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  • 30 Oct 2017
    Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound found in all organic substances but its presence in pressed timber products such as MDF has long been a contentious issue within the industry. With the increased focus on the importance of minimising risks to health in construction, manufacturers should go beyond the call of duty in reducing added formaldehyde in products. The timber panel products industry has made investments to drive change in this area and ensure that there are products available which reduce added formaldehyde in adhesives to zero. Specifiers are now able to make a strong contribution to reducing the associated health issues which formaldehyde can cause. There are rightly growing health concerns around formaldehyde, which is commonly found in the resins used to glue timber panel products together for strength performance. According to the HSE formaldehyde dust released in manufacture has the potential to lead to asthma and other respiratory problems, although there is no formal evidential link has been made between these issues and wood-based panels. High humidity, heat or sawing or grinding can lead to increased levels of formaldehyde vapour and dust in the air breathed in by workers. The release of formaldehyde as vapour, which can cause irritation, is highest in newly manufactured pressed wood products and decreases over time. The EU has taken steps to address the perceived risks by making all panel products conform to its already well established E1 classification on formaldehyde within EN 13986, meaning wood flooring adhesives have to have less than 0.75 ppm (parts per million) of formaldehyde.  The good news is that HSE states that the levels of so-called free formaldehyde in boards made to class E1 are “insignificant”, due to the resin having altered to form longer molecule chains during manufacture.  This means E1 boards have a negligible amount of formaldehyde present which can be breathed in during production, installation or use. So what does this all mean for a manufacturer? With a consistent commitment to research and development as the leader in the MDF market, Medite has long been at the forefront of reducing formaldehyde emission levels of panel products. We chose to go beyond the regulatory requirements to help protect everyone in the supply chain as well as end users. All of our products not only surpass the European E1 classification by some distance, they also meet the world’s most stringent formaldehyde emission control standard for our product category CARB2 (granted by the Californian Air Resource Board). But is there more that we can do? For customers wanting to ensure the absolute avoidance of added formaldehyde for interior applications requiring a zero tolerance approach, we developed Medite Ecologique. This unique FSC-certified product is manufactured using a zero added formaldehyde resin system. While manufacturers are complying with European standards as required to in order to market their products, we have gone to the next level in to actively mitigate the potential problems caused by added formaldehyde across our product ranges. As a responsible manufacturer we have worked hard to ensure that we have reduced added formaldehyde across all of our ranges. However the ultimate goal is to reduce it to zero and with Medite Ecologique we have achieved that, giving specifiers with stringent sustainability and health requirements the ability to choose the most environmentally sensitive option available for their project. Visit: https://mdfosb.com/en/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound found in all organic substances but its presence in pressed timber products such as MDF has long been a contentious issue within the industry. With the increased focus on the importance of minimising risks to health in construction, manufacturers should go beyond the call of duty in reducing added formaldehyde in products. The timber panel products industry has made investments to drive change in this area and ensure that there are products available which reduce added formaldehyde in adhesives to zero. Specifiers are now able to make a strong contribution to reducing the associated health issues which formaldehyde can cause. There are rightly growing health concerns around formaldehyde, which is commonly found in the resins used to glue timber panel products together for strength performance. According to the HSE formaldehyde dust released in manufacture has the potential to lead to asthma and other respiratory problems, although there is no formal evidential link has been made between these issues and wood-based panels. High humidity, heat or sawing or grinding can lead to increased levels of formaldehyde vapour and dust in the air breathed in by workers. The release of formaldehyde as vapour, which can cause irritation, is highest in newly manufactured pressed wood products and decreases over time. The EU has taken steps to address the perceived risks by making all panel products conform to its already well established E1 classification on formaldehyde within EN 13986, meaning wood flooring adhesives have to have less than 0.75 ppm (parts per million) of formaldehyde.  The good news is that HSE states that the levels of so-called free formaldehyde in boards made to class E1 are “insignificant”, due to the resin having altered to form longer molecule chains during manufacture.  This means E1 boards have a negligible amount of formaldehyde present which can be breathed in during production, installation or use. So what does this all mean for a manufacturer? With a consistent commitment to research and development as the leader in the MDF market, Medite has long been at the forefront of reducing formaldehyde emission levels of panel products. We chose to go beyond the regulatory requirements to help protect everyone in the supply chain as well as end users. All of our products not only surpass the European E1 classification by some distance, they also meet the world’s most stringent formaldehyde emission control standard for our product category CARB2 (granted by the Californian Air Resource Board). But is there more that we can do? For customers wanting to ensure the absolute avoidance of added formaldehyde for interior applications requiring a zero tolerance approach, we developed Medite Ecologique. This unique FSC-certified product is manufactured using a zero added formaldehyde resin system. While manufacturers are complying with European standards as required to in order to market their products, we have gone to the next level in to actively mitigate the potential problems caused by added formaldehyde across our product ranges. As a responsible manufacturer we have worked hard to ensure that we have reduced added formaldehyde across all of our ranges. However the ultimate goal is to reduce it to zero and with Medite Ecologique we have achieved that, giving specifiers with stringent sustainability and health requirements the ability to choose the most environmentally sensitive option available for their project. Visit: https://mdfosb.com/en/
    Oct 30, 2017 0
  • 20 Oct 2017
    As we drive the performance of our building stock, it is becoming clear that one of the key challenges we must address is narrowing the gap between design and actual performance. The industry needs support to ensure we use more accurate modelling and data in order to understand how the building will perform in operation. If we don’t, the gap in performance can be as big as 200-450% greater than predicted. With project costs squeezed and ‘value engineered’, all too often performance suffers. By allowing design teams more time to spend on modelling and considering how the building will be used by its occupants, rather than being forced into ‘default values’ and specification, we will go some of the way to eliminating this performance gap. Understanding the gap The performance gap has two components: the compliance gap and the actual performance gap. The modellers estimate 50-70% is the compliance gap and can be solved by more realistic modelling mirroring the conditions more closely. The reasons for the second and larger actual performance gap are generally unknown. There’s speculation about this and assumptions, but little in the way of hard evidence. When a building is managed effectively, property value is maximised. A high performing building will ultimately generate maximum profit via high and continuous rental income, low operating and maintenance costs and low depreciation. Modelling tools are used for compliance, which means they use standard default values for the building design. All the operational plant which controls the building is then set at these ‘standardised driving’ conditions and the occupancy density (i.e people versus square metres) is based on industry averages. As a result these standard default values underestimate the usage by up to 100%. Software is used to meet building regulations and energy performance certificates, as well as being used for ranking rather than the operation of the building. When you pass the design stage, it’s essential that real numbers are inputted and this can be done via modelling techniques such as the Green Deal software developed by BRE. This allows users to tailor the usage of the building to match real operating conditions in. It allows you to work out what it should and shouldn’t be.  But from that point onwards much depends on how well the building is commissioned; what maintenance strategies and schedules are put into place; and how the building is managed. If this doesn’t happen you begin to see divergence. Buildings need to be commissioned properly with particular attention made to control systems and the needs of the occupants.  The power of management Building management systems (BMSs) and building energy management systems (BEMSs) are powerful tools in ensuring that buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. As technology becomes cheaper and advances more rapidly, control systems need to be flexible, upgradable and have the facility to easily communicate and integrate with other systems. However, care needs to be taken in their operation, and staff using these systems need to be fully trained. Ongoing commissioning and preventative maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure the potentially large energy savings are realised, operational costs are controlled and expensive failures do not occur. End-user needs should be taken into account, while staff training and awareness-raising should be carried out to get the building’s occupants involved. Ongoing commissioning is essentially a higher form of maintenance. Maintenance simply deals with faults. It’s also important to consider management issues. Is the right environment being provided? Is it being provided in the proper place? Is the building being turned off at the right times? If it is not managed properly, the performance gap will only get worse. Modelling doesn’t help with the building in-use but baselines the building predicted performance. It starts by putting decent controls in so things are turned off when they are not occupied. Once you have control of the building, you can put the management systems in place so that building is optimised for energy usage.  Focus on people One of the most important things to remember is that a building is built for the occupant. In terms of costs, staffing is around 95% and workplaces are key to productivity. Any reduction in productivity has a large effect on a business’s bottom line; after all 95% of operational costs are the staff. Buildings therefore need to be efficient, responsive and innovative, which is why it is so important to optimise the environment in first place.   It’s imperative that the industry treats the underlying causes not the symptoms. It’s like the heart problem analogy. A surgeon might repair a damaged heart with a stem cell but not treat the inherent diet and lifestyle issues. One of the main problems is that architects are not bringing the design teams early enough in the design process. The later you do this, the more expensive it gets and reduces the benefits in the long term. By engaging with the performance gap, it’s possible to deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. By Dr Andy Lewry, Principal Technical Consultant, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As we drive the performance of our building stock, it is becoming clear that one of the key challenges we must address is narrowing the gap between design and actual performance. The industry needs support to ensure we use more accurate modelling and data in order to understand how the building will perform in operation. If we don’t, the gap in performance can be as big as 200-450% greater than predicted. With project costs squeezed and ‘value engineered’, all too often performance suffers. By allowing design teams more time to spend on modelling and considering how the building will be used by its occupants, rather than being forced into ‘default values’ and specification, we will go some of the way to eliminating this performance gap. Understanding the gap The performance gap has two components: the compliance gap and the actual performance gap. The modellers estimate 50-70% is the compliance gap and can be solved by more realistic modelling mirroring the conditions more closely. The reasons for the second and larger actual performance gap are generally unknown. There’s speculation about this and assumptions, but little in the way of hard evidence. When a building is managed effectively, property value is maximised. A high performing building will ultimately generate maximum profit via high and continuous rental income, low operating and maintenance costs and low depreciation. Modelling tools are used for compliance, which means they use standard default values for the building design. All the operational plant which controls the building is then set at these ‘standardised driving’ conditions and the occupancy density (i.e people versus square metres) is based on industry averages. As a result these standard default values underestimate the usage by up to 100%. Software is used to meet building regulations and energy performance certificates, as well as being used for ranking rather than the operation of the building. When you pass the design stage, it’s essential that real numbers are inputted and this can be done via modelling techniques such as the Green Deal software developed by BRE. This allows users to tailor the usage of the building to match real operating conditions in. It allows you to work out what it should and shouldn’t be.  But from that point onwards much depends on how well the building is commissioned; what maintenance strategies and schedules are put into place; and how the building is managed. If this doesn’t happen you begin to see divergence. Buildings need to be commissioned properly with particular attention made to control systems and the needs of the occupants.  The power of management Building management systems (BMSs) and building energy management systems (BEMSs) are powerful tools in ensuring that buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. As technology becomes cheaper and advances more rapidly, control systems need to be flexible, upgradable and have the facility to easily communicate and integrate with other systems. However, care needs to be taken in their operation, and staff using these systems need to be fully trained. Ongoing commissioning and preventative maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure the potentially large energy savings are realised, operational costs are controlled and expensive failures do not occur. End-user needs should be taken into account, while staff training and awareness-raising should be carried out to get the building’s occupants involved. Ongoing commissioning is essentially a higher form of maintenance. Maintenance simply deals with faults. It’s also important to consider management issues. Is the right environment being provided? Is it being provided in the proper place? Is the building being turned off at the right times? If it is not managed properly, the performance gap will only get worse. Modelling doesn’t help with the building in-use but baselines the building predicted performance. It starts by putting decent controls in so things are turned off when they are not occupied. Once you have control of the building, you can put the management systems in place so that building is optimised for energy usage.  Focus on people One of the most important things to remember is that a building is built for the occupant. In terms of costs, staffing is around 95% and workplaces are key to productivity. Any reduction in productivity has a large effect on a business’s bottom line; after all 95% of operational costs are the staff. Buildings therefore need to be efficient, responsive and innovative, which is why it is so important to optimise the environment in first place.   It’s imperative that the industry treats the underlying causes not the symptoms. It’s like the heart problem analogy. A surgeon might repair a damaged heart with a stem cell but not treat the inherent diet and lifestyle issues. One of the main problems is that architects are not bringing the design teams early enough in the design process. The later you do this, the more expensive it gets and reduces the benefits in the long term. By engaging with the performance gap, it’s possible to deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. By Dr Andy Lewry, Principal Technical Consultant, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com
    Oct 20, 2017 0
  • 10 Sep 2017
    According to number of recent reports, the UK construction industry will need some 400,000 new workers every year until 2021 to meet the demand for new building projects. If the figures are correct then it is going to be a tough call, which in turn means looking at alternative methods of construction. Fortunately we have a thriving industry in the UK for building offsite and most experts reckon that this will be the answer if the building industry is to prosper in the future. Recent surveys in America, where they are facing similar skills shortages, revealed that the amount of project work using off site prefabrication almost tripled between 2010 and 2016 and it is a similar story here. In the UK, Your Housing Group has recently signed a £2.5bn joint venture with a Chinese state-owned construction company to build 25,000 modular homes over the next five years. The housing association currently manages 33,000 affordable homes across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands, The 38,000 sq metres of office space at the new Hinckley Power Station in Somerset will be the largest modular project in the UK and will house all the management and technical personnel required during the construction stage of the project. Part of the buildings will be converted after the construction cycle to remain as high quality offices for the permanent site. UK-based design consultancy Arup and bridge specialist Mabey have recently announced that they have delivered the world’s first modular, rapid-assembly glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) bridge. The bridge was installed at a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for Network Rail in Oxford. The bridge modules were light enough to be transported by an articulated lorry and then assembled on site and lifted from a distance. Offsite pre fabrication succeeds as you need fewer experienced crafts people to supervise the less experienced. It has the double advantage that components can be constructed at a lower cost before being shipped to site for final installation. It means that construction workers can be recruited from other industries, thus reducing the skills shortages, helping to increase productivity and reduce waste. The assembly line practices of prefabrication make offsite construction the perfect solution for contractors looking to reduce their dependence on skilled labour. So if the pundits are right then modular offsite construction is set to boom – solving our acute skills shortage at the same time - bring it on. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • According to number of recent reports, the UK construction industry will need some 400,000 new workers every year until 2021 to meet the demand for new building projects. If the figures are correct then it is going to be a tough call, which in turn means looking at alternative methods of construction. Fortunately we have a thriving industry in the UK for building offsite and most experts reckon that this will be the answer if the building industry is to prosper in the future. Recent surveys in America, where they are facing similar skills shortages, revealed that the amount of project work using off site prefabrication almost tripled between 2010 and 2016 and it is a similar story here. In the UK, Your Housing Group has recently signed a £2.5bn joint venture with a Chinese state-owned construction company to build 25,000 modular homes over the next five years. The housing association currently manages 33,000 affordable homes across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands, The 38,000 sq metres of office space at the new Hinckley Power Station in Somerset will be the largest modular project in the UK and will house all the management and technical personnel required during the construction stage of the project. Part of the buildings will be converted after the construction cycle to remain as high quality offices for the permanent site. UK-based design consultancy Arup and bridge specialist Mabey have recently announced that they have delivered the world’s first modular, rapid-assembly glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) bridge. The bridge was installed at a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for Network Rail in Oxford. The bridge modules were light enough to be transported by an articulated lorry and then assembled on site and lifted from a distance. Offsite pre fabrication succeeds as you need fewer experienced crafts people to supervise the less experienced. It has the double advantage that components can be constructed at a lower cost before being shipped to site for final installation. It means that construction workers can be recruited from other industries, thus reducing the skills shortages, helping to increase productivity and reduce waste. The assembly line practices of prefabrication make offsite construction the perfect solution for contractors looking to reduce their dependence on skilled labour. So if the pundits are right then modular offsite construction is set to boom – solving our acute skills shortage at the same time - bring it on. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99
    Sep 10, 2017 0
  • 07 Sep 2017
    Forget about any preconceived ideas you might have about gender – the fact is – we need more women to work in the construction industry. We have massive skills shortages which are getting worse as more people leave the industry without being replaced. Fortunately women are embracing the construction challenge and making a significant difference. We have seen the fairly recent formation of Women in Roofing, “an organisation founded to collaborate with all aspects of the roofing industry to achieve diversity and longevity.” With the help of this group, the industry is listening and women are playing a more important role in every area of the supply chain. This week we have also seen the first Inspire Women in UK Construction, Property and Engineering summit, sponsored by builders merchant Travis Perkins, which took place in Manchester. To quote the publicity material - the Inspire Summit highlights women working in the UK construction, engineering and housing sectors that are bucking the trend, reshaping expectations and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. The event attracted construction professionals to hear about the contribution that women in these sectors make on a daily basis. All this is long overdue as we set about addressing the massive talent gap within the construction industry. We in the UK are going to need some 400,000 new people every year for at least the next five years if we are to prosper as an industry. Then situation is very much the same worldwide. In America it has been estimated that some 2.5 million skilled workers were lost forever from the construction business following the financial collapse in 2008. However, in 2015 women filled nearly 6.3% of apprentice positions in the state of Massachusetts — up from 4.2% in 2012. Women also accounted for 5% of construction work hours in Boston in 2015. This seems to be typical of what is happening across all of America and we are seeing similar stories in Australia and New Zealand. Many traditionalists might not welcome the trend mainly because they still wrongly believe that women are not physically as strong or might not be suited to the rigours of a modern building site This is patent nonsense with several studies showing that women in construction provide a wider pool of opinions and experiences and problem solving. There is also clear evidence that women offer improved decision making, calmer heads and better communication and are less inclined to take dangerous risks – vital with increasing health and safety legislation on construction sites. It does seem incredible that we are still having this debate in 2017 but hopefully – not for much longer. Let’s stop the talking now and start training and recruiting before it’s too late. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter  @JohnRidgeway99
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Forget about any preconceived ideas you might have about gender – the fact is – we need more women to work in the construction industry. We have massive skills shortages which are getting worse as more people leave the industry without being replaced. Fortunately women are embracing the construction challenge and making a significant difference. We have seen the fairly recent formation of Women in Roofing, “an organisation founded to collaborate with all aspects of the roofing industry to achieve diversity and longevity.” With the help of this group, the industry is listening and women are playing a more important role in every area of the supply chain. This week we have also seen the first Inspire Women in UK Construction, Property and Engineering summit, sponsored by builders merchant Travis Perkins, which took place in Manchester. To quote the publicity material - the Inspire Summit highlights women working in the UK construction, engineering and housing sectors that are bucking the trend, reshaping expectations and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. The event attracted construction professionals to hear about the contribution that women in these sectors make on a daily basis. All this is long overdue as we set about addressing the massive talent gap within the construction industry. We in the UK are going to need some 400,000 new people every year for at least the next five years if we are to prosper as an industry. Then situation is very much the same worldwide. In America it has been estimated that some 2.5 million skilled workers were lost forever from the construction business following the financial collapse in 2008. However, in 2015 women filled nearly 6.3% of apprentice positions in the state of Massachusetts — up from 4.2% in 2012. Women also accounted for 5% of construction work hours in Boston in 2015. This seems to be typical of what is happening across all of America and we are seeing similar stories in Australia and New Zealand. Many traditionalists might not welcome the trend mainly because they still wrongly believe that women are not physically as strong or might not be suited to the rigours of a modern building site This is patent nonsense with several studies showing that women in construction provide a wider pool of opinions and experiences and problem solving. There is also clear evidence that women offer improved decision making, calmer heads and better communication and are less inclined to take dangerous risks – vital with increasing health and safety legislation on construction sites. It does seem incredible that we are still having this debate in 2017 but hopefully – not for much longer. Let’s stop the talking now and start training and recruiting before it’s too late. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter  @JohnRidgeway99
    Sep 07, 2017 0
  • 04 Sep 2017
    The construction industry has been experimenting with 3D printers since they were first invented in the 1980’s but in recent years as they have become less expensive, this technology is showing that it might well make a real contribution to buildings of the future. The technology can already be used to create construction components or to 'print' entire buildings and because of our detailed and stringent design processes our industry is well-suited to 3D printing as much of the information necessary to create components already exists. More recently, with the introduction of BIM modelling, we may well see this process being accelerated. A 3D digital model of a product or component can be created using CAD or a 3D scanner. The printer then reads that design and lays down successive layers of printing medium which are joined or fused to create the end component. There are many examples of successful 3D projects allied to construction. In 2014, engineers at Arup fabricated a sreel node for a lightweight structure and the University of California has developed a process of contour crafting using concrete to produce small-scale models of the external and internal wallos. According to sources from the BBC, Shanghai based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has used large 3D printers to spray a mixture of quick drying cement and recycled raw materials which has enabled them to construct 10 small demonstration 'houses' in less than 24 hours. They are encouraged by the fact that each house costs just $5,000 dollar a time using this technology. Construction Manager Magazine reported in July 2014 that a Chinese company, Qingdao Unique Products had unveiled the World's largest 3D printer. Its first job was to print a 7m high Temple of Heaven. In Spain, the first pedestrian bridge printed in 3D in the world was inaugurated 14th of December of 2016 in the urban park of Castilla-La Mancha in Alcobendas, Madrid.  The bridge has a total length of 12 metres and a width of 1.75 metres and is printed in micro- reinforced concrete.  What all of these projects have in common is the potential for enormous cost savings with faster building times and fewer hours on site being an enormous attraction for an industry obsessed by price and it’s almost certain that 3D will carve out an enormous niche for itself in the market place. On the negative side, it will require enormous investment in specialist machinery and while we can still see a growing trend towards off site production, which is well suited to 3D this writer believes we still have a long way to go. So for the moment, traditional building materials are not under threat – or are they? By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The construction industry has been experimenting with 3D printers since they were first invented in the 1980’s but in recent years as they have become less expensive, this technology is showing that it might well make a real contribution to buildings of the future. The technology can already be used to create construction components or to 'print' entire buildings and because of our detailed and stringent design processes our industry is well-suited to 3D printing as much of the information necessary to create components already exists. More recently, with the introduction of BIM modelling, we may well see this process being accelerated. A 3D digital model of a product or component can be created using CAD or a 3D scanner. The printer then reads that design and lays down successive layers of printing medium which are joined or fused to create the end component. There are many examples of successful 3D projects allied to construction. In 2014, engineers at Arup fabricated a sreel node for a lightweight structure and the University of California has developed a process of contour crafting using concrete to produce small-scale models of the external and internal wallos. According to sources from the BBC, Shanghai based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has used large 3D printers to spray a mixture of quick drying cement and recycled raw materials which has enabled them to construct 10 small demonstration 'houses' in less than 24 hours. They are encouraged by the fact that each house costs just $5,000 dollar a time using this technology. Construction Manager Magazine reported in July 2014 that a Chinese company, Qingdao Unique Products had unveiled the World's largest 3D printer. Its first job was to print a 7m high Temple of Heaven. In Spain, the first pedestrian bridge printed in 3D in the world was inaugurated 14th of December of 2016 in the urban park of Castilla-La Mancha in Alcobendas, Madrid.  The bridge has a total length of 12 metres and a width of 1.75 metres and is printed in micro- reinforced concrete.  What all of these projects have in common is the potential for enormous cost savings with faster building times and fewer hours on site being an enormous attraction for an industry obsessed by price and it’s almost certain that 3D will carve out an enormous niche for itself in the market place. On the negative side, it will require enormous investment in specialist machinery and while we can still see a growing trend towards off site production, which is well suited to 3D this writer believes we still have a long way to go. So for the moment, traditional building materials are not under threat – or are they? By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99
    Sep 04, 2017 0
  • 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/  
    0 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 0
  • 30 Aug 2017
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything we hoped to achieve in life went according to plan? If every car we bought lived-up to its showroom tag of being a ‘good, reliable, runner’; if every holiday destination was as idyllic and desirable as it appeared in the brochure; if every day at the office was as productive and rewarding as we convinced ourselves it would be when we arrived at 9am. The harsh reality is, however, no matter how diligently we prepare for the best possible outcome in any given situation, events, sometimes beyond our control, cause our best-laid plans to go awry. Poured concrete installation, a vital process in the construction of new buildings, roads and other critical infrastructure, doesn’t always run smoothly. From the presence of small pin-holes due to water damage, to low cover of concrete by insufficient material quantity; there are a number of defects that can be caused by on-site application error or environmental factors. When such issues occur, the availability of quick and easy-to-use products is key to addressing failings and returning a project to its correct course. In Sika, the construction industry has a manufacturer which can be relied upon to supply the right product for the right repair.  Concrete issues Before we consider the solutions, let’s examine the problems that can arise during poured concrete installation. The aforementioned surface pin-holing or honeycombing can occur due to insufficient aggregate in the original pour, leading to a less-than smooth finish. Voids, or small chasms in concrete are another potential issue. Incorrect application of a release agent, water or air can lead to this issue, resulting in a surface that appears damaged or cracked. Shutter removal in freshly-poured concrete can be damaging, as can rainwater landing on recently cast slag, leading to an uneven and imperfect slab. There is potential for cracking in concrete when there’s excess water in the poured mix, or rapid drying takes place. In places of high traffic, damaged edges can occur, whilst incorrect placement of the formwork or damage to the original cover is a cause of low concrete cover. A lack of steel strengthening in the original build can also weaken a concrete installation over time. In all the above instances repairs need to be quick, effective and make the poured concrete look as good as new. Sika has a wide range of proven concrete repair solutions for a wide range of issues. These include: Surface pin-holing: Sika® MonoTop®-620 Honeycombing: Sika® MonoTop®-615, Sika® MonoTop®-614F Shutter damage: Sika® MonoTop®-620 Spalled -Small areas: Sika® Monotop®-612, Sika® Monotop®-615, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Spalled – Large areas: Sikacem® 133S Gunite, Sikacem® 133F Gunite Cracking: Sikadur®-31, Sikadur®-52  Damaged edges: Sikadur®-41, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Low Concrete Cover: Sika® Ferrogard®-903+, Sika® MonoTop®-610, Sika® MonoTop®-615, Sika® MonoTop®-612, Sika® MonoTop®-614F, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Rain Damaged Slab: Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar, Sika® MonoTop®-614F Sika® Screed Hardtop- 60 Errors of judgement are a fact of life and some are more costly than others, particularly on-site. It’s how we react to these indiscretions that count, and in the construction industry it often requires a response that is as rapid as it is effective to prevent seemingly minor issues creating obstacles to a building project’s long-term stability. Make no mistake, whatever the issue; Sika has a proven, quality concrete repair solution. By Charles Pierce, National Sales Manager – Technical Manager Refurbishment, Sika Visit:  www.sika.co.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything we hoped to achieve in life went according to plan? If every car we bought lived-up to its showroom tag of being a ‘good, reliable, runner’; if every holiday destination was as idyllic and desirable as it appeared in the brochure; if every day at the office was as productive and rewarding as we convinced ourselves it would be when we arrived at 9am. The harsh reality is, however, no matter how diligently we prepare for the best possible outcome in any given situation, events, sometimes beyond our control, cause our best-laid plans to go awry. Poured concrete installation, a vital process in the construction of new buildings, roads and other critical infrastructure, doesn’t always run smoothly. From the presence of small pin-holes due to water damage, to low cover of concrete by insufficient material quantity; there are a number of defects that can be caused by on-site application error or environmental factors. When such issues occur, the availability of quick and easy-to-use products is key to addressing failings and returning a project to its correct course. In Sika, the construction industry has a manufacturer which can be relied upon to supply the right product for the right repair.  Concrete issues Before we consider the solutions, let’s examine the problems that can arise during poured concrete installation. The aforementioned surface pin-holing or honeycombing can occur due to insufficient aggregate in the original pour, leading to a less-than smooth finish. Voids, or small chasms in concrete are another potential issue. Incorrect application of a release agent, water or air can lead to this issue, resulting in a surface that appears damaged or cracked. Shutter removal in freshly-poured concrete can be damaging, as can rainwater landing on recently cast slag, leading to an uneven and imperfect slab. There is potential for cracking in concrete when there’s excess water in the poured mix, or rapid drying takes place. In places of high traffic, damaged edges can occur, whilst incorrect placement of the formwork or damage to the original cover is a cause of low concrete cover. A lack of steel strengthening in the original build can also weaken a concrete installation over time. In all the above instances repairs need to be quick, effective and make the poured concrete look as good as new. Sika has a wide range of proven concrete repair solutions for a wide range of issues. These include: Surface pin-holing: Sika® MonoTop®-620 Honeycombing: Sika® MonoTop®-615, Sika® MonoTop®-614F Shutter damage: Sika® MonoTop®-620 Spalled -Small areas: Sika® Monotop®-612, Sika® Monotop®-615, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Spalled – Large areas: Sikacem® 133S Gunite, Sikacem® 133F Gunite Cracking: Sikadur®-31, Sikadur®-52  Damaged edges: Sikadur®-41, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Low Concrete Cover: Sika® Ferrogard®-903+, Sika® MonoTop®-610, Sika® MonoTop®-615, Sika® MonoTop®-612, Sika® MonoTop®-614F, Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar Rain Damaged Slab: Sika® Rapid Repair Mortar, Sika® MonoTop®-614F Sika® Screed Hardtop- 60 Errors of judgement are a fact of life and some are more costly than others, particularly on-site. It’s how we react to these indiscretions that count, and in the construction industry it often requires a response that is as rapid as it is effective to prevent seemingly minor issues creating obstacles to a building project’s long-term stability. Make no mistake, whatever the issue; Sika has a proven, quality concrete repair solution. By Charles Pierce, National Sales Manager – Technical Manager Refurbishment, Sika Visit:  www.sika.co.uk
    Aug 30, 2017 0
  • 26 Aug 2017
    Theft from construction sites has always been a major problem and losses are now estimated to exceed some £900 million pounds every year, a figure that has changed little since the Government last took a serious look at the situation back in the year 2000. Advice to the industry in terms of increasing security measures on site has not changed much either, but as high levels of theft continue then it can only be assumed that the message is not getting through. According to the police and most other security experts, one of the biggest reasons tools, materials and plant are damaged or stolen is because they have no designated storage areas. With losses this high you would consider this to be a priority but clearly there are many sites that have not created storage spaces or created storage areas with robust security fencing. As an added layer of protection say the experts, it is possible to install commercial intruder alarms to help alert the police or act as a deterrent for other would-be thieves. Controlled entrance check points, engraving expensive tools, regular checks, security cameras all seem obvious precautions, but once again the assumption is that many of these measures are not in place in spite of numerous warnings A recent review conducted by leading insurer Allianz Cornhill, reveals that over £70 million of construction plant alone, including excavators, compressors and even cranes, has been stolen from construction sites in the last year, despite initiatives by the Government to encourage plant manufacturers to improve in-built security features. The insurer has also discovered that thieves have become more sophisticated in the methods they employ, even posing as plant manufacturers maintenance workers in order to remove vehicles from site. The problem, in part, stems from the tight deadlines which many construction projects operate under. Ease of use is of primary importance and the equipment needs to be available for operation immediately, without the need to disable immobilisation systems or search for unique keys. This has led manufacturers to develop plant with a single common key operation system, leaving much equipment on site wide open to thieves who can easily obtain keys says the insurer. The rate of theft is often made worse by the common practice on building sites of leaving keys somewhere in or near the equipment. Of those pieces of equipment that are locked up, a large majority are secured with a small chain and padlock that are easily removed. Thieves are also attracted to plant because of the very low recovery rates – less than 10 per cent compared with motor vehicles, which enjoy a recovery rate of around 55-60 per cent. This is because items of plant have few identifying marks that can be readily and easily seen and lack of registration documents mean it is difficult for the police to identify stolen plant and return it to the owner. Alan Harris, Allianz Cornhill Engineering Director, said: “The UK construction industry can ill afford to continue to lose equipment to theft at this rate. We knew the problem was bad but had not realised the massive economic impact this must have on the industry. As the commercial and residential property markets slow and the construction industry sees increasing pressure on profits, it cannot sit back and let more and more equipment be snatched from under its nose. ”Construction companies must wake up to the fact that small investments in security and registration can pay dividends. Money spent on security measures such as physical locking devices, covert identification marking of equipment and effective site and depot security can quickly be recovered through insurance discounts, reduced claims and less downtime. This will mean lower rates of theft and, ultimately, a lower cost to the industry” But we have heard it all before of course so the assumption probably means that contractors will be hit by even higher insurance premiums and when that cost becomes totally prohibitive – then maybe we will see real action to stop the theft epidemic. Shame it has to be that way By Talk Builder  Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Theft from construction sites has always been a major problem and losses are now estimated to exceed some £900 million pounds every year, a figure that has changed little since the Government last took a serious look at the situation back in the year 2000. Advice to the industry in terms of increasing security measures on site has not changed much either, but as high levels of theft continue then it can only be assumed that the message is not getting through. According to the police and most other security experts, one of the biggest reasons tools, materials and plant are damaged or stolen is because they have no designated storage areas. With losses this high you would consider this to be a priority but clearly there are many sites that have not created storage spaces or created storage areas with robust security fencing. As an added layer of protection say the experts, it is possible to install commercial intruder alarms to help alert the police or act as a deterrent for other would-be thieves. Controlled entrance check points, engraving expensive tools, regular checks, security cameras all seem obvious precautions, but once again the assumption is that many of these measures are not in place in spite of numerous warnings A recent review conducted by leading insurer Allianz Cornhill, reveals that over £70 million of construction plant alone, including excavators, compressors and even cranes, has been stolen from construction sites in the last year, despite initiatives by the Government to encourage plant manufacturers to improve in-built security features. The insurer has also discovered that thieves have become more sophisticated in the methods they employ, even posing as plant manufacturers maintenance workers in order to remove vehicles from site. The problem, in part, stems from the tight deadlines which many construction projects operate under. Ease of use is of primary importance and the equipment needs to be available for operation immediately, without the need to disable immobilisation systems or search for unique keys. This has led manufacturers to develop plant with a single common key operation system, leaving much equipment on site wide open to thieves who can easily obtain keys says the insurer. The rate of theft is often made worse by the common practice on building sites of leaving keys somewhere in or near the equipment. Of those pieces of equipment that are locked up, a large majority are secured with a small chain and padlock that are easily removed. Thieves are also attracted to plant because of the very low recovery rates – less than 10 per cent compared with motor vehicles, which enjoy a recovery rate of around 55-60 per cent. This is because items of plant have few identifying marks that can be readily and easily seen and lack of registration documents mean it is difficult for the police to identify stolen plant and return it to the owner. Alan Harris, Allianz Cornhill Engineering Director, said: “The UK construction industry can ill afford to continue to lose equipment to theft at this rate. We knew the problem was bad but had not realised the massive economic impact this must have on the industry. As the commercial and residential property markets slow and the construction industry sees increasing pressure on profits, it cannot sit back and let more and more equipment be snatched from under its nose. ”Construction companies must wake up to the fact that small investments in security and registration can pay dividends. Money spent on security measures such as physical locking devices, covert identification marking of equipment and effective site and depot security can quickly be recovered through insurance discounts, reduced claims and less downtime. This will mean lower rates of theft and, ultimately, a lower cost to the industry” But we have heard it all before of course so the assumption probably means that contractors will be hit by even higher insurance premiums and when that cost becomes totally prohibitive – then maybe we will see real action to stop the theft epidemic. Shame it has to be that way By Talk Builder  Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder
    Aug 26, 2017 0
  • 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/  
    0 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 0
  • 02 Aug 2017
    In older reinforced concrete structures, particularly those in coastal locations with a prevalence of salty air, or ones exposed long-term to pollutants in towns and cities, some form of corrosion is inevitable. However, the visual signs of carbonisation and chlorides, such as cracks or spalling, can take months, possibly even years before appearing. By then, of course, serious damage could be done and repairs could prove costly. To protect and prolong the life of a structure, early corrosion diagnosis is vital. But how is this achieved when the surface gives no indication of a problem? A concrete condition survey offers a reliable test as to how a building is reacting to its surrounding environment. BS EN 1504 Standards stipulate a survey and interpretation of results is a prerequisite prior to work starting on concrete repair projects. This will reveal the overall state of the concrete and determine the type of remedial action required. Sika is in the process of launching an investigation service. In conjunction with our partner, Vector, the survey will identify the most appropriate corrosion management system to employ. This offering further demonstrates our all-round commitment to quality concrete refurbishment. A survey could include the following depending on the structure and condition of the concrete: Visual inspection: This offers a flexible and powerful form of testing. It can provide an immediate assessment of a concrete structure’s condition and identify causes of stress or other debilitating conditions. A visual inspection, however, is dependent on the competence and experience of the survey team carrying it out, therefore surveys of this kind should only be made by those qualified and experienced to do so. Hammer testing: A hammer test identifies hollow or spalled areas of concrete by assessing the sound difference using either a hammer or chain. Carbonation: A solution called Phenolphthalein is used to indicate levels of alkalinity which triggers the corrosion process. The substance, which is spray-applied, turns pink when it contacts alkaline in concrete. Break out: Break out testing sees areas of concrete broken away to assess the condition of the steel. This test acts as a validation measure against the other tests such as carbonation, chloride and half-cell measurements. Concrete cover: A cover meter survey identifies and records the minimum and average depths of concrete cover to the embedded steel to help determine the risk of corrosion. It is also used to identify where the steel is. Chloride analysis: This involves collecting concrete dust samples to test for the presence of chlorides. Half-cell potential mapping: Corrosion of reinforcing steel is an electro-chemical process and the deterioration of the steel can be assessed by measuring its half-cell potential. The greater the potential, the higher the risk that corrosion is taking place. Corrosion rate measurement: An electrochemical test carried out on the surface of the corroding metal to assess the causes of corrosion and predict the rate it will occur. Once a survey has taken place, results will determine the most suitable corrosion management system to employ. For example, where high levels of chlorides are detected within the concrete, the Sika® Galvashield® system, comprising embedded galvanic anodes, is recommended. The sacrificial anodes prevent the formation of new corrosion sites either adjacent to the refurbished concrete or to concrete which is visually sound but from the survey information identified as high risk. This simple, innovative anode system involves a small, circular-shaped cementitious shell encasing a zinc core which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to the surrounding rebar to therefore protect it. A concrete conditioning survey can help identify a potential problem before it takes hold, tying-in with the well-known saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’. The good news is, with the launch of our investigation service, alongside our existing Total Corrosion Management System, Sika has the means to provide both the prevention and a long-term cure. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager – Refurbishment at Sika Limited  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In older reinforced concrete structures, particularly those in coastal locations with a prevalence of salty air, or ones exposed long-term to pollutants in towns and cities, some form of corrosion is inevitable. However, the visual signs of carbonisation and chlorides, such as cracks or spalling, can take months, possibly even years before appearing. By then, of course, serious damage could be done and repairs could prove costly. To protect and prolong the life of a structure, early corrosion diagnosis is vital. But how is this achieved when the surface gives no indication of a problem? A concrete condition survey offers a reliable test as to how a building is reacting to its surrounding environment. BS EN 1504 Standards stipulate a survey and interpretation of results is a prerequisite prior to work starting on concrete repair projects. This will reveal the overall state of the concrete and determine the type of remedial action required. Sika is in the process of launching an investigation service. In conjunction with our partner, Vector, the survey will identify the most appropriate corrosion management system to employ. This offering further demonstrates our all-round commitment to quality concrete refurbishment. A survey could include the following depending on the structure and condition of the concrete: Visual inspection: This offers a flexible and powerful form of testing. It can provide an immediate assessment of a concrete structure’s condition and identify causes of stress or other debilitating conditions. A visual inspection, however, is dependent on the competence and experience of the survey team carrying it out, therefore surveys of this kind should only be made by those qualified and experienced to do so. Hammer testing: A hammer test identifies hollow or spalled areas of concrete by assessing the sound difference using either a hammer or chain. Carbonation: A solution called Phenolphthalein is used to indicate levels of alkalinity which triggers the corrosion process. The substance, which is spray-applied, turns pink when it contacts alkaline in concrete. Break out: Break out testing sees areas of concrete broken away to assess the condition of the steel. This test acts as a validation measure against the other tests such as carbonation, chloride and half-cell measurements. Concrete cover: A cover meter survey identifies and records the minimum and average depths of concrete cover to the embedded steel to help determine the risk of corrosion. It is also used to identify where the steel is. Chloride analysis: This involves collecting concrete dust samples to test for the presence of chlorides. Half-cell potential mapping: Corrosion of reinforcing steel is an electro-chemical process and the deterioration of the steel can be assessed by measuring its half-cell potential. The greater the potential, the higher the risk that corrosion is taking place. Corrosion rate measurement: An electrochemical test carried out on the surface of the corroding metal to assess the causes of corrosion and predict the rate it will occur. Once a survey has taken place, results will determine the most suitable corrosion management system to employ. For example, where high levels of chlorides are detected within the concrete, the Sika® Galvashield® system, comprising embedded galvanic anodes, is recommended. The sacrificial anodes prevent the formation of new corrosion sites either adjacent to the refurbished concrete or to concrete which is visually sound but from the survey information identified as high risk. This simple, innovative anode system involves a small, circular-shaped cementitious shell encasing a zinc core which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to the surrounding rebar to therefore protect it. A concrete conditioning survey can help identify a potential problem before it takes hold, tying-in with the well-known saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’. The good news is, with the launch of our investigation service, alongside our existing Total Corrosion Management System, Sika has the means to provide both the prevention and a long-term cure. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager – Refurbishment at Sika Limited  
    Aug 02, 2017 0
  • 29 Jul 2017
    FeRFA, the Resin Flooring Association, represents a wide range of leading manufacturers as well as contractors and other associated companies involved in resin flooring systems. For more than 45 years it’s been the recognised voice of the resin flooring industry, taking a leading role in developing global standards. FeRFA is a superb trade association because it is so active. One of its earliest accomplishments was to create a framework that put the various flooring systems on the market into some sort of context. Their classification system, which runs from one to eight and categorises floors according to durability and product type, enables contractors and specifiers to compare products on a like-for-like basis, helping to simplify the specification process. For instance, if a client has two manufacturers pitching a floor to them, all they’d need to ask is, ‘what FeRFA rating would this floor be’? If one says ‘four’ and the other says ‘three’, it then becomes clear different systems are being pitched. The chances are one of the systems being pitched will be thinner than the other and have a different build-up, making it inappropriate for the materials that it will have to withstand. The FeRFA classification system answers a number of important questions, such as: How do different products compare in terms of cost? What’s the likely durability of the floor? Is the floor appropriate for its intended environment? Loud and clear Ultimately, the FeRFA guide demystifies the specification process by cutting-through product marketing. If a contractor recommends a type of floor, you can see for yourself why it’s being specified. The whole process makes it easier for an educated contractor to guide an uneducated specifier as to what type of floor is suitable without changing the language because everyone’s essentially reading from the same page. Furthermore, the guidance document enables customers to generate an anticipated flooring life-time by comparing the flooring classifications with expected traffic loads.  This provides customers with an estimated figure – giving them the reassurance of an educated ‘guarantee’ in terms of number of years the system should last for. And this figure then allows Sika’s own flooring guarantees, something I believe is unique to UK manufacturers within the industry and potentially over and above the guidance, to be seen in context. It’s my opinion that FeRFA’s success is due to having the right people in the right positons. Its members, who have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, are actively influencing how flooring standards are devised and how the industry is regulated. Manufacturers are very clear about what a floor will and won’t do. However, a FeRFA rating allows for easy comparison with floors of similar type, making it easier to see where your floor sits in the grand scheme of things, which is a very good thing indeed. by Simon Clark, Sika Flooring Product Manager
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • FeRFA, the Resin Flooring Association, represents a wide range of leading manufacturers as well as contractors and other associated companies involved in resin flooring systems. For more than 45 years it’s been the recognised voice of the resin flooring industry, taking a leading role in developing global standards. FeRFA is a superb trade association because it is so active. One of its earliest accomplishments was to create a framework that put the various flooring systems on the market into some sort of context. Their classification system, which runs from one to eight and categorises floors according to durability and product type, enables contractors and specifiers to compare products on a like-for-like basis, helping to simplify the specification process. For instance, if a client has two manufacturers pitching a floor to them, all they’d need to ask is, ‘what FeRFA rating would this floor be’? If one says ‘four’ and the other says ‘three’, it then becomes clear different systems are being pitched. The chances are one of the systems being pitched will be thinner than the other and have a different build-up, making it inappropriate for the materials that it will have to withstand. The FeRFA classification system answers a number of important questions, such as: How do different products compare in terms of cost? What’s the likely durability of the floor? Is the floor appropriate for its intended environment? Loud and clear Ultimately, the FeRFA guide demystifies the specification process by cutting-through product marketing. If a contractor recommends a type of floor, you can see for yourself why it’s being specified. The whole process makes it easier for an educated contractor to guide an uneducated specifier as to what type of floor is suitable without changing the language because everyone’s essentially reading from the same page. Furthermore, the guidance document enables customers to generate an anticipated flooring life-time by comparing the flooring classifications with expected traffic loads.  This provides customers with an estimated figure – giving them the reassurance of an educated ‘guarantee’ in terms of number of years the system should last for. And this figure then allows Sika’s own flooring guarantees, something I believe is unique to UK manufacturers within the industry and potentially over and above the guidance, to be seen in context. It’s my opinion that FeRFA’s success is due to having the right people in the right positons. Its members, who have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, are actively influencing how flooring standards are devised and how the industry is regulated. Manufacturers are very clear about what a floor will and won’t do. However, a FeRFA rating allows for easy comparison with floors of similar type, making it easier to see where your floor sits in the grand scheme of things, which is a very good thing indeed. by Simon Clark, Sika Flooring Product Manager
    Jul 29, 2017 0
  • 23 Jul 2017
    It’s likely a building will undergo a number of changes in its lifetime. Commercial structures in particular are potentially subject to different loads, with the introduction of new, equipment, and new openings cut to take services. When this happens, the reinforced concrete structural elements are placed under new stress’s and therefore in need of strengthening to take the additional loadings This situation also happens when buildings change use and extra floors are added, and in fact can affect all sorts of building from healthcare to residential. As a solution, rather than use steel reinforcement to strengthen columns, beams, slabs, and walls, specifiers, clients and contractors are turning to carbon fibre. Flexible and versatile with a superior strength-to-mass ratio than traditional reinforcing methods, carbon fibre allows for a significant increase in performance without adding additional significant dead load. This solution is less intrusive and quicker and easier to install compared to traditional methods. Carbon fibre strengthening comes in many different forms, plates, rods, near surface mounted plates, fabrics and shear links and are fixed using a range of high performance structural adhesives. Its increasing popularity as a proven solution for not only for reinforced concrete but also steel, cast iron, wood and masonry structures  due to its strength, lightweight, easy-handling ability, durability, superb adhesion and rapid installation where downtime of a building is in short supply. The range of solutions and flexibility makes it ideal for all types of buildings and structures where there is an increase or change of loading and enhanced bending, shear or axial enhancement required. For external and internal use, its performance helps safeguard a building against issues such as long-term fatigue, blast loading and general stability. Carbon fibre strengthening, as well as offering greater weight resistance than traditional refurbishment processes, is also kinder to the environment. It requires fewer materials and less energy, labour and machinery to install than steel reinforcement. The prospect of future corrosion and costly, time-consuming refurbishment is also eliminated with the use of carbon fibre strengthening. Without heavy plant-based processes required to install it, fabric-based solutions are safer for onsite teams to apply.  Flexible, cost and time-effective and a proven performer in helping strengthen weakening structures worldwide, carbon fibre is shaping-up as a long-standing alternative to steel-based structural refurbishment.   Visit: http://www.sika.com/en/solutions_products/construction-markets/sika-structural-strengthening-solutions/construction-structural-strengthening/structural-strengthening.html
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It’s likely a building will undergo a number of changes in its lifetime. Commercial structures in particular are potentially subject to different loads, with the introduction of new, equipment, and new openings cut to take services. When this happens, the reinforced concrete structural elements are placed under new stress’s and therefore in need of strengthening to take the additional loadings This situation also happens when buildings change use and extra floors are added, and in fact can affect all sorts of building from healthcare to residential. As a solution, rather than use steel reinforcement to strengthen columns, beams, slabs, and walls, specifiers, clients and contractors are turning to carbon fibre. Flexible and versatile with a superior strength-to-mass ratio than traditional reinforcing methods, carbon fibre allows for a significant increase in performance without adding additional significant dead load. This solution is less intrusive and quicker and easier to install compared to traditional methods. Carbon fibre strengthening comes in many different forms, plates, rods, near surface mounted plates, fabrics and shear links and are fixed using a range of high performance structural adhesives. Its increasing popularity as a proven solution for not only for reinforced concrete but also steel, cast iron, wood and masonry structures  due to its strength, lightweight, easy-handling ability, durability, superb adhesion and rapid installation where downtime of a building is in short supply. The range of solutions and flexibility makes it ideal for all types of buildings and structures where there is an increase or change of loading and enhanced bending, shear or axial enhancement required. For external and internal use, its performance helps safeguard a building against issues such as long-term fatigue, blast loading and general stability. Carbon fibre strengthening, as well as offering greater weight resistance than traditional refurbishment processes, is also kinder to the environment. It requires fewer materials and less energy, labour and machinery to install than steel reinforcement. The prospect of future corrosion and costly, time-consuming refurbishment is also eliminated with the use of carbon fibre strengthening. Without heavy plant-based processes required to install it, fabric-based solutions are safer for onsite teams to apply.  Flexible, cost and time-effective and a proven performer in helping strengthen weakening structures worldwide, carbon fibre is shaping-up as a long-standing alternative to steel-based structural refurbishment.   Visit: http://www.sika.com/en/solutions_products/construction-markets/sika-structural-strengthening-solutions/construction-structural-strengthening/structural-strengthening.html
    Jul 23, 2017 0
  • 07 Jul 2017
    The tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire have led to a nationwide debate around fire safety, especially concerning building materials, sprinklers and regulatory reform. One of the key questions which has emerged is why, after the Lakanal House fire in 2009, the government has not prioritised an update to building regulations. At the recent FIREX International event (pictured above), held at London’s ExCel Centre, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) hosted a panel to discuss the lessons learned and to debate why building regulations need to reviewed.   The panel expressed major concerns about the apparent disconnect in the processes which aim to ensure fire safety within the built environment, as well as concerns about the combustibility of certain modern building materials and techniques. Speaking at the event, Dennis Davis, FSF Vice Chair, summed up the feelings of many in the panel of UK fire safety experts: “We are on record as saying time and time again that we are desperately worried that our building regulations have been falling behind the scale and scope of what has been going on in the built environment.” The construction environment has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and will continue to change.  It is imperative regulations are aligned with new developments, a thought echoed by Jim Glockling, Technical Director at the Fire Protection Association: “There is a failure of the regulations to respond to the changes in the built environment.  The way we are constructing buildings, the methods, the materials deployed to pursue the sustainability of the type we are seeing – these are completely unrecognisable compared to when the regulations were last approved.” The panel also raised concerns around fragmentation within the construction industry, as panellist Niall Rowan, Chief Operations Officer at the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) explained: “We are working with architect’s to get fire protection into the RIBA plan of works. Part of this would include sign off by the responsible third party at each stage”. This move from the ASFP is a response to the weaknesses in a building’s “chain of custody” when it comes to fire protection. What was clear from the panel is that there has been a worrying complacency on the issue of fire protection, highlighted by the government’s inaction towards updating guidance. The stable door legislative process which has relied on the influence of fatal fires, such as the one we have seen at Grenfell, needs to be reviewed. We believe a wide ranging review of the building regulations relating to fire, particularly the guidance contained in Approved Document ‘B’ (ADB) is overdue. It is needed to protect people and property from fire and to help business and building owners better understand the threat that fire poses to their infrastructure and future. This information is sorely needed as we now know from a recent YouGov survey that 69% of the businesses polled thought that following ADB guidance means that their business premises will be adequately protected from fire events. It doesn’t, but it should. The fire sector is calling for the government and the construction industry to work together in supporting a review of the current fire safety regulations, to include consideration of existing buildings. We are also appealing to both parties to take greater responsibility for the design and correct installation of fire protection systems across the built environment. We have long campaigned for more robust solutions to be explored within the regulations which should protect life and property and we strongly believe that systems such as automatic sprinklers should be considered more readily as a viable option across the built environment, whether that it is existing high-rise residential blocks, care homes, or commercial and industrial buildings. Now is the time for our government to look at current regulations and recommendations with fresh eyes and provide a clear answer for tragedies such as Grenfell Tower, ensuring that we can prevent them in the future. For more information about the Business Sprinkler Alliance visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org Iain Cox, Chairman of the Business Sprinkler Alliance
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire have led to a nationwide debate around fire safety, especially concerning building materials, sprinklers and regulatory reform. One of the key questions which has emerged is why, after the Lakanal House fire in 2009, the government has not prioritised an update to building regulations. At the recent FIREX International event (pictured above), held at London’s ExCel Centre, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) hosted a panel to discuss the lessons learned and to debate why building regulations need to reviewed.   The panel expressed major concerns about the apparent disconnect in the processes which aim to ensure fire safety within the built environment, as well as concerns about the combustibility of certain modern building materials and techniques. Speaking at the event, Dennis Davis, FSF Vice Chair, summed up the feelings of many in the panel of UK fire safety experts: “We are on record as saying time and time again that we are desperately worried that our building regulations have been falling behind the scale and scope of what has been going on in the built environment.” The construction environment has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and will continue to change.  It is imperative regulations are aligned with new developments, a thought echoed by Jim Glockling, Technical Director at the Fire Protection Association: “There is a failure of the regulations to respond to the changes in the built environment.  The way we are constructing buildings, the methods, the materials deployed to pursue the sustainability of the type we are seeing – these are completely unrecognisable compared to when the regulations were last approved.” The panel also raised concerns around fragmentation within the construction industry, as panellist Niall Rowan, Chief Operations Officer at the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) explained: “We are working with architect’s to get fire protection into the RIBA plan of works. Part of this would include sign off by the responsible third party at each stage”. This move from the ASFP is a response to the weaknesses in a building’s “chain of custody” when it comes to fire protection. What was clear from the panel is that there has been a worrying complacency on the issue of fire protection, highlighted by the government’s inaction towards updating guidance. The stable door legislative process which has relied on the influence of fatal fires, such as the one we have seen at Grenfell, needs to be reviewed. We believe a wide ranging review of the building regulations relating to fire, particularly the guidance contained in Approved Document ‘B’ (ADB) is overdue. It is needed to protect people and property from fire and to help business and building owners better understand the threat that fire poses to their infrastructure and future. This information is sorely needed as we now know from a recent YouGov survey that 69% of the businesses polled thought that following ADB guidance means that their business premises will be adequately protected from fire events. It doesn’t, but it should. The fire sector is calling for the government and the construction industry to work together in supporting a review of the current fire safety regulations, to include consideration of existing buildings. We are also appealing to both parties to take greater responsibility for the design and correct installation of fire protection systems across the built environment. We have long campaigned for more robust solutions to be explored within the regulations which should protect life and property and we strongly believe that systems such as automatic sprinklers should be considered more readily as a viable option across the built environment, whether that it is existing high-rise residential blocks, care homes, or commercial and industrial buildings. Now is the time for our government to look at current regulations and recommendations with fresh eyes and provide a clear answer for tragedies such as Grenfell Tower, ensuring that we can prevent them in the future. For more information about the Business Sprinkler Alliance visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org Iain Cox, Chairman of the Business Sprinkler Alliance
    Jul 07, 2017 0