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  • 14 Sep 2018
    Attention has been quite rightly focused on fire safety issues in new and existing buildings since the terrible events at Grenfell Tower writes Richard Harral, Technical Director at CABE. It is vital that the problems identified within the Hackitt review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety are addressed, and that the lessons emerging from the public inquiry are studied and learnt from. This will require extensive change in industry culture, custom and practice, procurement and competency, most of which is long overdue and, driven through as these changes must be, will undoubtedly prove to be broadly beneficial in curing many of the industry’s structural ills. As industry and government work to clarify how this change will be implemented, it is vital that time is also given to broader consideration of the value we need to place on our relationship with our built environment both individually and as a society. What would we conclude if the lens of public opinion was focussed on more clearly defining what society should expect the building industry to deliver? Firstly, it is clear that the public expect government and industry to act responsibly in protecting them from harm. Establishing safety is, however, not a static condition - construction is increasingly sophisticated and evolving by necessity at a pace far faster than the historic norm to address rapidly emerging issues of national and global concern which reach beyond fire safety. The overheating issue As the threat of hosepipe bans becomes reality and temperatures continue to remain high through a glorious but parching summer, it must now be clear that the impact of climate change will require the way we shape our built environment to evolve further to protect us better. The risk of overheating is becoming more tangible, and periods of sustained high temperature pose life safety risks to many thousands of people as well as degrading working conditions for many millions in poor performing buildings. The Committee on Climate Change predicts that premature deaths from overheating will increase by two-thirds by the 2020s which places the risks associated with overheating in clear perspective. There is a growing body of evidence to show that the risk of overheating is increasing, especially in new homes, and that the current regulatory checks for overheating contained in the current Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) have fallen behind and need to be updated. Heavy rain amid such dry weather risks flash flooding as water runs off baked ground – but similar extreme weather events also increase the risk of flooding in the non-summer seasons. We need to be sure that the way we design and renovate our buildings provides protection and resilience where these events are likely to occur. Closing the gap We must also continue to look to play our part in limiting climate change by making our buildings more energy efficient. The expectation in the UK’s Climate Change Act is that the entirety of the UK Building Stock is carbon neutral by 2050, a date which no longer feels in the distant future. The well recognised performance gap that exists between the way buildings are intended to perform and the way they perform in practice may be closing but needs to be closed entirely. The reasons for poor performance are numerous, with many potentially energy efficient systems not operating as the designer intended as a result of not been properly checked and signed off. This has only emphasisedthe importance of testing and commissioning to ensure systems actually work at least at the point of handover when new systems are installed. The necessary step change in energy efficiency will also need to be achieved safely. Airtightness is critical to reducing heat loss, but in achieving the desired low levels of leakage, adequate ventilation becomes a critical concern to avoid risk of moisture and condensation (which can cause respiratory problems) and degraded air quality that similarly affects health. Ensuring that we have good indoor air quality requires good design, specification installation and commissioning, and evidence continues to grow that on all counts the industry is struggling to deliver the right performance consistently.Government is currently looking at and considering key changes to both energy and ventilation requirements which is a step in the right direction. Societal changes also need to be properly considered. Our understanding of the impacts on equality resulting from the way we design and manage our buildings, workplaces and public spaces are also changing and it is absolutely right that we now expect places to be inclusive for the widest possible range of users. These are only a few of the areas where the decisions we make as clients, designers, engineers, constructors and operators of buildings are likely to impact on public safety and welfare. Which is why now is the right time to pause and step back to look at the bigger picture. Many of the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review are relevant to ensuring the construction industry has the ability to deliver against this wider agenda of health, safety, sustainability and welfare. We have a once in a generation opportunity to move away from bad business models based on lowest price towards an industry that is focused on lifetime value and as a result is more profitable, more productive and more valued for the work it does. Extending many of the Hackitt review’s proposals for structural reform beyond high risk buildings will be key in ensuring that the necessary changes to business practice and culture required to embed this step change in performance take effect. We must also ensure that industry improves its expenditure on research and development to deliver higher levels of confidence in system performance and to support policy makers in making informed decisions. At the same time we should recognise the need to invest more in our people to ensure they are competent and empowered to work in an ethical way. Government clearly has a key role in ensuring that the right regulatory measures are in place to enable industry to meet the wider public expectation that they are adequately protected and to ensure that safety standards are consistently delivered on. Fire safety will rightly be at the forefront of thinking, but as Ministers start the process of reshaping the building safety policy landscape, it is important that they also take into account the broader scope of building regulations and policies that will be needed in the future to keep people safe. Visit www.cbuilde.com
    107 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Attention has been quite rightly focused on fire safety issues in new and existing buildings since the terrible events at Grenfell Tower writes Richard Harral, Technical Director at CABE. It is vital that the problems identified within the Hackitt review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety are addressed, and that the lessons emerging from the public inquiry are studied and learnt from. This will require extensive change in industry culture, custom and practice, procurement and competency, most of which is long overdue and, driven through as these changes must be, will undoubtedly prove to be broadly beneficial in curing many of the industry’s structural ills. As industry and government work to clarify how this change will be implemented, it is vital that time is also given to broader consideration of the value we need to place on our relationship with our built environment both individually and as a society. What would we conclude if the lens of public opinion was focussed on more clearly defining what society should expect the building industry to deliver? Firstly, it is clear that the public expect government and industry to act responsibly in protecting them from harm. Establishing safety is, however, not a static condition - construction is increasingly sophisticated and evolving by necessity at a pace far faster than the historic norm to address rapidly emerging issues of national and global concern which reach beyond fire safety. The overheating issue As the threat of hosepipe bans becomes reality and temperatures continue to remain high through a glorious but parching summer, it must now be clear that the impact of climate change will require the way we shape our built environment to evolve further to protect us better. The risk of overheating is becoming more tangible, and periods of sustained high temperature pose life safety risks to many thousands of people as well as degrading working conditions for many millions in poor performing buildings. The Committee on Climate Change predicts that premature deaths from overheating will increase by two-thirds by the 2020s which places the risks associated with overheating in clear perspective. There is a growing body of evidence to show that the risk of overheating is increasing, especially in new homes, and that the current regulatory checks for overheating contained in the current Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) have fallen behind and need to be updated. Heavy rain amid such dry weather risks flash flooding as water runs off baked ground – but similar extreme weather events also increase the risk of flooding in the non-summer seasons. We need to be sure that the way we design and renovate our buildings provides protection and resilience where these events are likely to occur. Closing the gap We must also continue to look to play our part in limiting climate change by making our buildings more energy efficient. The expectation in the UK’s Climate Change Act is that the entirety of the UK Building Stock is carbon neutral by 2050, a date which no longer feels in the distant future. The well recognised performance gap that exists between the way buildings are intended to perform and the way they perform in practice may be closing but needs to be closed entirely. The reasons for poor performance are numerous, with many potentially energy efficient systems not operating as the designer intended as a result of not been properly checked and signed off. This has only emphasisedthe importance of testing and commissioning to ensure systems actually work at least at the point of handover when new systems are installed. The necessary step change in energy efficiency will also need to be achieved safely. Airtightness is critical to reducing heat loss, but in achieving the desired low levels of leakage, adequate ventilation becomes a critical concern to avoid risk of moisture and condensation (which can cause respiratory problems) and degraded air quality that similarly affects health. Ensuring that we have good indoor air quality requires good design, specification installation and commissioning, and evidence continues to grow that on all counts the industry is struggling to deliver the right performance consistently.Government is currently looking at and considering key changes to both energy and ventilation requirements which is a step in the right direction. Societal changes also need to be properly considered. Our understanding of the impacts on equality resulting from the way we design and manage our buildings, workplaces and public spaces are also changing and it is absolutely right that we now expect places to be inclusive for the widest possible range of users. These are only a few of the areas where the decisions we make as clients, designers, engineers, constructors and operators of buildings are likely to impact on public safety and welfare. Which is why now is the right time to pause and step back to look at the bigger picture. Many of the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review are relevant to ensuring the construction industry has the ability to deliver against this wider agenda of health, safety, sustainability and welfare. We have a once in a generation opportunity to move away from bad business models based on lowest price towards an industry that is focused on lifetime value and as a result is more profitable, more productive and more valued for the work it does. Extending many of the Hackitt review’s proposals for structural reform beyond high risk buildings will be key in ensuring that the necessary changes to business practice and culture required to embed this step change in performance take effect. We must also ensure that industry improves its expenditure on research and development to deliver higher levels of confidence in system performance and to support policy makers in making informed decisions. At the same time we should recognise the need to invest more in our people to ensure they are competent and empowered to work in an ethical way. Government clearly has a key role in ensuring that the right regulatory measures are in place to enable industry to meet the wider public expectation that they are adequately protected and to ensure that safety standards are consistently delivered on. Fire safety will rightly be at the forefront of thinking, but as Ministers start the process of reshaping the building safety policy landscape, it is important that they also take into account the broader scope of building regulations and policies that will be needed in the future to keep people safe. Visit www.cbuilde.com
    Sep 14, 2018 107
  • 12 Sep 2018
    Flooring in schools isn’t just a necessary part of a building’s fabric; it can help create the ideal learning environment in which children can thrive. Design and specification is key, however, to a floor living up to expectation in terms of performance.  Durability ought to be a major factor in the surface selection process, as flooring installed in schools and places of higher education will need to withstand a huge amount of footfall during its lifetime. Maintenance or repairs to damaged flooring could leave a large hole in a school or education authority’s budget; unnecessary expenditure when councils, in particular, are having to tighten the purse strings like never before. No slip-ups Health and safety standards are another prime aspect when it comes to floor selection. A non-slip surface is essential to minimising falls and potential injury. Even wet flooring, caused by outdoor-to-indoor foot traffic or spillages, should remain non-slip. In densely-populated interior spaces, such as schools and higher education establishments, hygiene is paramount. Infection and disease can spread like wildfire in such areas, therefore flooring that is smooth and easy to clean is critical. Colour science When it comes to design, school flooring should be selected for its inspirational qualities as well as its practical properties. The colour of interior walls and floors, for example, is scientifically proven to affect people’s mood and behavior. Red is known to inspire anger and aggression whilst shades of green can instill a sense of calm and tranquility. Patterns or logos can be incorporated into modern flooring design, presenting an opportunity for schools to display its motto or a particularly inspiring image. Suits you In schools, it’s possible that each floor will have a different set of requirements depending on the area of learning. A woodwork class, for instance, might be suited to a surface specifically designed to withstand heavy machinery, whilst flooring highly-resistant to corrosive liquids would be ideal for a science lab. Lifecycle benefits Traditionally, the default flooring materials specified for educational facilities have been vinyl or linoleum sheet flooring. Compared to polyurethane resin floor systems - which are widely used in northern Europe - the lifecycle of sheet materials is short, generally lasting between five and 10 years before being consigned to landfill. In contrast, Sika's (polyurethane) Comfort Floor system has a lifecycle of 40 years. Of its many benefits, Sika Comfort Floor - in the event of damage – can be seamlessly spot repaired, rather than replaced. Unlike sheet materials, which have joints where bacteria can build-up over time, Comfort Floor’s super-smooth finish facilitates a rapid and simple cleaning regime, minimising the threat of germs and infection-spread. Resin systems are also extremely simple to install, in a process that takes just three days to complete. As the 21st century proceeds, so the demand for epoxy resin flooring, with its abundant qualities, will increase. Its new technologies are helping take flooring to exciting places in terms of design without compromise to its core properties – smoothness, strength and durability for the safety and comfort of youngsters during their school years. Visit www.sika.co.uk .
    109 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Flooring in schools isn’t just a necessary part of a building’s fabric; it can help create the ideal learning environment in which children can thrive. Design and specification is key, however, to a floor living up to expectation in terms of performance.  Durability ought to be a major factor in the surface selection process, as flooring installed in schools and places of higher education will need to withstand a huge amount of footfall during its lifetime. Maintenance or repairs to damaged flooring could leave a large hole in a school or education authority’s budget; unnecessary expenditure when councils, in particular, are having to tighten the purse strings like never before. No slip-ups Health and safety standards are another prime aspect when it comes to floor selection. A non-slip surface is essential to minimising falls and potential injury. Even wet flooring, caused by outdoor-to-indoor foot traffic or spillages, should remain non-slip. In densely-populated interior spaces, such as schools and higher education establishments, hygiene is paramount. Infection and disease can spread like wildfire in such areas, therefore flooring that is smooth and easy to clean is critical. Colour science When it comes to design, school flooring should be selected for its inspirational qualities as well as its practical properties. The colour of interior walls and floors, for example, is scientifically proven to affect people’s mood and behavior. Red is known to inspire anger and aggression whilst shades of green can instill a sense of calm and tranquility. Patterns or logos can be incorporated into modern flooring design, presenting an opportunity for schools to display its motto or a particularly inspiring image. Suits you In schools, it’s possible that each floor will have a different set of requirements depending on the area of learning. A woodwork class, for instance, might be suited to a surface specifically designed to withstand heavy machinery, whilst flooring highly-resistant to corrosive liquids would be ideal for a science lab. Lifecycle benefits Traditionally, the default flooring materials specified for educational facilities have been vinyl or linoleum sheet flooring. Compared to polyurethane resin floor systems - which are widely used in northern Europe - the lifecycle of sheet materials is short, generally lasting between five and 10 years before being consigned to landfill. In contrast, Sika's (polyurethane) Comfort Floor system has a lifecycle of 40 years. Of its many benefits, Sika Comfort Floor - in the event of damage – can be seamlessly spot repaired, rather than replaced. Unlike sheet materials, which have joints where bacteria can build-up over time, Comfort Floor’s super-smooth finish facilitates a rapid and simple cleaning regime, minimising the threat of germs and infection-spread. Resin systems are also extremely simple to install, in a process that takes just three days to complete. As the 21st century proceeds, so the demand for epoxy resin flooring, with its abundant qualities, will increase. Its new technologies are helping take flooring to exciting places in terms of design without compromise to its core properties – smoothness, strength and durability for the safety and comfort of youngsters during their school years. Visit www.sika.co.uk .
    Sep 12, 2018 109
  • 11 Sep 2018
    Now that students have opened their A level and GCSE results, it brings a fresh reminder that the construction sector is facing a major skills challenge writes Kevin Bohea. Government has pledged to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. The issue we have is that we simply don’t have a workforce to achieve this. The sector is also facing questions over the quality to which we build. So what do we need to do to make sure we have a skilled workforce that can deliver high quality buildings that are fit for purpose? The big challenge is that many people perceive the construction industry as an outdated, uninspiring and manual work based sector- to these people it simply doesn’t seem like a attractive sector in which to find an exciting career. However, for those that work in the sector we know that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The construction sector is exciting, varied, constantly evolving and full of opportunity. In June, the Government launched the Construction Skills Fund. Part of the government's National Retraining Scheme in England, the scheme aims to support innovative ways of training new entrants and retraining adults in areas for which public funding is not available.It will fund on-site training to allow learners to apply their knowledge in the real-world. The £22 million fund is being administered and implemented by CITB and will run for 18 months. The plan is that employers, housing associations and other interested bodies such as LEPs and local authorities submit expressions of interest. From these submissions, 20 on-site training hubs will be created. This will be on major construction project across England and will provide work experience and placements for people working to join the industry. On the face of it this seems like a great idea – offering real hand on work experience for young people as well as opportunities for returning adults and those looking for a pathway for a career switch. But does it go far enough to address the bigger issue – that is making the industry appealing for people to want to join in the first place? We still need to overcome our outdated image. Recticel has created a graduate development programme and a graduate intern programme to help introduce young talent to industry. As a company we invest time engaging with young people to help them understand what we can offer as a business and how a step with us could lead them on to a really fulfilling career in the construction sector. And it’s working. We have a growing intake of young people who are excited the sector offers and who are enthusiastic to learn. I’m confident that once young people start working in the construction they will get a completely different opinion of it. And – as many of us can relate to – once you start work in the construction sector, you very rarely leave. You may go on to take up different roles (one of the advantages of a diverse sector) but it is unlikely you will change sectors completely. The Construction Skills Fund is a step in the right direction although I would be interested to understand what happens after the 18 month period - I just hope it isn’t canned in favor of another Government initiative. We can’t keep having one step forward, one step backwards. Skills is a shared responsibility. If we get it right we can deliver the ambitious targets we have been set and at the same time take a big step forward in terms of improving built quality. Recticel will continue to play its part in attracting the next generation, as well as those returning to work or looking for a career change and I hope that the rest of sector will continue to keep reminding young people construction can be highly rewarding. Visit: www.recticelinsulation.co.uk
    88 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Now that students have opened their A level and GCSE results, it brings a fresh reminder that the construction sector is facing a major skills challenge writes Kevin Bohea. Government has pledged to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. The issue we have is that we simply don’t have a workforce to achieve this. The sector is also facing questions over the quality to which we build. So what do we need to do to make sure we have a skilled workforce that can deliver high quality buildings that are fit for purpose? The big challenge is that many people perceive the construction industry as an outdated, uninspiring and manual work based sector- to these people it simply doesn’t seem like a attractive sector in which to find an exciting career. However, for those that work in the sector we know that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The construction sector is exciting, varied, constantly evolving and full of opportunity. In June, the Government launched the Construction Skills Fund. Part of the government's National Retraining Scheme in England, the scheme aims to support innovative ways of training new entrants and retraining adults in areas for which public funding is not available.It will fund on-site training to allow learners to apply their knowledge in the real-world. The £22 million fund is being administered and implemented by CITB and will run for 18 months. The plan is that employers, housing associations and other interested bodies such as LEPs and local authorities submit expressions of interest. From these submissions, 20 on-site training hubs will be created. This will be on major construction project across England and will provide work experience and placements for people working to join the industry. On the face of it this seems like a great idea – offering real hand on work experience for young people as well as opportunities for returning adults and those looking for a pathway for a career switch. But does it go far enough to address the bigger issue – that is making the industry appealing for people to want to join in the first place? We still need to overcome our outdated image. Recticel has created a graduate development programme and a graduate intern programme to help introduce young talent to industry. As a company we invest time engaging with young people to help them understand what we can offer as a business and how a step with us could lead them on to a really fulfilling career in the construction sector. And it’s working. We have a growing intake of young people who are excited the sector offers and who are enthusiastic to learn. I’m confident that once young people start working in the construction they will get a completely different opinion of it. And – as many of us can relate to – once you start work in the construction sector, you very rarely leave. You may go on to take up different roles (one of the advantages of a diverse sector) but it is unlikely you will change sectors completely. The Construction Skills Fund is a step in the right direction although I would be interested to understand what happens after the 18 month period - I just hope it isn’t canned in favor of another Government initiative. We can’t keep having one step forward, one step backwards. Skills is a shared responsibility. If we get it right we can deliver the ambitious targets we have been set and at the same time take a big step forward in terms of improving built quality. Recticel will continue to play its part in attracting the next generation, as well as those returning to work or looking for a career change and I hope that the rest of sector will continue to keep reminding young people construction can be highly rewarding. Visit: www.recticelinsulation.co.uk
    Sep 11, 2018 88
  • 07 Sep 2018
    It is high time the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy were demystified. With the effects of climate change a pressing concern, now more than ever it is important to turn to renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, to preserve our planet. Andrew Knapp addresses the top five misconceptions surrounding renewable solar energy, offering insight into how eco-friendly energy is a cost-efficient, effective and secure investment for the future. ‘Renewable energy is unaffordable’ This is probably the most important myth to debunk. So many people repel at the idea of installing renewable energy systems, even when the products are a safe and cost-effective solution. In fact, solar energy is actually cheaper than coal and nuclear energy. It is even said that, in time renewable energy will gradually become cheaper than gas. In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that solar and wind energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries It is inefficient and unreliable It is a common misconception that solar energy just needs sun to function. Many people believe solar panels do not work when the weather is bad; this is false. Solar energy will still convert 10-25% energy on a cloudy day, which means it is still being productive even when the sun is not shining. It will decrease the value of property Solar panels can actually add value to your home which will in essence futureproof it. They can do this firstly, by raising the home’s EPC (energy performance certificate) grade, which can have a significant effect on house values. Not only this but solar pv can increase your homes appeal via the Feed-In-Tariff, which is an ongoing payment the government offers homeowners for creating clean, renewable energy. This will provide you with an extra income and an attractive prospect for any future buyer. Solar Panels require no maintenance As long as you are using a reliable and credited manufacturer, your solar power system will never give you a headache. Companies such as Ecolution, which install PV panels and energy storage systems, provide an annual service including: quality check, performance and safety checks. The maintenance process is uncomplicated, easy and worth its cost. Excess energy goes to waste As mentioned above, there are some companies which provide smart energy storage systems, allowing you to convert renewable energy and use it at another time. It means you can control your own energy supply and resources, without being chained to the big energy suppliers. These systems are completely functional and reliable; you have the ability to utilise your own energy. As these systems store energy, you will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint and total energy bills. Not only do you save the environment, you save the pennies too. Hopefully, these five myths have demystified what seems to be quite a hazy topic. Most people lack the information to pass judgement on renewable resources; it has this stigma of only attracting the wealthy, planet-conscious people. However, as the demand continues to grow, prices will become more attainable for the majority – it is just part of the process. And as products, such as energy storage systems, infiltrate into the public eye, people will recognise the benefits of this cost-effective and reliable energy solution. Renewable energy, whether wind or solar, is paving the way towards a climate-friendly future. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    161 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It is high time the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy were demystified. With the effects of climate change a pressing concern, now more than ever it is important to turn to renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, to preserve our planet. Andrew Knapp addresses the top five misconceptions surrounding renewable solar energy, offering insight into how eco-friendly energy is a cost-efficient, effective and secure investment for the future. ‘Renewable energy is unaffordable’ This is probably the most important myth to debunk. So many people repel at the idea of installing renewable energy systems, even when the products are a safe and cost-effective solution. In fact, solar energy is actually cheaper than coal and nuclear energy. It is even said that, in time renewable energy will gradually become cheaper than gas. In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that solar and wind energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries It is inefficient and unreliable It is a common misconception that solar energy just needs sun to function. Many people believe solar panels do not work when the weather is bad; this is false. Solar energy will still convert 10-25% energy on a cloudy day, which means it is still being productive even when the sun is not shining. It will decrease the value of property Solar panels can actually add value to your home which will in essence futureproof it. They can do this firstly, by raising the home’s EPC (energy performance certificate) grade, which can have a significant effect on house values. Not only this but solar pv can increase your homes appeal via the Feed-In-Tariff, which is an ongoing payment the government offers homeowners for creating clean, renewable energy. This will provide you with an extra income and an attractive prospect for any future buyer. Solar Panels require no maintenance As long as you are using a reliable and credited manufacturer, your solar power system will never give you a headache. Companies such as Ecolution, which install PV panels and energy storage systems, provide an annual service including: quality check, performance and safety checks. The maintenance process is uncomplicated, easy and worth its cost. Excess energy goes to waste As mentioned above, there are some companies which provide smart energy storage systems, allowing you to convert renewable energy and use it at another time. It means you can control your own energy supply and resources, without being chained to the big energy suppliers. These systems are completely functional and reliable; you have the ability to utilise your own energy. As these systems store energy, you will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint and total energy bills. Not only do you save the environment, you save the pennies too. Hopefully, these five myths have demystified what seems to be quite a hazy topic. Most people lack the information to pass judgement on renewable resources; it has this stigma of only attracting the wealthy, planet-conscious people. However, as the demand continues to grow, prices will become more attainable for the majority – it is just part of the process. And as products, such as energy storage systems, infiltrate into the public eye, people will recognise the benefits of this cost-effective and reliable energy solution. Renewable energy, whether wind or solar, is paving the way towards a climate-friendly future. Visit: www.ecolutiongroup.com
    Sep 07, 2018 161
  • 05 Sep 2018
    The waterproofing of existing below ground structures, particularly ageing ones, needs as much careful planning as a new-build project in terms of materials and process writes Stuart Benham. System options, however, tend to be more limited when it comes to putting a watertight seal on a basement or belowground area already in use. In general, two systems are up for consideration as far as waterproof refurbishment is concerned. A Firstly a waterproof render solution, such as BBA approved Sika-1 Pre-bagged Structural Waterproofing System, is one popular option. This consists of a 3 coat render system for use on walls and overhead surfaces, and a screed system for use on the floor. Sika-1 pre-bagged ensures specifiers meet the requirements of a waterproofing project without the need for ongoing maintenance. The pre-bag system is factory-controlled quality, with each layer to the optimum mix ratio. Site batched versions should not be considered as the quality cannot be relied upon. Cavity drain systems are also popular with retrofit waterproof installers. Sika® CD – Cavity Drainage System, for instance, controls water after it has penetrated a structure. Loose-laid  for flooring applications and attached to a wall with surface plugs in vertical installations, Sika® CD - Cavity Drainage System directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. This is also a proven, reliable system, but unlike the pre-bagged option, the cavity drainage system requires maintenance programme which at a minimum is annual A combination of both is also an option often used. Early intervention Existing fissures and cracks in the structure should be addressed at the earliest opportunity. Left untreated, defects could potentially lead to greater issues and costly, time-consuming repair. Failure to make good the structure at the earliest stage of deterioration could also affect the overall structural integrity of the building, which in-turn may adversely affect any waterproofing system installed. For manufacturers, a key aspect of retrofit waterproofing is interaction and compatibility between different waterproofing interfaces. It’s a challenge Sika is able to meet, as it offers Type A, B and C systems - A (barrier protection); B (structurally integral protection); C (drained protection) - each of which can connect to form the highest-quality waterproof solution. As a full range provider, Sika is able to offer unbiased advice and tailor the solution to the requirement, thus avoiding specifying solutions unsuitable for the product. As for contractors, the challenge is to ensure installation teams are sufficiently-skilled to correctly fit the waterproofing system. Through toolbox talks and site visits, Sika is able to offer full, technical support to installers. This is a value-added service which comes at no extra cost. In addition, contractors are able to obtain official recognition of their skills by becoming a ‘Sika-approved’ installer of as the  Sika-1 Pre-bagged system where candidates are vetted, trained and assessed before being given registered status. As well as having access to on and off-site technical support.  Only Sika 1 Registered contractors benefit from the Sika guarantee on the Sika 1 pre-bag product. With Sika Cavity drain systems, it is always best to use a specialist waterproofing contractor, but if the works are being done by a general contractor, Sika do offer site tool box talks and on site support as part of the guarantee process. At your service In terms of the specifier, the biggest challenge is ensuring the specified waterproofing product is fit for purpose and meets the required performance level. This is where - once again - Sika’s service offering comes to the fore. The company not only provides a range of watertight solutions for a host of concrete applications, its CSSW-qualified specification managers have a wealth of experience to offer expert guidance to ensure products are fit for purpose, specified and installed correctly. This helps ensure projects are completed successfully. Sika can also recommend specialist contractors for a particular scheme, whilst its guaranteed BBA-certified products assure users that they are in possession of goods of the optimum quality.  Visit www.sika.co.uk.
    122 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The waterproofing of existing below ground structures, particularly ageing ones, needs as much careful planning as a new-build project in terms of materials and process writes Stuart Benham. System options, however, tend to be more limited when it comes to putting a watertight seal on a basement or belowground area already in use. In general, two systems are up for consideration as far as waterproof refurbishment is concerned. A Firstly a waterproof render solution, such as BBA approved Sika-1 Pre-bagged Structural Waterproofing System, is one popular option. This consists of a 3 coat render system for use on walls and overhead surfaces, and a screed system for use on the floor. Sika-1 pre-bagged ensures specifiers meet the requirements of a waterproofing project without the need for ongoing maintenance. The pre-bag system is factory-controlled quality, with each layer to the optimum mix ratio. Site batched versions should not be considered as the quality cannot be relied upon. Cavity drain systems are also popular with retrofit waterproof installers. Sika® CD – Cavity Drainage System, for instance, controls water after it has penetrated a structure. Loose-laid  for flooring applications and attached to a wall with surface plugs in vertical installations, Sika® CD - Cavity Drainage System directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. This is also a proven, reliable system, but unlike the pre-bagged option, the cavity drainage system requires maintenance programme which at a minimum is annual A combination of both is also an option often used. Early intervention Existing fissures and cracks in the structure should be addressed at the earliest opportunity. Left untreated, defects could potentially lead to greater issues and costly, time-consuming repair. Failure to make good the structure at the earliest stage of deterioration could also affect the overall structural integrity of the building, which in-turn may adversely affect any waterproofing system installed. For manufacturers, a key aspect of retrofit waterproofing is interaction and compatibility between different waterproofing interfaces. It’s a challenge Sika is able to meet, as it offers Type A, B and C systems - A (barrier protection); B (structurally integral protection); C (drained protection) - each of which can connect to form the highest-quality waterproof solution. As a full range provider, Sika is able to offer unbiased advice and tailor the solution to the requirement, thus avoiding specifying solutions unsuitable for the product. As for contractors, the challenge is to ensure installation teams are sufficiently-skilled to correctly fit the waterproofing system. Through toolbox talks and site visits, Sika is able to offer full, technical support to installers. This is a value-added service which comes at no extra cost. In addition, contractors are able to obtain official recognition of their skills by becoming a ‘Sika-approved’ installer of as the  Sika-1 Pre-bagged system where candidates are vetted, trained and assessed before being given registered status. As well as having access to on and off-site technical support.  Only Sika 1 Registered contractors benefit from the Sika guarantee on the Sika 1 pre-bag product. With Sika Cavity drain systems, it is always best to use a specialist waterproofing contractor, but if the works are being done by a general contractor, Sika do offer site tool box talks and on site support as part of the guarantee process. At your service In terms of the specifier, the biggest challenge is ensuring the specified waterproofing product is fit for purpose and meets the required performance level. This is where - once again - Sika’s service offering comes to the fore. The company not only provides a range of watertight solutions for a host of concrete applications, its CSSW-qualified specification managers have a wealth of experience to offer expert guidance to ensure products are fit for purpose, specified and installed correctly. This helps ensure projects are completed successfully. Sika can also recommend specialist contractors for a particular scheme, whilst its guaranteed BBA-certified products assure users that they are in possession of goods of the optimum quality.  Visit www.sika.co.uk.
    Sep 05, 2018 122
  • 31 Aug 2018
    The UK may be experiencing one of the driest summers on record but the thought of flooding should not be far from people’s minds.  Flooding is not restricted to the winter months.  A parched landscape results in dry, compacted soils that will mean any rainfall is less easily absorbed into the ground. This will only increase the likelihood of flooding if the country experiences storms. With recent years showing us all the devastating effects that floods can have on people’s lives, we need to consider how we build new homes to address this risk. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) offer developers and housebuilders a way to manage excess stormwater on their developments. The pressing need for more homes has only led to us to build on flood plains and urbanise our green spaces. As these developments go ahead, there is a knock-on effect as we have less land for rainfall to be able to soak away into the ground. It’s imperative that water is managed where it falls, reducing the demand on built drainage and the sewerage infrastructure. Planning guidance requires all major new housing developments of 10 houses or more to incorporate SuDS for the management of surface water run-off. However this doesn’t apply to smaller developments or the retrofitting of SuDS in urban environments. An integrated flood prevention solution By taking a SuDS approach to managing water, housebuilders and developers can manage the risk of surface flooding, integrating these solutions into developments, whilst at the same time influencing other aspects of the site and reducing impermeable areas wherever possible. Sustainable drainage mimics natural drainage processes by allowing rainfall to soak into the ground where possible or by delaying discharges. Reducing both the volume and rate of surface water run-off to sewers and watercourses, this helps to improve water quality, ecology and amenity value of watercourses. It is important, however, to remember that there is no single drainage solution for any one site. There are a number of options from natural above ground SuDS solutions including swales, detention ponds, basins and permeable surfaces, to engineered solutions such as concrete culverts, plastic pipes, attenuation tanks and soakaways. Faced with rising costs and stricter deadlines, modularisation is growing in popularity as contractors look to find the next generation of efficient and economical products and systems. Due to the numerous benefits both on and off site, underground modular geocellular units such as StormCrate from Brett Martin Plumbing and Drainage have become an increasingly popular choice at every stage of the supply chain, from the architect and specifier to the contractor and client. Modular and stackable Weighing in at only 18kg per module and measuring 1200mm x 600mm x 420mm, the StormCrate modular units can be easily lifted by hand and then laid or stacked in rows. The units are suitable for a range of applications including residential, commercial and industrial projects. StormCrates can either be wrapped in a geotextile, which allows stored water to slowly seep into the surrounding ground and back into the water table, or a more common practice, wrapped in an impermeable geomembrane to create a sealed underground tank.  The outlet from this tank is then controlled to facilitate a slow release of the stored water back into the drainage system over a longer period. Manufactured from recycled plastic, StormCrates have a high void ratio of 95% which means that the units are highly efficient at storing up to 300 litres of water in the event of heavy rains. If inspectability is required for future maintenance, then Brett Martin can offer StormCrate Inspect Crates. There are no limits on the use and design of the surface over the system and StormCrates may be successfully installed under parking areas, driveways and landscaped areas. Ideal for domestic soakaways, only 250mm of cover is required above the crates for driveway applications, which results in less dig and site spoil.  When a minimum of 500mm cover is used, the high strength crate has a lorry bearing capacity of 60 tonnes. Managing a storm For a new housing development in Coventry, surface water management was a key consideration to prevent any future flooding, hence Brett Martin’s StormCrates were used to create an underground attenuation tank for the temporary storage of stormwater, reducing the demand on built drainage. The development of 15 new homes - a mixture of two, three and four-bed semi-detached terraced and detached houses – was built on an area which is susceptible to flooding.  In order to manage rainwater within the site and prevent flooding during periods of bad weather, contractor O’Flanagan Homes, required a drainage solution that could be integrated within the site and found the solution in StormCrate.    Brett Martin provided O’Flanagan Homes with 180 StormCrates which were used to create a 54.5m3 underground storage tank, constructed in three layers at a depth of 2 metres beneath the entrance road, to offset stormwater run-off from the developed area.  Commenting on the installation, Danny O‘Flanagan of O’Flanagan Homes commented: “We have used StormCrates on other projects and they are an ideal solution for managing stormwater run-off.  Lightweight, easy to move and incredibly strong, we used them to create an underground tank beneath the permeable paving in the entrance road of the development.” The use of StormCrates from Brett Martin Plumbing and Drainage ensured this new housing development had a proven rainwater attenuation solution which will reduce demand on built drainage and the sewerage infrastructure. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    118 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The UK may be experiencing one of the driest summers on record but the thought of flooding should not be far from people’s minds.  Flooding is not restricted to the winter months.  A parched landscape results in dry, compacted soils that will mean any rainfall is less easily absorbed into the ground. This will only increase the likelihood of flooding if the country experiences storms. With recent years showing us all the devastating effects that floods can have on people’s lives, we need to consider how we build new homes to address this risk. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) offer developers and housebuilders a way to manage excess stormwater on their developments. The pressing need for more homes has only led to us to build on flood plains and urbanise our green spaces. As these developments go ahead, there is a knock-on effect as we have less land for rainfall to be able to soak away into the ground. It’s imperative that water is managed where it falls, reducing the demand on built drainage and the sewerage infrastructure. Planning guidance requires all major new housing developments of 10 houses or more to incorporate SuDS for the management of surface water run-off. However this doesn’t apply to smaller developments or the retrofitting of SuDS in urban environments. An integrated flood prevention solution By taking a SuDS approach to managing water, housebuilders and developers can manage the risk of surface flooding, integrating these solutions into developments, whilst at the same time influencing other aspects of the site and reducing impermeable areas wherever possible. Sustainable drainage mimics natural drainage processes by allowing rainfall to soak into the ground where possible or by delaying discharges. Reducing both the volume and rate of surface water run-off to sewers and watercourses, this helps to improve water quality, ecology and amenity value of watercourses. It is important, however, to remember that there is no single drainage solution for any one site. There are a number of options from natural above ground SuDS solutions including swales, detention ponds, basins and permeable surfaces, to engineered solutions such as concrete culverts, plastic pipes, attenuation tanks and soakaways. Faced with rising costs and stricter deadlines, modularisation is growing in popularity as contractors look to find the next generation of efficient and economical products and systems. Due to the numerous benefits both on and off site, underground modular geocellular units such as StormCrate from Brett Martin Plumbing and Drainage have become an increasingly popular choice at every stage of the supply chain, from the architect and specifier to the contractor and client. Modular and stackable Weighing in at only 18kg per module and measuring 1200mm x 600mm x 420mm, the StormCrate modular units can be easily lifted by hand and then laid or stacked in rows. The units are suitable for a range of applications including residential, commercial and industrial projects. StormCrates can either be wrapped in a geotextile, which allows stored water to slowly seep into the surrounding ground and back into the water table, or a more common practice, wrapped in an impermeable geomembrane to create a sealed underground tank.  The outlet from this tank is then controlled to facilitate a slow release of the stored water back into the drainage system over a longer period. Manufactured from recycled plastic, StormCrates have a high void ratio of 95% which means that the units are highly efficient at storing up to 300 litres of water in the event of heavy rains. If inspectability is required for future maintenance, then Brett Martin can offer StormCrate Inspect Crates. There are no limits on the use and design of the surface over the system and StormCrates may be successfully installed under parking areas, driveways and landscaped areas. Ideal for domestic soakaways, only 250mm of cover is required above the crates for driveway applications, which results in less dig and site spoil.  When a minimum of 500mm cover is used, the high strength crate has a lorry bearing capacity of 60 tonnes. Managing a storm For a new housing development in Coventry, surface water management was a key consideration to prevent any future flooding, hence Brett Martin’s StormCrates were used to create an underground attenuation tank for the temporary storage of stormwater, reducing the demand on built drainage. The development of 15 new homes - a mixture of two, three and four-bed semi-detached terraced and detached houses – was built on an area which is susceptible to flooding.  In order to manage rainwater within the site and prevent flooding during periods of bad weather, contractor O’Flanagan Homes, required a drainage solution that could be integrated within the site and found the solution in StormCrate.    Brett Martin provided O’Flanagan Homes with 180 StormCrates which were used to create a 54.5m3 underground storage tank, constructed in three layers at a depth of 2 metres beneath the entrance road, to offset stormwater run-off from the developed area.  Commenting on the installation, Danny O‘Flanagan of O’Flanagan Homes commented: “We have used StormCrates on other projects and they are an ideal solution for managing stormwater run-off.  Lightweight, easy to move and incredibly strong, we used them to create an underground tank beneath the permeable paving in the entrance road of the development.” The use of StormCrates from Brett Martin Plumbing and Drainage ensured this new housing development had a proven rainwater attenuation solution which will reduce demand on built drainage and the sewerage infrastructure. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    Aug 31, 2018 118

  • Once you have planned where your shed will go you need to make sure you have all the right tools and products to complete the job such as: Pegs and string Building sand Standard cement Timber for base formwork Tape measure Spade Sweeping brush 1. Prepare the base When you do this allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Use the pegs and string to mark out a base 2” (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Make sure the area is square by using a level diagonally across the area 2. Pay attention to the hardcore Ensure that you have at least 3” (7.5 cm) of compacted hardcore underneath a 3″ concrete layer. The base can be level with the ground or raised above it. If you want it to be level, dig to a depth of 6” (15 cm), to allow for the hardcore layer and 3” (7.5 cm) of concrete. Level the area with a rake and spade and remove the pegs. 3. Make sure it’s level Measure, cut and fit timber to the shape of the base in order to contain the concrete. Check diagonal measurements to ensure the formwork is square and level as this will determine whether your shed base is 100% sturdy. Spread the hardcore and cover with a good level of sand. Ensure it is well compacted and flattened using a compacting tool or roller. 4: Next the concrete Mix concrete using one part cement to five parts all-in-one ballast, or use bags of dry-mixed concrete and just add water. Be careful not to add too much water as this may make the cement too runny. Spread the concrete evenly and slightly above the formwork. This can be then levelled off with a long straight edge of timber resting on the formwork. Use a sawing motion slowly over the entire surface of the freshly laid concrete. In extreme weather conditions – both hot and cold – ensure that you base is covered to allow it to cure slowly, minimising the risk if shrinking or cracking – and there you have it – the perfect base for your new shed. You could of course then decide to build your own shed but as we discussed earlier – why would you want to when there are so many brilliant alternatives that have been prefabricated offsite and ready to be place on your new base. Talk.Build never makes recommendations but as a starting point you might want to visit:  Sheds
    Jul 30, 2018 90
  • We have seen many different types of architectural software over recent years and while it seems that most do very good jobs there have also been many adverse comments that products are not delivering. Understandably most professionals are confused with the wide range of products on offer. Many look at niche options which do not quite hit the mark but with the right software and a modern computer, the entire plan of a building can be rendered and checked for structural and design flaws before it even leaves the drawing board. This is more efficient, less wasteful, and a lot more convenient as well. BIM Modelling has also demanded that architects design and produce in both 2D and 3D and as a result there have been major development in design software which allows professionals to draw and visualise house floor plans more quickly and easily One such company, Elecosoft, seems to have gone further than most with its own bespoke package, “Arcon Evo”, which combines visual design, professional CAD capabilities and clear project execution in a single program. The new software also offers an extensive range of architectural CAD tools for all aspects of building design allowing architects to construct to the smallest level of detail. It also produces detailed plans, automated 3D models, elevations, section details and working drawings and much more. At the front end it will also generate detailed drawing sets for planning applications with many additional features which many of my colleagues in the trade press are endorsing as a major leap forward. To some extent I guess I am doing the same but rather than list all the benefits, which can be seen on the company’s website – the link is featured at the bottom of this article - I am more interested in how architects themselves have responded. In the past, as mentioned earlier, we have seen many different software packages which all claim to bring architects and building professionals into the 21st Century but have failed to deliver when it matters. According to the professionals “Arcon Evo” does exactly what it says on the tin and is more than capable of producing detailed 2D and 3D designs and it seems a whole lot more. Guess it is down to our readers to decide. Visit: www.3darchitect.co.uk
    Jul 26, 2018 478
  • Once water begins to come through the roof most sheds, by the very nature of their soft wood structure, quickly rot and if remedial action is not taken then most will soon be looking for a replacement. Replacing a felt roof is not as hard as it looks and only requires basic DIY skills and a little help from a friend or neighbour. Simply follow these easy steps and your shed will be as good as new. You will need at least half a day to complete the project and will require Shed Felt, Roofing Felt Adhesive and Clout Head Nails. Make sure you also have the right tools such as a tape measure, sharp knife gloves, an old cloth, straight edge hammer 2” or 3” and a disposable paint brush. Before you start clean and tidy up the surrounding area, including the floor. To ensure you are properly prepared for later, unpack and roll your shed felt onto a clean and dry surface. This allows it to relax or straighten after being rolled up. Roofing felt is harder to work at low temperature so try to avoid working with it below 10° or in wet or windy conditions. Prepare the surface of the shed roof by removing any old roof felt or nails. Ensure the surface is flat, clean and dry. If the roof is rotten or damaged, you may want to apply a complete new sheet of ply. Measure your shed by running a tape measure along the bottom of the roof (the eaves), and up the diagonal end (the gable). Write down these measurements (it’s easiest to use metric as shed felt normally comes in 8m or 10m rolls). Remember too that you will need the felt to overhang each gable end, and the eave of the shed by at least 50mm (so you need to add this to your measurements). Calculate how many lengths of roof felt are needed: The felt will be applied in strips, with each strip overlapping the previous one by at least 75mm. A final length sheet will be required along the ridge. Calculate how many strips and of what length you will need. Cut your roof felt to length: Using your straight edge and sharp knife, carefully cut your felt to the correct length (don’t forget to include the extra 50mm overhang at each end!) Nail on the first length: Position the first length of roof felt along the lowest part of the shed roof. Ensure that it overhangs the eaves and each gable end of the roof by 50mm. Nail along the top edge of the strip with the galvanised clout nails. Space the nails at 500mm centres. Fold over the gables and eaves: Starting at the centre of the eave, and taking care not to rip or tear the felt, fold the overhanging felt over the edge of the roof. Fix the overhanging felt using galvanised nails at 50mm. Fix the next length of shed felt: Take your second length of felt. Position this strip so that it overhangs the top of the first sheet by 75mm. Nail along the top of this strip at 500mm. Where the sheets overlap, apply roofing sheet adhesive using a disposable brush. Using a downwards brushing motion, firmly press the top layer of roofing felt onto the adhesive, taking care to ensure that the strip of felt does not ripple or crease. Nail in place at 50mm spacing along the bottom of the strip. Use an old cloth or rag to remove any excess felt adhesive. Continue to work up the complete side of the roof in the same method. Felt the second side of your shed: Repeat the same process for the opposite side of the roof. Fix the capping sheet: The roof should be finished with a capping sheet along the ridge. Place along the ridge of the shed so that it equally overhangs each side of the roof. Always ensure that it overlays the top strips of felt by at least 75mm. Apply roofing felt adhesive to the underside of both sides of the ridge and press the capping sheet into place. Nail along the bottom of each side of the capping sheet at 50mm intervals. And that is all there is to it to ensure that your shed continues to provides many more years of useful life. You can source the materials you need from most local builders merchants or go on line. You can click the link below to Amazon to a supplier that has a five star rating if you prefer to have materials delivered. Click Link for Amazon
    Apr 25, 2018 304
  • Roofs, conservatories, balconies, terraces and walls are extremely prone to water penetration and left alone will ultimately result in major refurbishment. Until fairly recently construction professionals would use a variety of different sealants to tackle an equally wide variety of leak situations, but thankfully science has come to the rescue. There are several companies that have developed advanced ranges of waterproofing solutions that can be simply brushed or rolled onto surfaces, seeping into cracks and other vulnerable areas to produce a barrier, once fully cured, against even the worst weather. Many of these solutions are transparent and virtually invisible once applied which makes them ideal for all types of glass such as conservatory roofs and roof lights. They can also be used on terraces and exposed brickwork helping to enhance the colour of the stone while adding total protection. The good thing is that such solutions can be applied by without any special skills saving householders massive labour costs, but as in all cases, particularly when a leak is at roof level, it is usually best to call in the professionals. If you are planning to do it yourself then make sure that you have enough material; to complete the job. A 20Kg tin will cover around 25 sq metres of surface area depending on the thickness of the coating. Ensure that everything is cleaned up before any solution is laid to ensure maximum performance and ideally three layers should be used on the surface area. Coverage is based on application by roller onto a smooth surface in optimum conditions. Factors like surface porosity, temperature and application method can alter consumption. Installed correctly your roof, conservatory, balcony, terrace or wall will continue to giver many more years of service keeping out the worst of the weather.  If you are looking for such a product then why not check out Maritrans, which is available via Amazon.  Click here for Amazon
    Apr 24, 2018 273
  • It is easier than it looks to build a raised timber deck.  Timber decks can be designed to meet most design situations. According to the Timber Decking and Cladding Association Desired service life options of 15, 30 and 60 years are given in European/British standards. It should be noted that 15 years is considered to be the minimum standard.  For new the NHBC insists on a 60 year service life in accordance with TDCA Code of Practice TDA/RD 08/01. Building a simple timber deck is straightforward and is considered less expensive and more environmentally acceptable than bricks or flagstones. The following step-by-step guide covers and is consistent with most of the basic applications to install timber decking and while these instructions are for guidance only please always remember to check with supplier specifications. Step 1: Make sure you plan in advance to ensure that boards will be flush with your frame. Prepare a level area for the framework by cutting the timber to the required length, then join using exterior wood screws. Check the frame is square by measuring from corner to corner and adjust if necessary Step 2: If you need to raise the frame, cut four blocks of timber to the desired height. Screw these to the inside of the frame at each corner, ensuring they're flush with the top. As these legs will be taking all the weight ensure you use at least three screws per block, Step 3: Place blocks or slabs underneath edge leg to spread the load and provide a level, stable base if your deck is sitting on grass or soil. Position and adjust checking the frame is level using a spirit level Step 4: Three joists are sufficient (one in the middle and the others at the centre-point between the edge of the frame and the centre joist) if you are building a small deck. Mark across one side of the frame first, then repeat on the opposite side. On larger decks, set joists at 400mm centres Step 5: Ensure that you measure across the inside of the frame at the joist marks before cutting lengths of the timber to suit. Fix the joists by tapping them with a rubber based mallet until flush with the top, then screw them in place from the outside of the frame Step 6: Support the joists with additional legs, spaced at 1m intervals. Follow the same method as shown in steps 2 and 3 for these legs, ensuring each is supported by a suitable block or slab Step 7: For the facing, measure the length of the outer sides of your frame and cut the decking boards to suit. Mark the cutting lines with a square to ensure a straight edge. Countersink the facing and screw to the frame, ensuring the facing is flush with the top Step 8: Now you are ready to start laying the deck. Measure across the top of the frame and cut a board to length. Place the first board flush with the outside edge of the frame and facing, and perpendicular to the joists. Mark the location of each joist on the board Step 9: Mark and countersink screw holes over the centre of each joist. Be sure to use a sharp countersink that will leave a clean hole. If necessary, drill a pilot hole to prevent splitting. Use at least two screws per joist for each decking board Step 10: Ensure you have a 5mm expansion gap between each board (as timber expands and contracts according to outdoor temperatures). Use a spacer to do this. Step 11: Continue the process until you have completed the job. There are many different sources for Timber Decking but we recomend the following link to AMAZON. Click here for Amazon
    Sep 16, 2017 1334
  • Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/
    Sep 14, 2017 2099