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The unobstructed outlook enabled by Neaco’s toughened glass panels makes them a popular balustrade specification for developments which enjoy impressive views. The latest example is a stunning collection of luxury apartments overlooking the River Trent in Nottinghamshire.
Handrails and balustrade have been precision-engineered in aluminium featuring a powder coated finish in one of Neaco’s standard metallic colours which combines superbly with tinted glass infills to bring a stylish modern aesthetic to balconies and communal terraces enjoying panoramic views across the river. The development features a total of 58 highly specified properties planned across a four-storey complex.
Neaco’s Spectrum range of handrails, balustrade, balconies and structural glass offers a comprehensive choice of modular components with the versatility to suit virtually any design requirement and all types of built environment. Available in powder coated aluminium or stainless steel – or a combination of both – Spectrum is characterized by smooth, clean lines offering a high architectural aesthetic which is maintenance-free. In addition to glass the range includes a comprehensive choice of alternative infills, including rails, mesh, tension wire and perforated panels. Structural glass balustrade is free-standing and requires no supporting uprights. Modular assembly is achieved with internal fixtures requiring no welding or hot works.
Aluminium Spectrum is available in a wide variety of solid, metallic and detailed wood-effect finishes which are warm to the touch. For industrial environments the mill-finished Spectrum Genesis is extremely durable, fully recyclable and corrosion-free. Neaco’s diverse product range also includes a wide choice of glass-panelled Juliet balconies, railed Juliet balconies, glass-panelled step-out balconies, adaptive bathing facilities and aluminium open grilles for flooring, screening and shading applications.
With so many rules and regulations surrounding the practicalities of washroom design in educational settings, Daniel Ward, Senior Ceramics Product Manager for Twyford, talks us through the dos and don’ts of sanitary specification for the school environment.
Specifying products for washrooms within the education sector may seem like a fairly straightforward task, but there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure not only that regulations are met, but that the space is well designed, comfortable and practical.
Lack of privacy, vandalism and inadequate cleaning and maintenance can make a visit to the toilet an unpleasant and unhealthy experience for students. In fact, recent research undertaken by charity Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC) highlighted that the quality of school toilets has a huge impact on pupils’ health, education and happiness. Therefore the design of washrooms in education premises needs to be about a lot more than simply providing enough toilets and washbasins.
Laying out the order
The overall layout of school washrooms is a good place to start. As well as adhering to regulations regarding wheelchair accessible cubicles, all standard cubicles must have a minimum 450mm-diameter manoeuvring space that is clear of the door swing. And of course, when you are designing spaces for growing children, the sizes and fixing heights of sanitaryware must be suitable for the relevant user age groups too. Short projection WCs offer a good solution here, creating the necessary space while still ensuring user comfort. Wall-mounting the pan with a suitable framing system will enable the height of the WC to be easily adjusted during installation, to better meet the needs of the user.
Aside from layout, hygiene in this environment is extremely important too, with ease of cleaning being key to students’ health and wellbeing. So much so that the Department for Education offers guidance on the issue, stating that to avoid build-up of dirt and germs, the toilets in schools should be wall-hung or back to wall.. This also offers a solution with regards to ensuring plumbing work is tamper-proof, a particular point of note when specifying for colleges and universities which serve older children and young adults. The cistern and pipework concealed within the framing system, preventing interference, while being easy to access for maintenance purposes. A dual-flush cistern sitting neatly behind the wall will also help to significantly reduce the amount of water used, while not affecting overall flushing performance. This is particularly important in educational establishments, which are high-traffic areas with the potential for toilets to be flushed literally hundreds of times in any one day.
It is also worth noting that in schools, particularly where younger users are present, the recommendation is also to avoid urinals, but where they are specified to opt for individual bowls rather than a trough, with modestly panels for privacy.
Water-saving pays off
The washbasins in school washrooms should also be subject to a number of practical considerations. Of course, ease of cleaning for hygiene reasons remains imperative, making ceramics that are coated with an easy to clean glaze a particular benefit, while the choice of brassware is also important. Not only should mixer taps for washbasins be robust and tamper-proof, ideally they should be fitted with an automatic shut-off too, either through a built-in timed delivery feature or infra-red sensors.
Energy and water are a major proportion of non-staff costs in schools, colleges and universities and a major part of their environmental impact. While some schools will have greater scope for savings than others, overall more than 20% of energy is wasted, and a school that is equipped with water conservation devices, such as taps with automatic shut-offs or flow restrictors, plus dual-flush WCS, typically use less than half the amount of water used in schools where such features are not present.
Keeping maintenance levels as low as possible is an important requirement in school buildings, where downtime in washrooms can be at best inconvenient for staff and students. This makes the specification of quality sanitary fittings that will be hard-wearing and durable, of particular significance. To limit the frequency of replacing such fixtures and fittings, their life expectancy should be around 15-20 years, with a manufacturer’s guarantee providing the best scope for this.
There are undoubtedly a lot of things to consider when designing washrooms for educational establishments, with all elements really carrying an equal weight of importance. The trick to ticking all of them off and achieving a successful design is to establish a strong relationship with a manufacturer who is able to respond to all aspects of a washroom’s design, from layouts and dimensions to styles and materials as standard, so that there is never any need to compromise.
The University of Birmingham is one of the UK’s leading Russell Group universities, featuring in the top 15 of the University League Tables 2017.
The leafy Edgbaston campus is undergoing a series of major building projects and Hunter Douglas, the international leader in architectural building products, played its role in the refurbishment of a lecture theatre in the Avon Room.
What made this scheme stand out was that the panels, which were manufactured from engineered solid wood (ESW), differed from the usual ceiling system.
Typically, these panels would come in sizes 600x600mm, 1200x600mm or 1200x300mm. However, to meet the design brief of the architect, Hunter Douglas produced six “wings”, each of which were 4x2m, made up of four 1x2m panels.
These were produced with 9mm “dummy” circular perforations, which allowed the panels to be invisibly fixed to the suspension system, says David Harris, General Manager of Hunter Douglas Architectural. “The ‘wings’ within the central ceiling are a very unusual feature and they also incorporate some linear light fittings,” he said.
“We worked closely with the ceiling contractor, Elmsmere Engineering, as the installation of both the ceiling and wall panelling was very challenging and needed a great deal of care to ensure a perfect finish.
“The project demonstrates clearly that Hunter Douglas has the technical expertise to create tailored solutions for architects and specifiers, ensuring that every finished look is fresh and new.”
Hunter Douglas also provided 158m2 of wall panels for the front and rear of the theatre, made of the same MDF core with a real Cherry veneer.
Approximately 105m2 of the wall panels were non perforated, while the remaining 53m2 were produced with 7mm x 97mm slot pattern that helps to maximise acoustic absorption.
The panels were produced in a variety of dimensions, from 650mm x 800mm to 2240mm x 740mm, and were installed using invisible fixing clips around the perimeter of the panels. They also have a small bevel where they meet, offering a neat design detail.
Hunter Douglas also supplied 15 240v motorised blinds to the two side elevations of the lecture room. Each pewter-coloured blind is made from Star fabric, which has a 3% openness factor, and measures approximately 2.5m wide with a 2.5m drop.
The VEKA UK Group has announced the transition of its entire range of PVC-U window and door products to PAS 24:2016, making it the first BSI Kitemark System Supplier of PVC –U to do so.
Accreditation Manager, Mark Barsby explained: “We’ve been in discussions with our forward-thinking customers, BSI and Secured by Design since last July to ensure VEKA and Halo products meet the updated enhanced security standard, PAS 24:2016.
“The standard was published over a year ago and includes a number of changes, particularly related to doors. The previous version – PAS 24:2012 – has now been withdrawn from the BSI website, and while Document Q will continue to reference it for some time, the latest Secured by Design Homes Guide already allows for compliance via the new standard.
“Many VEKA and Halo fabricators and installers use data cascaded from The VEKA UK Group for Document Q compliance. They will instantly be able to demonstrate to prospective customers how far ‘ahead of the game’ they are.
“It’s important to us that consumers and the whole supply chain know that their systems designer is doing everything to ensure that its windows and doors keep people and property safe from the latest methods of attack from opportunist intruders.”
The VEKA UK Group’s Sales Director, Neil Evans commented: “Being the first systems supplier to achieve PAS 24:2016 across its entire range represents a significant investment for The Group. It contains a number of exciting product enhancements, as well as new products that we will be announcing shortly.
“Interested fabricators and installers – both current and prospective – can find out more by visiting www.vekauk.com, calling 01282 716611, or joining us at The FiT Show, stand F10, Birmingham NEC, May 23rd – 25th.”
Lorraine Balch, Certification Manager, Fenestration at BSI said: “We’re delighted that VEKA has achieved certification to the revised standard PAS 24:2016 across the full range of PVC-U window and door products. Maintaining products against the latest version of the standard takes planning, time and dedication and means that VEKA is already benefitting from adopting PAS 24:2016 formally as a foundation for security, and using it as a competitive advantage to give the end-user confidence.”
Anyone who was old enough to watch TV in the 1980s may well remember one particular commercial from a well-known washing powder brand, promising to leave the country’s laundry ‘whiter than white’.
It’s quite a claim, after all white’s white, right? Actually, that detergent manufacturer may just have been on to something, as some whites are quite definitely whiter than others. And it’s not just when you’re putting on a load of washing that this can matter; it’s important in kitchen design too, particularly when you are working with a material such as quartz.
As a material that is made up of several components, including stone aggregates and resin, one white quartz surface may be a different, or whiter, white than another, dependent on how and where it is manufactured.
Quartz is normally a clear or greyish colour and often has a lot of impurities, which when mixed with the resin can create a white that definitely wouldn’t pass the Persil test. This makes it extremely difficult to make a very white quartz. At CRL Stone we’ve compared our white quartz with all the major suppliers in the UK and can confidently declare ours to be the whitest white on the block. How? Well, we’re lucky enough to have our quartz plant near the site of a natural white quartz, which is very rare and makes all the difference. Of course it’s not all down to luck; the secret also lies in the blending, as the quartz has to be ground down into a very fine powder to achieve a solid white colour with no pockets of resin.
That said, a practically perfect white isn’t always what is needed, but with that achieved, being able to offer a range of different whites is much easier. The fact that some whites are less white than others means that kitchen designers can choose from several different whites, choosing the best contrast to go with furniture or to match with the white used elsewhere in the kitchen.
With no less than six different whites in its quartz collection, not to mention an option with marble veins, CRL Stone’s offering would pass the doorstep challenge and then some.
Leading aluminium systems company Reynaers is planning on making a big splash for its first appearance at this year’s FiT Show.
It will be showcasing its range of aluminium window and door products at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in May and has some big, brand new systems that will feature on its stand, N10.
Marketing Manager Rebecca Cope said: “We will be making our mark at this year’s show with new products, which have been developed by our highly-regarded design team.
“Trade visitors will be able to find out about our comprehensive range of systems, and also how we can help provide the tools to market and sell them too.
“The show is taking place not far from our brand new HQ in Birmingham and we will have big products, a big stand and innovative products that have never been seen before. Watch this space for more news!”
Reynaers has helped to shape the urban landscape for more than 50 years and its products feature in some of the world’s most beautiful buildings. Find out more at www.reynaers.co.uk.
FiT 2017 takes place in Halls 6-8 at the NEC from 23-25 May. Further details are available from: Reynaers Limited on 0121 421 1999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the UK’s biggest independent distributor of timber and panel products, James Latham has announced the latest addition to its portfolio, a new range of charred Accoya® cladding.
James Latham has been a leading distributor of Accoya wood in the UK for more than six years and has seen its popularity grow significantly, to the point where it is now becoming the material of choice for exterior applications as it can be used for virtually anything, from windows to doors, decking to cladding and siding.
This latest innovative use of Accoya – developed by Exterior Solutions Limited – pays homage to the traditional Japanese technique of “Shou-Sugi-Ban” in which timber is burned to provide a beautiful, distinctive, unique and long lasting wood cladding and it has already made a big impact with architects.
Richard Mosson, Group Cladding and Decking Manager, James Latham, explained, “The reaction so far from the market and our customers who have seen Shou-Sugi-Ban is astonishing, it really does have the wow factor and the enquiries we are receiving are growing by the day.
“And because it has been developed using the most durable and stable timber available and has the credibility of a product that is the result of decades of research and development which brought together a long-established, extensively proven wood modification technique and leading-edge patented technology, I have no doubt in my mind that it will be a big success for us.”
Richard continued, “Charred timber cladding is becoming increasingly popular in the specification market and this is a modern application of the ancient Japanese art of burning timber to provide a beautiful and long lasting wood cladding. Traditional techniques are used to give uniqueness to each individual project and there are lots of finishes and textures available for both interior and exterior projects – from the traditional, highly charred, heavily textured looking cladding to the sleek and contemporary finish.”
Shou-Sugi-Ban Accoya Cladding is available across Lathams nationwide network of depots in finished dimensions of 19mm x 145mm (planed tongue and groove profile) and in three charring styles – Shosai,Shizenand Tenki.Other section sizes and profiles are available on request.
For more information on Latham’s full range of materials: phone 0116 257 3415, e-mail email@example.com or visit
Ahmarra have completed a fit-out sub-contract for the bedroom and corridor doors for this stunning 5 star hotel which overlooks Hyde Park. The 5 star COMO Metropolitan London combines sophisticated design and a vibrant prime position on Park Lane.
Ahmarra manufactured and installed bedroom doors for the 144 bedrooms and suites. Pale sycamore veneers were carefully selected by the interior designer, Forme UK, for the bathroom and bedroom entrance doors to complement the light and clean interior of the hotel.
The entrance doors also featured a striking bespoke design incorporating a separate matching side panel separated with a band of quarter cut American Black Walnut veneer, which uniquely also have the room numbers inscribed into it.
The cool, sophisticated design balances the contemporary and the timeless—a rare achievement for a London modern luxury hotel. The understated style is clean and simple yet warm— light woods and sun-soaked whites with accents of vibrant yellow. Light floods all through floor-to-ceiling windows whilst the uncluttered design and intuitive technology create a haven of calm. COMO Metropolitan London is also home to renowned restaurant, Nobu for Japanese-Peruvian cuisine and the lively Met Bar.
Ahmarra also manufactured and installed doors in American black walnut for the corridors and staircase entrance doors as well as cross corridor doors with vision panels and duct doors.
“We have a long association with the Metropolitan, having completed a fit-out contract for the hotel previously. We are delighted to be associated with one of London’s most prestigious hotels and long may the relationship continue” commented Richard Panrucker, Ahmarra Installation’s Director.
As one of London’s premier joinery contractors, Ahmarra have completed a number of projects for iconic luxury hotels including such brands as InterContinental, Mondrian, Hilton, Apex, Grange, Mandarin Oriental and Sol Melia.
For more information, call Ahmarra Installations on 02392 389 076 or visit www.ahmarra.co.uk
Charcon, the commercial hard landscaping division of Aggregate Industries, has successfully completed delivery of over 4,000m2 of natural stone to Ashton Market Square in Tameside, Greater Manchester.
Part of a masterplan to transform the historic square into a modern and vibrant place, Tameside Council were looking for a paving solution that would preserve the character of the area, add design interest and showcase the space at its best.
Inspired by Salford City Council’s successful Greengate public realm project, Tameside specified 4,100m2 of Italian Porphyry natural stone paving, including all of its ten distinct colour variations and hues. In addition to its striking aesthetics, Italian Porphyry was selected for its hard wearing, frost and skid resistant properties ensuring it would perform on durability in an area of high footfall.
Charcon attended multiple design meetings and provided technical laying and delivery support for the Council’s in-house contracting team. A well-established supply network in Northern Italy meant that sourcing the full range of colour variations from a variety of different quarries was no issue.
As a busy, active market place, open seven days a week, the Council wanted minimal disruption. Upgrade works had to be phased, with parts of the market closed off during certain stages and supporting traffic measures put in place. Partnering with local merchant, Benchmark Building Supplies, Charcon was able to store all of the natural stone to be supplied at their Ashton compound, calling off necessary stocks as required on the job just a couple of miles down the road.
Mike Davies, Category Manager for Charcon, said: “We were delighted to not only supply Tameside Council with the volume of Italian Porphyry natural stone required, in the full range of hues, but also to support them with design and delivery. Our partnership with Benchmark was also critical to ensure we were able to supply the project in a timely fashion. With natural stone taking care, attention and time to lay correctly, being able to call off smaller quantities at a time really assisted project delivery.
“Premium natural stone, such as our Italian Porphyry, is becoming more and more popular in public realm spaces. It’s distinctive and looks great, is incredibly hard wearing and is reasonably easy to maintain because of its low absorbance rate giving it higher resistance to staining. It’s a great choice for high footfall city centre applications.”
The redevelopment of Ashton Market will see the introduction of new stalls and kiosks, high quality landscaping and trees, a performance area, seating areas as well as new street furniture and lighting. The project will not only provide a brand new modern market for traders and shoppers but will also complement the multi-million pound “Vision Tameside” masterplan.
For further information about Charcon range of products, visit www.charcon.comor call 01335 372 222.
Every year nine people on average fall to their deaths from fragile roofs or through roof lights. Many more suffer serious, life-changing injuries.
Falls through fragile roofs or materials usually occur on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings where workers are carrying out repairs, maintaining or installing equipment, cleaning gutters and skylights, or whilst carrying out general roof work. All these accidents are fully avoidable through careful planning and ensuring safe working procedures.
What is a fragile surface?
Work on fragile surfaces is high risk, and as a result, the HSE requires that effective precautions are taken for any form of work on or near fragile surfaces. Accidents can be avoided as long as suitable equipment is used and those carrying out the work are provided with adequate information, training and supervision.
Access onto a roof is often required for maintenance, inspection, cleaning or general repairs. Fragile surfaces such as the ones we are reading about are typically found on factories and warehouses and can include:
·Roof lights and skylights
·Corroded metal sheets
·Non-reinforced fibre cement sheets
·Roof slates and tiles
·Glass such as wired glass
How to tread carefully
The principles of working on fragile surfaces are exactly the same as any other form of work at height, so if you apply the hierarchy of control you should be able to ensure that the work can be carried out safely.
In an ideal world, the preferred option is to avoid working at height, but as we all know this isn’t always possible, so the next consideration would be to look at methods which would allow work to be carried out without actually stepping onto the roof itself, such as MEWPs.
If access onto the fragile roof cannot be overcome then you will need to look at how the area can be accessed safely and then put into place measures that can alleviate the distance and consequences of a potential fall.
This can be done in a number of ways, such as protecting the edge of the roof with guardrail, using staging or platforms with edge protection on the roof to spread the load or by protecting fragile roof lights and skylights with a cover to prevent access onto the surface itself.
When access is needed to run from the eaves to the ridge, mesh walkways could be used to spread the weight across the support battens so that workers can safely move along the full length of the systems.
Lightweight mobile walking frames on the other hand are ideal for maintenance of valleys and box gutters on fragile roofs and can provide safe access for up to two people.
A responsible approach
Falls through fragile surfaces account for nearly a fifth of all fatalities as a result of a fall from height in the construction industry. The worker in the case I highlighted at the start of this post was lucky in that he survived. However he did suffer serious injuries to his back and sternum and wore a full body brace for six weeks following the incident.
Companies have a legal duty to ensure they have done all they can to prevent accidents and with the range of products available today, particularly for working on fragile materials, there really is no reason for these accidents to still be happening.