• 17 Jan 2018
    A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability. Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged: Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less The render system takes up minimal space Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure Withstands high water pressure Substrate preparation may be required  In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases. Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System: System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs Requires more space to install Acts as a vapour barrier Limited surface preparation required Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2  Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures. As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009. What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below. Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance. Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage. Visit: https://www.sikawaterproofing.co.uk/products-systems/sika-cd-cavity-drainage-system/  
    54 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability. Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged: Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less The render system takes up minimal space Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure Withstands high water pressure Substrate preparation may be required  In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases. Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System: System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs Requires more space to install Acts as a vapour barrier Limited surface preparation required Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2  Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures. As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009. What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below. Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance. Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage. Visit: https://www.sikawaterproofing.co.uk/products-systems/sika-cd-cavity-drainage-system/  
    Jan 17, 2018 54
  • 05 Jan 2018
    The introduction of Sewers for Adoption 7 (SfA7) has meant that engineers can now specify plastic inspection chambers instead of those made from concrete. Offering a substantially lighter, structurally sound, watertight chamber and one that benefits from exceptional loading capabilities, Paul Grills of Brett Martin takes a fresh look at modern plastic materials which are fast becoming the go-to alternative to traditional concrete chambers. With the intention of standardising the performance and installation of all ‘adoptable’ drainage installations, the SfA7 guidance provides installers with general specifications for drainage.  But when is an inspection chamber adoptable and when is it not? Adoptable inspection chambers serve two or more properties and are the first inspection chamber back from an adoptable lateral drain.  Non-adoptable chambers are installed within the property boundary and serve individual properties. Building a case for plastic One of the major step changes with SfA7 is that tried and tested engineered plastic inspection chambers are now being accepted for use in adoptable areas as an alternative to traditional materials such as concrete and offer significant cost and time benefits. Through the introduction of newly-defined design specifications and by bringing in installation standards for all adoptable drainage networks, SfA7 provides the specifier with Typical Access Chamber Details for flexible material (plastic) versions. This means that traditional rigid concrete chambers are no longer the only authorised option for adoptable drainage installations down to 3 metres. Plastic inspection chambers are now required to be designed, tested and manufactured to meet the requirements of BS EN 13598 under SfA7 guidance. Part 1 of the standard covers installations down to a maximum of 1.2m invert depth, and Part 2 covers deeper installations, including critical areas. Traditionally there has been some reluctance towards plastic inspection chambers from water authorities, even for Part 1 compliant installations. However with any lateral drain or sewer serving two or more properties and connections to the public sewer now able to be adopted by a water company, a traditional 1.2m concrete inspection chamber would not be practical in a lot of these instances. This change, enshrined in SfA7, has begun to result in a change of attitude from the water companies. Independently tested One of the reasons why plastic systems are becoming more accepted is due to the rigorous testing program set out in BS EN 13598. These independent tests include dimensional assessments, load testing, pressure testing and elevated temperature cycling to name just a few. Furthermore, a product certified by a third party (such as BSI) will be subject to this robust test program on an ongoing basis, ensuring that companies are consistently producing a product which meets this high standard. This impartial testing and certification should not only give water companies confidence in the system which they have installed, but also builders, surveyors and homeowners as well. Modern plastic systems are seeing increased interest due to their important set of benefits compared with concrete, including performance characteristics such as structural integrity, watertightconstruction and strong loading capabilities. And the substantially lighter weight offered by polypropylene chambers means there is no need for the craning required for the traditional concrete solutions, and that health and safety concerns on site are drastically reduced. Plastic sewer systems are also known for a very smooth internal surface in comparison to a concrete system. This reduced friction coefficient helps the flow of foul water, reduces the risk of blockages and means that the jetting pressure required for a plastic system is significantly reduced against a concrete pipe.  Ease of installation Along with being durable and robust, these modern plastic systems can be integrally socketed for improved pipe alignment thereby easing installation and performance, a vital consideration for a long design life.  An additional benefit of the integral socket is the system can be manufactured specifically to be compatible with other standardised plastic sewer products (such as BS EN 1401 pipe and fittings). This further improves on installation time and removes the need for additional adaptor pieces which go between concrete and plastic systems. With the official Sewers for Adoption 7 guidance now supporting the specification of plastic for adoptable solutions, local authorities can be sure they gain all the benefits of fit-for-purpose alternatives, and be fully in compliance with all standards. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    92 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The introduction of Sewers for Adoption 7 (SfA7) has meant that engineers can now specify plastic inspection chambers instead of those made from concrete. Offering a substantially lighter, structurally sound, watertight chamber and one that benefits from exceptional loading capabilities, Paul Grills of Brett Martin takes a fresh look at modern plastic materials which are fast becoming the go-to alternative to traditional concrete chambers. With the intention of standardising the performance and installation of all ‘adoptable’ drainage installations, the SfA7 guidance provides installers with general specifications for drainage.  But when is an inspection chamber adoptable and when is it not? Adoptable inspection chambers serve two or more properties and are the first inspection chamber back from an adoptable lateral drain.  Non-adoptable chambers are installed within the property boundary and serve individual properties. Building a case for plastic One of the major step changes with SfA7 is that tried and tested engineered plastic inspection chambers are now being accepted for use in adoptable areas as an alternative to traditional materials such as concrete and offer significant cost and time benefits. Through the introduction of newly-defined design specifications and by bringing in installation standards for all adoptable drainage networks, SfA7 provides the specifier with Typical Access Chamber Details for flexible material (plastic) versions. This means that traditional rigid concrete chambers are no longer the only authorised option for adoptable drainage installations down to 3 metres. Plastic inspection chambers are now required to be designed, tested and manufactured to meet the requirements of BS EN 13598 under SfA7 guidance. Part 1 of the standard covers installations down to a maximum of 1.2m invert depth, and Part 2 covers deeper installations, including critical areas. Traditionally there has been some reluctance towards plastic inspection chambers from water authorities, even for Part 1 compliant installations. However with any lateral drain or sewer serving two or more properties and connections to the public sewer now able to be adopted by a water company, a traditional 1.2m concrete inspection chamber would not be practical in a lot of these instances. This change, enshrined in SfA7, has begun to result in a change of attitude from the water companies. Independently tested One of the reasons why plastic systems are becoming more accepted is due to the rigorous testing program set out in BS EN 13598. These independent tests include dimensional assessments, load testing, pressure testing and elevated temperature cycling to name just a few. Furthermore, a product certified by a third party (such as BSI) will be subject to this robust test program on an ongoing basis, ensuring that companies are consistently producing a product which meets this high standard. This impartial testing and certification should not only give water companies confidence in the system which they have installed, but also builders, surveyors and homeowners as well. Modern plastic systems are seeing increased interest due to their important set of benefits compared with concrete, including performance characteristics such as structural integrity, watertightconstruction and strong loading capabilities. And the substantially lighter weight offered by polypropylene chambers means there is no need for the craning required for the traditional concrete solutions, and that health and safety concerns on site are drastically reduced. Plastic sewer systems are also known for a very smooth internal surface in comparison to a concrete system. This reduced friction coefficient helps the flow of foul water, reduces the risk of blockages and means that the jetting pressure required for a plastic system is significantly reduced against a concrete pipe.  Ease of installation Along with being durable and robust, these modern plastic systems can be integrally socketed for improved pipe alignment thereby easing installation and performance, a vital consideration for a long design life.  An additional benefit of the integral socket is the system can be manufactured specifically to be compatible with other standardised plastic sewer products (such as BS EN 1401 pipe and fittings). This further improves on installation time and removes the need for additional adaptor pieces which go between concrete and plastic systems. With the official Sewers for Adoption 7 guidance now supporting the specification of plastic for adoptable solutions, local authorities can be sure they gain all the benefits of fit-for-purpose alternatives, and be fully in compliance with all standards. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    Jan 05, 2018 92
  • 03 Jan 2018
    As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different. I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope. The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.    Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are. Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others. A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward. On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year. These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity. Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.   It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage. We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them. If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us. By Rod Benson, Business Unit Manager for Sika Roofing
    123 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different. I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope. The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.    Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are. Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others. A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward. On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year. These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity. Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.   It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage. We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them. If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us. By Rod Benson, Business Unit Manager for Sika Roofing
    Jan 03, 2018 123
  • 02 Jan 2018
    The perception and benefit of rooflights, and more importantly daylight, has evolved to such extent it has become a fundamental element of contemporary architecture. ‘Daylight’ might be a simple word, but for many years it was given little thought or high consideration during the design or construction process.  With architects, clients and consumers all searching and wanting the latest offering, what steps can specifiers take to find the best rooflight product which offers the most benefits at an affordable price, whilst being aesthetically pleasing to the eye?  Naturally, with this evolution of opinions and desire comes product development.   Manufacturers work hard to launch new products regularly, with a solution available for whatever the requirement may be. This has resulted in an infinite variety of rooflight shapes, sizes, colours and glazing options to suit flat, pitched and curved roof applications. Irrespective of the number or extent of rooflights required for residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural structures, if the basics are followed the process can be as easy as 1-2-3:  design and specification, a market leading manufacturer and finally installation. Design and specification The choice of daylighting holds the key.  With so many options available, the early involvement of a rooflight manufacturer or daylight consultant at the design and specification stage of a project is critical as they can provide good advice and influence the right rooflight decision.  This could be in terms of the rooflight area required, benefits on energy saving or ventilation options as well as ensuring the most appropriate type of product is chosen for the individual requirements of a particular project. Working together during this time will ensure all requirements and benefits are achieved.  While a part of this requirement is meeting current legislation, it is also about meeting budgets whilst at the same time choosing the best product for the application that is quick and easy to install. This is not always an easy task when regulations need to be adhered to.  Smoke extraction, airtightness, u-values, solar gain, wind-loadings, watertightness are just some of the many considerations and requirements. It is therefore important to work with a rooflight manufacturer that can demonstrate, support and back-up their product’s performance and technical claims. Compliance with the differing national regulatory frameworks must be considered, with rooflights subjected to mandatory legislation and standards covering key performance factors including fire, thermal insulation, safety, and in certain applications, security. Care should be taken to ensure that any specification and installation meets the relevant standards, with a hierarchical approach often best practice. Meeting the relevant fire standards is paramount, insulation standards are important to meet energy efficiency standards, while safety requirements must also be satisfied. In particular, in the UK and Ireland, much assistance in meeting regulatory requirements is provided in extensive industry guidance, for example NFRC, MCRMA, NARM, ACR. Manufacturers at the top of their game Using a manufacturer which has a wide range of products will ensure the most reliable and cost effective option can be selected for any roof type or project requirement as they can offer unbiased advice on differing product types and applications to ensure that the project’s requirements of performance, aesthetics and budget is most appropriately met. A company with a more limited range of products could be more likely to recommend only the product that they supply rather than what is best for your project. A project can often benefit from using different rooflight products on the same roof, where specific performance, budgetary and aesthetic requirements can be matched to individual areas of the roof to ensure the most cost-effective overall budget. The perfect fit In a world where health and safety is paramount and with site labour, welfare and plant potentially so expensive, choosing the right manufacturer or product for your daylighting is crucial.  For contractors wishing to reduce site time on a roof and enhance safety, factory assembled rooflights are manufactured to tight tolerances, ensuring an accurate and reliable fit on site leading to time saved on installation, and reduced fitting costs. They say time is money, and costs can spiral out of control if the wrong choices are made.  With margins low and budgets tight, it’s important to recognise the value of UK quality standards for rooflights and check the origins and evaluate objectively the credentials of rooflight products.  Selecting an apparently lower cost rooflight might well compromise performance requirements and lead to higher costs in the long term.  Choosing the right rooflight manufacturer will ultimately give you peace of mind.  They can offer great quality, long lasting and compliant products that are quick and easy to install and backed up and supported by superb technical support. Through the synergy between rooflight manufacturers and specifiers working together and by taking a simple three step approach, it is possible to design, produce and achieve some of the most beautiful ‘daylight enhancements’ ever dreamt of on a building.  Visit: http://www.brettmartin.com/
    86 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The perception and benefit of rooflights, and more importantly daylight, has evolved to such extent it has become a fundamental element of contemporary architecture. ‘Daylight’ might be a simple word, but for many years it was given little thought or high consideration during the design or construction process.  With architects, clients and consumers all searching and wanting the latest offering, what steps can specifiers take to find the best rooflight product which offers the most benefits at an affordable price, whilst being aesthetically pleasing to the eye?  Naturally, with this evolution of opinions and desire comes product development.   Manufacturers work hard to launch new products regularly, with a solution available for whatever the requirement may be. This has resulted in an infinite variety of rooflight shapes, sizes, colours and glazing options to suit flat, pitched and curved roof applications. Irrespective of the number or extent of rooflights required for residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural structures, if the basics are followed the process can be as easy as 1-2-3:  design and specification, a market leading manufacturer and finally installation. Design and specification The choice of daylighting holds the key.  With so many options available, the early involvement of a rooflight manufacturer or daylight consultant at the design and specification stage of a project is critical as they can provide good advice and influence the right rooflight decision.  This could be in terms of the rooflight area required, benefits on energy saving or ventilation options as well as ensuring the most appropriate type of product is chosen for the individual requirements of a particular project. Working together during this time will ensure all requirements and benefits are achieved.  While a part of this requirement is meeting current legislation, it is also about meeting budgets whilst at the same time choosing the best product for the application that is quick and easy to install. This is not always an easy task when regulations need to be adhered to.  Smoke extraction, airtightness, u-values, solar gain, wind-loadings, watertightness are just some of the many considerations and requirements. It is therefore important to work with a rooflight manufacturer that can demonstrate, support and back-up their product’s performance and technical claims. Compliance with the differing national regulatory frameworks must be considered, with rooflights subjected to mandatory legislation and standards covering key performance factors including fire, thermal insulation, safety, and in certain applications, security. Care should be taken to ensure that any specification and installation meets the relevant standards, with a hierarchical approach often best practice. Meeting the relevant fire standards is paramount, insulation standards are important to meet energy efficiency standards, while safety requirements must also be satisfied. In particular, in the UK and Ireland, much assistance in meeting regulatory requirements is provided in extensive industry guidance, for example NFRC, MCRMA, NARM, ACR. Manufacturers at the top of their game Using a manufacturer which has a wide range of products will ensure the most reliable and cost effective option can be selected for any roof type or project requirement as they can offer unbiased advice on differing product types and applications to ensure that the project’s requirements of performance, aesthetics and budget is most appropriately met. A company with a more limited range of products could be more likely to recommend only the product that they supply rather than what is best for your project. A project can often benefit from using different rooflight products on the same roof, where specific performance, budgetary and aesthetic requirements can be matched to individual areas of the roof to ensure the most cost-effective overall budget. The perfect fit In a world where health and safety is paramount and with site labour, welfare and plant potentially so expensive, choosing the right manufacturer or product for your daylighting is crucial.  For contractors wishing to reduce site time on a roof and enhance safety, factory assembled rooflights are manufactured to tight tolerances, ensuring an accurate and reliable fit on site leading to time saved on installation, and reduced fitting costs. They say time is money, and costs can spiral out of control if the wrong choices are made.  With margins low and budgets tight, it’s important to recognise the value of UK quality standards for rooflights and check the origins and evaluate objectively the credentials of rooflight products.  Selecting an apparently lower cost rooflight might well compromise performance requirements and lead to higher costs in the long term.  Choosing the right rooflight manufacturer will ultimately give you peace of mind.  They can offer great quality, long lasting and compliant products that are quick and easy to install and backed up and supported by superb technical support. Through the synergy between rooflight manufacturers and specifiers working together and by taking a simple three step approach, it is possible to design, produce and achieve some of the most beautiful ‘daylight enhancements’ ever dreamt of on a building.  Visit: http://www.brettmartin.com/
    Jan 02, 2018 86
  • 12 Dec 2017
    There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    108 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    Dec 12, 2017 108
  • 07 Dec 2017
    Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    117 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    Dec 07, 2017 117
  • 02 Sep 2016
    In the absence of a crystal ball it is almost impossible to predict how construction companies will fare following the vote to leave the EU… Within days of the vote being announced it was clear that there would be winners and losers and it will probably be a least another six months or so before certainty returns to the market. But it would seem that, for companies willing to grasp the opportunities in Europe’s second largest construction market, the future could look very good indeed and some organisations are predicting that UK manufacturers could do extremely well if they are willing to be bold. The BBA is one such organisation that has identified an unexpected trend in the market and a mood of optimism from companies that believe they can succeed – by simply being better than their competitors – particularly in the areas of quality and excellence. It has long been accepted that a BBA accreditation is a standard of excellence that manufacturers of construction products should aspire to, but there are some who clearly want to go to the next step by driving quality forward still further to leave the competition behind. In short there seems to be a growing number of companies out there prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible accreditations for their products to ensure that they have a greater advantage in a highly competitive market. There is no doubt that such companies will succeed against a background where building owners and specifiers are not prepared to risk anything but the best and it could be that the BBA has identified a positive move to even greater quality in the marketplace – although it must be emphasised they do not claim to have any definitive answers regarding the future. So it seems, then, that Britain could once again be a byword for quality, and if the BBA is right – then the entire UK construction market stands to benefit – and what’s wrong with that? http://www.bbacerts.co.uk/
    1 Posted by BBA
  • By BBA
    In the absence of a crystal ball it is almost impossible to predict how construction companies will fare following the vote to leave the EU… Within days of the vote being announced it was clear that there would be winners and losers and it will probably be a least another six months or so before certainty returns to the market. But it would seem that, for companies willing to grasp the opportunities in Europe’s second largest construction market, the future could look very good indeed and some organisations are predicting that UK manufacturers could do extremely well if they are willing to be bold. The BBA is one such organisation that has identified an unexpected trend in the market and a mood of optimism from companies that believe they can succeed – by simply being better than their competitors – particularly in the areas of quality and excellence. It has long been accepted that a BBA accreditation is a standard of excellence that manufacturers of construction products should aspire to, but there are some who clearly want to go to the next step by driving quality forward still further to leave the competition behind. In short there seems to be a growing number of companies out there prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible accreditations for their products to ensure that they have a greater advantage in a highly competitive market. There is no doubt that such companies will succeed against a background where building owners and specifiers are not prepared to risk anything but the best and it could be that the BBA has identified a positive move to even greater quality in the marketplace – although it must be emphasised they do not claim to have any definitive answers regarding the future. So it seems, then, that Britain could once again be a byword for quality, and if the BBA is right – then the entire UK construction market stands to benefit – and what’s wrong with that? http://www.bbacerts.co.uk/
    Sep 02, 2016 1
  • 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.
    1 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 1
  • 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/  
    687 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 687
  • 21 Sep 2017
    The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”. In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’. They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.  Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem. We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently. However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances. We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits. With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid. Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free. At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors. Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors. By Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX For more information and to download a free payments guide visit: http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/
    547 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”. In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’. They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.  Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem. We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently. However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances. We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits. With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid. Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free. At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors. Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors. By Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX For more information and to download a free payments guide visit: http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/
    Sep 21, 2017 547
  • 31 Aug 2017
    The headline says it all - and it particularly applies to the construction industry; especially when it comes to our small corner of it, the resin bound permeable paving market. We are not afraid to tell you that we sometimes lose out to competitors quoting up to 20% cheaper than us. “What?” I hear you say “Some of your competitors are 20% cheaper than you and you are admitting it?”  Yes we are and for a very, very good reason… All too often we hear from customers who, having previously bought a cheaper product, ask us to rectify problems associated with inferior resin bound paving. Knowing that the basic requirement of every company is to make a profit, we can rule out companies doing too many jobs ‘out of the kindness of their heart’ or free of charge.  So, with only a limited number of ways to make one resin bound product cheaper than another, and ruling out profit as the major difference, the only other ways are: Cheaper resins Everyone in the industry knows that the resin used (very unsurprisingly) within resin bound paving is the single most crucial factor in determining whether your product is average or great.  Although the quality, cleanliness and consistency of the stone is vitally important, what really differentiates material suppliers is the quality of the resin binder used. There are many ‘tunes’ which can be played with the resin including using different types of vastly differing qualities and altering the formulation percentages to make products stronger or weaker.   Obviously less resin equals cheaper, and I seriously doubt anyone would be surprised that cheaper equals weaker. At SureSet we only use high quality resins, in the correct formulas, ensuring that the durability of our product is top of the agenda. Poor mix design Not investing in technical expertise is another way of reducing cost. Every blend we create at SureSet is tested using a process we have developed over 18 years.  We know that each type and size of individual aggregate has different characteristics, which means that some types of aggregate require different amounts of resin than others. I have heard many companies say “just dump this 7kg resin on top of any 100kg of dry stone and away you go”, but the reality is producing high quality, long lasting products is a far more technical process than that. This completely rules out the ‘one size fits all’ theory, yet there are many well established companies who are still doing just that. Hand in hand with good design is the need to manage quality so that the product produced is consistent and meets required standards.  Customers should look for suppliers who demonstrate this by achieving and maintaining national standards, such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People. Total quantity of material used There are some companies who, to keep the cost of a job low, will install the material at less than optimal depths, regardless of its end use.  When buying resin bound paving you should make sure that each quote has the same specification; if one company is stating a 20mm depth, and the other a 16mm depth, ask both companies why.  The likelihood is that the company stating 20mm will have done so due to turning vehicles, large vehicles or heavier usage etc.  The 20mm material will last longer, and withstand its intended use.  Let’s not forget the company stating 20mm also wants to be as competitive as possible, so it does not make commercial sense to state a greater depth, and therefore increased cost, than is necessary.  If 16mm will do the job, then 16mm would have been quoted for. Poor workmanship Labour costs are also a significant factor when determining the selling point of resin bound paving, both in having the necessary skills, and having enough labour on site. Our experience allows us to precisely assess how many installers are needed to install a particular job and enables us to price accurately.  A mistake commonly made is in thinking that three installers can do the job of five… In theory they probably could, but will the quality and attention to detail be the same if your surface were laid by five skilled installers? The simple answer is no.  If we at SureSet took that approach, whilst our quote would be more competitive and our profit margin increase, the reality is that the installation would be rushed and shortcuts taken. We do everything in our power to avoid under-estimating the time needed for each installation - at the end of the day you are ‘only as good as your last job’. In short there would be no time to walk that ‘extra mile’ and deliver the high quality associated with SureSet.  To summarise Throughout the 18 years SureSet has been manufacturing, supplying and installing permeable resin bound paving, we have been called upon to rectify poor installations. Some can be repaired, while others require complete replacement. Unfortunately for the customer, the original cheap price is no longer the bargain they originally thought it was. When buying resin bound paving I urge you not to buy on price, but consider these points when making your decision: Value – don’t just consider the upfront cost, but the whole life investment into the quality of the product. Remember you can only make cheap resin bound paving by compromising the quality of the end product. Quality– a product that has been well designed, researched and invested in will look better and last longer. Reputation – read testimonials, ask to see installations near you or speak to customers before purchasing.  ‘Word of mouth’ still goes a long way. Guarantee – established companies offering long guarantees offer them for a reason. Likewise companies offering a short guarantee also do so for a reason. Although we would love to, we don’t expect to win every tender we submit - it is not feasible or conducive to a healthy market. However when we lose out to an inferior, cheaper product is frustrating because we know that at some point in the future the customer, who thought they were choosing between ‘like for like’ products will be disappointed with their decision.  Not only was this a loss to SureSet, but more worryingly it could be a loss to the resin bound paving market.  So as the title of my blog suggests: Please, please don’t purchase purely on price, purchase on value. Author: Ben Shave, Sales Director, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: https://www.sureset.co.uk/ Follow Us: https://www.facebook.com/suresetuk/ https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    427 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The headline says it all - and it particularly applies to the construction industry; especially when it comes to our small corner of it, the resin bound permeable paving market. We are not afraid to tell you that we sometimes lose out to competitors quoting up to 20% cheaper than us. “What?” I hear you say “Some of your competitors are 20% cheaper than you and you are admitting it?”  Yes we are and for a very, very good reason… All too often we hear from customers who, having previously bought a cheaper product, ask us to rectify problems associated with inferior resin bound paving. Knowing that the basic requirement of every company is to make a profit, we can rule out companies doing too many jobs ‘out of the kindness of their heart’ or free of charge.  So, with only a limited number of ways to make one resin bound product cheaper than another, and ruling out profit as the major difference, the only other ways are: Cheaper resins Everyone in the industry knows that the resin used (very unsurprisingly) within resin bound paving is the single most crucial factor in determining whether your product is average or great.  Although the quality, cleanliness and consistency of the stone is vitally important, what really differentiates material suppliers is the quality of the resin binder used. There are many ‘tunes’ which can be played with the resin including using different types of vastly differing qualities and altering the formulation percentages to make products stronger or weaker.   Obviously less resin equals cheaper, and I seriously doubt anyone would be surprised that cheaper equals weaker. At SureSet we only use high quality resins, in the correct formulas, ensuring that the durability of our product is top of the agenda. Poor mix design Not investing in technical expertise is another way of reducing cost. Every blend we create at SureSet is tested using a process we have developed over 18 years.  We know that each type and size of individual aggregate has different characteristics, which means that some types of aggregate require different amounts of resin than others. I have heard many companies say “just dump this 7kg resin on top of any 100kg of dry stone and away you go”, but the reality is producing high quality, long lasting products is a far more technical process than that. This completely rules out the ‘one size fits all’ theory, yet there are many well established companies who are still doing just that. Hand in hand with good design is the need to manage quality so that the product produced is consistent and meets required standards.  Customers should look for suppliers who demonstrate this by achieving and maintaining national standards, such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People. Total quantity of material used There are some companies who, to keep the cost of a job low, will install the material at less than optimal depths, regardless of its end use.  When buying resin bound paving you should make sure that each quote has the same specification; if one company is stating a 20mm depth, and the other a 16mm depth, ask both companies why.  The likelihood is that the company stating 20mm will have done so due to turning vehicles, large vehicles or heavier usage etc.  The 20mm material will last longer, and withstand its intended use.  Let’s not forget the company stating 20mm also wants to be as competitive as possible, so it does not make commercial sense to state a greater depth, and therefore increased cost, than is necessary.  If 16mm will do the job, then 16mm would have been quoted for. Poor workmanship Labour costs are also a significant factor when determining the selling point of resin bound paving, both in having the necessary skills, and having enough labour on site. Our experience allows us to precisely assess how many installers are needed to install a particular job and enables us to price accurately.  A mistake commonly made is in thinking that three installers can do the job of five… In theory they probably could, but will the quality and attention to detail be the same if your surface were laid by five skilled installers? The simple answer is no.  If we at SureSet took that approach, whilst our quote would be more competitive and our profit margin increase, the reality is that the installation would be rushed and shortcuts taken. We do everything in our power to avoid under-estimating the time needed for each installation - at the end of the day you are ‘only as good as your last job’. In short there would be no time to walk that ‘extra mile’ and deliver the high quality associated with SureSet.  To summarise Throughout the 18 years SureSet has been manufacturing, supplying and installing permeable resin bound paving, we have been called upon to rectify poor installations. Some can be repaired, while others require complete replacement. Unfortunately for the customer, the original cheap price is no longer the bargain they originally thought it was. When buying resin bound paving I urge you not to buy on price, but consider these points when making your decision: Value – don’t just consider the upfront cost, but the whole life investment into the quality of the product. Remember you can only make cheap resin bound paving by compromising the quality of the end product. Quality– a product that has been well designed, researched and invested in will look better and last longer. Reputation – read testimonials, ask to see installations near you or speak to customers before purchasing.  ‘Word of mouth’ still goes a long way. Guarantee – established companies offering long guarantees offer them for a reason. Likewise companies offering a short guarantee also do so for a reason. Although we would love to, we don’t expect to win every tender we submit - it is not feasible or conducive to a healthy market. However when we lose out to an inferior, cheaper product is frustrating because we know that at some point in the future the customer, who thought they were choosing between ‘like for like’ products will be disappointed with their decision.  Not only was this a loss to SureSet, but more worryingly it could be a loss to the resin bound paving market.  So as the title of my blog suggests: Please, please don’t purchase purely on price, purchase on value. Author: Ben Shave, Sales Director, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: https://www.sureset.co.uk/ Follow Us: https://www.facebook.com/suresetuk/ https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    Aug 31, 2017 427
  • 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.
    315 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 315
  • 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
    312 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 312
  • 18 Sep 2017
    It is now possible to go from green concrete to green roof in just three days. There will of course be many who say it cannot be done, but they are being proved wrong by a company that is leading the market with a new kind of waterproofing technology – and it’s confounding the traditionalists. With increasing pressure on building costs and owners strictly enforcing projects to be delivered on time and within budget, any roof waterproofing system that can save almost a calendar month in time and allow other trades to begin work within days of new concrete being laid, has to be welcome. At present it is generally considered that green concrete cannot be waterproofed until around 28 days after installation. The maximum amount of trapped water contained in the concrete has to be allowed to escape for the concrete to cure properly which effectively means that the project can be on hold during that time. So all credit to Proteus Waterproofing, one the fastest growing companies of its kind, for developing such a system - Cold-Melt® - which is making all other waterproof membranes look obsolete. It’s a seamless application consisting of two main waterproofing layers – the first of which can be laid over green concrete after just three days sealing the building while still allowing the concrete to cure and continue drying out in the usual way. The system is so advanced that the first layer is all that is needed to waterproof the building and if the project demands it, then the final layer does not have to be applied until all other trades have completed their work. This is another significant plus as other trades frequently damage membranes leading to costly repairs and delays. Cold-Melt® is not as prone to such damage, is easily repaired and will have an additional finishing waterproof layer as the project progresses. In fact the BBA have certified that the Cold-Melt® system is so tough that it will last for the life time of the building on which it is installed. No one is saying that Cold-Melt® will replace all other types of waterproof membrane – each has its own particular place in the market – but there is no doubt that this is a unique product that is ticking a lot of boxes for building owners and specifiers. As well as the fact that it can be rapidly installed, Cold-Melt® as the name suggests, does not use any naked flame or molten material and because it is virtually odour free, delivers maximum health and safety and minimum disruption. It is manufactured from recycled rubber crumb and other environment friendly materials such as castor oil and other organically grown products to create an elastomeric, cold applied membrane so sustainability also gets the thumbs up. But let’s get back to the beginning – green concrete to green roof in just three days is now a reality. This seems to be a system that is ready for anything and for the moment - there is nothing else like it in the roofing market. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/
    296 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It is now possible to go from green concrete to green roof in just three days. There will of course be many who say it cannot be done, but they are being proved wrong by a company that is leading the market with a new kind of waterproofing technology – and it’s confounding the traditionalists. With increasing pressure on building costs and owners strictly enforcing projects to be delivered on time and within budget, any roof waterproofing system that can save almost a calendar month in time and allow other trades to begin work within days of new concrete being laid, has to be welcome. At present it is generally considered that green concrete cannot be waterproofed until around 28 days after installation. The maximum amount of trapped water contained in the concrete has to be allowed to escape for the concrete to cure properly which effectively means that the project can be on hold during that time. So all credit to Proteus Waterproofing, one the fastest growing companies of its kind, for developing such a system - Cold-Melt® - which is making all other waterproof membranes look obsolete. It’s a seamless application consisting of two main waterproofing layers – the first of which can be laid over green concrete after just three days sealing the building while still allowing the concrete to cure and continue drying out in the usual way. The system is so advanced that the first layer is all that is needed to waterproof the building and if the project demands it, then the final layer does not have to be applied until all other trades have completed their work. This is another significant plus as other trades frequently damage membranes leading to costly repairs and delays. Cold-Melt® is not as prone to such damage, is easily repaired and will have an additional finishing waterproof layer as the project progresses. In fact the BBA have certified that the Cold-Melt® system is so tough that it will last for the life time of the building on which it is installed. No one is saying that Cold-Melt® will replace all other types of waterproof membrane – each has its own particular place in the market – but there is no doubt that this is a unique product that is ticking a lot of boxes for building owners and specifiers. As well as the fact that it can be rapidly installed, Cold-Melt® as the name suggests, does not use any naked flame or molten material and because it is virtually odour free, delivers maximum health and safety and minimum disruption. It is manufactured from recycled rubber crumb and other environment friendly materials such as castor oil and other organically grown products to create an elastomeric, cold applied membrane so sustainability also gets the thumbs up. But let’s get back to the beginning – green concrete to green roof in just three days is now a reality. This seems to be a system that is ready for anything and for the moment - there is nothing else like it in the roofing market. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/
    Sep 18, 2017 296