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Talk. Build 's Entries

  • 12 Dec 2017
    There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    Dec 12, 2017 0
  • 07 Dec 2017
    Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    Dec 07, 2017 0
  • 30 Sep 2017
    Recent reports confirm that bullying remains an issue in school washrooms and human nature being what it is; it is unlikely that such facilities will ever be completely safe, writes Sam Saunderson, Project Consultant at washroom design and refurbishment specialists, Interfix.  To counteract this growing menace, the introduction of unisex sanitary areas in schools has been found to be effective for a number of reasons. For instance, facilities used by both genders attract more people, making it more likely instances of bad behaviour will be witnessed and reported. There’s also the age factor to consider: youngsters become more self-conscious about their appearance and development in the early teenage years, meaning they are less likely to loiter in washrooms used by members of the opposite ***. Unisex toilets are a relatively recent addition to UK schools, with the first one being opened in 2000 at a secondary establishment near Manchester. Naturally, not every parent or pupil is open to the idea of genders sharing the same washroom space. In such cases, schools have compromised by labelling cubicles ‘male’ and ‘female’, but kept the washbasin area mixed. Space saver Aside from combating the very serious threat of bullying and antisocial behaviour, unisex toilets are also seen as a solution at schools where pupil intake has increased, but financial constraints mean extending buildings to accommodate the additional numbers is out of the question. Unisex toilets represent a more efficient use of space, with existing walls and partitions no longer required to separate facilities.  In our experience at Interfix, modern designs and greater openness in mixed and non-mixed washroom areas has also led to a significant reduction in incidences of vandalism, with the additional bonus being modern washrooms have become more hygienic as a result. This was another major concern in 2010 cited by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines, which claimed that our children were in real danger due to poor facilities and fears of lingering too long in washrooms. The government response at the time was typically understated, with the Department of Education saying: "We urge schools and academies to take a common sense approach to keeping safe". In spite of this, academies across the country have obviously got the message and washrooms are now much better places – and not before time. Summer refurbishment Cleeve Park School in Sidcup, Kent provides an example of how unisex washrooms can help create a more welcoming, less intimidating environment. Interfix designed and installed a single unisex facility as part of a major refurbishment of its students’ sanitary facilities.. Having demolished the existing male and female toilets, the remodelled area required new flooring and a boosted water system as well as modern, stylish fixtures and fittings. With years of experience in washroom design and refurbishment, Interfix was selected to carry-out the renovation during the school holidays. To encourage a sense of wellbeing and create a user-friendly environment within the new 150m2 washroom area, open access was provided via a school corridor. Increasing the sanitary area’s visibility allowed staff to spot instances of bullying or antisocial behaviour more easily. To deter vandalism, a laminate ceiling was installed in the toilets, with sensors fitted above cubicles to alert staff to smoking. The cubicles, made of durable, solid-grade laminate, included a 20mm gap at the base to help eliminate episodes of antisocial behaviour. With the long-term performance of the washroom very much at the forefront of its design, circular, stainless steel wash troughs – capable of withstanding wear-and-tear – were specified. These were augmented by sensor-controlled taps; an energy-saving measure which will not only help the school cut its energy costs, it will reduce its long-term carbon footprint. Having specified product-type and quantity, Interfix completed the washroom’s full refurbishment within the school’s strict six-week deadline to the client’s full satisfaction. Cleeve Park School was presented with a safe, stylish unisex washroom for the start of the new term. Its user-friendly layout and the durability of its high-quality features ensuring it retains a comfortable, non-threatening air for a long time to come.   As unisex washrooms become more prevalent in our everyday working and social lives, lingering opposition to their appearance in schools will begin to dissipate. There is no miracle antidote for bullying or antisocial behaviour in schools; it’s existed since time immemorial. However, it’s refreshing to see local authorities fighting back and employing new initiatives in an attempt to combat an age-old problem. Early indications show, although controversial, mixed sanitary areas are proving a positive step in the battle to beat the bullies. Visit: http://www.interfixgroup.com/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Recent reports confirm that bullying remains an issue in school washrooms and human nature being what it is; it is unlikely that such facilities will ever be completely safe, writes Sam Saunderson, Project Consultant at washroom design and refurbishment specialists, Interfix.  To counteract this growing menace, the introduction of unisex sanitary areas in schools has been found to be effective for a number of reasons. For instance, facilities used by both genders attract more people, making it more likely instances of bad behaviour will be witnessed and reported. There’s also the age factor to consider: youngsters become more self-conscious about their appearance and development in the early teenage years, meaning they are less likely to loiter in washrooms used by members of the opposite ***. Unisex toilets are a relatively recent addition to UK schools, with the first one being opened in 2000 at a secondary establishment near Manchester. Naturally, not every parent or pupil is open to the idea of genders sharing the same washroom space. In such cases, schools have compromised by labelling cubicles ‘male’ and ‘female’, but kept the washbasin area mixed. Space saver Aside from combating the very serious threat of bullying and antisocial behaviour, unisex toilets are also seen as a solution at schools where pupil intake has increased, but financial constraints mean extending buildings to accommodate the additional numbers is out of the question. Unisex toilets represent a more efficient use of space, with existing walls and partitions no longer required to separate facilities.  In our experience at Interfix, modern designs and greater openness in mixed and non-mixed washroom areas has also led to a significant reduction in incidences of vandalism, with the additional bonus being modern washrooms have become more hygienic as a result. This was another major concern in 2010 cited by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines, which claimed that our children were in real danger due to poor facilities and fears of lingering too long in washrooms. The government response at the time was typically understated, with the Department of Education saying: "We urge schools and academies to take a common sense approach to keeping safe". In spite of this, academies across the country have obviously got the message and washrooms are now much better places – and not before time. Summer refurbishment Cleeve Park School in Sidcup, Kent provides an example of how unisex washrooms can help create a more welcoming, less intimidating environment. Interfix designed and installed a single unisex facility as part of a major refurbishment of its students’ sanitary facilities.. Having demolished the existing male and female toilets, the remodelled area required new flooring and a boosted water system as well as modern, stylish fixtures and fittings. With years of experience in washroom design and refurbishment, Interfix was selected to carry-out the renovation during the school holidays. To encourage a sense of wellbeing and create a user-friendly environment within the new 150m2 washroom area, open access was provided via a school corridor. Increasing the sanitary area’s visibility allowed staff to spot instances of bullying or antisocial behaviour more easily. To deter vandalism, a laminate ceiling was installed in the toilets, with sensors fitted above cubicles to alert staff to smoking. The cubicles, made of durable, solid-grade laminate, included a 20mm gap at the base to help eliminate episodes of antisocial behaviour. With the long-term performance of the washroom very much at the forefront of its design, circular, stainless steel wash troughs – capable of withstanding wear-and-tear – were specified. These were augmented by sensor-controlled taps; an energy-saving measure which will not only help the school cut its energy costs, it will reduce its long-term carbon footprint. Having specified product-type and quantity, Interfix completed the washroom’s full refurbishment within the school’s strict six-week deadline to the client’s full satisfaction. Cleeve Park School was presented with a safe, stylish unisex washroom for the start of the new term. Its user-friendly layout and the durability of its high-quality features ensuring it retains a comfortable, non-threatening air for a long time to come.   As unisex washrooms become more prevalent in our everyday working and social lives, lingering opposition to their appearance in schools will begin to dissipate. There is no miracle antidote for bullying or antisocial behaviour in schools; it’s existed since time immemorial. However, it’s refreshing to see local authorities fighting back and employing new initiatives in an attempt to combat an age-old problem. Early indications show, although controversial, mixed sanitary areas are proving a positive step in the battle to beat the bullies. Visit: http://www.interfixgroup.com/
    Sep 30, 2017 0
  • 27 Sep 2017
    Recent reports claim that Britain needs to build another 2,000 schools to cope with the pressure on class sizes caused by the immigration crisis. These, it is said, will be needed to teach an additional 729,000 primary and secondary school pupils by 2020. Education has always been a battleground for politicians with Shadow Education secretary Angela Rayner saying this week that should we pledge another £500 million to Sure Start. The Conservatives are pledging millions to free schools although the detail and final amounts set aside for school building is still not totally clear. The whole picture is confusing to the point where even the RIBA entered the debate with their own claims in 2016 claiming that too many UK school buildings were dangerous and dilapidated, causing children to underperform and teachers to leave the profession. “The prevalence of damp, leaky classrooms and asbestos-ridden buildings in British schools means too many pupils and teachers are struggling to learn and teach in conditions damaging to their health and education,” it was quoted. In May this year the National Audit Office calculated that £6.7bn would be needed to bring existing school buildings in England and Wales to a satisfactory standard. Auditors have concluded that the Department for Education would need £2.5bn just to purchase the land.  To compound the situation it has been suggested that some free schools are opening in areas where there is already plenty of places for local pupils. This in turn could affect the future financial sustainability of other schools in the area. In short, it would seem that our schools building programme is nothing short of a disaster with muddled thinking and political expediency from all parties ruling the agenda. It has thus always been the case with education, but with such a dire need for more schools and facilities, it’s our future we are talking about – and the wellbeing of our young people. Britain’s construction industry will meet any challenge it is offered but in the field of education what is needed now is leadership- and our builders will do the rest – how long before we see some progress. Britain’s politicians – four out of 10 and must do better. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter  @JohnRidgeway99  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Recent reports claim that Britain needs to build another 2,000 schools to cope with the pressure on class sizes caused by the immigration crisis. These, it is said, will be needed to teach an additional 729,000 primary and secondary school pupils by 2020. Education has always been a battleground for politicians with Shadow Education secretary Angela Rayner saying this week that should we pledge another £500 million to Sure Start. The Conservatives are pledging millions to free schools although the detail and final amounts set aside for school building is still not totally clear. The whole picture is confusing to the point where even the RIBA entered the debate with their own claims in 2016 claiming that too many UK school buildings were dangerous and dilapidated, causing children to underperform and teachers to leave the profession. “The prevalence of damp, leaky classrooms and asbestos-ridden buildings in British schools means too many pupils and teachers are struggling to learn and teach in conditions damaging to their health and education,” it was quoted. In May this year the National Audit Office calculated that £6.7bn would be needed to bring existing school buildings in England and Wales to a satisfactory standard. Auditors have concluded that the Department for Education would need £2.5bn just to purchase the land.  To compound the situation it has been suggested that some free schools are opening in areas where there is already plenty of places for local pupils. This in turn could affect the future financial sustainability of other schools in the area. In short, it would seem that our schools building programme is nothing short of a disaster with muddled thinking and political expediency from all parties ruling the agenda. It has thus always been the case with education, but with such a dire need for more schools and facilities, it’s our future we are talking about – and the wellbeing of our young people. Britain’s construction industry will meet any challenge it is offered but in the field of education what is needed now is leadership- and our builders will do the rest – how long before we see some progress. Britain’s politicians – four out of 10 and must do better. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter  @JohnRidgeway99  
    Sep 27, 2017 0
  • 05 Sep 2017
    Industry estimates suggest that portable ladders are used around two million times every day and according to the Health and safety Executive account for some 40% of falls from height accidents every 12 months. The statistics should not come as much of a surprise – everyone knows that ladders, when used improperly can be highly dangerous with up to 48,000 people a year attending A&E after a fall. We should therefore welcome the news that a little known organisation called The Ladder Association, based in Glasgow, has worked hard to introduce new standards to make portable ladders safer. The organisation has had massive input in ensuring that all portable ladders will now be more stable, stronger and more durable and have produced a guide to explain how new regulations will affect everyone. The guide can be downloaded via their website www.ladderassociation.org.uk and goes into detail to explain how the new standards BS EN 131will change ladders for ever in the UK and the rest of Europe.  Greater stability is key to how new ladders will be manufactured in the future helping to reduce the main reason for ladder accidents attributed to users overreaching or not securing the ladder properly. Studies in America have shown that 57% of fall victims were holding objects with one or both hands while climbing or descending the ladder; 30% had wet, greasy, or oily shoes; 53% of straight ladders had not been secured or braced at the bottom, and 61% had not been secured at the top. The Ladder Association have placed particular emphasis on good training in their new guide. This supports the fact that 66% of accident victims had never been shown how to inspect ladders for defects before using them; and 73% had not been provided with written instructions on the safe use of ladders. Whatever way you look at it – ladders continue to play an important part in just about everything we do and anything that makes using them even safer has got to be a step in the right direction. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Industry estimates suggest that portable ladders are used around two million times every day and according to the Health and safety Executive account for some 40% of falls from height accidents every 12 months. The statistics should not come as much of a surprise – everyone knows that ladders, when used improperly can be highly dangerous with up to 48,000 people a year attending A&E after a fall. We should therefore welcome the news that a little known organisation called The Ladder Association, based in Glasgow, has worked hard to introduce new standards to make portable ladders safer. The organisation has had massive input in ensuring that all portable ladders will now be more stable, stronger and more durable and have produced a guide to explain how new regulations will affect everyone. The guide can be downloaded via their website www.ladderassociation.org.uk and goes into detail to explain how the new standards BS EN 131will change ladders for ever in the UK and the rest of Europe.  Greater stability is key to how new ladders will be manufactured in the future helping to reduce the main reason for ladder accidents attributed to users overreaching or not securing the ladder properly. Studies in America have shown that 57% of fall victims were holding objects with one or both hands while climbing or descending the ladder; 30% had wet, greasy, or oily shoes; 53% of straight ladders had not been secured or braced at the bottom, and 61% had not been secured at the top. The Ladder Association have placed particular emphasis on good training in their new guide. This supports the fact that 66% of accident victims had never been shown how to inspect ladders for defects before using them; and 73% had not been provided with written instructions on the safe use of ladders. Whatever way you look at it – ladders continue to play an important part in just about everything we do and anything that makes using them even safer has got to be a step in the right direction. By John Ridgeway Follow me on Twitter @JohnRidgeway99  
    Sep 05, 2017 0
  • 03 Aug 2017
    With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    Aug 03, 2017 0
  • 09 Jul 2017
    In washrooms, as in life, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, particularly when it comes to the design of school sanitary areas. At Interfix, we have the experience and skills in washroom refurbishment to tailor any project to an end-user’s requirements. Our design of school washrooms provides a good example of the bespoke approach we’re able to take for each installation, regardless of size or location. Primary and secondary school washroom refurbishment differs in a number of ways, as each requires considerations relating to the age of the end-user. For instance, secondary school washrooms should contain much tougher fixtures and fittings. The reason being, older youngsters are much stronger than their younger counterparts, therefore items such as sinks, basins and doors need to be more robust in order to withstand more forceful wear and tear. There is also an increased risk of vandalism in secondary school washrooms, hence the need for sanitaryware that is more resistant to such errant behaviour. It’s a scientific fact that interior colours can affect the mood and behaviour of occupants, which is perhaps why brighter shades are found to be better-suited to the walls and floors of primary school washrooms. Pre-teen students in the five-to-nine-year-old bracket also benefit from sensor taps. Good hygiene standards are essential in busy environments such as primary schools where germs spread very easily, therefore non-touch taps are preferable to the push variety, which require more strength for younger limbs to operate. Sadly, washrooms have earned a reputation as hives of school bullying activity in secondary school education. To counteract this growing menace, unisex sanitary areas have been found to be effective. Facilities used by both genders attract more people, making it more likely instances of bad behaviour will be witnessed and reported. Youngsters become more self-conscious about their appearance and development in the early teenage years; it means they are less likely to loiter in washrooms used by members of the opposite ***. Creating a more open sanitary environment has also proved a useful anti-bullying tactic. Windows that lookout onto school corridors enable staff to spot destructive or intimidatory behaviour in an instant. No washroom is full-proof to the desires of students committed to acts vandalism or violence, but there is no doubt, when due care and attention is paid to the sanitary environment we’re creating for our children, there is a greater chance their school days will be the happiest of their lives.  Visit http://www.interfixgroup.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In washrooms, as in life, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, particularly when it comes to the design of school sanitary areas. At Interfix, we have the experience and skills in washroom refurbishment to tailor any project to an end-user’s requirements. Our design of school washrooms provides a good example of the bespoke approach we’re able to take for each installation, regardless of size or location. Primary and secondary school washroom refurbishment differs in a number of ways, as each requires considerations relating to the age of the end-user. For instance, secondary school washrooms should contain much tougher fixtures and fittings. The reason being, older youngsters are much stronger than their younger counterparts, therefore items such as sinks, basins and doors need to be more robust in order to withstand more forceful wear and tear. There is also an increased risk of vandalism in secondary school washrooms, hence the need for sanitaryware that is more resistant to such errant behaviour. It’s a scientific fact that interior colours can affect the mood and behaviour of occupants, which is perhaps why brighter shades are found to be better-suited to the walls and floors of primary school washrooms. Pre-teen students in the five-to-nine-year-old bracket also benefit from sensor taps. Good hygiene standards are essential in busy environments such as primary schools where germs spread very easily, therefore non-touch taps are preferable to the push variety, which require more strength for younger limbs to operate. Sadly, washrooms have earned a reputation as hives of school bullying activity in secondary school education. To counteract this growing menace, unisex sanitary areas have been found to be effective. Facilities used by both genders attract more people, making it more likely instances of bad behaviour will be witnessed and reported. Youngsters become more self-conscious about their appearance and development in the early teenage years; it means they are less likely to loiter in washrooms used by members of the opposite ***. Creating a more open sanitary environment has also proved a useful anti-bullying tactic. Windows that lookout onto school corridors enable staff to spot destructive or intimidatory behaviour in an instant. No washroom is full-proof to the desires of students committed to acts vandalism or violence, but there is no doubt, when due care and attention is paid to the sanitary environment we’re creating for our children, there is a greater chance their school days will be the happiest of their lives.  Visit http://www.interfixgroup.com
    Jul 09, 2017 0
  • 07 Jul 2017
    With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms.
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms.
    Jul 07, 2017 0