Tag Archives: opinion piece

Washroom design for the well educated

With so many rules and regulations surrounding the practicalities of washroom design in educational settings, Daniel Ward, Senior Ceramics Product Manager for Twyford, talks us through the dos and don’ts of sanitary specification for the school environment.

Specifying products for washrooms within the education sector may seem like a fairly straightforward task, but there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure not only that regulations are met, but that the space is well designed, comfortable and practical.

Lack of privacy, vandalism and inadequate cleaning and maintenance can make a visit to the toilet an unpleasant and unhealthy experience for students. In fact, recent research undertaken by charity Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC) highlighted that the quality of school toilets has a huge impact on pupils’ health, education and happiness. Therefore the design of washrooms in education premises needs to be about a lot more than simply providing enough toilets and washbasins.

Laying out the order

The overall layout of school washrooms is a good place to start. As well as adhering to regulations regarding wheelchair accessible cubicles, all standard cubicles must have a minimum 450mm-diameter manoeuvring space that is clear of the door swing. And of course, when you are designing spaces for growing children, the sizes and fixing heights of sanitaryware must be suitable for the relevant user age groups too. Short projection WCs offer a good solution here, creating the necessary space while still ensuring user comfort. Wall-mounting the pan with a suitable framing system will enable the height of the WC to be easily adjusted during installation, to better meet the needs of the user.

Hygiene first

Aside from layout, hygiene in this environment is extremely important too, with ease of cleaning being key to students’ health and wellbeing. So much so that the Department for Education offers guidance on the issue, stating that to avoid build-up of dirt and germs, the toilets in schools should be wall-hung or back to wall.. This also offers a solution with regards to ensuring plumbing work is tamper-proof, a particular point of note when specifying for colleges and universities which serve older children and young adults. The cistern and pipework concealed within the framing system, preventing interference, while being easy to access for maintenance purposes. A dual-flush cistern sitting neatly behind the wall will also help to significantly reduce the amount of water used, while not affecting overall flushing performance. This is particularly important in educational establishments, which are high-traffic areas with the potential for toilets to be flushed literally hundreds of times in any one day.

It is also worth noting that in schools, particularly where younger users are present, the recommendation is also to avoid urinals, but where they are specified to opt for individual bowls rather than a trough, with modestly panels for privacy.

Twyford offers a Rimfree school pans and Flushwise water-efficient WC flushing options.

Water-saving pays off

The washbasins in school washrooms should also be subject to a number of practical considerations. Of course, ease of cleaning for hygiene reasons remains imperative, making ceramics that are coated with an easy to clean glaze a particular benefit, while the choice of brassware is also important. Not only should mixer taps for washbasins be robust and tamper-proof, ideally they should be fitted with an automatic shut-off too, either through a built-in timed delivery feature or infra-red sensors.

Energy and water are a major proportion of non-staff costs in schools, colleges and universities and a major part of their environmental impact. While some schools will have greater scope for savings than others, overall more than 20% of energy is wasted, and a school that is equipped with water conservation devices, such as taps with automatic shut-offs or flow restrictors, plus dual-flush WCS, typically use less than half the amount of water used in schools where such features are not present.

Longevity guarantee

Keeping maintenance levels as low as possible is an important requirement in school buildings, where downtime in washrooms can be at best inconvenient for staff and students. This makes the specification of quality sanitary fittings that will be hard-wearing and durable, of particular significance. To limit the frequency of replacing such fixtures and fittings, their life expectancy should be around 15-20 years, with a manufacturer’s guarantee providing the best scope for this.

There are undoubtedly a lot of things to consider when designing washrooms for educational establishments, with all elements really carrying an equal weight of importance. The trick to ticking all of them off and achieving a successful design is to establish a strong relationship with a manufacturer who is able to respond to all aspects of a washroom’s design, from layouts and dimensions to styles and materials as standard, so that there is never any need to compromise.

For more details contact Twyford on 01926 516800 or visit www.twyfordbathrooms.com.

Kitchen surfaces are all white now

Anyone who was old enough to watch TV in the 1980s may well remember one particular commercial from a well-known washing powder brand, promising to leave the country’s laundry ‘whiter than white’.

It’s quite a claim, after all white’s white, right? Actually, that detergent manufacturer may just have been on to something, as some whites are quite definitely whiter than others. And it’s not just when you’re putting on a load of washing that this can matter; it’s important in kitchen design too, particularly when you are working with a material such as quartz.

CRL Quartz

As a material that is made up of several components, including stone aggregates and resin, one white quartz surface may be a different, or whiter, white than another, dependent on how and where it is manufactured.

Quartz is normally a clear or greyish colour and often has a lot of impurities, which when mixed with the resin can create a white that definitely wouldn’t pass the Persil test. This makes it extremely difficult to make a very white quartz. At CRL Stone we’ve compared our white quartz with all the major suppliers in the UK and can confidently declare ours to be the whitest white on the block. How? Well, we’re lucky enough to have our quartz plant near the site of a natural white quartz, which is very rare and makes all the difference. Of course it’s not all down to luck; the secret also lies in the blending, as the quartz has to be ground down into a very fine powder to achieve a solid white colour with no pockets of resin.

That said, a practically perfect white isn’t always what is needed, but with that achieved, being able to offer a range of different whites is much easier. The fact that some whites are less white than others means that kitchen designers can choose from several different whites, choosing the best contrast to go with furniture or to match with the white used elsewhere in the kitchen.

With no less than six different whites in its quartz collection, not to mention an option with marble veins, CRL Stone’s offering would pass the doorstep challenge and then some.

For more information call CRL Stone on 01706 863600 or visit www.crlquartz.co.uk

Why you need to tread carefully on fragile roofs

By Soni Sheimar, General Manager, Easi-Dec

Every year nine people on average fall to their deaths from fragile roofs or through roof lights. Many more suffer serious, life-changing injuries.

Falls through fragile roofs or materials usually occur on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings where workers are carrying out repairs, maintaining or installing equipment, cleaning gutters and skylights, or whilst carrying out general roof work.   All these accidents are fully avoidable through careful planning and ensuring safe working procedures.

roof safety

What is a fragile surface?

Work on fragile surfaces is high risk, and as a result, the HSE requires that effective precautions are taken for any form of work on or near fragile surfaces.  Accidents can be avoided as long as suitable equipment is used and those carrying out the work are provided with adequate information, training and supervision.

Access onto a roof is often required for maintenance, inspection, cleaning or general repairs.   Fragile surfaces such as the ones we are reading about are typically found on factories and warehouses and can include:

·     Roof lights and skylights

·     Corroded metal sheets

·     Non-reinforced fibre cement sheets

·     Roof slates and tiles

·     Glass such as wired glass

How to tread carefully

The principles of working on fragile surfaces are exactly the same as any other form of work at height, so if you apply the hierarchy of control you should be able to ensure that the work can be carried out safely. 

In an ideal world, the preferred option is to avoid working at height, but as we all know this isn’t always possible, so the next consideration would be to look at methods which would allow work to be carried out without actually stepping onto the roof itself, such as MEWPs.

If access onto the fragile roof cannot be overcome then you will need to look at how the area can be accessed safely and then put into place measures that can alleviate the distance and consequences of a potential fall.   

This can be done in a number of ways, such as protecting the edge of the roof with guardrail, using staging or platforms with edge protection on the roof to spread the load or by protecting fragile roof lights and skylights with a cover to prevent access onto the surface itself.  

roof safety

When access is needed to run from the eaves to the ridge, mesh walkways could be used to spread the weight across the support battens so that workers can safely move along the full length of the systems.

Lightweight mobile walking frames on the other hand are ideal for maintenance of valleys and box gutters on fragile roofs and can provide safe access for up to two people.

A responsible approach

Falls through fragile surfaces account for nearly a fifth of all fatalities as a result of a fall from height in the construction industry.  The worker in the case I highlighted at the start of this post was lucky in that he survived.  However he did suffer serious injuries to his back and sternum and wore a full body brace for six weeks following the incident.

Companies have a legal duty to ensure they have done all they can to prevent accidents and with the range of products available today, particularly for working on fragile materials, there really is no reason for these accidents to still be happening.

For more information, visit www.easi-dec.co.uk

Top Tips for Safe Spring Maintenance

By Soni Sheimar, Easi-Dec General Manager

With the arrival of spring, and winter firmly behind us, now is the time for business owners and landlords to take a look at the roofs of their premises to see what damage the colder months left in their wake.

Whether you are a contractor or the owner of the premises, it is important you know the best way to safely inspect and maintain a building, to ensure the safety of yourself and any contractors in your care.

Planned maintenance can include both plant and equipment as well as repairs to the roof itself, dependent on the type of roof.

If you follow these top tips, you’ll be able to ensure you avoid any issues, such as serious injury or worse, when carrying out spring maintenance.

1. It doesn’t matter what height you’re working at, work at height is by nature dangerous, even more so in the months after winter, when all manner of horrible damage can be hiding away. When possible, try to avoid having to work at height, if this isn’t possible then look at alternative ways to do the work. For example, if cleaning windows, use a reach and wash system rather than a ladder. if you absolutely have to use a ladder then always take advantage of the Easi-Dec Ladder accessories range to provide further support.

Easi-Dec ladder safety

2. Make sure that you always carry out a risk assessment before starting the work to determine what equipment you will need and to identify who could potentially be in danger or be affected by your work. Is there the possibility that someone could be hit by falling objects?

3. When using a ladder, carry out pre-use checks to identify any defects or damages which could prevent safe use. Areas to inspect include the stiles, feet, rungs, steps/treads, platform and locking mechanisms. Make sure the ladder is long enough or high enough for the specific task. Make sure the ground is firm and level and clear of any debris.

4. Always make sure that the user is competent to carry out the work. Competency is essential. Only those who are fully trained in working at height and using equipment such as ladders safely will have the correct skills, knowledge and experience to work safely.

5. And perhaps most importantly of all, always plan the work carefully. This is even more vital after the winter months when there could be hidden risks.

Working at height can be dangerous at the best of times, so remember, if you are not sure about anything or do not believe you are competent or capable of carrying out the task at hand, always seek professional advice.

Good to know: Easi-Dec offers many different products and systems to make working at height all year round safer and more efficient.


Guardrail Installation Horrors

Article by Terry Creed, Technical Sales Consultant, Safesite Ltd

roof edge protection

We’ve written in the past about the importance of competency, especially when it comes to fall protection equipment.  I spend a lot of time on roofs and unfortunately come across some shocking work which illustrates what happens when price is chosen over competency.

The following are the latest batch of horrors I’ve seen when out and about on site.

roof safety

This system is installed so poorly it’s quite unbelievable that someone could leave it that way!  The guardrail is too low, weights and feet are in the wrong position, extremely unstable, grub screws loose or missing, uneven…I could go on…..

roof safety

Poor guardrail installation – no mid rail, a fitting is missing completely and the hot vent flue has damaged the rail. And when you look at the installation from the other side, it gets worse.  The photograph below shows that single fixing has been used into the masonry.


This is definitely not something we would recommend as the fixings can work loose over time.


How NOT to install edge protection around roof access hatches.


And finally, if your guardrail needs repairing, please make sure the person carrying out the repair knows what they’re doing. Otherwise this could happen!

Related Posts

There will always be a “cheaper option”

Checking on competency


Performance Testing for Rooflight Covers

By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Ltd

When speaking to a customer recently about our new rooflight and skylight protection, Kee Cover®, we were asked how we can be sure that the cover will stop someone from falling through the rooflight?

The simple answer is that the range has undergone extensive testing in accordance with industry standards and guidance such as the ACR Red Book Test for Non-Fragility of Large Element Assemblies.

What is the issue?

It’s estimated that on average 7 people a year are killed falling through a fragile roof or fragile rooflight and as a result there has been an increasing demand for roofing products to be non-fragile.  Concerns raised by the HSE and the roofing industry over the lack of a clear accurate standard or guidance for roofing manufacturers to work to, led to the publication of an ACR standard.  We are now on the 5th edition of this standard, the ACR [M]001:2014 – sometimes referred to as The Red Book.

The Red Book defines the test for non-fragility which should be applied to any roof assembly and any accessories such as rooflights which may be fitted.  The aim is to determine whether the structure can both support the sudden load imposed on it by someone stumbling or falling onto it and then retain that load for a specified time.

The Test

The test defines 3 Classes of non-fragility A, B & C.   Very few roof constructions achieve Class A.  When it comes to rooflight covers, you want to be sure that the cover can withstand the initial impact of someone falling on it, but also remain intact while the person is on the cover.

The ACR standard requires drop-tests where a 45kg sand bag is released from a test rig and allowed to free fall a minimum of 1.2m under gravity onto the surface of the test sample.

For a rooflight cover to be classified as non-fragile is must arrest the fall and retain the full load for at least 5 minutes after impact.

The following flow chart outlines the fragility test requirements and classification.


Kee Cover Testing          

In addition to the ACR test, Kee Cover® has also undergone extensive testing in accordance with the European Standard BS EN 1873 2014: Prefabricated accessories for roofing. Individual rooflights of plastics. Product specification and test methods.

Both tests have proven that if someone does fall onto the Kee Cover®, it will prevent them falling through the fragile rooflight and retain their weight following the fall.


Safety Critical Fixings – What happens when it goes wrong?

construction fixings

As recently appointed full members of the Construction Fixings Association, EJOT UK is helping to promote the work of the CFA by alerting those involved in the specification and installation of safety critical fixings, to the serious consequences of “getting it wrong”.

We are all familiar with this engineering teaser:

Question: What is the most important component on a car?

Answer: The nut that holds the steering wheel in place!

Take away the humour element, and the reality is exactly the same when you apply this to countless structural scenarios. The somber truth is that life and limb are the ultimate casualties when either the correct specification or installation process fails.

Brian Mack is technical business development manager for EJOT in the UK:

“The selection, installation and certification of construction fixings on any construction project is comparatively small in terms of time and resource when taking the overall project into consideration. Yet, at EJOT we have seen on countless occasions, the results of wrongly specified fixings and the many mistakes that have presented a serious threat to life.


“Incidents such as tunnel collapses, scaffold collapses and ducting/ME failures due to incorrectly specified, installed or set critical fixings can easily be avoided. It is vital that the correct anchoring system is chosen and that it is installed to the manufacturers recommendations; that includes drilling and preparation of the installation hole through to insertion and setting of the anchor. The Code of practice for the selection and installation of post-installed anchors in concrete and masonry, BS 8539:2012, underpins the whole process from design and testing, right through to final installation. It is a valuable document and THE source of reference for safety critical fasteners”.


Established in 1979, the CFA is non-profit making industry-wide body comprising the major manufacturers of construction fixings that have a significant UK presence.

The Association’s work in actively promoting best practice guidance through a range of resources, makes it the leading authority on construction fixings in the UK. The CFA has been instrumental in the development and publishing of BS8539 – a British Standard Code of Practice designed to assist the specification to installation chain, with a thoroughly comprehensive guide to the roles and responsibilities in providing a high quality and safe fixing installation.

Brian Mack continues:

“As a trade association, the CFA is providing education, advice, training and technical support to all functions involved in the provision of safety critical fixings in the industry.  Here at EJOT UK, we are delighted to be now involved with this process”.

In brief, the CFA are currently providing these resources:

For Specifiers: CPD seminars reviewing the design and selection of fixings in line with BS 8539 and current European Technical Approvals.

For Contractors: CPD seminars designed to explain their responsibilities and how to implement these duties under BS 8539. This also looks at creating ‘competent installers and testers’ for projects.

Construction Fixings Association

For Installers: Certified training in the correct installation of all construction fixings to concrete and masonry.

For Testers: Certified training in the correct procedures for testing to the requirements of BS 8539 – both for proof testing and allowable load determination.

For further information about the Construction Fixings Association, its full members and its comprehensive toolkit for BS 8539, visit the Construction Fixings Association website at www.the-cfa.co.uk


Importance of Fall Protection Inspection

By Steve Kilpin, Recertification Manager, Safesite Ltd

A recent conversation with one of our customers made me realise that many end users are still unaware of their duties once a fall protection systems has been installed. In this case the customer didn’t understand the importance of having their line system recertified, as far as they were concerned all they did was clip a harness to it when they wanted to go onto the roof.

With this in mind I thought it would be worth explaining what’s required as far as the inspection and testing of fall restraint/arrest systems is concerned.

Legal Requirements

When it comes to a boiler or a car, we all understand the importance of regular maintenance and servicing.  These not only help guarantee the life of the boiler or car, but also ensure they are safe.  Fall protection systems are exactly the same; once a system has been installed it should be regularly maintained and serviced so you can be sure that when someone clips onto them, the system won’t fail should they fall.

fall protection

Inspection and recertification of these systems is much more than just ticking a box and issuing a certificate.  Once installed you are legally required to ensure that the system is safe to use at all times.  Depending upon the equipment installed, the following legislation and standards will help you to comply with your legal requirements:

  • Work at Height Regulations
    • Competency – Regulation 5
    • Inspection of Work Equipment – Regulation 12
    • Duties of Persons at Work – Regulation 14
    • Requirements for Personal Fall Protection Systems – Schedule 5
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
    • Maintenance of workplace, and of equipment, devices and systems – Regulation 5
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations
    • Compatibility of personal protective equipment – Regulation 5
    • Maintenance and replacement of personal protective equipment – Regulation 7
    • Information, instruction and training – Regulation 9
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
    • Maintenance – Regulation 5
    • Inspection – Regulation 6
    • Information and instructions – Regulation 8
    • Training- Regulation 9
  • BS EN 7883: Code of practice for the design, selection, installation, use and maintenance of anchor devices conforming to B EN 795
  • BS EN 365: Personal Protective Equipment Against Falls From a Height.

What to look for

Fall arrest/restraint systems typically consist of an anchor point, a lanyard (fixed length if the system is fall restraint) and a fully body harness.  It’s not uncommon for fall protection systems such as these to be removed, damaged or tampered with, or in some cases for the system to be deployed.  As a result they must be inspected regularly and recertified in order to ensure that they are safe to use.

fall protection

The frequency of inspections and recertification will depend upon the system, frequency of use and environment, but as a rule we recommend that visual inspections are carried out before each use and that recertification is carried out at least every twelve months.

Inspection and rectification of equipment must only be carried out by a competent person and should include a full inspection of the system and associated PPE, for example:

  • a detailed inspection of the structural connection of the system
  • making sure the system runs smoothly over all intermediate brackets
  • annual pull testing of swage terminations in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.
  • inspection of all shock absorbers
  • checking the cable for any damage, kinks or signs of wear
  • checking and tightening of all accessible fixings
  • looking for any signs of corrosion to galvanised components
  • pull test for all visible end fixings to concrete/brickwork/ structure
  • re-tensioning of the cable if required
  • inspecting lanyards and harnesses for cuts, stains, fraying or breaks in stitching
  • looking for signs of damage to fittings (e.g karabiners, screwlink connectors, scaffold hooks)
  • checking for damage to the sheath and core of a kernmantel rope (e.g rucking of the core detected during tactile inspection)

Where PPE is being used, it’s essential that the different items are compatible with one another. If a combination of PPE is being used, then the person selecting that combination becomes the ‘manufacturer’ and is therefore the responsible person.   PPE should be inspected prior to each use, but more detailed inspections are required at least every six months.  If the PPE is used more frequently, then interim inspections would be required every three months.

fall protection


Ensuring a system is safe to use doesn’t end with inspection and recertification.   Everyone using the fall protection system must be adequately trained, this includes not only employees but also anyone deemed to be under your control such as contractors.  All those using the fall protection systems must also be aware of the correct PPE combination.

Whether being used as fall restraint or fall arrest, fall protection systems are vital pieces of equipment when it comes to work at height. Your responsibility to providing a safe working environment does not end when you install a fall protection system.   Equipment must be maintained at least once a year by a competent person/company and all those using the system must have the appropriate level of instruction, supervision and training.  If an accident does occur and the system hasn’t been maintained and inspected properly, you could be held accountable, especially if it’s found to be faulty and/or uncertified.


Whether being used as fall restraint or fall arrest, fall protection systems are vital pieces of equipment when it comes to work at height. Your responsibility to providing a safe working environment does not end when you install a fall protection system.   Equipment must be maintained at least once a year by a competent person/company and all those using the system must have the appropriate level of instruction, supervision and training.  If an accident does occur and the system hasn’t been maintained and inspected properly, you could be held accountable, especially if it’s found to be faulty and/or uncertified.


Why choose resin bound surfacing for residential developments?

Photograph courtesy of Clearstone

Resin bound surfacing has transformed housing developments in recent years throughout the UK.

Gone are the days of using block paving or concrete to create functional driveways, paths and garden areas; now homeowners want to create an outside space which looks beautiful, is easy to maintain and stands the test of time.

What is resin bound surfacing?

Resin bound surfacing is where natural stone and resin are mixed together and then laid onto a prepared surface. The material is then trowelled down to a smooth finish and once complete, the depth of a resin bound paving surface should be anywhere between 12 and 24mm, depending on the application and the size and type of stone used in the process.

Resin bound surfacing is often mistaken with resin bonded surfacing, and it is easy to see why with very similar sounding names.

Resin bonded surfacing however is where natural stone is laid onto a pre-spread resin base, and once this process is complete a film of resin is then applied to the surface.

Resin bonded surfacing has more of a textured look and often has the appearance of loose gravel. A typical depth of a Resin bonded surface is around 6 to 8mm.

Photograph courtesy of The Yorkshire Resin Company Ltd

Why use resin bound surfacing compared to other surface materials?

More and more homeowners and clients appreciate the benefits they get with resin bound surfacing. It is not only visually attractive and gives their property ‘kerb appeal’, but is also very practical. It requires very little maintenance and there are no loose stones that can cause an unsightly mess.

The physical properties of the resin bound surfacing with the natural aggregate and resin form to create an extremely durable surface, which will give years of outstanding performance to homeowners.

Compared to other surfacing materials/types, resin bound surfacing has clear benefits. Block paving, although can look clean and pleasing to the eye when first laid, is prone to degredation over time.

The colour fades even after a year or two, and as the blocks are fixed onto a simple substrate with no movement considered, they are prone to cracks and displacement.

Another headache for homeowners with block paving is weed growth within the surface joints, or in between the paving slabs. As resin bound surfacing is constructed of many particles of stone mixed with resin, it is virtually impossible for cracks or displacement.

The durability of the surface means it can withstand heavy loadings e.g. cars, plus the aesthetics is guaranteed for many years from UV degredation and colour discolouration.

Another advantage of resin bound surfacing compared with block paving is the time saving benefit during installation. This particular factor refers to refurbishment projects, where it is possible to lay the resin bound material directly over existing concrete driveways (after the concrete has been cleaned and primed). This saves time and ultimately labour costs, as the original concrete substrate needs little work to prepare.

A good quality concrete surface is generally considered to be robust and hard-wearing, and should give homeowners many years of functional paving. However, they generally are quite impervious and can only soak in a limited amount of water. Once the concrete has taken in all the water that is possible, this decreases the permeability of the structure which then results in surface overflow. This water runoff then contributes to potential flooding.

Resin bound surfaces are fully permeable and as a result water is able to drain through the surface effectively, preventing any surface water build up.

A good quality resin bound surface will be fully compliant with the requirements of Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), which was introduced in 2011 to better manage water run off in urban areas.

It is also possible to install a resin bound surface in a wide range of colours and textures to create a really unique look. It is now best practice in the design and installation of resin bound surfacing to use edge profiling, to contain, shape and complement the resin surfacing.

Edge profiles for resin bound surfacing

To really create an eye-catching resin bound floor, whether it be for driveways, paths or garden areas, it is highly recommended that distinctive edges are used to contain the resin material.

Installers and designers commonly design the resin bound surfacing right up to brickwork, timber, paving, or other existing features of a property. However home owners and designers now favour a more clinical finish to their installations, and prefer the use of stainless steel edge profiles to provide edging to their beautiful resin flooring.

Dural UK supply a range of edge profiles, including Durosol Straight Edging Profiles, Durosol Flexible Profiles and Movement Joint Profiles. All three ranges provide high quality edge protection to resin bound surfaces, and are available in a variety of sizes, depths and materials to suit all kinds of installations and requirements.

The flooring experts at Dural are able to assist in selecting the right edge profiling to match any resin bound surfacing installation.


Finish first with OrganoWood®

With architects turning their attention to timber as a favourite material for cladding, Steve Grimwood, Managing Director of OrganoWood®, the natural wood preservative specialist, explains the necessity for specifying a wood protection that offers more than just an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Timber has always been a popular cladding material in many countries throughout Europe. This is due to timber offering a unique combination of both aesthetic and practical features. As a strong, reliable and attractive material, timber is a sought after choice from architects and end users, for both residential and commercial cladding applications.


As with any natural material, wood requires treatment to provide sufficient protection to maintain its appearance and structure, and maximise the material’s potential.

The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) recommends the use of industrial wood protection processes to enhance the long term performance of timber that lacks adequate natural durability. The association reminds the industry that ‘the sapwood of all species is not durable and needs protection.’


For architects selecting a finish, it is important to ensure that the product will provide the right level of protection, as well as an aesthetically pleasing end result.

Various manufacturers, including OrganoWood, are offering a new generation of wood protection. A tried and tested ecological alternative to pressure treated finishes, these products are both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable, and offer flame, rot and fungal protection, as well as extreme water and dirt repellence.

Through proprietary technology, which mimics the natural fossilisation process, the timber is modified by the attachment of protective silicon compounds to the wood fibres.

Rot and Flame Protection

Where building regulations require fire performance in accordance with British Standards or Euroclass, the TDCA recommends pre-treatment with a quality assured flame retardant.


Unlike traditional timber protection systems, which rely on biocides to kill the rot fungi and other timber destructive organisms, this new generation of wood protection uses no substances classified as hazardous or harmful, but only natural minerals and fruit substances. These products are tested to meet all relevant European environmental and performance standards and have received EN113 and EN 13501-1 certification for rot and fire protection respectively.

Dirt and Water Repellent

The TDCA also highly recommends the use of moisture permeable coatings.

As wood is not naturally as resistant to water, dirt and stains than other materials, it is important for architects to specify a treatment that will add durability. For cladding installations, measures should be taken in order to protect the timber from water. Structurally, the wood can be designed to allow the water to drain off easily, but a water repellent treatment will reduce the risk of stagnant moisture marking and absorbing. Without treatment, the wood is prone to decay and is likely to warp out of shape. Fungi and mould are also more likely to develop, so a finish that combines properties to counteract this will further increase the durability.

Environmentally Friendly

In the UK, architects and end users look favourably on environmentally friendly products. To get the best results from a timber finish, it is important to specify a product that is entirely non-toxic – without the use of harmful heavy metals, biocides and solvents. It is important to opt for products that are ecologically sustainable according to FSC® (FSC-C120532) and PEFC™ (05-35-168).

Aesthetically Pleasing

As well as offering a high level of protection, these finishes provide an appearance that is desired by many. The finish gradually ages with an aesthetically pleasing silver-grey hue over time.


OrganoWood offers architects a range of products that consists of OrganoWood® 01. Protection which offers rot and flame protection, OrganoWood® 02. Repellent to provide a dirt and water repellent surface and OrganoWood® 03. Cleaner, an organic wood cleaner for general and intensive cleaning and maintenance of the wood.

For stockists and more information on OrganoWood®, please call 01296 323770 or visit www.organowood.co.uk