinery.  We have analysed the needs of the downstream offsite suppliers and now feel that we have the perfect range of section and service offerings to meet their exacting requirements.”

To support the specification of light gauge steel sections EOS Facades have launched a series of CPD Factory Tours for 2016 at their state of the art facility in County Durham.

These morning and afternoon tours are FREE to attend and will be taking place on:

·     02 June – 09.00am-12.00pm and 13.00-16.00pm

·     29 September – 09.00am-12.00pm and 13.00-16.00pm

The tours, run by our technical team will cover the following topics:

·     Cold Formed Section technology

·     SFS Infill Systems, stud & track, offsite pre-assembled panels/cassettes

·     Non-loadbearing & loadbearing solutions

·     Lattice joists & floor cassettes

·     Design & value engineering

·     Examples of best practice technology applications

Should you wish to register your interest for any of these tours, please with your preferred date and time or alternatively visit: and submit your details or call 01325 303 030.

Full details of the EOS product and service range plus a comprehensive portfolio of award-winning project case studies are available online;

EOS Facades have worked on projects across all construction sectors, including education, healthcare, leisure, commercial and residential. Their portfolio of successfully completed projects and track record stretches back 10 years, so clients will benefit from a wealth of experience and expertise.

The EOS Facades product range includes:

  • Facade (Panels) – an innovative panel system which is fully engineered and assembled offsite in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The fully engineered framed solution is designed to accommodate the fixing of any type of facade panelling or curtain walling system.
  • Facade (Stud & Track) – bespoke system, custom-manufactured to exacting requirements to meet our client’s needs. Suitable for all types of infill panels into primary framed hot rolled Steel and In-situ concrete framed buildings.
  • Flooring System – flooring systems range from lattice beam solutions to fully panellised flooring systems. Suitable for all types of load bearing floors from intermediate separating floors to bespoke mezzanine flooring solutions.
  • Roofing System – extensive roofing range from truss and flat-to-pitch roofing systems to providing ground-breaking ‘room-in-the-roof’ solutions.
  • High Bay Walling – Can be used internally to provide single span stud walls up to 10m in a variety of sizes up to 250mm deep stud and track capability in gauges from 1.2 to 2mm thick allowing us to tailor sections to meet exact project requirements. 

  • Continuous Walling – used predominantly to maximise the internal floor area or in instances where cladding cannot incorporate horizontal deflection joints at each floor level.


Categories: Architecture, Commercial Buildings, Company News, Construction, Educational Buildings, Flooring, Healthcare Buildings, Roofing, Walls | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Marshalls Natural Stone at Ecobuild 2016


Marshalls Scoutmoor at Trafalgar Square

For the first time, Marshalls Natural Stone division took centre stage at this year’s Ecobuild, held at London’s Excel Centre from the 7-9 March.

This year Marshalls focussed purely on its range of natural stone products and services, demonstrating to visitors its industry-leading approach to best practice manufacture and enviable global supply chain, and how Marshalls adds value to its customers across the entire specification process.

Marshalls is the UK’s leading supplier of hard landscaping materials, focusing on the development products which help architects, local authorities and contractors to create better spaces, whether it’s street furniture, natural stone, concrete block paving, water management or protective street furniture products.

On the impressive stand were a number of natural stone products, many exclusive to Marshalls, including Marshalls’ range of indigenous Yorkstone, Cambrian Sandstones and the innovative Stonespar collection.

Visitors were also be able to pick up a copy of the brand new Marshalls Natural Stone brochure which offers inspiration through colour and texture, real life case studies and demonstrates the full breadth of the Marshalls natural stone range.

Dan Smith, Senior Product Manager for Natural Stone at Marshalls, said: “Ecobuild was a great event for us. Across the three days we spoke to a large number of architects and specifiers about how we are able to find the best products and provide project specific tailor-made solutions for our customers.  It was the also ideal place for us to launch our fantastic new Natural Stone Brochure.

“At Marshalls we have over a Century of experience in the supply of natural stone and we understand this product better than anyone else in the market.  We can add value to our customers across the specification process, from concept and design, bespoke manufacture, to onsite support and engineering expertise.”

To speak to one of Marshalls natural stone experts please call 0870 200 7979, or visit

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Future Energy Solutions achieves substantial energy savings for Spire Healthcare

Future Energy Solutions (FES), the leading energy performance solutions provider, has announced the successful completion of a major light emitting diode (LED) lighting installation for Spire Healthcare. The 38-site project was finished on time and within budget, and Spire Healthcare is now able to significantly reduce its energy spend while enjoying excellent levels of illumination in its external car parking areas.





One of the UK’s biggest private healthcare groups, Spire Healthcare was formed in 2007 through the buy-out of 25 BUPA hospitals by the private equity firm, Cinven. Now with a network of 38 private hospitals, the organisation undertakes a wide variety of activities and offers a full range of integrated surgical, medical and diagnostic services.

The company recognised the need to reduce its lighting related energy spend, while maintaining good levels of illumination for the benefit of staff, patients and visitors. After a competitive tender where participants gave their recommendations, the contract was awarded to FES, which is now one of the world’s leading energy performance solutions providers and has an unrivalled level of experience in a diverse range of vertical sectors.

The project began in June 2014 and was completed in two phases – the first comprising 21 of the largest energy consuming sites – and FES replaced 1,184 fittings in total. The new LED luminaires have achieved in excess of 73 per cent energy savings, while also providing 25 per cent better light output. Furthermore, they have an enhanced rated life of up to 20 times better than the previous luminaires in some cases.

‘Spire Healthcare will save just under £800,000 over a 10-year period,’ explained Marcus Brodin, Commercial Director at FES. ‘This figure includes over £564,000 in energy savings, over £188,000 in maintenance costs and £43,000 in environmental tax savings related to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. With an overall energy usage reduction in excess of 428,000kWh, the effect on the environment will also be significant too, with carbon dioxide (CO2), mono-nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions all drastically lowered.’

The previous infrastructure comprised over 44 different luminaire types, ranging from small 50W bulkhead fittings to large 1000W floodlights, all of various ages and conditions. In order to deliver a degree of uniformity FES installed five core LED replacement luminaires from the Thorlux lighting range – the Corn Lamp, Flood, Wallpack, 1500mm LED Luminaire and Globe.

‘We take corporate social responsibility (CSR) very seriously and our new LED lighting infrastructure will make a massive contribution to the company’s overall objectives in this area,’ concluded Nigel Sharp, National Estates Director at Spire Healthcare. ‘The results from the first phase of the installation exceeded all expectations, so rolling the technology out across the rest of the estate was an easy decision to make. We are delighted with the work that FES has carried out and I was particularly impressed by the professional, flexible and “can do” attitude that the company displayed throughout the project. We are currently looking to introduce LED lighting into other areas of the sites and I hope that we can work together again and achieve similarly impressive results.’

For further information please contact Marcus Brodin on +44 (0) 207 908 3921 or

Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Healthcare Buildings, Lighting, Sustainable Development | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Sun-Light Solutions creating animated art from digital light.

We understand that every space demands a unique atmosphere and realise that many spaces are truly uninspiring. Which is why we deliver the Digital Light Surface. The new medium for creating animated artwork from digital light, in any environment.

Bring interiors to life with engaging digital light scenes by selecting one of the inbuilt colour scenes via 24/7 scheduling, an iWatch, iPad app, smartphone app, PC, wall switch or trigger scenes interactively by using a motion sensor. Imagine – moving cloud formations over a sky blue background with the sun rising up and across the surface – Just one example of a totally engaging but standard scene.

Manufactured using high quality materials such as an extruded aluminium frame of only 90mm deep. Intelligent RGB LED’s and net-workable control system with a built in web browser for remote scheduling, set up and control of scenes. Mount your Digital Light Surface anywhere you desire, the solution can be mounted onto or into any surface. The light surface can be mounted landscape or portrait. Wall mounted or ceiling mounted, built into feature walls or ceilings, just about anywhere you can imagine.

Multiple light surfaces can be mounted in series and the motion scenes can be synced together for fluid transitions from one screen to another.

The translucent fabric placed in front of the intelligent RGB LED’s provides a perfectly diffused light source. Offering static colours or colour motion with fluid transitions of any colour imaginable. Digital Light Surface creates atmosphere wherever it is placed.

With 20 highly engaging scenes inbuilt to any DLS we realise that bespoke content for certain opportunities could be required, Sun-Light Solutions are perfectly placed with graphic design facilities on hand to discuss any requirement for digital light art, be that subtle motion of a colour theme to full motion of coloured light.
Please drop us a line with your requests or ideas.
Categories: Commercial Buildings, Environmental Control, Interior Design, Lighting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explore Offsite Housing Huge Success


Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector was declared a huge success by over 400 construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors who attended the event. The professionals gathered to share their views on how offsite construction technology could play a vital role in the delivery of new houses and in combatting the current housing crisis.

Calum Murray from CCG-Scotland Ltd said: “Innovation and change are our focus.” And emphasised that the sector needs to modernise its methods, stating: “Offsite can make the difference and is part of the package of solutions when approaching the housing crisis and the skills shortage.”

Tony Woods Offsite Construction Specialist, LHC and Stephen Wightman Managing Director, Caledonian Modular discussed the methods behind offsite and how best to approach the skills shortage. Woods considered the 2004 Barker Report, which analysed the number of houses required to manage the increasing population. “If the government wants to achieve its targets it needs to look at other methods because the skills shortages are just going to carry on,” said Woods.

The issues discussed varied from the advantages of building with modular construction to the benefits of building without wet trades. Pickard advocated for offsite as a more efficient method, arguing that prefabricated building can produce good design and reduces the amount of wet trade and scaffolding involved in the process.

Tom Ground CEO, Legal and General said Explore Offsite in Housing was: “An enjoyable event with interesting discussions.” Whilst James Pickard Director, Cartwright Pickard commented: “It’s a great turnout with some really interesting questions from the audience.”

The conference left delegates interested to find out more, with many saying that they will be sure to attend the other Explore Offsite events later in the year. Two documentary film makers from the BBC also attended the event and said: “Thanks to all on the Explore Offsite team for letting us attend. It was brilliant for us and we also managed to have a very constructive meeting alongside the conference on the Thursday afternoon. Highest praise to all for organising such an excellent event.”

This was the first in a two part series of Explore Offsite events which are scheduled to be held across the UK this year – tickets are just £125 to include refreshments and lunch.

For more information visit:

Book early to avoid disappointment:

Explore Offsite 2016 are a two-part series of two-day conferences and exhibitions, presented by Radar Communications, providing platforms for construction clients and their professional advisers to explore the latest offsite construction solutions, providing a dynamic interactive learning experience and networking opportunities.

Other Explore Offsite events this year are:

Explore Offsite General – Birmingham, 24 November 2016

Full list at Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector:

Tom Bloxham MBE – Chairman, Urban Splash

Rory Bergin – Partner: Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP

Oliver Novakovic – Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments

Alex Goodfellow – Managing Director, Stewart Milne Timber Systems

Andy von Bradsky – Chair, Housing Forum & PRP Architects

Stephen Wightman – Managing Director, Caledonian Modular

Calum Murray – Director, CCG (Scotland)

Jerry Harkness – Regional Development Director, Circle Housing

Jeremy Kape – Director of Property Investment, Affinity Sutton

Jeff Maxted – Director of Technical Consultancy, BLP Insurance

Peter Andrew – Deputy Chairman, HBF

Tom Ground – CEO, Legal & General Homes

James Pickard – Director, Cartwright Pickard

Ian Heptonstall – Director, Offsite Management School

Stuart Carr -Director, Chapman Taylor Architects

Andrew Orgorzalek – Partner, PCKO Architects

Richard Jones – Partner, Arcadis LLP & Deputy Chair, Housing Forum

Simon Tanner – Y:Cube Development Consultant – YMCA

Greg Cooper – Pre Construction Manager, B & K Structures

Jay Shaw MBE – Head of Business Development, Snoozebox

Steve Reid – Chief Technical Officer, Enviga Geothermal

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Events/Exhibitions, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Kemper System underwrites roof refurb success at Royal & Sun Alliance

Kemper System’s Kemperol V210 has been used yet again to repair the roof of Royal & Sun Alliance’s headquarters in Horsham following the success of a project to refurbish the building’s balconies last year.

Within the central part of the building there were three individual roof areas, covering a radius of 400m2. These areas were overlaid to address leaks in the existing single ply membrane. Roofing contractor, All Angles Roofing, carried out the six-week project on behalf of principal contractor, RCL Services, including repairs to the existing insulation.

The scheme follows on from three previous projects, spaced over two years, to repair three balcony areas, covering a total of 710m2, on the same building where water ingress was putting refurbished areas below at risk.  Several attempts to repair the roof with other systems had failed to address the issue, but Royal & Sun Alliance has no further leaks thanks to the Kemperol V210 overlay.

All Angles Roofing having cleaned and prepared the existing roof surface applied Kemper System’s D primer.  The installation team then laid the Kemperol V210 resin in a single wet-on-wet process that ensures complete saturation of the reinforcement fleece.  Once cured the resin forms a seamless, elastomeric waterproof membrane that bonds directly to the substrate.

Comments Mike Baulu from All Angles Roofing, “We have carried out numerous programmes on this building over the past few years and the balcony areas had proved a particular challenge.

“A year after being refurbished using Kemperol V210, the balconies are performing well with no signs of any leakage, so R&SA had no hesitation in using the same system for this new roof area.”

Categories: Architecture, Commercial Buildings, Construction, Roofing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 at Explore Offsite- Who Will You Meet?


Explore Offsite in the Housing sector 2016 is fast approaching. Limited spaces are still available for Day 1! With the housing crisis a hot topic in construction and in the wake of the Chancellor’s spring budget announcements, is this an event you can afford to miss? Offsite is an innovative and emerging construction method and many industry specialists are convinced it is a key solution to the current housing and skills shortages.

Explore Offsite is taking place on 23 & 24 March 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham, and is not an event you want to miss

Who will you meet? Here is a sample of 100 companies that will be in attendance:

3Dreid, Affinity Sutton, Alumasc AVS, Arcadis LLP, Architekton, Ashantidutch Property Letting, Astudio, B & K Structures, Barratt Developments, Bicester Delivery Team, Birmingham City Council, Black Country Housing Group, BLP Insurance, British Gypsum, Bromford Group, BSA, Caledonian Modular, Calfordseaden, Carey Group, CCG (Scotland), Cestrian Properties, Circle Housing, Cogent Consulting, Conisbee, Crendon Timber Engineering, David Lock Associates, Donaldson Timber Engineering, Dudley College, Efficiency East Midlands, Egger UK, Elliott Group, Engine of the North, Enviga Geothermal, EOS Facades, Eurocell, Evolusion Innovation International, Graham Frecknall Architecture and Design, Hexpodular, HLM, Homes for Haringey, Homes for Scotland, HTA Design LLP, ITW Construction Products, J&P Building Systems , James Jones & Sons , Jemm International, Jewson, JLL, Keepmoat, LABC, Larkfleet Group, LHC, Lowfield Timber, Metsa Wood UK, Modcell, Monk Estates, N eat UK, Newton Steel Framing, Norbord Europe , Offsite Solutions, Ove Arup & Partners, Palady Homes, Parkhead Housing Association, PCKO Architects, Per Aarsleff UK, Phase Energy, PHIUS, Polarwall, PRP Architects, RCM, Recticel Insulation, Robointeriors, Scotts of Thrapston, Senior Architectural Systems, Sidey, SIG360, Simco External Framing Solutions, Siniat, SIPCO, Stewart Milne Timber Systems, Structural Timber Association, Sustainable Britain, Swan Housing Association, Swithland Estates, Tarmac Trading, Tenmat, Thakeham Client, The McAvoy Group, The Opus Partnership LLP, Tremco-illbruck, Ultraframe UK, Urban Splash, Visu Verum Wimbledon, Voestalpine Metsec, W Howard, WestonWilliamson+Partners, Westworks, White Horse Surveyors, Willerby Special Projects, WM Housing Group, Woodsford Tradebridge


Book your place at the biggest offsite housing event of the year and ensure you’re up to speed on the latest offsite technologies and advantages. This is a prime opportunity to network and procure new business, as well as investigate an emerging and economically exciting construction method. Offsite could be the future of your business- Don’t Miss Out!

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ONE WEEK LEFT Until the Biggest Offsite Housing Conference of 2016!

There’s only one week left to secure your place on the biggest offsite housing conference of 2016.

Explore Offsite is taking place on 23 & 24 March 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham, and is not an event you want to miss.

Speakers include:

Tom Bloxham MBE– Chairman of Urban Splash
Tom Ground– CEO of Legal & General Homes
James Pickard – Director of Cartwright Pickard
Oliver Novakovic– Technical and Innovation Director of Barratt Developments
…& more!

These highly respected industry leaders will present their reasons for thinking offsite construction could be the key to tackling the housing crisis and also why it might be vital in addressing the skills shortage.

Explore Offsite offers all attendees an invaluable opportunity to network with and hear from the most innovative and engaging figureheads of this very exciting emerging method of construction. Offsite building is an increasingly popular and economically viable approach to large scale construction- providing safe, speedy, secure and money saving options for those seeking to build houses without the risk and hold up on onsite construction.

Be sure to book your place at:

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York student accommodation – RonaDeck Resin Bound Surfacing

Route One Highways installed approximately 2000 square metres of Harvest Crunch to new student accommodation at Student Castle, Walmgate, York.


Ronacrete Approved Contractor Route One Highways have installed approximately 2000 square metres of RonaDeck Resin Bound Surfacing in a Harvest Crunch aggregate blend to new student accommodation at Student Castle, Walmgate, York. The SuDS compliant permeable paving was laid to pedestrian and car parking areas.


The project involved the regeneration of an under used two acre brownfield site, providing new office accommodation in the city centre for York newspaper The Press and city centre accommodation for students, freeing up family homes in the city for use by York families, in line with the council’s policy.

The development creates 58 purpose-built student flats and 303 studio apartments owned and operated by Student Castle, one of the UK’s most respected student accommodation providers. The project also includes the redevelopment of the Wards warehouse, creates a new frontage on Walmgate with new 6500 square feet offices for The Press fronting onto Walmgate and Hurst’s Yard.


The work was carried out for S Harrison Developments and Vinci was the main contractor for the project, design work was carried out by CSP Architects.

Ronacrete Approved Contractor Route One Highways mixed the two resin components with a slow speed drill and paddle before adding the resin to a large forced action mixer containing the aggregate blend. After ensuring that the aggregate was fully coated with resin, Route One Highways spread RonaDeck Resin Bound Surfacing to level at a depth of 15mm and smoothed the surface with a steel float. The finished surface was ready for foot traffic within four hours.

A newly regenerated brownfield site within York city centre provides accommodation for students and office space for The Press; it is enhanced by pathways and car parking areas surfaced with RonaDeck Resin Bound Surfacing.

Categories: Construction, Educational Buildings, External Works, Landscape Architecture, Landscaping, Sustainable Materials | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iconic Heal’s Building kitted out with Panasonic heating and cooling system


The Heal’s Building on London’s Tottenham Court Road has long been a home of innovation and high quality design. This creative spirit lives on in the newly refurbished building, with a cutting edge heating and cooling system from Panasonic that provides a comfortable environment for the staff of companies such as Netflix and Deliveroo.

Consultants Cundall worked with Easy Air Conditioning to design and install a heating and cooling system flexible enough to meet the demands of a variety of office spaces spread over five storeys. The scale of the project demanded a powerful, efficient system, so Easy Air Conditioning and Cundall specified the Panasonic ECOi VRF system. During three phases of delivery Easy Air Conditioning supplied 24 VRF systems comprised of 42 of Panasonic’s heat recovery and heat pump condensing units. Each VRF system is controlled by a Panasonic CZ-256ESMC2 touchscreen controller and is integrated into the building management system of the site, to provide a flexible and user-friendly heating and cooling solution.

“When we worked out the scale of the project and how many units we would have to install, Panasonic’s VRF system became the obvious choice,” said Andy Wootton of Easy Air Conditioning. “We wanted to give the client a heating and cooling system that was easy to use and provided the capacity they needed, and Panasonic ticked all the boxes. They offer great products which are easy to install and very energy efficient.”

Panasonic heat recovery and heat pump condensing units lead the market in their ease of installation and maintenance, which were key factors on this project as the units were to be installed on the roof of the building where space was limited. The ECOi VRF system also puts energy efficiency at the forefront, operating with a COP 4.63 while able to offer heating and cooling simultaneously at high performance, making it the perfect solution for a large office building with hundreds of staff.

The floor to ceiling heights in the Heal’s Building are lower than one might typically find in a modern office building, due to its heritage as a furniture manufacturing facility. Easy Air Conditioning therefore selected and installed Panasonic’s MM range of horizontal ‘slimline’ ceiling-mounted units, designed for spaces where there is limited height above a false ceiling. However, as the architect did not want to fit a false ceiling in the space, due to the lack of height, this meant that the cold supply air from the outlet diffusers could potentially flow straight down onto the people who worked below them, causing pockets of cold air around the office.

Metal plates were therefore installed under the units around the outlet diffusers to create a Coandă effect, where the cool air, on leaving the diffuser, flows out horizontally along the underside of the plates. This reduces the risk of the air falling straight down onto the people below and helps to provide a consistent cooling effect across the office. Easy Air Conditioning also took advantage of the off coil temperature control facility of the Panasonic units, to maintain an off coil temperature above 12 degrees. This meant that the air emitted from the units was already slightly warmer than a regular cooling system, minimising the risk of draughts.

Easy Air Conditioning supplemented the ceiling-mounted units with a large number of Panasonic’s MR1 series floor standing units, concealed discreetly in cabinets beneath windows. These units, specifically designed to be concealed in perimeter enclosures, enable flexible installation as supply pipes can be connected to either side of the unit from the bottom or the rear. This flexibility ensured that areas of offices nearer the windows, which can be warmer in the summer due to the sun, were cooled to a temperature consistent with the rest of the office. Without a false ceiling, the units, trunking and pipes of the air conditioning system were exposed, so the interior designers decided to embrace this and incorporate it into the stripped back, industrial-chic design aesthetic of the iconic Heal’s Building.

Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

NVELOPE supports architects with BBA certified cladding support systems


To eliminate any disruption to a building’s exterior appearance, NVELOPE, the market leader in rainscreen cladding support systems, offers architects a range of vertical cladding support systems which allow façades to be installed with no visible fixing.

Architects are under pressure to specify rainscreen systems which provide an overall flawless appearance and meet the relevant thermal bridging requirements set out in the Building Regulations. NEVLOPE understands the importance of providing a system that satisfies these demands and offers architects a cost effective, easy to install products that can adapt to any building design. The NV vertical brackets are versatile and flexible, both key drivers in façade design and cladding systems.

“With constant changes and improvements taking place in cladding materials technology and design, architects and specifiers have the opportunity of greater choice and aesthetic variety,” explains Mike Smith, NVELOPE’s Managing Director.

The NV range, which includes NV1, NV2 and NV7 provide a secure fixing solution for façade materials including high pressure laminate (HPL), timber, weatherboard, fibre cement, fibre concrete, ceramic, thin stone, aluminium composite material (ACM) and many other metals. They are available pre-assembled with thermal isolators to help reduce thermal bridging and also prevent a chemical reaction which could occur between the aluminium bracket and the line in a concrete frame. Stand off sizes for the vertical range are from 40 – 300 mm and for the horizontal range are from rom 70 – 300 mm.


All NVELOPE support systems have achieved full BBA certification. BBA approval enables architects to specify NVELOPE systems with confidence. It demonstrates that NVELOPE support systems have met the BBA’s rigorous testing and evaluation criteria and will provide a high quality fixing solution.

NVELOPE also provides architects with BIM (Building Information Modelling) Objects for its cladding support systems. Designed to assist project teams working in the BIM format, the new objects ensure greater specification detail and accuracy.

Used in the planning and the design stages of a project, BIM is an ideal tool for architects and specifiers to create digital illustrations of buildings, together with detailed technical information, accreditations and other background data.

NVELOPE’s BIM objects contain detailed dimensions, product specifications and other key details, along with high quality 3D images to add into virtual models and simulated building designs. They can be found on the NBS National BIM Library and are available in IFC and Revit formats and downloaded and integrated into any BIM software.

For further information on NVELOPE Rainscreen Systems, visit or call the company direct on +44 (0)1707 333 396.

Categories: Architecture, Cladding & Insulation, Construction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Advanced Protects Vital Data and Computing Assets at Cambridge University


ExGo suppression control panels from Advanced have been installed in a £20m, state-of-the-art data and high performance computing centre at the University of Cambridge that is working on some of the globe’s greatest challenges.

Situated on the West Cambridge site of the University of Cambridge, the building is the new home for high performance computing, centralised data storage and also business operations, teaching, learning and research. The High Performance Computing Centre is working on data from two of mankind’s greatest and data heavy science projects, the Large Hadron Collider and BRIDGE Genome Project.

ExGo, Advanced’s ultra-dependable extinguishant release system, was configured and installed by Advanced customer Advanced Fire Solutions Ltd. The suppression control system installed in the building comprises four ExGo panels with mode select key switch assemblies.

Jonathan Bacon, Managing Director of Advanced Fire Solutions Ltd, said: “We selected ExGo because the installation required a suppression system that could deliver reassurance and long-term reliability for this crucial building. We have an established partnership with Advanced and we knew that the equipment would be of the highest quality. The system also offers the flexibility and expandability to meet all future requirements.”

ExGo has been developed specifically for sensitive and strategic assets such as server rooms, historic and cultural attractions and control rooms. It has been installed in high-profile buildings across the globe, including the Magna Carta vault at Lincoln Castle, Romanian National Library and strategic oil pipelines in Sudan.

Ian Tasker, Manager of the West Cambridge Data Centre, added: “The West Cambridge Data Centre reflects the University’s commitment to excellence in the provision of information services to research, students and staff”

ExGo is suitable for almost all single-flooding area applications and includes a range of control options and devices. It is approved to EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 and EN12094-1 and is among the first systems to combine these with EN12094 Part 3 in a single solution. EN12094-3 relates to the integrated manual release on the front of the panel. ExGo can be integrated into Advanced’s Axis and MxPro fire panels, or any third party fire system

Robin Kemp, Advanced sales manager for the South East region, commented: “The West Cambridge Data Centre is a strategically vital part of the University of Cambridge’s infrastructure and essential to its operations and those of its many international stakeholders. We are delighted to be part of it.”

Advanced is a world leader in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The legendary performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.

More details can be found on the website at

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Paving the way to One Million Homes


Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis has set out an ambitious target to build one million new homes before the end of the current Parliament. Hitting such an aspirational target calls for immediate action and an increase in construction to at least 200,000 new homes per year. This is a level of housebuilding that has not been seen in England since 1989. Mark Gibbs, Technical Director for Alumasc Facade Systems and designer of the company’s new Alumasc Ventilated System (AVS), shares his views on the challenges of hitting Government housing targets:


“It is clear that the housing market in Britain is broken and fixing it has been a key priority for both the current Government and their predecessors. There have been attempts to tackle the issue and stimulate increased supply by boosting demand with measures such as the Help-to-Buy scheme. Whatever the solution is, there is no getting away from the fact that if the UK is to meet its ambitious housebuilding targets, we are going to have to build an increasingly large number of homes in a limited time frame.

The benefits of offsite construction could be crucial to meeting targets that have repeatedly been missed. Specifying factory fitted components can help to mitigate skills shortages and time constraints. Similar to the methods of the automotive industry – the process of offsite construction provides many benefits of which could make huge strides in hitting housing targets.

It is easy however, to focus on the short term goal which is to construct a mass volume of housing, however in my opinion, it is equally important to consider the long term aspirations of creating good quality homes that will stand the test of time. This is not just a numbers game – it is crucial to specify materials and components that will develop homes to last for years to come.

Standardised buildings were the Government’s solution to tackling the post-war issue of a booming population in need of housing – not dissimilar to the problems that we are facing today. We must be cautious not to follow the same path of high-density, low-quality homes – lacking in appeal.

Despite the mistakes of the last century, standardisation of homes does not necessarily have to be viewed as a negative. For example, a guarantee of reduced time, optimum cost and high quality can be achieved, with consideration also given to whole life assessment.

Results of offsite construction can include early completion, user satisfaction and ease of maintenance and replacement – indicating that standardisation and prefabrication with an element of customisation have great potential for the future. Both standardisation and prefabrication are process driven and providing that high quality, long lasting, products are specified, we are able to avoid past misjudgements made by previous industry leaders.

At Alumasc Facade Systems we have made our own steps towards tackling the issues of the housing crisis. The initial product development remit was to design a ventilated system that would replicate traditional building aesthetics, whilst providing a lightweight solution that could be fixed directly to framed constructions. AVS is BBA Certified, meaning that it has been tried and tested in regards to factors relating to strength and stability, fire performance, weather tightness, durability and longevity. These factors help to ensure that AVS, when coupled with offsite methods of construction and standardised design, can help to create quality, long lasting homes at a rapid rate where people will ultimately want to live.


Standardisation does not mean mass replication, although the fundamental system remains consistent – AVS is available in a choice of final finishes. Any brick in the marketplace can be colour matched via the use of lightweight acrylic brick slips. The system is also approved for use with high performance through-coloured silicone renders, along with an extensive range of dashing renders. This directly addresses the issues of mass standardisation by offering the unique final aesthetics which architects, designers and housebuilders are looking for.”

For more information, please visit:

To arrange an AVS seminar call: 03335 771 700 or email:

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Kemper System provides a membrane fit for a Mayor


Kemper System’s Kemperol V210 cold liquid applied waterproofing membrane has been used to overlay part of the roof at the Grade I listed Mansion House, the residence and offices of the Lord Mayor of London.

Completed in 1758, Mansion House is one of London’s most iconic buildings and the latest City of London Corporation property to be refurbished using Kemper System membranes, following the recent success of a Kemperol overlay at the Guildhall Library.

The speed and ease of installation, BBA-accredited service life and performance demonstrated by Kemperol liquid waterproofing systems at the Guild Hall scheme made it a natural choice when the mansard roof above staff quarters at Mansion House began to show signs of water ingress.

The area of roof in question had an inverted build up that had last been refurbished around 40 years ago. To address the water ingress issues, contractor, A&L Roofing Services, first removed the stone cladding and insulation to access the failing membrane.

Holes and cracks in the membrane were filled and the substrate was cleaned and prepared with primer. The contractor then installed the Kemperol V210 membrane as an overlay to the existing substrate removing the cost and logistics needed to strip out and transport the old membrane to landfill.

The Kemperol V210 resin was cold applied in a single wet-on-wet process that ensures complete saturation of the reinforcement fleece. It was allowed to cure, forming a flexible monolithic membrane that bonds directly to the substrate, before A&L Roofing Services completed the roof refurbishment, reusing the existing insulation and stone cladding.

Comments Lee Lane from A&L Roofing Services, “The project involved numerous challenges, including secure access to site and static plant on the roof that could not be moved or raised. Using the Kemperol V210 membrane from Kemper System meant that there was no requirement for hot works or cumbersome equipment. It also enabled us to ensure excellent waterproofing integrity around all the details for a robust and durable solution that will protect this historic building for a BBA certified period of at least 25 years.”

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Is Offsite Construction the Perfectly Timed Solution for the Construction Industry?


The call for a quick and sustainable solution to the current housing shortage has created an opportunity for offsite construction to become a key building method to meet the demand in the housing industry. In order to rectify the current shortfalls, modern and innovative methods of construction must be adopted to provide quick, sustainable and energy-efficient homes.

Kingspan Timber Solutions’ Business Unit Director, Ian Loughnane, offers his perspective on the offsite construction in the housing industry:

“Back in February 2013 the Offsite Housing Review was published by the Construction Industry Council with the help of research partners from across the sector and Government. The most striking aspect of the investigation was the broad level of agreement amongst experts that the solution to the shortfall in housing stock would require the extensive use of prefabricated building techniques. The timber frame industry can certainly answer that call when it comes, which surely it must. The impetus required will undoubtedly be Government led but it’s not just about the numbers. As a nation we need affordable, well designed and energy efficient homes that address the significant issues of fuel poverty and climate change.

This combination of requirements plays to the strengths of timber frame and structural insulated panels (SIPS), which deliver the sustainable solution. The industry has invested heavily in getting fabric solutions that deliver high performance without the future maintenance costs that non-fabric solutions entail. Offsite construction technology delivers a predictable performance level, with fewer construction defects or wasted materials. We are able to provide a marked decrease in the build time with a marked increase in the standard of build. This combination of requirements plays to the strengths of timber technology which offers a low-energy design as standard.


The construction of a house maximising offsite technology typically takes four to six weeks, which is nearly a quarter of the time taken by traditional methods with an average timescale of around twenty weeks, providing weather conditions permit. Offsite methods reduce the potential impact of bad weather on build-times and swift weather-proofing of the structures diminishes delays for follow on trades.


It is not just the housing sector that is looking to exploit the benefits of offsite construction to meet current demands. The education sector is also facing a shortage of almost 900,000 school places and the government has pledged an investment of circa £2 billion to refurbish and rebuild 277 schools. The speed and ease that offsite construction provides is crucial to fitting in with the timeline demands that are unique to schools and the academic year. That is why offsite is becoming the choice method of building in the education sector, matching similar requirements to the housing industry.

The market is definitely showing higher levels of optimism amongst the timber offsite solution suppliers, with more positive signs of investment and an increase in activity levels. The transition to a low-carbon economy presents our industry with great opportunities for growth. Environmental considerations will transform how our buildings are constructed, what materials are used and the methods employed. I believe that we are now on the cusp of the predicted ‘sea-change’ and that the time is right for the construction industry to embrace innovative timber technology and offsite techniques to develop better buildings at a rapid rate to enhance lives, minimise the environmental impact and reduce energy costs for occupants for many years to come.

To find out more about Kingspan Timber Solutions visit:

To book a CPD session: call: 01767 676400 or email:

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Materials, Timber in building | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sika Sarnafil solution creates luxury communal gardens for residents


 A stone’s throw from South Bank, BREEAM certified London Square development, Bermondsey Village, is located at the corner of Lamb Walk and Morocco Street. A mixed-use new build, the scheme provides luxury apartments with a communal garden area and balconies, which required a clever roofing solution from Sika Sarnafil, Sky Garden and Contour Roofing.

The design of the building reflects the eclectic and exciting architectural context of the surrounding area. The modern style of the apartments required a roofing solution that would look stunning and offer high performance. At one time, a roof was once seen only as a means of protecting a building from the elements, but now it is increasingly being seen as a valuable space that can be utilised. The client needed a biodiverse, sustainable communal garden and roof as part of the project.


The project was split into three parts – the accessible green roof for residents on the first floor, then the green roof and brown roof at a higher level. These were chosen for their aesthetic values (as they could be seen from surrounding buildings) and to assist with the disposal of rainwater.


The project was originally specified in hot melt. However, this product specification wasn’t possible, as it wouldn’t give the desired aesthetic finish required by the client and architect. The client wanted an ‘all singing, all dancing’ solution that would deliver superior performance and a flawless finish, in line with the luxury flats.

Jonathan Woods, Contour Roofing, suggested using Sika products, as the roofing project was complex and expansive, requiring expert advice and planning. He explained that Sika give the best for support to both contractor and client, and would be the ideal option. It was a challenge to change the specification at a late stage, but Contour, working in close partnership with Sika, provided a solution that met, and exceeded, the client’s expectations.

Work was done to cover the main roof, balconies and podium over a car park using a full warm ballasted system with Sarnafil G410-18EL Light Grey as the main roof sheet and Sarnafil G410-15EL Light Grey and S327-15EL Light Grey for the flashings. The design of the communal gardens was intricate and detailed, especially around roof lights, podium and upstands. Sikalastic Liquid Applied Membrane was used on some of the detail areas and the balconies, demonstrating the great compatibility between Sika’s various roofing products. All work was finished to an extremely high standard, as was the aesthetic requirement of the client, achieving a 20 year guarantee from Sika.



Sky Garden, the UK’s leading independent specialist company for green roofs and podium landscaping, worked with Contour and Sika, providing expert advice on biodiverse habitat creation and living roof design. Sky Garden provided technical support and information for the hard and soft podium landscaping, biodiverse habitat creation and green roof requirements, to ensure the systems met all BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification, planning and client requirements for the project.

As a residential development, it was imperative for Sky Garden and Contour to complete the podium works to a very high standard so that new home-owners could move in to a welcoming ‘green’ environment, complete with amenity areas, communal seating, lawns, timber pergolas and established planting. Sky Garden worked closely throughout the project with partners at Contour Roofing, Sika and London Square, to ensure that the challenges of strict budget, tight programme and mid-London site with restricted access were all met successfully.

All work was completed in early 2015 and independently tested by Thornton Consulting to make sure it was of the highest quality, passing with flying colours.

James Ansell, Development Manager at London Square, said: “We were really impressed with the finish on the Bermondsey Village building. The work that Contour did was of the highest quality and were very happy with how everyone worked together to deliver a high performance solution. The Sika Sarnafil solution looked visually stunning and we were particularly assured by the level of guarantees offered by Sika across the whole roof, as this gives us piece of mind for the future. We are now working with Contour on a number of projects going forward.”

For more information on Sika Sarnafil’s products and services, call 01707 394444, email or visit

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Panasonic’s guide to R32

Panasonic R32 Logo

After successfully leading the introduction of R32 in Japan, Panasonic is ready to drive the refrigerant change in Europe. The company has already introduced R32 models to the Nordic market in September 2015, with its outstanding A+++/A+++ HZ-Series, and now, Panasonic is set to introduce new R32 models across the rest of Europe within the coming months. Panasonic will also be offering comprehensive training and information on R32 over the coming months, to help distributors and installers get to grips with the new technology.

On 9th June 2014, the EU F-Gases Regulation came into force with the aim to protect the environment by reducing emissions of F-gases from refrigeration and air-conditioning units, electrical switchgear, heat pumps, fire-protection systems as well as other sources.

Classified at a grade of A2, R32 gas is a mildy flammable gas. Dispelling the concern surrounding this flammability score, Marc Diaz, Country Manager at Panasonic Heating and Cooling UK & Ireland comments: “R32 has been used for many years, making up 50% of current R410A gasses. Not only is it a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to R410A, but it is equally as safe to use. There have been concerns surrounding the fact that R32 gas is partly flammable, however, this gas is extremely difficult to ignite. In the rare case a fire were to start, R32 burns at a slower speed than walking pace, at 6.7 cm/s as opposed to Propane’s burning velocity of 46 cm/s, reducing the likelihood of any damage.”

Marc Diaz continues: “Under normal, everyday circumstances, R32 possesses no risk to the air conditioning systems or work environment. There is no possiblity of an ignition caused by a spark within the machine or in the magnetic switch of a power panel.”

Only under extremely specific circumstances might ignition occur. An example of this would be when ignition energy is applied whilst the gas concentration of R32 is between 13.3% and 29.3%. This gas concentration materialises at a level at which oxygen deficiency can occur (18% oxygen concentration or below), an environment in which people will not work in.

When exposed to high temperatures R32 will, like all HFC refrigerants, break down into three components: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen flouride, which converts to hydrofluoric acid, a toxic substance, when it comes into contact with water. It is important to remember that this is the case for all commonly used HFC refrigerants; indeed this process clearly indicates how important it is for those working in the refrigeration sector to be mindful of safe and proper working practice at all times.

Indeed R32 has a number of other attributes which make it an attractive alternative, including:
R32 reduces charging volume by 30% compared to R410A
R32 has higher efficiency (10% compared to R410A) => Higher COP and EER
R32 delivers better performance at extreme outdoor temperature

The EU F-Gases Regulation follows previous research which revealed that R32 could be an attractive solution with a low-global warming potential (GWP) for air conditioning and heat pump installation, with performance comparable to R410A. The results were in favour of R32, in terms of efficiency and cost as a suitable replacement for R410A. R32 has been used as a component of both R407C and R410A for many years, and makes up 50% of R410A.

R32’s use as part of R410A means that the installation of the refrigerant should change little from current procedure. The pipework and testing is the same but different tooling may be needed during installation, such as recovery systems and leak detectors. The major difference is that R32 is mildly flammable, which means it must be properly ventilated when being charged and recovered, because if the gas builds up it can be ignited by a naked flame. However, this should not present a significant issue to installers, as currently if R410A separates into its component gases then R32 is present

Other Key points
R32 has a GWP of 675 compared with R410A’s GWP of 2,088
R32 can be more energy efficient than R410A
Smaller charges result in heat exchangers and other components being more compact
R32 is rated as A2L – there is a low risk of accidents due to toxicity (A), and low risk of flammability (2L)
As a single component refrigerant, R32 is easier to reuse and recycle
The boiling temperature of R32 is similar to R410A, slightly higher than R22
It is easy to handle because it doesn’t fractionate

The move towards R32 is part of an overall strategy to reduce the impact of refrigerants on the environment. In 2020 refrigerants such as R404A and R507, with a GWP higher than 2500, will be banned for use in stationery units and will have to be converted to R407A. By 2025 refrigerants with a GWP greater than 750 will be banned for use in splits air conditioning units, and in 2030 use of R410A, R134A and R407C will be heavily restricted.

Panasonic is continuing to develop new products that incorporate R32. More information on these products will be announced over the coming months.

For more information, please visit

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Performance door blanks with 90 minute fire rating and FSC certification


The UK’s biggest independent distributor of high-performance door blanks, James Latham is now offering Moralt FireSound 59mm (dB43/44) with FD90 certification (BS476 Pt. 22)

And thanks to Lathams, specifying a high-end, specialist door blank – which is still competitively priced – doesn’t mean having to compromise on environmental guidelines as three of the Moralt FireSound range and two of the FireSmoke range, now carry FSC certification.

Exclusively available nationwide and directly from stock through all nine of James Latham’s panel depots in sizes up to 3050mm x 1220mm, the Moralt FireSound 59mm door blanks are supplied with a short lead-time and a minimum order quantity of just one blank.

Moralt FireSound 59mm FD90 carries a long list of technical features and benefits including certification up to 2650mm height and/or 1049mm width (SASD). They are also certified as single/ double leaf doors, with/without glazing and offer intumescent seal specification for stiles/jambs, head perimeter: 2 no. 15mm x 4mm spaced 10mm apart.

In addition, they are also certified with concealed closers and hinges and can be easily trimmed, lipped and glazed.

Steven Dennard, Group Door Manager for James Latham commented, “As the exclusive UK distributor of Moralt door blanks, we are delighted to be able to offer the Moralt FireSound 59mm with FD90 certification as well as FSC accreditation. The technical features and benefits of this high-performance door blank, coupled with its environmental credentials make it a really attractive option and it is generating plenty of interest in the market.”

For more information on Latham’s full range of doorblanks and accessories please phone 0116 257 3415, email or visit



Categories: Doors, Windows & Glazing, Fire Protection, Sustainable Materials, Timber in building | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New animation pushes energy loop benefits


A new animation from Mitsubishi Electric examines the concept of using a single energy loop to deliver energy efficient heating and cooling in a tower block, between neighbouring buildings, or across an entire community.

“We have created this film to explain how the concept of an energy loop can benefit an individual building, a network, or a community,” explains Richard Venga, Specification Engineer at Mitsubishi Electric.

The animation begins by looking at using energy from the sun which is captured in our lakes and rivers, and shows how the Government has supported and advocated this type of application by producing a dedicated heat map and a Code of Practice on surface water source heat pumps.

It then explores how renewable energy harvested from the environment can be used to provide heating and cooling from a single energy loop for a building or a district.

“We need to remember that the by-product of heating is cooling and vice versa, and if we can capture this by-product we can use it elsewhere, in different types of building with varying energy demands” adds Venga.

Heat pumps can then be readily connected to this energy loop, so it can be used to transfer low grade heat from one part of the building – or even one part of the community, and upgraded to deliver the necessary heating or cooling for that individual building, office or room.

“The technology already exists to allow anyone to capitalise on this and there are other advantages for building designers because using an energy loop in this way can significantly reduce the space needed for the building’s services,” explains Venga.

The video can be viewed at the company’s dedicated YouTube channel ( ) and a CPD Guide to open loop water source heat pump systems can be downloaded at the dedicated digital library:

Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Alternative Solution for Battling the Housing Crisis

Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis MP at Ecplore Offsite

With the housing crisis hitting the headlines on a daily basis and skills shortages becoming a dominant industry issue, Explore Offsite speakers Simon Tanner and Tom Ground share their views on why this emerging industry could provide the solution.

Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector will present innovations and technologies from industry experts that will reveal how to build better homes at a rapid rate. Taking place 23 & 24 March 2016, at the NEC, Birmingham, the event will be a platform for social and private sector housing professionals, architects, engineers and contractors to come together to pave a new way forward for the industry.

Visitors to the event will hear first-hand from Simon Tanner and Tom Ground, who both feel so passionately about offsite c construction; they felt compelled to share their in-depth insight at the Explore Offsite conference.

Here are just a few reasons why they think it is the essential event for all those involved in both the housing sector.

Simon Tanner, Y: Cube Development Consultant – YMCA :SimonTanner

“It is important that everyone loses the preconceived notion that offsite construction is in some way inferior to other methods of construction. By attending Explore Offsite, visitors will hear first-hand how these buildings are already helping to alleviate the housing situation in many areas and be able to explore how that might be expanded further.”

Tom Ground, CEO of Legal and General:


“I am very much looking forward to speaking at Explore Offsite in Birmingham. My fellow speakers, delegates and exhibitors will represent those at the forefront of the offsite industry in the UK and the event will be an excellent chance to source business opportunities, network and discuss trends in our industry. I expect to see increasingly rapid advances in offsite construction technology becoming utilised in production methods, enhancing the competitive advantage that offsite has over traditional construction methods.”

The full interviews are available to view on the Explore Offsite Group page on LinkedIn.

To book your ticket visit

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AluFoldDirect Opens Its Doors to Commercial Installers with SBD Solution


Aluminium door specialist AluFoldDirect has launched its first range of Secured by Design (SBD), thermally efficient commercial doors, in order to meet the growing demand amongst specifiers for high-quality SBD-accredited solutions.

The company has seen rapid growth in aluminium bi-fold doors and is now putting its expertise in aluminium towards the commercial sector. The new AluFoldDirect commercial door offers a durable, thermally efficient and secure solution that can be tailored to suit regular usage, emergency and anti-panic requirements, or a mag lock variant for maximum protection.

All AluFoldDirect thermal commercial doors are Secured by Design accredited, Q Mark accredited and Document Q-compliant, having passed PAS23, PAS24 and BS EN1627 standards. They offer real thermal efficiency and can incorporate a range of performance insulated glass unit options.

The robust construction and variety of security options with the AluFoldDirect commercial door make it ideal for high-traffic buildings in the public sector – such as schools or hospitals – or private businesses, such as hotels or larger corporate organisations.

The range is being launched following research by AluFoldDirect, which suggests that – following the legal requirement to use Secured by Design in certain new builds and refurbishments – specifiers across the country are increasingly being asked to adopt SBD as a matter of course.

Craig Miller, Managing Director of AluFoldDirect, explains that: “Many architects and specifiers are turning to the obvious benefits of SBD-approved products as they make the process more transparent and easy, right the way through to the client.

“As Building Regulations head more in the direction of fully accredited and certified products for high-value installations (such as schools, installers must be able to prove they have installed to the standard specified.

“SBD is a sure-fire way of getting products installed that have withstood the rigours of extensive testing, under the gaze of a respected authority,” Craig adds.

To secure SBD status, the commercial doors tested include widths on single doors of up to 1250mm wide and 2350mm high and double doors to 2400 wide. Tested designs also incorporate emergency escape devices and controlled lock entrance devices.

AluFoldDirect will work with architects, specifiers and developers to select the right door for each access point. In some occasions this will have been legislated for. “We’ll look at your plans on a door by door basis. The duty of care rests with the manufacturer to ensure a solution is fit for purpose, so you might say the responsibility literally ends at my door,” confirms Craig Miller.

“We’re extremely confident in the design and manufacture of our range of commercial doors to offer safe passage where desired and real protection when needed. Frankly, you’d need a tank to bring down our max-protection door.”

Craig anticipates that the momentum towards SBD-accredited solutions will not be reversed.

“Secured by Design is fast becoming the go-to standard for the industry and will become common practice. We’re providing a commercial door that ticks all the boxes: it is easy to specify, easy to install and will provide long-lasting results, so you don’t have to worry.

“Our new commercial doors are only the start of our commitment to SBD. AluFoldDirect is now also finalising the arrangements to launch our fully accredited SBD window range also, having successfully undergone the product testing phase.”

To find out more, visit

Categories: Architecture, Commercial Buildings, Construction, Doors, Windows & Glazing, Educational Buildings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thin-Joint Venture

H+H’s Thin- Joint System of aircrete blocks and Celfix Mortar is a key element in the construction of a Passivhaus development of 16 semi-detached houses and 12 sheltered accommodation apartments on the Isle of Wight.

The scheme’s developer, Southern Housing Group, wanted a scheme to meet the low energy criteria defined in the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes without having to rely on renewable technologies. The fabric first, low-energy approach embraced by Passivhaus meet this criterion.

A Passivhaus must be built according to the principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute. These seek to minimise the need for space heating on the basis that minimising heat losses through the building fabric is the most cost-effective and robust way of achieving a low carbon building. The solution relies on maximising the use of fabric insulation, minimising thermal bridges and ensuring buildings are airtight.

External walls of homes on the Cameron Close development are constructed from H+H’s 200mm thick thermally efficient Celcon Plus blocks. These are enhanced externally by an additional 230mm thick layer of phenolic insulation on the houses and 150mm thick layer on the apartments. The insulation is finished externally with a white-colour acrylic render system, a common aesthetic on the Isle of White. The solution gives a U-value of just 0.08W/m2K for the external walls of the houses and 0.11W/m2K for the apartment walls.

In addition to its insulating properties, H+H’s Thin-Joint solution is ideal for Passivhaus construction because the combination of accurately dimensioned Celcon Plus blocks with 2mm thick Celfix mortar joints helps to minimise air leakage through the external walls. David Harris, director or Stoneham Construction is an advocate of the Thin-Joint System: “Passivhaus is all about air tightness so if you can reduce the gap between blocks to 2mm, instead of 10mm, it makes life a lot easier,” he says.

Achieving an airtight build was further helped by the use of H+H’s Retro Fit Joist Hangers to carry the timber joists that support the internal floors of the homes. These enable the wall to be built first with the hangers added after to avoid the need to cut blocks or to penetrate the blockwork walls speeding construction and improving airtightness.

Categories: Construction, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Materials, Walls | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Altro total solution helps transform Newcastle landmark


An extensive package of Altro flooring and wall cladding products has been used top to bottom in the £18 million refurbishment of one of Newcastle’s most striking landmarks — the 11-storey Parsons Tower, which is part of Newcastle College.

The 1960s tower block is one of the first buildings to be seen when approaching Newcastle by road or rail. The recent refurbishment has given the building a striking contemporary gold and blue facade, as well as a new lease of life internally. The former sixth form block has been transformed into a multi-faceted, state-of-the-art teaching facility that incorporates exciting and stimulating learning environments to reflect 21st century needs.

These include real-life working experiences for the expanding curriculum of Health and Enterprise, with training environments such as hospital wards, childcare, domiciliary care and specialist care environments such as a sensory room, where the students can practice and develop their knowledge. The ground level and entrance area have been reconfigured to ensure the maximum use of space, and include a café, real working environments including two functioning ‘pop-up’ shops, and student services with an expansive learning resource center and refectory space on level one.


The refurbishment project was the brainchild of Redbox Design Group in Gateshead. Associate Sean Gallagher explains how specifying the right flooring and walling products for the new-look Parsons Tower was a vital part of the project.

“Parsons Tower is a physical beacon for Newcastle and the college, and therefore it had to satisfy a broad range of strict criteria both internally and externally,” Sean says. “We chose Altro flooring and wall cladding for the building for a number of reasons; we know Altro products very well, they are reliable, durable, superb quality and very cost effective against their competitors.

“More specifically, Altro has products that tick all the boxes in terms of health and safety, hygiene and colour choice. In addition, their infrastructure is excellent, which means they offer a complete package of guidance and support throughout the duration of the project.”


Sean continues: “Our aim was to select Altro flooring and wall cladding that would complement the internal colour scheme and design, while also meeting health and hygiene needs.

“For example, probably the most striking area of the tower is behind the refectory servery, where we specified vivid green Altro Whiterock ChameleonTM hygienic wall cladding. This was intended to be an eye-catching statement colour, but also a very practical, easy-to-clean solution for a food preparation area.”

Altro Whiterock Chameleon makes a bold statement. Glossy, vibrant and vividly colourful, the hygienic wall cladding is available in 16 high impact, high-design shades to add affordable luxury to a range of environments. Offering all the benefits of Altro WhiterockTM, Altro Whiterock Chameleon is very durable, with a smooth, watertight, wipeclean surface.

“We also chose Altro Wood SafetyTM flooring as an inlay into Altro WalkwayTM 20 safety flooring for the refectory,” adds Sean. “This created a wayfinding effect that was key to the ‘circulation’ theme we integrated into the entire building.”

Perfect for creating a comforting and familiar look, but without compromising on safety, Altro Wood Safety offers 16 wood-look designs, including classic, contemporary and on-trend — to vary moods from cool and classy to warm and nurturing. The flooring features Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR Technology for long term cleanability and easier maintenance.

Sean adds: “The colours we chose for floors and walls were mostly subtle, such as muted greys, but the crèche was the one area where we created a blue colour scheme. Here we specified Altro Walkway 20, Altro SupremaTM and Altro Unity TM 25 safety flooring, in colours to match the theme.”

Elsewhere, Sean specified Altro Suprema for the retail area, corridors, stairs, toilets and hospital ward; Altro Wood Safety in the breakout area on the top floor; Altro Designer TM 25 safety flooring for the refectory back of house; Altro Unity 25 for the laboratories; Altro StrongholdTM 30 safety flooring and Altro Whiterock hygienic wall cladding for the kitchen; Altro Walkway 20 for the refectory storage area; and a Altro Walkway SD – a product laid with anti-static adhesive — for the IT suite.

Design-led Altro Suprema has been developed in consultation with colour consultants, architects and end users to reflect design requirements and interior trends. This non-sparkle safety flooring gives complete design freedom, with 40 shades to match any mood.

Altro Designer 25 is engineered with quartz, silicon carbide and aluminium trioxide for long-term durability and slip resistance, making it great for heavy duty environments with moveable or wheeled furniture. Available in practical, dirt-hiding colours featuring decorative coloured quartz, the product incorporates Altro Easyclean Original Technology for a lasting attractive appearance and savings in time and cleaning costs.

Altro Walkway 20 is a hugely popular, hard-wearing, 2mm safety flooring which provides lifelong slip and abrasion resistance. It also includes PUR cleanability, superior chemical and stain resistance.

Altro Unity 25 can be specified where long-lasting slip resistance and stain resistance are essential in heavy traffic areas. It contains aluminium trioxide and coloured quartz, and includes Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR technology for easier cleaning and maintenance.

Ideal for commercial kitchens, canteens, and food service and preparation areas, Altro Stronghold 30 achieves Altro’s highest rating for slip resistance and is designed to minimise risk in wet and greasy conditions for the lifetime of the flooring. As well as helping to keep staff safe from slips, it also helps reduce their fatigue, thanks to its 3mm thickness, which provides noise reduction and comfort underfoot.

Altro safety flooring products offer sustained slip resistance for the lifetime of the product, keeping your risk of a slip or fall to just one in a million.

Altro Whiterock White is the hygienic alternative to tiles that’s impact resistant, grout-free and easy to clean. Its smooth white surface and classical purity make it a timeless choice for any interior. Made from a high-quality, food-safe PVCu polymer, Altro Whiterock can handle temperatures up to 60°C. It meets all current European Union (EU) Directives on health and hygiene.

Altro Whiterock Premier Installer, Commercial Coverings, installed the wall cladding in Parsons Tower. Commercial Manager Kirk Hooker says: “Altro Whiterock is very easy to work with and it can be moulded to any shape. We cut the sheets to fit on site and thermoformed them around internal and external angles. Where the sheets meet, we used the hot welding method to create a nice finish.

“We have been working with Altro Whiterock for 20 years, and we have standardised on this product because we believe it’s the best on the market.”

Northern Floorcraft installed the Altro flooring within Parsons Tower. The company has been working with Altro for 45 years, installing their flooring in a wide variety of applications such as education, healthcare and retail.

Director Warren Pearson says: “This project was a significant size, and with 11 storeys to finish we had to work in very close co-operation with a number of other trades and the site manager to ensure we stuck to the schedule and produced a perfect result. Good communication skills are essential on projects of this size. We were on site for five months, with a team of between two and six fitters.

“The stairs in Parsons Tower are old and irregular, with complicated details, profiles and curves — no nice rectangles like modern stairs — and each set of stairs was different for each storey. So this part of the project involved a lot of time consuming and intricate cutting, and very precise fitting skills. For this reason were very glad we were fitting Altro Suprema on the stairs. This product is very pliable and great to work with, which made the whole task a great deal easier and quicker.

“Fitting the Altro Wood Safety and Altro Walkway inlay within the refectory was also a challenge, as we had to lay the flooring in three phases rather than all in one go — again because of working with other trades on site. This meant we had to take extra care to ensure that the ‘planks’ within the Altro Wood Safety design lined up exactly each time we fitted a new section. The project ran very smoothly, and this was helped a great deal by Altro, who gave us very hands-on support.”

The main contractor for Parsons Tower was BAM Construction. Senior Site Manager, Nathan Lynn, comments: “Both installers did a brilliant job on the flooring and walling for the refurbishment. They were very professional, co-operative and completed to schedule. The Altro Whiterock Chameleon in the refectory servery, in particular, looks very impressive and makes a real statement. A very successful project all round.

Steve Johnson, General Estates Manager at Newcastle College’s parent company NCG comments: “We were very impressed with every aspect of the Altro flooring and wall cladding range. The wide variety of colours, designs and finishes gave the architect the flexibility to create an overall design theme within Parsons Tower, but with subtle variations that gave a different look and feel to each individual area.

“For example, the design of the wayfinding floor in the refectory space, using the wood effect and other safety flooring, works very well. The contrast between the two products creates a striking effect.

“But probably the most stunning Altro feature in Parsons Tower is the acid green walling behind the refectory servery. People comment on it all the time — it looks amazing and the colour has a real wow factor.”

Steve continues: “In terms of cleaning and maintenance, we have had nothing but positive feedback from our team about the Altro products throughout the building, so in terms of practicality it’s proving to be the right choice.

“Since it opened a few months ago, the students have told us that they love the look and feel of Parsons Tower, so it has been a total success.

Categories: Architecture, Cladding & Insulation, Construction, Educational Buildings, Flooring, Interior Design, Walls | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Living Walls for Health and Well-being


Biophilia, the innate human attraction to nature, is a concept that has been recognized for several decades by the scientific and design communities, and intuitively for hundreds of years by the population at large. Biophilic design has often been regarded as a luxury for property owners who want the best possible workplace for their employees, or who want to showcase their efforts to be more environmentally responsible. In reality, improving well-being through biophilia can impact productivity costs and the bottom line.

Integrating nature into the built environment is not just a luxury but above all a sound economic investment in the health and productivity of people. Biophilic design reduces stress, increases cognitive function and creativity, improves well-being and speeds up the healing of diseases. These are benefits which are required more and more amidst our increasing urbanisation and can prevent economic losses running into billions in the face of increasing work demands.

Living walls are the perfect antidote to incorporating nature into the healthcare environment, supporting biophilic design and bringing nature direct to patients and staff alike, what would the economic impact be on the NHS if we incorporated these features into our hospitals? How much quicker would patients be discharged? How much less stress would employees experience? How much better would the users of healthcare buildings feel?   The power and input that nature can unleash is and remains unique.

If you require guidance on how to incorporate nature into your building, please do not hesitate to contact Scotscape for advice and guidance. t: 0208 254 5000 e:

Categories: Commercial Buildings, Health & Safety, Healthcare Buildings, Landscaping, Sustainable Development, Walls | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

CW 50-HI now offers better thermal insulation than ever

Reynaers has launched its improved aluminium Concept Wall 50-HI (High Insulation) system, which offers better thermal insulation properties than ever before.

ArtGen, Prague

ArtGen, Prague

This new variant of CW 50 benefits from improved insulation profiles, which can achieve an impressive insulation value (Uf) down to 0.56 W/m2K with a glass thickness of 60 mm. Previously this was 0.73 W/m2K, while the standard CW 50 system has a Uf value of 1.7 W/m2K.

As the CW 50-HI is now provided with standard glazing gaskets, the aluminium curtain wall system is suitable for even heavy duty triple glazing, up to a maximum of 61 mm.

A further advantage of the new CW 50-HI system is the ease of production and installation. The insulation profile used in the HI system consists of a pre-cut part, so that drainage canals can be incorporated easily. Installation is made even more convenient because the glass doesn’t require waterproof taping to the pressure plate area.

Marketing Manager at Reynaers Rebecca Cope said: “The CW 50-HI is a well-proven façade and roof system available in different glazing and design variants, including an extensive range of profiles.

“The new system also offers varying levels of fire resistance and thermal insulation, and can accommodate triple glazing, making it ideal for low-energy buildings. Other features include a parallel opening window, a top hung window, a hidden vent turn and tilt window, as well as a flush roof vent.”

Offering extensive design freedom, this curtain wall can be custom-designed – as seen in the bespoke system used in the impressive office complex and art space in Prague, ArtGen. Developed by PPF Real Estate and CMC architects, the modern building is both environmentally-friendly and visually stunning.

Further details are available from: Reynaers Limited, Tel: 0121 421 1999, or email:, website:

Categories: Architecture, Cladding & Insulation, Commercial Buildings, Construction, Doors, Windows & Glazing, Energy Saving, Roofing, Sustainable Development | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Are You BIM Ready for the Government’s April 2016 Mandate?

Hertfordshire University: Photo Credit: Willmore Iles Architects

Hertfordshire University
Photo Credit: Willmore Iles Architects

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is at the front and centre of the latest digital technology in today’s built environment. Early adopters within the industry and Government have successfully promoted this pioneering building technology. There is now almost a universal recognition of BIM within the construction industry, as well as widespread private sector investment in the implementation of BIM.

So as the Government’s April 2016 BIM Mandate approaches, why is BIM so crucial to transforming the industry?

Ian Quinton Managing, Director of RCM Building Boards and Facades shares his views on the positive impact that BIM will have on today’s construction industry:

“As the digital age is evolving, we are constantly adapting technology in order to enhance all aspects of the modern world – the construction industry is no exception but it is only recently that the true impact is starting to be realised. BIM has changed the dynamic of the construction business, by enhancing efficiencies and delivering well-coordinated and well-designed projects.

The use of BIM is crucial for Government projects, as there is a prerequisite for time efficient construction, as well as a vital responsibility to reduce our carbon outline through the application of low energy buildings – resulting in lower costs for the end user.

Aston University

Aston University

There has been scepticism, however, from some parts of the industry over the Government’s BIM strategy with some companies claiming that there is a crucial lack of training in this area and that it is too costly and time consuming to invest in, particularly for SME’s.

Despite these claims the overall acceptance that BIM has gained still seems particularly prominent. From my experience, the general consensus from our industry implies that the growing integration of BIM will have a positive effect with only a small percentage of construction companies stating that they will not be using the technology. More money is now being invested in BIM, with large jobs kicking off this year applying the use of BIM in more sophisticated ways than ever before.

In terms of procurement, BIM is a powerful tool that allows construction companies to quantify the requirements of their projects. This enables control of spending and time management, resulting in the reduction of wastage in these areas. It is essential that BIM is used in the early design stages of a project to ensure that there is capacity to not only clearly identify the elements of the project but through the use of BIM, companies are able to anticipate when they need to procure any given material or element. It is extremely difficult to transport the appropriate knowledge across all construction partners at the same time without the use of BIM, this can lead to the teams procuring the wrong materials at the wrong time, in different volumes.

RCM have invested in research to produce technical specification data for developing BIM models for all of our building board ranges and facade solutions. Most importantly we have subscribed to collaborative BIM platforms such as NBS BIM, NBS Plus as well as the RIBA Product Library to ensure RCM’s BIM product models and technical information are readily available to all construction professionals. These industry-leading linked digital platforms provide an online resource enabling designers and specifiers to research and select construction products and service information for all types of building design projects.

I believe that only by embracing the benefits of this technology can we truly compete in the future market place. These, without doubt, are exciting times for all involved in construction and the Government’s April 2016 Mandate has further focused our industry’s attention. As with the building solutions we all produce – we have to innovative to collectively take our industry forward into the next decade and beyond. “

Informative CPD Events

For those interested in finding out more, RCM provide informative CPD sessions including:   a guide to materials, applications and specification considerations for building boards, internal and external linings and rainscreen facades, covering:

  • What a specifier needs to consider
  • Board materials and benefits
  • Board applications
  • Work on site

For more details call 0845 1303725 or visit

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Events/Exhibitions | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to improve your energy efficiency without giving up to a stylish look


A rainscreen cladding system is considered to be the most effective solution for thermal insulation. But when designing a project, the final appearance is almost as important as technical issues.

That is why CUPACLAD® was born: it combines the elegance of natural slate with energy efficiency improvements.


1. Energy efficiency

CUPACLAD® is the perfect solution for external wall insulation both for renovation and for new projects. The outer layer of CUPA PIZARRAS slate acts as a natural barrier, ensuring total protection against weather and moisture. In addition, the combination of external wall insulation and a ventilated cavity generates significant energy savings while increasing thermal comfort.


2. Contemporary look
Natural slate is a material that can enhance the value and beauty of any property. CUPACLAD® offers a new durable, sustainable and easy to fix alternative with a unique character.


3. An eco-friendly solution
CUPACLAD® cladding systems are composed of 100% natural slate and enable the construction of efficient and sustainable facades. It doesn’t require any additional treatments during manufacture, installation or upon project completion, substantially reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

CUPACLAD® opens up a world of options for designing with natural slate.

Categories: Architecture, Cladding & Insulation, Construction, Roofing, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Materials | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lights, camera and silence for energy efficient film studio


When the developers of a new film and photography studio in the heart of London’s Islington were looking to refurbish an old warehouse they needed to find an energy efficient way of heating and cooling the building that would also offer a whisper-quiet performance.

Paper Mill Studios is set in a traditional Victorian industrial building off London’s busy City Road and the beautiful creative space is regularly used by some of the world’s leading chefs.

The contemporary interior design provides an extraordinary creative space which is now enjoying energy efficient air conditioning and ventilation after work by contractor 361 Degrees.

The building was literally an empty shell when work first began and the new interior showcases specialist Reglit glazed walling, vertical external zinc standing seam cladding and a glazed roof to the rear courtyard.

The refurbishment is full of beautiful features including original timber beams, floor joists and exposed London stock brick and the stylish installation of the air conditioning by 361 Degrees has added to the stunning interior, whilst delivering super quiet and efficient heating and cooling.

361 Degrees, who operate throughout the country, has matched this high standard with stylish metal circular ducting that delivers the levels of comfort and control needed from the system.

A film studio also needs whisper quiet air conditioning and the installation helps achieve the best environment for creativity.

“The building is home to a number of photography companies, a production house, a fashion PR company and a high end retouching studio, so they need a comfortable, creative space”, explains Lewis English on behalf of 361 Degrees.

“For the filming in particular, they also need quiet solutions from the heating and air conditioning and this is where the Mitsubishi Electric systems have proved their worth, with units through all four floors of the building”.

City Multi heat pump air conditioning system was used as the main heating and cooling solution with a combination of wall mounted and exposed ducted fan coil units in the varying rooms throughout the refurbished building.

The installation of a Lossnay heat recovery ventilation system also means that energy is recovered from outgoing stale air and transferred to heat up the incoming fresh air, keeping the building comfortable for occupants in an energy efficient way.

“At the same time, because it’s an older building, heating is crucial in the winter months and with the system now in place, both the building owners and the designers love the solution we’ve come up with”, added Lewis.

Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Steve Davis radio adverts pot thousands in sales for The Window Outlet


The Window Outlet is making the most of Network VEKA’s extensive support and enjoying big business benefits.

Director Graeme Pritt quickly became an advocate for Network VEKA’s radio adverts after trialling their effect for The Window Outlet.

“I’ve never really rated radio adverts before; I wasn’t convinced that they translated into any realistic sales. However, I thought I’d test the Steve Davis adverts on our local station, CFM, and see if they made any difference to our business.

“They’ve actually worked so well, I’ve just booked them to run for another month!

“We took all three Steve Davis adverts and we adapted them with our own jingle. It’s a catchy tune that starts with the words ‘it’s a beautiful day’. It’s definitely working for us. Customers have told us that they find themselves singing it long after the ad is played – so it certainly has recall value!

“One particular customer was a nurse who had heard our bright and sunny jingle when driving home in the rain and the dark after a long, night shift. It was so at odds with her journey that it made her laugh. She called us a few days later and we ended up doing a full house of new windows.

“It’s not the first time we’ve worked with CFM, we also worked closely with the radio station on their Christmas ‘Cash for Kids’ toy appeal. Overall, the CFM ‘Mission Christmas’ raised £407,325 of gifts and cash to support 7,428 local children throughout the region.

“We’ve always been keen to take advantage of all the support that Network VEKA has to offer in order to promote our company. We’ve had Steve Davis help at open days and charity events and the Network VEKA branding features heavily in our adverts and on our vans etc. It sets us apart from our competitors and proves our commitment to customer satisfaction at a glance.

“We visited the recent Network VEKA Business Centre event and found it particularly helpful, especially chatting to some of the affiliate partners. We were impressed at the favourable rates we were able to access.

“As a small, local, family-run company, we simply wouldn’t have had the ‘power’ to command discounts like 20% off our Travis Perkins orders – but with our Network VEKA membership, we’re part of a powerful, national organisation! When we spoke to Travis Perkins at the Network VEKA Business Centre event, we were not only able to get a discount on future orders, but also a retrospective discount off our previous order. It was certainly more than worthwhile making the trip!

“Based on our experience, I would recommend Network VEKA membership to any hard-working company looking to build their business. There’s so much assistance at hand. Being part of this organisation has had a massive, positive effect on The Window Outlet and we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership in the years ahead.”

Network VEKA, 01282 473170

Categories: Company News, Doors, Windows & Glazing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Trend urges more BEMS installers and integrators to take on apprentices


Trend Control Systems, the leading international manufacturer and supplier of state-of-the-art Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), is throwing its support behind National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place between 14th-18th March, and encouraging more installation and integration firms to nurture young talent. As its own Attitude Apprenticeship Scheme approaches its ninth anniversary, Trend believes the long-term future of the industry depends upon the ability to offer newcomers to the industry an exciting and challenging career.

With building owners and managers under increasing pressure to lower their energy use and reduce their carbon emissions, demand for BEMS has never been higher and is only set to increase. The nation’s 1.8 million non-domestic buildings are firmly on the government’s radar to reduce their carbon emissions, and an optimised BEMS is a proven method of making energy savings of 10-20 per cent by having up to 84 per cent of a building’s energy consuming devices directly under its control.

As the technology becomes better and more versatile, the need for highly skilled engineers to design, specify, install and maintain BEMS systems will only increase. For installation companies, this means attracting employees with the requisite skills that will allow them to grow their businesses and take advantage of this developing sector.

Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) President, Malcolm Anson, said, ‘We need to draw young people into the controls industry and encourage them to view this as an interesting, valuable and long-term career. The BCIA has always been focused on promoting apprenticeships in the controls sector and we support Trend’s initiatives with regard to this issue.’

Trend is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of BEMS, with a worldwide distribution and support network covering over 50 countries. Its Attitude Apprenticeship Scheme combines classroom-based learning with ‘on the job’ experience and since its launch in 2007 Trend has successfully helped 53 people become fully qualified, with a further 64 currently in training.

During the four-year vocational course, an apprentice participates in a structured educational programme that combines classroom-based learning with ‘on the job’ training. It also delivers the only nationally recognised award for those wishing to embark on a career in BEMS design, installation and commissioning – the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing

BEMS, which is awarded by EAL and endorsed by SummitSkills – the sector skills council for the building services engineering industry.

Ian Lewis, Trend’s Training Manager, concluded, ‘National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity for us to highlight the fact that there are significant career opportunities in the building controls sector for the right people with the right attitude. Furthermore, it gives employers the opportunity to help create the next generation of engineers and, in turn, to benefit directly from their investment.’

Trend wants to hear from anyone who would like to find out more about the Attitude Apprenticeship Scheme. Simply call Sue Sluce, Trend’s Learning and Development Manager on 01403 226433 or email

For further information please call Trend Marketing on 01403 211888 or email

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Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop Up Power Supplies® provides a safe, outdoor power supply to Chiswick House


As part of the restoration program to Chiswick House, London, The Chiswick House and Gardens Trust were looking for a reliable, safe and secure outdoor power source to place within the gardens.  These power units would power various outdoor activities, including seasonal events at the Burlington Pavilion.

The Trust contacted Pop Up Power Supplies® with their requirements, and after an initial consultation their range of retractable service units were recommended.  It was important to the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust that the units would not be a permanent impact on the beautiful aesthetics of the gardens, while being able to provide a safe source of electricity for their outdoor events they hold throughout the year.

Pop Up Power Supplies® retractable service units were ideal for the needs of the Trust, as the 450kg units are buried out of site beneath the surface of the gardens when not in use.  Then when there is an outdoor event within the gardens, the power units are simply raised up out of the ground by turning a handle.

George Parker, Director at Pop Up Power Supplies®, commented, “When Chiswick House and Gardens Trust contacted us requesting an outdoor power supply, I recommended to them our range of pop up power units.  These units are simple to install and only require a small digger to create the opening in the ground.  This was important to the Trust as it meant there was minimal disruption to the gardens.”

The pop up electric sockets provide either a 16A or 32A power supply in both single and three phase plug sockets, all with RCBO protection.  The units specified at Chiswick House have a robust circular cover, which protects the units when they are fully retracted.

A popular tourist attraction, Chiswick House is a magnificent neo-Palladian villa set in beautiful historic gardens.  These gardens were fully restored in 2010 in a £12.1 million project and are exquisitely maintained by the Trust, offering visitors stunning vistas, architectural delights, hidden pathways and a dazzling array of flowers, shrubs and trees.

The Chiswick House and Gardens Trust were pleased with the pop up power sockets provided by Pop Up Power Supplies® as they provided a safe, silent and secure outdoor power source.  This was an important consideration as visitors constantly walk in-and-around the power units, so there is no danger posed from the power units.

Tel: 0208 227 0208

PO Box 1447, Ilford, Essex, IG2 6GT, United Kingdom

Categories: Construction, External Works, Leisure & Recreation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector – NEC, Birmingham


Achieving set housing objectives using traditional construction methods is a challenge for all of those involved in the public housing sector. The current trajectory shows that by 2030 there will be a shortage of around two million homes in the UK – assuming factors such as population growth remain the same. It is evident that in order to address demand, which anyone involved in the sector will know, is rising at an alarming rate – the industry will have to build better homes at a faster pace. In order to help combat the current shortfalls, innovative offsite methods of construction must be adopted to some extent.

The Explore Offsite Housing conference and exhibition is a two day event taking place on 23 & 24 March 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham. As this event is highly relevant to those in the social housing sector and we understand your budgets are constrained, we would like to offer you a discount. Tickets originally priced at £125+vat for one day and £225+vat for both days have been reduced to £95+vat for a one day ticket and £165+vat for both days – this offer is only open for those in the public sector. Tickets include; entry to the conference and exhibition, car parking, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Offsite construction is regarded as a practical and sustainable solution for tackling the housing shortfall and the skills crisis. Pre-building homes in a factory setting would decrease the environmental risk factors of building onsite and enable the production of economically viable homes to be built and delivered at a much faster rate. The construction of a house maximising offsite technology typically takes four to six weeks, which is nearly a quarter of the time taken by traditional methods.

Explore Offsite Housing is a unique opportunity to hear direct from the industry innovators, network and discover how offsite technologies can offer benefits to social landlords and their tenants.

With an outstanding line-up of industry figures confirmed to share their expertise over the two days, this combined conference and exhibition is an essential event for any professional looking to delve a little deeper into the most innovative and promising solution in UK construction.

This year the event will play host to a truly impressive speaker line-up, including:

Video Address: Brandon Lewis MP – Minister of State for Housing and Planning
Tom Bloxham MBE – Director, Urban Splash
Oliver Novakovic – Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments
Rory Bergin – Partner: Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP
Andy von Bradsky – Chair, Housing Forum
Aidan Wilkie – Deputy Director of Housing Division, Department for Communities and Local Government
Calum Murray – Director, CCG (Scotland)
Greg Lakin – Head of Property Care, Midland Heart
Jeremy Kape – Director of Property Investment, Affinity Sutton
Tony Woods – Offsite Construction Specialist, LHC
Peter Andrew – Deputy Chairman, HBF
James Pickard – Director, Cartwright Pickard
Rob Charlton – CEO, Space Group
Stuart Carr -Director, Chapman Taylor Architects
Greg Cooper – Pre Construction Manager, B & K Structures
Andrew Waugh – Director, Waugh Thistleton
Tom Ground – CEO, Legal & General Homes
Andrew Orgorzalek – Partner, PCKO Architects
Jerry Harkness – Regional Development Director, Circle Housing
Jay Shaw MBE – Head of Business Development, Snoozebox
Steve Reid – Chief Technical Officer, Enviga Geothermal
A full speaker line-up and biographical details are available on line at

To claim this discount, simply enter promo code EXPLOREPUB20 when booking online at or email for further assistance.


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Big Foot Systems Modernises Rooftop Support


Big Foot Systems has supplied bespoke support solutions for rooftop plant as part of a full rooftop refurbishment of a University building. The company provided a non-penetrative, prefabricated rooftop support system that is simple, safe and secure as well as being a quick, versatile and economical solution for supporting plant.

The University’s 3500m2 roof was suffering from age-related degradation, with ingress and loss of thermal efficiency. The whole area needed to be reroofed and the mechanical services, from small AHUs and AC equipment to fans and ductwork, replaced. The existing plant was supported by concrete slabs on the roof, which were both heavy and unsuitable for modern roofs, since slabs can easily tear the roof membranes and so cause leaks.

Big Foot Systems was therefore approached to provide a bespoke solution that would support all the plant, whilst being lightweight and non-penetrative. Since fume cupboard extracts were part of the M&E installation another consideration was selecting a support solution which offered stability without requiring rooftop wind protection which would hamper extraction. Offering great stability, Big Foot’s supports ticked all the boxes.

Following detailed site surveys, a quotation and design proposal was issued by Big Foot Systems for consideration which included a vertical support and oversized frames to accommodate the fume cupboard fans. After a few minor amendments the scheme was approved and product was supplied to site within a matter of days.

“It was vital that the new supports were both lightweight and non-penetrative – it wasn’t feasible or correct to reinstate the concrete slabs,” explains Joe Rose, Technical Marketing Manager at Big Foot Systems. “With this in mind, Big Foot Systems was really the only

suitable route the contractors could have gone down. We provided both site support and technical input and the job went very smoothly.”

Big Foot Systems’ bespoke supports facilitated the rationalisation of the roof-mounted plant and equipment and future proofed the set-up as the plant is now easier to maintain and the supports are adaptable and can be added to in the future.

Offering specifiers a comprehensive range of freestanding systems, Big Foot’s products are designed and manufactured by the company for a wide variety of applications, including HVAC, solar units and safe access equipment. The product portfolio provides complete, simple, safe and secure non-penetrative, prefabricated roof support systems negating a need for time consuming and costly penetrations through the roof.

Big Foot Systems’ products and systems are quick and easy to install ensuring project cost and time clarity, thus reducing the need for complex, time-consuming and expensive detailing. Offering improved roof aesthetics, Big Foot Systems provides engineered solutions that are innovative in design, robust and repeatable. Big Foot combines market leading products and services, which include system design and on-site support. Available to install in all weathers utilising familiar componentry, all systems are designed with safety, security and simplicity in mind. Finally Big Foot Systems offers short manufacture and delivery lead times to help a project meet its schedule and stay within budget.

For further information on all products and services offered by Big Foot Systems email: or telephone 01323 844355.

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Educational Buildings, Roofing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Trend celebrates success in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards


Trend Control Systems, the leading international manufacturer and supplier of state-of-the-art Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), is celebrating after winning a silver Design Effectiveness Award 2016 from the Design Business Association (DBA). The company’s pioneering IQ®4 range of controllers, designed in collaboration with Ratio Design Associates, received a Silver Award at this prestigious event.

The DBA’s Design Effectiveness Awards have been championing the role of effective design in the creation of business growth and efficiency since they were formed 27 years ago. They showcase the most effective partnerships between business and agencies, the very best in innovation, and leading examples in the application of design. These factors produce solutions that exceed the brief by transforming products, services, spaces, perceptions and brands.

When Trend launched its IQ®4 range in 2012, it called upon West Sussex based Ratio Design Associates to develop design criteria that could be adopted throughout the range. As a result, when new devices are brought online, they combine consistent, high quality aesthetics with the technical excellence that Trend has built its reputation upon.

‘Compared to Trend’s IQ®3 range, IQ®4 modules have a 40 per cent smaller footprint and can be housed in smaller, less expensive control cabinets,’ explained Andy Dray, Creative Director at Ratio Design Associates. ‘Modules can now be reliably replaced in half the time, without disruption to neighbouring hardware, product assembly times have been improved by 12 per cent, while sales forecasts have also been exceeded. Furthermore, in line with Trend’s corporate social responsibility strategy, eliminating the need to import component parts has helped to achieve a very low carbon footprint.’

The IQ®4 range has raised the bar in terms of the features that have been incorporated into a controller of this size. Designed to meet the multi-faceted demands of today’s customers, it addresses all their requirements for better space utilisation, flexibility and cost effectiveness in a device that offers best in class performance.

Graeme Rees, Marketing Director at Trend commented, ‘We are delighted to have received this DBA Design Effectiveness Award and are incredibly proud that our collaboration with Ratio Design Associates has improved the efficiency of the Trend business and, in turn, that of our customers. Working with the team at Ratio on this project has been interesting and exciting and the results serve to demonstrate the advantages of a coherent, well thought out and professionally executed design strategy.’

For further information please call Trend Marketing on 01403 211888 or email

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Repairs, refurbishment and water ingress by the sea

Stuart Hicks, from cold liquid-applied wet-on-wet waterproofing specialist, Kemper System, discusses the problems caused by a failed waterproofing system at a luxury residential development near Brighton and outlines the project undertaken to replace it


You only need to see a picture of The Grand Ocean Hotel in Saltdean, near Brighton, in its heyday to capture a glimpse of a bygone era of glamourous seaside elegance in surroundings that epitomised contemporary design.

The Grade II listed building first opened on a four-acre site in 1938 with 344 bedrooms and a dining hall that could seat 300. Its crescent-shaped white facade with a bulbous central pillar makes it a classic of Art Deco architectural design.


Now the central building from which a development of luxury apartments takes its name, this costal landmark has had a varied history, which includes being requisitioned by the Auxillary Fire Service during World War II, used as a Fire Service college after the war and becoming a popular honeymoon destination in the 1950s after it was acquired by holiday camp pioneer, Billy Butlin in 1953.

While Butlins sold the iconic building in 1999, it remained open as a hotel until 2005 when planning permission was granted to convert it into luxury apartments with an additional four new build apartment blocks within the grounds.


Design of the new build blocks was in-keeping with the main hotel building and every attention was taken to preserve the original structure in line with its listed status. However, problems with the integrity of the originally specified waterproofing system became apparent even before refurbishment of the main hotel building had been completed. This led to a change of roofing contractor and, eventually, a replacement roofing system too.

Integrity issues

Both the existing hotel building and the four new builds are of a flat roof design and the architect had specified a liquid waterproofing membrane to maintain the listed building’s appearance while providing a neat finish for the new builds.

Unfortunately, the system originally selected was not robust enough to adhere seamlessly to both the roof and all upstands and outlets as a permanently elastic, monolithic membrane. The development’s coastal location also required a more durable and flexible membrane that could withstand a moist and salty atmosphere and high UV levels.

When the integrity of the waterproofing membrane on the four new build structures was first compromised, the assumption was made that the issue lay with the quality of installation rather than the suitability of the membrane. A new roofing contractor was brought in to carry out repairs to the membrane and repairs were carried out using the same product because it was still under warranty.

The majority of the problems with the roofing material were around the upstands, where the originally specified roofing system had not adhered sufficiently to the vertical surfaces and was not flexible enough to cope with structural movement. Following repairs, the problems recurred.

Replacement waterproofing

The roofing contractor turned to a cold-applied wet-on-wet waterproofing system that the company had used on a wide variety of construction projects in the past. The company recommended the new system to the architect for remedial works to both the new builds and the former hotel building, including the roof areas, balconies and terraces.

The decision was taken to install the replacement waterproofing system as an overlay onto the existing failed membrane wherever possible. Where an overlay wasn’t viable, the contractor stripped out the existing and replaced it with the new flexible liquid membrane.


The existing roof build up for the new build apartment blocks was an inverted roof with the originally specified membrane installed beneath the insulation. The roofing team removed the paving slabs and green roof medium along with the insulation and, where possible, this was stored for re-use in the new roof build up.


The company then had to carry out preparation and cleaning of the roof surface before installation of the new membrane could begin. In the areas around the upstands where the failed membrane had not bonded, the contractor simply pulled off the damaged membrane.

Once the new waterproofing system was in place, the insulation, slabs and green roof medium that had been removed to access the failed waterproofing membrane were then reinstated to complete the roof.

The build-up for each of the new builds’ terraces was the same as the main roof and the same process and materials were used. The paving slabs were removed for re-use and the failed membrane was overlaid with the new system.

Increased damage

For the roof and balconies of the former hotel building, however, the damage caused by the failed waterproofing membrane was even more significant because the original roof build-up was not inverted.

The roofing contractor tackled the balconies first and had to strip out the entire roof build-up of paving slabs, waterproofing membrane and insulation. Here, not only had the originally specified membrane failed but, as a result of the water ingress, the insulation below it had begun to rot too.

Following strip out, the concrete substrate was allowed to dry on each balcony before the new waterproofing could be installed. To save time, the build-up for each balcony was then reinstated as an inverted warm roof.

The same primer, resin and fleece waterproofing system was used for the balconies of the refurbished hotel as for the new build apartment blocks and the membrane was allowed to cure before new insulation and paving slabs or decking were installed.

The installation team then moved onto the 8,500m2 former hotel roof, which comprises five ‘fingers’ with a central core. Water ingress around the roof outlets where the failed membrane had not bonded properly meant that the recently installed warm roof insulation was already sodden and the roof had to be stripped back to the vapour barrier.

To aid water run-off in the future, a tapered insulation scheme was designed which introduced a slight pitch to each roof section. These pre-primed sections were then fixed to the substrate and joint sealed before application of the new waterproofing membrane began.

Holiday heritage

The latest residents have now moved into the historic former hotel, continuing its journey from hotel, to fire service training, holiday camp and, finally, luxury homes.

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Leisure & Recreation, Roofing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Survey Reveals Over One Third of Homes have a Significant Risk of Polluted Indoor Air

Vent-Axia, a leader in low carbon ventilation, has welcomed the raised awareness surrounding the importance of good indoor air quality following the latest findings which reveal the significant risk of polluted indoor air in our homes. According to a recent survey by trade association BEAMA over one third of UK homes are at an elevated or severe risk of having polluted indoor air.

My Health Body Infographic

The My Health My Home survey ( revealed that 35% of those surveyed potentially had this risk in varying levels of severity.

This survey is significant since it highlights the numbers of homes that could be at risk of breathing in polluted air and follows on from the latest research on indoor air quality by a leading academic at The University of Reading. Professor Hazim Awbi’s report, “The Future of Indoor Air Quality in UK Homes and its Impact on Health”, states the health risks associated with poorly ventilated homes in no uncertain terms.

One of the revelations in this new report is that, as new and refurbished homes become ever more air tight to meet the Government’s carbon emission targets for 2050, the number of people suffering with asthma could almost double by then. It also states that current building regulations could increase indoor pollutant levels equivalent to the upper end of (and in some cases well above) World Health Organisation recommended limits.

The report examines how increasing levels of energy efficiency will impact on pollution levels and health if there is no additional intervention, over and above existing requirements. Key projections for 2050 include: an 80% increase in asthma sufferers from current levels; Total volatile organic compound concentrations up to 60% above World Health Organisation (WHO) 24 hour limits; and NO2 concentrations up to 30% above WHO annual limits.

‘‘To avoid a serious and significant increase in asthma cases – which could be up to 80% – and other health conditions related to poor indoor air quality, homes must be adequately ventilated. In addition to the need for mechanical ventilation systems I would also advise that a minimum air exchange rate that new homes must meet is enforced and there is tighter regulation to ensure systems are adequately installed, operated and maintained,’’ said Professor Hazim B. Awbi, School of Built Environment, University of Reading.

In addition, the report suggests that there should be a legal requirement for new homes, and guidance for retrofitted homes, to have an air exchange rate of at least 0.5/hour, to help protect human health. It states that the most cost-effective solution for achieving this exchange rate, whilst still satisfying energy efficiency requirements, is the standardised fitting of effective continuous mechanical ventilation, preferably with heat recovery (MVHR).

“At Vent-Axia we welcome this new research which confirms there is no doubt that poor indoor air quality has an adverse impact on health. It is important that the public is aware of the dangers of poorly ventilated homes,” says Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia. With many people spending the majority of their time indoors, improvements in indoor air quality must be seen as a priority. Continuous ventilation is a simple solution to air quality problems.”

Designed to work with the natural air infiltration, continuous ventilation systems control the air path through the home. As a result, they prevent the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, providing near silent energy efficient ventilation. There are a number of options available, both for new builds and for retrofitting and the latest continuous ventilation systems also offer heat recovery.

For new build homes there are continuous whole house Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) solutions, such as Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic MVHR system which boasts an impressive 94% thermal efficiency. For refurbishments, there are continuous Decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (dMEV) systems, such as Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Response. In addition, there are also dMEV single room heat recovery units available, such as Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Tempra, which can be simply retrofitted through a 100mm diameter hole in the wall allowing standard wet room extract fans to be easily replaced.

For up-to-date ventilation guidance and an overview of the research visit For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590 or visit

Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Trend Energy Services provides a 24/7 solution to meet Buildings Operational & Energy Efficiency Requirements whilst lowering CO2 Emissions


18th January 2016 … Trend Control Systems, the leading international manufacturer and supplier of state-of-the-art Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), has announced a significant investment in its Trend Energy Services Division. The company is now able to tackle demand side energy management even more effectively by remotely managing a customer’s BEMS so that it works more efficiently, thereby creating greater energy savings and lowering CO2 Emissions.

Trend has successfully provided BEMS Bureau facilities for the last 20 years to answer alarms and deploy maintenance contractors. In addition to these facilities, Trend Energy Services can now create a centralised solution that allows building services to be investigated and controlled remotely, not just by making time and setpoint changes, but also by carrying out remote diagnostics, configuring temporary fixes, addressing any energy related problems and predicting ways that equipment could be used more efficiently.

It is well known that performing reactive and ad-hoc maintenance can lead to unexpected costs, while poorly functioning equipment can drive up energy bills and CO2 emissions. Using Trend Energy Services eliminates unforeseen costs and ensures peace of mind by configuring a remote monitoring solution that is specifically tailored to a customer’s needs.

Operating from a purpose-built support centre, Trend Energy Services is part of the company’s strategy to position itself as a consultative solutions provider, as well as the market leader in BEMS hardware and associated technology. Its team of experts will provide the first point of interaction with customers and provide a quick response to BEMS related issues by using software that checks the functioning of the system – including its control loops and sensors – highlighting events such as valves becoming stuck open, controls being manually overridden and other potential sources of energy waste.

Furthermore, by using data metrics, analysis, and powerful diagnostic tools, information on energy activity can be used to limit environmental wastage, which all translates directly to lower energy bills and higher efficiency. Smart strategies can also be implemented by monitoring usage patterns and demand response, so that plant uses less energy during high peak periods. This is particularly useful for facilities and building managers with resource challenges, who still wish to initiate operational improvements on an ongoing basis through defined service level agreements.

Yasir Sheikh, Trend’s Global Head of Energy Development, commented, ‘The investment we have made in Trend Energy Services puts it at the forefront of next generation energy management solutions provision. Thanks to a combination of in-house expertise and the latest remote monitoring and diagnostic tools, we can offer customers an unrivalled opportunity to maximise the energy saving potential of their BEMS, save money and reduce their carbon emissions.’

For further information please call Trend Marketing on 01403 211888 or email

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Categories: Energy Saving, Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Gent helps Bield Housing & Care take the lead in fire detection system monitoring

Bield Housing and Care’s Bield Response24 alarm receiving centre (ARC) is one of the first facilities of its kind to provide fire detection system monitoring and management from multiple sites using Gent by Honeywell’s pioneering WINMAG software.


Since it formed in 1971, Bield Housing & Care has remained committed to improving the quality of life for older people by offering a diverse range of services that enable them to achieve as much independence and life fulfilment as possible. A not for profit organisation, it is now one of the largest providers of housing and care in Scotland, with over 5,300 properties.

Bield Housing & Care believes technology plays a vital role in helping it to live up to its ‘free to be’ ethos, while keeping residents safe. The issue of life safety is a priority and Bield Response24, the organisation’s ARC, has been purpose built to monitor technology enabled care – such as personal alarms and warden call systems (WCS) – and fire alarm systems in its housing and care developments throughout Scotland.

Like many other parts of the UK, unwanted alarm activations are a big problem in Scotland and cause a great deal of disruption. In 2014 the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) teamed up with partners including the Association of British Insurers (ABI), British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) to undertake a detailed investigation. As part of this work, in March 2015 it announced that it will no longer silence or reset systems after a call out to grouped housing developments, as doing so wipes any data that could provide reasons why it was erroneously asked to attend.

For Bield Housing & Care this was a costly problem and Sharon Ewan, the organisation’s Telecare Call Centre Manager, explains, ‘It meant that when a system required resetting a call had to be made to the fire detection company responsible for the site, and an engineer had to drive to the location and physically press the silence and reset buttons on the fire detection control panel. In some instances this was a four or five hour return journey and would mean of bill of up to £200, which for us was unsustainable.’

Glasgow based Rapid Fire Services was consulted to see if it could suggest some ideas to address the issue. The company’s Operations Manager, Neil Wilson, comments, ‘We have been a Gent by Honeywell approved system integrator for many years and have used its products extensively in a diverse range of applications. Therefore, we knew that Gent’s innovative WINMAG graphics management system would solve this particular problem, while also offering other advantageous features.’

Simple to set up and intuitive by design, WINMAG is an invaluable software tool for any size of network that allows for complete management of the fire detection and alarm system from a central location. It integrates seamlessly with Gent’s Vigilon life safety system to provide a graphical view of the entire system, enabling easy location of a fire in an emergency and allowing rapid decision making through event-based control of devices. Offering fault signalling, false and unwanted alarm event analysis and text-only options, WINMAG also provides central management of routine activity, providing central reporting and processing for events like fire, fault and disablement.

Rapid Fire Services fully integrated the Gent software into Bield Response24’s ARC by having a device server fitted beside each Gent Vigilon fire alarm panel, which is given a unique IP address that enables it to communicate through the Internet. Personal alarm units are installed in the home and use a resident’s telephone line in the event of smoke/heat detection. This allows an emergency call advisor (ECA) to engage in dialogue with the tenant to ascertain the reason behind the fire alert. The ECA then has 60 seconds to decide through discussion with the tenant if the SFRS is required. WCS are also used, although they do not offer the same facility to contact the tenant, as the WCS line is engaged with the fire detector call, preventing speech module use.

With most grouped housing fire detection systems an ARC is only made aware of the main fire alarm activation, not the specific manual call point or smoke detector that activated the alarm. Therefore, the majority of SFRS calls made will identify the address but not the internal location details.

Asked to explain what makes the Gent solution different, Stuart Brown, Gent’s Business Manager Scotland, replies, ‘WINMAG software allows BR24 to give precise location details within the dwelling when placing a 999 call, eliminating search time delays. Furthermore, manual call points or smoke detectors can be silenced whilst awaiting attendance, reducing anxiety levels to other tenants within the grouped housing development. This poses no threat to system functionality if a smoke is detected from another device.’

40 per cent of Bield Housing and Care’s developments is now remotely accessed and monitored for fire and operational issues, and Sharon Ewan is delighted with the impact this technology has had. She concludes, ‘As well as meeting all of our logistical and cost saving objectives, there are many other benefits. For instance, its remote diagnostics ensure that when an engineer is required they have all the necessary replacement parts to repair any faults, saving costs on return visits. Also, assistance can be given to on-site staff who are experiencing problems with their fire alarm systems, fire alarm devices can be remotely adjusted for sensitivity and, of course, it can remotely silence and reset the systems whenever SFRS gives the authority to do so.’

For further information please call 0116 246 2000; E: or visit

Categories: Fire Protection, Health & Safety, Safety & Security | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Video shows consultant view on Hybrid air conditioning


A video showing the views of both the consultant and the installer to a new air conditioning system that does away with the need for leak detection has just been put online.

The short video focuses on the installation of a Hybrid VRF (variable refrigerant flow) system into the Cardiff office of leading-edge consultants, Hoare Lea and interviews Wynne Harris, Managing Partner of Hoare Lea Cardiff as well as Tony Williams, Director of Cool Solution Ltd, who were responsible for installing the system.

Hybrid VRF uses water throughout the occupied spaces yet still offers full two-pipe heat recovery and the advanced control and flexibility that the City Multi range is renowned for.

“We were in discussion with Mitsubishi Electric and they introduced us to the possibility of thinking about a HVRF system”, explains Wynne Harris. “It’s also no easy feat to put a system into a consulting engineer’s office as we have quite an inquisitive bunch of engineers.”

Hoare Lea will now be monitoring how the system operates in a live office working environment and feeding that back to Mitsubishi Electric.

Tony Williams of Cool Solution was also enthusiastic about what is the first installation of this equipment in Wales, saying: “It’s the innovative side to the product. I think it’s got great potential to really take on the market certainly the four pipe systems”.

Further information on the innovative system can be obtained online at:

The full video can also be viewed at the Mitsubishi Electric’s dedicated YouTube channel:

Categories: Environmental Control, Heating & Ventilation | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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