All posts by Kirsty Hammond

A comprehensive multi-media service on behalf of building product manufacturers with a mix of print, online and social media marketing activities, all designed to help clients reach their target audiences with maximum impact.

VEKA reservist soldier celebrates Reserves Day with Certificate of Commendation

Mark Schofield, a VEKA employee who also serves in the Army Reserve has been commended for his Distinguished Service as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

#SupportOurTroops Reserves DayThe reserve chef was among a select group of 15 from a company of around 250 to receive the certificate from Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Royce. The award comes before Army Reserves Day (21st June 2017), which highlights and recognises the invaluable contribution made by reservists, and sees them wearing Armed Forces uniform at their ‘regular’ places of work. 

During Mark’s recent tour of Cyprus – his third – representatives of The VEKA UK Group joined other employers invited by the Army to learn about reservists’ military work and how it complements their ‘everyday’ roles. Operations Director Paul Armstrong attended the four-day trip for The VEKA UK Group, which has held ‘Investors in People’ status since 1994, and proudly supports its staff with training and other opportunities.

The UK Army’s role as part of The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is Britain’s longest running overseas mission. Ownership of the island is disputed between the Turkish north and the Greek south, with the UN patrolling a Buffer Zone or ‘Green Line’ across the capital, Nicosia.

The visitors followed a packed itinerary, including talks at the hotel and the UN base; training activities from the Joint Services Adventure Training scheme (a week-long course run in Cyprus for Army, Army Reserve, RAF and Navy service people); and tours around the UN-patrolled area.

Paul commented: “The effects of the conflict on the island are clear, with crumbling buildings and abandoned vehicles, many peppered with bullet holes. Some buildings have been repurposed, such as The Ledra Palace; once a five-star hotel that hosted Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor but now a base for troops within the buffer zone. Others remain ‘time capsules’, such as Nicosia’s abandoned airport, or the deserted car showroom – still stocked with dust-covered 1970s Toyotas!”

Mark has worked for both the Army Reserve and VEKA for around 23 years, now serving as a chef in The 4th Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment after 12 years as an infantryman. Paul continues: “The rapport that Mark has with his colleagues is great. He’s particularly valued as a chef – in fact, one soldier described food as ‘the morale of the troops and the most important thing, next to pay!’”

Besides their peacekeeping duties in Cyprus, reservists pick up skills that benefit both their Army and civilian work. Operating in arduous conditions, thinking on their feet, taking on responsibility, and assessing risk are among the challenges that reservists face, developing their confidence in the process.

Austerity measures have seen regular Army numbers reduced from 104,000 to 82,000 in recent years, offset by an increase in reservist capability. It’s planned that there will be a total of 30,000 reservists by 2019 (currently there are around 24,000), with larger employers such as The VEKA UK Group needed to support their staff in taking up such roles, and offering jobs to retired service people.

Paul added: “After gratefully being given the chance to learn more about Mark’s military work, it’s clear to see why VEKA will long continue to support the Army in this way. It’s an invaluable service with benefits for all parties involved, and we’re proud to see Mark commended for his efforts.”

www.vekauk.com
salesenquiry@veka.com

 

Metsä Wood launches ‘Open Source Wood’

A pioneering open innovation project to accelerate growth in large scale wood construction.

Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood initiative is a call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction. By creating an open innovation platform around modular wood construction, Metsä Wood’s aim is to connect the local wood construction industry with global knowledge to facilitate collaboration and growth.

Metsa Wood

Today the construction industry is dominated by two materials – steel and concrete. Only a fraction (5-10%) of global urban construction is wood, due in part to the fact that the industry is fragmented and local. Wood, however, is an optimal material for urban construction as it enables faster building processes; its lightness leads to more affordable structures and it is the most environmentally friendly building material, battling climate change through carbon storage.

Metsa Wood

Metsä Wood’s Executive Vice President, Esa Kaikkonen, explains: “Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it is difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth.”

Inspired by open source ideology

The initiative takes its inspiration from open source ideology, championed by the software industry, to drive innovation further and faster, and to increase speed to market.

Metsä Wood is taking the first step by sharing its own intellectual property for modular Kerto® LVL wood elements, making them available freely for everyone.

Metsä Wood to award €30,000 prize

Additionally, Metsä Wood will award innovation in modular element design by offering 30k euro in prize money during 2017 to exceptional designs, submitted as part of the initiative, using its Kerto LVL material.

By 2050, approximately 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. This means that we need living space for billions. At the same time, cities contribute to up to 70% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and we need to fight climate change. One way to fight climate change is to make construction more sustainable and that’s possible when building with wood on a global scale.

Eric Karsh, an engineer at Vancouver-based Equilibrium Consulting, adds: “We fundamentally need to challenge the way we build. Timber technology is now progressing so fast that knowledge transfer is often the bottleneck. Those of us who have expertise have a responsibility to share, and the fastest way is an open source approach promoting knowledge and innovation from all corners of the world. That’s why Metsä Wood is launching the initiative and makes the first step in giving away knowledge and intellectual property for prefabricated elements, allowing systematic creativity and efficiency in building.”

Open Source Wood is a continuation of Metsä Wood’s project Plan B, launched in 2015 as an ambitious blueprint to explore the possibilities of using wood in urban construction.

Learn more about Open Source Wood and how you can participate: www.metsawood.com/opensourcewood

Join the initiative.Metsa Wood

Contact: opensourcewood@metsagroup.com

www.metsawood.com/uk/

 

Keeping Safe(site) in the sun

Construction Safety - Best PracticeWith temperatures soaring to scorching levels across the UK, off come the shirts on many building sites throughout the country, as workers attempt to deal with the intense heat. Whilst this might feel like a good idea at the time, this can often put them at an even greater risk of skin cancer.

The Imperial College London carried out a survey which showed 48 deaths and 241 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year are caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun at work, and construction workers account for a staggering 44 per cent of these deaths.

Katie Prestidge, who is running roofing systems provider Marley Eternit’s Safe in the Sun Campaign, said: “These latest findings show that there is no room for complacency when it comes to sun safety on site. Most people are careful about applying sun cream when they are abroad on holiday, but wouldn’t necessarily think of taking the same precautions when spending seven hours outside in the summer at work yet, it is just as, if not more, dangerous.

“It is thought that working in the sun could lead to one death and around five new cases of melanoma each week. Yet, 90% of all skin cancer deaths are preventable if workers on site take simple, sun safety precautions.”

With these shocking new figures in mind, we have put together a list of simple, easy-to-follow tips which can help you stay safe in the sun, and may prevent the development of a serious condition such as melanoma in the long term.

> Instead of removing clothes to beat the heat, try to wear long, loose clothing, made from close woven fabric, as this protects your skin from UV rays.

> Make sure you protect your neck and head. 80% of skin cancers develop here, so covering these areas can go a long way to preventing skin cancer. Wear a hat with a brim or flap to cover your ears as well as the back of your neck. Aim for fabrics which have a UPF of 30+

> Avoid the midday sun if possible. UV levels are highest from April until mid-September, so try to stay in the shade during breaks, specifically between 11am and 3pm.

> Despite common belief, having a tan does not protect you from further sun damage. Always make sure you use a high factor sunscreen and reapply regularly. Though this seems obvious, many people don’t apply enough protection to exposed areas or leave enough time for the cream to soak in before going out.

> Drinking plenty of water keeps you from getting dehydrated, and keeps your skin healthy.

> Check your skin often: catching melanoma earlier improves the chances of any treatment, so keep an eye out for any irregular moles or spots. If you find anything out of the ordinary, see your doctor as soon as possible. Moles are the most aggressive form of skin cancer so pay extra attention to these.

> Check the UV index regularly. There are apps which can give you the UV rating as part of the weather forecast, or you can visit the Met Office website.

Remember, 90% of all skin cancer occurrences are preventable, and following the advice in this article will go a long way to keeping you, or your workers, safe in the heat. Click here to view or download our safe working in the sun infographic.

http://www.safesite.co.uk

Heradesign® offers multi-functional versatility on a grand scale

City of Glasgow College is the largest and most diverse tertiary education establishment in Scotland. Its Riverside campus opened its doors in 2015 aiming to lead the global maritime college community. City campus opened in 2016 creating twin site, flagship Super College and powerhouse of technical and professional skills.

HeradesignCity campus, which is currently on the shortlist for the RIAS and RIBA Awards 2017, houses a purpose built 3000m² x 10m high Construction Workshop that’s divided into smaller bespoke teaching areas. Heradesign® from Knauf AMF is installed throughout to control reverberation and enhance the industrial design aesthetic.

Controlling reverberation was the main driver for choosing Heradesign® for the multi-functional workshop. The individual teaching areas are separated by 4m high open-top walls. Loud machinery is often in use in one space whilst elsewhere at the same time tutorials are taking place. Heradesign® provides Class A sound absorption which helps control the ambient sound level, reduce reverberation and increase speech intelligibility, ensuring lessons can take place without disruption.

Heradesign® was recommended to Reiach and Hall Architects Director Angus Wilson as a cost-effective ceiling solution that satisfied the design and acoustic brief. “The acoustic performance of Heradesign® prevents the large industrial workshop from acting like an echo chamber. This was the main reason for switching products. I liked how the textured surface of Heradesign® worked well with the raw materials that are used elsewhere in the space.” Angus Wilson has specified Heradesign® since for a number of education and refurbishment projects.

Heradesign® is manufactured from sustainably sourced wood-wool and has a naturally woven surface. For the Construction Workshop, Heradesign® was specified in a natural colour, but its surface can be matched to a virtually endless range of custom colours including those using RAL,  NCS or StoColor.

Roskel Contracts Ltd carried out the ceiling installation in the workshop. Director Richard Spinelli explained how the versatility of Heradesign® ensured the work went smoothly. “Heradesign® was fixed directly to the concrete soffit using wooden battens. We left spaces between the panels to allow a metal framing grid to be inserted which the services attached to. The metal grid and Heradesign® dovetailed together to form a neat, clean finish.

Heradesign® is ideal for educational buildings because it offers long-lasting durability, has high impact resistance and provides excellent fire safety (Class 1A).

If you’re working on an educational project, the team at Knauf AMF can provide technical support and specialist product knowledge to help you achieve your desired result. Contact info@knaufamf.co.uk or visit www.knaufamf.com for more information.

About Knauf AMF

Comprehensive expertise in modular ceiling systems – a one-stop shop thanks to its strong product brands.

Knauf AMF is one of the top European manufacturers of modular ceiling systems. The company is based in the Bavarian city of Grafenau, where its state of the art factory develops and manufactures innovative products for the global market. With its strong brands, AMF Thermatex, AMF Ventatec, Heradesign and Donn, Knauf AMF provides a sophisticated range of products for a wide range of applications: from administration buildings to learning institutions and health facilities. Knauf AMF develops optimum solutions for a diverse range of interiors while meeting the most demanding functional requirements.

AMF THERMATEX – “functional and innovative “

These wet-felt tiles are an international benchmark in terms of quality standards and functional product properties. By combining design components with product innovation, AMF THERMATEX® is a trailblazer when it comes to the functional-aesthetic design of modular ceilings.

HERADESIGN® – “creative, varied and unconventional”

This is what sustainable acoustics solutions look like. These high-quality, ecologically-friendly wood wool products provide an almost unrestricted design palette and make a significant contribution to to the overall ambience of any room, promoting a sense of well-being and improving concentration, efficiency and performance.

AMF TOPIQ® – “premium efficiency”

Fleece-lined rock mineral wool panels with a colour coating on the visible side and edges form the technological basis for the AMF TOPIQ® soft board product. They are refreshingly light-weight and easy to work with. These products maximise sound absorption without being thick or having to be suspended a long distance from the ceiling.

AMF VENTATEC® – “high-quality and flexible “

High-quality materials and precise manufacturing define these grid systems which allow you to specify a ceiling that meets the most demanding specifications, particularly when combined with AMF THERMATEX®. The high-performance product design guarantees stability, safety and flexibility during construction.

DONN® –”capable and compatible”

The renowned DONN® DX technology and the patented golden Quick-Release TM cross-bar clip have been considered a guarantee of high-quality ceiling sub-structures for many years. A varied range of products guarantees consistent, flexible and certified system compatibility.

Knauf AMF Ceilings Limited
E-mail: info@knaufamf.co.uk.  Telephone: 0191 518 8600   www.amfceilings.co.uk

Follow Knauf AMF on Instagram
Follow Knauf AMF on Instagram

 

Red Elm is on the menu at Itsu

The American Red Elm tables can now be found in ITSU outlets at Victoria, Camden, Heathrow T5 and Bristol. And following the success of the new concept booth seating there are plans to re-fit more restaurants across the UK later in the year.

AMERICAN RED CEDAR

ITSU as a company pride themselves on providing “beautiful” high quality food, so it was imperative for them to find “beautiful” high quality materials to reflect their company ethos. American Red Elm is known for its attractive appearance, boasting a smooth texture and distinctive visible grain so it was the perfect choice.  However, American Red Elm was not only chosen for its aesthetic qualities but also its sustainability credentials as well as its hard-wearing attributes.

James Latham

James Latham often recommended American Red Elm for furniture projects such as this due to its excellent shock resistance and flexible bending properties, enabling joiners and furniture makers to produce superior craftsmanship.

To add a modern twist to the traditional material, one of ITSU’s specifications for the booth area incorporates USB chargers inside the wood so that customers can re-charge their phone with ease whilst enjoying a delicious, nutritious meal with friends.

James LathamMitch Jackson, Timber Sales at Latham’s Leeds depot said

“Our customer was delighted with the overall finish which American Red Elm created, these new concept booths really do stand out and give the ITSU restaurants the wow factor.

“American Red Elm is great for furniture projects such as these as it is a light and porous species of wood. Plus, as well as being fantastic at absorbing noise, which is useful in a busy restaurant such as ITSU, it is also resistant to moisture. And with its elegant and distinctive finish showing visible grains, American Red Elm is simple to work with and stain, making it an ideal material for commercial dining tables such as these.”

To find out more about this and James Latham’s full range of products please visit www.lathamtimber.co.uk , email marketing@lathams.co.uk or call 0116 257 3415

Boarded-up Houses by Katharina Fitz

ARCHatlas

In the words of the artist Katharina Fitz:

Boarded-up Houses In Europe today there are around 11 million empty and unoccupied homes, of which 610,000 are in England. Large scale vacancy in cities is often a sign of great upheaval within the urban space.

e9a74bae-5b8d-4cae-a700-89bb595afcea © Katharina Fitz

Focusing on typical Victorian working class terraced houses in post-industrial Liverpool and Manchester, the project highlights the sheer volume of long-term vacancies in the UK to create a critical reflection about the extensive amount of unoccupied homes in England as well as in Europe in relation to the social housing market. When before, these historical houses symbolized the collective past of a flourishing industry and a strong working class and community, nowadays in some former industrial cities many hundreds of houses in fairly good conditions stand abandoned and boarded-up awaiting demolition.

b2138f7f-4721-4fb9-982f-932f9530b27e © Katharina Fitz

From an aesthetic point of view, boarded-up windows…

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Class War on Woodberry Down: A National Strategy

architectsforsocialhousing

Woodberry Down in Manor House is one of the most sinister places I’ve ever visited. The council estate, built between the 1950s and 1970s, sits either side of the Seven Sisters Road, cradled in a bend of the New River flowing south. But turn down Woodberry Down itself and behind the Edwardian terraces and red-brick façade of St. Olave’s Church, overlooking the two large pools of Stoke Newington Reservoir, and a strange new world is emerging. Behind a wall of glass sweating office workers run towards you but never arrive. Maps of the surrounding area are reproduced on every corner with arrows indicating ‘you are here’. Hoardings lining the street display huge colour photographs of people smiling or shopping or jogging or pointing. Banners bearing company logos hang from lamp posts next to children’s drawings enlarged by professional artists. Boards and windows are covered with obscure phrases like ‘Designed…

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The ideal collaboration between design, client, project manager, contractor and subcontractor

FORMWORK

UK, May 5, 2017.- Trimble MEP has developed the study: “BIM & Design: From Architects to Subcontractors – Who Does What ?”. From DOKA UK make reference to Trimble MEP and thank them for their insight and contribution to advancing Construction. We briefly summarize the interesting content of this analysis in three sections and recommend its complete reading: 

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Redland Craftsman Albury crowns eco-home with period twist

As experienced self-builders Richard and Jo Collings had high standards for their final project – a four-bedroomed energy efficient house in rural Warwickshire – so they chose the Albury tile from the Rosemary Clay Craftsman range developed by Redland, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of pitched roof systems.

clay roof tiles

“We’re in a conservation area, so we had to be careful what we chose, and we really liked the look of these tiles. We’ve had a lot of compliments and the planners were happy as they stipulated that it should be ‘of a pleasing design’ and “not jar”, says Mrs Collings.

The planners at Stratford District Council were concerned not simply because the house was in a conservation area, but also because it would be next to a historic church, parts of which date back to Norman times.

“We reckoned it would take two years in all, a year to get planning and a year to build”, says Mrs Collings. “And we were right overall but it took 14 months to get the planning permission”. The new home replaces a 1960s bungalow and its roof now complements that of the recently re-roofed church.

Mr and Mrs Collings are experienced in running construction projects, having previously built their own factory unit and refurbished a historic cottage, and so designed the house themselves, using a local surveyor, Paul Upfield, to draw up the plans to gain planning permission. Among the eco-friendly features are a heat recovery system in the roof that extracts heat from outgoing air to heat incoming fresh air and a ground source heat pump that draws heat from 85 metres below ground. “It’s been very satisfying and we’ve had a great sense of achievement but we won’t be doing this again. They’ll take us out in a box”, Mrs Collings jokes.

The Albury tile is one of three tiles in the Rosemary Clay Craftsman range and, in common with the Hawkhurst tile, has a fine orange-red sanding over the surface and random black patterning to recreate a weathered look. The latest addition to the range, Victorian, has a darker and grittier texture to give roofs a greater depth of texture and character. All three tiles are versatile and can be laid on a variety of roof configurations, as there is a full range of compatible fittings and accessories.

clay roof tiles

Combining the look and feel of an aged handmade tile with 21st century performance, the Rosemary Clay Craftsman range has textured surfaces, irregular distortions to the front edge and varying hanging lengths.

Although the Rosemary Clay Craftsman looks like a reclaimed tile, it meets all the requirements ofBS5534: 2014 Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling – providing Redland fixing recommendations are followed. Redland engineers have subjected the tile to driving winds and high rains in the Group’s wind tunnel in a set of rigorous tests to ensure that it meets or exceeds current standards. Visit www.redland.co.uk/craftsman for more details.

www.redland.co.uk

 

Extra style focus on acoustic flooring for education

Itec Contract Floors

Itec Contract Floors provides installers with a single source for all their acoustic flooring needs, perfect for those on the search for a smart, sound-reducing choice in education and student accommodation environments.

Itec’s acoustic flooring stable is split into four popular collections: Optimise Timber, Silento Timber and Silento Design, available for immediate delivery up and down the UK, and the special order Optimise 50/70. These floorcoverings are available in two and four-metre widths, comprising up to 19dB of sound reduction so helping to reduce the noise of heavy footprints and wheeled traffic – crucial in locations of this type.

This said, the Optimise and Silento collections have been designed with an equal focus on aesthetics, as explained by David Bigland, Sales Director UK:

“At Itec Contract Floors, we’re proud to offer installers one of the most diverse choices of commercial vinyl flooring around, and as can be seen in this quartet of collections, this extends to acoustic options. These floors are really tough to beat on sound reduction, however we appreciation more than ever that flooring choice must be multi-faceted, provided not only practicalities such as sound absorption, easy cleaning and slip resistance, but also beautiful looks that will keep their appeal for time to come.”

The four acoustic collections are available in a versatile selection of designs, from traditional and washed woods through to stylish plains including of-the-moment silvers and greys. It is this attention to detail in both aesthetics and practical credentials that has led to Itec being specified for a number of large-scale education and student accommodation projects UK-wide, including the recently developed Fusion House at Bristol, and GEMS Primary Academy, Twickenham.

All Itec acoustic floors from the Optimise and Silento stables are available to explore at the NEW Itec Contract Floors website, itecfloors.co.uk. Here, specifiers and contractors will find a facility that intuitively guides them to the floor that best meets their needs.

For further information, Itec Contract Floors, 0800 032 3970, www.itecfloors.co.uk