Finish first with OrganoWood®

With architects turning their attention to timber as a favourite material for cladding, Steve Grimwood, Managing Director of OrganoWood®, the natural wood preservative specialist, explains the necessity for specifying a wood protection that offers more than just an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Timber has always been a popular cladding material in many countries throughout Europe. This is due to timber offering a unique combination of both aesthetic and practical features. As a strong, reliable and attractive material, timber is a sought after choice from architects and end users, for both residential and commercial cladding applications.


As with any natural material, wood requires treatment to provide sufficient protection to maintain its appearance and structure, and maximise the material’s potential.

The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) recommends the use of industrial wood protection processes to enhance the long term performance of timber that lacks adequate natural durability. The association reminds the industry that ‘the sapwood of all species is not durable and needs protection.’


For architects selecting a finish, it is important to ensure that the product will provide the right level of protection, as well as an aesthetically pleasing end result.

Various manufacturers, including OrganoWood, are offering a new generation of wood protection. A tried and tested ecological alternative to pressure treated finishes, these products are both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable, and offer flame, rot and fungal protection, as well as extreme water and dirt repellence.

Through proprietary technology, which mimics the natural fossilisation process, the timber is modified by the attachment of protective silicon compounds to the wood fibres.

Rot and Flame Protection

Where building regulations require fire performance in accordance with British Standards or Euroclass, the TDCA recommends pre-treatment with a quality assured flame retardant.


Unlike traditional timber protection systems, which rely on biocides to kill the rot fungi and other timber destructive organisms, this new generation of wood protection uses no substances classified as hazardous or harmful, but only natural minerals and fruit substances. These products are tested to meet all relevant European environmental and performance standards and have received EN113 and EN 13501-1 certification for rot and fire protection respectively.

Dirt and Water Repellent

The TDCA also highly recommends the use of moisture permeable coatings.

As wood is not naturally as resistant to water, dirt and stains than other materials, it is important for architects to specify a treatment that will add durability. For cladding installations, measures should be taken in order to protect the timber from water. Structurally, the wood can be designed to allow the water to drain off easily, but a water repellent treatment will reduce the risk of stagnant moisture marking and absorbing. Without treatment, the wood is prone to decay and is likely to warp out of shape. Fungi and mould are also more likely to develop, so a finish that combines properties to counteract this will further increase the durability.

Environmentally Friendly

In the UK, architects and end users look favourably on environmentally friendly products. To get the best results from a timber finish, it is important to specify a product that is entirely non-toxic – without the use of harmful heavy metals, biocides and solvents. It is important to opt for products that are ecologically sustainable according to FSC® (FSC-C120532) and PEFC™ (05-35-168).

Aesthetically Pleasing

As well as offering a high level of protection, these finishes provide an appearance that is desired by many. The finish gradually ages with an aesthetically pleasing silver-grey hue over time.


OrganoWood offers architects a range of products that consists of OrganoWood® 01. Protection which offers rot and flame protection, OrganoWood® 02. Repellent to provide a dirt and water repellent surface and OrganoWood® 03. Cleaner, an organic wood cleaner for general and intensive cleaning and maintenance of the wood.

For stockists and more information on OrganoWood®, please call 01296 323770 or visit  

Notifier introduces new BS 7273-4 CPD course on release mechanisms for fire doors


Notifier by Honeywell announced today the launch of a new continuing professional development (CPD) course 2016/2017.  ‘Getting To Know BS 7273-4’
provides installers, integrators, contractors, consultants and end users with all the information on this important standard and how it relates to the way that doors are opened, closed and controlled by fire detection systems.

Although it was first introduced in 2007, the 2015 revision of BS 7273-4 has brought the subject of release mechanisms for fire doors into sharp focus. The prompt evacuation of a burning building requires as few obstacles and obstructions as possible and, similarly, restricting the spread of fire and heat in such a situation relies upon the use of well-engineered fire doors that can be reliably closed in the event of a fire.

Adhering to BS 7273-4 is increasingly important, as the guidance in Annex A of the Code of Practice is now normative, which means that if control of doors is performed by a fire detection system the requirements of the category must be met. If the guidelines are not followed it is likely that the fire door provision fails to satisfy a fire risk assessment.

Notifier’s new BS 7273-4 CPD has been written by experts within the company, it enables delegates to gain a better understanding of how modern life safety technology can be used to increase a building’s safety by interfacing it with fire doors and secured fire exits. By providing an overview of the various scenarios when doors should be released, it looks at control arrangements for actuation of mechanisms that unlock, release or open doors in the event of fire, before covering recommendations for the interface between fire detection and alarm systems, as well as equipment not covered in any other standards.

Those attending will also gain an valuable understanding of the three categories of actuation – A (critical), B (standard) and C (indirect) – and the circumstances under which the control mechanisms should revert to their fail safe position to protect escape routes and prevent the spread of smoke in the event of a fire.

‘It is fair to say that since its original introduction eight years ago BS 7273-4 has been largely ignored, apart for a few isolated cases of best practice,’ commented Gregg Bushell, Senior Marketing Communications Honeywell Security and Fire. ‘I’m pleased to say that the situation is beginning to change and this CPD is a key part of our strategy to enhance knowledge about this important standard and how its implementation could save lives. There can be no one size fits all approach to configuring a BS 7273-4 compliant system and fire doors and exits should be considered individually so that people, property and assets are protected as well as they possibly can be in the event of a fire.’

For further information and to book a place please email

Expectations redefined for Knauf AQUAPANEL® Interior

Freshly redesigned, Knauf’s improved AQUAPANEL® Interior Cement Boards are significantly lighter, making them both quicker and simpler to install.

Knauf AQUAPANEL® Interior Cement Boards have always had excellent performance. Manufactured from inorganic materials, the boards still demonstrate the same resistance to water, mould and mildew meaning they perform well for a wide range of wet area applications.

Extensive research and development has reduced the weight of the boards by a third to just 11kg/m2. This reduced weight makes the boards easier and faster to install than ever before.

Installation is another area of improvement that Knauf has focussed on. The improved score-and-snap technique and board bending radius (1m at full board size) makes installation easier, even in the most challenging areas.Because the AQUAPANEL® Interior Cement Boards come ready keyed from the factory, only one layer is required for a tiled finish, saving more time and money on a project.

For the first time, the boards will also be available in a larger 900x2400mm size. This ensures that the Knauf boards can be used on a wider variety and scale of projects.

From swimming pools and steam saunas, to communal showers and kitchen areas, AQUAPANEL®Interior Cement Boards will fulfil the needs of installers and contractors across the UK, whilst providing the clients with the quality finish that is demanded of Knauf products.

HOOLA precast balconies a team effort from Schöck and Thorp


Tidal Basin Road in East London, gateway to the soon-to-be regenerated Royal Victoria Docks area and a short stroll from the Excel Exhibition Centre, is now home to a new twin tower glass-clad landmark building – the ‘HOOLA’.

This £80m development has transformed a brownfield site into two rippling 23 and 24 storey glass towers that effectively sit on a ‘landscaped lid’; which covers the single level basement and accommodates parking and refuse plant spaces.

The buildings are super-insulated and the concrete frame will act as a heat sink – absorbing heat on warm days and releasing it back into apartments when it cools.

An innovative link-up with the neighbouring ExCel Exhibition Centre will also see excess heat piped directly into the two towers.


There are 360 apartments with a mix of studios, along with one, two and three-bedroom units.  All apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors with balcony access, so a critical design requirement for such a super-insulated building was the avoidance of any risk of thermal bridging at the many concrete-to-concrete balcony connectivity points.

Highly efficient structural thermal breaks were therefore required throughout and the preferred solution was the Schöck Isokorb type K for cantilever balconies.

With its innovative HTE pressure-bearing module and Neopor® core, the unit provides extremely high thermal resistance; and is also a load-bearing element which transfers bending moment, stress and shear forces.

Complex balcony detailing for Thorp Precast

The balconies on the HOOLA, which are all precast in a Reconstituted Portland Stone Concrete, meant that thermal break suppliers Schöck had to work closely with specialists Thorp Precast of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Luke Smerdon-White, Technical Director at Thorp, takes up the story:

“We had to design, manufacture and deliver 1410 precast concrete balcony sections that had to then be cast integrally with the in situ concrete structure.

The design and detailing coordination on our part was taken from the 2D consultant’s information, which we converted into 3D Tekla modelling.

The balcony detailing is complex. The exposed front-face is curved, with almost 50 different dimensional configurations, while the internal face has a facetted line that had to correlate with the glazing line and opening doors.

The ability to integrate the Schöck Isokorb thermal breaks using 3D BIM details was critical; as we had to both accommodate the slab and column reinforcement – and achieve the finite positioning of the connection modules for structural and cost efficiency”.


On super insulated buildings, balcony insulation is especially critical

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.

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

Secure balcony with stunning coastal views thanks to C.R. Laurence’s TAPER-LOC® System

Wanting to make the most of breath taking views over the Devon coast for their client, the team at 100% Stainless Ltd, called on the advantages of the TAPER-LOC® system to ensure the perfect fit.

Part of a complete redevelopment project with an extension, a feature of the private residence is the creation of a beautiful balustrade to the rear of the property, perfect for relaxing and simply enjoying the stunning scenery.


100% Stainless Manager James Lethbridge explains:

“Uninterrupted views of the sea on a secure balustrade were the ultimate aim of this project. However, the installation needed to fulfil a number of other practical requirements. Ultimately, the customer wanted a secure balustrade that would not obscure their view, but be strong enough to withstand the wind rolling in from the sea and create shelter from the wind.”

The solution was to use the innovative TAPER-LOC® System from CRL, the leading supplier to the glazing, railing, architectural and construction sectors. James explains’

“To provide our client with the ideal solution we used a 15mm top mount heavy duty base shoe, with TAPER-LOC® tapers, and a 48mm diameter slotted stainless steel handrail which sits on top of the 15mm glass with a rubber gasket. Installation was straight-forward thanks to the in house training of our installers and the specialist tooling from CRL.”

Fifty per cent faster to install than traditional alternatives, TAPER-LOC® is a dry glaze system with no need for cement, suitable for laminated toughened glass from 12 to 21.52mm thick. Tested to meet the strictest building code requirements such as BS6180:2011, CEBTP and AbZ, the system uses a horizontal design, which allows it to be adjusted, dismantled and re-set. The base shoe can be surface or side-mounted, and provided drilled or undrilled. It is available in 3m lengths and made from aluminium.

James concludes,

“Taper-Loc is a strong and calculated product that has been heavily tested and proved to work well, and ultimately for our client keeps the view of the coastline perfectly visible. The specialist tooling and tapers enable the glass to be perfectly in line and the result is fantastic. Thank you to our client Mr Lait for letting us use his property for this case study.”

For more details visit, email or call 0800 0421 6144.

Knauf extends ceiling offering to customers

Knauf has added to its ceilings portfolio with the Knauf Slimgrid suspended ceiling system, providing customers with a rapid way to install suspended plasterboard ceilings easily and inexpensively.

The Knauf Slimgrid system represents a major breakthrough in the suspended ceilings market, created to speed up the installation of plasterboard ceilings and reduce the void depth above.

Designed to be quickly connected to form attractive, ridged plasterboard ceilings, Knauf Slimgrid can be installed up to 30% faster than conventional gypsum ceiling suspension systems. 

The speed and ease of installation comes from the pre-indexed hole locations which eliminates time taken for the measurement, aligning and squaring of cross tees.  Once initial set out has been established, everything else becomes automatic.

Coupled with the patented QUICK-RELEASE clip design, a simple push fit action, the Slimgrid system makes adjusting and removing ceiling structures easy without the use of specialist tools.

Already available from Knauf – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lightweight building materials and systems – is the Knauf MF ceiling systems.  Still the most popular way of installing plasterboard ceilings, the MF suspended ceiling system is designed for use in most internal dry lining applications but is typically used in commercial developments where large spaces can be achieved.

With the benefits of the MF system in respect of versatility but great installation speeds the Knauf Slimgrid system is ideally suited to smaller, refurbishment and new build projects such as schools, hotels, where its flexibility can truly be appreciated.  No other suspension system gives the same flexibility to make easy transitions from soffits to flat and curved ceilings.  Transitions from plasterboard to acoustical ceilings are also easily accomplished.

Manufactured from galvanized steel, the grid system is capable of maintaining a ceiling load of 19.85kg/m2 under typical grid configuration. Pre-engineered cross tees and main tees join easily and lock in place to form a rigid, square and level structure to which plasterboard is easily attached.

Ideal where the specification requires double skin board finishes.  It is designed for fire rated ceiling assemblies, tested in accordance with BS 476: part 23 with 60 minutes structural fire protection.

Meet the buyer event provides opportunity for SME’s


Constructionline is hosting another in its series of hugely successful Meet the Buyer events at the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City FC, on 29 September.

The format allows contractors, consultants and materials suppliers to meet with some of the region’s largest construction clients in one of the most worthwhile speed dating scenarios available.

Client organisations signed up to attend the event include Kier Housing, NHS London Procurement Partnership, Wates Construction and Highways England, all looking to source suppliers for live and future projects.

Also on offer is a seminar programme where clients including Kier and NHS London Procurement Partnership give practical advice and guidance on what suppliers need to do and what accreditations are needed in order to join their supply chain.

The event is open to all suppliers, and is free of charge to Constructionline members.  The day provides ample opportunity for visitors to meet Constructionline representatives who will be keen to explain how firms can best use the service to bid for work and increase their visibility to potential clients.

Olga Gough, Account Manager from Constructionline is looking forward to the day: “Our Meet the Buyer events are always hugely rewarding.  They are essentially what Constructionline is all about – removing barriers and helping clients and suppliers build successful and profitable relationships with speed and efficiency.”

The Manchester Meet the Buyer event will be open from 8.30am to 2.00pm on 29 September.

For more information and to register for the event, go to

Vent-Axia Celebrates 80 Years of Innovation

Vent-Axia Celebrates 80 Years of Innovation as its headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex.
Vent-Axia Celebrates 80 Years of Innovation as its headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex.

Vent-Axia is celebrating 80 years of innovation. Founded by Joe Akester in 1936 when he invented the world’s first electrically-operated window fan Vent-Axia has been a leading British manufacturer ever since. Now a multi-million pound company, the Vent-Axia brand has become a household name featuring annually in the UK Superbrands league table and holding the prestigious Royal Warrant.

On Friday, 9. September 2016, Vent-Axia celebrated its 80th anniversary at its headquarters in Fleming Way, Crawley, West Sussex. To honour the occasion Henry Smith MP for Crawley and The Worshipful, the Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma, took part in a celebration ceremony where Vent-Axia buried a time capsule in its grounds to mark the company’s 80th Anniversary.

Mark Hoskins, Managing Director at Vent-Axia; Henry Smith MP; The Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma
Mark Hoskins, Managing Director at Vent-Axia; Henry Smith MP; The Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma
Vent-Axia's Time Capsule
Vent-Axia’s Time Capsule

Central to the company’s success is its innovation. Its new products, as a proportion of sales, are three-times the average of existing products in its catalogue. During the last year Vent-Axia has launched a raft of best in class products including: the Sentinel Kinetic Advance, the first UK-manufactured web-enabled Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system; the Lo-Carbon Revive, a fan designed specifically for the social housing sector; and the Lo-Carbon Svara the UK’s first App-controlled bathroom fan. To reflect this innovation Vent-Axia chose to include the Lo-Carbon Svara in its time capsule.

“We are delighted to be celebrating our 80th Anniversary at Vent-Axia. From the very beginning, with Joe Akester’s invention of the world’s first electrically-operated window fan, Vent-Axia has been a company built on innovation. We have continued this ethos over the years, developing, expanding and innovating to create the very best in ventilation. This is a tradition that we are very proud to continue today with launch of our latest best in class products, as we look forward to the next 80 years ahead,” said Mark Hoskins, Managing Director at Vent-Axia.

Speaking at the event Henry Smith MP said: “I am thrilled that Vent-Axia, an innovative, locally based, world-class company, is celebrating its 80th Anniversary. I am proud that this iconic and historic business continues to manufacturer in Crawley and wish the company continued success over the next 80 years and beyond.”

Vent Axia

At the 80th Anniversary Celebration, guests toured the Crawley facilities seeing some of the latest fans manufactured on the production lines. This was followed by words from Vent-Axia’s Managing Director, Mark Hoskins, Henry Smith MP and 91-year-old ex-employee Edna Barnett. Edna worked with Vent-Axia from 1943 to her retirement in 1985 and delighted guests with anecdotes from her early days working with the company’s founder Joe Akester at Vent-Axia, as well as the exciting day she opened the envelope that contained a cheque to Vent-Axia from Winston Churchill.

Edna Barnett
Edna Barnett

Vent Axia

The focal point of the 80th Anniversary celebration was the burial of a metal time capsule, by the Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma and Henry Smith MP, outside the Vent-Axia reception. The time capsule is to be buried for 80 years and contains items that reflect Vent-Axia today, such as its innovative Lo-Carbon Svara, the UK’s first App-controlled bathroom fan and photos of the Vent-Axia team; plus objects that reflect the current time we live in, such as the current issues of local papers, a pound coin and press coverage on Brexit. The time capsule has been registered with The International Time Capsule Society to record its location, contents and the date it is to be opened.

91-Year-old former employee Edna Barnett helps The Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma, bury Vent-Axia's time
91-Year-old former employee Edna Barnett helps The Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma, bury Vent-Axia’s time

A company steeped in 80 years of British heritage and innovation, Sir Winston Churchill was one of the company’s first customers with Vent-Axia supplying ventilation for No 10 Downing Street during World War II. The company’s innovations are now present in a wide range of landmark projects from buildings in Her Majesty’s Royal Estates to the White House. Leading the way in design and reliability Vent-Axia’s products also stand the test of time with its T-Series fan inducted into the hall of fame as the UK’s favourite commercial fan.The T-Series has sold an incredible 1.4 million fans since 1986 with the fan illustrating that good design doesn’t age.

Headquartered in Crawley, West Sussex and with more than 80 years as an influential industry leader, Vent-Axia continues to set the standard in ventilation. Each year the company supplies air management solutions for over half a million installations across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in the UK and around the World.

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

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