• 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/  
    46 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 46
  • 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/
    63 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 63
  • 01 Dec 2017
    Using high performance insulation within the fabric of a building is key to meeting increased energy efficiency demands, but as we look to enhance the airtightness of homes, are we paying enough attention to other aspects including ventilation, heating, detailing and the quality of the installation? Overheating and poor air quality has seen wide and often simplistic coverage in the press, including even suggestions of deaths caused by overheating. This has led some to erroneously put the blame on insulation. However, despite the fact that overheating can be a problem, particularly poorly ventilated loft spaces, it is a more complex issue than insulation alone, and well-installed insulation could even help reduce overheating if a whole-house approach to building design is employed. As is so often the case, an intelligent solution to the problem will need to consider a range of factors. It is a given that the more insulation you have, the heat from solar gain will last longer, and if you don’t have adequate ventilation and design to limit internal and external heat gains, then of course that heat will stay in the building. But it’s not the fault of the insulation. Blaming insulation for doing its job is a bit like blaming an oven for global warming if someone leaves the door open. Ventilation provides a means by which moisture from activities such as cooking and bathing, as well as breathing, can be expelled and replaced by fresh outside air,. At the same it will also remove or dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate in a building, so that the indoor environment remains healthy for the occupants. An under-ventilated property can experience condensation issues and problems with air quality. An over-ventilated dwelling is usually less efficient, as lost heated air is replaced with colder unheated air from outside (with associated costs and carbon emissions from heating it). Warm and airy A good ventilation system will ensure the right amount of air moves consistently through the house and is vital in kitchens and bathrooms.  Excessive moisture in the air can lead to condensation and mould growth where it condenses on colder surfaces, not just in the bathroom itself but throughout the rest of the house.  A ventilation system will remove and dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate so that the indoor environment remains healthy for building occupants. Often the only form of ventilation in older homes is through natural leakage such as around doors and windows, or by opening windows, but these are uncontrolled with either too much, or too little, ventilation. When retrofitted, the airtightness of a building may increase through sealing up uncontrolled ventilation pathways, so it is essential that alongside any changes to the building fabric, an adequate ventilation strategy be considered.   Some designers question whether natural ventilation can provide sufficient ventilation in more airtight dwellings, which is why they often specify mechanical ventilation for more airtight homes due to concerns that natural ventilation will not perform adequately. A mechanical ventilation system can also include heat recovery, so that the heat lost with expelled air is in part recovered to heat the incoming cooler replacement air. Ventilation should ideally also come ‘out of the box’, with the capability to ramp-up and down operation without the need for user intervention as demands and needs change. Damp and mould A 2016 study by The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP looking at mould and dampness in European homes, concluded that “Enabling easy natural, automated or mechanical demand-related ventilation in buildings helps prevent development of damp and mould.” Mould-related damage was noted in the report as being frequent in Germany (10% of building damage being mould related), but levels were noted as being better (lower) for modernised buildings. The report noted that for those modernised buildings (after 1995) 35% of damage occurs due to insufficient thermal insulation; 33% due to insufficient ventilation; 22% due to defective installations and trapped moisture and 10% due to problems in sanitary /other areas. So from the report, it is clear that adequate insulation is the most important factor to help reduce moisture problems, but close behind is adequate ventilation provision. Whole-house approach  But it is not only insulation and ventilation; house design means taking the time on the details. For example, ensuring junctions are appropriately designed and constructed, as this makes a significant contribution to reducing heat loss. Thermal bridges occur at breaks in insulation at junctions and openings causing heat loss which ultimately leads to a drop in internal temperature and an increased demand for heating. This can increase the risk of surface condensation and mould growth. Good design and workmanship necessitates a proper level of quality assurance throughout design and construction and good detailing is particularly important for new-build and retrofit alike. The Government’s Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) has grappled with the issue and puts the focus on the whole energy performance of new houses in the context of user comfort, emphasising the importance of a robust and well-designed fabric, which has good levels of air-tightness coupled with an appropriate ventilation strategy and incorporates measures to minimise thermal bridging. There are many issues beyond the fabric of the building to consider when it comes to tackling overheating in housing, including its ventilation strategy, orientation and initial choice of location. While the issue remains a challenge for the industry, the problems are not insurmountable. If we want more thermally-efficient building envelopes as well as comfortable buildings, then we need to aim for a fabric-first approach which includes insulation such as high-performance PIR, however, at the same time, we need to design and build in a way that takes into account the effect of both external and internal heat gains that can lead to overheating.                                                   
    89 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Using high performance insulation within the fabric of a building is key to meeting increased energy efficiency demands, but as we look to enhance the airtightness of homes, are we paying enough attention to other aspects including ventilation, heating, detailing and the quality of the installation? Overheating and poor air quality has seen wide and often simplistic coverage in the press, including even suggestions of deaths caused by overheating. This has led some to erroneously put the blame on insulation. However, despite the fact that overheating can be a problem, particularly poorly ventilated loft spaces, it is a more complex issue than insulation alone, and well-installed insulation could even help reduce overheating if a whole-house approach to building design is employed. As is so often the case, an intelligent solution to the problem will need to consider a range of factors. It is a given that the more insulation you have, the heat from solar gain will last longer, and if you don’t have adequate ventilation and design to limit internal and external heat gains, then of course that heat will stay in the building. But it’s not the fault of the insulation. Blaming insulation for doing its job is a bit like blaming an oven for global warming if someone leaves the door open. Ventilation provides a means by which moisture from activities such as cooking and bathing, as well as breathing, can be expelled and replaced by fresh outside air,. At the same it will also remove or dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate in a building, so that the indoor environment remains healthy for the occupants. An under-ventilated property can experience condensation issues and problems with air quality. An over-ventilated dwelling is usually less efficient, as lost heated air is replaced with colder unheated air from outside (with associated costs and carbon emissions from heating it). Warm and airy A good ventilation system will ensure the right amount of air moves consistently through the house and is vital in kitchens and bathrooms.  Excessive moisture in the air can lead to condensation and mould growth where it condenses on colder surfaces, not just in the bathroom itself but throughout the rest of the house.  A ventilation system will remove and dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate so that the indoor environment remains healthy for building occupants. Often the only form of ventilation in older homes is through natural leakage such as around doors and windows, or by opening windows, but these are uncontrolled with either too much, or too little, ventilation. When retrofitted, the airtightness of a building may increase through sealing up uncontrolled ventilation pathways, so it is essential that alongside any changes to the building fabric, an adequate ventilation strategy be considered.   Some designers question whether natural ventilation can provide sufficient ventilation in more airtight dwellings, which is why they often specify mechanical ventilation for more airtight homes due to concerns that natural ventilation will not perform adequately. A mechanical ventilation system can also include heat recovery, so that the heat lost with expelled air is in part recovered to heat the incoming cooler replacement air. Ventilation should ideally also come ‘out of the box’, with the capability to ramp-up and down operation without the need for user intervention as demands and needs change. Damp and mould A 2016 study by The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP looking at mould and dampness in European homes, concluded that “Enabling easy natural, automated or mechanical demand-related ventilation in buildings helps prevent development of damp and mould.” Mould-related damage was noted in the report as being frequent in Germany (10% of building damage being mould related), but levels were noted as being better (lower) for modernised buildings. The report noted that for those modernised buildings (after 1995) 35% of damage occurs due to insufficient thermal insulation; 33% due to insufficient ventilation; 22% due to defective installations and trapped moisture and 10% due to problems in sanitary /other areas. So from the report, it is clear that adequate insulation is the most important factor to help reduce moisture problems, but close behind is adequate ventilation provision. Whole-house approach  But it is not only insulation and ventilation; house design means taking the time on the details. For example, ensuring junctions are appropriately designed and constructed, as this makes a significant contribution to reducing heat loss. Thermal bridges occur at breaks in insulation at junctions and openings causing heat loss which ultimately leads to a drop in internal temperature and an increased demand for heating. This can increase the risk of surface condensation and mould growth. Good design and workmanship necessitates a proper level of quality assurance throughout design and construction and good detailing is particularly important for new-build and retrofit alike. The Government’s Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) has grappled with the issue and puts the focus on the whole energy performance of new houses in the context of user comfort, emphasising the importance of a robust and well-designed fabric, which has good levels of air-tightness coupled with an appropriate ventilation strategy and incorporates measures to minimise thermal bridging. There are many issues beyond the fabric of the building to consider when it comes to tackling overheating in housing, including its ventilation strategy, orientation and initial choice of location. While the issue remains a challenge for the industry, the problems are not insurmountable. If we want more thermally-efficient building envelopes as well as comfortable buildings, then we need to aim for a fabric-first approach which includes insulation such as high-performance PIR, however, at the same time, we need to design and build in a way that takes into account the effect of both external and internal heat gains that can lead to overheating.                                                   
    Dec 01, 2017 89
  • 30 Nov 2017
    As the wheels of industry across the country slow to a halt over the Christmas period, those involved in factory and plant maintenance will be gearing themselves up for their busiest two weeks of the year. Festive shutdown is the opportune time to carry-out vital workplace refurbishment and ensure staff return to an environment that is equipped to maximise productivity without compromise to comfort and safety. Ideal base For large industrial areas, the floor’s quality is paramount. It needs to be durable enough to withstand the long-term rigours of heavy machinery and footfall, as well as remain oil and dirt-free to uphold strict health and safety guidelines. Even the best surfaces deteriorate over time, however, leaving business owners with little choice but to replace the flooring. When this decision is taken, installation time will be a major factor for clients when considering which flooring to specify for their plant or factory. Understandably, a surface which delivers the quickest application time – in order to minimise plant disruption – whilst offering the best-possible performance in terms of cost, durability and hygiene is high on the agenda when it comes to refurbishment.  Sikafloor has a range of systems which fulfil that criteria as well as offer rapid installation times and excellent aesthetic properties, making them the ideal solution for a quality installation carried-out in days, rather than months. Sikafloor®-264, for instance, a two-part, coloured, epoxy resin – a product part of the Sikafloor MultiDur range – provides a superb, easy-to-apply coating, which can be broadcasted for added slip resistance, especially important for facilities such as large airport hangars and general manufacturing and process – an essential safety benefit in areas containing heavy machinery and motorised equipment. Rapid proof Evidence of how easily and effectively Sika’s epoxy resin flooring systems can be installed is provided by a project carried out at the BMW plant in Oxford. The client required a flooring system that provided a safe working environment for employees to carry out electrical component manufacturing. The installation, which took place across three separate areas totalling 3,710m2, had to be completed within six days. Sikafloor®-235 ESD was chosen for this project for two reasons; the performance and suitability of the product in an automotive processing plant and the speed of application. Installation teams worked during non-business hours including night shifts to minimise plant disruption. Thanks to its easy-to-apply benefits, Sikafloor®-235 ESD, which is incredibly easy to maintain, supplied this exceptionally prestigious car plant with a safe, sturdy, mechanical and chemically-resistant floor within the agreed timeframe. This project’s success also outlined the benefit of using a trusted contractor that has been trained by the manufacturer to install its flooring to the highest specification. Flooring specialist, IRL Group, which installed the Sikafloor®-235 ESD, is a long-term client of BMW, with Sika as its preferred manufacturer. A long-standing relationship between parties reassures the client that from concept to conception, a full-service solution – including technical support throughout and post-installation testing – has been specifically-designed for their project’s requirements. Time is the enemy when flooring needs to be installed to deadline in dormant factories and industrial work spaces, but thanks to Sikafloor’s exemplary epoxy resin range, a proven, user-friendly, rapid-apply solution is at hand all-year-round: not just Christmas. By Sarah James, Sika Flooring Marketing Manager Visit: www.sika.co.uk
    66 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As the wheels of industry across the country slow to a halt over the Christmas period, those involved in factory and plant maintenance will be gearing themselves up for their busiest two weeks of the year. Festive shutdown is the opportune time to carry-out vital workplace refurbishment and ensure staff return to an environment that is equipped to maximise productivity without compromise to comfort and safety. Ideal base For large industrial areas, the floor’s quality is paramount. It needs to be durable enough to withstand the long-term rigours of heavy machinery and footfall, as well as remain oil and dirt-free to uphold strict health and safety guidelines. Even the best surfaces deteriorate over time, however, leaving business owners with little choice but to replace the flooring. When this decision is taken, installation time will be a major factor for clients when considering which flooring to specify for their plant or factory. Understandably, a surface which delivers the quickest application time – in order to minimise plant disruption – whilst offering the best-possible performance in terms of cost, durability and hygiene is high on the agenda when it comes to refurbishment.  Sikafloor has a range of systems which fulfil that criteria as well as offer rapid installation times and excellent aesthetic properties, making them the ideal solution for a quality installation carried-out in days, rather than months. Sikafloor®-264, for instance, a two-part, coloured, epoxy resin – a product part of the Sikafloor MultiDur range – provides a superb, easy-to-apply coating, which can be broadcasted for added slip resistance, especially important for facilities such as large airport hangars and general manufacturing and process – an essential safety benefit in areas containing heavy machinery and motorised equipment. Rapid proof Evidence of how easily and effectively Sika’s epoxy resin flooring systems can be installed is provided by a project carried out at the BMW plant in Oxford. The client required a flooring system that provided a safe working environment for employees to carry out electrical component manufacturing. The installation, which took place across three separate areas totalling 3,710m2, had to be completed within six days. Sikafloor®-235 ESD was chosen for this project for two reasons; the performance and suitability of the product in an automotive processing plant and the speed of application. Installation teams worked during non-business hours including night shifts to minimise plant disruption. Thanks to its easy-to-apply benefits, Sikafloor®-235 ESD, which is incredibly easy to maintain, supplied this exceptionally prestigious car plant with a safe, sturdy, mechanical and chemically-resistant floor within the agreed timeframe. This project’s success also outlined the benefit of using a trusted contractor that has been trained by the manufacturer to install its flooring to the highest specification. Flooring specialist, IRL Group, which installed the Sikafloor®-235 ESD, is a long-term client of BMW, with Sika as its preferred manufacturer. A long-standing relationship between parties reassures the client that from concept to conception, a full-service solution – including technical support throughout and post-installation testing – has been specifically-designed for their project’s requirements. Time is the enemy when flooring needs to be installed to deadline in dormant factories and industrial work spaces, but thanks to Sikafloor’s exemplary epoxy resin range, a proven, user-friendly, rapid-apply solution is at hand all-year-round: not just Christmas. By Sarah James, Sika Flooring Marketing Manager Visit: www.sika.co.uk
    Nov 30, 2017 66
  • 29 Nov 2017
    The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have reported in their ‘RETENTIONS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BEIS Research Paper 17’ that £700 million worth of cash retention has been lost in construction over a three-year period because of insolvencies. Significantly, 44% of surveyed contractors had experienced retentions being withheld in the last three years because of upstream insolvencies. Main Contractor or Client insolvencies are particularly damaging as they can be involved in many projects with multiple supply chain sub-contractors. Although, Insolvency lost retentions is a problem, it is not the only problem. In 2002, a report into retentions published by the Trade and Industry Committee, multiplied sector Gross Value Added (GVA) by an average retention percentage of 5% to estimate retentions held. The retention estimate result was a jaw dropping £3.25bn per annum based on an annual construction output of £65bn in the UK at that time. As the construction sector has grown since 2002, the House of Commons Library estimated in their briefing paper, Construction industry: statistics and policy, that in 2014 the output was £103bn, so considering the increase in output, the retentions held now will be greater. Furthermore, the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group point to an estimate of £7.8 billion of retentions being unpaid across the construction sector over the last three years. The BEIS report highlights that delays in paying retention is commonplace in the construction sector. Around 71% of contractors surveyed with experience of having retentions held in the last three years have experienced delays in receiving retention monies over the same period. Data from the BEIS’s contractor survey indicate that there is wide variation between the experiences of different contractors, with some experiencing no delays, while others experience delays of over a year. Although, average delays at each tier of the supply chain is several months. The extent of this average delay is significantly longer for tier 2 and 3 contractors compared to tier 1 contractors. The contractor survey also provided evidence of frequent non-payment of retentions, with over half of participants reporting that they have experienced non-payment, be it partial or full, over the past three years. Research from the Federation of Master Builders indicate that 66% of small-sized construction companies are not paid within 30 days, with nearly 25% having to wait four months to have invoices paid. Several reasons for late or non-payment of retention monies mentioned in the contractor survey include, disputes over defects, contractors becoming insolvent and contractors not asking for their retention money as they are keen to maintain good relationships with their Main Contractor. Additionally, the contractor survey identified that a number of contractors were not aware of legislation that would be beneficial to them when trying to obtain payment. Retentions drain money away from specialist contractors and stop them using it to invest in their business and workforce. It is an unfair burden that the supply chain should not have to endure and must be stopped. Indeed, parliament agrees, in 2002 and 2008, the business Select Committee recommended phasing out cash retentions because they were outdated and unfair to small firms. No surprise there as the Banwell report, commissioned in 1962, recommended the abolition of retentions altogether. The Lathan report, commissioned in 1995, recommended that cash retentions should be at least protected in a trust account. In 2016 the retention issue was raised in a parliamentary debate and the government minister stated that there would be an evidence based review which would be completed by the end of 2016. The review has not been completed and has been kicked into the long grass. So, the retention madness goes on!   The Confederation of Construction Specialists publish Performance Bonds that could assist contractors with retention problems.  Furthermore, the Confederation has a multitude of CPD courses that will bring contractors up-to-date with contractual legislation and best practice. The courses will instil knowledge so that contractors can challenge unfair contracts and practices and increase their likelihood of receiving their retention payment. For over 30 years the Confederation of Construction Specialists has been supporting construction specialist companies. By providing up-to date relevant contract training courses, professional advice and contractual guidance, the Confederation of Construction Specialists enables specialist companies to optimise the ways in which they operate contractual arrangements when dealing with Main Contractors or clients By Gerald Kelly – General Manager Confederation of Construction Specialists www.constructionspecialists.org    https://twitter.com/ccs_org
    82 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have reported in their ‘RETENTIONS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BEIS Research Paper 17’ that £700 million worth of cash retention has been lost in construction over a three-year period because of insolvencies. Significantly, 44% of surveyed contractors had experienced retentions being withheld in the last three years because of upstream insolvencies. Main Contractor or Client insolvencies are particularly damaging as they can be involved in many projects with multiple supply chain sub-contractors. Although, Insolvency lost retentions is a problem, it is not the only problem. In 2002, a report into retentions published by the Trade and Industry Committee, multiplied sector Gross Value Added (GVA) by an average retention percentage of 5% to estimate retentions held. The retention estimate result was a jaw dropping £3.25bn per annum based on an annual construction output of £65bn in the UK at that time. As the construction sector has grown since 2002, the House of Commons Library estimated in their briefing paper, Construction industry: statistics and policy, that in 2014 the output was £103bn, so considering the increase in output, the retentions held now will be greater. Furthermore, the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group point to an estimate of £7.8 billion of retentions being unpaid across the construction sector over the last three years. The BEIS report highlights that delays in paying retention is commonplace in the construction sector. Around 71% of contractors surveyed with experience of having retentions held in the last three years have experienced delays in receiving retention monies over the same period. Data from the BEIS’s contractor survey indicate that there is wide variation between the experiences of different contractors, with some experiencing no delays, while others experience delays of over a year. Although, average delays at each tier of the supply chain is several months. The extent of this average delay is significantly longer for tier 2 and 3 contractors compared to tier 1 contractors. The contractor survey also provided evidence of frequent non-payment of retentions, with over half of participants reporting that they have experienced non-payment, be it partial or full, over the past three years. Research from the Federation of Master Builders indicate that 66% of small-sized construction companies are not paid within 30 days, with nearly 25% having to wait four months to have invoices paid. Several reasons for late or non-payment of retention monies mentioned in the contractor survey include, disputes over defects, contractors becoming insolvent and contractors not asking for their retention money as they are keen to maintain good relationships with their Main Contractor. Additionally, the contractor survey identified that a number of contractors were not aware of legislation that would be beneficial to them when trying to obtain payment. Retentions drain money away from specialist contractors and stop them using it to invest in their business and workforce. It is an unfair burden that the supply chain should not have to endure and must be stopped. Indeed, parliament agrees, in 2002 and 2008, the business Select Committee recommended phasing out cash retentions because they were outdated and unfair to small firms. No surprise there as the Banwell report, commissioned in 1962, recommended the abolition of retentions altogether. The Lathan report, commissioned in 1995, recommended that cash retentions should be at least protected in a trust account. In 2016 the retention issue was raised in a parliamentary debate and the government minister stated that there would be an evidence based review which would be completed by the end of 2016. The review has not been completed and has been kicked into the long grass. So, the retention madness goes on!   The Confederation of Construction Specialists publish Performance Bonds that could assist contractors with retention problems.  Furthermore, the Confederation has a multitude of CPD courses that will bring contractors up-to-date with contractual legislation and best practice. The courses will instil knowledge so that contractors can challenge unfair contracts and practices and increase their likelihood of receiving their retention payment. For over 30 years the Confederation of Construction Specialists has been supporting construction specialist companies. By providing up-to date relevant contract training courses, professional advice and contractual guidance, the Confederation of Construction Specialists enables specialist companies to optimise the ways in which they operate contractual arrangements when dealing with Main Contractors or clients By Gerald Kelly – General Manager Confederation of Construction Specialists www.constructionspecialists.org    https://twitter.com/ccs_org
    Nov 29, 2017 82
  • 24 Nov 2017
    Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    111 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    Nov 24, 2017 111
  • 20 Nov 2017
    Applying grout to steel columns and the like sounds simple in theory, but in practise it is quite a specialist process. As with most things in life, lack of proper preparation will lead to poor results. Filling the gap that exists between a steel plate and substrate when used to secure columns and machinery requires a grout that is easily poured and flows evenly around the void. This is best achieved by installing wooden formwork around the base plate and pouring into a header box/hopper for continuous flow to ensure an even application and prevent any air entrapment. With cementitious grout, its long-term success is largely decided at the mixing stage – too much water will affect its overall strength; too little will affect its flowable capabilities. As an alternative void-filler for base plates and such, it’s not uncommon for builders to use hand-applied repair mortar. But this is far from ideal as an even application is almost impossible to achieve, thus air bubbles and gaps are a likely result. Sink the shrink Any product containing cement will ultimately shrink and create gaps; therefore a shrinkage compensated grout is essential. If applying a grout to a concrete substrate it's essential to pre-soak the substrate in clean water for a minimum of two hours beforehand. Failure to do so is likely to result in the concrete extracting from the grout, affecting its cure, leaving a potential for cracking and reduced adhesion. The SikaGrout® range contains high-quality, flowable, cementitious grouts for general purpose or large commercial applications. SikaGrout®111GP, for instance, meets the requirements of Class R4 of BS EN 1504-6. Pumped or poured, it’s ideal for a number of solutions including machine and base plate-filling, concrete repairs and steel reinforcement anchoring. Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed. Expert advice Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed. Sika’s technical team is available to eliminate the risk of such oversights. Our staff have the necessary expertise and product information to ensure correct grout quantity and type for a particular project and are also available for site visits to offer application guidance. Cementitious grout – once it's fully cured – can achieve compressive strengths greater than standard C40 concrete. Attempting to remove it from beneath a steel base plate due to specification or application error could result in a very long and costly process. Better, then, to ensure this simple but extremely important task is carried out correctly – which means paying close attention to the product data sheet before the grout-pouring begins. In these instances, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. By Steven Hardy, Sika Technical Services Advisor – Refurbishment visit www.sika.co.uk
    88 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Applying grout to steel columns and the like sounds simple in theory, but in practise it is quite a specialist process. As with most things in life, lack of proper preparation will lead to poor results. Filling the gap that exists between a steel plate and substrate when used to secure columns and machinery requires a grout that is easily poured and flows evenly around the void. This is best achieved by installing wooden formwork around the base plate and pouring into a header box/hopper for continuous flow to ensure an even application and prevent any air entrapment. With cementitious grout, its long-term success is largely decided at the mixing stage – too much water will affect its overall strength; too little will affect its flowable capabilities. As an alternative void-filler for base plates and such, it’s not uncommon for builders to use hand-applied repair mortar. But this is far from ideal as an even application is almost impossible to achieve, thus air bubbles and gaps are a likely result. Sink the shrink Any product containing cement will ultimately shrink and create gaps; therefore a shrinkage compensated grout is essential. If applying a grout to a concrete substrate it's essential to pre-soak the substrate in clean water for a minimum of two hours beforehand. Failure to do so is likely to result in the concrete extracting from the grout, affecting its cure, leaving a potential for cracking and reduced adhesion. The SikaGrout® range contains high-quality, flowable, cementitious grouts for general purpose or large commercial applications. SikaGrout®111GP, for instance, meets the requirements of Class R4 of BS EN 1504-6. Pumped or poured, it’s ideal for a number of solutions including machine and base plate-filling, concrete repairs and steel reinforcement anchoring. Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed. Expert advice Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed. Sika’s technical team is available to eliminate the risk of such oversights. Our staff have the necessary expertise and product information to ensure correct grout quantity and type for a particular project and are also available for site visits to offer application guidance. Cementitious grout – once it's fully cured – can achieve compressive strengths greater than standard C40 concrete. Attempting to remove it from beneath a steel base plate due to specification or application error could result in a very long and costly process. Better, then, to ensure this simple but extremely important task is carried out correctly – which means paying close attention to the product data sheet before the grout-pouring begins. In these instances, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. By Steven Hardy, Sika Technical Services Advisor – Refurbishment visit www.sika.co.uk
    Nov 20, 2017 88
  • 15 Nov 2017
    With more and more businesses having taken the first key step towards automation (application generated PDF documents), it’s time to discuss the next time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone element to overcome’, writes Matthew Jones at Open ECX. The easiest and most efficient way to send documents such as invoices and orders is via email as a PDF document. Billing systems create the PDF documents and email them directly to the recipient. This process is now fairly commonplace but marks a major shift in approach from the old, manual processing to the new; automation. The next stumbling block standing between a business and fully-automated, e-invoicing is how to extract and integrate the data into their finance system. Those businesses that carry out this task via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may think that the technology is saving them time and increasing efficiencies, but in truth OCR can be just as labour intensive as manual processing. That’s because OCR engines convert the ‘photograph’ – which sometimes has to be printed and scanned first – into data and a human check is required to rectify any mistakes made. The mistakes are fairly easy to spot, with the example in the photo above showing how the OCR misread “26.19” as “2b.iy”. However, correcting each and every one of these mistakes uses valuable resources and interrupts the automation process, thereby completely removing all the benefits. The good news is this problem can be avoided through our unique PDF to e-Invoicing solution.  Data can be taken straight from the PDF and automatically – with 100 per cent accuracy – mapped to an e-document structure, matched and validated against organisational documents of your choice, and delivered direct to your back-office systems (shown below) with minimal to no human intervention required; automation achieved. As this approach is so simple and non-disruptive to any supply chain, supplier adoption rates are extremely high. In fact, 94% of your suppliers when asked will be able to send a machine generated PDF. And this means benefits to businesses, including reduced costs, increased visibility, transparency and control and increased ability to pay on time. Visit: http://openecx.co.uk/solutions/einvoicing/
    149 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With more and more businesses having taken the first key step towards automation (application generated PDF documents), it’s time to discuss the next time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone element to overcome’, writes Matthew Jones at Open ECX. The easiest and most efficient way to send documents such as invoices and orders is via email as a PDF document. Billing systems create the PDF documents and email them directly to the recipient. This process is now fairly commonplace but marks a major shift in approach from the old, manual processing to the new; automation. The next stumbling block standing between a business and fully-automated, e-invoicing is how to extract and integrate the data into their finance system. Those businesses that carry out this task via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may think that the technology is saving them time and increasing efficiencies, but in truth OCR can be just as labour intensive as manual processing. That’s because OCR engines convert the ‘photograph’ – which sometimes has to be printed and scanned first – into data and a human check is required to rectify any mistakes made. The mistakes are fairly easy to spot, with the example in the photo above showing how the OCR misread “26.19” as “2b.iy”. However, correcting each and every one of these mistakes uses valuable resources and interrupts the automation process, thereby completely removing all the benefits. The good news is this problem can be avoided through our unique PDF to e-Invoicing solution.  Data can be taken straight from the PDF and automatically – with 100 per cent accuracy – mapped to an e-document structure, matched and validated against organisational documents of your choice, and delivered direct to your back-office systems (shown below) with minimal to no human intervention required; automation achieved. As this approach is so simple and non-disruptive to any supply chain, supplier adoption rates are extremely high. In fact, 94% of your suppliers when asked will be able to send a machine generated PDF. And this means benefits to businesses, including reduced costs, increased visibility, transparency and control and increased ability to pay on time. Visit: http://openecx.co.uk/solutions/einvoicing/
    Nov 15, 2017 149
  • 13 Nov 2017
    The humble parking garage has become a crucial part of city planning. From open-sided concrete multi-storey facilities to car parks that are integrated into residential and retail developments, one thing is common to them all – they are inherently complex to waterproof as they comprise an array of elements from exposed top levels to heavily trafficked access ramps.  This is why mastic asphalt, with its market leading longevity, flexibility and durability, has become such an important waterproofing material and seen as the cost-effective solution for car park applications.   Since the proliferation of multi-storey parking facilities in the 1960s, the application of an all-encompassing waterproof coating has become a critical element in car park design. The open air nature of a car park’s top deck means that it will be subjected to all forms of weather, which is then transferred to internal levels by cars and pedestrians. To prevent water ingress into the concrete structure, the waterproofing specification throughout the car park must be of the highest standard. The traditional approach was to overlay the porous cement screeds and concrete decks with a voidless and totally waterproof layer of mastic asphalt. While mastic asphalt was always a popular specification on car park projects in the past, a new generation of mastic asphalts has been developed by mastic asphalt manufacturers to meet the changing needs of architects, contractors and clients.  A key factor in the material’s resurgence is that the new products contain polymer formulations – giving it more flexibility, durability and consistent quality in application. Also, they can now be coated with an array of attractive colours for car park operators to clearly mark out individual parking spaces, disabled and family bays, and pedestrian walkways. These modern mastic asphalts are produced in factory controlled conditions and then delivered to site ready for application. This process helps to maintain the quality of the material, whilst enabling the manufacturer to produce a material bespoke to the project. For example, mastic asphalt can now be formulated to take into account the local climate or specific traffic conditions. Testament to mastic asphalt’s reliability, cost-effectiveness and durability, this proven material has been specified for a whole host of multi-storey car park applications across the UK including two recent projects in the West Midlands - a new staff car park at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Castle Bromwich and a new Waitrose car park in Solihull.  Both applications required a waterproofing material which would offer durability and longevity, with mastic asphalt providing the solution. Whatever the project, the three factors the contractor must consider when selecting the mastic asphalt to use are; design, budget and timescale. By taking into account the type of traffic (for example cars or HGVs), the available budget and the durability of performance required of the material – architects and contractors can specify a mastic asphalt waterproofing and decking system that fits the bill both now and long into the future. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/
    117 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The humble parking garage has become a crucial part of city planning. From open-sided concrete multi-storey facilities to car parks that are integrated into residential and retail developments, one thing is common to them all – they are inherently complex to waterproof as they comprise an array of elements from exposed top levels to heavily trafficked access ramps.  This is why mastic asphalt, with its market leading longevity, flexibility and durability, has become such an important waterproofing material and seen as the cost-effective solution for car park applications.   Since the proliferation of multi-storey parking facilities in the 1960s, the application of an all-encompassing waterproof coating has become a critical element in car park design. The open air nature of a car park’s top deck means that it will be subjected to all forms of weather, which is then transferred to internal levels by cars and pedestrians. To prevent water ingress into the concrete structure, the waterproofing specification throughout the car park must be of the highest standard. The traditional approach was to overlay the porous cement screeds and concrete decks with a voidless and totally waterproof layer of mastic asphalt. While mastic asphalt was always a popular specification on car park projects in the past, a new generation of mastic asphalts has been developed by mastic asphalt manufacturers to meet the changing needs of architects, contractors and clients.  A key factor in the material’s resurgence is that the new products contain polymer formulations – giving it more flexibility, durability and consistent quality in application. Also, they can now be coated with an array of attractive colours for car park operators to clearly mark out individual parking spaces, disabled and family bays, and pedestrian walkways. These modern mastic asphalts are produced in factory controlled conditions and then delivered to site ready for application. This process helps to maintain the quality of the material, whilst enabling the manufacturer to produce a material bespoke to the project. For example, mastic asphalt can now be formulated to take into account the local climate or specific traffic conditions. Testament to mastic asphalt’s reliability, cost-effectiveness and durability, this proven material has been specified for a whole host of multi-storey car park applications across the UK including two recent projects in the West Midlands - a new staff car park at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Castle Bromwich and a new Waitrose car park in Solihull.  Both applications required a waterproofing material which would offer durability and longevity, with mastic asphalt providing the solution. Whatever the project, the three factors the contractor must consider when selecting the mastic asphalt to use are; design, budget and timescale. By taking into account the type of traffic (for example cars or HGVs), the available budget and the durability of performance required of the material – architects and contractors can specify a mastic asphalt waterproofing and decking system that fits the bill both now and long into the future. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/
    Nov 13, 2017 117
  • 10 Nov 2017
    Noise is all around us and can interfere with our working efficiency by being an annoyance and causing stress. Good or bad, the acoustical environment in buildings is ultimately a result of design and so it’s never been more important for architects and building engineers to silence a well-known source of undesirable noise and vibration – heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. A fundamental element of buildings across a wide range of sectors, building services equipment can create unwanted noise problems leading to workplaces that are uncomfortable and less productive. Noise sources can include everything from fans to variable air volume systems; grilles and diffusers to roof-top units; fan coil units to chillers, compressors and condensers; pumps and stand-by generators; boilers and cooling towers. As we create more energy efficient and airtight buildings, this has a knock-on impact both thermally and acoustically. However, this further drives the need for ventilation and thermal management, and this required airflow can then introduce a noise issue of its own, both break-out and in-line noise. Break-out noise is where sound transmits through the wall of ducting and into the room through which the ductwork is travelling.  In-line (duct-borne) noise or noise traveling through ductwork can create unwelcome high levels of background noise if not properly managed. This noise can raise stress levels in the workplace, harming communication and concentration and increasing fatigue. A poorly designed acoustic solution can potentially exacerbate issues by causing regenerative noise, and negatively affecting airflow. There’s also the issue of cross-talk, whereby speech privacy is compromised by room-to-room transmission via the ventilation system. Air velocity within a duct system is another important element as it influences the noise levels significantly. Regenerated noise can be created by transition pieces, bends, dampers, grilles and diffusers. Regenerated noise can be reduced by limiting the air velocities within the duct system; by easing transitions in the system design and by ensuring that internal acoustic treatments contain chamfers where appropriate to reduce the turbulent effect of sudden changes in opening or direction. When two adjacent or closely positioned rooms are sharing the same ductwork, sound travels within ducts and will decrease the room-to-room sound insulation dramatically. This, will of, course impact speech privacy and negatively affect the working environment through disturbance. Vibration and sound energy from HVAC operation will transmit to a structure and be redistributed around a building.  By isolating your systems from the structure before it has a chance to vibrate, through isolation mounts or decoupled through flexible linkages from the structure via the noise source and the duct runs, another path of noise has been reduced through physical materials. Silent treatment The SIDERISE range of noise control solutions can be tailored to meet project -specific design and performance requirements such as the octave band requirements of your HVAC unit, thereby delivering the optimum acoustic performance at the minimum cost. Manufactured from high performance open cell acoustic foam, parts are designed to ease airflow and lower regenerative noise, and the lining treatment is engineered to deliver the lowest possible Sound Power (LwA). These acoustic solutions give exceptional noise absorption, yielding reduced airborne noise at inlets and outlets, and lowering case radiated noise.  Lining kits are Class 0 fire rated to EN 13501-1 to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document B. Supplied as an easy-to-fit, pre-cut kit and backed with high performance modified acrylic adhesive for rapid installation on a manufacturer’s assembly-line, these noise control solutions offer exceptional performance for fan coil units, air handling units and heat exchangers. Existing buildings can benefit too. If there is a ductwork ‘in-line’ noise problem, open-cell melamine resin foams are an easy and cost-efficient way to introduce noise control.  At the terminal ends, where air is being delivered to the occupied spaces, you can remove the grille and simply install the foam inserts. Inherently flexible, the inserts are ideally suited to retro-fit installation, particularly in situations where there is minimal access and/or where less disruption is a consideration.  For ‘duct noise breakout’ another solution, which contributes well to quiet air-handling, are externally applied acoustic treatments. Easy to install without disturbing the HVAC system, this solution reduces break-out noise by providing a combination of acoustic absorption and sound reduction via inherently damped flexible mass membrane. While it’s difficult to escape sound completely, by proactively considering potential acoustic problems at the design stage of a HVAC system and adding sound control measures to minimise unwanted noise, building owners will have a far quieter system, which in the end, can go a long way towards promoting comfort and productivity.   By Graham Laws – Business Development Officer, Siderise Visit: www.siderise.com
    92 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Noise is all around us and can interfere with our working efficiency by being an annoyance and causing stress. Good or bad, the acoustical environment in buildings is ultimately a result of design and so it’s never been more important for architects and building engineers to silence a well-known source of undesirable noise and vibration – heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. A fundamental element of buildings across a wide range of sectors, building services equipment can create unwanted noise problems leading to workplaces that are uncomfortable and less productive. Noise sources can include everything from fans to variable air volume systems; grilles and diffusers to roof-top units; fan coil units to chillers, compressors and condensers; pumps and stand-by generators; boilers and cooling towers. As we create more energy efficient and airtight buildings, this has a knock-on impact both thermally and acoustically. However, this further drives the need for ventilation and thermal management, and this required airflow can then introduce a noise issue of its own, both break-out and in-line noise. Break-out noise is where sound transmits through the wall of ducting and into the room through which the ductwork is travelling.  In-line (duct-borne) noise or noise traveling through ductwork can create unwelcome high levels of background noise if not properly managed. This noise can raise stress levels in the workplace, harming communication and concentration and increasing fatigue. A poorly designed acoustic solution can potentially exacerbate issues by causing regenerative noise, and negatively affecting airflow. There’s also the issue of cross-talk, whereby speech privacy is compromised by room-to-room transmission via the ventilation system. Air velocity within a duct system is another important element as it influences the noise levels significantly. Regenerated noise can be created by transition pieces, bends, dampers, grilles and diffusers. Regenerated noise can be reduced by limiting the air velocities within the duct system; by easing transitions in the system design and by ensuring that internal acoustic treatments contain chamfers where appropriate to reduce the turbulent effect of sudden changes in opening or direction. When two adjacent or closely positioned rooms are sharing the same ductwork, sound travels within ducts and will decrease the room-to-room sound insulation dramatically. This, will of, course impact speech privacy and negatively affect the working environment through disturbance. Vibration and sound energy from HVAC operation will transmit to a structure and be redistributed around a building.  By isolating your systems from the structure before it has a chance to vibrate, through isolation mounts or decoupled through flexible linkages from the structure via the noise source and the duct runs, another path of noise has been reduced through physical materials. Silent treatment The SIDERISE range of noise control solutions can be tailored to meet project -specific design and performance requirements such as the octave band requirements of your HVAC unit, thereby delivering the optimum acoustic performance at the minimum cost. Manufactured from high performance open cell acoustic foam, parts are designed to ease airflow and lower regenerative noise, and the lining treatment is engineered to deliver the lowest possible Sound Power (LwA). These acoustic solutions give exceptional noise absorption, yielding reduced airborne noise at inlets and outlets, and lowering case radiated noise.  Lining kits are Class 0 fire rated to EN 13501-1 to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document B. Supplied as an easy-to-fit, pre-cut kit and backed with high performance modified acrylic adhesive for rapid installation on a manufacturer’s assembly-line, these noise control solutions offer exceptional performance for fan coil units, air handling units and heat exchangers. Existing buildings can benefit too. If there is a ductwork ‘in-line’ noise problem, open-cell melamine resin foams are an easy and cost-efficient way to introduce noise control.  At the terminal ends, where air is being delivered to the occupied spaces, you can remove the grille and simply install the foam inserts. Inherently flexible, the inserts are ideally suited to retro-fit installation, particularly in situations where there is minimal access and/or where less disruption is a consideration.  For ‘duct noise breakout’ another solution, which contributes well to quiet air-handling, are externally applied acoustic treatments. Easy to install without disturbing the HVAC system, this solution reduces break-out noise by providing a combination of acoustic absorption and sound reduction via inherently damped flexible mass membrane. While it’s difficult to escape sound completely, by proactively considering potential acoustic problems at the design stage of a HVAC system and adding sound control measures to minimise unwanted noise, building owners will have a far quieter system, which in the end, can go a long way towards promoting comfort and productivity.   By Graham Laws – Business Development Officer, Siderise Visit: www.siderise.com
    Nov 10, 2017 92
  • 08 Nov 2017
    With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested. Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations. Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks. As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52. The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills. Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold. To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy. By Mark Shaw, Technical Manager at Sika  
    123 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested. Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations. Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks. As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52. The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills. Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold. To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy. By Mark Shaw, Technical Manager at Sika  
    Nov 08, 2017 123
  • 06 Nov 2017
    The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay. The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions. Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers. Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple. We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers. We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings. Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain. Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error. For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes. Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks. There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain. And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come. For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/  
    112 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay. The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions. Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers. Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple. We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers. We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings. Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain. Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error. For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes. Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks. There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain. And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come. For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/  
    Nov 06, 2017 112
  • 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/
    105 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 105
  • 27 Oct 2017
    Earlier this year, data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed the risk of suicide among low-skilled male laborers, particularly those working in construction, was three times higher than the national average. Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry, leading to companies such as BriggsAmasco, the UK’s leading national commercial roofing company investing in training schemes designed to educate employees and help them recognise the symptoms of psychological stress. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco, talks about the education programme and his company’s aim to highlight  issues surrounding ‘the invisible illness’. Construction is a tough environment to inhabit. The physical demands are heavy and the pace at which workers have to toil is unrelenting. There are also mental pressures. Deadlines need to be met on a daily basis to satisfy a seemingly never-ending chain of command that begins with the client, but can include a host of contractors and various trades which are dependent on a person a lot further down the line getting their bit right for a project to proceed at sufficient speed. Therefore, it’s fair to say the building industry, particularly the roofing sector, is not for the faint-hearted. If we concur with the stereotypical view, then construction workers are as tough as the materials in their possession; they’re insensitive to the perils they face in their line of duty, and they’re mostly easy-going types whose hard-earned brawn has insulated them against the fears and anxieties felt by those engaged in less-rigorous employment. The reality is somewhat different, however. This is borne out by figures that reveal one-in-six construction-based workers are suffering from a form of mental illness. The fact that suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls is even more daunting. Thankfully, it appears the industry itself is becoming aware of the health issue in its midst. Initiatives such as Mates in Mind, a recently-launched charitable programme designed to improve and promote positive mental health in construction, has the backing of the British Safety Council, the Health in Construction Leadership Group, and the Samaritans. However, when it’s considered a 2006 CIOB report, showed 70% of workers suffered from stress-related mental conditions as a direct result of working in the industry, its clear employees within the sector should be taking a firmer lead on ways to address the issue. Warning signs In June, BriggsAmasco staged a workshop for employees to help them recognise signs of mental health problems and encourage individuals to seek the right help. It was held as part of our annual Health and Safety forum on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors.The Mental Health First Aid coursewas delivered by a qualified, external trainer to ensure an effective and efficient approach was taken in relation to the subject. People often respond better to an outsider with a proper understanding of the topic they are delivering, and our aim was to ensure that our employees fully-absorbed the message being conveyed.   Staff interaction was encouraged throughout the course by sharing knowledge and personal experiences of the illness in an open-floor environment. Details were also shared on various mental health issues, and the warning signs to look out for, such as stress, anxiety and depression, that could indicate someone has a condition. The feedback from colleagues who attended the course was extremely positive. Most told us they found it incredibly insightful and gave them a new approach in their thought process regarding mental health issues. This was precisely the result we were hoping for. BriggsAmasco has covered more than 1,000 hours in health and safety training and awareness through internal and external courses. We also hold annual health surveillance assessments for our 200-plus safety-critical employees in which a detailed wellbeing assessment is carried out by a medical professional. This robust approach to the welfare of staff led to the company achieving ISO, 9001, 14001 and 18001 – one of a few UK organisations to meet all three standards. Adapting to change Health and Safety is paramount at BriggsAmasco. However, with so much focus being applied to the day-to-day safety aspect; the health issue is sometimes left in the background. Therefore, we felt it extremely important to raise awareness on the subject of mental health and reassure our employees that the support is there if and when required. Mental health issues reportedly account for people taking nearly 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion a year. Proof, therefore, the ramifications of this debilitating condition can travel far beyond the distress it causes an individual. The construction industry has been viewed by some as resistant to adapting to changes in working practices and behaviours, but it’s been swift to act in relation to a hitherto unspoken issue: the psychological wellbeing of its employers. At BriggsAmasco, we are aiming to overturn the negative view of mental illness and open-up discussion about its causes, symptoms and diagnoses. In our opinion, the construction industry should approach the welfare of its members with the same precision applied to a high-profile building or engineering project, which means paying as much attention to the interior, as well as the exterior details.
    141 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Earlier this year, data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed the risk of suicide among low-skilled male laborers, particularly those working in construction, was three times higher than the national average. Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry, leading to companies such as BriggsAmasco, the UK’s leading national commercial roofing company investing in training schemes designed to educate employees and help them recognise the symptoms of psychological stress. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco, talks about the education programme and his company’s aim to highlight  issues surrounding ‘the invisible illness’. Construction is a tough environment to inhabit. The physical demands are heavy and the pace at which workers have to toil is unrelenting. There are also mental pressures. Deadlines need to be met on a daily basis to satisfy a seemingly never-ending chain of command that begins with the client, but can include a host of contractors and various trades which are dependent on a person a lot further down the line getting their bit right for a project to proceed at sufficient speed. Therefore, it’s fair to say the building industry, particularly the roofing sector, is not for the faint-hearted. If we concur with the stereotypical view, then construction workers are as tough as the materials in their possession; they’re insensitive to the perils they face in their line of duty, and they’re mostly easy-going types whose hard-earned brawn has insulated them against the fears and anxieties felt by those engaged in less-rigorous employment. The reality is somewhat different, however. This is borne out by figures that reveal one-in-six construction-based workers are suffering from a form of mental illness. The fact that suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls is even more daunting. Thankfully, it appears the industry itself is becoming aware of the health issue in its midst. Initiatives such as Mates in Mind, a recently-launched charitable programme designed to improve and promote positive mental health in construction, has the backing of the British Safety Council, the Health in Construction Leadership Group, and the Samaritans. However, when it’s considered a 2006 CIOB report, showed 70% of workers suffered from stress-related mental conditions as a direct result of working in the industry, its clear employees within the sector should be taking a firmer lead on ways to address the issue. Warning signs In June, BriggsAmasco staged a workshop for employees to help them recognise signs of mental health problems and encourage individuals to seek the right help. It was held as part of our annual Health and Safety forum on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors.The Mental Health First Aid coursewas delivered by a qualified, external trainer to ensure an effective and efficient approach was taken in relation to the subject. People often respond better to an outsider with a proper understanding of the topic they are delivering, and our aim was to ensure that our employees fully-absorbed the message being conveyed.   Staff interaction was encouraged throughout the course by sharing knowledge and personal experiences of the illness in an open-floor environment. Details were also shared on various mental health issues, and the warning signs to look out for, such as stress, anxiety and depression, that could indicate someone has a condition. The feedback from colleagues who attended the course was extremely positive. Most told us they found it incredibly insightful and gave them a new approach in their thought process regarding mental health issues. This was precisely the result we were hoping for. BriggsAmasco has covered more than 1,000 hours in health and safety training and awareness through internal and external courses. We also hold annual health surveillance assessments for our 200-plus safety-critical employees in which a detailed wellbeing assessment is carried out by a medical professional. This robust approach to the welfare of staff led to the company achieving ISO, 9001, 14001 and 18001 – one of a few UK organisations to meet all three standards. Adapting to change Health and Safety is paramount at BriggsAmasco. However, with so much focus being applied to the day-to-day safety aspect; the health issue is sometimes left in the background. Therefore, we felt it extremely important to raise awareness on the subject of mental health and reassure our employees that the support is there if and when required. Mental health issues reportedly account for people taking nearly 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion a year. Proof, therefore, the ramifications of this debilitating condition can travel far beyond the distress it causes an individual. The construction industry has been viewed by some as resistant to adapting to changes in working practices and behaviours, but it’s been swift to act in relation to a hitherto unspoken issue: the psychological wellbeing of its employers. At BriggsAmasco, we are aiming to overturn the negative view of mental illness and open-up discussion about its causes, symptoms and diagnoses. In our opinion, the construction industry should approach the welfare of its members with the same precision applied to a high-profile building or engineering project, which means paying as much attention to the interior, as well as the exterior details.
    Oct 27, 2017 141
  • 26 Oct 2017
    How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.  At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.   That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be. But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.    That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard. In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card. We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City. We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification. Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses. The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support. We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country. These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level. We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year. All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.   And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency. It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z). By Ian Muddiman, Head of Applications – Roofing at Sika UK  
    209 Posted by Talk. Build
  • How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.  At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.   That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be. But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.    That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard. In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card. We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City. We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification. Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses. The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support. We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country. These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level. We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year. All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.   And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency. It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z). By Ian Muddiman, Head of Applications – Roofing at Sika UK  
    Oct 26, 2017 209
  • 25 Oct 2017
    Small details pay big dividends in roof specification. As a building’s first line of defence and prominent thermal feature, a roof must maintain long-term, maximum performance. Therefore, every aspect of its installation and insulation should be considered to ensure t remains watertight, problem-free and energy-efficient during its lifetime. Andrew Rowley, Senior Designer at Gradient, the UK’s leading supplier of tapered roof insulation, highlights a few seemingly minor roofing issues, which if not addressed correctly, could result in major problems following installation. By failing to prepare, we prepare for failure - an oft-repeated phrase which applies very favourably to successful roof installation and its thermal performance. In the UK, homes are responsible for 27% of carbon emissions, a statistic that requires serious attention, especially as our government committed to reducing the country’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 as part of the Climate Change Act. To improve the thermal-efficiency of buildings old and new, perhaps we’d be advised to adhere to another well-known phrase - prevention is better than cure. Tapered and tailored to suit  The specification of bespoke, single-layer tapered roofing solutions can help alleviate risk when it comes to insulation. This outcome is easiest and best achieved in conjunction with companies such as Gradient which works closely with customers on the design and manufacture of a suitable system for a wide range of roofing applications. Placing the insulation process - from start to finish - into the hands of highly-experienced and skilled professionals not only maximises control standards in roof design, manufacture, performance and sustainability, it results in a better-conceived flat roof which is improved in value, performance and complies with all relevant legislative standards. Gradient is able to supply specialist technical support to provide customers with flat roof solutions - whatever a roofing project’s stage. However, it’s fair to say most problems occur when clients neglect to engage such company’s at the very start of the roof specification process which minimises the risk of future problems. The close proximity of door thresholds to roof decks resulting in underperforming U-values is a common issue. It’s an oversight which can lead to water-ponding and possible insect infestation, but can easily be avoided with early involvement from the roof insulation manufacturer. In such cases, a tapered roof insulation scheme can be applied, but the thermal performance will not be as good as it ought to be due to the aforementioned fault at the design stage. Encouraging developers to consider roof insulation sizes long before they start casting concrete is key to trouble-free roofing. When a building’s shell and certain fixtures and fittings are in position before roofing issues have been fully-addressed, it can often lead to height limitations being imposed on the insulation installed. Thus, flat guttering, the same thickness as the insulation is seen as a solution. Whilst this might be seen as a perfectly acceptable system for installers, developers would quite reasonably prefer a completely run-dry roof on which water is pushed to all available outlets. Mind the gaps Constraints on insulation height will sometimes rule-out the use of a fully-tapered roofing scheme, therefore a compromise on a particular roofing detail may have to be reached. It could lead to a roof design which doesn’t necessarily reflect best practice, but is nonetheless the best scheme with all factors considered. Compromise can take the form of a lower U-value, or the installation of a hybrid roof scheme in which insulation is applied below the deck. The latter solution is not ideal, as condensation is often a by-product. However, roofing firms such as Gradient are able to carry out calculations for a hybrid roof that will eliminate the risk of condensation. Whichever roofing insulation specified, its performance is only as good as the installer. Selecting a proven contractor to carry out installation work is vital - a task becoming more challenging by the day with Britain facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation, particularly in the roofing industry. If a contractor omits to fully-tackle air gaps, for example, in a perfectly-designed roof, the potential for condensation remains. Strip to reveal For developer, contractor and customer, time is money in the construction industry. With budgets being tightened across the sector as uncertainty over Britain’s post-Brexit future remains; so ever-tighter deadlines must be met. However, quality must not be lost in the rush to reach the finish line. For refurbishment projects in which an existing roof is overlaid, Gradient is able to design a tapered scheme, with surveys made all the easier due to the visibility of the building’s falls. It’s part of the company’s service to carry out the same assessment when a roof is stripped to its deck. Time restrictions will often lead to contractors refusing the offer of a second visit, even though the stripped roof could reveal a deck to be damaged or uneven and in need of a rethink as to how the insulation should be applied to improve its long-term performance. Again, the answer is good preparation. Building extra time into a roof’s installation before installers arrive on site will help avoid unseen issues which may crop-up as the process continues. Quality roof insulation, which protects against the ravages of the elements and time, as part of a long-term, waterproof system, doesn’t arrive by accident - it’s most definitely the result of excellent design and installation. Visit: http://gradientuk.com/  
    98 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Small details pay big dividends in roof specification. As a building’s first line of defence and prominent thermal feature, a roof must maintain long-term, maximum performance. Therefore, every aspect of its installation and insulation should be considered to ensure t remains watertight, problem-free and energy-efficient during its lifetime. Andrew Rowley, Senior Designer at Gradient, the UK’s leading supplier of tapered roof insulation, highlights a few seemingly minor roofing issues, which if not addressed correctly, could result in major problems following installation. By failing to prepare, we prepare for failure - an oft-repeated phrase which applies very favourably to successful roof installation and its thermal performance. In the UK, homes are responsible for 27% of carbon emissions, a statistic that requires serious attention, especially as our government committed to reducing the country’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 as part of the Climate Change Act. To improve the thermal-efficiency of buildings old and new, perhaps we’d be advised to adhere to another well-known phrase - prevention is better than cure. Tapered and tailored to suit  The specification of bespoke, single-layer tapered roofing solutions can help alleviate risk when it comes to insulation. This outcome is easiest and best achieved in conjunction with companies such as Gradient which works closely with customers on the design and manufacture of a suitable system for a wide range of roofing applications. Placing the insulation process - from start to finish - into the hands of highly-experienced and skilled professionals not only maximises control standards in roof design, manufacture, performance and sustainability, it results in a better-conceived flat roof which is improved in value, performance and complies with all relevant legislative standards. Gradient is able to supply specialist technical support to provide customers with flat roof solutions - whatever a roofing project’s stage. However, it’s fair to say most problems occur when clients neglect to engage such company’s at the very start of the roof specification process which minimises the risk of future problems. The close proximity of door thresholds to roof decks resulting in underperforming U-values is a common issue. It’s an oversight which can lead to water-ponding and possible insect infestation, but can easily be avoided with early involvement from the roof insulation manufacturer. In such cases, a tapered roof insulation scheme can be applied, but the thermal performance will not be as good as it ought to be due to the aforementioned fault at the design stage. Encouraging developers to consider roof insulation sizes long before they start casting concrete is key to trouble-free roofing. When a building’s shell and certain fixtures and fittings are in position before roofing issues have been fully-addressed, it can often lead to height limitations being imposed on the insulation installed. Thus, flat guttering, the same thickness as the insulation is seen as a solution. Whilst this might be seen as a perfectly acceptable system for installers, developers would quite reasonably prefer a completely run-dry roof on which water is pushed to all available outlets. Mind the gaps Constraints on insulation height will sometimes rule-out the use of a fully-tapered roofing scheme, therefore a compromise on a particular roofing detail may have to be reached. It could lead to a roof design which doesn’t necessarily reflect best practice, but is nonetheless the best scheme with all factors considered. Compromise can take the form of a lower U-value, or the installation of a hybrid roof scheme in which insulation is applied below the deck. The latter solution is not ideal, as condensation is often a by-product. However, roofing firms such as Gradient are able to carry out calculations for a hybrid roof that will eliminate the risk of condensation. Whichever roofing insulation specified, its performance is only as good as the installer. Selecting a proven contractor to carry out installation work is vital - a task becoming more challenging by the day with Britain facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation, particularly in the roofing industry. If a contractor omits to fully-tackle air gaps, for example, in a perfectly-designed roof, the potential for condensation remains. Strip to reveal For developer, contractor and customer, time is money in the construction industry. With budgets being tightened across the sector as uncertainty over Britain’s post-Brexit future remains; so ever-tighter deadlines must be met. However, quality must not be lost in the rush to reach the finish line. For refurbishment projects in which an existing roof is overlaid, Gradient is able to design a tapered scheme, with surveys made all the easier due to the visibility of the building’s falls. It’s part of the company’s service to carry out the same assessment when a roof is stripped to its deck. Time restrictions will often lead to contractors refusing the offer of a second visit, even though the stripped roof could reveal a deck to be damaged or uneven and in need of a rethink as to how the insulation should be applied to improve its long-term performance. Again, the answer is good preparation. Building extra time into a roof’s installation before installers arrive on site will help avoid unseen issues which may crop-up as the process continues. Quality roof insulation, which protects against the ravages of the elements and time, as part of a long-term, waterproof system, doesn’t arrive by accident - it’s most definitely the result of excellent design and installation. Visit: http://gradientuk.com/  
    Oct 25, 2017 98
  • 24 Oct 2017
    A Health and Safety Executive study revealed around 1,300 work-related injuries were reported between 2015 and 2016 in the food and drink industries. Of these, it’s estimated at least 25% were caused by uneven surfaces. Level flooring is therefore essential in heavily-industrialised areas involving high-levels of footfall and machinery usage. Without the need for rigorous effort, Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compounds can quickly even-out a large floor. Once the product is mixed with water according to its data sheet, it is simply poured over the floor’s uneven substrate. With a thinner consistency than other types of cement screed, the mixed compound will comfortably fill a surface’s uneven areas. Sika underlayment offers a smooth, hard-wearing solution to a range of flooring substrates. Mark Prizeman, Technical Services Manager, Sika Flooring and Refurbishment, offers a step-by-step guide to successful self-levelling flooring. The ease with which Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compound is mixed and applied enables wide-ranging surface coverage and a high-quality performance. Flat surfaces are comfortably achieved – even in thin layers – with little tension, stress and shrinkage during curing. A rapid-hardening version of the system is available. So, how is it applied? Doing the groundwork Firstly, it is important to remember that a levelled floor can never be stronger than its substrate. As such, a tensile test needs to be undertaken. This is achieved by adhering a steel dolly to the surface, isolating it and then pulling it off using a tensile tester, ensuring a minimum value of 1.5N/mm2. The compressive strength of a sub floor must have a value greater than 25N/mm2. The substrate’s dimensional stability must be secured and have permanent dryness in its lifetime. Any weak areas on the substrate should be removed by sanding, scraping, grinding, milling, blasting or brushing. Also old, loose and weak underlayments should be removed mechanically. Surface defects such as cracks must be patched prior or during priming as there is the risk of the screed material flowing into them and producing air bubbles or reflective cracks in the surface in case of substrate movement. Before applying subsequent floor coverings, cement screeds are required to display a residual moisture reading of ≤ 2.0 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 1.8 CM-%); calcium sulphate screeds:  ≤ 0.5 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 0.3 CM-%). Sikafloor primers can be used on a wide range of substrates before the application of Sikafloor self-levelling cementitious underlayment products. The primers can reduce the absorbency of the substrates and improve the adhesion between the underlayment and the substrate. In some cases they are also used as a protection for the substrate against the moisture coming from the self-levelling cementitious underlayments. All Sikafloor primers are rated as low-emission and meet GEV-Emicode EC-1 plus. Successful measures With the substrate primed and ready for its self-levelling compound, the next step is to measure the total area to be levelled in m2. This will calculate the amount of material necessary to achieve the mixture’s desired level and performance requirements. It’s important to note: product data sheets exclude waste and practical considerations such as surface roughness. Whether manually or pump-applied, the water added to the levelling compound should be clear, with the quality of potable water. It is prohibited to use contaminated or waste water. When it comes to applying the self-levelling compound, proper safety equipment should be worn and sufficient ventilation provided. The amount of water required for the levelling compound varies from product-to-product – see relevant product data sheet. A suitable mechanical hand mixing or mixing pump is recommended for the stirring process. Never add water to the powder or add it in stages, as this alters the product’s properties. The Sikafloor Primer and Sikafloor Level can be applied at substrate and ambient temperatures between +5°C and +30°C. Ensure all ventilation devices are switched-off during and after application for 24 hours. It’s also important to protect fresh surfaces from sunlight and direct sources of heat. Applying for a finish After mixing, pour out the self-levelling compound onto the primed surface and spread using a notched trowel or adjustable pin-leveller (pinrake) to the required thickness. The compound is applied by walking along the front and keeping a ‘wet edge’; that is, always placing material onto previously placed material before it starts to set, dry (turn matt) and harden. The width of the front will be determined by the application conditions – the higher the substrate and ambient temperature, the narrower the front. Ensure a continuous supply of mixed material and place it efficiently to allow maintaining a ‘wet edge’ which will reduce the differences between batches where the material is already starting to dry and set. Surface styling is affected by the choice of finishing tool. The use of a spike roller isn’t mandatory for every self-levelling compound, but can be recommended to remove troweling defects. The spike rolling process should not be delayed for more than five minutes after placing, particularly at higher temperatures. A significant time-lapse could lead to roller marks, unevenness on the mortar surface or ‘waves’. Excessive rolling of the application could also cause an unsightly appearance.  Depending on the thickness of the applied layer and the method of placing, the product’s ‘pot life’ and workability – usually limited to between 20 and 30 minutes at 23°C – should be decided.  Again, it’s important to reiterate that no flooring installation is the same. Mixture levels and application methods are product-dependent and likely to vary. Whatever the requirements, however, rest assured Sika offers the technical knowhow and support to ensure each self-levelling project runs as smoothly as the finished floor.
    105 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A Health and Safety Executive study revealed around 1,300 work-related injuries were reported between 2015 and 2016 in the food and drink industries. Of these, it’s estimated at least 25% were caused by uneven surfaces. Level flooring is therefore essential in heavily-industrialised areas involving high-levels of footfall and machinery usage. Without the need for rigorous effort, Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compounds can quickly even-out a large floor. Once the product is mixed with water according to its data sheet, it is simply poured over the floor’s uneven substrate. With a thinner consistency than other types of cement screed, the mixed compound will comfortably fill a surface’s uneven areas. Sika underlayment offers a smooth, hard-wearing solution to a range of flooring substrates. Mark Prizeman, Technical Services Manager, Sika Flooring and Refurbishment, offers a step-by-step guide to successful self-levelling flooring. The ease with which Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compound is mixed and applied enables wide-ranging surface coverage and a high-quality performance. Flat surfaces are comfortably achieved – even in thin layers – with little tension, stress and shrinkage during curing. A rapid-hardening version of the system is available. So, how is it applied? Doing the groundwork Firstly, it is important to remember that a levelled floor can never be stronger than its substrate. As such, a tensile test needs to be undertaken. This is achieved by adhering a steel dolly to the surface, isolating it and then pulling it off using a tensile tester, ensuring a minimum value of 1.5N/mm2. The compressive strength of a sub floor must have a value greater than 25N/mm2. The substrate’s dimensional stability must be secured and have permanent dryness in its lifetime. Any weak areas on the substrate should be removed by sanding, scraping, grinding, milling, blasting or brushing. Also old, loose and weak underlayments should be removed mechanically. Surface defects such as cracks must be patched prior or during priming as there is the risk of the screed material flowing into them and producing air bubbles or reflective cracks in the surface in case of substrate movement. Before applying subsequent floor coverings, cement screeds are required to display a residual moisture reading of ≤ 2.0 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 1.8 CM-%); calcium sulphate screeds:  ≤ 0.5 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 0.3 CM-%). Sikafloor primers can be used on a wide range of substrates before the application of Sikafloor self-levelling cementitious underlayment products. The primers can reduce the absorbency of the substrates and improve the adhesion between the underlayment and the substrate. In some cases they are also used as a protection for the substrate against the moisture coming from the self-levelling cementitious underlayments. All Sikafloor primers are rated as low-emission and meet GEV-Emicode EC-1 plus. Successful measures With the substrate primed and ready for its self-levelling compound, the next step is to measure the total area to be levelled in m2. This will calculate the amount of material necessary to achieve the mixture’s desired level and performance requirements. It’s important to note: product data sheets exclude waste and practical considerations such as surface roughness. Whether manually or pump-applied, the water added to the levelling compound should be clear, with the quality of potable water. It is prohibited to use contaminated or waste water. When it comes to applying the self-levelling compound, proper safety equipment should be worn and sufficient ventilation provided. The amount of water required for the levelling compound varies from product-to-product – see relevant product data sheet. A suitable mechanical hand mixing or mixing pump is recommended for the stirring process. Never add water to the powder or add it in stages, as this alters the product’s properties. The Sikafloor Primer and Sikafloor Level can be applied at substrate and ambient temperatures between +5°C and +30°C. Ensure all ventilation devices are switched-off during and after application for 24 hours. It’s also important to protect fresh surfaces from sunlight and direct sources of heat. Applying for a finish After mixing, pour out the self-levelling compound onto the primed surface and spread using a notched trowel or adjustable pin-leveller (pinrake) to the required thickness. The compound is applied by walking along the front and keeping a ‘wet edge’; that is, always placing material onto previously placed material before it starts to set, dry (turn matt) and harden. The width of the front will be determined by the application conditions – the higher the substrate and ambient temperature, the narrower the front. Ensure a continuous supply of mixed material and place it efficiently to allow maintaining a ‘wet edge’ which will reduce the differences between batches where the material is already starting to dry and set. Surface styling is affected by the choice of finishing tool. The use of a spike roller isn’t mandatory for every self-levelling compound, but can be recommended to remove troweling defects. The spike rolling process should not be delayed for more than five minutes after placing, particularly at higher temperatures. A significant time-lapse could lead to roller marks, unevenness on the mortar surface or ‘waves’. Excessive rolling of the application could also cause an unsightly appearance.  Depending on the thickness of the applied layer and the method of placing, the product’s ‘pot life’ and workability – usually limited to between 20 and 30 minutes at 23°C – should be decided.  Again, it’s important to reiterate that no flooring installation is the same. Mixture levels and application methods are product-dependent and likely to vary. Whatever the requirements, however, rest assured Sika offers the technical knowhow and support to ensure each self-levelling project runs as smoothly as the finished floor.
    Oct 24, 2017 105
  • 23 Oct 2017
    The heat loss through junctions is known as thermal bridging and can be one of the most significant sources of heat loss within a building. In a building which has poor insulation, thermal bridging will be less significant, but in a modern new building, that has a highly insulated fabric, the heat will pass through these junctions much faster relative to the surrounding materials. While these junctions cannot be eliminated, properly designed details can drastically reduce this effect. It’s absolutely critical we understand the heat loss through these important parts of a building and use a qualified assessor to calculate the PSI value of a junction to better inform the design. The effect of thermal bridging can vary drastically between buildings depending on design, with anywhere between a realised 5-50% of a building’s heat loss coming through these thermal junctions. The rate of heat loss between these thermal junctions is measured as a PSI values (pronounced ‘si’). Calculating them will make the thermal model much more accurate and feed back into the design creating a real difference to the end client and in terms of energy savings, or even more floor area if radiators don’t need to be as big.  When standardised details are being used, the cost for each individual PSI value across each building is exceptionally low in comparison to other options. The value the client gains from putting in the calculated PSI values is extremely cost effective.  So, in situations where developers are using the same corner detail on several projects (i.e five houses in one location), it starts to add up quickly. SAP calculation methodology assumes default values that are very poor or estimates how much heat is going through those areas. By calculating that specific PSI value, you are actually measuring how much heat is going through at that point. The assessor can input and overwrite that poor value with something that’s realistic and can make 5-10% and sometimes 15% of carbon savings for the entire building.  On a standard detached or terraced house, the assessor can expect to make 5-6% carbon savings over ACDs. If the thermal junctions are not measured, then a default PSI Value is applied to the calculation. The problem in the industry is these default values or dated sets of values such as Accredited Construction Details (ACDs) and Enhanced Construction Details (ECDs) can be inaccurate.  At Darren Evans Assessments we will carry out an independently assessed thermal model to cover all of the places where the default values or ACD values are worse than in reality. As a PSI value assessor, we are essentially tightening down the design and making it more accurate by inputting correct and supported heat loss calculations.  This improved accuracy in the building model will lead to design improvements.  By taking the time to look at and feed that specific information into the calculation, the assessor is able to provide advice on how to help build these details. While there are some in the industry who create thermal models that are completely unbuildable, we are able to come on board and simplify the whole thing to make sure it is correct.  Independently assessed PSI Values will always be cost effective on every medium scale and larger residential development. When you have more than 10 units employing these details (over even multiple sites with standard details), the larger design and build contractors can focus too much on big ticket items such as expensive renewables and thermal bridging can be overlooked. If you can make a difference over whether or not the PV sits on the roof, the small cost to do the PSI value calculations versus, say, £70k worth of PV, would seem like a no-brainer. If you are not using independently assessed PSI Values in your SAP calculation you are five or 10 years behind everyone else. By Brandon Wipperfurth, Sustainability and Energy Consultant Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    99 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The heat loss through junctions is known as thermal bridging and can be one of the most significant sources of heat loss within a building. In a building which has poor insulation, thermal bridging will be less significant, but in a modern new building, that has a highly insulated fabric, the heat will pass through these junctions much faster relative to the surrounding materials. While these junctions cannot be eliminated, properly designed details can drastically reduce this effect. It’s absolutely critical we understand the heat loss through these important parts of a building and use a qualified assessor to calculate the PSI value of a junction to better inform the design. The effect of thermal bridging can vary drastically between buildings depending on design, with anywhere between a realised 5-50% of a building’s heat loss coming through these thermal junctions. The rate of heat loss between these thermal junctions is measured as a PSI values (pronounced ‘si’). Calculating them will make the thermal model much more accurate and feed back into the design creating a real difference to the end client and in terms of energy savings, or even more floor area if radiators don’t need to be as big.  When standardised details are being used, the cost for each individual PSI value across each building is exceptionally low in comparison to other options. The value the client gains from putting in the calculated PSI values is extremely cost effective.  So, in situations where developers are using the same corner detail on several projects (i.e five houses in one location), it starts to add up quickly. SAP calculation methodology assumes default values that are very poor or estimates how much heat is going through those areas. By calculating that specific PSI value, you are actually measuring how much heat is going through at that point. The assessor can input and overwrite that poor value with something that’s realistic and can make 5-10% and sometimes 15% of carbon savings for the entire building.  On a standard detached or terraced house, the assessor can expect to make 5-6% carbon savings over ACDs. If the thermal junctions are not measured, then a default PSI Value is applied to the calculation. The problem in the industry is these default values or dated sets of values such as Accredited Construction Details (ACDs) and Enhanced Construction Details (ECDs) can be inaccurate.  At Darren Evans Assessments we will carry out an independently assessed thermal model to cover all of the places where the default values or ACD values are worse than in reality. As a PSI value assessor, we are essentially tightening down the design and making it more accurate by inputting correct and supported heat loss calculations.  This improved accuracy in the building model will lead to design improvements.  By taking the time to look at and feed that specific information into the calculation, the assessor is able to provide advice on how to help build these details. While there are some in the industry who create thermal models that are completely unbuildable, we are able to come on board and simplify the whole thing to make sure it is correct.  Independently assessed PSI Values will always be cost effective on every medium scale and larger residential development. When you have more than 10 units employing these details (over even multiple sites with standard details), the larger design and build contractors can focus too much on big ticket items such as expensive renewables and thermal bridging can be overlooked. If you can make a difference over whether or not the PV sits on the roof, the small cost to do the PSI value calculations versus, say, £70k worth of PV, would seem like a no-brainer. If you are not using independently assessed PSI Values in your SAP calculation you are five or 10 years behind everyone else. By Brandon Wipperfurth, Sustainability and Energy Consultant Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Oct 23, 2017 99