American black cherry adds chic new dimension to Rimini Convention Centre


Visitors to the new €117 million Rimini Convention Centre on the Adriatic Coast will find themselves walking on spectacular American black cherry flooring. Designed by German architects GMP Studio, the centre will be one of the largest and eco-sustainable buildings in Italy. Spread over 38,000sq m, it will have two exhibition and conference areas that can seat 9,300 across several different events simultaneously. Its focal point is an imposing ‘oyster-shell’ amphitheatre but the real organic beauty of the Centre is to be found inside with the 7,500sq m of clean, contemporary American black cherry flooring.


“The architects were looking for a product that was easy to source but still had unique characteristics,” says Maurizio Bernardi, of Adria Legno Service (San Clemente/Rimini), the company that installed the floors. “We stepped in with the idea of obtaining a product that was ‘pseudo-cheap’ but of great visual impact. The challenge was to transfer to the finished flooring both the warm colors of the wood grain and the irregular nuances of American black cherry.  The resulting floor is ‘cheap and chic’.


“Within the ‘oyster-shell’ amphitheater, we also had to resolve big problems of differences in height between the prefabricated structural elements of the shell and the finished floor. We essentially created a cabinet with a surface of over 2,000sq m. And here the American black cherry best expresses itself – for me it represents the most significant overall architectural element.” 


The building includes a raft of sustainable building measures including a rainwater harvesting system, energy efficient condensation boilers, lighting controls and widespread use of eco-building materials. The redevelopment of the area also saw the creation of a ‘green spoke’ pedestrian and bicycle route, from the Convention Centre to the historical centre of Rimini and the marina.

For more information on American hardwood species and case studies, visit

An effective thermal break combats condensation and mould growth

Preventing heat loss from dwellings as a result of thermal bridges at balconies and other cantilever connections is an important design consideration. However, it is the effect of condensation and mould growth on occupants that is currently very much in the spotlight.  To help eliminate this, the use of an effective thermal break module can be critical.   

Cantilever balcony connections and other similar construction elements with a high thermal conductivity, and which project through the building envelope breaking the insulation layer in the process, are prime causes of thermal bridges.   One of the consequences of this is local heat loss, resulting in more energy being required to maintain the internal temperature of the building. However, while this remains a very important aspect of thermal bridging, there is a more serious issue as far as building occupants are concerned.


(Thermographic showing heat loss from balconies)

Low internal surface temperatures in the area of the thermal bridge can cause condensation if they are below the dew point of the air; and this in turn can lead not only to structural integrity problems with absorbent materials such as insulation products or plasterboard, but the occurrence of mould growth. The effect of this has potentially serious implications in the form of asthma and allergies, particularly for older people and children. 

Mould is not a new phenomenon of course, but a combination of circumstances is elevating interest in the problem. Primarily these are better insulated and more airtight buildings, improved energy efficiency requirements – plus much greater environmental awareness.     Practically every building, irrespective of its construction, contains mould spores within its fabric which are dormant and completely harmless. However, given the right conditions these spores will germinate. Mould needs very little nutrient and not only grows on walls and ceilings, but spreads into the air.


Research by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics has shown that, with only 80% relative humidity – and contrary to common o pinion – fungal growth can set in even before the condensation point. The temperature zone for optimal growth also lies exactly in the temperature range which human beings find comfortable. Moulds do not contain chlorophyll and as a result do not require light to grow. Also, food substrates are nearly always available, with moulds simply making do with house dust as a substrate in the simplest cases. Paints or wallpaper promote growth and organic coatings, deposits or soiling on the surface of construction elements accelerate growth considerably, the substrate itself then becoming irrelevant for growth of the fungus.

The use of a ‘surface temperature factor – (fRsi)’ allows surveys under any thermal conditions to show areas where there is a risk of condensation and therefore mould growth under different design conditions.  It is a ratio described in BRE IP1/06 – a document cited in Building Regulations Approved Documents Part L1 and L2 and Section 6 in Scotland – and compares the temperature drop across the building fabric, with the total temperature drop between the inside and outside air. 

As the actual surface temperature will depend greatly on the temperatures both inside and out at the time of the survey, crucially, the ‘surface temperature factor – (fRsi)’ has been formulated to work independently of the absolute conditions.

The recommended value for (fRsi) in offices and retail premises is equal to or greater than 0.5; and to ensure higher standards of occupancy comfort, equal to or greater than 0.75 to prevent condensation and mould growth in dwellings. In more extreme conditions of high humidity, such as swimming pools or other wet areas, 0.9 would be anticipated.

In such situations, the incorporation of an effective thermal break module can dramatically reduce thermal energy loss in connective areas – by guaranteeing the homogeneity of the thermal envelope between cantilever structures and the internal slab.  This type of module works by sitting directly between the outer slab edge and the balcony, or other cantilever element, blocking the outflow of heat.  This is achieved through the use of a high-quality Neopor® insulation body with in which are compression modules and stainless steel bars. These bars allow the transfer of shear and tension forces between the building frame and the balcony in addition to the compression forces transferred through the modules.


(The Type K Isokorb in a balcony application )

These thermal breaks transfer load and maintain full structural integrity, while at the same time maintaining inner surface area temperatures well above those likely to cause mould formation and condensation.

The Fraunhofer Institute of Building Physics (IBP) in Stuttgart deals with research, development,   testing, demonstration and consulting in the fields of building physics.


(a single thermal break module)

The Schöck Isokorb® range of thermal break modules controls thermal bridging and maintains minimum surface temperature obligations for structural connections involving balconies and other cantilever construction elements. The range is unique in being able to offer solutions for connections between concrete-to-concrete, concrete-to-steel and steel-to-steel. It is also the only product of its type to provide BBA Certification and LABC registration.    

Schöck Ltd
The Clock Tower
2 – 4 High Street
Tel: 0845 241 3390
Fax: 0845 241 3391





Timber Expo 2011 saw Accsys Technologies and Medite Europe Ltd. join forces to present the imminent launch of Medite Tricoya – the first major innovation in the wood composites industry in more than 30 years. This unique exterior durable MDF has an expected life span of fifty years and heralds a revolution in wood based panel products for outdoor use.

Accsys Technologies will supply Medite Europe Ltd. with acetylated material over the next 17 months from the company’s plant in Arnhem, Netherlands. The acetylated material will be will be processed and manufactured into Medite Tricoya at Medite’s panel production facility in Clonmel, Ireland, and the product will be distributed and sold by Medite in the UK, RoI and the Netherlands.

Peter Clifton, Medite Tricoya Product Manager for Coillte Panel Products says, “Medite Tricoya’s high performance characteristics signify a real breakthrough for the industry. This new product is the beginning of a new era of highly durable and stable fibreboard panels; it has the potential to change the way wood based panel products are used outdoors.”

BRE tests confirm that this ground-breaking new wood composite panel product has an expected service life of 60 years when used in exterior applications.  Such a service life represents a significant sustainability advantage over existing materials, particularly given its durability and dimensional stability in wet environments.  Dr. Ed Suttie, director of the Timber Division at BRE (Building Research Establishment) said, “Medite Tricoya presents a unique proposition. In my view, this is an extremely exciting and significant development for the industry and one that presents a new class of material which has great opportunity to capture new markets, and regain old, from non-wood based competitors as well as substitution of old products.” Medite Tricoya achieves uniform product for both manufacturers and end-users and delivers a uniform and reliable substrate with a new degree of reliability in exterior and wet interior applications with excellent design freedom opportunities.

Medite Europe Ltd. ( is part of Coillte Panel Products and owned by Coillte. Medite products are recognised as the benchmark for quality, consistency and performance in MDF, as well as being FSC certified and CARB 2 compliant. Medite has led the market in technical innovation, introducing such advances as moisture resistant, flame retardant, exterior grade, zero-added formaldehyde, flooring quality MDF, and now Ultralite varieties, and their programme of innovation is continuous.

Coillte Panel Products ( is a significant and powerful player in Europe’s composite board marketplace. Its brands Medite MDF and SmartPly OSB are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified which differentiates them from many competitor and substitute products, and enables them to meet environmental standards which are becoming increasingly important to designers, specifiers, architects and clients for both public and private projects.

Tricoya® Wood Elements ( is Titan Wood’s proprietary technology for the acetylation of wood fibres, chips, and particles for use in the fabrication of wood based composites, including panel products. These composites demonstrate enhanced durability and dimensional stability which allow them to be used in a variety of applications which were once limited to solid wood or man-made products. Tricoya® Wood Elements is lauded as the first major innovation in the wood composites industry in more than 30 years.

AHEC and AL_A’s red oak ‘TIMBER WAVE’ is unveiled



The dramatic ‘Timber Wave’ in American red oak, commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and designed by award-winning architects AL_A for this year’s London Design Festival (LDF), graces the Grand Entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum until the middle of October.

AHEC has created a special publication about the project, written by Ruth Slavid, which can be viewed and ordered online at, along with a series of short films which capture the design, manufacture and installation of the three story structure.

The majestic three dimensional latticework spiral, made from American red oak by Cowley Timberwork and engineered by Arup, frames the full height of the historic museum entrance on Cromwell road and stands, self-supporting, at an impressive 12m high generating an immersive “walk through” experience for visitors to the Museum. This unmissable presence of the Timber Wave, on the street spiraling out towards the road, makes it the major public attraction of the London Design Festival this year.

David Venables, European director of AHEC and the driving force behind the commissioning of the Timber Wave, believes that, “Now is time for red oak,” – an abundant but under-used hardwood species – “to demonstrate its strengths, literally and metaphorically.” Red oak grows abundantly in the American forest, making up around 30 per cent of all U.S. hardwood trees. However, despite this huge availability and strong demand for oak in European markets, red oak has yet to establish itself as an oak of choice for architects and designers. Venables believes this could be about to change: “We hope that this very high profile project will be a turning point in changing perceptions and demonstrating what a good looking, high performing, hardwood it really is. For Amanda Levete, the look and colour of the red oak was at the core of her decision to accept the commission. In this project, the warm tones of the red oak provide the necessary contrast to the light coloured stone of the entrance

arch, an effect that would have been hard to achieve with a lighter timber. But it is not just the architect that is a fan, throughout the installation process, hundreds of passers-by have stopped to engage the contractors, asking about the wood species and remarking on its colour.”

The structural performance of American red oak far exceeded all expectations.  It has excellent strength for its weight, and engineers Arup remarked that this enabled the design to be as delicate and efficient as possible.  Mr. Venables concludes, “We have had great support from AHEC members who donated the lumber and are delighted that the U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman was able to join us at the opening conference and help us champion the use of red oak on behalf of the U.S. hardwood industry.  The project has not been without its challenges and AL_A, Arup, Cowley, London Design Festival, Victoria and Albert Museum and many other supporters have all been determined to make it happen. We have all learnt so much from the experience and have created a unique story that will be an inspiration for anyone wanting to design with wood.”

For Timber Wave, eight U.S. hardwood producers and members of AHEC donated enough red oak to fill a shipping container: Bingaman & Son Lumber, Coulee Region Hardwoods, Fitzpatrick & Weller, Frank Miller Lumber, Hermitage Hardwood Lumber Sales, Matson Lumber, Northland Forest Products and Pike Lumber.

Customised Cladding from Osmo




As refurbishment continues to remain strong in the residential market, contractors are experiencing requests for the use of different materials which will offer a bespoke finish. Wood cladding is fast becoming a highly sought after material for external coverings. As this trend continues, OsmoUK, the wood and finishes expert, offers its quality wood cladding range, which provides a natural and attractive finish to a property.

Osmo’s range of ready to install, custom made external cladding can be tailored to each individual’s desire. This style of cladding is a popular choice for many homeowners as it is simple to install. Osmo’s range offers a choice of profiles, wood species, colours and the finish – all of which allow for that personalised and unique touch.

“Our range of cladding is of a high quality and ticks all the boxes of what homeowners are looking for” says Steve Grimwood, Managing Director of OsmoUK. “Our expertise within the wood and finishes industry allows us to fully understand the material and what best suits a cladding installation. Being able to offer such a wide selection of colours and finishes, we are able to have a suitable product for every installation.”

Pre-finished profiles are available in almost any imaginable colour. For those wanting a more natural look, brilliant transparent finishes, and clear colour tones are available, allowing the woods natural individual features to shine through. Osmo guarantees its transparent and opaque finishes for 12 years. The finish protects the cladding from weathering so that it does not crack, flake, peel or blister.

Osmo’s cladding has been designed so that installation is simple with tongue and groove connection. This allows any home to be transformed quickly with little disturbance. Incorporating a ‘drop edge’, water than runs down the cladding will be channelled away from the profile, maintaining the products integrity. Osmo offers custom made

For more information on the various cladding products and finishes, additional guidance or any other information on Osmo and its environmentally friendly products, please visit, where full brochures can be downloaded for cladding and other product ranges. Alternatively please call Osmo UK directly on 01296 481220 or email

Cavity Trays Production Uses Photovoltaic Panel Power

Cavity Trays of Yeovil, the only cavity tray manufacturer awarded European Technical Approval has switched on to a new power source, following the installation on its factory roof of photovoltaic panels.


The panels generate enough electricity in average conditions to supply the production lines in the main factory and despatch unit. A spokesperson for the Company commented: ‘Solar power has been identified as a safe renewable energy source that makes no noise and emits no pollutants. Unlike the fossil fuels oil and coal, the burning of which contribute to global warming, solar photovoltaic panels require only free energy from the sun. This initiative is just one part of our ‘go greener’ programme that has already seen insulation levels increased around our buildings and glazed areas upgraded. The use of conventional heat and light power sources will fall each year as further parts of our ‘go greener’ programme are introduced’.

The benefit of Cavity Trays programme does not affect just its premise. Importantly it affects its customers. Solar power has enabled the Company to review its pricing structure, sand take into consideration the projected savings of solar power. The impact from raw material price increases that has been affecting all products has been minimised. ‘Every little helps and at all times we endeavour to provide the best products at the best rates’ commented the spokesperson.

One aspect at Cavity Trays of Yeovil remains unaltered however. Its unique cavitray protection undertaking. At no additional charge a performance warranty accompanies its products for the benefit of Architect, Builder and Client. Protection from the longest-established specialist in its field.

Fastlane and Elta Fans part of NHS injection into Thurso dental services

Two air handling units supplied by Fastlane Ventilation and two units by Elta Fans have been installed in a new dental facility at Dunbar Hospital in Thurso, Caithness in the Northern Highlands of Scotland.  The two Elta Group companies collaborated on the NHS project in order to meet the unit’s requirements as closely as possible and secured the order on the basis of price and service.  The dental clinic is due to open later this year and should cater for around 6,000 patients.  The new facility, built at a cost of around £1.3 million, will house dentists and hygienists whose turnover will mostly be generated by the provision of NHS services.  The scheme was part of a £5.6 million injection to improve NHS provision in Thurso, Dingwall, Oban and Campbeltown.


Fastlane Ventilation supplied one Double Deck and one Side-By-Side ‘Nevada’ heat recovery unit.  Elta Fans supplied two ‘Quietflow’ single fans with silencers.

Suitable for internal or external mounting, the Nevada range of direct drive heat recovery units provides a solution for applications, which require a small unit for low air volumes.  It boasts a comprehensive range of accessories including matching silencers and summer bypass dampers suitable for motorised operation.  The Side by Side and Double Deck arrangements are the two standard versions and both incorporate forward curved single or double inlet centrifugal fans, plate-to-plate recuperator, electric or hot-water, heating coils and pleated panel filters within both air streams.  The unit has a rigid aluminium framework, with purpose built corners for added strength.

For ease of installation and maintenance, each unit comprises slide rails and entry points on either the top, bottom or side, offering easy access to components with minimal effort and providing hanging, stacking or joining configurations.  Units are acoustically and thermally lined with additional acoustic treatment available on request.

A range of compact, single in-line fans for internal mounting, Elta’s Quietflow SQS is also acoustically treated.  The units are again designed to overcome space restrictions in buildings with low ceiling voids, whilst also providing exceptional sound characteristics when fans are close to occupants.  They are manufactured in galvanized steel with a natural finish. 

The units were provided through Elta fans’ distributor Keets, the ventilation, cooling and bathroom suppliers from Glasgow and were installed by Korrie Mechanical & Plumbing Limited of Inverness.

Total Glass supplies coloured windows at Halewood

Total Glass, one of the UK’s leading PVC-U and aluminium fabricators, supplied new thermally-efficient PVC-U coloured windows for social housing maisonettes as part of an extensive refurbishment project.

Replacing original steel single-glazed windows, the new dark grey frames were finished in a RAL 7016 shade and give a smart contemporary appearance to the 32 Knowsley Housing Trust homes in Wood Road, Halewood.

Total Glass’ commercial team worked with the project architects on the design and specification of the new casement windows, which were installed by main contractor Bullock Construction.

Energy efficiency of the 1960s properties was further boosted with the addition of a thermal, externally-rendered layer to improve insulation and reduce heating bills. The improvement works, part of KHT’s multi-million pound regeneration scheme in the area, also included new heating systems.

For more information, contact Total Glass on 0151 549 2339 or visit the website at

New Cova Gate Gains PAS Accreditation

Cova Security Gates’ newly introduced CSG10140 Sliding Cantilevered Gate has successfully passed the PAS68:2010 Vehicle Impact Test – 7.5 tonne vehicle at 40mph – under the TRL’s strict conditions and watchful eye.

The CSG10140, designed to provide discreet vehicle mitigation for critical infrastructure and protect high security sites, repelling ram-raiders or rioters, maintains the outward appearance of an equivalent non crash tested product.

Constructed from standard steel sections and due to its unique patented internal arrestor device, this gate can also be considered a low cost option, utilizing standard off the shelf automation. Without the challenging main entrance aesthetics of many PAS68 compliant products currently available, the CSG10140 is capable of blending seamlessly with any building or site perimeter line.


After extensive R&D, this innovative new product achieved a PAS68:2010 accreditation (Sliding gate V/7500[N2]/64/90:2/0) restraining and immobilizing the test vehicle with 2m penetration and no dispersal of major debris.  Requiring an installation depth of only 400mm, this gate is ideally suited to shallow and/or utility-congested substructure.

For further information, contact Cova Security on 01293 553888, or

Invention not Convention


Just three days after it was installed and commissioned, a Fike Twinflex fire alarm system in a Blackpool apartment block provided early warning of a fire, giving time for the building to be evacuated and the fire successfully extinguished without harm to the occupants of the premises. Had the fire occurred before the new alarm system was fitted, the occupants, who included small children, would have been put at serious risk of injury or even death.

The alarm system was designed and installed by Blackpool based DD Fire Alarms, a company with specialist expertise and experience in providing dependable and cost effective alarm systems for houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) and hotels. Initially, DD Fire Alarms was called in to refurbish the existing fire alarm installation at the apartment block, but after examining it the company determined that it would be difficult and costly to repair and also that, even if it was brought back into full working order, it would not meet current regulatory requirements.

DD Fire Alarms therefore proposed that a completely new fire alarm system, based on Fike Twinflex products, should be installed. The landlord of the apartment block, mindful of the need to safeguard his tenants and his property, agreed to proceed on this basis.

“The Twinflex system was ideal for this application,” said Darren Johnson, Managing Director of DD Fire Alarms, “as it is exceptionally reliable and is also fast and easy to install, since it is a two-wire system.  This means that the sounders and beacons are combined with the detectors on the same circuit, which reduces the amount of wiring required. In fact, it is our experience that the cost savings we are able to make on installations by using Twinflex two-wire technology mean that it is invariably the most competitive option.”

A further attraction of Twinflex for this application was that the detectors, beacons and sounders are centrally powered – there are no batteries to replace. This is particularly important in HMOs, as DD Fire Alarms has found that when battery-powered devices start to beep intermittently to indicate that a new battery is needed many tenants simply disable or damage the devices rather than fit a new battery. This leaves the tenants with no fire protection, and the problem may remain undiscovered for many months until the next routine fire system inspection.

The Twinflex two-wire system also has a built-in alarm confirmation delay feature that is particularly useful in HMOs. This is typically configured so that fire signals from the common areas or from manual call points immediately sound the alarms throughout the premises. In contrast, a fire signal from an automatic detector in an individual apartment initially sounds the alarm just in that apartment. Only if the fire signal from the apartment persists for more than a minute are the alarms sounded throughout the building.

This arrangement, which complies fully with Part 1 and Part 6 of BS5839, is useful as a fire signal from a single apartment may well mean nothing more than someone has burnt their toast, in which case raising a general alarm is unnecessary and disruptive.

At the Blackpool apartment block, DD Fire Alarms completed the installation of the Twinflex system on a Friday evening and on the following Monday the system was actuated by a fire in one of the apartments. On entering this apartment, the other residents of the building found that the occupant had set fire to a duvet and, in an unsuccessful attempt to smother the fire, had rolled the duvet up. This made it difficult to tackle the fire with a conventional handheld extinguisher.

The fire brigade had, however, been summoned and on arrival were able to deal with the problem quickly. Because the Twinflex system had detected the fire and sounded the alarm so promptly, damage was minor and was restricted to the apartment where the fire had occurred, and the occupant suffered no lasting ill effects.

Had the new fire alarm system not been in place, it is likely that the occupant of apartment would have been overcome by smoke, and that the fire would have taken hold and spread through the building. There would then have been a significant risk to the lives of the other tenants, some of whom had young children who would have been particularly susceptible to smoke and heat. Costly damage to the property itself would also have been inevitable.

As a result of this incident, the fire brigade carried out an investigation that included an evaluation of the new Twinflex alarm system. They confirmed that this had played a major role in limiting the impact of the fire, that it fully met current legislative requirements, and that it was ideally suited to providing effective and dependable protection in HMOs.

“This incident confirms beyond all doubt that reliable alarm systems in HMOs save lives,” said Darren Johnson, “and it has certainly proved convincing for many other landlords and property owners in the Blackpool area. This month alone we are installing five more Twinflex systems, and we have orders for many more over the coming months.”

“There’s no surprise about this, of course,” he continued. “The system is versatile and dependable and, since it doesn’t use batteries, it’s virtually maintenance free. In addition, it offers excellent value for money – installations invariably cost less than conventional systems that offer far fewer facilities and options. The final factor is that the fire service has confirmed that Twinflex fully meets its requirements for fire protection in HMOs and similar applications. In short, Twinflex is the right fire protection system at the right price.”

For further information please contact Fike Safety Technology 

01633 865 558,

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