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  • 22 Aug 2017
    Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    61 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    Aug 22, 2017 61
  • 21 Aug 2017
    Plastics is rapidly becoming a dirty word for environmentalists across the globe who are now laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of this ubiquitous material for polluting the world’s oceans. In reality, only around 4% of the planet’s oil production is converted into plastics but because it’s a product that tends to stick around for a long time, it is seen to be anything but green. The construction industry would certainly be the poorer without the massive range of largely maintenance free plastic based materials, used across a huge range of products such as rainwater goods, doors, windows, cladding – the list is almost endless. But at some time those building materials will need to be replaced and we must also take into account the huge amount of plastic based packaging such products arrive in – so what happens next? Well some will go into landfill and it will take up to 1,000 years to rot, much to the annoyance of the ultra-green, but the construction industry is doing its bit in a remarkable number of innovative and ground breaking ways. In India they are now actively looking at recycling plastic waste into new roads. They have found that they can use 1.5 tonnes of waste plastic mixed with bitumen for every new kilometre of road laid and the bonus is – that such roads – last twice as long as conventional asphalt. India’s Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) claim that bitumen mixed with plastic or rubber improves the quality and life of roads although construction costs using this method were around 6% higher. However, such a surface also delivered more than satisfactory performance, good skid resistance, and good texture value, was stronger and provided a lesser amount of progressive unevenness. More generally, plastics have a very good environmental profile which is why we should give the industry much more credit for being kinder to the environment.  In construction, in particular, plastics have a huge role to play. If all buildings were upgraded to optimal standards across Europe using plastic based insulation, according to industry sources, then it is estimated that 460 million fewer tonne’s of CO2 would be generated each year. Plastic pipes use less energy in manufacture compared to concrete or iron, are lighter and more reliable on a whole range of construction situations It must also be emphasised that plastics recycling takes place on a significant scale in the UK and the rest of the worldt to ensure that it can used again and again. So maybe we should be looking more kindly at the plastics industry which is really doing its bit to protect the environment as much as it can - and perhaps be placing the blame more firmly on the millions of anti-social people who carelessly discard their plastic waste each year expecting mother nature and the rest of us to clear up their mess. By Talk Builder Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder  
    61 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Plastics is rapidly becoming a dirty word for environmentalists across the globe who are now laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of this ubiquitous material for polluting the world’s oceans. In reality, only around 4% of the planet’s oil production is converted into plastics but because it’s a product that tends to stick around for a long time, it is seen to be anything but green. The construction industry would certainly be the poorer without the massive range of largely maintenance free plastic based materials, used across a huge range of products such as rainwater goods, doors, windows, cladding – the list is almost endless. But at some time those building materials will need to be replaced and we must also take into account the huge amount of plastic based packaging such products arrive in – so what happens next? Well some will go into landfill and it will take up to 1,000 years to rot, much to the annoyance of the ultra-green, but the construction industry is doing its bit in a remarkable number of innovative and ground breaking ways. In India they are now actively looking at recycling plastic waste into new roads. They have found that they can use 1.5 tonnes of waste plastic mixed with bitumen for every new kilometre of road laid and the bonus is – that such roads – last twice as long as conventional asphalt. India’s Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) claim that bitumen mixed with plastic or rubber improves the quality and life of roads although construction costs using this method were around 6% higher. However, such a surface also delivered more than satisfactory performance, good skid resistance, and good texture value, was stronger and provided a lesser amount of progressive unevenness. More generally, plastics have a very good environmental profile which is why we should give the industry much more credit for being kinder to the environment.  In construction, in particular, plastics have a huge role to play. If all buildings were upgraded to optimal standards across Europe using plastic based insulation, according to industry sources, then it is estimated that 460 million fewer tonne’s of CO2 would be generated each year. Plastic pipes use less energy in manufacture compared to concrete or iron, are lighter and more reliable on a whole range of construction situations It must also be emphasised that plastics recycling takes place on a significant scale in the UK and the rest of the worldt to ensure that it can used again and again. So maybe we should be looking more kindly at the plastics industry which is really doing its bit to protect the environment as much as it can - and perhaps be placing the blame more firmly on the millions of anti-social people who carelessly discard their plastic waste each year expecting mother nature and the rest of us to clear up their mess. By Talk Builder Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder  
    Aug 21, 2017 61
  • 20 Aug 2017
    Flat roofing repairs, particularly in confined spaces, have long been known to cause discomfort to operatives and those living or working nearby. Fumes, odours and vapours can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and lung irritation. They may also irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. These effects are usually mild and temporary. Although contractors and building occupants may experience short term problems, the fumes and vapours generally do not pose a health hazard and symptoms usually resolve within hours after exposure to the odour has ended. Most of the problems from fumes seem to relate to asphalt which contains many chemicals and studies, mostly US based, have reported that these have potential long term risks for operatives. Because of this some commentators are suggesting that this could be the beginning of the end for bitumen based products. Manufacturers of roofing materials have known about the problem for many years and have sought to develop more user friendly waterproofing system – and now it seems there has been a breakthrough which could see an end to high levels of discomfort caused by fumes and other noxious vapours. Companies such as Proteus Waterproofing are leading the way with new Cold Melt systems which are high in solids such as recycled rubber crumb and other organically grown products making them virtually fume free and totally odourless. It would also seem that quality and longevity have not been compromised as the new systems, which are PUR based, are claimed to last for the life of the building when correctly installed to the manufacturer’s specification. Nevertheless, bitumen based waterproof membranes still account for the lion’s share of the flat roofing market and we are unlikely to see a major shift to new materials in the near future. But there is clearly a detectable trend towards greener roofs which would suggest the PUR technology, although part chemical based, probably offers a good long term solution for flat roofing projects particularly in confined areas. Cold Melt system are likely to increasingly dominate the market as more is known about potential health issues, but it is probably a little too early yet to say goodbye to bitumen – but it could be the start. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/product/cold-melt/
    49 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Flat roofing repairs, particularly in confined spaces, have long been known to cause discomfort to operatives and those living or working nearby. Fumes, odours and vapours can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and lung irritation. They may also irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. These effects are usually mild and temporary. Although contractors and building occupants may experience short term problems, the fumes and vapours generally do not pose a health hazard and symptoms usually resolve within hours after exposure to the odour has ended. Most of the problems from fumes seem to relate to asphalt which contains many chemicals and studies, mostly US based, have reported that these have potential long term risks for operatives. Because of this some commentators are suggesting that this could be the beginning of the end for bitumen based products. Manufacturers of roofing materials have known about the problem for many years and have sought to develop more user friendly waterproofing system – and now it seems there has been a breakthrough which could see an end to high levels of discomfort caused by fumes and other noxious vapours. Companies such as Proteus Waterproofing are leading the way with new Cold Melt systems which are high in solids such as recycled rubber crumb and other organically grown products making them virtually fume free and totally odourless. It would also seem that quality and longevity have not been compromised as the new systems, which are PUR based, are claimed to last for the life of the building when correctly installed to the manufacturer’s specification. Nevertheless, bitumen based waterproof membranes still account for the lion’s share of the flat roofing market and we are unlikely to see a major shift to new materials in the near future. But there is clearly a detectable trend towards greener roofs which would suggest the PUR technology, although part chemical based, probably offers a good long term solution for flat roofing projects particularly in confined areas. Cold Melt system are likely to increasingly dominate the market as more is known about potential health issues, but it is probably a little too early yet to say goodbye to bitumen – but it could be the start. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/product/cold-melt/
    Aug 20, 2017 49
  • 19 Aug 2017
    One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/    
    57 Posted by Talk. Build
  • One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/    
    Aug 19, 2017 57
  • 18 Aug 2017
    Our Members of Parliament are getting themselves into a bit of a tizz about Big Ben and the fact that its iconic bell will be silenced for up to four years while essential refurbishment work takes place. It’s all in the cause of health and safety of course and it’s easy to be sentimental when you’re talking about one of the world’s best known monuments. But in reality, exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up over time – and in the case of Big Ben, the experts are probably right – worker health and safety should come first. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claim that industrial hearing loss remains the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims accounting for about 75% of all occupational disease litigation. If noise levels exceed 85 decibels there is a duty to provide hearing protection and protection zones. Big Ben certainly meets that requirement and while contractors can wear ear protection, the work is going be hard enough up in that tower without having additional distractions. If in doubt, the Health and safety executive provide good advice regarding hearing if you visit their website - https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.html Hearing loss caused on construction sites does not make the headlines that often, so in an ironic way we should be thanking politicians for at least drawing attention to the issue – albeit for the wrong reasons There are a range of different types of hearing loss that can be caused from noise in the workplace, from temporary to permanent loss of hearing and conditions such as tinnitus or accoustic shock syndrome.  Certai professionms such as construction where there will inevitably be loud noise generated on an ongoing basis, workers are more liable to suffer conditions such as acoustic shock. This is because the construction industry involves the use of many machines which produce excessive noise. Workers who are exposed to this without adequate hearing protection can suffer from reduced hearing which becomes evident as the worker ages – often many years after exposure to the noisy machinery. The main culprits on building sites are: 1. Pneumatic drills These produce a large amount of excessive noise and are used in various different ways in the construction industry. 2. Circular saws Circular saws are typically used for cutting of wood and other materials used in the construction industry, such as cutting of floorboards in houses or frame work structure for dividing walls. 3. Nail guns or Hilti gun This gun fires nails in to steel which can be used for the construction of various different structures, such as buildings and bridges. 4. Staple guns Staple guns are used for various tasks in mining and this equipment has been known to produce excessive noise. 5. Grinders Grinders are used to cut and shape metal which if used frequently produces not only excessive noise but quite often excess vibration running the risk of hearing problems and vibration conditions such as VWF. All of these require contractors to where ear protection at all times – so you should answer the question – is this happening on your building site? In the case of Big Ben – I am sure we can all put up with a little silence for a few years – to ensure that a life time of silence is not an option for those that work there. By Talk Builder
    84 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Our Members of Parliament are getting themselves into a bit of a tizz about Big Ben and the fact that its iconic bell will be silenced for up to four years while essential refurbishment work takes place. It’s all in the cause of health and safety of course and it’s easy to be sentimental when you’re talking about one of the world’s best known monuments. But in reality, exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up over time – and in the case of Big Ben, the experts are probably right – worker health and safety should come first. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claim that industrial hearing loss remains the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims accounting for about 75% of all occupational disease litigation. If noise levels exceed 85 decibels there is a duty to provide hearing protection and protection zones. Big Ben certainly meets that requirement and while contractors can wear ear protection, the work is going be hard enough up in that tower without having additional distractions. If in doubt, the Health and safety executive provide good advice regarding hearing if you visit their website - https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.html Hearing loss caused on construction sites does not make the headlines that often, so in an ironic way we should be thanking politicians for at least drawing attention to the issue – albeit for the wrong reasons There are a range of different types of hearing loss that can be caused from noise in the workplace, from temporary to permanent loss of hearing and conditions such as tinnitus or accoustic shock syndrome.  Certai professionms such as construction where there will inevitably be loud noise generated on an ongoing basis, workers are more liable to suffer conditions such as acoustic shock. This is because the construction industry involves the use of many machines which produce excessive noise. Workers who are exposed to this without adequate hearing protection can suffer from reduced hearing which becomes evident as the worker ages – often many years after exposure to the noisy machinery. The main culprits on building sites are: 1. Pneumatic drills These produce a large amount of excessive noise and are used in various different ways in the construction industry. 2. Circular saws Circular saws are typically used for cutting of wood and other materials used in the construction industry, such as cutting of floorboards in houses or frame work structure for dividing walls. 3. Nail guns or Hilti gun This gun fires nails in to steel which can be used for the construction of various different structures, such as buildings and bridges. 4. Staple guns Staple guns are used for various tasks in mining and this equipment has been known to produce excessive noise. 5. Grinders Grinders are used to cut and shape metal which if used frequently produces not only excessive noise but quite often excess vibration running the risk of hearing problems and vibration conditions such as VWF. All of these require contractors to where ear protection at all times – so you should answer the question – is this happening on your building site? In the case of Big Ben – I am sure we can all put up with a little silence for a few years – to ensure that a life time of silence is not an option for those that work there. By Talk Builder
    Aug 18, 2017 84
  • 17 Aug 2017
    With information so readily available, we can be blinded by science. There is information overload and there seems to be a growing trend to overcomplicate matters. Whilst design, procurement and construction hasn’t always been easy, it seems that layer-upon-layer is being added to projects that in many instances - or in many opinions - is just designed to complicate matters. This shouldn’t be the case. Processes that simplify procurement, streamline delivery and enhance designs should be the norm. So why isn’t this the case? As humans we are naturally inquisitive and as a nation we are constantly looking to be at the forefront of everything we do. We are amongst the first to adopt new practices and have a thirst for driving innovation. We are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainability from a people, environment and economics perspective and more recently, that of well-being, with the wellness economy now one of the world's fastest-growing industries. As such, it is no surprise that sustainability and well-being are currently fuelling a plethora of adventurous new architectural projects that embrace scientific research and data. But with these ever-more challenging projects comes larger and more complex supply chains, and what seems an ever-increasing number of standards to contend with. To make matters more complex, many standards overlap and duplicate elements with each other and we are being bombarded with information, research and data from every angle - and much of this information and many of the processes seem to be overly-complicated. So the question is: how do we deliver projects efficiently and on budget when we are facing information overload? The answer is to keep it simple. Take BREEAM, the internationally-recognised measure of sustainability for buildings and communities, as an example. Many people are unable to fully-understand BREEEM and all too often other people seem to make a great job of confusing them further and over-complicating it. Understanding BREEAM shouldn’t be complicated but it seems we need a way to translate what can be a complicated process into a simple, easy-to-understand one. At its core, BREEAM is simple - a process that allows you to make informed decisions to create better buildings – better in design, better in construction and better in operation. However, it is all too easy for the process to be over-complicated. The trick is finding a BREEAM assessor that fully-understands a client’s goals and objectives and can collaborate on a project from an early stage. With early involvement, a BREEAM assessor can help to guide a client and their supply chain through the process in the most efficient manner. Being involved at RIBA stage 1- preparation and brief - pays dividends when compared to getting involved at Stage 2 or 3 - concept design and design development - as by the time you get to these stages, important decisions have already been made. This applies to communication, and not just communication between client and assessor - the whole supply chain needs to be in the loop. By understanding the decision-making process; by creating simple processes and being at the start of the discussion, we can influence and make sure the right route is chosen. To put this into perspective (and at the expense of my brother-in-law): - I live in Bristol and my brother-in-law lives in Leeds. Having been to visit for the weekend he jumped in the car and heading-off, he hadn’t made a decision about which route to take. However, knowing that the M1 goes to Leeds, he headed along the M4 to London, went around the M25 and up the M1.The journey took him eight hours. If he had planned the route in advance he would have taken the M5, a journey that would have taken three-and-a-half hours. The point of the story - apart from the fact that my brother-in-law’s sense of direction is awful - is that if he had planned in advance, he would have saved himself so much time. The same goes for BREEAM and other construction processes - spend time planning and it will be time well spent, as you will save time and effort further down the line. For my brother-in-law, sat-nav beckons; for construction professionals, find partners you can engage with early and who will work with you on shared goals. Otherwise, you could find yourself going the long way round. By Darren Evans, Managing Director,Darren Evans Assessments Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    37 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With information so readily available, we can be blinded by science. There is information overload and there seems to be a growing trend to overcomplicate matters. Whilst design, procurement and construction hasn’t always been easy, it seems that layer-upon-layer is being added to projects that in many instances - or in many opinions - is just designed to complicate matters. This shouldn’t be the case. Processes that simplify procurement, streamline delivery and enhance designs should be the norm. So why isn’t this the case? As humans we are naturally inquisitive and as a nation we are constantly looking to be at the forefront of everything we do. We are amongst the first to adopt new practices and have a thirst for driving innovation. We are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainability from a people, environment and economics perspective and more recently, that of well-being, with the wellness economy now one of the world's fastest-growing industries. As such, it is no surprise that sustainability and well-being are currently fuelling a plethora of adventurous new architectural projects that embrace scientific research and data. But with these ever-more challenging projects comes larger and more complex supply chains, and what seems an ever-increasing number of standards to contend with. To make matters more complex, many standards overlap and duplicate elements with each other and we are being bombarded with information, research and data from every angle - and much of this information and many of the processes seem to be overly-complicated. So the question is: how do we deliver projects efficiently and on budget when we are facing information overload? The answer is to keep it simple. Take BREEAM, the internationally-recognised measure of sustainability for buildings and communities, as an example. Many people are unable to fully-understand BREEEM and all too often other people seem to make a great job of confusing them further and over-complicating it. Understanding BREEAM shouldn’t be complicated but it seems we need a way to translate what can be a complicated process into a simple, easy-to-understand one. At its core, BREEAM is simple - a process that allows you to make informed decisions to create better buildings – better in design, better in construction and better in operation. However, it is all too easy for the process to be over-complicated. The trick is finding a BREEAM assessor that fully-understands a client’s goals and objectives and can collaborate on a project from an early stage. With early involvement, a BREEAM assessor can help to guide a client and their supply chain through the process in the most efficient manner. Being involved at RIBA stage 1- preparation and brief - pays dividends when compared to getting involved at Stage 2 or 3 - concept design and design development - as by the time you get to these stages, important decisions have already been made. This applies to communication, and not just communication between client and assessor - the whole supply chain needs to be in the loop. By understanding the decision-making process; by creating simple processes and being at the start of the discussion, we can influence and make sure the right route is chosen. To put this into perspective (and at the expense of my brother-in-law): - I live in Bristol and my brother-in-law lives in Leeds. Having been to visit for the weekend he jumped in the car and heading-off, he hadn’t made a decision about which route to take. However, knowing that the M1 goes to Leeds, he headed along the M4 to London, went around the M25 and up the M1.The journey took him eight hours. If he had planned the route in advance he would have taken the M5, a journey that would have taken three-and-a-half hours. The point of the story - apart from the fact that my brother-in-law’s sense of direction is awful - is that if he had planned in advance, he would have saved himself so much time. The same goes for BREEAM and other construction processes - spend time planning and it will be time well spent, as you will save time and effort further down the line. For my brother-in-law, sat-nav beckons; for construction professionals, find partners you can engage with early and who will work with you on shared goals. Otherwise, you could find yourself going the long way round. By Darren Evans, Managing Director,Darren Evans Assessments Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Aug 17, 2017 37

  • 10 Jul 2017
    A house built using polyurethane materials consumes 85% less energy than a home built from conventional materials.  They can provide very high levels of insulation with minimal thickness which in turn allows architects and designers to maximise the use of interior spaces. It is perhaps no surprise then that when it came to the construction of a passive house in Belgium, polyurethane insulation materials were used to create a highly insulating building fabric. Three years on, has the Polyurethanes Passive House in Brussels and its very well insulated and sealed envelope provided a comfortable and healthy environment throughout the year? The end-of-terrace four-storey family house developed by ISOPA, the European trade body for diisocyanate and polyol producers, was completed in Evere near Brussels in 2013. It is now occupied and working as a low energy test bed, its running costs and energy use closely measured to show the savings possible for homeowners. While there are over 12,000 new build Passive House certified buildings across Europe,  the ISOPA house is unusual in using a high proportion of PU to achieve its highly insulating fabric first design which reduces the need for heating and saves around 80% of the energy used by a normal house.  PU insulation has been used wherever possible from wall cavities to the floor, and windows to the roof. The house has been designed so that all of the construction elements work together in an integrated way, from the solar panels on the roof to the geothermal heat pump and MVHR system which ensures that warm fresh air circulates internally despite the high air tightness levels. The University of Leuven has been evaluating the home’s overall performance, energy use and indoor comfort levels which would verify whether the PU products as installed were really achieving the calculated performance levels. The analysis of the data yielded an estimated heat loss coefficient of 60.0 W/K, with a standard deviation of 3.0 W/K. This indicates that the thermal performance of the building fabric meets the very high standards expected, which was instrumental to the project reaching the performance levels required for Passive House certification. Known for the comfort they provide, polyurethanes are ideal for Passive House construction because they provide very high levels of insulation thanks to low thermal conductivity, meaning they provide reduced thickness increasing their affordability and reducing the impact on building footprints. As well as requiring fewer adjustments to be made to the design of buildings and less aesthetic compromises such as with deep window reveals, further cost savings on depth of eaves, joists, rafters or studs, lengths of fixings can be achieved. In short, the extremely low U-values required for Passive House projects can be much more easily achieved with PU than with other materials as far fewer changes to design detailing are required. Rigid PIR insulation boards are also light but strong, moisture-resistant and easy to install, and they, as well as spray foam PUR insulation, retain their insulating properties for the life of the building.  Last but not least, PU materials contribute to preservation of natural resources by reducing the need for energy which assists their sustainability credentials in Passive House projects. With a daunting 80% reduction in carbon emissions on 1990 levels called for globally by 2050, such efforts to create practical ‘near zero energy’ houses are essential. With houses accounting for 40% of energy consumed across Europe, achieving the means of constructing new Passive Houses affordably using PU which can deliver the results while saving homeowners money is the realistic way forward, as demonstrated at the Polyurethanes Passive House. Marleen Baes, European Product and Certification Manager, IKO For more information about BRUFMA visit www.brufma.co.uk.
    146 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A house built using polyurethane materials consumes 85% less energy than a home built from conventional materials.  They can provide very high levels of insulation with minimal thickness which in turn allows architects and designers to maximise the use of interior spaces. It is perhaps no surprise then that when it came to the construction of a passive house in Belgium, polyurethane insulation materials were used to create a highly insulating building fabric. Three years on, has the Polyurethanes Passive House in Brussels and its very well insulated and sealed envelope provided a comfortable and healthy environment throughout the year? The end-of-terrace four-storey family house developed by ISOPA, the European trade body for diisocyanate and polyol producers, was completed in Evere near Brussels in 2013. It is now occupied and working as a low energy test bed, its running costs and energy use closely measured to show the savings possible for homeowners. While there are over 12,000 new build Passive House certified buildings across Europe,  the ISOPA house is unusual in using a high proportion of PU to achieve its highly insulating fabric first design which reduces the need for heating and saves around 80% of the energy used by a normal house.  PU insulation has been used wherever possible from wall cavities to the floor, and windows to the roof. The house has been designed so that all of the construction elements work together in an integrated way, from the solar panels on the roof to the geothermal heat pump and MVHR system which ensures that warm fresh air circulates internally despite the high air tightness levels. The University of Leuven has been evaluating the home’s overall performance, energy use and indoor comfort levels which would verify whether the PU products as installed were really achieving the calculated performance levels. The analysis of the data yielded an estimated heat loss coefficient of 60.0 W/K, with a standard deviation of 3.0 W/K. This indicates that the thermal performance of the building fabric meets the very high standards expected, which was instrumental to the project reaching the performance levels required for Passive House certification. Known for the comfort they provide, polyurethanes are ideal for Passive House construction because they provide very high levels of insulation thanks to low thermal conductivity, meaning they provide reduced thickness increasing their affordability and reducing the impact on building footprints. As well as requiring fewer adjustments to be made to the design of buildings and less aesthetic compromises such as with deep window reveals, further cost savings on depth of eaves, joists, rafters or studs, lengths of fixings can be achieved. In short, the extremely low U-values required for Passive House projects can be much more easily achieved with PU than with other materials as far fewer changes to design detailing are required. Rigid PIR insulation boards are also light but strong, moisture-resistant and easy to install, and they, as well as spray foam PUR insulation, retain their insulating properties for the life of the building.  Last but not least, PU materials contribute to preservation of natural resources by reducing the need for energy which assists their sustainability credentials in Passive House projects. With a daunting 80% reduction in carbon emissions on 1990 levels called for globally by 2050, such efforts to create practical ‘near zero energy’ houses are essential. With houses accounting for 40% of energy consumed across Europe, achieving the means of constructing new Passive Houses affordably using PU which can deliver the results while saving homeowners money is the realistic way forward, as demonstrated at the Polyurethanes Passive House. Marleen Baes, European Product and Certification Manager, IKO For more information about BRUFMA visit www.brufma.co.uk.
    Jul 10, 2017 146
  • 12 Jul 2017
    Keeping on top of the paperwork generated by even the most straightforward project-based contract with a given subcontractor can prove an arduous task, with various documents coming in and going out throughout the works requiring actioning. Managing this process in a timely and efficient manner becomes increasingly difficult as the number of ongoing projects and subcontractor contracts increase, something we have first-hand experience of at Osborne. We utilised the services of more than 1,200 different subcontractors last year – from major businesses working on our behalf on a number of projects right down to small, niche companies working on one-off projects.  As you can imagine, processing payment-related paperwork for each of these subcontractors without error or issue is no easy task. That’s why we’re working with Open ECX to build and implement a bespoke system called WebContractor to increase efficiencies. At this stage, we’re looking to launch a pilot phase on a small number of projects in the very near future. Following successful completion, we plan on implementing WebContractor across the business on all our projects. For now, all we can say is what we’re expecting to achieve. There are three main reasons WebContractor stood out for us; compliance, fairness, and forward planning. Compliance Firstly, we want to make sure we comply with the requirements laid out in the Construction Act. We are looking for a way to ensure we don’t miss any timelines for issuing any paperwork for the various types of contracts we enter into, such as payment and payless notices, for example. Our current processes are insufficient for our future needs and direction of the business. Through the WebContractor system we will significantly improve our Construction Act compliance, with the system providing early warnings and a fixed process to work through for both our and the subcontractors’ teams. Fairness We’ve signed up to the Fair Payment Charter as we believe very strongly in providing payment on time for our subcontractors to help them with their cash flows. WebContractor will help us achieve this and also provide all of our valued subcontractors with much-needed transparency, letting them know where their application for payment is in the process. Forward planning We expect WebContractor will also provide us with additional administrative capabilities as we will have greater visibility of the payment process throughout the project cycle. From a finance point of view, it will allow us to have a better and real-time understanding of our cash flow forecasting, something that is vital in this industry. Moving forward, we would like to expand this solution further to link in with construction industry services and databases such as Builders’ Profile and Construction Line, helping us to be more streamlined and joined up in our approach and significantly reduce the need for manual intervention. We will also benefit from having a single and uniform way of storing all paperwork and supporting documentation and information. WebContractor has been developed to provide businesses with time and labour savings, helping them to improve efficiencies and compliance with legislation as well as give them the platform to plan their finances more easily and accurately. As a company with construction and infrastructure contracts creating an annual turnover in excess of £350 million, we’re very excited about the size and scale these benefits can bring us not only on our pilot projects but long into the future.  By Mark Mitchell, Operations Finance Director at Osborne
    138 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Keeping on top of the paperwork generated by even the most straightforward project-based contract with a given subcontractor can prove an arduous task, with various documents coming in and going out throughout the works requiring actioning. Managing this process in a timely and efficient manner becomes increasingly difficult as the number of ongoing projects and subcontractor contracts increase, something we have first-hand experience of at Osborne. We utilised the services of more than 1,200 different subcontractors last year – from major businesses working on our behalf on a number of projects right down to small, niche companies working on one-off projects.  As you can imagine, processing payment-related paperwork for each of these subcontractors without error or issue is no easy task. That’s why we’re working with Open ECX to build and implement a bespoke system called WebContractor to increase efficiencies. At this stage, we’re looking to launch a pilot phase on a small number of projects in the very near future. Following successful completion, we plan on implementing WebContractor across the business on all our projects. For now, all we can say is what we’re expecting to achieve. There are three main reasons WebContractor stood out for us; compliance, fairness, and forward planning. Compliance Firstly, we want to make sure we comply with the requirements laid out in the Construction Act. We are looking for a way to ensure we don’t miss any timelines for issuing any paperwork for the various types of contracts we enter into, such as payment and payless notices, for example. Our current processes are insufficient for our future needs and direction of the business. Through the WebContractor system we will significantly improve our Construction Act compliance, with the system providing early warnings and a fixed process to work through for both our and the subcontractors’ teams. Fairness We’ve signed up to the Fair Payment Charter as we believe very strongly in providing payment on time for our subcontractors to help them with their cash flows. WebContractor will help us achieve this and also provide all of our valued subcontractors with much-needed transparency, letting them know where their application for payment is in the process. Forward planning We expect WebContractor will also provide us with additional administrative capabilities as we will have greater visibility of the payment process throughout the project cycle. From a finance point of view, it will allow us to have a better and real-time understanding of our cash flow forecasting, something that is vital in this industry. Moving forward, we would like to expand this solution further to link in with construction industry services and databases such as Builders’ Profile and Construction Line, helping us to be more streamlined and joined up in our approach and significantly reduce the need for manual intervention. We will also benefit from having a single and uniform way of storing all paperwork and supporting documentation and information. WebContractor has been developed to provide businesses with time and labour savings, helping them to improve efficiencies and compliance with legislation as well as give them the platform to plan their finances more easily and accurately. As a company with construction and infrastructure contracts creating an annual turnover in excess of £350 million, we’re very excited about the size and scale these benefits can bring us not only on our pilot projects but long into the future.  By Mark Mitchell, Operations Finance Director at Osborne
    Jul 12, 2017 138
  • 14 Jul 2017
    The sun may be shining but it’s a fair assumption that there is a flood coming. Over the past few years flooding has become one of the UK’s hottest environmental topics. For many years, winter brings the misery of damage to homes and businesses, lengthy clean ups and the uncertainty of when, or if, it will all happen again. The question is: why does this keep happening and what can be done?   Only recently, whilst much of the UK was basking in sunshine, many city centres were hit with flash floods. During November last year, high rainfalls associated with the passage of storm Abigail and the remains of hurricane Kate, brought increasingly high river flows. Many parts of north-west Britain saw almost double the average monthly rainfall for November, with the month becoming the second wettest to affect north-west England and north Wales since records began in 1910. Storm Desmond then broke the UK's 24-hour rainfall record, with 341mm of rain falling in Cumbria, on December 5th. Furthermore, the previous year, 2013/2014, saw the wettest winter on record; and the major floods of 2007 caused misery for homeowners with clean-up costs totalling £1bn. With an estimated one in six UK properties at risk of flooding, this is an issue that affects millions and is thought to cost the nation a daunting £2bn per year, including £1.2bn in damage to property. Harder to measure is the cost of lost revenue from flooded businesses and the time required to bring homes back to a liveable state –  not to mention the emotional trauma which flooding can cause. The construction and water industries have been collaborating closely with the Government and the Environment Agency over the past few years to provide a clear strategy for understanding flood risk and formulating prevention strategies. However, the issue is the fact that there is no single body responsible for managing flood risk in the UK because of the role of devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the lead for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England and Wales. They create the policies that then form the basis of the Environment Agency's (EA) and lead local flood authorities' work. With its national role, the Environment Agency has a strategic overview of all sources of flooding and coastal erosion. The Environment Agency’s role is to understand the risk and to do something about it. But what exactly does the EA do? Well, this is where is gets complicated. The EA claims to set strategy by allocating funding for flood defence, warn people and inform. So where does the issue lie? Delivering flood defence schemes and informing communities of impending risk is all well and good. However, all too often flood defence schemes are city centre projects that simply have the effect of pushing water further down the river to where there are poor defences, therefore resulting in the flooding of out of town or rural areas. It really is a case of the small Dutch boy putting his finger in the **** – solve one problem area and another will spring up. The EA has its work cut out. In addition, housebuilders, due to land costs, scarcity and the drive for more homes, are now building on brown belt sites; sites that 10 years ago we wouldn’t even have considered developing due to the risk of flood. Whilst the EA can provide advice and guidance, it is down to the house builder to make decisions to safeguard these new homes from flood risk. Floods will continue to happen and with climate change we are seeing that more extreme events will occur more frequently. Because we all like to live and work near rivers and near to the sea, that puts pressure on us. However, as the city centre floods of yesterday showed, it’s not just the properties near water courses that need to be wary. The misery that flooding causes should not be under-estimated.  It is not only the physical damage to properties and possessions, it is loss of earnings for businesses and the distress to owners. Efficient clean-up is essential to get people back in their homes and businesses up and running. This is where the quick thinking of tankering and waste water management companies, such as ATAC Solutions, comes in to their own, offering fast mobilisation and the ability to quickly remove water from properties.   There is no quick fix for flood prevention. Long term strategies to improve our rivers and coastlines will take time. The development of flood-resistant properties will also take time and will need to be driven by housebuilders. So the reliance on tankering businesses is now more important than ever. When the flood comes – and it will – it might be wise to have the number of a waste water management business that can help you get back on your feet. Another emergency service that many of us will come to rely upon over the coming years. Visit: https://www.atacsolutions.com/
    134 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The sun may be shining but it’s a fair assumption that there is a flood coming. Over the past few years flooding has become one of the UK’s hottest environmental topics. For many years, winter brings the misery of damage to homes and businesses, lengthy clean ups and the uncertainty of when, or if, it will all happen again. The question is: why does this keep happening and what can be done?   Only recently, whilst much of the UK was basking in sunshine, many city centres were hit with flash floods. During November last year, high rainfalls associated with the passage of storm Abigail and the remains of hurricane Kate, brought increasingly high river flows. Many parts of north-west Britain saw almost double the average monthly rainfall for November, with the month becoming the second wettest to affect north-west England and north Wales since records began in 1910. Storm Desmond then broke the UK's 24-hour rainfall record, with 341mm of rain falling in Cumbria, on December 5th. Furthermore, the previous year, 2013/2014, saw the wettest winter on record; and the major floods of 2007 caused misery for homeowners with clean-up costs totalling £1bn. With an estimated one in six UK properties at risk of flooding, this is an issue that affects millions and is thought to cost the nation a daunting £2bn per year, including £1.2bn in damage to property. Harder to measure is the cost of lost revenue from flooded businesses and the time required to bring homes back to a liveable state –  not to mention the emotional trauma which flooding can cause. The construction and water industries have been collaborating closely with the Government and the Environment Agency over the past few years to provide a clear strategy for understanding flood risk and formulating prevention strategies. However, the issue is the fact that there is no single body responsible for managing flood risk in the UK because of the role of devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the lead for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England and Wales. They create the policies that then form the basis of the Environment Agency's (EA) and lead local flood authorities' work. With its national role, the Environment Agency has a strategic overview of all sources of flooding and coastal erosion. The Environment Agency’s role is to understand the risk and to do something about it. But what exactly does the EA do? Well, this is where is gets complicated. The EA claims to set strategy by allocating funding for flood defence, warn people and inform. So where does the issue lie? Delivering flood defence schemes and informing communities of impending risk is all well and good. However, all too often flood defence schemes are city centre projects that simply have the effect of pushing water further down the river to where there are poor defences, therefore resulting in the flooding of out of town or rural areas. It really is a case of the small Dutch boy putting his finger in the **** – solve one problem area and another will spring up. The EA has its work cut out. In addition, housebuilders, due to land costs, scarcity and the drive for more homes, are now building on brown belt sites; sites that 10 years ago we wouldn’t even have considered developing due to the risk of flood. Whilst the EA can provide advice and guidance, it is down to the house builder to make decisions to safeguard these new homes from flood risk. Floods will continue to happen and with climate change we are seeing that more extreme events will occur more frequently. Because we all like to live and work near rivers and near to the sea, that puts pressure on us. However, as the city centre floods of yesterday showed, it’s not just the properties near water courses that need to be wary. The misery that flooding causes should not be under-estimated.  It is not only the physical damage to properties and possessions, it is loss of earnings for businesses and the distress to owners. Efficient clean-up is essential to get people back in their homes and businesses up and running. This is where the quick thinking of tankering and waste water management companies, such as ATAC Solutions, comes in to their own, offering fast mobilisation and the ability to quickly remove water from properties.   There is no quick fix for flood prevention. Long term strategies to improve our rivers and coastlines will take time. The development of flood-resistant properties will also take time and will need to be driven by housebuilders. So the reliance on tankering businesses is now more important than ever. When the flood comes – and it will – it might be wise to have the number of a waste water management business that can help you get back on your feet. Another emergency service that many of us will come to rely upon over the coming years. Visit: https://www.atacsolutions.com/
    Jul 14, 2017 134
  • 13 Jul 2017
    The seaside is known to do wonders for a person’s health, but it does nothing for the long-term wellbeing of buildings. The main cause of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures is the corrosion of embedded steel, particularly when exposed to chlorides found in sea water and airborne salts. This impacts on buildings within marine environments such as jetties, ports and bridges. Reinforced concrete structures are built to last and can generally expect to have a lifespan of about 50 years. However, in areas of chloride ingress the rate of corrosion increases, as does the need for repairs to maintain the buildings. Without professional treatment, a concrete’s surface can crack and spall. This is caused by passivating iron oxides, which protect the steel reinforcement, being destroyed by chlorides in air and water. The resulting surface debilitation could potentially weaken the structure and leave it vulnerable to serious deterioration – even collapse. This is particularly pertinent to public infrastructure such as bridges, which could be subject to lengthy and costly repairs funded by already cash-strapped local authorities. In such instances, people’s daily lives might also be severely disrupted.  The same applies to jetties, which serve vital aesthetic and operational purpose for marinas and nearly 100 sea ports across the UK. They also offer frontline sea defence, but bear the brunt of chloride’s invasive effects on account of being situated in tidal zones or splash areas. Sacrificial efficiency Sika was recently selected to supply a concrete repair and total corrosion management system (TCM) to the underside of a dockside quay that had displayed signs of corrosion due to chloride contamination. Sika® Galvashield®galvanic, sacrificial anodes, which are proven to provide long-term protection to high chloride environments, were installed as part of the refurbishment. The sacrificial anodes, comprising a zinc core encased in a small, cementitious shell, are installed within repair sites to prevent incipient anodes developing, or outside repaired sites to protect the reinforcement in chloride-infused concrete. Easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement – or into cored and grouted holes in the concrete outside the repair site – the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to protect the surrounding rebar and prevent formation of new corrosion sites adjacent to repairs. This sacrificial zinc approach is similar to protecting oil rigs & hulls of ships. All-in-one solution As there is no need for an external power source, Sika’s galvanic systems are a popular choice for effective, low maintenance corrosion mitigation. Unlike other manufacturers, Sika provides repair materials and coatings as part of a total corrosion management package, because as well as supplying the anode, we provide repair materials and coatings. Once repairs have been carried out to all parties’ satisfaction, we will guarantee the repair system for up to 20 years – an offer unique to Sika. Galvanic anodes have revolutionised the treatment of chloride-contaminated concrete. It’s a system that is ingenious in its simplicity and effectiveness; eradicating the need for costly, time-inefficient and energy-consuming shot-blast methods of corrosion removal. The anode system is a smart 21st century solution to an age-old problem. It means our weathered, waterfront buildings can stand protected – ‘the seas shall not have them’. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager - Refurbishment at Sika UK    
    131 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The seaside is known to do wonders for a person’s health, but it does nothing for the long-term wellbeing of buildings. The main cause of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures is the corrosion of embedded steel, particularly when exposed to chlorides found in sea water and airborne salts. This impacts on buildings within marine environments such as jetties, ports and bridges. Reinforced concrete structures are built to last and can generally expect to have a lifespan of about 50 years. However, in areas of chloride ingress the rate of corrosion increases, as does the need for repairs to maintain the buildings. Without professional treatment, a concrete’s surface can crack and spall. This is caused by passivating iron oxides, which protect the steel reinforcement, being destroyed by chlorides in air and water. The resulting surface debilitation could potentially weaken the structure and leave it vulnerable to serious deterioration – even collapse. This is particularly pertinent to public infrastructure such as bridges, which could be subject to lengthy and costly repairs funded by already cash-strapped local authorities. In such instances, people’s daily lives might also be severely disrupted.  The same applies to jetties, which serve vital aesthetic and operational purpose for marinas and nearly 100 sea ports across the UK. They also offer frontline sea defence, but bear the brunt of chloride’s invasive effects on account of being situated in tidal zones or splash areas. Sacrificial efficiency Sika was recently selected to supply a concrete repair and total corrosion management system (TCM) to the underside of a dockside quay that had displayed signs of corrosion due to chloride contamination. Sika® Galvashield®galvanic, sacrificial anodes, which are proven to provide long-term protection to high chloride environments, were installed as part of the refurbishment. The sacrificial anodes, comprising a zinc core encased in a small, cementitious shell, are installed within repair sites to prevent incipient anodes developing, or outside repaired sites to protect the reinforcement in chloride-infused concrete. Easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement – or into cored and grouted holes in the concrete outside the repair site – the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to protect the surrounding rebar and prevent formation of new corrosion sites adjacent to repairs. This sacrificial zinc approach is similar to protecting oil rigs & hulls of ships. All-in-one solution As there is no need for an external power source, Sika’s galvanic systems are a popular choice for effective, low maintenance corrosion mitigation. Unlike other manufacturers, Sika provides repair materials and coatings as part of a total corrosion management package, because as well as supplying the anode, we provide repair materials and coatings. Once repairs have been carried out to all parties’ satisfaction, we will guarantee the repair system for up to 20 years – an offer unique to Sika. Galvanic anodes have revolutionised the treatment of chloride-contaminated concrete. It’s a system that is ingenious in its simplicity and effectiveness; eradicating the need for costly, time-inefficient and energy-consuming shot-blast methods of corrosion removal. The anode system is a smart 21st century solution to an age-old problem. It means our weathered, waterfront buildings can stand protected – ‘the seas shall not have them’. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager - Refurbishment at Sika UK    
    Jul 13, 2017 131
  • 02 Sep 2016
    Finding themselves priced out of rural areas where they grew up, younger residents are leaving to find housing they can afford. Thanks to new Permitted Development planning laws however disused farm buildings can be transformed into good quality homes for rent or sale, meaning families can stay in the area and an asset is brought back into use for farmers. A mismatch between housing supply and demand in rural areas is forcing many residents to move to cities to find good affordable housing for themselves and their families. A solution which could defuse this demographic time bomb, while also giving disused farm buildings a new lease of life, is being trialled by one company across several farms in Cambridgeshire. In April 2014 the Government confirmed that permitted development rights within the 2012 National Policy Framework would enable change of use of agricultural buildings to residential, flexible (i.e. commercial) or educational use. With many farmers having disused and dilapidated barns or other buildings on their land which are no longer fit for purpose and present a maintenance headache, the potential to turn them into desirable and practical rural family homes and generate income in the process is tempting. In reusing existing building assets the idea is environmentally sustainable as well as being economically sustainable as a new long-term revenue stream for farmers. As one example in Cambridgeshire, contractor Richardson & Peat has been commissioned by AgReserves Ltd which owns farmland across the county to put together a design team to convert under permitted development their semi-derelict barns into high quality homes for rent to local people. Permitted development rules The following rules form a basic guide to developing an agricultural building under permitted development rights:• Developments cannot be larger than 450m² and must fall within existing footprint.• The previous use must be solely agricultural. • The maximum number of separate dwellings on one site is three.• The building cannot be Listed. • No previous permitted developments can have been accepted or built on the same farm.• The site is not in a safety hazard area or site of scientific interest or of military use.• The site complies with any requirements if it falls within a flood zone. • The building will comply with current Building Regulations when constructed. To proceed with taking on this challenge a good architect is essential in understanding not only rural design and planning but also the needs of future occupants. It’s unlikely that an existing barn will be in a condition in order to meet new housing standards in Building Regulations so the adaption of the existing barn must provide a new thermal envelope as a key component to the construction alongside good natural light levels from windows and doors. Structural engineers can also be critical particularly if you are looking at older barns where substantial work is going to be needed to strengthen existing foundations and new and existing floors and walls. Above all the final design should provide a good practical living environment for a family. With this planning option available farm living gives local people wishing to stay in the area an opportunity that would otherwise not be available and it also opens up the possibility for people looking to move back to a rural surrounding from an urban environment. From a farmers prospective it’s crucial that the building is laid out thoughtfully to maximise its asset value as this is a once only application under permitted development rules. The Cambridgeshire project will widen the housing choices for local residents, but could provide a template for other farmers looking to take up the idea which would create a major impact across the UK. From a financial position farmers looking to develop are likely to be given a fair hearing from lenders given that the land is already a free asset and would bring an impressive return on any borrowing, meaning there is a realistic opportunity to turn thousands of obsolete rural buildings into badly-needed homes for future generations.
    125 Posted by Natasha Wills
  • Finding themselves priced out of rural areas where they grew up, younger residents are leaving to find housing they can afford. Thanks to new Permitted Development planning laws however disused farm buildings can be transformed into good quality homes for rent or sale, meaning families can stay in the area and an asset is brought back into use for farmers. A mismatch between housing supply and demand in rural areas is forcing many residents to move to cities to find good affordable housing for themselves and their families. A solution which could defuse this demographic time bomb, while also giving disused farm buildings a new lease of life, is being trialled by one company across several farms in Cambridgeshire. In April 2014 the Government confirmed that permitted development rights within the 2012 National Policy Framework would enable change of use of agricultural buildings to residential, flexible (i.e. commercial) or educational use. With many farmers having disused and dilapidated barns or other buildings on their land which are no longer fit for purpose and present a maintenance headache, the potential to turn them into desirable and practical rural family homes and generate income in the process is tempting. In reusing existing building assets the idea is environmentally sustainable as well as being economically sustainable as a new long-term revenue stream for farmers. As one example in Cambridgeshire, contractor Richardson & Peat has been commissioned by AgReserves Ltd which owns farmland across the county to put together a design team to convert under permitted development their semi-derelict barns into high quality homes for rent to local people. Permitted development rules The following rules form a basic guide to developing an agricultural building under permitted development rights:• Developments cannot be larger than 450m² and must fall within existing footprint.• The previous use must be solely agricultural. • The maximum number of separate dwellings on one site is three.• The building cannot be Listed. • No previous permitted developments can have been accepted or built on the same farm.• The site is not in a safety hazard area or site of scientific interest or of military use.• The site complies with any requirements if it falls within a flood zone. • The building will comply with current Building Regulations when constructed. To proceed with taking on this challenge a good architect is essential in understanding not only rural design and planning but also the needs of future occupants. It’s unlikely that an existing barn will be in a condition in order to meet new housing standards in Building Regulations so the adaption of the existing barn must provide a new thermal envelope as a key component to the construction alongside good natural light levels from windows and doors. Structural engineers can also be critical particularly if you are looking at older barns where substantial work is going to be needed to strengthen existing foundations and new and existing floors and walls. Above all the final design should provide a good practical living environment for a family. With this planning option available farm living gives local people wishing to stay in the area an opportunity that would otherwise not be available and it also opens up the possibility for people looking to move back to a rural surrounding from an urban environment. From a farmers prospective it’s crucial that the building is laid out thoughtfully to maximise its asset value as this is a once only application under permitted development rules. The Cambridgeshire project will widen the housing choices for local residents, but could provide a template for other farmers looking to take up the idea which would create a major impact across the UK. From a financial position farmers looking to develop are likely to be given a fair hearing from lenders given that the land is already a free asset and would bring an impressive return on any borrowing, meaning there is a realistic opportunity to turn thousands of obsolete rural buildings into badly-needed homes for future generations.
    Sep 02, 2016 125
  • 11 Jul 2017
    Assurances given in terms to the longevity of single ply products are not always as black and white as they first appear. This is because while the majority of manufacturers can produce statements of their products’ life expectancies or design lives via accelerated testing, it is sometimes the case that these timescales are longer than the time a manufacturer has actually been operating in the UK. For some this situation may be acceptable. Others require ‘real’ evidence of performance when choosing the right roofing product as they recognise that a roof is the most important element in securing a building’s long-term endurance. We’re fortunate that we can show a client, architect or surveyor that what has been tested in theory has also been proven and confirmed in reality. Trocal entered the UK market in 1972 but the company’s history prior to this point and its connection to one of the most infamous inventors of the 19th Century still remains relatively unknown by many of our UK customers. Trocal can be traced back to Alfred Nobel, who founded Alfred Nobel & Co (later known as Dynamit Nobel AG), a chemical company involved in the production of weaponry in Troisdorf, Germany, 1865. Nobel’s place in history was secured through the invention of Dynamite in 1867 and the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize some 30 years later – which occurred despite the apparent contradiction in terms! After the First World War, the company turned its attention to chemical-based products involving ‘plastics', with the first fully synthetic plastic launched in 1934. In 1962 the first Trocal single ply roofing membrane was launched and this would be the springboard to the UK in the early 70s and achieving its first BBA certificate in 1975. In 1979 Trocal went onto be the founding member of the Flat Roofing Association (FRA) which would later become todays governing body for the single ply industry, the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA). In late 2015, in Trocal’s 43rd year in business in the UK, we decided to improve our British Board of Agrément certification statement on the life expectancy of our membranes, which at the time stood at 30 years. We set ourselves the goal of increasing this to “in excess of 35 years” but to do so we needed to provide a sample of an existing Trocal membrane that could perform to this requirement. Thankfully, Sika-Trocal has been a leading supplier of Single Ply and have had millions of m2 installed over the years and one client, Fossil (UK) Ltd, had a Trocal membrane installed on their headquarters in Milton Keynes in 1981, which had enjoyed 35 reliable, trouble free years. The sample provided of the existing membrane demonstrated very similar flexibility and constitution performance to a brand new membrane and this helped Sika-Trocal have its membrane life span extended to “in excess of 35 years” by the BBA. And the rest they say is history. By Andy Lockwood, Area Technical Manager at Sika-Trocal  
    117 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Assurances given in terms to the longevity of single ply products are not always as black and white as they first appear. This is because while the majority of manufacturers can produce statements of their products’ life expectancies or design lives via accelerated testing, it is sometimes the case that these timescales are longer than the time a manufacturer has actually been operating in the UK. For some this situation may be acceptable. Others require ‘real’ evidence of performance when choosing the right roofing product as they recognise that a roof is the most important element in securing a building’s long-term endurance. We’re fortunate that we can show a client, architect or surveyor that what has been tested in theory has also been proven and confirmed in reality. Trocal entered the UK market in 1972 but the company’s history prior to this point and its connection to one of the most infamous inventors of the 19th Century still remains relatively unknown by many of our UK customers. Trocal can be traced back to Alfred Nobel, who founded Alfred Nobel & Co (later known as Dynamit Nobel AG), a chemical company involved in the production of weaponry in Troisdorf, Germany, 1865. Nobel’s place in history was secured through the invention of Dynamite in 1867 and the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize some 30 years later – which occurred despite the apparent contradiction in terms! After the First World War, the company turned its attention to chemical-based products involving ‘plastics', with the first fully synthetic plastic launched in 1934. In 1962 the first Trocal single ply roofing membrane was launched and this would be the springboard to the UK in the early 70s and achieving its first BBA certificate in 1975. In 1979 Trocal went onto be the founding member of the Flat Roofing Association (FRA) which would later become todays governing body for the single ply industry, the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA). In late 2015, in Trocal’s 43rd year in business in the UK, we decided to improve our British Board of Agrément certification statement on the life expectancy of our membranes, which at the time stood at 30 years. We set ourselves the goal of increasing this to “in excess of 35 years” but to do so we needed to provide a sample of an existing Trocal membrane that could perform to this requirement. Thankfully, Sika-Trocal has been a leading supplier of Single Ply and have had millions of m2 installed over the years and one client, Fossil (UK) Ltd, had a Trocal membrane installed on their headquarters in Milton Keynes in 1981, which had enjoyed 35 reliable, trouble free years. The sample provided of the existing membrane demonstrated very similar flexibility and constitution performance to a brand new membrane and this helped Sika-Trocal have its membrane life span extended to “in excess of 35 years” by the BBA. And the rest they say is history. By Andy Lockwood, Area Technical Manager at Sika-Trocal  
    Jul 11, 2017 117