Category Archives: Healthcare Buildings

Early specification provides time savings with Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior

 Knauf Aquapanel

Early specification of Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior at the design stage of a 60-bed care home in Winnersh has provided both speed and cost savings for specialist care home developers Castleoak Group.

By utilising the lightweight performance of the Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior panels, compared to brick and block construction, designers were able to reduce the size and weight requirements of the foundations. 

Castleoak turned to Knauf to create an imaginative faceted façade in Winnersh near Wokingham for care operator Abbeyfield.

The Abbeyfield Winnersh care home is formed of four striking circular clusters that create a unique community to deliver innovative dementia care. Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior cement boards were used as a substitute façade system to brick and completed with a rendered finish.

Castleoak deployed lean construction techniques to optimise the build process. Work began on site in March 2015 and was completed in April 2016.

Facing cost pressure and difficulty securing brick and block supplies, Castleoak Operations Director Neil Robins and his colleagues were charged with designing a build strategy without the use of brick.

 “With inhouse timber frame design and manufacturing, Castleoak was able to offer our customer a really innovative build solution,” Neil said.

“The design was challenging, but we weren’t daunted. We knew we had to try something different.”

“Our solution was to prefabricate all panels, floors cassettes, and for the first time, apply external render panels at the Castleoak factory for this build. This strategy offered a great quality solution – and enabled us to better control the build programme with less dependency on subcontractors.”

The decision to use Knauf AQUAPANEL® was made easier due to its characteristics as a directly applied render carrier board.  The cement board combines the benefits of brick and block and, because it consists of aggregated Portland cement with coated glass fibre mesh embedded in the back and front surfaces, provides the ideal key for render.

Knauf AQUAPANEL® was introduced very early in the design stage allowing for further time saving.  Knauf’s Specification Team assisted at the design stage where the decision was made to assemble much of the external façade system offsite. Exterior panels were constructed at the Castleoak factory before being delivered to site to be installed by Sequoia Joinery.

Morgan Palmer, Operations Manager at Castleoak was satisfied with the performance of the Knauf products on the Abbeyfield Winnersh project.

“The installation of the Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior panels went to plan. The design and materials were well specified and performed. The programme remained on track.”

Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior is ideal for offsite installation. Factory fitting, transport and site installation has no adverse effect on its final performance.

Rigorously tested and certified by the BBA for use as a ventilated exterior wall panel system on timber frame and steel frame buildings, Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior provides a solid, dry base that can withstand the extreme weathering effects of wind, rain and snow.  It is also ideal for creating exterior soffits and the illusion of an internal ceiling continuing through the façade to the outside of the building.

Commercial Doors Made Easy, in Jack Aluminium’s New Brochure

Jack Aluminium

If you need an aluminium commercial door, just ask Jack.  Fabricators can find everything they need to create high-quality, secure and thermally efficient commercial doors, in the new TD68 Jack Door brochure from systems specialist Jack Aluminium – available to download at

“As part of our marketing support for fabricators, we’ve launched the brochure so they can give their customers a simple, at-a-glance reference to the benefits of the Jack Door system,” says Ash Pearson, Sales Manager at Jack Aluminium.

 “The Jack Door gives fabricators an easy route towards meeting PAS 24 and Secured by Design.  It’s the ideal choice for schools and colleges, hospitals, local authorities and other commercial buildings where security is essential.”

The brochure covers the most comprehensive range of PAS24 commercial doors available, including controlled access, emergency exit and remote access, and a wide variety of hardware and colour options.

All door profiles have in-built strength, security and thermal efficiency, backed by extensive independent testing.  “The Jack Door helps fabricators to meet robust specification guidelines.  The TD68 system has passed PAS 24 and is fully Q marked, so it is ready for fabricators to attain Secured by Design status.

“The Jack Door also gives fabricators real design flexibility.  It has been tested up to 1300 mm wide by 2480 mm high to comply with DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) clear opening directives and we’re constantly testing new sizes. We have also tested sidelights & fanlights to PAS 24, allowing customers to build SBD compliant screens.

“When it comes to thermal efficiency, we have achieved a U-value of 1.7 W/m2k on a 1230 mm wide door.”

Jack Aluminium maintains extensive aluminium stock holding for fast delivery, and offers expert service & support to fabricators and their customers.

Gentle care from Gerflor

Kilbryde Hospice in East Kilbride, just south of Glasgow in Scotland is a voluntary independent 10-bed hospice which exists to provide specialist palliative care to patients with life-limiting progressive illnesses, together with delivering high levels of support and understanding for their relatives and carers.vinyl floor covering In 2012 an appeal to raise the money necessary was backed by Scots engineering entrepreneur and honorary president of the hospice Jim McColl, who donated £200,000 to the project. Rangers FC manager Ally McCoist, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and comedian Andy Cameron were also patrons of the appeal.

With funding in place the new facility is now open and operated in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire. Chairman of NHS Lanarkshire Ken Corsar said at the time, “We are delighted to be working with Kilbryde Hospice to develop services that can make a real difference to the quality of life for people facing life-threatening and life-limiting illness”.

As a new build the project needed some 2000m2 of high quality flooring that would not only look stunning, but would also be able to stand up to the rigours of daily use in a busy healthcare environment.

The appointed Architect, Eddie Kerr chose a selection of Gerflor products to fulfil this challenging task. A mixture of Gerflor’s Taralay Impression Comfort, Creation 70 Luxury Vinyl Tile and Planks and Tarasafe™ Ultra H²O, together with products from their SPM handrails was specified.

As a true healthcare multi-specialist and with over sixty years’ healthcare experience, Gerflor has grown and developed to become an expert in this field by creating, manufacturing and marketing innovative, decorative, durable, hygienic and environmentally-responsible flooring for a host of healthcare-related solutions.vinyl floor coveringWith ten new extra designs Taralay Impression Comfort is an acoustic multi layered vinyl floor covering available in 2m wide sheet, with a group T wear rating.

Taralay Impression Comfort comprises a Very High Density (VHD) foam backing reinforced with glass fibre and a printed design that’s protected by a transparent wear layer (0.65 mm thick) which offers 19 dB sound insulation and an indentation resistance of 0.08 mm.

The product is protected by a UV cured surface treatment Protecsol® which is easy to maintain and permanently eliminates the need of an acrylic emulsion (metallisation).

It does not contain any heavy metals or CMR 1&2 and it is 100% compliant with REACH. The product emission rate of volatile organic compounds is < 70 µg/m3 (TVOC after 28 days – ISO 16000 -6). It is also 100% recyclable.vinyl floor coveringThroughout the Kilbryde Hospice the need to raise the ‘look’ of the communal areas was high on the agenda. It would be a remit perfectly suited to Gerflor’s new Creation LVT range.

The sophisticated Red Dot Award winning Creation 70 LVT range offers a brand new palette of realistic wood and mineral finishes in tile and plank formats with beveled edges.

In addition to this, the looselay Clic System’s unique vertical interlocking format allows this product to be laid quickly over most existing surfaces, with no need to close premises during refurbishments saving customers time, money and inconvenience.

The Creation 70 LVT range is also 100% recyclable, REACH compliant and is treated with PUR+ surface treatment, providing excellent cleaning characteristics and improved resistance to scratching.vinyl floor covering
The hospice would also have to cater for the myriad of applications where patients and staff could shower and bathe in both comfort and safety. The ultimate choice for wet and dry, barefoot and shod applications,

Tarasafe™ Ultra H²O high performance safety flooring from Gerflor is an ideal solution for shower and changing rooms, together with any high level risk wet areas where heavy duty slip resistant flooring is needed. Tarasafe™ Ultra H²O is competitively priced and scores the best possible safety rating in the wet barefoot ramp test (DIN 51097) and wet shod test (DIN 51130).vinyl floor coveringTarasafe™ Ultra H²O is also rated Grade C in the barefoot ramp test – the best possible – and >36 in the wet pendulum test. It also scores R11 in the slip resistance wet shod test.

Designed with a raised emboss, Tarasafe™ Ultra H²O is available in eight stunning colours, which complements Tarasafe™ Ultra’s most popular colourways. It is available for delivery in two metre width rolls within 48 hours of ordering to most parts of the United Kingdom and its lighter weight and improved flexibility allow for quicker and easier installation.

Like many healthcare environments the daily grind of trolleys and wheelchairs is a constant wear factor for most of the premises. It’s a problem area where Gerflor can provide the ideal solution.

SPM International has been integrated into the Gerflor brand, offering customers a suite of reliable and decorative systems providing safety, hygiene, easy maintenance and noise management.

Gerflor SPM offers a comprehensive range of wall and door protection, corner protectors and handrails in an extensive range of finishes. vinyl floor coveringThe Gerflor SPM Starline range of handrails specified at the hospice has an innovative bactericidal joint and includes an elegant anodised aluminium or antibacterial PVC-sheathed handrail with a lightly textured PVC band.

The collection includes three finishes for the aluminium profile and thirty-two colours for the PVC band. These handrails coordinate with a specially developed range of corner protectors that resist impact and the effects of cleaning, together with the constant use of disinfectant products and have demonstrated strong resistance to tear-off and impact damage.vinyl floor coveringLearn more about Gerflor solutions, ask for a free sample or contact us to speak to a specialist today by calling 01926 622 600, emailing, or visiting for the latest innovations.

Four steps to specifying the right commercial door

Four steps to specifying the right commercial door

Commercial aluminium systems specialist Jack Aluminium has made it easy for architects and specifiers by creating four steps towards specifying the right commercial door for every project.

“There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a commercial door, but by looking at a few fundamentals you can balance legislative requirements, style, functionality and cost to achieve a great-looking, high-performance door that is built too last,” says Jeff Pearson, Sales Director at Jack Aluminium.

1) Achieve security and efficiency in performance.  “There are increasingly stringent demands for thermal efficiency and security – not only from the law but also from building owners and users who want the very best from their premises.

“A well-engineered aluminium profile needs to be thermally broken while remaining strong enough to withstand the attentions of burglars.  The only way to be sure is through independent test data, so only work with systems suppliers who have invested in rigorous testing.”

2) Versatility in design.  “Commercial projects cover a number of sectors – shops, offices, schools and hospitals – and range from new builds to retro-fits.  Finding a aluminium system that will work across all of these types can save valuable time and resource when specifying.  Rather than starting from scratch on a project-by-project basis, it means that specifiers can develop long-term relationships in the confidence that the system will do what it needs to, every time.”

3) Convenience in manufacture and installation.  “Having the right system on paper is one thing.  It must also be easy for the fabricator to make and for the installer to fit, otherwise there’s a risk of adding time and cost to a project to iron out issues in the factory or on-site.

“When in doubt, ask to see examples of existing projects and speak to the people who had first-hand experience of using the system.”

4) Harmony with the environment.  This last step underpins all of the other elements, and extends from sustainable manufacturing to the long-term durability of the door itself.  “The most sustainable commercial door is one that is built too last.  By making the best use of materials upfront, a good system will reduce long-term wastage by minimising the chance of repair or replacement.

These four steps should be at the heart of all commercial door specification. Jack Aluminium is happy to discuss everything from design and testing, through to fabrication, installation and long-term aftercare, to help architects and specifiers make the right choice.

Big Foot Systems Answers DIY SOS from Great Ormond Street Hospital Project

Bigfoot Systems
Nick Knowles of DIY SOS with Rachel Levy from Big Foot Systems in the rooftop garden at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Big Foot Systems is thrilled to have helped Nick Knowles & the BBC DIY SOS team on a rooftop garden project at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London. The company supplied its very popular H Frame supports as part of the project which involved the creation of a rooftop garden area – a space which will provide a much needed sanctuary for children, carers and families at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw, had its public debut at RHS Chelsea Flower Show on 23 May 2016 where it received a gold medal. The award winning garden was then moved and adapted by the BBC DIY SOS team so it could be permanently sited at the hospital. The ambitious project features over 30 mature trees, around 1,000 plants, over 30 tonnes of soil, and took over 70 crane lifts to reach its destination in the centre of the hospital on the roof of the old boiler house.

Bigfoot Systems
A view at the rooftop garden at Great Ormond Street Hospital

The transformational space is now a charming garden featuring symbolic references to the relationships between children, parents and clinicians, something which designer Chris Beardshaw was keen to highlight in the design. At Great Ormond Street hospital there was a real need for somewhere close to the wards which could offer a calm and reflective space for those who need it, even if it is just for a few moments, the new rooftop garden provides this calm peaceful space.            

Speaking of the company’s involvement in the project, Big Foot Systems Product Manager, Sam Birch said “When we were contacted and asked to provide some products for the DIY SOS Great Ormond Street Hospital project, we jumped at the chance to be involved. This is such a worthy cause and one which, as a company we were more than happy to be involved in. We were also honoured to be invited to the official unveiling of the finished garden which had gone into it was very impressive”.

The DIY SOS programme, which airs on BBC One on Thursday 10 November at 20:00, shows the huge efforts which went into the design and build of the garden space both on and off screen – a massive success for all involved.

At the Great Ormond Street roof garden Big Foot’s H Frames were used to support and distribute the load of a wall in the roof garden. Quick, versatile and economical, Big Foot’s H Frames are traditionally designed to support pipework, duct, cable ladders/trays or any combination of these in construction projects, helping to ensure a safe and secure flat roof. Offering a versatile application, installers provide their own strut keeping the duct and pipe installations low-cost by fabricating the strut frameworks on site. Featuring an innovative design, the H Frame Set 305mm is interchangeable with three strut sizes with one foot fitting all. The support is also compatible with industry standard componentry also adding to application flexibility.

For further information on all products and services offered by Big Foot Systems email: or telephone 01323 844355.

Ground-breaking BIM project gets pressed


Geberit Mapress‘ speed of installation has contributed to Northern Ireland’s largest Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) project, the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute, located on the Health Science Campus at Belfast City Hospital. Completed in a record 17 months, building services were Installed by the Harvey Group whichwon ‘Best Installer Team‘ for its efforts in last year’s Geberit awards.

Providing a state of the art, purpose-built building, the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute specialises in scientific research to develop cures for eye disease and diabetes plus a programme to understand the genetics of complex chronic diseases, such as cancer. Many of the building services installed have to deal with specific laboratory environment challeneges, such as chemicals and high temperatures.

Geberit Mapress Stainless Steel was used for the building’s low temperature hot water and chilled water systems, the mist fire supression system and natural gas. Geberit Mapress Copper services drinking water, rainwater harvesting and high temperature drainage systems. Alongside Geberit Mapress copper, Geberit HDPE transports laboratory chemical water, safety cabinet and fume cupboard drainage.

Robert Hall, from the Harvey Group, said: “We chose Geberit piping systems for the versatility, ease of installation and quality. The project was under specific time constraints and the Mapress press fit system worked with the BIM modelling in terms of getting the project completed in the fastest time possible.“


“Apart from speed of installation, we also needed products that would cope with the challenges of the laboratory environment. Geberit HDPE in particular proved ideal for transporting laboratory chemical water.“

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) is resistant to high temperatures and aggressive media, such as chemicals – it can withstand around 95% of all commercially available alkalis, acids and chemicals – making it suitable for range of applications; including roof drainage systems and laboratories, as is demonstrated at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute.

Adding to the building’s sustainable credentials, Polyethylene is environmentally friendly and completely recyclable, with no toxic emissions released during its processing, or in case of fire.

The Wellcome-Wolfson institute demonstrates how BIM can be used successfully to help a building meet its requirements; in this case, being fit for purpose, sustainable and completed in a short timeframe. Products such as Geberit Mapress fit well with BIM, helping building designers and contractors get piped building services installed quickly, with a ‘right first time’ approach.

The Harvey Group is the first solely-dedicated M&E organisation to go through the process of becoming BIM Level 2 accredited and one of only two UK contractors to reach this level – the first in Ireland.

Altro sets clinical standard for new medical centre

Altro’s flooring and wall cladding systems are proving their clinical capabilities in a new state-of-the-art primary healthcare facility in Maidstone, Kent, where safety and infection control are paramount.

Redeveloped from an existing building by main contractor Willmott Dixon Interiors, Albion Place Medical Centre combines a local GP practice with services provided by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership, plus an on-site pharmacy.

The three-storey medical centre – procured by specialist medical facility developer GPIC Ltd – was designed by GDM Architects, whose priorities for the selection of flooring and wall cladding were clear. “Our key drivers for the new medical centre were safety and infection control, so the flooring and wall cladding had to meet very stringent requirements,” says senior architect Ben Jugoo.

“We chose Altro’s range of products because of their suitability for clinical environments in terms of safety and hygiene. They also offer a great range of colours, tones and textures, which gives us the flexibility to create an appealing, modern, design-led environment, while keeping within strict health guidelines.

“Robustness was also a priority – our aim was to create a facility that would stand the test of time, and where the flooring and wall cladding wouldn’t need to be replaced in five years. Low maintenance was another important consideration.”

For the circulation spaces on all three floors of the medical centre, and on the staircase, Ben and his team selected Altro Wood SafetyTM safety flooring in Oak Traditions. “We have specified this product before for a medical facility and it proved very successful,” says Ben.


Altro Wood Safety creates a homely, comforting and familiar look without compromising on safety. There are 16 wood-look designs, including classic, contemporary classic and on-trend. The product works well with contemporary décor such as metal and glass areas, mood lighting, vibrant colours and monotone themes.

In the consulting rooms throughout the medical centre, GDM Architects chose Altro Zodiac SmoothTM flooring. “This product is a good choice for areas where infection control and high standards of cleaning are important. We chose Nirvana green and Oxygen blue, which complemented the colour scheme.”

Altro Zodiac Smooth provides an adaptable design that works anywhere, and hits the mark on durability. It’s ideal for large areas, from care homes to student accommodation. It comes in a range of 24 colours, chosen to reflect any mood: warm, cool, neutral or vibrant. It’s easy to maintain and can be welded to provide a hygienic surface.

Altro SupremaTM safety flooring was specified for the staff changing area, very much with design in mind. Ben explains: “Here, we wanted to use bold design, while also providing excellent slip resistance. We combined three shades of Altro Suprema- Wolf, Caspian and Platinum.”

Altro Suprema is safety flooring with a designer feel. This stunning, non-sparkle safety flooring gives complete design freedom, with 40 colours including three ‘flake’ designs, to choose from.

Altro WalkwayTM 20 SD (static dissipative) safety flooring, in the shade Fog, was chosen for the computer server room. Altro Walkway 20 is a hugely popular, hard-wearing 2mm safety flooring which provides lifelong slip and abrasion resistance. It comes in a range has 42 colours, and has a SD version to minimize risk of damage to static-sensitive equipment.

To minimise the damage from trolleys and buggies in circulation areas, GDM specified Altro FortisTM corner protection for all external corners in the building.

“Equipment banging into walls can quickly cause scuffs and worse damage, so we wanted to give corners a tough extra layer,” explains Ben. Part of the Altro Fortis system, ready-made Altro Fortis corner protection gives added protection to vulnerable corners. Constructed from a highly durable semi-rigid sheet — which is a dense, impervious material, resistant to bumps — it features a lightly textured surface, which camouflages existing scuffs and prevents further damage.

For the medical centre’s showers and hand basin splashbacks, GDM opted for Altro Whiterock ChameleonTM in Pure Innocence. Altro Whiterock has a grout-free surface, which means a vastly reduced chance of harbouring infection, and makes it easy to clean. The Altro Whiterock and Altro Fortis were installed at the medical centre by Goss Environmental Coatings. Managing director George Goss comments: “The Altro Fortis corner protection was very easy to fit, as they come in ready-cut strips of 1.22m x 75mm x 75mm, which can simply be adhered on to corners with AltroFix adhesive.

“Altro also provides colour matched silicon sealant, so that a seamless, watertight seal can be made around the corner protection / wall junctions, which looks very professional. Many other manufacturers don’t provide colour matched accessories with their products; it’s what sets Altro apart. We installed 45 corner protectors throughout the medical centre.

George Goss continues: “For the showers and hand basins, we thermoformed the Altro Whiterock to fit around corners, the joints welded, and colour matched silicon used again for a seamless finish. We were on site for two weeks with two installers. Altro’s excellent customer service and reliability helped the project to go very smoothly.”

The Altro flooring was installed in the new medical centre by Maurice Blackman Contract Floors and Walls. Contracts Manager Jamie Andrews says: “The Altro Wood Safety was flat laid, but elsewhere in the building we used a coved skirting and took the flooring up the wall by 100mm. This creates a seamless, neat solution at the junction where the floor meets the wall.

“All the Altro flooring is very easy to work with, and for us it was a straightforward project, although the treads and risers on the staircases took a little longer. Overall we installed 920m2 of Altro Wood Safety, 236m2of Altro Zodiac Smooth, 271m2 of Altro Suprema, and 19m2 of Altro Walkway SD. We were on site for about three months with two teams of two installers.”

Matt Horton, Project Surveyorfor main contractor Willmott Dixon Interiors, says: “Both Goss Environmental Coatings and Maurice Blackman carried out the installation of Altro products in a very professional and co-operative manner. They worked well alongside the other trades on site, and finished on schedule. The finished results look very good in terms of finish and over quality. Both Willmott Dixon Interiors and the client are delighted with the outcome.”

The medical centre’s Practice Manager, Sue Smith, comments: “The new practice building is a huge step up for us compared with our old premises. We now have a modern, bright, comfortable environment that’s a pleasure to be in for both staff and patients.

“The flooring and wall cladding really contribute to creating a practice that’s both functional and hygienic, yet visually appealing as well, which is so important for patient and staff comfort. The wood effect flooring, in particular, looks great — and just like real wood —but it’s also very practical and feels safe underfoot.

“The Altro Whiterock wall cladding is also very smart, fresh, clean and professional. Cleaning is easy and we have had no issues with keeping the flooring and walling throughout the practice looking like new. Overall we are thrilled with our new space.”

Flowcrete UK Presents on Polished Concrete at London Build 2016

At this year’s London Build, Flowcrete UK (stand C64) will be giving attendees a sneak peek into its new polished concrete and coloured screeds range as well as showcasing its recently unveiled Comfort Resins collection.


Taking place at the London Olympia from October 26th-27th, London Build provides the capital’s construction professionals with the ideal opportunity to catch up on the latest trends, technologies and innovations in the sector.

The resin-flooring manufacturer will be delivering a presentation on polished concrete during the event to inform attendees about the possibilities and practicalities of this type of flooring material as well as what they can expect from Flowcrete UK ’s new line of polished concrete systems.


On day one, Flowcrete UK’s National Sales Manager Chris Dobbie will present a 20-minute live demonstration on coloured screeds. The entire demonstration will be live streamed on the @flowcrete Twitter account for anyone who can’t make it on the day.

At 12pm on day two of London Build, Alan Dean, Flowcrete UK’s Sales Director, will host a 50-minute CPD workshop entitled ‘ The World of Polished Concrete ’. The CPD will provide an overview of concrete technology, outline the benefits of this flooring material and how it compares to other floor finishes as well as explain the proper specification and application processes of polished concrete.

On stand C64, Flowcrete UK’s expert team will also be showcasing its new Comfort Resins range, which has been developed to provide the designers of commercial and public facilities with floor finishes that combine design with comfort and care.

The Comfort Resins collection consists of four self-smoothing and flexible polyurethane coatings (Peran Comfort, Peran CHD, Flowshield Comfort and Flowshield CHD) that are ideal for creating durable, seamless and easy to clean surfaces.

The durability of the range’s polyurethane formulation means that every system is able to withstand intensive foot traffic and rigorous cleaning as well as the daily scuffs, stains and scratches that floors in busy environments are exposed to. This is a particular issue within the public and commercial sectors, as it is imperative in facilities such as hospitals, schools and shopping centres that the floor retains a hygienic, visually appealing surface despite a variety of challenging operating conditions.

Resistance to UV light has been built into the Comfort Resins collection and the low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content in each floor makes them a sustainable choice.

At the show Flowcrete will be highlighting its new partnership with the London based architects studio, Materials Lab . Located at 10 Great Titch Street, Materials Lab provides a space for architects and interior designers to immerse themselves in surface coverings of every kind – and now a variety of Flowcrete’s decorative resin solutions will be joining the studio’s extensive collection of inspirational resources.

Now customers at Materials Lab will be able to browse products including the seamless resin terrazzo range Mondéco , the resin bound gravel system Naturewalk Pave , the exceptionally scratch-resistant epoxy Flowshield FX as well as the polished concrete and Comfort Resins systems unveiled at London Build.

Head to Flowcrete UK’s London Build stand for all this as well as even more on Flowcrete UK’s wide range of solutions, such as samples of its Mondéco and fast curing Flowfast systems.

For further information please contact 01270 753 000.

Or visit us on the web at 


Imago Lift & Slide provides the natural view for therapy centre


The imaginative use of Imago Lift & Slide doors from AGB Hardware has enhanced the peaceful environment of an innovative residential therapy centre for recovering addicts.

CentroSoranzo is a not-for-profit social health facility, located on the site of a disused military fort in a wood outside Venice, where drug, alcohol and gambling addicts can be treated in a natural, therapeutic environment.  The centrepiece of CentroSoranzo is a wooden pavilion where the centre’s guests can feel at one with nature to assist their recovery, which features two Imago doors.

Imago’s slim-line frames and large glazing areas are perfect to frame the idyllic woodland view from the building, while the easy opening mechanism ensures that guests can enjoy the pavilion’s outdoor terrace.


Imago is also in use as a window system in the centre’s canteens, highlighting the versatility of the hardware to create glazing that is as good-looking as it is useful.

The design of CentroSoranzo was a collaboration between architects, artists, graphic designers, psychologist and psychiatrists.  Their collective objective was to place natural beauty as a key element of therapeutic care, with careful use of space, shape, colour and décor to make the centre a welcoming environment.

Architects Sara Carbonera and Marta Baretti of Arbau Studio wanted a design that would emphasise this feel and not be seen as a clinical environment.  Buildings have been built in pine to match the woodland setting, with extensive use of glazing to maximise the natural light coming into the pavilions.


The main pavilion features an outdoor terrace and the building is designed so that outside and inside blend together under an asymmetrical, overhanging roof.  The eight metre glazed facade that looks out onto the terrace is not perpendicular to the building’s perimeter walls, being angled instead to strengthen the view and enlarge the terrace area for a dynamic blend of interior and exterior.

To support this effect, the architects wanted a door opening that would appear invisible, to encourage free movement of residents in and out of the pavilion.  After looking at options available on the market, Sara and Marta fell in love with the possibilities offered by the Imago Lift & Slide system and incorporated Imago into their design.

“The fact that we could minimise the frame width meant we could fit even more glass into the area, so that guests can feel the benefits of being at one with nature even when they’re inside,” explains Marta Baretti.

Two Imago doors are in use in the main pavilion, which slide together and meet behind another pane of glass.  This provides two exit and entrance points, further enhancing the effect of freedom that the architects wanted.

“The asymmetrical design of the building presented a challenge in how best to incorporate the Lift & Slide door into the overall shape of the glazed area, which is split into several different geometric shapes.  Happily, the Imago hardware is so versatile and easy to use that the installation of the door was a smooth process,” says Marta.

Given the simplicity of the Imago system in terms of design, installation and use, Marta and Sara were quick to add Imago windows elsewhere in the centre, including high-usage areas such as the canteen.

 “The Imago Lift & Slide door is an essential part of CentroSoranzo and has helped to make our design come to life.  The guests love having the ease and freedom to step outside as part of their therapy – but thanks to Imago, they can enjoy the view from indoors, too.”

Future Energy Solutions prescribes LED lighting for Spire Healthcare’s National Distribution Centre

Formed in 2007, Spire Healthcare has grown to become the second largest provider of private healthcare in the UK. Now with a network of 38 private hospitals, 12 clinics and two specialist centres for the treatment of cancer, the organisation undertakes a wide variety of activities and offers a full range of integrated surgical, medical and diagnostic services.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable operating practices are very important to the company, with energy conservation guidelines available on Spire’s intranet for all its hospitals to minimise the amount of electricity and gas consumed. Nigel Sharp, National Engineering and Estates Manager at Spire Healthcare states, ‘As part of our ongoing process of improvement, we recognised the need to reduce our lighting related energy spend and also maintain good levels of illumination in our external car parking areas for the benefit of our staff, patients and visitors. LED technology also provides us with Health and Safety benefits with the reduction of maintenance activities at height due to the longevity of the product. So, in 2014 we began an extensive programme of upgrading 1,400 luminaires across 33 sites to light emitting diode (LED) technology.’

Firmly established as one of the world’s leading energy performance solutions providers, FES won the original tender and since then has completed two phases of the project. In order to maximise return on investment (ROI) on the designated capital expenditure (CapEx) budget, the first comprised 21 of the largest energy consuming sites, which achieved in excess of 73 per cent energy savings from a simple point-for-point replacement, while also providing 25 per cent better light output.

Future Energy Solutions
Spire Warehouse – Before
Future Energy Solutions
Spire Warehouse – After

The second phase concentrated on 12 further sites and Marcus Brodin, Commercial Director at FES, comments, ‘We calculated that Spire Healthcare will save in excess of £700,000 over a 10-year period thanks to lower energy costs, reduced maintenance, environmental tax savings related to its inclusion in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, and additional resource savings. The effect on the environment will also be significant as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be reduced by 11,928lbs per annum, mono-nitrogen oxide (NOx) will be lowered by 28lbs and sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 68lbs over the same period – this is the equivalent of four acres of forest being saved or two cars being removed from the road.’

The third phase has recently been completed and this focused on Spire Healthcare’s National Distribution Centre. Based in Droitwich, this 100,000ft² facility provides a platform to procure and supply goods and services to the company on a daily basis through its internal logistics network.

Commenting on the reasons for the change, Marcus Brodin says, ‘The importance of good quality lighting is often overlooked within warehousing and distribution based operations. This should not be the case though, as numerous studies have found that light has a profound effect on our physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Poor lighting can cause eyestrain, migraines and headaches, in addition to lethargy, irritability and poor concentration.’

There are no statutory workplace lighting levels in the UK and Regulation 8 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations simply requires that lighting at work is ‘suitable and sufficient’. However, the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) Lighting at Work booklet (HSG 38) sets out minimum recommended safe lighting levels and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers’ (CIBSE) offers guidelines regarding light levels required in correlation to workplace activities, stating that warehouses should have 150-200 Lux at floor level and 300 Lux in task areas.

As with the previous phases of the project, FES undertook a comprehensive a feasibility study to scope the objectives and to determine the optimal LED lighting solution for the offices, mezzanine and warehouse areas. It decided to replace 339 116W batten and 400W high bay luminaires with 59W LED battens and 178W high bay luminaires. These state-of-the-art products provide high efficacy of >110lm/W, low luminous decline, excellent colour rendering and unrivalled uniformity.

By incorporating zone based lighting sensors and daylight harvesting, this installation will achieve energy savings of over 75 per cent, with a 732kW saving per day, while providing significantly improved light levels. Also, since the rated life of the new devices are well in excess of the previous luminaires, Spire Healthcare will make a 90 per cent saving on its ongoing maintenance spend. With a 10-year gross energy saving of £338,000, the environment will benefit, with over 1,200 tonnes of CO2 saved over the duration of the business case.

The new lighting infrastructure has been given unanimous approval by those working in the facility. Spire Healthcare’s Nigel Sharp, concludes, ‘This latest installment in our LED replacement programme complements the excellent work already carried out by FES. Our initial plan was to design and deliver an optimal energy efficient scheme to replace all of our external lighting and realise an average reduction in energy consumption of 60 per cent across the 21 sites. This has been achieved and in addition, we have been able to lower energy use, save money, enhance our environmental credentials and provide a high quality lit working environment. FES has been professional, flexible, and delivered above our expectations. Marcus Brodin states that what our company offers should be catching the attention of all forward thinking companies operating in the distribution sector.’