Pushing the Boundaries with Solid Wood


After last year’s Solid Wood Solutions was declared a success by attendees and with structural timber buildings reaching new heights of up to 10 storey in the UK – this year’s Solid Wood Solutions is an event not to be missed. Wood is making further advances and continues to push boundaries within the construction industry – clients, engineers and contractors are now realising the extent of where this strong, sustainable, structural material can be taken.


With sustainability and offsite construction high on the building agenda – Solid Wood Solutions is the essential event to hear first-hand from industry leaders and innovators. Wood may be one of the world’s oldest building materials, but it is now also one of the most advanced.

This one day conference and exhibition will showcase the very best in engineered timber by creating a platform for the industry’s innovators to present some of the most prestigious projects from across the UK and Europe.


Following on from the success of the last three  Solid Wood Solutions events, this year it will be taking place at the Inmarsat Conference Centre, London on 16 September and will host over 250 delegates from around the world. Speakers for this year’s event include:

  • Tim Snelson – Associate Director – Arup Associates

“Timber in Commercial Offices”

  • Simon Brambles – Architect – 3D Reid

“Case study on the Taplow Retail Park”

  • Andrew Waugh – Founding Director – Waugh Thistleton Architects

“Timber systems in medium rise housing application“

  • Alex Smith – Associate – Hawkins/Brown & Nick Milestone – Managing Director – B & K Structures

“17-21 Wenlock Road  –  Building a 10 Storey CLT/Hybrid structure in London”

  • Andy Boutle – BIM Manager – Kier Construction

“Student accommodation in UEA Norwich – first project to be fully BIM level 2 compliant”

  • Kate Edmondson – Architect – Penoyre & Prasad LLP

“Case study on Middle Row Primary School”

  • Peter Wilson – Director of the Wood Studio – Edinburgh Napier University

“Debate – Do we need a CLT plant in the UK?”

Presentation spotlight;

Banyan Wharf, Wenlock Road is an outstanding example of how the use of solid wood in medium rise buildings is being taken to new heights. This ten storey Regal Homes development, situated within the London Borough of Hackney, has taken the title of the tallest cross laminated timber residential building in Europe. As a ground-breaking project, Banyan Wharf will be one of the most important residential buildings in London, providing 50 one, two and three bedroom apartments – all sold off plan, prior to completion.  A detailed presentation of this project will be provided by a double-speaker combination of Alex Smith – Associate – Hawkins/Brown & Nick Milestone – Managing Director – B&K Structures – demonstrating how the design became delivery.

As engineered timber is one of the fastest growing modern methods of construction, this event is designed to inspire through innovation.

Tickets are just £95 +VAT



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

The Midlands Construction Summit – 2025 Construction Strategy – 10 years and counting!


The Construction 2025 Industrial Strategy provides a vision of how the industry and government will work together to transform and grow the construction sector over the next decade. The targets of the strategy are clear;

  • a 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets;
  • a 50% reduction in overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets;
  • a 50% reduction in carbon emissions;
  • a 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and imports of construction products and materials.

The 2025 Construction Strategy was debated in detail at the inaugural Midlands Construction Summit in 2014– so what has changed in the past 12 months?

What was once a backward looking sector is now stepping into the modern world and looking forward, planning the transition to a low-carbon environment through the utilisation of advanced technology and the growth of a thriving British economy.

This year the Midlands Construction Summit will return on 06 October at the NEC, Birmingham to help the Midlands built environment sector reflect on industry changes made in the past 12 months as well as developing the regional construction strategy and identifying leadership opportunities.


The event will be co-located as part of UK Construction Week and will include talks from key industry leaders including Peter Hansford – UK Chief Construction Advisor, Mark Wakeford – Managing Director of Stepnell, Steve Speller – Managing Director of Speller Metcalfe, and Mark Robinson – Chief Executive of Scape Group

The combined conference and exhibition will host over 300 innovators, leaders, supply chain specialists and high level individuals, all operating in the various key construction sectors, gathering together to discuss the Construction 2025 Industrial Strategy.

Tickets are on sale at £125 +VAT

Built Environment Hub Members receive a 50% discount, costing just £62.50 plus vat.

Non-Members can book before Friday 31 July and receive a 20% discount using the following promotional code; EBMCS20

 Book now to avoid disappointment:


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Bituchem material used for safer playground

Bituchem17 image1 IMG_9168
A newly constructed primary school in Waterlooville, Hampshire has applied over 1500 square metres of Bituchem’s most popular hard landscaping material, Natratex Cotswold, to its outdoor playground and teaching areas.

Berewood Primary School opened its gates for its first year of teaching in September last year. Built to accommodate 420 children aged four to eleven, the new primary school is part of the University of Chichester Academy Trust and is just one element of the ongoing development in West of Waterlooville.

Bituchem’s Natratex Cotswold material was specified in buff due to its visually attractive qualities when compared with a standard black asphalt tarmac surface but with the same smooth properties that make asphalt a safe surface to use around schools.

Paula Downard, Landscape Architect at Hampshire County Council commented, “The appearance and practicality of the Natratex Cotswold material make it the perfect solution for this application and we are very pleased with the end result. Hampshire County Council specified this material for another project nearby and so we were able to view the performance and colour beforehand. We received a sample of the material from Bituchem and were advised that the colour would eventually fade to a softer, more attractive colour, which was extremely helpful in managing our expectations.”

The Natratex Cotswold material is formed of natural coloured aggregates combined with a specially formulated clear resin binder to produce a smooth, hard-wearing surface whilst offering a natural stone finish. This strong binder reduces the likelihood of the material deteriorating causing potholes or other breakages in the surface, making it a smoother and safer surface for young children to play on.

Bituchem17 image2 IMG_9129

Suitable for new constructions, overlays or regeneration projects, the Natratex Cotswold material is very versatile in its application and can be used for all areas used by pedestrians and light vehicles. The material is also very environmentally friendly with a fast and simple application making it an easy specification for both private and public sector projects.

The Natratex Cotswold is available in a range of colours to meet the individual requirements of each contract, with the Bituchem design team available to find the right aggregate type and colour to suit the specification.

Further information is available from Bituchem on 01594 826768 or 07584 311266, by emailing: mark@bituchem.com or by visiting the company’s website at www.bituchem.com

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Agricultural and sport college swaps big bills for biomass!


Natural energy supplier, Euroheat is helping the UK’s leading agricultural and sports college save an impressive 400,000kg of carbon per year by making the switch to biomass technology in a bid to reduce its annual £800,000 energy bill, while receiving Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments of just under £80,000 per year!

Hartpury College campus, in Gloucester, covers some 360 hectares and is a residential learning hub for more than 1300 students working towards qualifications in equine, sport and animal and land studies. The site already boasts solar pv panels, so it was a natural progression that further green technology was installed.

Simon Holden, co-founder of Euroheat, explained: “We’re delighted the college is now reaping huge benefits by opting for a biomass district heating system. We have installed four Euroheat prefabricated Energy Cabins, each containing a 199kW HDG Compact wood pellet boiler, integrated 14 tonne pellet store and 4000 litre accumulator.


“As a result, campus managers can now look forward to saving on the cost of over 150,000 litres of oil previously used on-site, replacing it with the estimated 300 tonnes of wood pellets the boilers will use.”

Completed in December 2014, the project required a solution to supply heat and hot water to the accommodation, kitchen and Further Education buildings. Euroheat were identified as the best supplier for the project by Steve Luker Associates, consultant for the project, who added: “There were no real issues with installation; once the preparation work had been completed to link into the existing oil system, which is being retained as back-up; the Energy Cabins were simply and swiftly installed.

“The part of the campus now benefiting from biomass previously cost some £143,000 per year to heating, so taking into account previous fuel costs, we can say that it is hoped that savings will amount to over £100,000 a year when lower cost fuel is combined with the RHI. Obviously exact figures will be monitored closely over the next year.”

For more information on Euroheat’s Energy Cabins or biomass solutions, visit www.euroheat.co.uk or call 01885 491112.

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

Sika Sarnafil showcases commitment to contractors



As part of its on-going commitment to training and innovation within the roofing industry, Sika Sarnafil recently hosted three launch events for contractors, showcasing its latest product launches and future developments.

Hosted at Sika’s Centre for Excellence for Liquid Applied Membranes in Preston, the Centre for Excellence for Single-ply Membranes in Welwyn Garden City and Dunblane, contractors from across the UK took part in interactive workshops hosted by the Sika Sarnafil applications team.

Live demonstrations of the new Sarnafil Self Adhered Membrane and a soon-to-be-released Spray Applied Adhesive were followed by a preview of the new Sarnamatic 681 welding machine. Product manager, Dean Grady, then gave attendees an up-close look at the Solaroof system, a new solar panel mount package that offers a full system guarantee.

“Contractors could clearly see and discuss the benefits of each product first-hand,” said Ian Muddiman, Head of Applications. “Our aim will always be to encourage an open dialogue with contractors. We’re not telling them that it’s clean, it’s fast and it works – they’re seeing it with their own eyes. We make sure our contractors are always one step ahead of the game, not only in regards to our latest products, but also when it comes to industry-wide change.”

Major developments in BIM, especially in the new build arena, prompted Sika Sarnafil to invite Jill Gutherie from BIM Technologies to join the presentation team. Highlighting the benefits of the process, Jill explained how contractors can expect the technology to impact the way they work in the future.

The events are part of a wider programme of training courses and support offered across the Sika roofing brands, with over 5,000 fitters and contractors having received a Sika Sarnafil accreditation alone.

Ian added: “For more than 20 years we’ve been investing in training, whether through our dedicated application centres or on-site. The strong relationships we maintain with contractors and installers are extremely valuable to us – these people are our eyes and ears in the industry. In turn, they trust us to deliver the products and expertise they need, thanks to years of roofing experience within our applications team.”

Scott Henshaw, Derwent Roofing Services, said: “It was great to see a live application of the new Sarnafil products, it’s very useful to get a proper demonstration. I was particularly impressed at the speed of the Self Adhered Membrane being laid down. There was a friendly and informal atmosphere and the applications team were really helpful with any queries we had.”

Contractors were also gifted with a ‘Sarnie stick’ and encouraged to take selfies with a project that they are proud of in the background, to be entered into a Twitter competition.

For more information on Sika Sarnafil’s products and services, call 01707 394444, email sarnafilroofing@uk.sika.com or visit www.sarnafil.co.uk.

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HI-MACS® ticks the hygiene box


HI-MACS® solid surface, which is distributed exclusively in the UK and Ireland by James Latham, holds an LGA Hygiene certificate, ensuring it meets the requirements specified for use within the health and care sectors, including hospitals, dental surgeries and educational establishments, where hygiene is critical.

Granted by the microbiology and hygiene division of LGA (Landesgewerbeanstalt Bayern) the “LGA-Tested” certificate is an internationally recognised certification mark which “guarantees” that the product meets stringent criteria where specific aspects of it are assessed, including ease of cleaning and resistance to bacteria and fungi.  In addition, the testing also rates the design from a hygiene point of view, distinguishing HI-MACS® as a first-class product.


HI-MACS® is non-porous, offering a completely smooth surface which makes liquid penetration practically impossible, creating the perfect base for germ-free areas which ensures HI-MACS® is extremely easy to maintain and will not look tired or deteriorate in terms of its appearance or performance.

However, with all these exceptional technical features, HI-MACS® solid surface remains an extremely versatile product which can be easily machined and thermoformed to almost any 3D-shape imaginable, offering endless design possibilities and producing a surface that is flowing, functional and visually seamless.   Even large-area installations have the appearance of a single application.


Supplied in thicknesses of 12mm, 9mm and 6mm, HI-MACS® is available in 98 colours.  In addition, the extensive HI-MACS® portfolio now also includes 22 designs of sinks and 13 vanity basins – available in over 60 colours.

Architects and interior designers will also be keen to know that the manufacturers of HI-MACS®, LG Hausys, have developed BIM Objects for its full range of HI-MACS® shapes and colours for the following software: Sketchup, ArchiCAD and Revit.   Find out more by clicking on www.himacsuk.co.uk.

For further information on HI-MACS® solid surface, please visit the website at www.himacsuk.co.uk, email marketing@lathams.co.uk or phone 0116 257 3415.

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

You don’t need to think lateral or big to green urban spaces


In its 2012 report on health indicators of sustainable cities, the World Health Organisation recommended 9 square meters of green space per inhabitant of urban spaces. Of course, the WHO was referring predominantly to the importance of parks and other spaces to public health for recreational use, but the organisation also recognises the importance of greenery in tackling other health issues such as air quality.

Recommending green space within towns and cities is all well and good, but if those urban centres are centuries old with limited space – as they typically are in the UK – what alternatives are there for introducing greenery to help tackle air pollution?

One solution is not to think laterally, but vertically instead, because here we have a great deal of square footage of space that can be used.

This idea of vertical greening of buildings is of course not new. The idea of living walls and cultivating plants on the sides of buildings is both well established and extremely effective, as well as delivering a stunning effect. Yet there are other ways in which vertical structures can be quickly and easily introduced.


Fencing and boundary walls are the obvious areas in which local authorities should be considering a green approach as part of their strategies for improving public health. Green Screens are, as the name suggests, robust and secure wire fencing that features plants – typically ivy. Quick and easy to install, Green Screens become more verdant over time and can be installed free standing or up against existing brick and stone walls. They can even be attached to walls above ground to create a living wall.

In both the private and public sector arena Green Screens have found a range of uses; from narrow footprint fencing around residential developments, to security fencing around schools, hospitals, council buildings, public parks and car parks, to central reservations along dual carriageways.

The ivy of Green Screens requires minimal maintenance and as well as helping to improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and airborne particulates, also serves to attract bees and other insects. The benefits of plants in tackling the ‘heat island effect’ in build-up areas is well understood.

For more information on the Mobilane Green Screens, as well as details on other Mobilane living systems visit www.mobilane.co.uk.

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

Find the Complete Floor Package at London Build

At London Build, the UK’s construction industry will be able to see how Flowcrete UK can supply every element that is required for a high performance, aesthetically pleasing and long lasting floor finish.


From June 18th – 19th, the resin flooring specialists will be demonstrating to architects and developers how a combination of  sustainably manufactured screeds underfloor heating  and  resin floor coatings  can be applied within large-scale commercial and industrial constructions.

The rapid installation speeds of these systems and the benefits that they have for end users has made Flowcrete UK a popular flooring partner for many of London’s high-rise residential developments.

At Flowcrete UK’s stand (B56), visitors to the event will be able to find out about the resin flooring specialist’s latest innovation, Isocrete Alpha Screed. An evolution of traditional anhydrite flowing screeds, the Isocrete Alpha Screed can be supplied to the site either ready mixed or in a mobile mixing unit, depending on the project’s needs.

The screed material is then pumped to the various levels of the development, quickly supplying each floor with a self-levelling screed layer. Flowcrete UK’s London based screed-mixing plant operates seven days a week so that the screed can be supplied to a site in the city at the precise moment that the development needs it.


A faster drying time than traditional screeds and a laitance free finish that doesn’t require sanding drastically cuts down on the installation time – a useful benefit for projects on a tight construction timetable.

One of the other key requirements of modern building projects is sustainability. 95% of the alpha hemi-hydrate calcium sulphate binder used in the Isocrete Alpha Screed is reclaimed from waste created by coal power stations to reduce the amount of industrial by-product sent to landfills. This cement free formulation also avoids the environmentally harmful side affects of producing and using cement.

The Isocrete Alpha Screed can be combined with the Isowarm underfloor heating system, which can deliver efficiency savings of up to 30% compared to traditional heating methods. This space saving alternative to radiators is able to deliver targeted, controllable heat across large floor spaces, enhancing the quality of living for the site’s tenants.

Flowcrete UK’s wide range of floor coatings provides architects with a range of colours, styles and effects to choose from. The durability of resin coatings means that the building’s architects and operators can rest assured that the final finish will retain its appearance and functionality for an extended period of time.

The seamless resin terrazzo system Mondéco  can even be installed in bespoke patterns to form unique pieces of art underfoot. Decorative aggregates such as mother of pearl, mirror glass, metal and marble are added into the finish of a Mondéco system to create a shimmering lustre across the floor’s surface.

To find out more about Flowcrete UK’s comprehensive range of flooring solutions, talk to the resin flooring experts at stand B56 of London Build 2015.

For further information please visit www.flowcrete.co.uk

Categories: Events/Exhibitions, Flooring, Interior Design | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sovereign supplies 369 VEKA Vertical Sliders for Notting Hill social housing renovation

VEKA and Sovereign London

The Vertical Slider Window System from VEKA has been used exclusively in the re-glazing of a large social housing development in West London’s Notting Hill.Fabricated and installed by Sovereign Group Ltd. – close neighbours of The VEKA UK Group’s HQ and flagship manufacturing plant – the substantial order totalled 369 Matrix 70 frames, delivered and installed over the four-month period from October 2014 to January 2015.Winterbourne House, the 1930s-built development under renovation has made the news in recent years for its location on Portland Road, close to the homes of such Hollywood stars as Nicole Kidman and Matt LeBlanc.

Frances Austin, Managing Director of Sovereign Group Ltd. explains: “Winterbourne House is in the vicinity of one of London’s most prestigious postcodes and, as you might expect, presentation of properties in the area is taken very seriously.

“The VEKA UK Group’s Vertical Slider was the perfect replacement window for this project, fulfilling, as it did, all the planners’ and landlord’s criteria. Not only was a system required that would address the shortcomings of its predecessor but also one that authentically complemented the building’s 1930s architecture.

“The Vertical Slider fit the bill on all fronts and, besides receiving the landlord’s commendation for the system’s many attributes and the quality of our installation, we’re told that feedback from the residents has been excellent too.”

The windows previously installed at Winterbourne House also featured vertical sliding sashes but were constructed using timber frames that, inevitably had diminished over the years.

Frances continues: “The traditional styling of sash windows has had a notable renaissance in recent years, with many homeowners and buyers coveting them as a ‘period feature’ of a property. The obvious drawback with the original timber designs, however, is that no matter how well or regularly the frames are painted and weatherproofed, it’s highly unlikely that rot won’t creep in at some point.

“Climatic changes through the seasons and the varying humidities and temperatures they bring mean timber frames expand, contract and warp, leading to compromised performance and even problems with functionality.

“Opting for a modern-day PVC-U replacement like VEKA’s Vertical Slider offers the best of both worlds. There’s no need to spend time or money maintaining the frames – the odd drop of oil on mechanical parts and an occasional wipe down with soapy water is all that’s required to keep them clean and functioning smoothly. We were even able to add external astragal bars, mimicking the look of the building’s original Georgian windows while avoiding the impracticality that comes if the glass pane ever needs to be replaced.”

Colin Torley, Sales and Marketing Director for The VEKA UK Group commented: “Sovereign’s ability to supply Mullaley, the principal contractor on this job, with a window system that complies with planning regulations and satisfies the building owner’s requirements is testament to the great range of products The VEKA UK Group offers.

“Our technical team’s unrivalled expertise allows us to continually pre-empt changes in building regulations and accelerate advances in window efficiency with designs that complement the full spectrum of properties. By that virtue, it’s little wonder that our Vertical Slider and FlushSash designs are so widely specified for projects where aesthetics are closely controlled.

“Landlords see the VEKA name as being synonymous with performance and durability – important considerations when leasing properties to tenants, and making our products sound, long-term investments. We congratulate the Sovereign team on their exemplary completion of this job and look forward to seeing where they take VEKA profile next!”

VEKA plc, 01282 716611

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Vicaima make it snappy with new doors app

vicaimaapp Deciding which interior door design or finish best suits a particular space just got easier, with the launch of a new mobile application from one of the UK’s leading interior door manufacturer’s. My Vicaima uses readily available Smartphone and tablet camera technology to capture and create a stunning visualization tailored made for the room it’s to be used in.

The launch of My Vicaima brings to the UK interiors specification market, one of the most innovative apps specifically designed for use with internal doors.  Aimed at everyone from Interior designers to enthusiastic home owners it combines easy to use tools with unique and exclusive features that allows users to provide a customised visual to suit an individual project or customer.

Through the use of My Vicaima it is possible to take pictures of the space where you plan to install a door and then interactively test which Vicaima model or finish best suits the desired décor or ambience you are trying to create, with plenty of scope for individual choice.  All the Vicaima products listed are clearly identified with model name, collection and finish and with a simple link to the Vicaima website more information is available if desired.  The My Vicaima app also incorporates easy interaction with other platforms, making it simple to save the pictures taken and to share them via social networks or messaging.  It’s the perfect tool for a quick, easy to use and mobile way to test your ideas and share them with others.

Should inspiration still prove difficult, the app also provides a gallery of ready made room designs to spark the imagination.  My Vicaima is available free to download in android and iOS operating systems for Smartphone and tablet.

My Vicaima is available for download on Google Play through the link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gofox.myvicaima

The version for iOS is available from the Apple Store through the link https://itunes.apple.com/pt/app/my-vicaima/id892452318?mt=8

See tutorial video http://www.vicaima.com

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Thought leadership – Building to Enhance Education

The Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) was launched in May 2012 with the promise to address the needs of schools across the country. In May 2014 plans were announced for a second phase of the programme, PSBP2, focusing on individual school buildings or blocks that are in critical condition, rather than rebuilding or refurbishing entire schools. A total of £2 billion has been invested in the programme with a batch of 277 schools planned to have at least one of their buildings or blocks rebuilt or refurbished by 2015.

The Julian Centre, Building 57

The Julian Centre, Building 57

PSBP2 calls for a fast, lean and cost effective method of construction, as all schools within the programme are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2017. Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures has extensive experience in creating sustainable and pioneering structures for educational establishments. Here, he shares his views about why cross laminated timber provides the ideal structural solution and why so many schools under the PSPB banner are benefitting from this innovative solution:

“Building a successful school environment involves the integration of a range of different components. These include structuring the building around the needs of the curriculum and the local community – providing flexible and adaptable spaces with the capacity for public use – creating warm and inviting spaces that help to inspire learning.

Timber has become a valuable tool for enhancing education environments. Manufactured as an offsite solution, timber is factory manufactured to exceptional levels of accuracy, ensuring minimal defects. This improves procurement, construction and project delivery timescales as well as reducing costs, saving money and maximising efficiency on all levels. It is fast becoming the material of choice for specifiers due to its inherent structural qualities. These qualities include speed of construction, airtightness and carbon sequestration, minimisation of onsite health and safety, as well as its effect on internal environments when left exposed.

University of Essex

University of Essex

Exposed CLT creates a natural, inviting and calming environment, it can also enhance acoustic properties. When used in educational environments, cross laminated timber generates a peaceful space for effective teaching and delivers schools that are cost effective and adaptable for future adjustment.

Cost is a key factor in the government’s plans for the creation of new schools. The government’s “more for less” strategy involves a considerable degree of standardisation across new build schools, particularly in reference to architecture and layout – providing the opportunity for the benefits of factory manufactured cross laminated timber to be fully exploited. Offsite manufactured CLT has proven to be an ideal material for constructing schools through applying standardisation to enable a faster, more effective roll out of construction. Cost comparison in educational buildings has to be carried out at a ‘whole project’ level. Thermal, acoustic and airtightness contributions from the structural frame, as well as programme savings and the cost benefits associated with offsite manufactured systems, must all be taken into account when comparing the commercial benefit of one structural material against another.

Scientia Academy

Scientia Academy

There is currently a large increase in demographics across the country, leaving schools with a severe lack of places. The impact of this can be immense and in some cases, difficult to predict and cater for. This drives the rapid requirement for new educational establishments with an inherent adaptable design that can accommodate intake fluctuations. It is now crucial to design and create schools that incorporate a consideration for the cost and disruption associated with modifications to the building in the future. Buildings must be designed to provide structural adaptability from the outset in order to allow for the possible removal or addition of walls and floors. Cross laminated timber can help to create a structure that provides flexible properties for future changes to the building.

As many of the buildings constructed under PSBP2 are built on functioning sites the challenge is often to demolish the existing school enabling the new build to take place, all while maintaining an educational facility onsite until the new school is complete and ready for handover. This makes onsite health and safety a crucial consideration throughout the build. Health and safety disruptions can include airborne dust and dirt which can lead to medical complaints, excessive noise that can not only be distracting for staff and pupils but can also be a health hazard, increased traffic with delivery vehicles arriving onsite as well as planned and unplanned interruptions to water, gas and power services. Frequent changes to access points and circulation routes for school users along with reduced playground space, loss of playing fields and car parking can lead to overcrowding. By applying fast and efficient offsite technology, supported by a robust logistic plan to minimise both deliveries and onsite waste – disruption is able to be kept to a minimum, therefore reducing health and safety risks.

The benefits of the use of cross laminated timber in education buildings are now becoming widely recognised. With the rapid construction of schools under PSBP2, cross laminated timber provides a cost effective, sustainable, safe and effective solution.”

To discover more about the benefits of cross laminated timber construction visit:  www.xlam-alliance.com or to book a cross laminated timber CPD session, please email: info@xlam-alliance.com

B & K Structures and Binderholz formed the X-LAM Alliance in 2011 bringing to the UK construction market a seamless and consistent way to supply cross laminated timber. From concept to completion, the Alliance has all the essential knowledge and data to create solid wood structures from design through to installation.

B & K Structures is the UK’s leading solid timber structural specialist contractor. The company has pioneered the use of structural timber in the UK, creating award winning buildings in retail, commercial, residential, transport, sports and leisure and healthcare sectors. www.bkstructures.co.uk

Binderholz is an Austrian specialist timber manufacturing organisation with five production plants across the country employing in excess of 1,150 staff. In 2012 Binderholz produced the most cross laminated timber in the world.


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

Student Home with International Appeal

NCL GROUP 2015-05-05 13.20.56 (2)

The concept has already attracted international attention and is understood to be the first of its type in the UK, and now the groundbreaking Curriculum House has entered its main construction phase.

Designed, developed  and constructed by  the brightest and best architectural and construction students from the Motherwell Campus of New College Lanarkshire, the Curriculum House, located on the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig, represents a fresh, unique and youthful take on how homes for the future should look, feel and perform for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy.

BRE Scotland Director Rufus Logan said; ‘The objective at BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig and our network of Parks across the globe is to apply innovation and science to find solutions for our existing and future buildings not only in Scotland but in the UK, Europe and around the world and this innovative  project will more than meets that criteria. Undoubtedly the Curriculum House  will have a significant impact on Scotland in terms of making our buildings better but also in helping us progress the skills of our young people so they can develop careers fit for the global workplace.’

CAADT (Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology) students from the Motherwell Campus of New College Lanarkshire oversaw the timber kit of their environmentally-friendly, flexible design being assembled on-site and were joined by Construction students, who will finish the house once the frame is complete.

With a brief to create a flexible family home, which can be adapted over time to reflect a family’s changing needs, the construction of the home embraced low-waste construction methods and includes de-mountable partitions, as well as CELLECTA tetrus flooring, one of the most highly insulated flooring solutions available.

The project aims to provide the students with real world construction knowledge, backed up with the sustainability skills which are needed and will equip them to help drive the sector forward as construction standards constantly evolve. Such is the interest in the development that last December, Michael McGuire from New College Lanarkshire was invited to the annual AutoDesk Conference to address an audience of 10,000 delegates to discuss the project.

Michael McGuire, course leader of HND Architectural Technology at New College Lanarkshire, noted:“We are delighted that our students’ design for the Curriculum House is being realised here in the heart of Ravenscraig and so close to our Motherwell Campus. The project has reinforced to our students that what they are learning is giving them the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the architectural industry. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to create a unique and exciting project that should not only showcase the skill and motivation of our students and staff to the rest of the UK, but also worldwide.”

The foundations of Curriculum House, along with a TETRiS insulated floor system, were laid earlier this year. Erection of the main structure should be complete within three days, after which construction students move in to fit out the house.

The College has been supported by a number of external companies who have helped make the project possible, including Cellecta TETRiS flooring, Airflow heat recovery and ventilation, Dimplex heating and hot water, Scotframe and BRE. The thermally-efficient, closed panel timber frame was manufactured in Scotframe’s factory in Cumbernauld. The timber kit includes 14 external wall panels, 18 internal wall panels, four floor cassettes, 14 roof trusses and two sets of gable ladders. The heaviest panel weighs 342kg, while the longest panel measures six metres.

Peter Hall, Marketing Manager from Scotframe commented:“We are delighted to be so closely associated with this prestigious project and feel privileged that we are able to make such a worthwhile contribution toward the academic and learning benefits for both the College and the timber frame industry at home and abroad. From the outset, the College has recognised the advantages of taking a ‘Fabric First’ approach to the building structure and envelope. In response to this, we supplied our closed panel, factory-insulated product Val-U-Therm, which will provide extremely high energy efficiency along with excellent thermal performance and air tightness. Minimal site waste and quick erection times also add to the well-established environmental credentials a timber frame structure such as this offers.”

Curriculum House will continue to act as a valuable teaching resource after completion. It will be used by both CAADT and construction students as a test and demonstration facility for both teaching and monitoring of low energy design and construction.

Follow the progress on Curriculum House on Twitter: @CAADT_students


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ROCKFON has the X edge when it comes to creating calm learning environments

Approved Image Queensmill

The Queensmill School in London is an award-winning education provider for children with autistic spectrum disorders from nursery age to 19 years. The school has a new purpose-built building which can now cater for 130 pupils on one site. Specialist facilities include a wet room, an interactive sensory room, more spacious classrooms and respite care for families. The concept design was by 3BM and LSI Architects developed the detail design from planning stage through to completion on site, with Bouygues UK as the main contractor. ROCKFON Sonar X edge ceiling tiles were chosen to satisfy the school’s specific acoustic and aesthetic requirements.

Charlie Graham at StilSound ceiling installers fitted the Sonar ceilings using Chicago Metallic T24 Click 2890 grid system and explains why:

“The interior is designed to create a ‘low arousal’ environment for the children who have complex autism, so they can learn in a calm state. To meet this requirement, the Sonar X tiles were installed using a concealed suspension grid to avoid any discernible grid patterns which could become a distraction for the pupils.”

ROCKFON Sonar X edge tiles create a near-monolithic ceiling design thanks to the reduced seam between the tiles.  Unlike other concealed grid systems which require special consideration and measuring for the placement and cutting of tiles, the Sonar X edge tile has a symmetrical design which are quick and easy to install in any order and still create the continuous, elegant look the school wanted.

‘A seamless ceiling was required throughout this significant new build special educational needs project, to minimise pupil distraction and provide a clean monolithic looking ceiling, while meeting stringent acoustic requirements and maintaining services access. We believe that Sonar X met these objectives and provided a suitable robust and cost effective accessible ceiling solution’ commented Peter Courtney, Associate Partner at award winning architectural practice LSI.   

Sonar X edge ceilings offer architects freedom to design inspirational interiors. Tiles are available in a bright white micro-textured surface with a high reflectance value of 85%. Custom sizes and special colours can be ordered on demand.

Schools can be noisy places and acoustic control is important to ensure children understand what is being said in the classroom. ROCKFON Sonar ceilings are installed in all of Queenmill’s learning areas because they offer the highest level of sound absorption, Class A αw value of 1.0, helping to create the optimum acoustic environment for effective learning.

ROCKFON Sonar ceilings meet the demands of a busy school environment. The visible side of the tiles has a reinforced fleece which is coated with an enhanced lacquer to provide resistance to scratches and marking. The edges are strong and flexible so they remain intact even when removed and reinstalled regularly for access to services.

The durable Chicago Metallic T24 Click 2890 grid system helps to create a hard-wearing ceiling. The grid is manufactured from galvanised steel making it very strong and stable. It is quick and easy to install thanks to a helpful audible ‘click’ which sounds when the components connect into position.

The school’s wet room is fitted with ROCKFON Sonar tiles because they offer moisture resistance of up to 100% RH. Like all ROCKFON stone-wool products, Sonar X edge ceiling tiles can withstand humid surroundings whilst remaining in pristine condition.

All ROCKFON products come with a 15 year guarantee and are fully recyclable at end of use.

The team at ROCKFON are happy to use their expertise and technical knowledge to help you create robust and beautiful ceilings. For information on samples, specifications, advice on your project or to find your nearest area sales manager, visit www.rockfon.co.uk or call the hotline number 0800 389 0314

Categories: Educational Buildings, Interior Design | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Innovating with Aircrete


H+H, the UK’s leading aircrete manufacturer, is proud to be sponsoring ‘Homes for Britain’, the 2015 Sunday Times British Homes Awards.

Launched in March by the then Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP, this year’s awards challenges architects and designers to produce a standard house type suitable for Garden City type developments, with a focus on innovative designs which are both buildable and replicable. This year all entries must be designed using H+H aircrete blocks.

The closing date for entries is 10 July but all entrants need to be registered by 12 June. The winning design will be announced on the 16 October and will be built by Redrow Homes using H+H aircrete blocks and build systems.

Speaking about sponsoring the awards, Jenny Smith-Andrews, marketing manager at H+H, said: “House building is fundamental to the success of the construction industry in the UK. Not only is it vital in terms of the economy it creates and the security it gives people but it is also important to the industry’s evolution.

“Often it is in new build homes that we see glimpses of the latest innovations in design and technology. It is these innovations that lead to fundamental changes in how we build and consequently how we improve living standards in our homes.

“It is this desire for innovation that has brought H+H and the British Homes Awards together for the 2015 awards.”

She continued: “For many, innovation and change means something brand new, but over the years H+H has proven that a product or system does not need to be new in order to bring about change in house building.

When H+H’s aircrete blocks were first introduced to the UK market in the early 1950’s they were thought to be too advanced and ahead of their time in terms of product performance. It is only now 60 years later that H+H blocks and build systems are able to reach their full potential as a result of improvements to the way houses are built in the UK.“

For further information on the design competition visit http://www.hhcelcon.co.uk/british-homes-awards-2015

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Solid Wood Solutions – Showcasing the Best in Engineered Timber


Organisers of the Solid Wood Solutions conference and exhibition have today announced that the event will be held at the Inmarsat Conference Centre, London, on the 16 September 2015.

Solid Wood Solutions will showcase the very best in engineered timber by creating a platform for the industry’s pioneers to present some of the most prestigious projects from across the UK and Europe. As sustainability and offsite construction is high on the building agenda – this is the essential event to learn first-hand from the structural timber industry leaders and innovators.


‘Solid wood’ is defined as heavy structural timber elements made up by bonding timber lamellas together to form units with known structural characteristics. There are two main solid wood structural solutions – cross laminated timber (CLT) and glued laminated timber (GLT).

Cross laminated timber is a structural two-way spanning timber panel produced by laminating and finger jointing soft wood timber lamellas at 90° to the layer below. CLT panels can be produced with fire resistances of 30, 60 and 90 minutes and can be used to form walls, roof and floor panels as well as shear walls.


Glued laminated timber, also called glulam, is a type of structural timber product comprising a number of layers of dimensioned timber bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesives. These structural members are used as vertical columns or horizontal beams, as well as curved, arched shapes.

The construction industry needs to develop better buildings at a rapid pace and solid wood structural systems provide the sustainable solution. Delivering speed strength and sustainability – timber is one of the fastest growing modern methods of construction and this event is designed to inspire through innovation.


At Solid Wood Solutions construction professionals will showcase ground-breaking projects which are truly unique and the first of a kind. From the tallest residential solid wood building in Europe – Banyan Wharf, which at 10 storeys clearly demonstrates the structural capacity of cross laminated timer to student accommodation in UEA Norwich – the first project to be fully BIM level 2 compliant.

The Solid Wood Solutions event will consist of a small exhibition of circa 25-30 companies from within the cross laminated timber and glulam technology sector plus complementary solutions such as SIPS and cladding/fenestration solutions with a conference of approximately 200 delegates.

It is the first time in the events five year history that it will be held in London and by moving Solid Wood Solutions to a London venue, organisers expect this to be a sell-out event.

Speakers for the event so far include:

  • Andy Boutle BIM, Manager at Kier Construction – “Student accommodation in UEA Norwich – first project to be fully BIM level 2 compliant”
  • Tim Snelson, Associate Director at Arup Associates – “Timber in Commercial Offices”
  • Simon Brambles, Architect at 3D Reid –Taplow Retail Park”
  • Andrew Waugh, Founding Director of Waugh Thistleton Architects “Housing Large – Timber Systems in Medium Rise Application”
  • Alex Smith, Associate at Hawkins\Brown & Nick Milestone, B&K Structures – “17-21 Wenlock Road –  Building a 10 Storey CLT/Hybrid structure in London”
  • Kate Edmondson, Architect at Penoyre & Prasad LLP – “Case Study on Middle Row Primary School”

Tickets are just £95 +VAT


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Boon Edam: Meeting the Needs of Southern General Hospital, Glasgow


Ashford, UK – Southern General Hospital, which serves for the South-West of Glasgow, has chosen to work closely with Boon Edam to offer their patients, staff and visitors to the hospital a welcoming and reassuring entry to their hospital. By installing a bespoke Duotour revolving door with integrated curved corridors, the entrance to the hospital not only looks aesthetically pleasing but also serves as a multi-functional entrance to the prestigious building. Users of the hospital are now able to flow more quickly and smoothly through this mobility hotspot.

Serving the People of South West Glasgow

As a working arm of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Southern General Hospital is a large teaching hospital with an acute operational bed complement of approximately 900 beds. The hospital is located in the South West of Glasgow, Scotland and provides a comprehensive range of acute and related clinical services to residents there.

A Gateway to Improvement

David Healy, Area Project Manager for Boon Edam UK Ltd said “We have installed the bespoke Duotour revolving door with integrated curved corridors which included 4 auto-swing pass doors for the use of disabled users. Before our involvement in the project, our client was faced with the task of finding a supplier who could meet their bespoke design requirements”. The new entrance system is a highly functional piece of equipment which compliments the overall façade of this prestigious building.


Customisation and Cooperation

Boon Edam has worked closely with the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Southern General Hospital since the start of the project in November 2013 to create a fully customised entry solution for this hospital. This project is totally unique as the overall structure and door arrangement was specifically designed by the company’s design teams both in the UK and The Netherlands to help meet the client’s bespoke requirements. The design team working for our client chose to work with Boon Edam as they were the only revolving door manufacturer and supplier that could meet the intricate design requirements for their entrance arrangement. After several months of design work and final approval from the client, the manufacture began with a twelve week lead time. The manufacture of the product was completed and delivered on time to meet the site programme. Overall, the design and manufacture process took approximately eight months to complete and the client was satisfied with the end result.

About Royal Boon Edam

With work environments becoming increasingly global and dynamic, the entry has become the centre of activity in many buildings. As the importance of the entry as a mobility hotspot increases, the demands we put on managing the passage of people through them grow. Royal Boon Edam is a global market leader in entry solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, with 140 years of experience in engineering quality, we have gained extensive expertise in managing the movement of people through office buildings, airports, healthcare facilities, hotels and many other types of buildings. We are focussed on providing an optimal experience for our clients and their clients. By working together with you, our client, we help determine the exact requirements for the mobility hotspot in and around your building and develop a solution that is customised for you in three key areas: sustainability, security and service. You can find more news about Boon Edam on www.boonedam.co.uk/newsroom.

Categories: Doors, Windows & Glazing, Healthcare Buildings | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Durable no tile solution showerpod is the ideal choice for Student accommodation

ShowerPod Orange

One of the UK’s leading suppliers of high quality accommodation to the student sector, Jon Gauld Student Lets based in Kent, has chosen Coram Showerpods as their preferred supplier for a series of prestigious new developments aimed at students looking for superior accommodation in the area.

Historically John Gauld have installed standard shower units across their developments but found that they were not fit for purpose and so they looked to leading shower manufacturer Coram for a new solution.

Installing a shower tray and tiling a bathroom requires the work of a carpenter, plasterer, tiler and plumber and can take up to three days for the installation to be completed. Coram Shower Pods allow for just one labourer to successfully install a leak-proof pod in only a few hours.

With a Shower Pod, there is no need for tiling, grouting and drying time. The assembly can be completed in one visit, reducing time taken to install, making it an ideal product for large scale developments where installation time is of the essence.

Adam Winton of John Gauld Lets commented “We chose Coram Showerpods because we found we were increasingly replacing the standard shower units we had fitted because the trays were suffering from high levels of wear and tear from our tenants. Coupled with tiling issues, we needed to seek out a much more durable and hard wearing solution for all of our properties and new developments.”

All Coram Shower Pods are designed and built in Britain to suit British building requirements and come with a 25 year guarantee.

To view the full Coram Showerpods range visit www.coramshowerpods.co.uk or for more information call 0115 9400644

Categories: Educational Buildings, Kitchen & Bathroom | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sutton War Memorial Respectfully Restored Using Natural Solutions From Brett

Brett Landscaping - Sutton War Memorial

The expertise of Brett Landscaping in natural stone was instrumental in helping to restore a historical touchstone in time for the World War One centenary commemorations in November 2014.

Brett Landscaping worked with property design consultancy NPS Group to recondition a 93 year old war memorial in Sutton-on-Hull village located in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in advance of the local community’s remembrance activities.

An important and well-visited part of the local Sutton and Hull community, the sandstone memorial attracts hundreds of visitors a year.  With council funding secured, the structure was able to receive a significant amount of renovation, both to improve the stone plaque and ensure better access for a large proportion of visitors with mobility needs.

“While the memorial has been maintained superbly by Sutton-on-Hull’s community, it was in need of improvement in a structural capacity,” explains Howard Thompson, building surveyor at NPS.

“It was agreed that the small gravel surround would benefit from being made larger and more solid, using natural stone slabs to accommodate more visitors and, in particular, those requiring wheelchair access.  The planted area around the memorial also needed attention, which we felt would be well addressed with the addition of appropriate kerbs.”

Howard Thompson brought Brett on board in both a supply and advisory capacity, after receiving positive colleague feedback with regard to Brett’s material quality and design input.

“I’d heard good reports about Brett and found the advice we received regarding materials and options, very helpful.   I was looking for excellent quality and competitive pricing as well as the right guidance, and am pleased to say have been supplied with all,” Howard confirms.

NPS’s work with Brett resulted in the installation of 140m² of Brett’s Highcroft Diamond Sawn natural stone, chosen for its combination of functionality and aesthetics, and 110 L/M Highcroft Diamond Sawn edgings for the creation of new kerbs to surround the memorial and encase replanted shrubs.

NPS has commended the quality of the materials installed, together with the workmanship of the contractors who laid the stone, heaping particular praise upon the team’s noticeable high standard of expertise.

The project was completed in advance of the memorial service conducted in Sutton-on-Hull on the 9th of November 2014.

The site will be further enhanced with the integration of an inscription within the paved area, together with the introduction of a plaque bearing the names of the region’s war heroes, two of whom received the Victoria Cross.

The improvements have been welcomed by people within the village, many of whom are part of families whose relatives served in the First World War.

For more information, visit www.brettpaving.co.uk 

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Schöck and Hollowcore innovation benefits Stoke Extra Care scheme


A PFI Extra Care complex at Abbey Hulton village, outside Stoke-on-Trent, is another UK project benefitting from a faster build time using innovative off-site manufacturing. It combines Isokorb structural thermal break units from Schöck with the Hollowcore system.

Holdcroft Fields at Abbey Hulton, provides 175 self-contained one and two bedroomed apartments with extensive communal facilities for people over 55.

Designed to meet BREEAM Excellent standards, there are two linked three-storey blocks around two central courtyards and many of the apartments feature spacious balconies. So the prevention of thermal bridging is a critical consideration.

Quite apart from heat loss, condensation can lead to structural integrity problems and may even encourage mould growth, which has serious medical implications. One of the most effective countermeasures on the market is the Schöck Isokorb structural thermal break.

It dramatically reduces thermal energy loss in connective areas and enables inner surface area temperatures to remain well in excess of those likely to cause condensation.

To meet the steel cantilever requirements on the project, the Isokorb type KS14, for concrete-to-steel connectivity is being installed in conjunction with the Hollowcore floor system. The method involves the precasters breaking out selected cores and cast reinforcement bars in their works.

The thermal breaks are then fixed to a template, to match the broken out Hollowcore,. complete modules are supplied to site, dropped into position and the broken out Hollowcore filled with insitu concrete.

The Hollowcore has voids extending its full length, with a huge weight saving over floor slabs of equal thickness or strength, and efficiencies in transportation and material costs. With slab sizes on the project typically 1.2m wide by 7.5m long, they are also faster to install and provide an immediate working platform for following trades.

Hollowcore  - HR

The Isokorb type KS14 has verifiable performance values, providing BBA Certification and LABC Registration, as well as comfortably exceeding the requirements of BRE IP1/06 and Part L of the Building Regulations.

The temperature factor used to indicate condensation risk (fRSI), must be greater than, or equal to, 0.75 for residential buildings and this is comfortably met by incorporating the Isokorb.

Contact Schöck on 01865 290 890 or email: design@schoeck.co.uk


Categories: Architecture, Construction, Healthcare Buildings, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Altro brings Malvern Fire Station up to speed

Altro and Malvern 3

A wide range of Altro flooring and wall cladding has been used in the newly re-constructed Malvern Fire Station, helping to create a facility that can withstand the demands of modern fire-fighting, and an aesthetically-pleasing working environment.

The fire station needed to be upgraded on all counts, as Alan Jones, Capital Projects Manager at Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, explained. “The building failed to meet operational needs, necessitating redesign and investment. It had also reached the end of its economic life with many failing elements; these included wall and floor finishes throughout.

“We had no hesitation in selecting Altro for the flooring and walling for the project. I have specified Altro before on a number of similar construction projects and they have proven ideal in terms of quality, service and product appearance.

“We wanted a resin floor for the appliance bay, so we worked closely with Altro and the resin flooring contractor, Flo-Dek, to help select the right product for this important scheme.

“We chose AltroCrete PU Fast-TrackTM resin flooring. The appliance bay is a busy testing area that gets a great deal of wear and tear, so the floor needed to be tough, safe underfoot in both wet and dry conditions and very durable. We have used AltroCrete PU before in other fire stations and it has proven very successful for this environment. It has the added benefit of providing a floor which is aesthetically pleasing.”

AltroCrete PU Fast-Track is a 5-9mm textured floor made for heavy duty areas of potential spillage and increased temperature range. It has excellent resistance to impact and abrasion and to a wide range of chemicals.  With a high level of slip resistance, it is ideal for food and drink production areas and heavy industrial applications. The ‘Fast Track’ option has the added benefit of a rapid overnight cure.

For the new station’s kitchen, showers and locker rooms, Alan Jones and his team selected Altro Whiterock WhiteTM wall cladding. “This is a superb product because it’s practical and very low maintenance,” said Alan.

Altro and Malvern 1

Altro Whiterock White is impact resistant, grout-free and easy to clean. It is made from a high-quality, food-safe PVCu polymer that can handle temperatures up to 60°C, and meets all current EU Directives on health and hygiene.

Alan Jones continued: “For the floors in the showers, we chose Altro AquariusTM safety flooring because we wanted a surface that was hard-wearing, safe underfoot in all conditions, comfortable, attractive and easy to clean. It’s a very modern-looking product with some great colours.”

Altro Aquarius was developed for lasting performance in wet and dry, with shoes or barefoot. Like all Altro safety flooring, it offers sustained slip resistance for the lifetime of the product, keeping your risk of a slip to just 1 in a million. It’s a 2mm safety floor that has been extensively tested on a variety of shoe types to ensure top performance in a host of environments – bathrooms, changing areas, shower areas, spas and more. It’s also easy to clean, with Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR technology.

For the new fire station’s communal areas, stairs and corridors, Alan Jones specified Altro WalkwayTM 20. “This is a great safety flooring — tough, long-lasting and with a good colour range to choose from,” he said. “We selected ‘Midnight’ to complement the colour scheme of the new station.”

Altro Walkway 20 is a hugely popular hard-wearing, 2mm safety flooring, providing lifelong slip and abrasion resistance. Additional benefits include chemical and indentation resistance, which adds to its excellent durability and PUR cleanability.

Dave Cope, Director of Flo-Dek (UK) Ltd, oversaw the installation of the AltroCrete PU resin flooring in the stations’ new appliance bay. “To minimise downtime, the Fire and Rescue Service wanted the resin floor to be installed over the existing quarry tiles,” he said. “But we did some tests on site and decided they needed to be removed and offered guidance on falls and drainage systems.

“Once the existing tiled floor and subscreed had been removed, we planed the floor to create a suitable surface profile and provide a mechanical key. We then installed a stainless steel slot drainage channel.

“The next stage was to install AltroPol, a polymer underlayment screed, laid to falls, at 80mm thick in the 300m2 area. We needed to ensure that the falls on the AltroPol prevented water from migrating into other adjacent areas.

After the AltroPol had cured we laid a 9mm layer of AltroCrete resin. We subsequently used AltroCove PU to form coving around all the walls and columns in the appliance bay.

The installation went very well,” added Dave. “Using AltroCrete PU Fast-Track means a much-reduced installation time, without any compromise on quality.”

The safety flooring at the new station was installed by Alto Flooring. Director Russell Simon said: “We have 20 years experience of laying Altro flooring. It’s a very popular brand, and with good reason.

“The installation of the Altro flooring was a phased project over the course of three months, with two or three fitters on site. We had to work closely with other installers and of course the main contractor, Spectus, and everyone co-operated very well.  Altro flooring is very easy to work with and the end result looks impressive.”

MG Duff installed the Altro Whiterock at Malvern Fire Station. “As an Altro Whiterock Premier Installer we are committed to Altro Whiterock and specialise in putting it into a wide range of applications, such as schools and kitchens,” said Estimator Barry Stevens.

“Altro Whiterock is undoubtedly the best of its kind. The combination of reliability and guaranteed quality and support makes it unique and highly cost effective.

“Our relationship with both Spectus and Altro is excellent. We worked closely together on this project and it was very straightforward. We were on site for four days overall between March and September, with one operative installing a total of 100m2 of Altro Whiterock.”

Managing Director of Spectus Construction, Andy Griffiths, commented: “Alan Jones and Altro specified this project very well – selecting products that would be practical and hardwearing, as well as those that would complement the design and colour scheme of the new building.

“The installation of flooring and wall cladding was carried out very professionally by companies we know and trust to deliver a superb finish. The appliance bay in striking red resin looks especially impressive. Overall it’s a great-looking job.

Andy Griffiths continued: “We are delighted that Spectus Construction won the ‘large renovation project’ and ‘commercial project’ in the Midlands categories at the Master Builder of the Year Awards for its work on the fire station. We have gone through to the national finals.”

Alan Jones added: “We are very happy with our new station. I would have no hesitation in recommending AltroCrete PU for similar applications and we are already specifying it on three more projects.”


Categories: Flooring, Walls | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lighter weight & better thermal conductivity for H+H

BBA cert image

H+H, leading manufacturer of aircrete blocks, has lowered the density of its High Strength and Super Strength Grade Celcon Blocks from 750 kg/m3 to 700 kg/m3. This has led to an improvement in thermal conductivity and lighter weight blocks. The change has been accredited by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) in a new certificate issued to the manufacturer.

The thermal conductivity of the blocks is now 0.18 W/mK, down from 0.19, bringing about greater thermal performance, enabling U-Values to be reduced further and diminishing heat loss at junctions.

The production team at H+H has worked tirelessly to reduce the weight of these high performing blocks. The High and Super Strength Grade Celcon Blocks are available in thicknesses of 100mm, 140mm and 150mm. The High Strength Grade Celcon Blocks are also available in a thickness of 215mm, weighing less than the HSE maximum block weight requirements of 20kg. A range of blocks suitable for foundations is also available.

Typically used where higher compressive strengths are required High and Super Strength Grade Celcon Blocks can be used throughout a building regardless of whether it is a cavity or solid wall; single or multi-storey build. These blocks are ideal for separating and flanking walls as well as internal partition walls and foundations.

Cliff Fudge, technical director at H+H, said: “Reducing the weight of our large format blocks has been an objective of our production and R&D teams for some time. We set out to make them easier and safer to handle on and manoeuvre around site but were conscious that we did not want to diminish the existing beneficial characteristics of the blocks.

“I am very pleased to say we have accomplished exactly what we set out to do. The blocks are essentially a lighter breed of the exact same product as before. The construction solutions they provide still meet, and in some cases exceed, all of the requirements set out by both Building Regulations and the NHBC in terms of fire ratings and acoustic and thermal performance.”

For further information visit www.hhcelcon.co.uk

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Kemperol Protects Liverpool’s Royal Liver Building


Part of Liverpool’s UNESCO designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City, the Grade I listed Royal Liver Building is one of the city’s ‘Three Graces’ and an iconic waterfront landmark.

The building’s imposing façades are crowned by a cupola in each corner, each forming the roof of a feature boardroom office below. The huge clock towers either side of the building mirror this pattern, with a ‘mini’ cupola on each of their four corners. All 12 cupolas direct the eye upwards to the summit of the building where a verdigris Liver Bird perches eternally on each of the final, central cupolas.

With Cunard, one of Liverpool’s greatest companies, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, it was time to refurbish the distinctive cupolas of one of its most famous buildings in the world in time for a celebratory flotilla.  Kemper System’s 1K-PUR cold liquid-applied waterproofing system was selected to complete the challenging scheme.


Limited Access

The cupolas are of concrete construction and have been protected by various waterproofing systems over the years but water ingress was becoming an issue and in some areas the concrete was failing and had to be repaired to return the surface to its original domed shape.

Roofing contractor, K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd were appointed by main contractor Quadriga Ltd, specialist restoration contractors, to carry out the challenging task of working at height on the roofs in an exposed waterfront location.

Comments Neilan Symondson from Pendlebury: “Scaffolding was erected on a small area of the roof at a time and an upgrade to localised areas of the roof beneath each cupola, along with a larger stretch on the Strand elevation, was incorporated into the scheme to capitalise on the accessibility we had to those locations while the scaffolding was in place.

“For these areas, we installed an inverted insulated roof build up, using Kemper System’s V210 cold applied waterproofing system to waterproof the substrate, followed by insulation and then paving.

The Kemperol 1K-PUR we used for the cupolas works in the same way, with a combination of liquid resin and reinforcement fleece, but it is much more viscous that the Kemperol V210, making it more suitable for the cupolas’ vertical surfaces.”

Specialist Approach

Pendlebury selected the Kemperol 1K-PUR systems following trials carried out prior to commencing the project to ascertain the best approach to delivering the project with the level of finish required by the building’s management company, CBRE, and English Heritage while managing the time constraints of the project.

The challenging weather conditions of the building’s waterfront location and the need to identify a system that was suitable for the varying surfaces on and around the cupolas also influenced the specification. The method of fleece application and ease of use of the Kemperol system was ideally suited to meeting these criteria on a scheme that involved working up to 14 storeys high.

The installation team began the restoration of each cupola by repairing each concrete structure using Kemper System’s primer mixed with quartz sand to make a mortar that could be used to build up the eroded areas.

The large cupolas have a two metre high vertical surface before the structure starts to curve and gradually become flat over the top. Pendlebury used a combination of Kemper System’s EP5 primer and quartz sand to create a key on the substrate before applying the liquid Kemperol 1K-PUR resin with brushes and rollers. Kemper System’s 120g reinforcement fleece, cut to size and shape on site, was then laid onto the wet resin. Finally, further resin was immediately applied over the top to allow complete saturation of the reinforcement fleece in a single wet-on-wet process to provide a totally seamless, monolithic membrane.

For the larger cupolas, the scheme also involved scroll features and termination details and the installation team also painstaking applied the system around the solid granite mini scroll features that surround each of the smaller cupolas.

CBRE’s Simon Hepple adds: “In terms of surface area, the Royal Liver Building scheme was not large but is was extremely challenging and required both a specialist approach and careful product selection.

“Kemper System’s Kemperol 1K-PUR was ideal for this unusual project.”



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

Carpet that’s seen but not heard


Sharni Verity, Marketing Executive at Heckmondwike FB, discusses how specifying carpet can address acoustic issues in offices.

“One of the most common complaints in office environments is the inability to work due to high levels of noise pollution.  Hard flooring, such as timber, tile or laminates can contribute to the problem, especially where an office is open plan or has several storeys.

Specifiers have recognised the problem for many years, particularly with the advent of the open plan office. The April 2006 ‘Noise at Work’ regulations were brought in to protect employees’ hearing in office environments.  The law states that employers must implement safety measures to keep daily average sound exposure below 85Db for employees, in order to ensure a healthy and productive workforce.


To keep noise disturbance to a minimum, it is important to understand how sound works.

Sound is a vibration that is transmitted through solid materials, liquid or air in waves of compressions and expansions, these are commonly known as sound waves.   There are two main ways that sound travels round a room – airborne sound and impact sound.

Airborne sound is sound that moves around within a space, bouncing off walls and floors causing vibrations on those surfaces, which then transmits to other sides of the room.

Impact sound starts with an incident, such as a door slamming or heavy footsteps, which then creates vibrations through the walls and floors of a building and the sound travels from one room to another.  Hard floors are, generally, not good airborne sound insulators, unless a sound barrier is installed within the floor.

PFL Limerick_033

There are two main ways to reduce and control noise in a building – firstly by increasing the mass of a floor or wall, the more mass, the less sound will make it vibrate.  The second way is by adding layers to the floor or wall made of soundproofed material.  Carpet is widely recognised as a better soundproofing material than hard surfaces.  The characteristics of carpet mean it is good at absorbing sound and the conduction of impact noise can be reduced by up to 30dB just by the choice of carpet. Some of our fibre bonded carpet ranges, such as Array and Montage, offer enhanced acoustic properties. The comparative valves for some hard floorcoverings is between 5-15Db.

Take for example an office with a solid floor surface, such as wood or laminate, without a noise barrier underlay, the sound waves will transmit easily through and will therefore be louder in the rooms underneath.  This noise can be disruptive to employees and prevent them from being able to concentrate and communicate effectively.

Array Violet

Elevated noise levels can create stress, increase workplace accident rates and stimulate aggression and other anti-social behaviour. Open plan offices can become prone to sound reverberation, caused by loud voices, especially when they have floors or walls that absorb very little sound and so sound waves bounce back across a room.  Use of fibre bonded carpet and a well sound proofed wall can ease the situation.

We have enhanced the acoustic properties of our fibre bonded carpet in order to reduce the amount of noise that is transmitted through the floor. This has a damping effect on the sound waves which transmit from an office above to one below.

Our Array carpet is a great example of this.  Its fibres have a high surface area and therefore offer good levels of sound attenuation. To achieve best results, the carpet must also be tightly fitted to the wall.

The sheer amount of legislation covering noise in buildings shows how important it is to get this right.  Getting it wrong can have a huge impact on the productivity and stress levels of employees, leading to low morale and high staff turnover. We have helped public and private sector workplaces all over the country to address this.

It is little wonder that our fibre bonded carpets continue to play an essential role in reducing noise transmittance within a building.

For more information contact Heckmondwike FB on 01924 406 161 or visit the website www.heckmondwike-fb.co.uk.

Categories: Commercial Buildings, Educational Buildings, Flooring, Interior Design | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Final Call for Entries – You’ve Got to Be in It to Win It!


Submission Deadline 12.06.2015

The organisers of the Structural Timber Awards have put out a final call for entries.  With the extended deadline for submissions fast approaching on 12 June 2015 – the Awards have attracted entries from project and products large and small but all have one thing in common – timber!

From entries for the new BSkyB Believe in Better Building project to the tallest cross laminated timber residential development in Europe, to Whipsnade Zoo’s elephant and gorilla enclosures and the 42 metre high glulam arch at the Leeds Recycling & Energy Recovery Facility – nothing is too large, small or unusual.

The prestigious event provides one of the most effective platforms for targeting the timber industry, presenting the ideal opportunity for you to maximise industry exposure and penetrate this economically important market.

The free to enter 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 Awards will be presented at a high profile dinner on Tuesday 06 October 2015 at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham. As an inaugural major event in the timber calendar, the event will attract 500 national business leaders and high profile decision makers from the construction industry.

To find out more information or to enter the Structural Timber Awards, visit: www.structuraltimberawards.co.uk

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

Calling all Social Housing Projects!


Celebrate the best in building with the world’s leading mainstream, low-carbon construction material.


Social_HousingThis award will recognise an organisation or consortia that has successfully worked with the UK’s housing associations and social landlords to provide high quality buildings that cater for specific customer needs, enhance local communities and provide the best in sustainable affordable housing.

Emphasis will be placed on collaborative working, energy efficiency and running costs, speed and quality of construction, affordability of maintenance and overall long term value-for-money for client and residents.

The submission deadline for all Award entries is 12 June 2015. With two weeks until submission deadline we recommend that you get your entries in ASAP.

Click here for more information or to enter this category – it’s FREE.


The Structural Timber Awards will be presented at a high profile dinner on Tuesday 06 October 2015 at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham. As an inaugural major event in the timber calendar, the event will attract 500 national business leaders and high profile decision makers from the construction industry.

Category sponsored by:

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

Free CPD Guide to Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

148 ESOS CPD Guide

Organisations facing the compulsory requirements of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) by the end of this year will be interested to hear of a free, CPD-certified guide from Mitsubishi Electric.

The guide looks in detail at the scheme which is a mandatory energy assessment mechanism for large companies in the UK. Businesses which qualify for ESOS must carry out assessments every four years, with the first to be completed by the end of 2015.

ESOS is one of the key requirements mapped out to help the EU meet its 20 per cent energy saving target for 2020. Designed to comply with the 2012 European Energy Efficiency Directive, ESOS establishes a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.

The independent information in the guide has been compiled to outline the measures for success in the scheme and show companies how they can comply with the legislation.

The free guide can be downloaded at Mitsubishi Electric’s dedicated document library: http://library.mitsubishielectric.co.uk/pdf/book/Energy_Savings_Opportunity_Scheme_CPD_Guide

Mitsubishi Electric is certified by the Construction CPD Certification Service and has produced a number of independent Industry Information Guides designed to enhance the knowledge of customers and provide a view of the key issues facing our industry.

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Book now for the Tall Buildings Fire Safety Conference


Booking is now open for the 3rd International Tall Buildings Fire Safety Conference, which takes place at the University of Greenwich, London on 8-10 July 2015.

Featuring three full days of presentations from a range of international speakers, all experts in their chosen disciplines, the event is ideal for anyone responsible for the protection of people, property and assets in tall buildings.

With more than 6,400 buildings over 100m tall in cities around the globe, greater knowledge of the fire risks and behaviour of fire in tall buildings is essential.  This key conference offers an opportunity to network with professionals from around the world and learn about the challenges and solutions for tall buildings from industry experts.

The first two days will focus on four key themes, including: Management of fire safety; Fire detection & alarm; Fire escape & evacuation; Fire containment & compartmentation. While, on the final day, delegates will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge in one of three vital areas: Business continuity & resilience; Security & terrorism events; or Firefighting.

Held at the University of Greenwich, a World Heritage site, the event also features a Gala Dinner in the magnificent surroundings of the University’s Painted Hall. The dinner will feature guest speaker Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who will offer guests an exciting insight into his inspiring career as a global explorer, sharing his countless life threatening experiences and fascinating exploits.

The event should appeal to facilities managers, insurers, architects, developers and firefighters, as well as companies offering technology; intellectual expertise; specialist products and equipment.

To book your place at the conference or to enquire about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, please visit www.tallbuildingfiresafety.com

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Offsite Construction – The Future of House Building

Brandon Lewis MP speaker

Brandon Lewis MP speaker

The country has spoken – we now have the result of the election, with many newly appointed minsters announced, however it’s ‘business as usual” as Brandon Lewis will continue in his role as Housing and Planning Minister. The confirmation of Mr Lewis in the role brings to an end hours of confusion caused by the department announcing on its website yesterday that Mark Francois will be taking up the position. With five Housing Minsters in as many years, it is now hoped that continuity and a strategic approach will make an impact on the housing deficit.

Brandon Lewis has quite a task on his hands, as housebuilding in the UK hits an all-time low, with a target of 250,000 new homes needed each year in order to tackle spiralling house prices and the critical shortage of affordable homes – a radical strategy is required to make up this deficit. Recent figures reported by the BBC, show that only 141,000 homes were constructed in 2014 – this target has constantly been missed.

A year ago Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, complained that housebuilding in the UK was half that of his native Canada, despite the UK having a population twice the size. The consequences have been rocketing prices in London, the South East and some other parts of the country.

A substantial part of the problem is that housebuilders in possession of large sites often only release a small amount of homes at a time, as building at a slower pace allows them to maximise the value of their assets. As a result, local authorities are now looking at reclaiming and managing the construction of new homes. Both Labour and Liberal Democrats have been arguing in support of the state to once again commission and build new homes. We are yet to hear from the new Conservative Housing Minister.

It is clear that whether the state reclaims housebuilding or not, to finally meet these targets -sustainable, rapid and cost effective methods of building will have to be utilised. Offsite construction provides the ultimate solution. Through the use of offsite technology, the government will be able to deliver houses at a lower cost and a rapid pace. Offsite construction has been around for decades, however, it is only now that the benefits are being realised.

There is an urgent need for a mass volume of houses to be constructed in a limited time scale and whether the state takes on housebuilding, or if it is left to private developers, the benefits of offsite construction could be crucial to meeting targets that have repeatedly been missed. There is significant evidence that suggests that the use of offsite construction has been successful when applied to meet the needs of significant housing developments at scale with consequential opportunities for standardisation of design details – particularly to meet the need of government led programmes.

Explore Offsite is your opportunity to get on-board with current thinking and investigate new technologies. Taking place on 07 July 2015 in at National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham – the third in the series of events focuses on the housing sector. Creating a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions – the event features speakers from pioneering companies in the offsite construction industry.

Speakers include: Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures and Alex Smith, architect for Hawkins Brown who will be profiling Banyan Wharf, which at 10 storeys, is set the take the title of the tallest cross laminated timber residential building in Europe. These presenters will be joined by John Skivington, Director of LHC, Rory Bergin and HTA Design, speaking about Modular Buildings for the Private Rental Sector. Bryan Woodley from Val-U-Therm, will be sharing his experience in high performance building envelopes designed to achieve passivhaus standards.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have supported and exhibited at the Explore Offsite London and Nottingham events and the CIOB West Midlands branch will again be event partners for the Birmingham conference and exhibition.

There is also a wealth of exhibitors who will be available to discuss their latest innovations in offsite construction. Exhibitors include: B & K structures, Caledonian Group, Coillte Panel Products, Crown Timber, Keystone Group, Kingspan Timber Solutions, Modularize, Senior Architectural Systems, Structural Timber Association and Val-U-Therm.

Tickets are just £95 +VAT.
Get 10% off your tickets with the early bird discount code: EXPLORE10
Book now to avoid disappointment:

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When time and energy are of the essence

Orchard Close

The first five homes of a substantial development for Mid-Wales Housing Association have been built at a rapid pace, with the inner leaf construction going up in just five weeks, thanks to the H+H Rå Build method and Thin-Joint System.

Designed and built for the Mid-Wales Housing Association, the first stage of developments has been completed. With five homes now completed the continuation of the planned 22 homes on the Orchard Close site in Church Stoke, Montgomery will follow.

As with all builds the contractors had to adhere to Building Regulations but the housing association was particularly interested in achieving a high level of thermal performance. The Rå Build method helped to achieve this delivering a U-Value of 0.18W/mK.

Rå Build is an inclusive package which comprises aircrete blockwork and quick-setting Thin-Joint Celfix mortar. It creates the ground floors, exterior walls, upper floors and partitions, creating a weather-tight masonry shell, for a time-efficient, cost-effective solution.

The rapid construction of the inner lead of the external walls went up in just five weeks, allowing first-fix work to begin sooner, saving time and money. Robert Bishop, director at RT Bishop was pleased with the rate at which the internal walls went up, at least three weeks sooner than with other building methods.

Having used H + H Celcon Blocks in the past the contractor decided to trial the Rå Build system and the positive results mean he will not hesitate to use the product again. Backed by the assurances of the H+H team, providing technical advice and onsite guidance when needed, the system allowed for a fast and efficient build.

He added: “We decided on H+H because the preference was to build with traditional masonry materials and the Rå Build method makes for a far easier and quicker build. The method enabled us to build the inner leaf of the building before the outer skin went up meaning we could continue with the first-fix faster.

“I am very pleased with the result as it all went up a lot quicker than I thought it would. By using the complete Rå Build method we were able to save about two or three weeks. We have used timber frame in the past but now, after using this system, we will definitely go to H+H again.”

The first stage of the housing association’s project has been completed and a further seven homes will continue at a later stage. The value of the project currently stands at £476,000.


Categories: Architecture, Construction, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Huge Leisure Development Protected by Advanced

Centre Parcs

Industry-leading intelligent fire systems manufacturer Advanced, has been chosen to provide protective panels for a major new Center Parcs UK short break Village.

The newest addition to the Center Parcs family, in Bedfordshire, called Woburn Forest is a 362-acre, £250 million development and is being protected by the latest MxPro 5 panels from Advanced.

Center Parcs Woburn Forest is one of the largest leisure developments in the UK and houses a Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Village square, a 75 bedroom hotel, award-winning spa, plaza building and watersports lake. The contract for the installation was awarded to ADT UK, who worked with the lead contractor and the Advanced team to plan the fire system for the complex. MxPro 5 fire panels were chosen for their world-beating quality, reliability and flexibility.

Neil Walters, Project Manager at ADT Fire and Security said: “The Advanced panels were chosen to be installed at Center Parcs Woburn Forest as they fitted well with the needs of the client. The system is adaptable to the challenging undulating forest environment, which is physically very large and with many diverse areas. Among the stand-out features of the Advanced’s system is the ease of installation, configuration and commissioning. We can set up and manage a large system with complicated cause and effect easily. Importantly for this site as the system grows, it’s very easy to add more panels and configurations to the network”.

MxPro 5 panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, 200 panel networks covering huge areas and tens of thousands of field devices. In total, 2,563 components, including detection and loop devices from Apollo were installed in the system at Woburn Forest, which is built around a high speed, network of 17 four-loop MxPro 5 panels. An iP gateway was installed so that the entire network can be monitored and controlled remotely via a web browser.

MxPro is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Offering real choice and flexibility, it includes two panels ranges, the EN54-2&4 approved MxPro 4 and EN54-2,4&13 approved MxPro 5. It offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. MxPro 5 panels are backward compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm complete false alarm management.

Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager added: “Our MxPro 5 panels lead the multiprotocol market and offer the performance, reliability and flexibility needed by a site such as Center Parcs Woburn Forest and we’re delighted to have worked with an excellent team on the project.”

Advanced is a world leader in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Its legendary performance, quality and ease-of-use sees its products used in prestigious and challenging locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control and fire paging systems. More details can be found on the website at www.advancedco.com.

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Invisible Innovation from Aspex

image 2

Aspex, one of the UK’s leading door and ironmongery companies, has launched the Novista Riser door range, which are designed to ‘disappear’ within the wall construction.

The Novista Riser doorset includes a steel doorframe, which is supplied pre-cut and mitred for easy assembly on site and which, when fitted, is totally concealed within either a stud or block wall rendering the door virtually invisible, when closed, as there are no obtrusive architraves.

Novista Riser doorsets are available as double or singles with either a three- or a four-sided frame. The four-sided frames are particularly suitable for use on riser doors and allow skirting boards to run uninterrupted below the door, thereby allowing the door to blend in almost seamlessly with the adjacent walls. The three-sided frames are suitable for storerooms and cleaner’s cupboards and the height of these can be adjusted to align with adjacent riser doors.

image 1

The Novista Riser doorsets are ideal for use in hotels as bathroom access doors, or risers, and also in commercial office buildings and apartments.

Ashley Burberry, Managing Director of Aspex UK said, “This new range demonstrates our commitment to providing our customers with the highest quality design solutions and helps to overcome the problem on many developments of unsightly riser cupboards. We have demonstrated over recent years that we are happy to, either partner with Europe’s best-in-class manufacturers, or to develop our own products to meet the requirements of architects, designers and developers alike.”

The new Novista Riser doorset range is designed, manufactured and tested to very exacting standards.

The doorsets are available with a fire rating of either FD30 or FD60, with both standard and concealed hinges, in either a three or four sided frame.

The Novista Riser doorset range is supplied in sections making the product easy to store, move around site and install. The system is very versatile and can be used within either taped & jointed or plaster skimmed walls.

For more information please visit www.aspex-uk.co.uk 

Categories: Commercial Buildings, Doors, Windows & Glazing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Virgin Active add value with Gerflor


At the Virgin Active Health Club 97 Aldersgate Street in the City of London, they don’t do things by half measures. They believe in adding membership value all the way down the line. It’s a philosophy that’s made the brand what it is today. With the very latest exercise equipment on the most extensive gym floor in the City of London, Virgin Active 97 Aldersgate Street in the Barbican have some of the best cutting-edge equipment available. It’s a shrine to getting fit and staying healthy in a safe and comfortable environment that oozes quality.


Ensuring that their highly valued members could enjoy every aspect of the clubs facilities including the exercise, the type of flooring was going to be key in their overall offer to new and existing members and their guests.  Looking for the very best solution for this highly prestigious health club Virgin Active turned to international flooring and finishing solutions specialists Gerflor to supply a sports flooring product that would not only perform to the highest standards but would also look fantastic.

Taraflex ™ Sport M Evolution would be the chosen product and the gym would need a total of some 324m2 of this remarkable sports flooring.


Taraflex™ is versatile enough to be used in various multi-specialist applications and affordable for all new projects and refurbishments. This sports flooring solution is used within the education, community, leisure, health & fitness sectors.

Taraflex™ Sport M Evolution sports flooring is ideal for a variety of applications including a myriad of sports and leisure activities.

Taraflex™ has been used in every summer Olympics since 1976 and is available in 17 colours and two wood-effect designs.

The Sport M Evolution product offers a P1 category shock absorbency 25% to 35% and meets the EN 14904 Standard for indoor sports surfaces. Taraflex™ is also recognised for providing durability, safety and comfort without impairing performance.

The range offers greater than 45% force reduction, making it unrivalled in the marketplace in terms of offering comfort for users.

A key area that Virgin Active were interested in were the bespoke Taraflex™ designs which are available by either water cutting, HD printing or line marking.

Virgin Active opted for Taraflex™ in red with painted line marks. This was specified because of the protection it offers, the vibrant red colour and the effectiveness of applying line paint making it a safer, more exciting and defined environment for the clubs’ members.

Talya Nicolay, Brand Manager, Virgin Active commented, “Gerflor came to us with a solution for our functional concept. Our requirement was a shock absorbent floor that offered not only protection to our members, but also a durable base’’. Talya went on to add, “The result is fantastic and the feedback from our fitness professionals and members has been very positive.

We are able to use this floor for group classes, personal training and individual use, thus creating a value-for-money area
that our members really enjoy using’’.

Taraflex™ meets the EN Standard of 22196 for anti- bacterial activity (E. coli – S. aureus – MRSA) (3) returning >99% levels of growth inhibition. The product is also treated with Protecsol®, which renders polish redundant and is triple action meaning no polish is ever required, it contributes to easy maintenance and is anti-friction burn and slide/grip.

Taraflex™ has a double density foam backing and as another bonus, it’s environmentally friendly. Gerflor offers a number of installation solutions for Taraflex™ including the Eco-Fit System which allows fast, free floating installation.

Learn more about Gerflor solutions, ask for a free sample or contact us to speak to a specialist today by calling 01926 622 600, emailing contractuk@gerflor.com, or visiting gerflor.co.uk for the latest innovations.

Categories: Flooring, Leisure & Recreation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Is this the most secure U-PVC door available in the market?

DCF 1.0

DCF 1.0

Total Glass has introduced a new advanced multi-point locking system as standard on all its single and double U-PVC entrance doors manufactured in-house at its Liverpool production facility.

Incorporating a ‘next generation’ anti-bump, anti-drill, anti-pick cylinder, the new Yale 8 superior locking solution has a high-security tandem bolt system with an additional centre hookbolt, providing improved resistance to attack.

DCF 1.0

DCF 1.0

The system’s unique hook and linear bolt combination locking points assist door seal compression and maximise security. Its user-friendly keep adjustment ensures optimal weather-proofing for all homes.

“We believe we can now offer one of the most secure standard specifications on the market,” says Phill Cresswell, Total Glass Sales and Marketing Manager, “and this is proving very popular with our customers who are benefiting from additional selling opportunities.

“Homeowners are keen to install the most secure products to protect their properties and our doors are designed to do just that; supported by a 10-year warranty for complete peace of mind.”

Total Glass U-PVC doors are available in a choice of nine colour options from stock with a choice of thresholds, hardware and glazing options, all delivered in five to 10 days.

For more information, contact Total Glass on 0151 549 2339 or visit the website at www.totalglass.com.

Categories: Construction, Doors, Windows & Glazing, Safety & Security | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pushing the Boundaries with Light Steel Frame

Lincoln Gateway

As the government continues to set ambitious goals for the construction industry, there is a growing demand to construct faster, more sustainably and at a lower cost. But how can this be achieved?

Light Steel Frame has been revolutionising the construction industry for years, however recent technological advances in Building Information Modelling, and lean manufacturing means that LSF now offers an unparalleled freedom to construct faster and more accurately. The combination of strength, durability and precision engineering ensure light steel frame offers broad parameters to explore innovative solutions and optimise value engineering.

There are many ways in which light steel frame is perfectly positioned to meet the objectives.

Target 1: Faster Delivery

Time is a critical factor in construction – as every project manager well knows. That is one of the reasons why light steel frame has become the preferred construction method for forward-thinking property designers and builders.

Offsite construction projects can be delivered in up to half the time compared to traditional construction, delivering radically reduced build times, leading to less time onsite and ultimately, a faster return on investment.

Target 2: Lower Emissions

A major benefit is a minimised impact on the environment, with national targets for housebuilding, carbon emission reductions and the push for ‘zero carbon’ buildings – light gauge steel is perfectly positioned to play a crucial role in meeting and delivering these targets. Steel is notorious for its longevity and ability to be multicycled – providing no onsite waste and thus enabling for a more sustainable future.

Target 3: Reduce Costs

Light steel frame provides a lower cost option, whilst still maintaining a superior quality.

Cost savings are made due to the speed of construction, the frame is installed very quickly once onsite and resource efficiencies are also made due to the reduced site labour requirement.

Factory controlled manufacturing conditions eradicate the risk of onsite variability, delivering safer construction and improved health and safety onsite – all reducing the risk of unexpected costs during the build.

Furthermore, the longevity of light steel frame minimises costs in the long term. Steel is unaffected by shrinkage unlike materials such as timber, resulting in dramatically reduced repair costs down the line.

Companies such as EOS Facades have been driving light gauge steel within modern offsite manufactured solutions, providing the industry with quality products through precision manufacturing whilst delivering accurate results on time and on budget, resulting in high performance construction that is energy efficient and supports greater construction targets.

This year, EOS Facades are offering all-inclusive fixed price packages that are supplied with proprietary brackets and fixings required. Plus they are now offering all Double Studs/Opening Jambs and DSL Lintels dispatched from the factory pre-assembled. This is a flexible service and should the client require the product to arrive unassembled, EOS will pre-punch in the factory, ghost assemble and supply, together with all the necessary screws and special drill bits, for assembly and installation onsite.

EOS Facades welcome enquiries of all types. Please feel free to contact the team direct, they will be very happy to assist in any way! Simply visit the company contacts page: http://www.eos-facades.co.uk/contact-us/

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Multi-task with new M&E conversion course!

mechanical to electrical
Logic4training has introduced a Mechanical to Electrical Conversion Course which will enable mechanical engineers to achieve a multi-skilled status and develop electrical maintenance competencies; such as isolation and termination of a range of cables; to support and enhance their role.

Designed for mechanical engineers working within an industrial environment, the course covers everything from BS7671, to earthing, bonding and fault-finding on single and three phase systems. Logic4training also offers a bespoke, on-site* element, to specifically suit the plant and working environment of individual candidates.

Mark Krull, director at Logic4training, explained: “This new conversion course is ideal for any engineer with a mechanical background looking to branch out and develop their electrical skills, enabling them to operate across the two disciplines, as their role may often demand.”

The Mechanical to Electrical Conversion Course is split into two modules; both five days long and covers a range of competence-based electrical assessments, including:

• Isolation
• Inverters and motors
• 3 phase isolation
• Working safely
• Termination of a range of cables
• Plugs and sockets
• Replacing and resetting protective devices
• Replacing motors and sensors on a like-for-like basis

Training is available at all three of Logic4training centres in Northolt, Basildon and Luton. For more information or to book, visit www.logic4training.co.uk or call 0345 845 7222.

*For the on-site training option there needs to be a minimum of four people from one company (syllabus could also be amended as required).

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Building Regulations When Tackling New and Existing Flat Roofs

Building Regulations now require where feasible the extent of insulation within specified elements is upgraded as part of renovation works if the existing provisions are insufficient. Accordingly when constructing or replacing a cold flat roof, both ventilation and insulation qualities are normally reviewed.

Despite the growing popularity of converting to a warm roof, there are commonly situations where this is not possible.

This is often because the roof surface cannot be raised because of the proximity of external sills, openings, soil pipes etc.

Where a cold roof is the selected or default construction, there is an accompanying need to cross ventilate within it as well as ensuring any link from it to an external cavity wall complies with Building Regulations.

The Type RAV-FL is a flat roof ventilator from Cavity Trays of Yeovil. It is fitted by opening it like a book so one edge can be secured into the top of a timber upstand vertically battened off the wall surface. The Type RAV-FL is then closed until its adjacent edge is against the external wall masonry to which it is then secured. The result creates a protected airflow route via which air can travel and cross ventilate the roof space. The opposing roof edge incorporates a ventilator in the soffit or fascia. Cavity Trays offers a range of ventilator styles and ventilator colours from which to choose to achieve a balanced arrangement.


The Type RAV-FL provides the requisite airflow route to comply with Building Regulations

The Type RAV-FL provides the requisite airflow route to comply with Building Regulations

To arrest water gravitating within the external skin (above the Type RAV-FL) a preformed cavitray with an external flashing is located. The flashing is dressed down over the ventilator upper surface, ensuring protection against wind-driven rain.

One of a number of cavitrays offered to Cavity trays of Yeovil to prevent dampness gravitating below the roof line

One of a number of cavitrays offered to Cavity trays of Yeovil to prevent dampness gravitating below the roof line

Protecting the building envelope is the purpose of a wide range of products offered by Cavity Trays, and it is also the name of the latest technical manual released by the Company.

To secure your copy contact Cavity Trays of Yeovil . www.cavitytrays.com

Categories: Construction, Walls | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Pop Up Power Supplies ® specified at Chelsea Football Club


Pop Up Power Supplies ® recently installed nine retractable service power units within the stadium arena at Chelsea Football Club. The half tonne units are buried out of site beneath the perimeter of the pitch and are raised out of the ground when required.

Chelsea Technical Services Team needed a power solution to enable the ground staff to power their specialist hydroponic equipment to nurture the growth of the pitch. The solution was Pop Up Power retractable service units. The cabling was provided by YESS.

The Chelsea ground staff now have access to multiple 63 A and 32 A TPN waterproof power feeds.

The cabling and power units were installed and commissioned by Springfield Engineers over a 6 week time frame which was ahead of schedule.

Pop Up Power ® also supply electricity through Inground Units with flip top lids and Bollards in a variety of designs to suit the surroundings.

For more information please take a look at our website www.popuppower.co.uk or call us directly on 020 8227 0208.

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

Axter supplies on show at Fulham Wharf

Axter Ltd  Waterproofing at Fulham Wharf

Fulham Wharf has become one of London’s most coveted addresses, and it’s clear to see why; striking architecture, a variety of homes and amenities, as well as enviable landscaped outside space with access to the River Thames. With such a large variety of requirements to be met, and the necessity for expert materials to ensure a high quality build that would not fail, Axter Ltd knew they were the right waterproofing designers and manufacturers for the project.

Axter Ltd supplied their Wilotekt® – Plus system, a robust, inverted, second generation hot melt structural waterproofing system that met the demands of this challenging project. With the redevelopment of an existing supermarket and the simultaneous construction of 463 new homes, it was paramount that the waterproofing was resilient, capable of withstanding construction traffic and adaptable to suit the variety of roof finishes required.

Various challenges such as limited site access and the necessity to keep the existing supermarket fully operational during construction meant fast installation and careful management of the waterproofing was essential. Axter were relied upon to design bespoke waterproofing solutions to accommodate some intricate details, including a complex movement joint, which was concealed below two metres of dense landscaping.

The project utilised three core disciplines within Axter’s system portfolio: Wilotekt-Plus hot melt structural waterproofing, Ecoflex single ply and Starcoat liquid membranes. Careful design consideration was provided to ensure Axter’s driving philosophy of the right system in the right application was employed successfully and the building would perform to the highest standards.

Axter Ltd – 01473 724056

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

Centor Integrated Doors win Red Dot Award


Centor is celebrating worldwide recognition of its pioneering Integrated Doors after winning a Red Dot Award in the internationally respected design competition.

Challenging all concepts of what we know as a door today, Centor has integrated doors, screens, shades and hardware as one, to create a new category of Integrated Doors that connect people with the world outside without the compromises.

The innovative built-in screens and shades provide unprecedented versatility, allowing control of sunlight, insects and privacy so homeowners can enjoy inside-outside all year round. Concealed locks and hardware contribute to the contemporary look, while doors move with fingertip operation thanks to Centor’s patent-pending hardware.

Nigel Spork, Centor’s Managing Director, is thrilled with the award: “I’m hugely proud that we can delight people at home by combining beautiful design and phenomenal thermal performance with some mechanical magic.”

Centor’s Group Manager of Product & Engineering, David Chappell, added: “Turning vision into reality is not easy. But winning such a prestigious design award validates all the hard work we have all put in to create a truly best-in-class product, and gives us confidence to keep striving for ultimate perfection.”

Integrated Doors are sold through a network of Centor Integrated Dealers across the UK. To find out more visit centor.com

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

Student housing fixed by Kladfix

Deaconess House1

Kladfix, the rainscreen cladding support system specialist has supplied its KX01 fittings for a new £14.5 million development project transforming the historic Deaconess House on Edinburgh’s Pleasance into 315 student apartments for the University of Edinburgh.

Deaconess House opened in 1894 and ran as a hospital for just under a century, at which time it was renovated into office accommodation.  Twenty four years later and the site is transformed into three blocks of student residence. Situated in the heart of the University of Edinburgh city centre campus, the four and five storey buildings will be centred around a courtyard which includes an amphitheatre. Lakesmere, the building envelope specialist specified Kladfix’s KX01 vertical cladding support system for this project.

“The KX01 system is extremely cost effective” said Morton Anderson, Lakesmere’s Business Development Manager. “We were under extreme cost pressure with this project and required a product which would fit within the tight budget.  Kladfix offers affordable yet high quality solutions, so the KX01 system was the ideal product for this project.”

Kladfix KX01 fittings have been used to fix approximately 1000m² of stone cladding and 300m² of aluminium cladding on the three student apartment blocks. These fittings are suitable for use as a back frame system and are the basis to all of Kladfix’s systems. KX01 fittings are also used for face and rivet fixing for fibre cement, high-pressure laminate, ACM and metal rainscreen cladding panels.

Deaconess House PR Shot

Kladfix holds extensive stock to ensure orders can always be met and where necessary, immediate delivery can be provided. All Kladfix cladding systems can be engineered to project specific requirements thanks to the expertise of its technical design support service. This provides architects and specifiers freedom with an almost infinite range of façade appearance and layout options.

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

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

British Hardwoods


As the construction industry increasingly embraces sustainability, so timber is becoming increasingly popular and is reclaiming ground that had been lost to plastics and metal in recent decades, certainly for structural use.

Modern building designs incorporate sustainability through advanced building designs and techniques, but also through the materials chosen. And there is a growing popular expectation that sustainability will be a founding principle of new projects and indeed major refurbishments at the design stage. The same thinking increasingly applies to furniture and other products as customers and consumers expect responsible sourcing and manufacture.


However, while sustainability is a primary driver for growth in the use of timber, designers and architects are re-familiarising themselves with the aesthetic and creative advantages of timber, and in particular British timber.

British timber is inherently more sustainable than imported timber. Through using British timber, designers and builders are assured the timber comes from properly managed woodlands, and the ecological, social, and economic effects of the entire timber process can be easily inspected and measured. In choosing British timber you are supporting the British timber industry and the communities and environments that rely on it. And of course you are avoiding the increased carbon footprint that importing timber carries with it.

The other major advantages of British timber are the character and quality of the wood, and the design flexibility provided by local sawmills that can cut bespoke sizes and lengths to suit. Imported woods are invariably generic in both grade and available sizes, yet by visiting your local sawmill, specific requirements can be discussed and you can often view the actual timber before making a choice. So where imported woods are ‘off the shelf’, it’s worth thinking of British timber as more akin to Savile Row.


Oak is perhaps the most typical of the hardwoods used in British construction. Yet there are clear differences between home grown oak and imported oak. For example, British oak is considered to be stronger than French oak because it has a more interlocking grain. There is also more of an option to choose ‘character’ grades with home grown oak than there is with imported oak, and once again, for the architect or designer looking for something special, they can visit a local sawmill to inspect and choose specific timber. English oak tends to feature a more interesting grain and more in the way of knot clusters and burrs. For designers who are looking for a rustic appearance British grown oak is the perfect choice.




Vastern Timber has recently supplied premium English oak to landmark restoration work at the Tower of London. Working in close partnership with heavy framing company GMT Timber Frames and leading furniture designers Luke Hughes, Vastern Timber has supplied wood for the reinstatement of a drawbridge dating back to 1834, as well for the production of furniture for the restoration of the iconic Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula.

Following years of planning and five months of construction, the drawbridge, which originally allowed munitions to be brought into the basement of the iconic White Tower from the wharf, has been completely reinstated and officially unveiled, giving millions of visitors the opportunity to once again witness the rising of the drawbridge, a sight not seen since the 1970s when the rising drawbridge element was replaced with a permanent fixture.

English oak is the ideal timber for these projects. It is robust enough to last centuries and is the most iconic of the English woods. And as Geoff Foers at GMT Timber Frames explains, “It is important to a lot of our customers to use English timber instead of imported wood, and the Tower of London were very happy that we were using English oak.”

While there are clear advantages to choosing British hardwoods, there is still much ground to be made up over imported timber. Currently, only 6% of hardwoods currently used in the UK are native, as unfortunately we have become overly reliant on imported hardwoods in the UK, to the detriment of our own domestic hardwood industry. This in turn has had a negative effect on our own native woodlands.

The loss of manufacturing, and specifically the furniture making industry, and the associated loss of skills in combination with the rise in imports, has resulted in the contraction of demand for British timber. As a result our domestic industry has contracted, with inevitable job losses and impacted communities. And with this contraction there has not been the investment made into making sure our woodlands are properly managed. Research has shown that up to 65% of our native mixed broadleaf woodlands are unmanaged.

Yet there is no reason why designers should ignore the design and sustainability advantages of British woods. From a design perspective, as well as social, economic and environmental perspective, there are plenty of good reasons to Buy British.


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

Introduction to unitised curtain walling – a new CPD module available from Reynaers


There is a new CPD certified module available on the Reynaers Aluminium website accessible to anyone seeking to develop their knowledge and skills.

Entitled: Introduction to Unitised curtain walling, the module presents a comprehensive and extremely clear guide to the façade system and includes a series of questions that have been compiled to test the knowledge gained in order to qualify for CPD credits.

Successful completion of the module gives 60 minutes of CPD credits and the module can be accessed on the Reynaers website:   www.reynaers.co.uk

Detailed examples on types of unitised curtain walling, distinguishing features and benefits along with installation advantages of the façade system are given throughout the module.

Accredited by the CPD Certification Service the module has to be read in full and then a data entry completed on line followed by a series of questions, all relating to the module in order to qualify. Results are returned within 14 days of completion of the module and if all the questions are answered correctly a CPD certificate is issued.

Extolling the virtues of the system a unitised façades brochure from Reynaers Aluminium emphasises the endless design possibilities and solutions the system has to offer. It also makes useful reading to accompany the CPD module.

A selection of façade installations is covered in the brochure, demonstrating the versatility and adaptability of the systems in helping to turn conceptual designs into stunning reality.

The 32-page brochure provides full details on the company’s innovative unitised façade range of curtain wall systems the use of which facilitate a fast and economical on-site installation. One of the many benefits is that each unit is prefabricated, allowing greater control on quality, before delivery to site in time for installation.

Copies of the Unitised Façades brochure are available from: Reynaers Limited, Tel: 0121 421 1999, email: reynaersltd@reynaers.com or visit the website: www.reynaers.co.uk .

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

Tile Mountain’s Top Quality Tiles


The Doblo polished porcelain range of tiles from Tile Mountain are highly durable and suitable for both floor and wall installation.

Available in a choice of four colours, three finishes and two sizes, the tiles have rectified edges and a subtle fleck pattern.

Doblo tiles from Tile Mountain

Suitable for both domestic and commercial use these tiles can be delivered directly to site from Tile Mountain’s two acre UK warehouse site.


Categories: Construction, Flooring, Interior Design, Walls | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swinging or sliding entrance doors?

By Julie Jarvis, Technical Director, DR Services

Architects and interior designers, as well as the housebuilders or developers on whose projects they are involved make many judgements based on price, quality and aesthetic taste; though this is only part of the process – as we can understand by looking at the significant differences between swinging and sliding doors.

Though the most contrasting characteristic is in the geometry of their motion – one a rotation while the other translates through a single plane – there are various other criteria to be considered. So what will decide the choice between swinging or sliding doors?

Certainly for the vast majority of domestic and even commercial situations, a basic swing door will suffice; but dozens of different factors can dictate that some type of sliding door installation may be appropriate or even essential.


The arc described by a swing door as it is opened is the single most relevant factor, in that the amount of clear space required in front of, and to the side of a doorway, can count against their use.

Although this is readily apparent, the full implications only impressed themselves upon most designers following the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act.   For an able bodied user, the act of turning a conventional door handle and swinging back the door leaf is completed without conscious effort. However, for someone confined to a wheelchair, or even a person encumbered with an infant, or heavy packages, the operation can be both inconvenient and potentially hazardous.

Since the advent of the DDA, we are used to seeing sliding door adaptations on quite humble high street outlets, while they far outnumber revolving doors in very high pedestrian traffic locations such as rail stations.  What is more, top hung or bottom sliding gear can permit even very heavy door leafs to move aside easily and quickly with a minimum of noise and inconvenience.  In fact D R Services can supply sliding door gear capable of dealing with leaf weights from 15 kg up to three tonnes, either opened manually or electrically powered.

Looking at the main regulatory requirements affecting sliding door systems, the Disability Discrimination Act requires a maximum force of 30 Newton metres to get a door rolling, and 25 Newton metres to keep it moving.

The Building Regulations also say you have to protect someone falling against an automatic sliding door, being injured by its movement.  Some of the guard barriers used are quite obtrusive, but our aesthetic answer is in the form of a frameless section of safety glass or a simple stainless steel railing appearing out of the ground. The infill would be 10 mm toughened; or 12 mm toughened if it cantilevers out of a floor track.

One of the challenges that we are regularly set by clients for commercial applications is to create a sliding door that runs independently of the soffit, normally because there is a suspended ceiling that cannot bear weight.  The Trojan 120 manual system can span openings in masonry walls and stud partitions, while the tracks can also be mounted across glass walls.

This can create a completely transparent division where glass doors permit or deny passage. The 120 kg weight limit for Trojan equates to an area for the door leaf of four square metres, depending on thickness,Trojan 250G 001 (2) hi-res

There is also a growing market for curved doors where D R Services has introduced a totally visible, external stainless steel system which not only features rectangular section rail, it also conceals the wheels within a square housing.  One of the stand-out projects where this has been used to offer visual impact is the headquarters of Kildare County Council, Ireland. There we created a series of 19 cellular offices, where the 2.4 metre high glass screens stopped well short of the ceiling level.

Sliding stacking walls in frameless glass are frequently high on the menu for interior designers to make the space more flexible; and at the Intercontinental Hotel on Hyde Park, D R Services created a glass wall which, when not in use, can be completely concealed behind oak panelling. The bespoke glass doors contain wire gauze for visual effect while the walls and ceiling are fashioned from 17.5 mm water glass where deep sand-blasting of the laminated layers creates the illusion of ripples.

Even more recently we have further expanded our portfolio of glass options so that a very wide selection of materials and fine wood veneers can be incorporated into laminated leaves. The glass interlayer can even be side lit for extra impact.

Finally for those clients who cannot decide between sliding and swinging doors, there is a hybrid product where the 100 mm top rail divides horizontally to allow the door to pivot. The split rail is then locked together for the door to slide aside.

For more details call D R Services on 01279 445277, e-mail info@drservices.co.uk or look at website www.drservices.co.uk.

Categories: Commercial Buildings, Construction, Doors, Windows & Glazing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Dome skylight transforms care home

SDClient:  Brindaavan Care Home, Mid Glamorgan

Architect:  Tim Worsfold Architects

The challenge: To provide more natural light to an enclosed courtyard

The solution: A bespoke Solardome skylight

Dome specification

  • 4-frequency geodesic dome
  • 5 vents with actuators
  • Diameter – 5.94m / 19’6”
  • Height – 2.40m / 7’10”
  • Volume – 40.70m3 / 1440ft3
  • Area of base – 28.80m2 / 310ft2


Since his success in using a Solardome skylight to improve quality of life for residents at a care home in Wales, architect Tim Worsfold has picked up more work in the healthcare sector. We spoke to him about the project at Brindaavan Care Home to find out exactly what he did and whether he would do it again…


When the owner bought the care home in 2014 the day areas were quite fragmented, which meant staff were dotted around the spaces.

According to Tim: “The main area requiring development was an enclosed courtyard with the building running round it on three sides and a leaking glass conservatory.”

The vision

Tim explained: “The owner wanted to bring together the dayrooms by building a roof over the whole of the courtyard, which then produced a room of about 106 square metres. But being enclosed, he needed to bring in more natural light into the middle of this area.”

After a period of exhaustive research and careful consideration Solardome Industries emerged as the favoured contractor to deliver the vision.

On completion

Now the work is done the new improved day area has a large flat roof with a six-metre-diameter geodesic glass dome right in the middle.

Tim said: “When the sun shines it’s like being outside. Add to that the actuators for venting and underfloor heating, and the residents are in the perfect constant environment.”


Other benefits

One innovation was a coloured LED ring around the base of the dome that lights up and changes colour as it mingles with the ambient light from below. This has a therapeutic effect on residents, many of who live with dementia. But that’s not all…

“The second thing it does is work as a brand recognition tool. When it was first installed they had an audience outside. People stopped in the street to admire it,” Tim enthused.

Will Jones, Home Manager added: “The local authority is delighted by the dome and feels it has improved the home environment, and as a result they have part-funded the provision of cutting-edge support and training to further enhance the life experience of the residents.”



Since completing this project Tim has gone on to get more healthcare work. When asked whether he would use Solardome Industries again, the architect said: “If a client rang up and wanted a skylight I would be more than happy to recommend Solardome.

“I did like working with them. I got on well with everybody and I knew where they were coming from. They were receptive to changes, so yes, I would do it again.”

For more details, please contact Solardome Industries Limited

T: +44(0)23 8066 7890 E: sales@solardome.co.uk W: www.solardome.co.uk/commercial

Order a brochure today or call us now to discuss your needs

Categories: Architecture, Construction, Environmental Control, Healthcare Buildings | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Biomass maintenance courses tailored to your needs!

Image converted using ifftoany

Natural energy provider, Euroheat has added bespoke biomass maintenance courses to its training portfolio designed to keep biomass installers up-to-speed with all their servicing and maintenance requirements on its range of domestic and commercial biomass boilers.

Now that the biomass sector in the UK is a maturing one – the commercial arm in particular – it is vital that biomass professionals stay ahead of the game and ensure that equipment is fully operational and efficient throughout its lifespan; to both ensure customer satisfaction and maintain the high eco-credentials of biomass technology.

Simon Holden, co-founder of Euroheat, added: “Our new bespoke biomass maintenance courses are aimed at keeping our army of biomass installers armed with the appropriate knowledge throughout a boilers life, so that all requirements specific to that product are met. We want to see our equipment is kept working at optimum efficiency at all times, minimising breakdowns and increasing the longevity of each biomass heating system.”

Whatever the product or fuel type, Euroheat can provide up-to-date training and information on all areas of maintenance; essential for ensuring a biomass system works at its optimum annualised efficiency. Through proper servicing and maintenance, performance is enhanced, the need for spare parts is reduced and breakdown is prevented, further enhancing the cost-saving benefits of this technology.

The courses are held at Euroheat’s state-of-the-art training centre in Bishops Frome, alongside its range of MCS and HETAS training programmes. For more information, call 01885 491139 or visit www.training.euroheat.co.uk to access the online enquiry form.

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

Launch of Schueco’s Parametric Façade System offers architects new level of design freedom

03 Ansicht Stockwerk_1

The launch of Schueco’s Parametric Façade System by sustainable building envelope specialist, Schueco UK Ltd, offers architects a new level of dynamic design freedom. For the first time ever, geometrically complicated 3D façades can be designed as straightforward system solutions whose cost can be calculated with the certainty of a series product.

Like all Schueco systems, the Parametric Façade is highly insulated, with Uf values up to 0.5 W/m2K, and surface elements that can be transparent or opaque. Sunlight and shading, guided views and daylight optimisation can all be employed as active design factors. The system can also accommodate BIPV panels for solar energy generation.

Central to the Schueco Parametric solution is the continuous, closed digital process chain that operates in all phases of design, planning and fabrication. The result is that commonly encountered interface problems are eliminated and a uniform, consistent data model for every individual involved in the process is guaranteed.

Schueco parametric planning tools include a library of ‘intelligent’ façade modules for CAD programs that can be freely combined and incorporated into a parametric façade during the design phase.

Their use allows complex shapes to be progressively simplified, establishing rules and connections between individual design elements that can lead to extraordinary reductions in detailing time: for example, instead of the current norm of 24 hours per unit, use of SchüCAD Inventor slashes the per-unit time to a scarcely believable 8 minutes.

With the Parametric System, Schueco has made customer-specific, individualised mass production for free-form façades an affordable reality, combining in one package the economic benefits of industrial series production with clients’ desire for individual and exclusive products and solutions.

The system has won Schueco an Honourable Mention in the Red Dot Awards: Product Design 2015.

For further information on the Schueco Parametric Façade System, please email mkinfobox@schueco.com or visit www.schueco.co.uk

Categories: Architecture, Commercial Buildings, Construction, Energy Saving, Sustainable Development | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Project of the month – Stunning curved glass structure at Slackwood Farm




Cantifix collaborated with Paul Archer Design to create this stunning curved glass structure – as part of the renovation and extension of a country farmhouse in Lancashire.

Constructed from sections of oversized, curved glass; the structure adds a dining area and separate living space to the property.

The curved glass sections are set into a stone base which is built into the landscaping – giving the structure a floating appearance.

The 360-degree glass walls provide the perfect spot for the client to bird watch – as well as to take advantage of the surrounding views. The old well shaft in the floor was also glazed to create an interesting feature.



In the dining area a glass roof draws in natural light, and its supporting angled glass beams ensure that this light is not obstructed. The glazing is fixed directly onto the stone wall of the farmhouse, which becomes an internal wall for the dining area.


The extension also features two sets of Sky-Frame doors and one set of Sky-Frame windows, which lead out from the new rooms onto a patio and seating area – creating a new ultra-modern wing for this listed building.



About Cantifix

Starting as a conservatory business, Cantifix soon developed a positive reputation amongst architects. Four years later in 1990, Cantifix completed a groundbreaking, experimental project with Eva Jiricna Architects, involving frameless glass panels, bonded with silicone; and no structural support. The project was a success and a new era began as structural glazing experts.

Over the subsequent years Cantifix has stood by its core values of quality, innovation, attention to detail and co-operation; and has grown largely through referrals and repeat business. The company now has a wide customer base of architects, designers and contractors, and aims to remain permanently at the forefront of the glazing industry.

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

An architecturally elegant & amazingly well-crafted extension in Clapham


Cantifix worked with Dust Architecture and PVA Developments on this townhouse in Clapham, designing and installing a glass enclosure that extends out from the kitchen at the rear of the property. Access to the garden is provided by a set of minimally framed SkyFrame doors, which glide open across the fixed glass. The doors meet at the corner of the enclosure, and open without any supporting post – allowing an unbroken view, and a seamless transition from inside to out.

Chelsham_Road_5.jpg, corner opening   Chelsham_Road_10.jpg Chelsham_Road_32.jpg

The bottom framing of the doors is concealed below the finished floor, and above the doors is a set of vertical glazed panels – back painted to hide the top of the doors. This allows for an elegant, completely glazed appearance – and gives the structure a feeling of lightness. Chelsham_Road_27.jpg, corner opening

Alongside is a second glass enclosure, which includes a structurally glazed roof of over 6 metres in length. This roof runs along the length of the room to meet an angled panel of vertical glazing – drawing in plenty of natural light, and opening up the entire back of the house. Chelsham_Road_13.jpg   Chelsham_Road_23.jpg

About Cantifix
Cantifix was founded in 1986 by two of its current directors, Charlie and William Sharman. Since then the company has enjoyed steady growth, towards its current status as one of the market leaders in specialist glazing…
Starting as a conservatory business, Cantifix soon developed a positive reputation amongst architects. Four years later in 1990, Cantifix completed a groundbreaking, experimental project with Eva Jiricna Architects, involving frameless glass panels, bonded with silicone; and no structural support.The project was a success and a new era began as structural glazing experts. Over the subsequent years Cantifix has stood by its core values of quality, innovation, attention to detail and co-operation; and has grown largely through referrals and repeat business.The company now has a wide customer base of architects, designers and contractors, and aims to remain permanently at the forefront of the glazing industry.
For further information, please visit http://www.cantifix.co.uk

Categories: Architecture, Construction | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Project Focus – An innovation in glazing

Manor Farm

Architect: Yiangou Architects

Contractor: W G Carter Limited

Location: Oxfordshire

Manor Farm 8

Manor Farm 21

This rural manor house in Oxfordshire was renovated and extended in 2013 to include a swimming pool room and gym room – both of which benefit from extensive use of sleek, frameless glazing.

Cantifix worked with Yiangou Architects to create an elegant design for the swimming pool room – bordered with frameless glass walls and a huge, 7 metre wide set of SkyFrame doors which span one side of the pool. The doors have 8 panels on a 4-track system, and all the panels are capable of sliding – allowing a wide variety of opening configurations.

Manor Farm 30

The glazing is continued through to the gym – with a frameless glass link structure between the two rooms, as well as frameless glass panels and a PureGlaze pivot door in the gym room. This room also features a huge Invisible Corner alongside the PureGlaze door – providing a completely uninterrupted view over the garden.

Manor Farm 43

Another PureGlaze pivot door, matching side panels and a PureGlaze window were fitted to the stairway entrance, and 4 single-glazed, sandblasted internal doors were fitted within the house – complete with a Ritec coating to prevent fingerprints.

The finished extension looks modern and luxurious, and both contrasts with and complements the old building.

Manor Farm 24

Manor Farm 20

About Cantifix

Starting as a conservatory business, Cantifix soon developed a positive reputation amongst architects. Four years later in 1990, Cantifix completed a groundbreaking, experimental project with Eva Jiricna Architects, involving frameless glass panels, bonded with silicone; and no structural support. The project was a success and a new era began as structural glazing experts.

Over the subsequent years Cantifix has stood by its core values of quality, innovation, attention to detail and co-operation; and has grown largely through referrals and repeat business. The company now has a wide customer base of architects, designers and contractors, and aims to remain permanently at the forefront of the glazing industry.

Over the subsequent years Cantifix has stood by its core values of quality, innovation, attention to detail and co-operation; and has grown largely through referrals and repeat business. The company now has a wide customer base of architects, designers and contractors, and aims to remain permanently at the forefront of the glazing industry.


Tel: 020 8203 6203

Categories: Architecture, Doors, Windows & Glazing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mobilane is supporting the International Conference on Living Walls and EcoSystems

Originally posted on Mobilane UK - Building Green:

Mobilane is excited to be attending the International Conference on Living Walls and Ecosystem Services, hosted by The University of Greenwich at the Green Roofs and Living Walls Centre 6-8 July 2015

The three day event will offer delegates a range of international speakers and industry-lead workshops, as well as walking tours of London living walls conducted before and after the conference, as well as a networking reception and an exhibition of living wall systems.

Workshops at the conference will focus on; system installation and maintenance; plant selection; valuation of ecosystem services; and living walls for vertical farming.

“This is a very exciting event,” says Paul Garlick, National Business Manager at Mobilane UK. “The market for living walls and green roofs is becoming well established in the UK and across many other territories, but there is still a lot of work to be done in underlining and promoting the value…

View original 172 more words

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