Sheffield-based insulation distributor Panel Systems has helped to raise awareness across the UK of the plight of the millions of children across the world that live on the street, by supplying cut Styrofoam models for two special exhibitions which were held recently in London.

As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of Styrofoam insulation, Panel Systems responded to a request from Threefold Architects, based in London, to provide charity Street Child World Cup with Styrofoam models to enable three London schools to make models of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and London.  Panel Systems designed the Styrofoam base models using their CNC machining capabilities to cut 16 blocks of Styrofoam into two basic pyramid shapes, a rectangular shape and a circular shape.  Panel Systems also provided design and technical support to the architects behind the project for the construction of the models which were over 2m2.

Threefold Architects chose Styrofoam for the base material of the children’s cardboard city models as it is lightweight yet strong, making it ideal for transporting the models to and from the workshop to St Pancras and St Paul’s Cathedral, where the models were displayed.  Panel Systems designed and produced the Styrofoam components at its hot-wire cutting facilities in Sheffield.

Matthew Driscoll, Director of Threefold Architects, said: “We identified Styrofoam as the best material as it is lightweight yet strong.  It was important within the design to make component parts that could easily be transported, assembled and disassembled.  Panel Systems used their expertise and experience of shaped Styrofoam blocks that could achieve this.  We are delighted that Panel Systems were able to work with us at short notice to produce the Styrofoam blocks that were so crucial to the success of these exhibitions.”

Prior to the workshop, Threefold Architects worked with an artist and with Street Child World Cup to develop the design for the models and construct the bases and some of the components to enable the children to decorate the bases, assemble the iconic buildings and make and decorate the houses and favelas to fill the tiers of the models.

The models were displayed at St Pancras Station and St Paul’s Cathedral in London on 23rd July 2013, coinciding with a service to commemorate the 1993 Candelária massacre of street children.  Street Child World Cup is now hoping to find a permanent home for the models to be displayed after the event.


This year, Threefold Architects have held their annual three day architecture and design workshop for secondary school students in collaboration with the charity Street Child World Cup.  The workshops aim to give children aged 11-16 a deeper insight into architectural design and the role of the architect within society.

Street Child World Cup is a global campaign that challenges the negative perceptions and treatment of street children through football and art.  Their mission is to ensure that street children are given the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to.

To find out more about Panel Systems please visit their website at or telephone 0114 275 2881.

For more information about Street Child World Cup visit the website at or telephone 020 7549 0355.

In 2014 the beautiful game returns to its spiritual home: Brazil. Brazil will host teams of street children from up to 20 countries, drawing from a network of outstanding projects all campaigning for the rights of street children. This will ensure that street children’s voices are heard and that they will have the chance to play in the festival of football. The Road to Brazil begins now and we are running a number of international football and arts-based events to build momentum towards Brazil 2014.

Latest guide helps healthcare designers

DESIGNING better healthcare facilities is the aim of a new guide produced by flooring experts Tarkett.


The company has drawn on its 130 years of commercial flooring expertise to produce the guide which covers all areas of healthcare, from sanitary facilities to operating theatres and pharmacies.

The Healthcare Solutions Guide details how design and ergonomics can change perceptions and improve patient comfort.

John Devine, UK Sales Director for Tarkett, said: “Flooring plays a major role in how an interior is perceived and can be used creatively to fulfil a wide range of functional and aesthetic requirements.

“It can separate areas, act as a way finder for patients and staff, reduce stress and improve comfort.

“But the guide is not just about visual appearances – it covers durability, cost effectiveness, hygiene and infection control.

“For architects and designers it’s a vital tool in creating long-lasting facilities that benefit patients and staff.”

The guide draws on Tarkett’s experience of providing quality flooring to all manner of healthcare environments from Manchester, England to as far away as Melbourne, Australia.

It suggests suitable products for each area and provides a list of considerations for designers to take into account.

One example is in the use of flooring in operating theatres, where the product must be suitable for intensive cleaning and provide protection from electrostatic discharge, which can damage sensitive equipment and ignite flammable gasses.

Sustainability and the environment are also key factors considered by Tarkett within the guide.

John added: “Designing and manufacturing sustainable flooring is a major challenge, but Tarkett has recognised the difference it can make and we have made huge advances in the production and logistics of our flooring.

“The new linoleum range is made using natural raw materials and last year the Tarkett group collected and recycled more than 6,000 tonnes of post-installation and post-consumer waste.

Air quality is also an important factor, particularly in healthcare environments and here our goal is to lead the market by presenting a complete portfolio with VOC emissions below quantifiable levels.”

In total four typical areas that shape the smooth running of a healthcare environment and the orientation paths of patients through the facility are identified and analysed.

These include traffic and common areas, medical areas such as radiology and dialysis, hospitality areas, administration and logistics.

The guide is the second in a series made to assist healthcare designers. The first focused on designing facilities for dementia sufferers.

To request a copy of either guide please email: or call: 01622 854 040

Increased Comfort & Energy Reduction

Client:  Claridges Hotel – Davis Penthouse  

Claridge’s is one of the most iconic 5 star hotels in Mayfair, giving customers a chance to experience a world of design and flawless service and comfort.

During the summer months it was noticeable that the air conditioning for the Davis Penthouse was continually on to help with keeping the room at a comfortable temperature for any guest staying.  This then would have an impact of air conditioning costs for the Hotel

To help reduce the use of the air conditioning and ultimately reduce energy cost, Environmental Control Films were appointed to help control the suites increased temperatures during the summer months.

“It was important to get the balance of temperature, glare and light control. This was achieved by Environmental Control Films installing E Clear 70 solar control window film, helping to reduce the internal temperature by up to 4% without any dramatic effect on light levels.

Environmental Control Films prides itself on ensuring that the right products are chosen to best suit the customer’s requirements. Our expertise in this field, together with our high levels of project management, ensures that our customers are completely satisfied with the service given to them.

Claridges – Davies Penthouse Sitting Room
Claridges – Brook Penthouse Bedroom

The Properties of Reflective Solar Control Films

■ Excellent solar heat rejection  .43%

■ Helps reduce glare

■ Reduces load on air conditioning

■ Cuts energy use for cooling.

■ Reduces ‘greenhouse gas emissions

About Environmental Control Films

Environmental Control Films are a window films solutions company installing high quality glass coatings, glass manifestations, vinyl graphics and edge retention systems.

We have a national network of installers, projects are undertaken with a strong commitment to the quality of products, service and workmanship.

Tel: 01256 328332


Jeff House, Marketing & Applications Manager, Baxi Commercial, considers the heating options available to healthcare facilities and the increasing interest in prefabricated solutions

Healthcare buildings come in all shapes and sizes and serve a wide variety of needs. Although facilities may belong to one of a number of general types, each with broadly defined objectives, an individual healthcare location is likely to be a unique mixture of demands and solutions. Individuality can even be found in responses to a demand that applies whatever the location – the provision of heating and hot water. This diversity of solutions can be brought about not only by the characteristics and specific needs of the location, but also by the heating technology available when it was built.

Some sites, particularly in older buildings, may have a heating system centred on a boiler or boilers, delivering space heating as well as heated stored water for the domestic hot water system. Other buildings may be heated by a separated system, with boilers providing space heating and water heaters meeting the hot water demand. Following the introduction of renewable energy and microgeneration solutions it has become increasingly common for these energy sources to be integrated with existing as well as new heating systems.

An example of space heating provided by Potterton Commercial and direct-fired water heating provided by Andrews
Example of a prefabricated boiler package integrated with a solar thermal hot water system servicing Percy Court, Alnwick, a sheltered housing facility

The principal contributor to both a building’s energy use and its carbon emissions is its heating arrangements, so that as climate change policies and ever increasing fuel costs make actions to reduce energy use and carbon emissions imperative, centre administrators will be investigating how improvements can be made. There is likely to be a constant theme running through all of these deliberations, namely that any changes to building operating systems should be put in place without seriously affecting the delivery of the services for which the building exists.

One Made Earlier

As far as heating is concerned, a tried and tested answer in such circumstances is a prefabricated package solution. As the name suggests, the system is constructed off site and is delivered as an entity, capable of ‘plug and play’ installation.

This is what sets the prefabricated and complete unit apart from solutions with several independent components, as the potential for interruption of other systems and processes during installation is greatly reduced. As there is only one occasion when local services need to be shut down to enable the new system to be connected, complete and speedy installation in a single operation puts to rest all concerns over the likely damaging effects on service delivery of several, possibly lengthy, interruptions.

Flexible design is at the heart of every prefabricated package, as it is based on total awareness of the specific location for which it is intended. So, although the finished article is complete at the point of delivery, assembly has involved the coordination and integration of several diverse and complex elements. These will be of interest to facility managers, as they will have a bearing on the total energy, emission and, most importantly, cost reductions that the upgrade is intended to achieve. The elements involved concern determining the carbon and energy rating of the building, choosing the most suitable energy source or sources, sizing the equipment best suited to deliver the heat and hot water load and selecting the location for the system equipment.

The Potterton Commercial Condensing Combination Boiler
The Potterton Commercial Condensing Combination Boiler

Advisory Report

Legislative obligations may already have required the carbon emissions and energy rating of a building to be assessed and recommendations regarding improving energy performance set out in an Advisory Report forming part of an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) or DEC (Display Energy Certificate). Whether or not the implementation of the recommendations is obligatory, the long life of an Advisory Report, of either seven or ten years, does not allow for the fact that during such a period, heating industry initiatives in the use of a wide variety of fuel sources are extending the options available. This does not affect the assessment of the energy rating of a building, but it could mean that previous recommendations regarding improving energy performance, even if still valid, may not be appropriate when compared with the current recommendations that would be made in respect of the same building. Consequently, it might be thought prudent to obtain a fresh opinion and in this respect the heating industry may be of help, as leading manufacturers can provide technical information and explain appropriate solutions.

Although involving decisions that might need to take into account the potential funding available under not yet fully defined government schemes, it may be possible to select the type or types of energy source to be used.

Climate change policies promote the application of renewables, especially on an individual energy user basis, with financial incentives available under centrally funded schemes. Not every healthcare building will have the same options regarding renewable energy sources, indeed the preferred option may be for a source that does not use or rely on renewable energy, for example CHP (Combined Heat and Power).  In essence, the renewables choice is likely to be driven by energy type availability and the financial gain to be derived. The timing of this decision is, however, not critical, as it can be delayed until full information is available without prejudicing a current project intended to improve energy performance.

No Holding Back

This is an important point, as the type of equipment to be used to form the heating system is unlikely to be significantly influenced by the energy source, as forward looking manufacturers provide equipment and systems that can be integrated with a renewable energy source after initial installation. This means that, whether or not a renewables decision has been made, the type of heating system and consequently the type of equipment to be used can be chosen. The system may be based on boilers only, or on a combination of boilers and water heaters, all of which will need to be sized to achieve the required building heating system energy rating.

This decision making process will be greatly helped by the pro-active way in which leading heating equipment manufacturers are responding to climate change policy aims. For example, one manufacturer can provide a package heating system in which condensing boilers and biomass renewable energy boilers are integrated. A further option is a system with condensing boilers in conjunction with a CHP boiler unit. In either case, the overarching principle of energy type flexibility still applies, as components in the system can still be’ renewables ready’ to allow for the subsequent integration of a non-fossil fuel energy source. For smaller applications, one manufacturer provides an innovative single cabinet solution that includes separated space heating and hot water functions.

The Perfect Fit

The general heating system packaging elements so far described are not the end of the story, as further factors shape the unique identity of each individual package. These include the measurements of the plant room where the system is to be housed, the location of the building services within that space, the dimensions and location of all access points, any stairs and lifts that must be negotiated and any other relevant matters that may affect installation.

Once these have been established, the prefabrication can be tailored to exactly match its destination. It may be possible to package the system on a single skid, but access may require separate modules for assembly in the plant room. The system connections to the building services will be positioned to enable direct and simple attachment. These tailored attributes ensure that system downtime is limited to the actual period of installation, with ‘plug and play’ features limiting installation to hours rather than days.

It should not be overlooked that the energy, emissions and cost saving benefits that can be built into the design of a prefabricated package are enhanced by other inherent advantages. Off-site assembly and construction at one location, with unified delivery, can greatly reduce project coordination, transport and installation costs. Single sourcing of components simplifies maintenance and part replacement. It is perhaps no coincidence that prefabricated heating systems are increasingly the refurbishment solution of choice for locations, such as healthcare facilities, where system individuality and installation downtime are critical considerations.

Tel: 0845 070 1055


Use Bitumen

Bitumen is good


Bitumen – black in colour but with the greenest of credentials. Bitumen is good for the building and good for the environment.

For over 3000 years bitumen has provided waterproofing solutions and is still the environmentally safe, robust answer for flat and low slope roofs.

Axter specialises in the manufacture of high quality, fully integrated bituminous membranes, engineered to provide excellent performance and design flexibility in new build and renovation projects and to protect buildings from the elements for 50 years and beyond.

Axter recommends early consultation with its design team.  Contact Axter on 01473 724056 or submit an enquiry for further information.

Coloured Movement Joints by CMJ

CMJ produce bespoke joints for Hard Flooring, Natural Stone and Slate.

We specialize in colour matching our joints to the grout or the floor finish creating a stylish designer look and a seamless finish.

All hard flooring moves independently by expanding and contracting at different rates so it is a requirement for flooring installations to have Movement Joint protection. Movement Joints are an effective way to protect ceramic and other hard floor coverings from the stresses that cause cracking, tenting or popping on the surface.


Clients generally do not like Movement Joints because it is felt that they can be obtrusive and spoil the aesthetic appearance of their carefully chosen floor.  Specifiers and installers know that Movement Joints need to be used to absorb the natural movements in the floor. Architects are required to specify products that are fit for purpose and conform to building regulations and installers have a duty to provide good advice and workmanship.  What ever your job title, our team of friendly and experienced staff at CMJ are on hand to help guide you though the requirements of your projects.

CMJ Movement Joints have been specified on many projects including retail, commercial, transport, education, hotels, sport & leisure, prisons and even the Olympic Village at London 2012.

Major car brands including Ford, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagon to name a few have used our Movement Joints because they create a high class finish and also a seamless designer look which is a preferred finish in car showroom areas. Movement Joints are also used in the workshop areas because of their ability to handle a wide range of loadings and their durability.

CMJ Movement Joint Car Showroom

Movement Joints are available in PVC, Aluminum, Stainless Steel and Brass. Our advice is that unless cost is an overriding issue we do not recommend the use of PVC profiles. They are a short-term solution and lack durability that is needed for tiled flooring. Using aluminum based profiles adequately protects the majority of projects. Stainless Steel profiles provide the greatest strength but are the least visible due to the manufacture and design of the profile.

Not only can CMJ Movement Joints cope with heavy stresses and distribute them evenly between the foundation and floor covering, they can also prevent conduction of noise from footfall and other bodies. Even floors subject to heavy stresses remain in better condition for longer when our Movement Joints are specified.

All CMJ movement joints are designed and manufactured to exceed the requirements of BS 5385 and can be used with Slate, Natural Stone and Ceramic tiled floors.

We also provide highly competent advice and support. No matter how complex the application we can provide the perfect solution, including both products and service.CMJ Final-Logo

For more information visit their new website:

Tel: 01294360110



TWO ‘eco-kabins’ at Holmside in County Durham, that will provide respite care to young people and adults with autism and learning disabilities, are reaching completion by architecture and design firm _space group.


Newcastle based _space group was appointed by a partnership of Durham County Council (DCC), the North East Autism Society and the environmental charity Groundwork North East to create the single-storey, lodge-style eco-kabins in an innovative project.

It was a requirement that the buildings be of a high environmental standard and constructed using timber from sustainable sources, and the work be supplied by a local contractor, _space group was selected.

To meet the specific needs of people with autism, the interior design considered colour schemes, layout, accessibility and furnishings in order to provide a bespoke and stylish environment that mirrors the nature of the surrounding farmland.

After the site was prepared the lodges took just one week to actually erect on-site, due to their innovative off-site manufacture process. A six-week fit out period is currently close to completion, to ensure they are ready for their first visitors this summer.

The lodges are eco-friendly due to _space’s philosophy that uses highly efficient, thermally controlled airtight envelopes, in a similar way to a German system approach ‘passivhaus’, ensuring the structures are highly insulated. Mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems and high performance electric panel heaters have also been installed.

The living rooms are south-facing to maximise solar gains and natural day light, whilst the thorough resourcing of materials has meant that there was minimal wastage on-site. A sustainable drainage system is also in place.

As part of the community and social sustainability emphasis on the project, _space engaged young NEETs (those not in education, employment or training) from Consett-based Delves Lane Mutual in the external painting of the lodges with support from Groundwork North East and the Council’s Targeted Recruitment & Training (TRT) project.2

Attendees of the neighbouring North East Autism Society training centre at New Warlands Farm have also been involved in the project. They were present when the eco-kabins arrived and have visited _space group’s headquarters where they were given an overview of how the industry works from the design and procurement stages through to the construction delivery process.

_space group associate director Keith Handy said: “This project has been a great opportunity for us to develop our new off-site manufacturing approach to sustainable living design. We are extremely appreciative that Groundwork North East, along with Durham County Council and the North East Autism Society chose _space group for their new development in Holmside. As a company we are always very enthusiastic to contribute to important community projects such as this.

“The lodges will offer a much needed resource to provide specialist respite care facilities in a unique setting that increases the type of accommodation people can choose to stay in. The accommodation was designed specifically to meet their users’ and carers’ needs, together with an overriding focus on sustainability. We have taken a truly holistic approach to the sustainable design of the lodges.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with all of the organisations involved on such an innovative and exemplary project. We look forward to working on more developments like this as our sustainable housing reputation grows.”

%d bloggers like this: