Vent-Axia Supports Noise Action Week


Leading British fan manufacturer Vent-Axia is delighted to be supporting Noise Action Week (23-28 May 2016), which is coordinated by Environmental Protection UK. Sound levels are an important comfort issue for households with nuisance noise causing unnecessary stress in the home. Vent-Axia is therefore committed to reducing sound levels in its products to help create a peaceful home environment.

Vent-Axia leads the way in ventilation providing some of the quietest products on the market. In existing homes Vent-Axia offers a solution to noisy extract fans with its innovative Silent Fan which is ideal for refurbishment projects. Holding the Noise Abatement Society’s Quiet Mark 2016, the Silent Fan is the quietest intermittent fan available, operating at just 14dBA. Plus the launch of its new improved and redesigned Silent Fan now offers ‘visual’ silence as well as acoustic silence. The new aesthetics of the fan boast simple, clean lines with an attractive slimline fascia that looks like a bathroom tile ensuring it is unobtrusive for households.va2

Meanwhile, the social housing sector has very specific set of needs when it comes to ventilation. Vent-Axia’s new Lo-Carbon Revive has been designed to meet these needs providing good indoor air quality and comfort for tenants while being quick and easy to install, low maintenance and reliable. With tenant satisfaction vital, Vent-Axia’s R&D department has developed Revive’s innovative Multi-Vortex™ technology which has a high-pressure hybrid impellor that is powerful and efficient, yet quiet. The fan operates discreetly providing continuous ventilation, removing moisture and stale air, leaving a comfortable home environment.

For the New Build sector, Vent-Axia has achieved the holy grail of high efficiency and low sound levels with its Sentinel Kinetic Advance Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR). Topping the PCDB list with exceptional efficiency, near silent operation, high pressure development and improved indoor air quality, the Advance also features time-saving commissioning and control via a unique web-enabled App. Featuring trickle settings of up to 40% that still stay below 20dBA the Advance boasts a specific fan power (SFP) as low as 0.38W/l/s, combined with 93% heat recovery and a high pressure airflow of 100l/s at 150Pa. Maximised airflows and minimised noise and energy are achieved through cutting-edge EC motor and highly sculpted interiors.

We are delighted to be supporting Noise Action Week again this year since the initiative focuses attention on the problems excessive noise can cause for us all. At Vent-Axia we are committed to developing ventilation solutions that meet our customers’ needs. Sound levels are very important to our customers so our R&D department works hard to lead the way in developing quiet ventilation technology. At Vent-Axia we are serious about sound levels which is why we have invested in our sound laboratory and use computational fluid dynamics to ensure we can provide the quietest ventilation on the market,” said Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia.

The Quiet Mark 2016 is the international mark of approval from the UK’s Noise Abatement Society, endorsed by DEFRA, awarding the quietest high performance technology and solutions to reduce unwanted noise in our environment. The Quiet Mark is awarded following rigorous testing and approval from accredited acoustic experts, including the Association of Noise Consultants. The Quiet Mark award enables users to easily select quieter products via the online Quiet Mark Directory

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

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Building Better with BIM

By-lined Article by Steve Thompson, MD of EOS Facades


The digital age is evolving. We are constantly adapting technology in order to enhance all aspects of the modern world. We have changed the way we socialise, the way we travel and the way we work in order to integrate the latest technology in our everyday lives.

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


So why is BIM so crucial to transforming the industry?

Steve Thompson, MD of EOS Facades, specialists in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of steel sections for panelised or volumetric offsite solutions, shares his views on the positive impact that BIM will have on today’s construction industry:

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


In 2011 the government committed to the use of ‘Level 2’ collaborative 3D BIM on all centrally-procured government projects by this year. This is strategically planned as part of a larger overall strategy to combine the use of BIM with the latest modern technology, leading to the collaboration of the government and construction industry working to enhance skills and reduce the cost of infrastructure. The aim of this strategy is ultimately to position digitally enhanced construction as a prerequisite across the UK construction industry.

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

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


I feel that the government’s implementation of BIM Level 2 will have a positive effect on our industry by bringing about progressive changes to the way that we work. Through the execution of this strategy, it is predicted that BIM will bring many employment opportunities, particularly for niche software developers and offsite manufactures, as well as upskilling current employees within our industry. By creating critical mass and certainty of demand, businesses should feel confident when investing in the development of BIM within their companies.

BIM is a key enabler for integrating offsite technology into construction practices – this is something crucial within government projects as there is an acute need for time efficient construction, as well as a vital responsibility for our industry and government to reduce our carbon footprint through the application of low energy buildings – resulting in lower costs for the end user.

BIM helps to provide the platform for teams to integrate and work together, as well as delivering valuable information to confirm that the finished project will meet performance expectations. It is the ideal tool for connecting the whole life cycle analysis of a project – embracing new technology and a new culture of working. This is something that I feel the industry would benefit greatly from and would help to deliver projects with heightened quality through efficiency of communications and accuracy of planning and design. I am eager to see the industry take this advanced method of construction to the next level.”


CPD Factory Tours

To celebrate their tenth anniversary and following the investment in their fifth Howick FRAMA Machine – the first in the UK –  EOS Facades have launched a series of CPD Factory Tours at the company’s  state of the art facility in County Durham. These tours are FREE to attend and are suitable for architects, contractors, engineers and clients. To find out more visit:

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

The EOS Facades product range includes:

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

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


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Kemper System answers towering challenge in New York


Kemper System’s Kemperol 2K-PUR cold liquid applied membrane has been used as the waterproofing system for the tallest building in the Western hemisphere: the 1,776ft One World Trade Centre in New York.

Rising to 104 storeys and constructed in a $3.9 billion project lasting more than a decade, the One World Trade Centre, also known as the “Freedom Tower” is the centrepiece of the re-built World Trade Centre complex constructed on the site of ground zero.

The 1800m2 roof is not only extremely high, but also features extensive exposed steel details and up to 400 penetrations, including the spire, with no area larger than 10ft x 10ft without some form of penetration; all of which had to be sealed effectively using a system that could be applied by a small team, with restricted access and without the use of hot works or heavy equipment.


Kemper System’s Kemperol 2K-PUR liquid-applied resin membrane was specified for the main roof and the louvre areas on lower floors. The penetrations, drains, curbs and perimeters were all protected and then overlapped by the membrane in the larger expanse to provide a seamless, durable and reinforced waterproofing membrane across the entire roof. As the cold-applied resin bonds directly to the substrate it is particularly effective in coping with wind-uplift which was a major consideration for the chosen system.

In line with US Building Code requirements, the system was completed with a white reflective coating to reduce the urban heat island effect.

Stuart Hicks from Kemper System comments: “Few projects are as iconic or as challenging as the One World Trade Centre scheme but Kemperol 2K-PUR’s ease of application and long-term waterproofing performance made it ideally suited to both the installation challenges and the long-term requirements of the building.”


Kemperol 2K-PUR resin system is 80 percent from renewable materials, which fit with the overall design goals for the project. Nearly 75 percent of 1 WTC is made from recycled or eco-friendly building materials, and the building’s green design earned LEED Gold Certification.

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Introducing Specifier Select…


Specifier Select is a building products resource for specifiers, showcasing the latest building products, projects, services and company profiles/announcements.

Specifier Select is published monthly and circulated to 20,000 architects, architectural technologists, contractors, developers, interior designers and installers.

Specifier Select is an effective tool, providing a fast and direct route to product manufacturers websites. The bespoke website is product grouped and presented in an easy to use, logical and attractive format with the additional benefit of a reader enquiry service.

To view the latest issue please visit

To be featured in the next issue, please contact me on 07973 507 929 or email

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Continuous ribbon balconies require effective thermal insulation


The Chiswick Point development, at Bollo Lane, in West London, is a £20m contemporary mixed-use residential scheme offering 124 one, two and three bedroom residential apartments, including three penthouses.  The apartments are either south facing single aspect, or dual aspect with some even enjoying a triple aspect.    A sustainable approach was important, with all of the units designed to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and the Lifetime Homes code.   Constructed in two blocks of six and nine storeys, the frame is mainly reinforced concrete, with the concrete frame floors and cladding providing thermal mass, which absorbs energy and slowly releases it to help reduce temperature fluctuations.

Long continuous ribbon balconies provide solar shading to the two blocks and provide the residents with a very pleasant outlook across the London Wildlife Trust nature reserve at the rear of the development.     The continuous balconies are a major feature of the scheme and with several hundred metres of them winding across the two blocks, effective thermal insulation was imperative if thermal bridging is to be avoided.   To minimise any condensation problems and subsequent mould growth as a result, plus the avoidance of thermal outflow, Schöck Isokorb type K heat-insulating load-bearing elements are installed at various strategic positions along the large expanse of balconies.   The Isokorb type K provides high thermal resistance by using stainless steel bars to act as tension and shear reinforcement, plus high-strength HTE pressure bearing modules.


Research at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) at Oxford Brookes University shows that as a result of airtightness and fabric U-values being improved in UK building, thermal bridge heat losses are responsible for an increasing percentage of the overall building heat loss.   It is common for thermal bridges to account for 20% – 30% heat loss in multi-residential units (as calculated by thermal modelling) and balcony connections can be a major contributor to the thermal bridge heat loss if effective thermal isolation is not included in the design.


Schöck offers a number of highly effective solutions to various thermal bridging situations.   In addition to concrete-to-concrete capability, the Isokorb range provides totally verifiable solutions for concrete-to-steel, steel-to-steel and even a maintenance free alternative to wrapped parapets.  All solutions meet full compliance with the relevant UK building regulations and offer BBA Certification and LABC Registration. The requirement that the temperature factor used to indicate condensation risk (the fRsi value), in residential buildings, must be equal to or greater than 0.75 is comfortably met by incorporating the Isokorb.   It also complies with the Government Standard Assessment Procedure, SAP 2012, concerning CO2 emissions from buildings and respectively heat losses through non-repeating thermal bridges. The lambda values of the Isokorb enable energy loss to be reduced by as much as 84% to 91% in various connective situations.

For a free copy of the Schöck Thermal Bridging Guide and / or the Schöck Specifiers Guide – contact the company on 01865 290 890 or visit


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Reynaers invests in Top Gear day for architects

Reynaers’ R-Cuisine, a series of exclusive events for specifiers, has kicked off again this year in spectacular style.


Continuing on from last year’s R-Cuisine, this year Reynaers is holding six events over the spring and summer.

Each event will see guests taken to the Top Gear race track to take part in the ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ experience. This full on day of driving fun is followed by exquisite fine-dining at the Michelin star ‘Matt Gillan at The Pass’ restaurant at the stunning 5* South Lodge Hotel in Sussex.

Around 50 guests from 40 companies will be attending the R-Cuisine events, which will see participants battling it out on the race track against industry peers to earn a place on the leader board.

Paul Duffy, Sales Director at Reynaers, said: “The R-Cuisine events represent a significant investment for us and last year’s results show our commitment to building lasting relationships with architects.

“Our guests hear about the ongoing successes that Reynaers has enjoyed over the past 25 years in the UK and all the steps we are taking in research and innovation – and also delivering some fantastic building solutions in the global arena.

“As well as introducing new people to the Reynaers brand, we also improved brand awareness and market presence across the industry.

“We are in discussion with high profile architects and contractors on a number of new projects throughout the UK as a direct result of the R-Cuisine events last year.”

Graham Hackley, from Century Faҫades, said: “It’s a great idea for Reynaers to arrange events like this – most of our industry is very serious, as is necessary as it’s meeting people’s expectations and delivering complicated products. Days like these give everyone the chance to relax and have fun.”

See more from the day here:

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Achieving the impossible with Sika Sarnafil



In a complex new build roofing project that was deemed almost impossible, Contour Roofing stepped up to the challenge with a Sika Sarnafil membrane to achieve truly stunning results.

32 Ewart Grove, a Paul Simon Homes residential development minutes from Wood Green tube station, required a high-performance roof with a striking aesthetic result to match the contemporary luxury flats within. Located in a prominent position at a fork in a road, the roof can be seen when travelling up to the building, as well as from the upper floors of surrounding buildings.

With its extremely intricate design, including two barrel roofs and a large, unique triangulated tower at the front, the project presented a real challenge. Originally the specification for the 400sq m area called for a metal roof but the cost implications of this meant that another solution was needed, and fast.


It was thought that such a complex roof design could not be done, especially with the time and budget available. However Jonathan Woods, director at Contour Roofing, alongside senior contracts manager, Lee Clift, sought to prove that the roof could indeed be covered using a high quality single ply membrane, if the correct product and level of expertise were applied.

Jonathan and Lee met with the architect and the director of Paul Simon Homes to discuss amending the roofing specification. Jonathan explained: “With our previous experience of Sika Sarnafil products, we knew that we could get the perfect finish within budget. In partnership with Sika Sarnafil we quickly presented a new bespoke specification; an adhered system using Sarnafil G410-15ELF Lead Grey with a polyester fleece backing as the main roof sheet for a flawless result and Sarnafil G410-15EL Lead Grey for all the detail work flashings.”

The installation was very challenging, with various shapes, details, upstands and intricate sections to cover.

Lee added: “Working closely with the carpenter, the plywood deck had to be spot on to make sure the membrane could be laid smartly and correctly. Absolute attention to detail and skill were required to make sure the membrane was flush with the substrate below. Décor profiles were used to imitate the standing seams of a metal roof, which is what the original designs had envisaged.

“The project really took installation to new frontiers and pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved in roofing.”

Sikalastic was used for the guttering when the space was just too tight for single ply, demonstrating the compatibility between Sika’s various roofing products. Both the Sika Sarnafil and Sika Liquid Plastics systems were awarded a 20 year guarantee.

Carly Tan, quantity surveyor, Paul Simon Homes, said: “We didn’t think this project could be done within the budget, but Contour assured us that they could take on the challenge with single ply. No one else would even try.

“The roof is unique and when I saw the end results on a site visit I was really impressed with the finish. The Sika Sarnafil membrane looks very smart and mirror the metal look we originally wanted. The skill of Contour is obvious in the results. It meets our requirements perfectly, matching the luxury feel we wanted to achieve throughout the building.”

The project impressed the judges of the upcoming NFRC UK Roofing Awards and has been shortlisted in the Single Ply category. The winners will be announced in May.

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

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Herschel is helping to change the way people and buildings are heated

As the UK’s leader in far infrared heating, Herschel is helping to change the way people and buildings are heated.


William Herschel discovered infrared in 1800 and, today, Herschel is building on his legacy by pioneering the use of infrared to provide heat in more efficient, effective, stylish and comfortable ways than many traditional forms of heating. Far infrared heating works on the basis of gentle, long-wave infrared which penetrates the air and heats solids, providing the same feeling of warmth as the winter sun on your face or the heat from a coal fire. Herschel provides infrared heating solutions for many different environments and buildings including commercial premises, new housing and retrofits and, through its extensive experience, has a deep understanding of the very different needs of each application.


Quotes from Paul Morey, Herschel’s CEO

Paul Morey, CEO of Herschel Far Infrared

“Infrared heating has huge potential because of its ability to reduce energy use – greatly – while providing comfortable heat. We see infrared as not only a stylish heating solution but one that can help fight fuel poverty and harness the potential of solar power.

“With the growing choice of new heating technologies available on the market, it’s difficult to comprehend the different pros and cons of each one and how they compare to traditional systems. As well as key factors like ease of installation and control, together with the increasing world focus on sustainable solutions, ultimately, the primary consideration for the property owner is cost.

“There is now a huge choice of alternative heating systems to gas on the market, but it is very difficult for the consumer to compare the costs of the various solutions available to them”.

“Rather than just looking at running costs, Herschel Far Infrared has reviewed all elements of the purchase decision and created a total annual cost of ownership. This combines purchase cost, installation, running and maintenance costs.”

It is important consumers take into account costs over the lifetime of the heating system. Research shows that Herschel Far Infrared is the cheapest solution even beating new, low energy ‘eco’ solutions such as air source heat pumps by up to 20%, 40% on efficient digital electrical radiators and a staggering 50-60% on underfloor and electric night storage heaters”.

“The UK is rapidly moving towards decarbonisation of the grid with homeowners also generating their own supplies of renewable electricity. This electricity needs to be used incredibly efficiently and, as a result, we have no doubt that Herschel Far Infrared will emerge as the ideal heating solution for most households given its winning combination of efficiency and overall lifetime cost”.

Real-life example of cost and energy savings

Second only to gas central heating in total annual cost of ownership, Herschel Far infrared heating emerges as the more compelling long-term package that provides an energy-efficient, comfortable and simple to install electric heating solution that is changing the way homes are heated.

Rather than just looking at running costs, Herschel Far Infrared has reviewed all elements of the purchase decision and created a total annual cost of ownership. This combines purchase cost, installation, running and maintenance costs.

Comparisons with other forms of heating speak for themselves (see below spreadsheet and diagram). The total cost of Herschel infrared heating when employed in a three-bedroom semi-detached 89m2 house in central England is £804 per year. This compares with gas at £608 but is less than half the £1,734 cost of owning modern electric storage heaters with automatic controls. For the same size house, electric underfloor heating with zone controls is expensive at £1,508 while using high efficiency electric convertor heaters with unit thermostatic controls is £1,322.

When compared with the ‘eco’ options of biomass central heating and air-water heat pump central heating at £1,209 and £977 respectively, Herschel Far Infrared heating is still a far more economical choice. This makes it ideal when an energy-efficient solution is required in areas that are off the mains gas grid.


The company couples unrivalled knowledge of infrared heating technology with the most comprehensive range of infrared heaters for the widest range of applications. These products are backed by an unbeatable combination of price, ease of installation and the many benefits of infrared heating. At Herschel, we have a strong pedigree and an incredibly authoritative team which can maximise the potential of infrared by working with individual specifiers and through our own accredited dealer network.

For further information, please call 01473 760 059 or visit To set up an interview with Paul Morey, please email or

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

Cembrit BBA certified slates provide natural finish to new housing development


Jutland, smooth and Zeeland, textured BBA certified fibre cement slates from Cembrit, have demonstrated their versatility, design and performance features on a stylish, nature-inspired housing development in the seaside town of Weymouth.

Pemberly consists of 176 houses, townhouses, apartments and bungalows, varying from one bedroom to four bedrooms in size.  While the development is centrally located and within walking distance to shops, schools, amenities, a community centre, library and local transport, it still offers a tranquil living space.

Poole-based building contractor, F.H.Cummings worked with roofing specialist, Weatherbury Roofing on this project. Having installed Cembrit slates in the past, the roofer specified Jutland and Zeeland fibre cement slates for the new build properties. Finding a roofing material that would blend in with the natural surroundings, accommodate the varying roof pitches and meet the high specification requirements was a challenge for the contractor.

“We have experience of working with a number of different roofing materials, and this allowed us to make an informed decision that fibre cement slates would be the best option for this project” comments Simon Coleman, Contracts Manager of Weatherbury Roofing.  “Cembrit fibre cement slates are lightweight and pre-holed, two features that were beneficial to us. This, combined with the fact that these slates don’t require any grading or sorting, meant that we were able to speed up the installation process. The fact that Cembrit’s slates come in a variety of surface textures allows us to choose a slate for each design”

Cembrit holds five BBA (British Board of Agrément) Certificates for its fibre cement slate range, ensuring that whichever system is chosen, roofers and architects can be confident in the specified product. To achieve this status, Cembrit fibre cement slates completed a comprehensive testing process and successfully met all the requirements set out by the BBA.

Jutland and Zeeland slates are manufactured to the highest European standards using Portland cement together with a formulation of superior blended synthetic and cellulose fibres. Cembrit fibre cement slates are finished with a high quality, semi-matt acrylic coloured coating to the face and edges and a tinted, high performance binder to the back face. The slates are manufactured in accordance with a quality assurance system to ISO 9001 and to the requirements of BS EN 492: 2004 product specification for fibre cement slates and their fittings.

Cembrit A/A+- rated fibre cement slates can contribute to achieving an environmentally outstanding building. The five variations (Jutland, Zeeland, Westerland, Moorland and Diamond) allow designers to achieve the highest ratings for roof specifications and are currently the only fibre cement slate certificated.

For more information, and to download the fibre cement slate guide, visit

Follow us on Twitter at @CembritUK and Facebook at Cembrit UK.

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Easi-Dec provides safe access system for low-level roofs


Easi-Dec, the working at height safety specialist, has developed a Low Level Roof Edge Protection system to provide a cost and time effective alternative to scaffolding.  Designed to provide safe access and edge protection, contractors can now be confident in accessing low level rooftops such as single garage roofs or on a collection flat roof units.

Easi-Dec’s dedicated low level roof access platform system combined with edge protection allows contractors to work on the roof and sides of a building without moving the system. It provides continuous protection during repairs or inspection to specific areas of a flat roof, or whilst re-roofing work is being undertaken.

This system incorporates a 2m wide access platform on adjustable legs with winged gates to provide wider roof edge protection to EN13374 Class C and safe access up onto the roof.  To ensure safety while on top of the roof, it also includes body-guard systems with extensions to adapt to different roof lengths whilst still complying with EN13374 Class A and a sturdier and safer demarcation handrail rather than just tape or chains.  The Low Level Roof Edge Protection system can accommodate different width roofs and can be installed as a straight run to provide edge protection for specific roof areas, or connected at right angles around the perimeter of the roof for complete collective protection.

Due to its modular design, the system can be easily transported in a transit type van and easily fits into place. It is built on the ground and raised to the required working height and then fixed to the building.  Manufactured from lightweight aluminum, the platform is also quick and easy to set up, take down, move to another location, and then re-assemble.  It can be installed and ready to start work in less than 15 minutes, a huge time saving advantage over traditional scaffolding.

“Contractors understand the importance of retaining profits and remaining safe when working at height, but at the same time, time equals money, so a safety system that will save them time and won’t cost them money in the long run is required” explains Soni Sheimar, General Manager at Easi-Dec.  “We recognised that this is particularly apparent on low level flat roofing projects, which require contractors to access the rooftop quickly to complete short duration works, such as repairing leaks or replacing a section of a roof.  It is for this reason that we developed the Easi-Dec Low Level Roof Edge Protection system.”

By opting for Easi-Dec’s Low Level Roof Edge Protection system, contractors will have a fully certified, safe and stable platform that will also save time and money on site.

For more information, visit

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Kier Construction installs ROCKWOOL at its HQ in Cambridge


Due to ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation providing acoustic, thermal and fire-resistance properties, Kier Group specified a combination of ROCKWOOL flat roofing solutions on its new headquarters in Cambridge.

Kier Group is a leading property, residential, construction and services group, which invests in, builds, maintains and renews buildings operating across many sectors, including housing, defence, education, power, transport and utilities. Kier has a long-standing relationship with the Cambridgeshire area, having worked on 23 projects with the University of Cambridge, so it was no surprise when they decided to build their brand new three-storey headquarters in the Cambridge Research Park.

Although handling both the design and delivery process themselves, Kier worked directly with Cottenham-based roofing contractor, Voland Roofing, on this project. With a flat roof forming part of the design, both companies conferred that it required a roofing material that would provide exceptional acoustic management, good thermal insulation and a high quality finish that needed minimal maintenance. ROCKWOOL stone wool products suited the project’s specification perfectly and were the first choice for the construction specialist.

The primary challenge faced during this project was Kier’s stipulation that the new roof deliver high levels of acoustic performance. Kier wanted the roof to not only insulate against airborne sound, but also to reduce noise from the impact of raindrops on the roof.  This meant that Voland Roofing had to achieve Rw 41 dB airborne sound reduction and Rw 52dB LiA rain impact noise.  Alongside this, it was important that the roof provides long term thermal performance to keep the building warm and reduce heating costs.

Voland Roofing was responsible for installing ROCKWOOL HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) and HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) Underlay, with the ROCKWOOL Acoustic Membrane to cover the flat roof. Wayne Armstrong of Voland Roofing commented, “Having worked with these products previously, we knew that they would meet the brief for this project.   These systems are quick and easy to install, which allowed us to turn around the project in good time.”

HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) was installed with a mechanically fixed, single ply system. This reduced the complexity of the installation, cutting time and cost on single and dual layer, mechanically fixed and fully bonded roof projects. The vast roof space on Kier’s new building is on two different levels. The ROCKWOOL solution had to be flexible enough to accommodate the change in level, and be installed smoothly and tightly around all the corners and edges. Thanks to the ease of installation of these products, this didn’t cause a problem for Voland Roofing.

The ROCKWOOL HARDROCK® Multi-Fix products are renowned for their acoustic management properties, and when used in tandem with the ROCKWOOL Acoustic Membrane, offer a complete sound prevention system. Another added benefit is that this solution can be used with a variety of roof systems, so is very flexible.

Approximately 1100m² of the 60mm HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) and 1100m² of the 150mm HARDROCK® Multi-Fix Underlay were laid across the roof, and then covered with 1100m² of 5kgm² ROCKWOOL Acoustic Membrane, supplied by SIG Insulation.

In addition to the acoustic properties, ROCKWOOL HARDROCK® Multi-Fix products provided 0.039W/mK thermal conductivity, and offered a Euroclass A1 Fire Classification, the highest class for non-combustible products that do not contribute to a fire.

The ROCKWOOL products have provided the new Kier Construction offices with a complete roofing solution that more than satisfies the brief which Voland Roofing was set. They significantly reduce the airborne and impact noise and effectively insulate the building, which also helps to lower costs for Kier.  “Our client is pleased with the end result, as we delivered a system that has fulfilled their brief”, concludes Wayne.

For its new office, Kier required a roofing solution that reduced noise, insulated the building efficiently, and achieves a long lifespan. ROCKWOOL provided a fully tested acoustic system that has not only met all the key requirements, but its non-combustible properties meet the highest European fire classification performance, achieving an A1 rating.  The ROCKWOOL boards also provide a long term and stable thermal performance.

For more information, please visit:

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

Advanced Chosen To Protect Tyne and Wear Metro


The Tyne and Wear Metro system, widely considered the first modern light railway system in the UK, is being protected by intelligent fire systems from Advanced after the industry-leading manufacturer provided it with new fire alarm panels.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, upgraded fire panels at 50 locations on the system, including 21 stations and at other key pieces of its infrastructure including relay rooms, vent shafts and other operational buildings.

Many of the busiest sub-surface Metro stations in the centre of Newcastle and Gateshead were part of the installation work, including Monument Metro station which is used by ten million passengers a year.

The project was part of the £389m Metro all change modernisation programme, which involves the refurbishment of Metro stations, trains, and other key infrastructure in an 11 year programme.

Advanced’s reputation for producing the highest quality fire systems has helped to achieve rapid expansion throughout the UK and worldwide.

The fire panels which have been installed on the Tyne and Wear Metro, which has the fastest passenger growth of any light rail system outside of London, are cutting edge MxPro 5 models, compatible with multiple external components and renowned for their quality, reliability and flexibility.

The contract for the installation was awarded to leading North East Electrical Contractor Veale Nixon, who selected The Dante Group to supply and commission the Fire Alarm Systems. As Advanced partners The Dante Group selected the MxPro 5 Panels. The MxPro 5 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. The panels installed in the metro stations vary from two loop to four loop panels depending on the size station and report to a BMS/ Graphics systems via IP.

Neil Corney, Director of Dante Group, commented: “We have worked with Advanced on numerous projects in the past and zero hesitation in selecting an Advanced network for the installation on the Tyne and Wear Metro.  We needed a cutting edge system to protect a transport system that is used by thousands of people every day and the Advanced panels give the option to expand and enhance in the future.”

Advanced’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range make it customisable to almost any application and it is found in challenging and prestigious sites around the world. The MxPro 5 panels installed at the Tyne and Wear Metro Stations are among Advanced’s best performing fire systems and one of the few available approved to EN54 Parts 2, 4 and 13.

Neil Parkin, Advanced’s sales manager for the North, said “Advanced is renowned as a leading fire systems manufacturer and MxPro 5 is our flagship product in the UK market. The Tyne and Wear Metro system is an excellent example of how our systems can be adapted to differing sizes and types of building, with installations ranging from small local station to the multi-platform subterranean interchange at Monument, in central Newcastle.”

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, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control and fire paging systems.

More details can be found on the website at

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Versatility is key with fully reversible hinge from Yale and Sealco


A new fully reversible hinge from Yale – exclusively distributed in the UK by Sealco – brings maximum versatility in installation and ease of stocking thanks to its unique patented dual function restrictor.

The Yale Revolution Window Hinge can be switched between anti-blowback and easy close functions depending on customer requirements.  As a result, a single solution meets the needs of private and public sector buildings – housing associations, property developers or commercial owners need only select their preferred option at the point of installation.

Developed jointly between Yale and Sealco, the hinge offers real advantages in terms of safety and convenience.  Its design allows the window to rotate fully, enabling it to be easily cleaned from within the comfort and safety of the building.  It also features integral locking for safety, making it the ideal choice for reversible residential and commercial upper floor windows.


When opening, the sash release lever must be pressed to pass two restricted positions – thus avoiding the risk of the window being opened suddenly.  The positions are a safety position and outer ventilation; there is also a wash position when in the fully reversed situation.

Central to the new hinge is its configurable restrictor, which alters the closing functionality mechanism to suit requirements.  As supplied, in the first configuration, it delivers anti-blowback functionality, as the sash release lever must be depressed at each stage to facilitate closing.  In the second configuration, the window will close without requiring the sash release lever to be depressed.

A safety key locks the window in any of its key positions – safety position, outer ventilation or easy clean – to minimise the risk of injury from falling through the window. The restrictor can quickly be configured using the safety key and a star form driver, which means that the functionality can be altered with the window in place, with no need to remove the sash.

“Different customers might have a particular preference as to how they want to close windows. Private homes tend to favour the anti-blowback feature for its added protection, whereas public buildings such as hotels prefer the option to pull the window shut without de-restricting it, due to the greater likelihood that users will be unfamiliar with the need to use the sash release button,” explains Alan Malcolm, Sales Director at Sealco.

“The restrictor has been developed to enable this choice to be made on site – or even to allow customers to try both options – without costly and time-consuming delays in removing the sash.

At the same time, the dual function hinge halves the stocking requirement for the product, making it much easier for housing associations, property developers or commercial agents to specify.  “This is a real benefit to users – it’s a single solution, whichever function is preferred.”

The Yale Revolution Window Hinge is available in 27 sizes, ensuring a truly comprehensive range that can be used with every major window type.  Designed to carry a greater sash weight capacity, the hinge can comfortably accommodate triple glazed windows.

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Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic Advance Commended at The Energy Show 2016


Vent-Axia is delighted to have been commended at the Energy Show 2016 Product of the Show Awards in Dublin, Ireland. The company gained recognition in the Best Energy Efficient Product category of the awards for its unique, best in class Sentinel Kinetic Advance Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery unit.

Organised by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Product of the Show Awards is designed to recognise, reward and encourage the development and introduction of smart energy solutions. In total there were 52 products shortlisted in the awards this year over five categories with 11 products shortlisted for the final. Judged by a panel of highly qualified and experienced professionals from the building services, engineering, energy, and environmental sectors, the entries underwent a thorough assessment with the awards announced at the 2016 Energy Show.

Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic Advance impressed the judges through its exceptional energy efficiency and app control. The next generation of whole house MVHR, the Sentinel Kinetic Advance provides energy efficient ventilation and pioneering control. Designed for air tight thermally efficient new build residential and light commercial properties, the Advance is the best performing MVHR unit in its class and offers near silent, energy efficient and high pressure operation. It also features groundbreaking commissioning, control and energy monitoring via an optional unique web-enabled App which encourages best practice and high performance through simplified commissioning.

“We are so pleased the Sentinel Kinetic Advance has been recognised as a pioneering, energy-efficient product at these prestigious awards,” said Barry Murphy, Sales Manager – Republic of Ireland at Vent-Axia. “The Product of the Show Awards honours excellence and forward thinking, we are therefore very proud our product has been recognised in this arena. At Vent-Axia we are committed to offering the market innovative, efficient products and the Advance is a great example of this.”

The Advance achieves the holy grail of high efficiency and low sound levels with trickle settings of up to 40% that still stay below 20dBA. It boasts a specific fan power (SFP) as low as 0.38W/l/s, combined with 93% heat recovery and an airflow of 100l/s at 150Pa. Maximised airflows and minimised noise and energy are achieved through cutting-edge EC motor and highly sculpted interiors.

Offering a range of features that improve indoor air quality (IAQ) the Advance features a unique and innovative App which households can use to boost the unit and view efficiencies and temperatures. Filters up to F7 grade ensure that even homes in heavily urbanised areas can filter out most impurities, including damaging PM2.5 particles. A filter check warning tells households via the App, text or email when filters need changing, thus helping to maintain the quality of incoming air.

Meanwhile, app-controlled functionality means the Advance offers simplified installation and commissioning, saving time on site and so money, reducing build length and improving performance and build quality. When installers use a vane anemometer to measure airflow, using just one hand they can use the App to control airflows during measurement, making it unnecessary to repeatedly return to the unit to adjust fan speeds. USB functionality allows pre-commissioning, thus saving time on developments with same specification builds, and an on-board power consumption display means there is no need for a trained electrician to access the power feed for commissioning – resulting in a safer, quicker fit.

Part of Vent-Axia’s Kinetic range of MVHR units, the Advance is a whole house heat recovery system combining supply and extract ventilation in one unit. Warm, moist air is extracted from ‘wet’ rooms through ducting, passing through the heat exchanger before being exhausted outside. Fresh incoming air is preheated via the integral heat exchanger which recovers 93% of the heat that would otherwise be wasted.

Organised by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Energy Show – now in its sixteenth year – is firmly established as the flagship event for professionals in the sustainable energy sector. This free two-day event is a business only exhibition showcasing leading suppliers of energy efficient and renewable energy products and services from Ireland and Europe. The Product of the Show Awards are judged and announced during the show.

For further details visit

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Charity’s rejuvenation project uses striking Brett Landscaping solution to draw footfall to Hull “Old Town” Centre

brettHull Trinity House, a charitable organisation which has served seafarers and their families in the area for over 600 years, has successfully regenerated part of Hull’s Old Town, using hard-landscaping materials supplied by Brett Landscaping.

With an inspiring colour spectrum and capacity for creativity, products from the Alpha Antique block paving range were considered the perfect choice for the charity to create a striking new and much needed car parking area, which doubles as an outdoor entertainment space.

900m² of Alpha Antique in Brindle was installed with its distressed aged look blending beautifully into any surrounding, whilst its subtle tones evoke a warm ambience making them ideal for period settings such as Hull Old Town.  Alongside the Alpha Antique, white marker blocks were also used to denote parking spaces, all of which was installed by the main contractor, C R Reynolds.

The privately funded redevelopment has transformed the former site of the Trinity House School, whose premises were deemed unfit for purpose in 2013.  The school consequently relocated to a more appropriate site, leaving the charity consigned with a redundant building.  As the former school structures were considered ‘detrimental to the Conservation Area’ by the Local Authority Planning Department, plans to rejuvenate the land were discussed, as Mr Outram, Estates Manager, explains:

“With Hull town centre experiencing a decrease in footfall, we wanted to convert the school’s land into an area where the local community would want to visit and spend time.  Our solution was to devise a scheme that would generate vital car parking space for shoppers and, more importantly, create an area where outdoor events could take place, adding a new dimension to Hull’s city centre.

“To successfully achieve this, exceptional quality paving was required to both harmonise with the conservation area, and meet with guidelines specified by the local planning department.”

Mr Plaxton, Assistant Estates Manager, a co-designer and project manager for the scheme, also became an integral part to the building materials decision process.  He required a superior product which was not only resilient but also visually stunning.  With helpful recommendations from his local merchant, he found the perfect product through Brett.

“Brett Landscaping was able to offer an extremely attractive, yet robust, solution using materials from the Alpha Antique block range.  These beautiful blocks created the perfect look, and their installation went extremely smoothly.”

Here Mr Plaxton refers to the performance of contractors, C R Reynolds, whom, in order to keep the project on track, needed to take delivery of the Alpha Antique paving blocks within a pedestrianised area which meant that there were delivery time restrictions.  He continues:

“The site is situated within the old town centre and is surrounded by narrow cobbled streets which have restrictive access issues.  C R Reynolds performed superbly on the project, meeting timescales and producing a standard of finish that met with our high expectations.”

With the installation now complete, the newly developed site is ready to help attract more visitors to the town centre.  Live events are scheduled to begin in summer 2016 and any profits made from the car park and event space will be assigned to benefit educational purposes.

Andrew Gill, Marketing Manager of Brett Landscaping, is delighted to hear about the charity’s positive experience and agrees that the finished result looks outstanding:

“The Alpha Antique blocks look terrific in situ and have been installed to the highest standard.  The finished effect is truly striking, complimenting the surrounding area and making this new community area very inviting.  The quality of the product really does shine through.  It’s a job, extremely well done.

For more information visit

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Vicaima turn on design flair at Electricity House


Apartment interiors showing Vicaima grooved Satin White in Easi-Fit door kit

Vicaima innovative door designs have been featured prominently in a landmark city centre project for Crest Nicholson, which sees a modern apartment complex created in a former 1930’s iconic utility building.

Electricity House has stood at the very heart of Bristol City centre since its construction in the late 1930’s and was perhaps best known as the home of the South West Electricity Board.  Designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also famously created the much loved red telephone box, this building has commanded attention for generations.  With its Portland stone façade and magnificent curved frontage, the building embodies the grace of the Art Deco era.  Now this bygone treasure has taken on a new lease of life following its lovingly re-imagined and inspired regeneration by Quality developer Crest Nicholson. They have created luxury living space by blending period charm with contemporary interior design.

Atrium showing Vicaima Dekordor 3D entrance doors on every floor

Atrium showing Vicaima Dekordor 3D entrance doors on every floor

Of course inspired design requires inspirational products and so Crest chose Vicaima to enhance the apartment entrance doors with Dekordor 3D Portaro matching door and frame systems.  This was further augmented by a surrounding and matching wall panelling which incorporated distinctive back lit apartment numbering.  Performance was to client requirements which included certified FD30 fire doors with a roller lock and eye viewer.  Dekordor 3D provides a horizontal and highly tactile grain effect and Crest selected 3D Grey finish to provide the perfect tonal contrast to the wall and floor covering.  3D Grey was also chosen for the communal areas, including the striking and visually dominating atrium area, where occupants enjoy a panoramic view of multiple floor levels, displaying Vicaima doors at every level.

Inside the apartments and penthouses themselves, Vicaima Satin White doors with Easi-Fit frames were selected.  These ultra-smooth white lacquered doors provide a luxurious look and feel at every turn and fit perfectly with the superior build quality synonymous with this project.  The design has been further embellished with the addition of a refined groove pattern, which was also carried through onto the architraves to add yet another design element.   Overall the project is a fine example of regeneration at its best and Vicaima products are sure to grace this reincarnation for generations to come.

Vicaima offer an extensive range of innovative design options, with fire, acoustic and security performance for luxury housing and modern apartment living space.

For further details about these and other products from the many Vicaima collections, visit the Vicaima website   alternatively, call 01793 532333 for additional information.

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James Latham applauds one billion tree planting initiative


KTI (Kutai Timber Industries) which supplies James Latham with Flamebreak door blanks has received an award from the Indonesian Government for playing its part in a one billion tree planting initiative.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Indonesia (MoEF) established the award last year for businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, community organisations and individuals who contribute towards the national program which supports both the environment and local economy. KTI is the first recipient of the award from the Industrial Sector and the only private company to receive it.

As part of a social forestry programme, KTI has been implementing planting activities in the region since 1997. Year on year, these have steadily increased and in the 2014 planting season which ran from December 2014 to March, 2015, the company, working in partnership with 1,400 families from within local communities, planted a staggering 1.6m seedlings.


Shaun Hannan, Sales Director of Pacific Rim Wood Limited, who import Flamebreak door blanks from KTI commented, “I’m really pleased that we have been able to support such a worthwhile social project which delivers both visible and measurable economic, environmental and sustainable benefits to these communities. Along with some of the team from James Latham, I have been fortunate enough to see this first-hand and it is truly inspirational.

“These plantations create timber that is utilised in the manufacture of Flamebreak door blanks and the funds raised from this have gone into supporting and developing the infrastructure which has included further employment creation, schools and other community facilities.”

Piers Latham, Director of James Latham commented, “As KTI’s biggest customer of Flamebreak door blanks in the UK, it’s been great to see the success of this fantastic project which ensures that these communities directly benefit from the prosperity that results from an integrated development process and KTI have been deservedly recognised.”

For more information; phone 0116 257 3415, e-mail or visit

Categories: Architecture, Company News, Environmental Control, Landscaping, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Materials, Timber in building | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The New Way of Doing Things the Old Way

REDLANDInstalling and replacing mortar bedded ridges and hips is easy with the Redland Mortar Bedded Fixing Kit, a complete pack to mechanically fix ridges and hips when a traditional aesthetic is required.

Designed to assist roofing contractors the fixing kit enables installers to maintain a traditional mortar aesthetic, whilst still complying with BS 5534 and the NHBC Guidelines regarding mechanical fixings.

Changes to the BS 5534: Code of practice for slating and tiling state that mortar alone cannot be used to fix ridges and hips, so even if mortar is used, all ridges and hips must also be mechanically fixed.

The Redland Mortar Bedded Fixing Kit provides everything required to mechanically fix ridges and hips in accordance with BS 5534 and it is fully compatible with all types of Redland tiles.

While dry-fix solutions are preferred, mortar bedding may still be an aesthetic requirement in conservation areas and the Mortar Bedded Fixing Kit is a simple to use solution for roofing contractors.

Batten straps, included in the contents of the kit, are vital to the correct and secure installation of the timber ridge batten, required as the base into which the screws are fixed. If batten straps are not used, should the mortar fail at any stage during the lifetime of the roof, all of the ridge tiles fixed into the unsecured ridge batten could slide off the roof together, severely damaging other roof tiles and potentially injuring passers-by below.

Available from Redland, the kit comes individually packed with enough clips to cover 5m. Each pack contains:

– 8 stainless steel batten straps

– 16 stainless steel ring shank nails

– 11 100 x 4mm woodscrews

– 11 universal angle clamping plates

Further information can be found on the Redland website at

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RCM Report Expansion and Growth


RCM are delighted to announce an outstanding start to 2016 – with the business hitting a £1million turnover for the month of January, with February and March building on this success – achieving in excess of the million mark over consecutive months. This milestone is an indicator of the improved business performance achieved through targeted activity and subsequent sales growth of its full product range, as well as a significant growth within their A1 range of non-combustible building boards including Y-wall™ and Multipurpose™, used in over 18 metre applications.

The results represent a split of product sales comprising 75% building boards and 25% made up from the enhanced range of facade solutions.  Through increasing the facades product portfolio, RCM can now offer an extensive range to their existing customers and generate interest from new clients.


Project CSSB (Clinical Services Support Building), which is part of a three phase redevelopment of the  Royal Liverpool University Hospital – scheduled for completion by early 2017, was a great success for RCM and their client, Prater.  This redevelopment was the first project where RCM were able to work with their customer and offer design elements on their through wall product, including Y-wall™, airtightness solutions and an aluminium support frame as part of the overall solution.

Another highlight for the period was securing the Rathbone Market project which will be worth half a million in turnover to RCM when completed.  The 680,000 sq ft Rathbone Market scheme, developed by English Cities Fund (ECF) – a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal and General Property and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) – is part of the Canning Town & Custom House regeneration programme creating a new commercial district, new housing and a refreshed High Street within the Thames Gateway.  RCM supplied Y-wall™, an airtightness solution, aluminium support frame and a Rimex composite cladding to the project.

Challenges and Solutions

Alongside every success story are associated challenges, which in RCM’s case included sourcing and appointing the additional skilled workforce to manage the increased growth within the facades division. The skills shortages within the industry have been widely reported and to overcome this challenge RCM implemented a recruitment drive to ensure the best candidate was identified for the role.

Other challenges such as managing the synergy of supply chain and scheduling  for ‘just in time deliveries’ were overcome by appointing specific project managers and the careful co-ordination of logistics of material deliveries onsite – enabling RCM to cut, clearly mark materials and schedule delivery ensuring the installations were clear, precise and streamlined for the customer.

RCM’s First Board and Façade Cutting Machine

RCM have recently invested in a new state-of-the-art cutting machine. The benefit of the new machine has enabled boards and facades to be cut to size, minimising wastage and removing the need to cut onsite thus benefitting the client by saving time.  By being able to supply key specialist contractors such as Alumet, Century Facades and Prater with bespoke buildings boards cut to size and facades to meet specific project requirements, RCM has seen a 20% increase in sales turnover as a result.

Naturally the commissioning of a new machine encounters challenges such as maximising utilisation and efficiencies.  Training was essential once the installation and testing phase was finalised to ensure all technicians have an in-depth understanding of the machine and its capabilities to effectively use cutting forms to achieve economies of scale and minimise wastage – a benefit to both the customer and the environment. This has been so successful that a second machine is planned to be installed at the end of May 2016.

Ian Quinton, Managing Director of RCM said:  “It’s been a phenomenal start to 2016, the results achieved by the teams at RCM speak for themselves and I would like to thank each member of staff for their dedication, loyalty and consistently exceeding our customer’s expectations.  The purchase of the new cutting machine has enabled RCM to operate more efficiently, minimise wastage for the client and provide an enhanced service which has had a positive impact on our business and in turn our customers. RCM will be investing further in additional cutting and CNC machinery to enable us to be a leading supplier in the facade industry. ”

RCM Offer Informative CPD Seminars – For more details call 0845 1303725 or visit:

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Assure adds another valuable string to its bow

– saving thousands for fabricators in the process

Industry-leading competent persons scheme Assure is now able to offer certification services alongside its many existing benefits.

As an official, trusted, UKAS-accredited certification body, Assure is unique in being able to offer this service direct to customers.

Technical and Compliance Manager Austin Greene explains: “Assure is proud to support the industry with a host of services when it comes to certification. Whatever profile you use, we can advise on the best way to ensure that products and services are officially certified, giving your customers peace of mind and helping make sure you’re ready for anything the industry throws at you.

“This is a great offering for fabricators who feel they may be paying too much elsewhere to have their products certified.

“Assure Certification Services will be able to offer certification of windows, doors, glass units, CE Marking, SBD and more. Assure membership is not a requirement of using our certification services.

“For those customers who are yet to ‘do anything’ about certification, it’s an ideal route: we’re offering a clear, cost-effective and straightforward solution.

“People might be hesitating over getting their products certified, but – increasingly these companies will lose out on work to others that have all the appropriate certifications. Document Q has already established that ALL doors on new build properties must be certified.

“Fabricators cannot afford to miss out on work simply because they have not made efforts to have their products certified. Assure Certification Services takes the hassle and significant cost out of the process.

“As an additional benefit, VEKA and Halo fabricators will no longer need to pay to have each of their products type tested individually. Assure Certification Services will ‘cascade’ test data down to fabricators. The VEKA UK Group is constantly updating its test bank data, giving more and more combinations of components to choose from.

“The resulting certification from each in-depth test (at a UKAS-accredited test lab) will be available to all customers who also use this exact combination of profile, hardware etc. Fabricators must simply agree to ongoing auditing so that we can confirm that our ‘type tested’ product is representative of your manufactured product. Rather than sending each system to be tested, at a cost of thousands each time, customers can simply ‘share’ our expansive data.

“Fabricators will only need to send one sample product for physical testing per year.

“If a fabricator notifies us that they use a unique combination of products not yet logged on our system, we will liaise with the hardware provider to arrange testing and this information will then be available to all similar customers.

“I am proud that Assure is able to offer such a valuable, authorised service to fabricators throughout the industry. We’re doing our bit to: save money for fabricators, offer a certification service from an industry body they know and trust, help fabricators quickly and simply extend their product portfolio by adopting new products (knowing they are certified) and enable fabricators and installers to tender for higher value contracts with strict certification stipulations.”

The VEKA UK Group, 01282 716611

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Timber Technology gets A* for Education


The growing demand for new school buildings across the UK has seen a move towards offsite manufactured solid timber structures as a fast and effective method of construction, providing an ideal sustainable solution for educational environments.

As one of the UK’s leading specialist contractors in the design and delivery of hybrid structures – optimised in terms of cost, performance and sustainability – B & K Structures offer an award winning service across an extensive portfolio encompassing glulam, cross laminated timber (CLT), timber cassettes and steel.

As more research unfolds, the connection between building materials and the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants is something that is becoming increasingly more apparent. Not only are hybrid timber structures sustainable and adaptable, they deliver a natural and calming environment, providing a peaceful space for teaching and learning. The level of noise in a building can have a direct effect on the productivity of its occupants. Cross laminated timber, has a significantly higher density than timber frame structures which offers acoustic advantages, this results in a reduction in noise levels for the transmission of airborne sound.

As the connection between health and wellbeing and productivity becomes more significant, designers are taking into consideration the structural systems available to create the optimum educational environment.

Due to the company’s sustainable credentials, B & K Structures were appointed by Morgan Sindall to develop the structural frame for the first zero carbon business school in the UK, at Essex University.

Plans were progressed for a three storey educational building and a single storey MBA lecture theatre at the University. The design of the facilities intended to provide students, staff and business partners with innovative spaces for study and meetings that focused around a winter garden, in an Eden Project style dome. B & K Structures provided the enhanced hybrid structures, consisting of glulam columns, glulam floor beams, wall cassettes and a cross laminated timber floor deck.


The structure of the main building was curved and used Whitewood Spruce glulam beams, the visual winter garden used Larch glulam beams and encompassed an Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE) along with a timber roof. This acted as a buffer zone as well as supporting the reflexive ventilation and heating strategy of the building. Photovoltaics were added to the roof, to improve carbon emissions and deliver renewable energy from a combined heat and power installation.

The main lecture theatre consisted of glulam, steel nodes, cross laminated timber and curved wall cassettes that were assembled between the raking glulam columns and put together onsite rather than pre-constructed offsite, so that the curved effect could be achieved.

The new building aimed to create a stimulating learning environment for students, reflecting the importance of university’s sustainability ethos. The carbon neutral build demonstrates renewable technologies in action, with the intention of achieving a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

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

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

Call:  01773 853 400   Email:

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

Reliable, renewable heating at CIH Housing 2016


Mitsubishi Electric is bringing its heat pump expertise to the CIH Housing 2016 exhibition to offer social housing providers advice on how to combat fuel poverty whilst hitting renewable targets.

The company will be exhibiting (Stand F4) at the exhibition, held at Manchester Central, 28-30 June 2016 and showcasing its Ecodan range of heat pumps specifically designed for heating domestic buildings.

Ecodan has already been installed in thousands of social housing properties across the UK and provides renewable heating to challenge traditional heating solutions, whilst meeting stringent energy and carbon reduction demands.

The CIH Housing exhibition is the biggest and best attended event in the affordable housing sector. It provides unprecedented access to the largest gathering of housing professionals in Europe and is a must attend event for anyone in the social housing sector.

Mitsubishi Electric experts will be on hand to offer advice and help to housing associations, ALMOs and local authorities by providing access to the latest information on legislation, the renewable heat incentive and general advice on how to engage tenants in the process.

Staff will be able to explain how to self-deliver an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) Programme and also be able to outline the funding streams available.

For more information on the full Ecodan range, visit
For further details on the exhibition visit

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

New deal sees Siniat acquire EOS Facades


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

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

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

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

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

Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS Facades said,

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

He continues,

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

The EOS Facades product range includes:

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

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


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Unity and Continuity – The Benefits of Retaining Project Teams


Image by Simon Kennedy

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Learnings and Understanding

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

For more information please visit:

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

Axter waterproofing at Centenary Quay


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

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

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

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

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

For more information please contact Axter Ltd 01473 724 056

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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Shining example of contemporary design


Vicaima Dekordor 3D Grey in model IG1V/15

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

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


Vicaima Dekordor 3D White in model IG4H/15

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

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

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

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


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

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

Benefits of Micro Joint Infill for tiles on underfloor heating systems

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter and Celebrate the Best in the Most Sustainable Structural Solution

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Enter any of the categories free of charge at

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


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Achieving Best Value is Not Purely About Build Costs


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

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

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

Meeting the Brief

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

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

Achieving Optimum Performance

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

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

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

Design for Manufacturer and Assembly (DfMA)

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

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

Measuring Best Value

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

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

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

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

Optimised Hybrid Structures – CPD

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

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

Call:  01773 853 400   Email:    Visit:

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Five-star luxury at the touch of a button


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Redland adds Rapid Roof Vent Tile for Slate 10


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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EOS Facades on a roll!

EOS Airframe

EOS Airframe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Howick Frame Machine

New Howick Frame Machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

·     Cold Formed Section technology

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

·     Non-loadbearing & loadbearing solutions

·     Lattice joists & floor cassettes

·     Design & value engineering

·     Examples of best practice technology applications

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

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

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

The EOS Facades product range includes:

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

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


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

Marshalls Natural Stone at Ecobuild 2016


Marshalls Scoutmoor at Trafalgar Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Construction, Ecobuild, External Works, Landscape Architecture, Landscaping | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Future Energy Solutions achieves substantial energy savings for Spire Healthcare

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sun-Light Solutions creating animated art from digital light.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explore Offsite Housing Huge Success


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information visit:

Book early to avoid disappointment:

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

Other Explore Offsite events this year are:

Explore Offsite General – Birmingham, 24 November 2016

Full list at Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector:

Tom Bloxham MBE – Chairman, Urban Splash

Rory Bergin – Partner: Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP

Oliver Novakovic – Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments

Alex Goodfellow – Managing Director, Stewart Milne Timber Systems

Andy von Bradsky – Chair, Housing Forum & PRP Architects

Stephen Wightman – Managing Director, Caledonian Modular

Calum Murray – Director, CCG (Scotland)

Jerry Harkness – Regional Development Director, Circle Housing

Jeremy Kape – Director of Property Investment, Affinity Sutton

Jeff Maxted – Director of Technical Consultancy, BLP Insurance

Peter Andrew – Deputy Chairman, HBF

Tom Ground – CEO, Legal & General Homes

James Pickard – Director, Cartwright Pickard

Ian Heptonstall – Director, Offsite Management School

Stuart Carr -Director, Chapman Taylor Architects

Andrew Orgorzalek – Partner, PCKO Architects

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

Simon Tanner – Y:Cube Development Consultant – YMCA

Greg Cooper – Pre Construction Manager, B & K Structures

Jay Shaw MBE – Head of Business Development, Snoozebox

Steve Reid – Chief Technical Officer, Enviga Geothermal

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

Kemper System underwrites roof refurb success at Royal & Sun Alliance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 1 at Explore Offsite- Who Will You Meet?


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Speakers include:

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

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

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

Be sure to book your place at:

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York student accommodation – RonaDeck Resin Bound Surfacing

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NVELOPE supports architects with BBA certified cladding support systems


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Protects Vital Data and Computing Assets at Cambridge University


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More details can be found on the website at

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Paving the way to One Million Homes


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

For more information, please visit:

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

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

Kemper System provides a membrane fit for a Mayor


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

To find out more about Kingspan Timber Solutions visit:

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

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

Sika Sarnafil solution creates luxury communal gardens for residents


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

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


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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Panasonic’s guide to R32

Panasonic R32 Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please visit

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

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