• 13 Jul 2021
    Britain might be out of the EU but we still continue to mirror many of their policies - and that particularly applies to climate change, energy savings and sustainability. Fire risk following Grenfell, also remains a major factor and both continue to provide massive challenges for Facility Management companies – especially when it comes to roofing and waterproofing writes Justin Pitman, sales director for Proteus Waterproofing. In spite of these factors, it can be proven that Facility Management professionals prepared to work more closely with suppliers can more easily meet these challenges, get the best quality job and make significant budget savings at the same time. Every building needs a roof, but in today’s green environment it is not enough to simply provide the waterproofing. New levels of insulation are needed to meet updated regulations and in the case of flats there is the added requirement to insulate party walls and other sensitive areas while also taking fire risk into consideration. Insulation levels are 10 times higher than they were 50 years ago.  However, while fire regulations have not changed dramatically in recent years, amendments have been made following the Grenfell tower fire, in particular the ban on the installation of combustible materials in external walls on buildings with a height of 18 metres or more, introduced in October 2019. The Climate Change Act 2008 set in legislation, the UK's approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It introduced the UK’s long-term legally binding 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels. Since 2012 there has also been a need for all commercial buildings to have EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates). These include buildings used as places of worship and for religious activities. stand-alone buildings of less than 50 m2. industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand including temporary buildings, offices, pubs, shops – the list is endless. The lower the energy use, the more attractive the building to potential end users. With this kind of pressure, it means that the building sector is crucial in achieving Britain’s energy and environmental goals. The good news is that following the introduction of energy performance rules in national building codes and the increased levels of insulation, buildings today consume only half as much as typical structures from the 1980s, but the rules continue to become more stringent and that in turn squeezes budgets. This all adds up to increased pressure and with fire and energy savings setting the agenda, more and more Facility Management professionals are asking companies such as Proteus to help them remove unnecessary costs from all parts of the supply chain. On face value this means offering the most competitive prices on product, but it is a much bigger story than that when set against the much bigger challenge of energy savings and fire risk. In response Proteus has developed a system and product offering to enable them to offer Facility Management professionals a complete roof design package incorporating living roofs (green, blue or brown), solar roof options, safety fall arrest systems and wind uplift calculations alongside their established waterproofing, insulation and fire protection system solutions. This ‘one-stop shop’ approach has allowed the company to provide a more competitive quality to their clients, whilst supporting them through the entire design and installation process. This has resulted in the removal of unnecessary costs and other overheads. In spite of these challenges, upgrading roofing and the waterproofing of other public areas can be incredibly disruptive and unpleasant for residents or office workers who have to remain in the building. There is also the risk of fire when torch on or molten materials are used. The good news is that the development of cold applied, odour free waterproofing systems has significantly reduced this problem and when used in conjunction with plans to increase insulation levels and reduce fire risk, they offer an incredibly cost-effective solution for Facility Management companies. It all adds up to major changes in the way that Facility Management Companies should be dealing with end suppliers. Closer collaboration with everyone involved in the supply chain means that the end user gets the best possible job. It is also the most cost-effective solution for Facility Management professionals when they are prepared to work more closely with suppliers and installers by letting them take the strain in terms of design advice, risk assessment and all the other factors which now dominate the modern construction industry. It is no longer about fighting for the best product price so why let roofing and waterproofing be a challenge when all the expertise you need is on the doorstep.  
    184 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Britain might be out of the EU but we still continue to mirror many of their policies - and that particularly applies to climate change, energy savings and sustainability. Fire risk following Grenfell, also remains a major factor and both continue to provide massive challenges for Facility Management companies – especially when it comes to roofing and waterproofing writes Justin Pitman, sales director for Proteus Waterproofing. In spite of these factors, it can be proven that Facility Management professionals prepared to work more closely with suppliers can more easily meet these challenges, get the best quality job and make significant budget savings at the same time. Every building needs a roof, but in today’s green environment it is not enough to simply provide the waterproofing. New levels of insulation are needed to meet updated regulations and in the case of flats there is the added requirement to insulate party walls and other sensitive areas while also taking fire risk into consideration. Insulation levels are 10 times higher than they were 50 years ago.  However, while fire regulations have not changed dramatically in recent years, amendments have been made following the Grenfell tower fire, in particular the ban on the installation of combustible materials in external walls on buildings with a height of 18 metres or more, introduced in October 2019. The Climate Change Act 2008 set in legislation, the UK's approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It introduced the UK’s long-term legally binding 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels. Since 2012 there has also been a need for all commercial buildings to have EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates). These include buildings used as places of worship and for religious activities. stand-alone buildings of less than 50 m2. industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand including temporary buildings, offices, pubs, shops – the list is endless. The lower the energy use, the more attractive the building to potential end users. With this kind of pressure, it means that the building sector is crucial in achieving Britain’s energy and environmental goals. The good news is that following the introduction of energy performance rules in national building codes and the increased levels of insulation, buildings today consume only half as much as typical structures from the 1980s, but the rules continue to become more stringent and that in turn squeezes budgets. This all adds up to increased pressure and with fire and energy savings setting the agenda, more and more Facility Management professionals are asking companies such as Proteus to help them remove unnecessary costs from all parts of the supply chain. On face value this means offering the most competitive prices on product, but it is a much bigger story than that when set against the much bigger challenge of energy savings and fire risk. In response Proteus has developed a system and product offering to enable them to offer Facility Management professionals a complete roof design package incorporating living roofs (green, blue or brown), solar roof options, safety fall arrest systems and wind uplift calculations alongside their established waterproofing, insulation and fire protection system solutions. This ‘one-stop shop’ approach has allowed the company to provide a more competitive quality to their clients, whilst supporting them through the entire design and installation process. This has resulted in the removal of unnecessary costs and other overheads. In spite of these challenges, upgrading roofing and the waterproofing of other public areas can be incredibly disruptive and unpleasant for residents or office workers who have to remain in the building. There is also the risk of fire when torch on or molten materials are used. The good news is that the development of cold applied, odour free waterproofing systems has significantly reduced this problem and when used in conjunction with plans to increase insulation levels and reduce fire risk, they offer an incredibly cost-effective solution for Facility Management companies. It all adds up to major changes in the way that Facility Management Companies should be dealing with end suppliers. Closer collaboration with everyone involved in the supply chain means that the end user gets the best possible job. It is also the most cost-effective solution for Facility Management professionals when they are prepared to work more closely with suppliers and installers by letting them take the strain in terms of design advice, risk assessment and all the other factors which now dominate the modern construction industry. It is no longer about fighting for the best product price so why let roofing and waterproofing be a challenge when all the expertise you need is on the doorstep.  
    Jul 13, 2021 184
  • 26 Apr 2021
    Hospitals are the UK’s lifeblood, providing patients across the country with access to specialised medical care and treatment. A cornerstone of their communities, hospitals must undergo routine upgrade and maintenance work in order to ensure they continually deliver to their high standards writes Stacey Lucas from Sontay. King’s College Hospital in south London is a major inner-city hospital managed by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As well as being a leading facility for care and treatment, King’s is a large medical hub which is one in a trio of institutions belonging to the King’s College London School of Medicine. The hospital underwent an £80million extension to its existing coronary care unit (CCU) building to provide vital new CCU and isolation room bed space for patients. To ensure these critical areas are controlled and monitored accurately, it was decided that an extensive range of building control peripherals were needed. A myriad of solutions from market-leading specialist Sontay were specified as part of a sophisticated building management system (BMS). Siemsatec, a specialist in BMS design, installation and maintenance was tasked with installing the BMS for the new space. The system needed to give simple control over the extension’s HVAC plant to keep patients comfortable, help streamline the hospital’s budget and offer a healthy environment to patients through effective temperature control. A further consideration was to ensure the hospital could maintain the efficient running of the building and enable energy and cost savings. Working collaboratively with Sontay, Siemsatec undertook full system design and management of the project from start to finish. Siemsatec installed a Trend IQ4 and 963 BMS, along with a range of Sontay solutions, which monitor all of the air handling units as well as the LTHW & CHW plant within the CCU bed spaces. The versatility of Sontay’s solutions means a range of field devices can monitor all aspects of a commercial building. This allows the likes of Siemsatec to select exactly what is required for each application. The Sontay products that were specified included temperature and combined temperature, and humidity sensors to monitor environmental conditions on the wards for patient and staff wellbeing. Immersion and frost thermostats, air and water differential pressure switches, air differential sensors, flow grids, smoke detectors, water detection and thyristor controllers were also specified to monitor the building service equipment. “The new control system ensured the facilities team could manage and monitor the system with ease in order to improve overall efficiency and respond to the needs of both patients and staff in the building,” commented Joe Bailey, Project Manager at Siemsatec. “We decided to use Sontay because of its reliability and the quality of the products. All of the solutions were easy to install and worked well once in place.” This project was extended within a fixed budget and delivered to a tight deadline to ensure the existing CCU unit remained operational. It was essential for the space to remain functional during the renovation process and give patients immediate use of the services. “The prompt delivery Sontay offered really helped us deliver the completed project on time,” continued Joe. Following the installation and completion of the project, the facilities management team at the hospital can now manage, monitor and adapt the control system quickly and easily. They will also ensure the hospital is operating as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of both patients and staff within the building. The presence of Sontay’s solutions on King’s College Hospital’s new CCU unit will enable a vital medical facility to keep delivering and pioneering treatment for patients for years to come.  
    331 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Hospitals are the UK’s lifeblood, providing patients across the country with access to specialised medical care and treatment. A cornerstone of their communities, hospitals must undergo routine upgrade and maintenance work in order to ensure they continually deliver to their high standards writes Stacey Lucas from Sontay. King’s College Hospital in south London is a major inner-city hospital managed by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As well as being a leading facility for care and treatment, King’s is a large medical hub which is one in a trio of institutions belonging to the King’s College London School of Medicine. The hospital underwent an £80million extension to its existing coronary care unit (CCU) building to provide vital new CCU and isolation room bed space for patients. To ensure these critical areas are controlled and monitored accurately, it was decided that an extensive range of building control peripherals were needed. A myriad of solutions from market-leading specialist Sontay were specified as part of a sophisticated building management system (BMS). Siemsatec, a specialist in BMS design, installation and maintenance was tasked with installing the BMS for the new space. The system needed to give simple control over the extension’s HVAC plant to keep patients comfortable, help streamline the hospital’s budget and offer a healthy environment to patients through effective temperature control. A further consideration was to ensure the hospital could maintain the efficient running of the building and enable energy and cost savings. Working collaboratively with Sontay, Siemsatec undertook full system design and management of the project from start to finish. Siemsatec installed a Trend IQ4 and 963 BMS, along with a range of Sontay solutions, which monitor all of the air handling units as well as the LTHW & CHW plant within the CCU bed spaces. The versatility of Sontay’s solutions means a range of field devices can monitor all aspects of a commercial building. This allows the likes of Siemsatec to select exactly what is required for each application. The Sontay products that were specified included temperature and combined temperature, and humidity sensors to monitor environmental conditions on the wards for patient and staff wellbeing. Immersion and frost thermostats, air and water differential pressure switches, air differential sensors, flow grids, smoke detectors, water detection and thyristor controllers were also specified to monitor the building service equipment. “The new control system ensured the facilities team could manage and monitor the system with ease in order to improve overall efficiency and respond to the needs of both patients and staff in the building,” commented Joe Bailey, Project Manager at Siemsatec. “We decided to use Sontay because of its reliability and the quality of the products. All of the solutions were easy to install and worked well once in place.” This project was extended within a fixed budget and delivered to a tight deadline to ensure the existing CCU unit remained operational. It was essential for the space to remain functional during the renovation process and give patients immediate use of the services. “The prompt delivery Sontay offered really helped us deliver the completed project on time,” continued Joe. Following the installation and completion of the project, the facilities management team at the hospital can now manage, monitor and adapt the control system quickly and easily. They will also ensure the hospital is operating as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of both patients and staff within the building. The presence of Sontay’s solutions on King’s College Hospital’s new CCU unit will enable a vital medical facility to keep delivering and pioneering treatment for patients for years to come.  
    Apr 26, 2021 331
  • 23 Apr 2021
    Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority when it comes to the interior design and workings of offices and other workplaces. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay, a market-leader in the manufacture of sensors specifically developed to improve the indoor environment and create healthier, more energy-efficient buildings, looks at how smart sensor technology is being employed for beneficial effect in the places we inhabit most.  Pre-pandemic we reportedly spent more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Building sensors installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions, as well as giving property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Monitoring key criteria such as relative humidity, CO2 and air quality can also offer vital information on the likelihood of viral transmission in the indoor environment and instruct the BMS to increase ventilation to improve conditions. Their usage could therefore be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050 as well as building confidence in us returning to office buildings in the future. Sensor solutions Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. It can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread at lower levels. A sensor can help overcome these issues by monitoring humidity levels, to ensure an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents; the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and provide data for when ventilation is needed to maintain occupancy comfort, or the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Crisis management The COVID-19 pandemic has also focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy indoors environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilationin the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate relevant ventilation. Light level and occupancy sensors offer further relevance to the ongoing pandemic. In relation to the nationwide lockdown, many offices in towns and cities remain empty whilst lights and other energy sources continue to burn unmonitored within the buildings themselves. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage; therefore, installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming evermore vital to the way we work today, and in the future.
    317 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority when it comes to the interior design and workings of offices and other workplaces. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay, a market-leader in the manufacture of sensors specifically developed to improve the indoor environment and create healthier, more energy-efficient buildings, looks at how smart sensor technology is being employed for beneficial effect in the places we inhabit most.  Pre-pandemic we reportedly spent more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Building sensors installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions, as well as giving property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Monitoring key criteria such as relative humidity, CO2 and air quality can also offer vital information on the likelihood of viral transmission in the indoor environment and instruct the BMS to increase ventilation to improve conditions. Their usage could therefore be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050 as well as building confidence in us returning to office buildings in the future. Sensor solutions Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. It can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread at lower levels. A sensor can help overcome these issues by monitoring humidity levels, to ensure an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents; the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and provide data for when ventilation is needed to maintain occupancy comfort, or the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Crisis management The COVID-19 pandemic has also focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy indoors environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilationin the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate relevant ventilation. Light level and occupancy sensors offer further relevance to the ongoing pandemic. In relation to the nationwide lockdown, many offices in towns and cities remain empty whilst lights and other energy sources continue to burn unmonitored within the buildings themselves. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage; therefore, installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming evermore vital to the way we work today, and in the future.
    Apr 23, 2021 317
  • 22 Apr 2021
    Insulation within a flooring build-up doesn’t generally gain the same significance as it does in a wall or roof application, but its contribution remains crucial to sealing a building’s thermal envelope. Flooring insulation in a busy commercial setting should have dual purpose. It needs to be strong enough to withstand regular pounding from large footfall or heavy machinery, whilst possessing the thermal properties to help uphold a building’s overall energy performance. Specification consideration The insulation’s specification will depend on a building’s use. In a warehouse or industrial environment where motorised machinery is prevalent, priority will be given to the insulation’s load-bearing capacity when it comes to its selection. This will generally be determined by a structural engineer checking a specified product’s declared load-bearing ability against the weight it will be required to withstand. When it comes to where insulation fits within a commercial flooring build-up, this very much depends on the composition of the floor itself. On a standard sand and cement screed, the insulation will be installed between a damp-proof and a radon membrane. PIR benefits PIR panels are one of the better-performing insulants for commercial applications. It’s a solution that offers the best of both worlds, as it provides good compressive strength and a high thermal performance. Its use is ideal in a domestic or light commercial setting. Easy to handle and install, PIR panels reduce the risk of cold bridging by offering improved performance at floor junction details and perimeter upstands. Alternative choice As for alternative solutions, polystyrene-based insulation provides much higher load-bearing capacity, making it more suitable for use in a heavy industrialised setting. However, its compressive strength isn’t married to a strong thermal performance; hence PIR is the better all-round performer. PIR’s dual qualities also make for a more rapid, cost-effective installation. Its excellent thermal conductivity reduces the thickness and depth of a floor’s build-up, which in-turn decreases the amount of preparatory soil and rubble removal involved in new-build and refurbishment flooring applications. Eurothane® GP Recticel’s Eurothane® GP insulation board is a high-performance solution for a range of commercial and domestic projects involving floors, pitched roofs or framed walls. Lightweight and easy to cut, the board has an excellent thermal conductivity of 0.022W/mK, whilst its consistent tolerances, straight edges and flatness enhance its usability without compromise to durability. As far as flooring insulation is concerned, Eurothane® GP board meets the demand for longevity and good energy flow within a build-up. Specifiers shouldn’t stand for anything less. 
    246 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Insulation within a flooring build-up doesn’t generally gain the same significance as it does in a wall or roof application, but its contribution remains crucial to sealing a building’s thermal envelope. Flooring insulation in a busy commercial setting should have dual purpose. It needs to be strong enough to withstand regular pounding from large footfall or heavy machinery, whilst possessing the thermal properties to help uphold a building’s overall energy performance. Specification consideration The insulation’s specification will depend on a building’s use. In a warehouse or industrial environment where motorised machinery is prevalent, priority will be given to the insulation’s load-bearing capacity when it comes to its selection. This will generally be determined by a structural engineer checking a specified product’s declared load-bearing ability against the weight it will be required to withstand. When it comes to where insulation fits within a commercial flooring build-up, this very much depends on the composition of the floor itself. On a standard sand and cement screed, the insulation will be installed between a damp-proof and a radon membrane. PIR benefits PIR panels are one of the better-performing insulants for commercial applications. It’s a solution that offers the best of both worlds, as it provides good compressive strength and a high thermal performance. Its use is ideal in a domestic or light commercial setting. Easy to handle and install, PIR panels reduce the risk of cold bridging by offering improved performance at floor junction details and perimeter upstands. Alternative choice As for alternative solutions, polystyrene-based insulation provides much higher load-bearing capacity, making it more suitable for use in a heavy industrialised setting. However, its compressive strength isn’t married to a strong thermal performance; hence PIR is the better all-round performer. PIR’s dual qualities also make for a more rapid, cost-effective installation. Its excellent thermal conductivity reduces the thickness and depth of a floor’s build-up, which in-turn decreases the amount of preparatory soil and rubble removal involved in new-build and refurbishment flooring applications. Eurothane® GP Recticel’s Eurothane® GP insulation board is a high-performance solution for a range of commercial and domestic projects involving floors, pitched roofs or framed walls. Lightweight and easy to cut, the board has an excellent thermal conductivity of 0.022W/mK, whilst its consistent tolerances, straight edges and flatness enhance its usability without compromise to durability. As far as flooring insulation is concerned, Eurothane® GP board meets the demand for longevity and good energy flow within a build-up. Specifiers shouldn’t stand for anything less. 
    Apr 22, 2021 246
  • 15 Apr 2021
    The UK urgently needs to decarbonise its grid, yet the cost of more sustainable supplies such as electricity will be untenable for the everyday bill payer writes Alex Hill, Managing Director at Whitecode. The technology is without question extremely promising, but how will the reality affect the general public? Will it further push consumers into greater fuel poverty? Is our green ambition just a dream? A report produced by the thinktank, Ember, revealed that renewable energy generated by wind, sunlight, water and wood constituted 42% of the UK’s electricity last year compared with 41% generated from gas and coal plants together. These findings are hugely encouraging if the UK is going to fulfil its aim to eliminate fossil fuel heating. The report represents quite a milestone and reassuringly suggests that we are weaning ourselves off unsustainable heat supplies. The war effort is clearly working, no doubt as a result of assistance from the UK government which has launched a series of schemes – including the Clean Heat Grant – to encourage homeowners to adopt renewable technologies. These schemes sit well with the ban of fossil fuel heating in new UK homes, which will come into effect in 2025. Whilst this all sounds highly encouraging and positive, the caveat is the cost. Air source heat pumps have been lobbied and heralded as the solution to cleaner heat, yet the financial burden of electricity will weigh heavy on consumers. When I started out as an engineer around 20 years ago the cost of electricity was 8p per kilowatt. Fast forward to 2021 and the amount peaks at 17p! In comparison, the price of gas hasn’t changed much at all and has remained at the cheap price of 3p. As a result of electricity’s high costs, we are seeing some homeowners receiving extortionate energy bills each month, sums well above the average running costs. Everyone is talking about going green and being carbon neutral, but what about fuel poverty? What are the solutions? If you have a gas boiler that runs cheaply in comparison; where is the incentive for you to change your boiler and supply? The ban on fossil fuel heating is solely for new homes and does not account for the existing stock. Some boiler manufacturers are exploring other options including hydrogen, which derives from water and has the potential to be very sustainable. It could be that this technology is another option to electricity. At the moment electricity is financially unviable for many consumers. Clearly there needs to be greater attention paid to this matter, and it would help to think laterally and in terms of longevity. In 15 years, a homeowner may have to upgrade their heat pump as they would do their boiler. A new boiler would cost you around £2000 in total, yet a heat pump comes in at around £5000 at least. This is with the proviso that there are a sufficient number of F Gas-qualified installers who are licensed to service heat pumps. Many boiler installers will need to upskill, and this may come at a higher cost both for installers and homeowners. In our pursuit to be green we must take a more holistic approach and account for every eventuality and ramification possible. On a separate note, the move towards electricity needs to be better funded. Whilst it is positive to see that we are steadily eliminating carbon-hungry fuel, someone has to pay for the decarbonisation on our national grid. At present the reality isn’t moving in tandem with the expectations, and if things remain unchanged, I fear it will push many into even deeper fuel poverty.  
    440 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The UK urgently needs to decarbonise its grid, yet the cost of more sustainable supplies such as electricity will be untenable for the everyday bill payer writes Alex Hill, Managing Director at Whitecode. The technology is without question extremely promising, but how will the reality affect the general public? Will it further push consumers into greater fuel poverty? Is our green ambition just a dream? A report produced by the thinktank, Ember, revealed that renewable energy generated by wind, sunlight, water and wood constituted 42% of the UK’s electricity last year compared with 41% generated from gas and coal plants together. These findings are hugely encouraging if the UK is going to fulfil its aim to eliminate fossil fuel heating. The report represents quite a milestone and reassuringly suggests that we are weaning ourselves off unsustainable heat supplies. The war effort is clearly working, no doubt as a result of assistance from the UK government which has launched a series of schemes – including the Clean Heat Grant – to encourage homeowners to adopt renewable technologies. These schemes sit well with the ban of fossil fuel heating in new UK homes, which will come into effect in 2025. Whilst this all sounds highly encouraging and positive, the caveat is the cost. Air source heat pumps have been lobbied and heralded as the solution to cleaner heat, yet the financial burden of electricity will weigh heavy on consumers. When I started out as an engineer around 20 years ago the cost of electricity was 8p per kilowatt. Fast forward to 2021 and the amount peaks at 17p! In comparison, the price of gas hasn’t changed much at all and has remained at the cheap price of 3p. As a result of electricity’s high costs, we are seeing some homeowners receiving extortionate energy bills each month, sums well above the average running costs. Everyone is talking about going green and being carbon neutral, but what about fuel poverty? What are the solutions? If you have a gas boiler that runs cheaply in comparison; where is the incentive for you to change your boiler and supply? The ban on fossil fuel heating is solely for new homes and does not account for the existing stock. Some boiler manufacturers are exploring other options including hydrogen, which derives from water and has the potential to be very sustainable. It could be that this technology is another option to electricity. At the moment electricity is financially unviable for many consumers. Clearly there needs to be greater attention paid to this matter, and it would help to think laterally and in terms of longevity. In 15 years, a homeowner may have to upgrade their heat pump as they would do their boiler. A new boiler would cost you around £2000 in total, yet a heat pump comes in at around £5000 at least. This is with the proviso that there are a sufficient number of F Gas-qualified installers who are licensed to service heat pumps. Many boiler installers will need to upskill, and this may come at a higher cost both for installers and homeowners. In our pursuit to be green we must take a more holistic approach and account for every eventuality and ramification possible. On a separate note, the move towards electricity needs to be better funded. Whilst it is positive to see that we are steadily eliminating carbon-hungry fuel, someone has to pay for the decarbonisation on our national grid. At present the reality isn’t moving in tandem with the expectations, and if things remain unchanged, I fear it will push many into even deeper fuel poverty.  
    Apr 15, 2021 440
  • 14 Apr 2021
    The UK construction industry is continuing to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but is still facing ongoing challenges when it comes to design detail and the specification process writesLisa Sherburne-Kilby, Commercial Operations Director, Masonry UK at Leviat . All too often information is missing from drawings, leaving decisions to those on the ground who may invariably take the opportunity to reduce costs by substituting products. This can lead to a loss of design intent and quality.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way.  How then can manufacturers play their part in the specification process and ensure that value engineering is not simply cost cutting at the expense of quality but rather a method of ensuring the client gets the best possible value for money with products that improve the functionality and quality of the project? In her report Building A Safer Future, Dame Judith Hackett said that the term value engineering should be driven out of construction, saying that she would be “happy to never hear [it] again.”  The term has divided the industry because simply reducing cost at the expense of quality is not value engineering. The process can, in some instances, involve substituting or swapping quality products for cheaper and inferior alternatives that do not meet relevant industry standards because seemingly they appear ‘better value’. In the long term, this can compromise the overall effectiveness of a building and have more serious implications in terms of fire, health and safety.  Product substitution should only occur where there is a clear comparison in performance against the required specification. Transparency and collaboration In its simplest terms, true value engineering is problem-solving which is why the relationship between building product manufacturer and specifier has never been more important. At Leviat, one of our core values is Customer Focus that we express as ‘we put our customer at the heart of it all’; this means we are committed to understanding and achieving their vision.  We will review an engineer’s or architect’s principal concepts and advise the suitability of products, highlighting any design concerns early so they do not become costly surprises later in the supply process. A well-engineered and well-understood product will add value and not cause a contractor issues during installation or the building owner during its lifecycle. Whilst being able to provide a range of standard products which specifiers can select to a set performance and criteria is part of what we do, a large part of our work is ‘designed bespoke’ to overcome engineering challenges. In other words, we will take a standard product, adapt it for a project and then ensure it is fit for purpose. This was the case on a project in Nightingale Place, South London. In order to help the customer avoid the need for additional restraint fixings into the Post Tensioned (PT) slab and the use of expansion bolts into highly stresses zones, we created a stiffened channel to the underside of our brackets allowing flexibility of the joint position. In short, all our designs start from the principle of providing an engineered solution that the customer will be confident safely delivers the performance aspirations for the project. Each project is unique in its needs which is why many of our product innovations are driven by our understanding of frequent design demands in complex projects or novel solutions to unusual design challenges, and then offering that new product solution to the wider market. Early engagement As a manufacturer, the earlier our technical engineers and sales team engage in the specification process the better, so we can have an understanding of the facts at the front end and be able to identify the areas which are most at risk of costs escalating. To reduce the risk of surprise, we need to align our design with the client’s design in order to allow for flexibility on site. 3D modelling software enables collaboration during the design stage as it gives all parties a view on how products will fit together and if there is likely to be any clashes or interferences. In an ideal world, collaboration and early engagement amongst all stakeholders on a construction project should become the norm as it will ensure all parties have a deeper understanding of a project resulting in a more accurate specification process and huge benefits to the end-outcome. Furthermore, when practiced correctly and at the early stages of a build, value engineering will optimise the value of a project, improving performance and quality. As a manufacturer of engineered construction technology, we take our responsibilities very seriously. The design and construction of buildings is a joint responsibility across the entire supply chain from architects and designers to contractor, consultants and manufacturers. Organisations such as the CPA (Construction Products Association) are helping to bridge the divide that has existed – following two years of engagement with industry, they have developed a Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) and are about to undertake consultation on its new 11-point agenda. This is aiming to set a level playing field for all construction product manufacturers to ensure that the information they provide, in whatever format that might be, is clear, accurate, up to date and unambiguous. This mirrors how we operate and as such we welcome this step towards creating a better built environment.
    328 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The UK construction industry is continuing to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but is still facing ongoing challenges when it comes to design detail and the specification process writesLisa Sherburne-Kilby, Commercial Operations Director, Masonry UK at Leviat . All too often information is missing from drawings, leaving decisions to those on the ground who may invariably take the opportunity to reduce costs by substituting products. This can lead to a loss of design intent and quality.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way.  How then can manufacturers play their part in the specification process and ensure that value engineering is not simply cost cutting at the expense of quality but rather a method of ensuring the client gets the best possible value for money with products that improve the functionality and quality of the project? In her report Building A Safer Future, Dame Judith Hackett said that the term value engineering should be driven out of construction, saying that she would be “happy to never hear [it] again.”  The term has divided the industry because simply reducing cost at the expense of quality is not value engineering. The process can, in some instances, involve substituting or swapping quality products for cheaper and inferior alternatives that do not meet relevant industry standards because seemingly they appear ‘better value’. In the long term, this can compromise the overall effectiveness of a building and have more serious implications in terms of fire, health and safety.  Product substitution should only occur where there is a clear comparison in performance against the required specification. Transparency and collaboration In its simplest terms, true value engineering is problem-solving which is why the relationship between building product manufacturer and specifier has never been more important. At Leviat, one of our core values is Customer Focus that we express as ‘we put our customer at the heart of it all’; this means we are committed to understanding and achieving their vision.  We will review an engineer’s or architect’s principal concepts and advise the suitability of products, highlighting any design concerns early so they do not become costly surprises later in the supply process. A well-engineered and well-understood product will add value and not cause a contractor issues during installation or the building owner during its lifecycle. Whilst being able to provide a range of standard products which specifiers can select to a set performance and criteria is part of what we do, a large part of our work is ‘designed bespoke’ to overcome engineering challenges. In other words, we will take a standard product, adapt it for a project and then ensure it is fit for purpose. This was the case on a project in Nightingale Place, South London. In order to help the customer avoid the need for additional restraint fixings into the Post Tensioned (PT) slab and the use of expansion bolts into highly stresses zones, we created a stiffened channel to the underside of our brackets allowing flexibility of the joint position. In short, all our designs start from the principle of providing an engineered solution that the customer will be confident safely delivers the performance aspirations for the project. Each project is unique in its needs which is why many of our product innovations are driven by our understanding of frequent design demands in complex projects or novel solutions to unusual design challenges, and then offering that new product solution to the wider market. Early engagement As a manufacturer, the earlier our technical engineers and sales team engage in the specification process the better, so we can have an understanding of the facts at the front end and be able to identify the areas which are most at risk of costs escalating. To reduce the risk of surprise, we need to align our design with the client’s design in order to allow for flexibility on site. 3D modelling software enables collaboration during the design stage as it gives all parties a view on how products will fit together and if there is likely to be any clashes or interferences. In an ideal world, collaboration and early engagement amongst all stakeholders on a construction project should become the norm as it will ensure all parties have a deeper understanding of a project resulting in a more accurate specification process and huge benefits to the end-outcome. Furthermore, when practiced correctly and at the early stages of a build, value engineering will optimise the value of a project, improving performance and quality. As a manufacturer of engineered construction technology, we take our responsibilities very seriously. The design and construction of buildings is a joint responsibility across the entire supply chain from architects and designers to contractor, consultants and manufacturers. Organisations such as the CPA (Construction Products Association) are helping to bridge the divide that has existed – following two years of engagement with industry, they have developed a Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) and are about to undertake consultation on its new 11-point agenda. This is aiming to set a level playing field for all construction product manufacturers to ensure that the information they provide, in whatever format that might be, is clear, accurate, up to date and unambiguous. This mirrors how we operate and as such we welcome this step towards creating a better built environment.
    Apr 14, 2021 328
  • 05 Apr 2021
    In her report, ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, Dame Judith Hackitt spoke of the need for a golden thread of information to preserve the design and construction information in a standardised format. It’s proposed that keeping a permanent record of the material composition of a building’s fabric, for example, will ensure regulatory fire safety and energy performance is maintained and updated in the event of alterations writes Simon Blackham, Technical Manager at Recticel Insulation. Dame Judith’s recommendation has been welcomed by the construction industry. Its implementation would allow all links within the building supply chain access to a raft of design information that will help bridge the performance gap which plagues the UK’s housing stock. Building products which are replicable perform as stated and maintain long-term quality will be crucial to upholding the golden thread and avoiding a post-refurbishment shortfall in energy performance, hence the need for insulation that fulfils the aforementioned criteria. Designed with the installer and end user in mind It could be said that Recticel’s high-performance full-fill insulation boardEurowall + was a product tailor made for the golden thread process, despite its development preceding Dame Judith’s report by a good many years. From concept to delivery, Eurowall + is a product produced with the applicator and end user in mind. The ease of its installation, which coupled with its innovative tongue and groove joints around its edges, meant Recticel was able to deliver a board with superb thermal properties that was able to be installed with consistent and repeatable performance on site.   Whilst many rigid full-fill products are 97mm or thicker for a designed cavity width of 100mm, Eurowall + offers a 90mm insulation board to achieve similar thermal performance, at the same time avoiding impediments to conventional bricklaying techniques. The 10mm gap allows installers adequate room to ensure the boards fit tightly to a cavity wall’s inner leaf in a process that reduces on-site labour times, but improves the quality of the installation itself.  The panel’s tongue-and-groove joint means it forms a secure tight lock with other boards, thus increasing protection against wind-driven rain and reducing convectional heat loss through gaps between boards. Unlike fibrous insulation solutions such as mineral wool which degrades overtime and slumps within the cavity, particularly when damp, in five, 10 and 20 years’ time Eurowall + panels will remain locked in position, performing as well as they did when first installed. Compliant products a must for futureproof properties  Product stability and consistency are key characteristics for the creation of future proof buildings. It’s a performance which can be monitored thanks to the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) providing a digital window into how a property’s performance tails off over time due to the changing composition of its fabric. Going forwards, if the golden thread of information is to command relevance within the industry, then products specified to insulate walls, roofs and floors must come with compliance in-built in order to guarantee performance for a number of years, rather than months. Time to act As with most good ideas, Dame Judith’s golden thread proposition is founded in good old-fashioned common sense. The fact that many properties fail to reach industry-required energy performance due to the quality of materials installed within the fabric ought not to be considered a revelation. Yet this poor practice continues. We can no longer afford to pay lip service to the demand for better quality buildings. Homes account for three-quarters of the UK’s CO2 emissions created by heating buildings; an unfortunate, yet unsurprising figure given that BBC analysis in 2020 revealed that nearly two-thirds of the country’s housing stock failed to meet long-term energy efficiency targets. If the UK government is to fulfil its pledge for mid-century carbon neutrality, then now is the time for the construction industry to take up Dame Judith’s golden thread proposal and run with it.  
    459 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In her report, ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, Dame Judith Hackitt spoke of the need for a golden thread of information to preserve the design and construction information in a standardised format. It’s proposed that keeping a permanent record of the material composition of a building’s fabric, for example, will ensure regulatory fire safety and energy performance is maintained and updated in the event of alterations writes Simon Blackham, Technical Manager at Recticel Insulation. Dame Judith’s recommendation has been welcomed by the construction industry. Its implementation would allow all links within the building supply chain access to a raft of design information that will help bridge the performance gap which plagues the UK’s housing stock. Building products which are replicable perform as stated and maintain long-term quality will be crucial to upholding the golden thread and avoiding a post-refurbishment shortfall in energy performance, hence the need for insulation that fulfils the aforementioned criteria. Designed with the installer and end user in mind It could be said that Recticel’s high-performance full-fill insulation boardEurowall + was a product tailor made for the golden thread process, despite its development preceding Dame Judith’s report by a good many years. From concept to delivery, Eurowall + is a product produced with the applicator and end user in mind. The ease of its installation, which coupled with its innovative tongue and groove joints around its edges, meant Recticel was able to deliver a board with superb thermal properties that was able to be installed with consistent and repeatable performance on site.   Whilst many rigid full-fill products are 97mm or thicker for a designed cavity width of 100mm, Eurowall + offers a 90mm insulation board to achieve similar thermal performance, at the same time avoiding impediments to conventional bricklaying techniques. The 10mm gap allows installers adequate room to ensure the boards fit tightly to a cavity wall’s inner leaf in a process that reduces on-site labour times, but improves the quality of the installation itself.  The panel’s tongue-and-groove joint means it forms a secure tight lock with other boards, thus increasing protection against wind-driven rain and reducing convectional heat loss through gaps between boards. Unlike fibrous insulation solutions such as mineral wool which degrades overtime and slumps within the cavity, particularly when damp, in five, 10 and 20 years’ time Eurowall + panels will remain locked in position, performing as well as they did when first installed. Compliant products a must for futureproof properties  Product stability and consistency are key characteristics for the creation of future proof buildings. It’s a performance which can be monitored thanks to the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) providing a digital window into how a property’s performance tails off over time due to the changing composition of its fabric. Going forwards, if the golden thread of information is to command relevance within the industry, then products specified to insulate walls, roofs and floors must come with compliance in-built in order to guarantee performance for a number of years, rather than months. Time to act As with most good ideas, Dame Judith’s golden thread proposition is founded in good old-fashioned common sense. The fact that many properties fail to reach industry-required energy performance due to the quality of materials installed within the fabric ought not to be considered a revelation. Yet this poor practice continues. We can no longer afford to pay lip service to the demand for better quality buildings. Homes account for three-quarters of the UK’s CO2 emissions created by heating buildings; an unfortunate, yet unsurprising figure given that BBC analysis in 2020 revealed that nearly two-thirds of the country’s housing stock failed to meet long-term energy efficiency targets. If the UK government is to fulfil its pledge for mid-century carbon neutrality, then now is the time for the construction industry to take up Dame Judith’s golden thread proposal and run with it.  
    Apr 05, 2021 459
  • 29 Mar 2021
    The construction industry is the UK’s biggest consumer of natural resources. The finding was revealed as part of a study by Waste Management and Reprocessors (WRAP) which works with businesses, local authorities and governments to improve recycling collections and reduce waste writes James Wilkinson, Design Team Manager at Gradient. According to WRAP, the building sector uses 400 million tonnes of material each year, resulting in an annual production of 100 million tonnes of waste. The data does nothing to assuage the notion that the construction industry’s renowned reliance on traditional practices and techniques is to the detriment of its environmental performance. The tide is turning though, and the building supply chain is bolstered by manufacturers and the like making sustainability core to their offering. Gradient is one such company. As a turnkey service supplier of flat and tapered roof insulation, each element of Gradient’s provision – from the initial client contact, to site surveys and the bespoke creation and delivery of the product itself – is aimed at minimising waste. Such is the forensic detail applied to the systems we manufacture; the amount of insulation we provide will be precisely what is needed to meet project requirements – no more, no less. This not only minimises material waste, it makes for a more cost-effective installation, which is in itself has sustainable benefit. Call-off duty As well as avoiding over-specifying materials, Gradient offers a call-off delivery service for customers. This allows bulk orders to be delivered over a period of time. Providing installers with the right amount of product when needed significantly reduces instances of unused materials being left around site to deteriorate. This ‘call-off’ system is of particular benefit in city-based construction projects where space is likely to be severely limited, and having spare materials deposited about a site poses an increasing health and safety risk, as well as accruing a costly build-up of waste. On congested sites with minimal storage room, phased delivery times also protect against the far from ideal scenario of using roofs as a convenient facility to stow unrequired items. For waterproof installers with little site space in which to manoeuvre, but with a 10,000m2 at their disposal, it’s a temptation few would find easy to resist. But leaving materials unsecure and exposed upon a roof risks damaging the items themselves, as well as the roof they are designed to protect. It also imperils other areas of a site due to the potential for materials or debris to be blown from the roof. Such an outcome could not only cause serious injury to a passing trades person or member of the public, it would likely lead to project delay and tarnishing of the reputation of the company involved. Building sustainability into design Putting sustainability at the core of tapered insulation and roof design in practical terms means initiating processes which make a difference to waste generation. At Gradient, for example, our technicians try to minimise the number of different falls on a roof. This uniform approach to design allows insulation boards unused in one area of a roof to be installed elsewhere within the application. This recycling of materials comes at zero cost to the insulation system’s overall performance, but does spare high-performance boarding from being cast to the skip. Sustainability is endemic within Gradient’s culture. Hence in terms of the design process, our technical teams are not only focused on creating a flat or tapered roofing insulation that is specific to a client’s requirements and built to last the lifespan of a building, they will challenge themselves to optimise a project’s environmental performance. The off-site manufacture of systems within a controlled environment is a major contributor to our sustainably-favourable output. For example, our single-layer tapered insulation systems arrive on site pre-bonded, thus eliminating the need for installers to adhere the boards themselves, a process which could be delayed by exterior elements causing moisture or debris to contaminate the glue, rendering it unusable. Again, seemingly minor issues such as this can parlay to increase costs which would otherwise by offset by taking a more sustainable approach to the job in hand. Don’t let sustainable working practices go to waste By creating the opportunity for waste – which also incurs expense during its transportation and safe disposal – those involved in the building supply chain throw away the chance of driving down project costs that are ultimately borne by the customer. The environment also suffers, which in the long-term affects us all if we are denied the chance to breathe cleaner, less-polluted air. It’s a situation that can be fixed if all strands of the construction industry were, like Gradient, to go one step further in striving to reduce their carbon footprint.  
    370 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The construction industry is the UK’s biggest consumer of natural resources. The finding was revealed as part of a study by Waste Management and Reprocessors (WRAP) which works with businesses, local authorities and governments to improve recycling collections and reduce waste writes James Wilkinson, Design Team Manager at Gradient. According to WRAP, the building sector uses 400 million tonnes of material each year, resulting in an annual production of 100 million tonnes of waste. The data does nothing to assuage the notion that the construction industry’s renowned reliance on traditional practices and techniques is to the detriment of its environmental performance. The tide is turning though, and the building supply chain is bolstered by manufacturers and the like making sustainability core to their offering. Gradient is one such company. As a turnkey service supplier of flat and tapered roof insulation, each element of Gradient’s provision – from the initial client contact, to site surveys and the bespoke creation and delivery of the product itself – is aimed at minimising waste. Such is the forensic detail applied to the systems we manufacture; the amount of insulation we provide will be precisely what is needed to meet project requirements – no more, no less. This not only minimises material waste, it makes for a more cost-effective installation, which is in itself has sustainable benefit. Call-off duty As well as avoiding over-specifying materials, Gradient offers a call-off delivery service for customers. This allows bulk orders to be delivered over a period of time. Providing installers with the right amount of product when needed significantly reduces instances of unused materials being left around site to deteriorate. This ‘call-off’ system is of particular benefit in city-based construction projects where space is likely to be severely limited, and having spare materials deposited about a site poses an increasing health and safety risk, as well as accruing a costly build-up of waste. On congested sites with minimal storage room, phased delivery times also protect against the far from ideal scenario of using roofs as a convenient facility to stow unrequired items. For waterproof installers with little site space in which to manoeuvre, but with a 10,000m2 at their disposal, it’s a temptation few would find easy to resist. But leaving materials unsecure and exposed upon a roof risks damaging the items themselves, as well as the roof they are designed to protect. It also imperils other areas of a site due to the potential for materials or debris to be blown from the roof. Such an outcome could not only cause serious injury to a passing trades person or member of the public, it would likely lead to project delay and tarnishing of the reputation of the company involved. Building sustainability into design Putting sustainability at the core of tapered insulation and roof design in practical terms means initiating processes which make a difference to waste generation. At Gradient, for example, our technicians try to minimise the number of different falls on a roof. This uniform approach to design allows insulation boards unused in one area of a roof to be installed elsewhere within the application. This recycling of materials comes at zero cost to the insulation system’s overall performance, but does spare high-performance boarding from being cast to the skip. Sustainability is endemic within Gradient’s culture. Hence in terms of the design process, our technical teams are not only focused on creating a flat or tapered roofing insulation that is specific to a client’s requirements and built to last the lifespan of a building, they will challenge themselves to optimise a project’s environmental performance. The off-site manufacture of systems within a controlled environment is a major contributor to our sustainably-favourable output. For example, our single-layer tapered insulation systems arrive on site pre-bonded, thus eliminating the need for installers to adhere the boards themselves, a process which could be delayed by exterior elements causing moisture or debris to contaminate the glue, rendering it unusable. Again, seemingly minor issues such as this can parlay to increase costs which would otherwise by offset by taking a more sustainable approach to the job in hand. Don’t let sustainable working practices go to waste By creating the opportunity for waste – which also incurs expense during its transportation and safe disposal – those involved in the building supply chain throw away the chance of driving down project costs that are ultimately borne by the customer. The environment also suffers, which in the long-term affects us all if we are denied the chance to breathe cleaner, less-polluted air. It’s a situation that can be fixed if all strands of the construction industry were, like Gradient, to go one step further in striving to reduce their carbon footprint.  
    Mar 29, 2021 370
  • 24 Mar 2021
    Hidden cost puts a huge dent in a construction project’s progress, causing delay and leading to contractors utilising contingency funds and eroding profit margins. Software creator, Buildots explains how AI (Artificial Intelligence) shrinks this costly expenditure, providing contractors with accurate data to make better decisions, analyse project performance and save precious time and money. There are so many ways to articulate what AI is, but here at Buildots we see it as a machine’s ability to perform an action or reach a conclusion similarly to how we do. As humans, we look at an image and make a decision – it is after all, a learnt behaviour – and AI performs this task in a like-for-like manner. For busy project or site managers in the construction industry who don’t have the time to manually inspect thousands of components on a weekly basis, AI can be utilised to capture and analyse huge amounts of data, reporting on a project’s progress to ensure all works are on schedule. Buildots’ solution – of which AI is a main facet – lets site managers know the exact status of a project via access to a single online platform. Buildots leverages the capacity of off-the-shelf 360-degree cameras to capture site data and compare it with the BIM information, creating a perfect view of a project. On top of the live model an advanced dashboard system creates the construction control centre, showing progress reports, monthly evaluations and flags any divergences from the 3D model. AI and BIM work hand-in-hand to analyse whether the design is being followed onsite, and empowers site managers to action immediate changes, which reduce the likelihood of hidden costs in the future.   AI’s real-time benefits Unanticipated costs can be a real burden to contractors, bruising productivity and significantly affecting project margins. These costs often stem from the need to rectify issues onsite that have long gone undetected, as a project manager hasn’t had the time to double check whether something has or hasn’t been installed. Sometimes projects are delayed for months, as walls or access routes have been missed. This is where AI really comes into its own; with site managers able to reliably track project activity which is actionable immediately, instead of in three months’ time when work has moved on to the next stage. AI acts as an early warning system, providing a high-level view of an entire project to make changes and inform decision-making. But as well as reducing the chances of unforeseen costs, Buildots’ system sustains a project’s momentum, tracking exactly what happens and when so that project teams hit their targets and milestones. Buildots goes one-step further Whilst the Buildots platform starts with data capture, the real value is derived from enabling contractors to analyse the information to underpin decision-making. This offers a multitude of benefits both in terms of a project’s success and a construction business more widely. To put it succinctly, AI helps to futureproof businesses. This technology is a real game-changer for contractors, elevating the amount of data available to them and giving enhanced visibility on project performance. With this level of granularity, contractors may use the information to know where best to invest their resources and improve as a business. If for instance contractors find they are spending time and money rectifying mistakes, AI as a solution resolves this risky issue. AI achieves this as the data analysis it enables lets contractors highlight the problems at hand, so they can kickstart the behaviour change that is needed.   AI enables contractors to have a 360-degree view of their project to make better decisions regarding progress and productivity. As project managers simply do not have the resource to manually inspect every component, AI is the extra pair of eyes, keeping a programme on-time and to budget. With multiple benefits on offer it is no wonder why AI is here to stay in the industry.
    255 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Hidden cost puts a huge dent in a construction project’s progress, causing delay and leading to contractors utilising contingency funds and eroding profit margins. Software creator, Buildots explains how AI (Artificial Intelligence) shrinks this costly expenditure, providing contractors with accurate data to make better decisions, analyse project performance and save precious time and money. There are so many ways to articulate what AI is, but here at Buildots we see it as a machine’s ability to perform an action or reach a conclusion similarly to how we do. As humans, we look at an image and make a decision – it is after all, a learnt behaviour – and AI performs this task in a like-for-like manner. For busy project or site managers in the construction industry who don’t have the time to manually inspect thousands of components on a weekly basis, AI can be utilised to capture and analyse huge amounts of data, reporting on a project’s progress to ensure all works are on schedule. Buildots’ solution – of which AI is a main facet – lets site managers know the exact status of a project via access to a single online platform. Buildots leverages the capacity of off-the-shelf 360-degree cameras to capture site data and compare it with the BIM information, creating a perfect view of a project. On top of the live model an advanced dashboard system creates the construction control centre, showing progress reports, monthly evaluations and flags any divergences from the 3D model. AI and BIM work hand-in-hand to analyse whether the design is being followed onsite, and empowers site managers to action immediate changes, which reduce the likelihood of hidden costs in the future.   AI’s real-time benefits Unanticipated costs can be a real burden to contractors, bruising productivity and significantly affecting project margins. These costs often stem from the need to rectify issues onsite that have long gone undetected, as a project manager hasn’t had the time to double check whether something has or hasn’t been installed. Sometimes projects are delayed for months, as walls or access routes have been missed. This is where AI really comes into its own; with site managers able to reliably track project activity which is actionable immediately, instead of in three months’ time when work has moved on to the next stage. AI acts as an early warning system, providing a high-level view of an entire project to make changes and inform decision-making. But as well as reducing the chances of unforeseen costs, Buildots’ system sustains a project’s momentum, tracking exactly what happens and when so that project teams hit their targets and milestones. Buildots goes one-step further Whilst the Buildots platform starts with data capture, the real value is derived from enabling contractors to analyse the information to underpin decision-making. This offers a multitude of benefits both in terms of a project’s success and a construction business more widely. To put it succinctly, AI helps to futureproof businesses. This technology is a real game-changer for contractors, elevating the amount of data available to them and giving enhanced visibility on project performance. With this level of granularity, contractors may use the information to know where best to invest their resources and improve as a business. If for instance contractors find they are spending time and money rectifying mistakes, AI as a solution resolves this risky issue. AI achieves this as the data analysis it enables lets contractors highlight the problems at hand, so they can kickstart the behaviour change that is needed.   AI enables contractors to have a 360-degree view of their project to make better decisions regarding progress and productivity. As project managers simply do not have the resource to manually inspect every component, AI is the extra pair of eyes, keeping a programme on-time and to budget. With multiple benefits on offer it is no wonder why AI is here to stay in the industry.
    Mar 24, 2021 255
  • 23 Mar 2021
    A property owner has submitted a planning application to add three additional stories to a North London residential tower block to help fund the removal of unsafe ACM cladding on the lower 14 floors writes Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance. Whilst the concept might be sound on paper, has the design considered the fire safety aspect and how to keep people safe in a building that will be changed? The owner of Premier House in Edgeware, North London, is planning to add three additional stories and a rooftop garden to the building to partially fund the remediation work on the rest of the building. This planned alteration also brings into sharp focus the 2020 change to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) allowing building owners to add up to two storeys on top of existing detached and purpose-built blocks of flats through a fast-track process. In either case, it is critical to ask the question, how has the risk changed by adding these floors? Upward extensions such as the one proposed at Premier House need to be carried out after careful consideration and assessment of the existing building and its fire strategy. Which sort of evacuation plans are in place for the current building? How many extra people will be residents in the altered building? Will the staircases and door widths accommodate these additional people and provide access to firefighters? Which material is the new extension going to be made of?  Will it alter the fire load materially? The change needs to be considered holistically not on the addition alone.  There is a tendency to think about the structure, aesthetics and thermal efficiency of the new sections of the building when undertaking such alterations. What is needed is to reconsider the fire safety of the building from the ground upwards. Renovations and changes such as these are often intended to make the building better for its tenants.  Unfortunately the law of unintended consequences often means that these intentions are not realised. Another consideration is the new 11-metre storey height sprinkler threshold that came into force last November. This will be an interesting case to follow as this change will have implications for the overall building. Regardless of this change, from a fire safety perspective sprinklers make a lot of sense and are a key component in the long-term strategy of any building. If considered early in the design process, they can be included and implemented whilst balancing costs. Developers need to have an open mind to other fire safety solutions, particularly sprinklers, and think about the best solutions to employ for such a change considering the building as a whole Early consideration of automatic sprinkler systems in the design process, opens up a number of significant design opportunities which could provide solutions, to the challenges such projects will inevitably face.  This will only happen when the fire strategy for the whole building is considered at the start of a project.  We must stop thinking of fire safety as an ‘add on’.
    225 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A property owner has submitted a planning application to add three additional stories to a North London residential tower block to help fund the removal of unsafe ACM cladding on the lower 14 floors writes Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance. Whilst the concept might be sound on paper, has the design considered the fire safety aspect and how to keep people safe in a building that will be changed? The owner of Premier House in Edgeware, North London, is planning to add three additional stories and a rooftop garden to the building to partially fund the remediation work on the rest of the building. This planned alteration also brings into sharp focus the 2020 change to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) allowing building owners to add up to two storeys on top of existing detached and purpose-built blocks of flats through a fast-track process. In either case, it is critical to ask the question, how has the risk changed by adding these floors? Upward extensions such as the one proposed at Premier House need to be carried out after careful consideration and assessment of the existing building and its fire strategy. Which sort of evacuation plans are in place for the current building? How many extra people will be residents in the altered building? Will the staircases and door widths accommodate these additional people and provide access to firefighters? Which material is the new extension going to be made of?  Will it alter the fire load materially? The change needs to be considered holistically not on the addition alone.  There is a tendency to think about the structure, aesthetics and thermal efficiency of the new sections of the building when undertaking such alterations. What is needed is to reconsider the fire safety of the building from the ground upwards. Renovations and changes such as these are often intended to make the building better for its tenants.  Unfortunately the law of unintended consequences often means that these intentions are not realised. Another consideration is the new 11-metre storey height sprinkler threshold that came into force last November. This will be an interesting case to follow as this change will have implications for the overall building. Regardless of this change, from a fire safety perspective sprinklers make a lot of sense and are a key component in the long-term strategy of any building. If considered early in the design process, they can be included and implemented whilst balancing costs. Developers need to have an open mind to other fire safety solutions, particularly sprinklers, and think about the best solutions to employ for such a change considering the building as a whole Early consideration of automatic sprinkler systems in the design process, opens up a number of significant design opportunities which could provide solutions, to the challenges such projects will inevitably face.  This will only happen when the fire strategy for the whole building is considered at the start of a project.  We must stop thinking of fire safety as an ‘add on’.
    Mar 23, 2021 225
  • 16 Mar 2021
    Dependent on the products and materials used, a flat roof’s waterproofing should last between 20 and 40 years writes Kevin O’ Connell from the IKO Group . Good maintenance will also contribute to its performance and longevity. But which proactive steps need to be taken when a waterproofing system reaches the end of its serviceable life? Roofing purpose When deciding on a waterproofing system for a flat roof application, it’s important to consider what it’s meant to do. An appropriately-designed and correctly-installed solution will prevent a prevalence of standing water, which in-turn will protect the structural integrity of the building itself. Water carries immense weight and when left to pond, it could lead to the breakdown of the roof’s coating which will leave the roof susceptible to the UV degradation. As an example of the immense strain it can bring to bear, 1mm of water per m2 equates to 1kg. Therefore, that same level of water across a 5mm x 30m2 surface would be akin to two adults standing on a roof. Long-standing water can also promote vegetation growth in the form of plants and fungi; wildlife that can penetrate a flat roof’s surface and cause untold damage to the building itself. As well as keeping a roof dry, a good waterproofing system should ensure it achieves regulatory levels of thermal performance. In poorly insulated homes, roofs account for 25% of a building’s heat loss. It is crucial, therefore, that the insulation supplied as part of a build-up offers an effective barrier to energy escape whilst being of suitable thickness to prevent the obstruction of door and window thresholds. Its design should also take into account roofs with plant installations, walkways and safety features such as guardrails and hatch systems. Monitor to prevent major repairs Good management can be achieved by gaining anunderstanding of your roof stock. Is it old or is it new? Are there other plans for the building that could impact the roof? New windows may provide less ventilation than old ones; therefore will an extension be required to facilitate such an installation?   Prevention is better than cure, a saying that is particularly pertinent to roofing management. Neglecting to act upon tell-tale signs of a roof’s degradation can transform a seemingly minor maintenance issue into a major repair project that potentially comes at great expense to a property owner in order to keep it weathertight and its occupants safe. This worst-case scenario can be avoided by keeping a periodical look-out for signs of natural wear and tear which indicate a roof’s performance is in danger of being compromised. These visual sirens might include elements such as lap joints becoming loose or in the case of an asphalt roof, the appearance of surface lumps and creases, or even blocked outlets. Getting the balance right In terms of appropriate waterproof specification for flat roofs, property owners must strike a balance between the ‘nice’ to have, with the ‘need’ to have. To ensure this thin line is more easily navigated, it’s important to decide upon a level of spending by drawing up a budget. This should take into account future plans for the roof asset and the building itself. Engage with the experts The aforementioned issues can be overcome by engaging with roofing, waterproofing and insulation experts such as IKO Group. Our industry expertise is available to facilitate an appropriate solution for a wide range of flat and tapered roof applications. In terms of performance and cost, we have the all-round knowledge to direct clients towards the most appropriate waterproofing solution.  We understand that although hardly out of sight; roofs are out of mind for most people – it’s just not something they choose to think about. However, this shouldn’t detract from their everyday importance, and at IKO we’ve got the whole of issue of roofing design and performance covered. Early engagement will always result in a more favourable outcome.
    205 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Dependent on the products and materials used, a flat roof’s waterproofing should last between 20 and 40 years writes Kevin O’ Connell from the IKO Group . Good maintenance will also contribute to its performance and longevity. But which proactive steps need to be taken when a waterproofing system reaches the end of its serviceable life? Roofing purpose When deciding on a waterproofing system for a flat roof application, it’s important to consider what it’s meant to do. An appropriately-designed and correctly-installed solution will prevent a prevalence of standing water, which in-turn will protect the structural integrity of the building itself. Water carries immense weight and when left to pond, it could lead to the breakdown of the roof’s coating which will leave the roof susceptible to the UV degradation. As an example of the immense strain it can bring to bear, 1mm of water per m2 equates to 1kg. Therefore, that same level of water across a 5mm x 30m2 surface would be akin to two adults standing on a roof. Long-standing water can also promote vegetation growth in the form of plants and fungi; wildlife that can penetrate a flat roof’s surface and cause untold damage to the building itself. As well as keeping a roof dry, a good waterproofing system should ensure it achieves regulatory levels of thermal performance. In poorly insulated homes, roofs account for 25% of a building’s heat loss. It is crucial, therefore, that the insulation supplied as part of a build-up offers an effective barrier to energy escape whilst being of suitable thickness to prevent the obstruction of door and window thresholds. Its design should also take into account roofs with plant installations, walkways and safety features such as guardrails and hatch systems. Monitor to prevent major repairs Good management can be achieved by gaining anunderstanding of your roof stock. Is it old or is it new? Are there other plans for the building that could impact the roof? New windows may provide less ventilation than old ones; therefore will an extension be required to facilitate such an installation?   Prevention is better than cure, a saying that is particularly pertinent to roofing management. Neglecting to act upon tell-tale signs of a roof’s degradation can transform a seemingly minor maintenance issue into a major repair project that potentially comes at great expense to a property owner in order to keep it weathertight and its occupants safe. This worst-case scenario can be avoided by keeping a periodical look-out for signs of natural wear and tear which indicate a roof’s performance is in danger of being compromised. These visual sirens might include elements such as lap joints becoming loose or in the case of an asphalt roof, the appearance of surface lumps and creases, or even blocked outlets. Getting the balance right In terms of appropriate waterproof specification for flat roofs, property owners must strike a balance between the ‘nice’ to have, with the ‘need’ to have. To ensure this thin line is more easily navigated, it’s important to decide upon a level of spending by drawing up a budget. This should take into account future plans for the roof asset and the building itself. Engage with the experts The aforementioned issues can be overcome by engaging with roofing, waterproofing and insulation experts such as IKO Group. Our industry expertise is available to facilitate an appropriate solution for a wide range of flat and tapered roof applications. In terms of performance and cost, we have the all-round knowledge to direct clients towards the most appropriate waterproofing solution.  We understand that although hardly out of sight; roofs are out of mind for most people – it’s just not something they choose to think about. However, this shouldn’t detract from their everyday importance, and at IKO we’ve got the whole of issue of roofing design and performance covered. Early engagement will always result in a more favourable outcome.
    Mar 16, 2021 205
  • 15 Mar 2021
    In a world of smart buildings, the link between building management systems and IT has never been more important, but these computer-based systems require an army of efficient sensors to ensure a building’s performance is optimised. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director of smart sensor supplier, Sontay offers insight into the important role of sensing devices and how they help create smarter buildings. We reportedly spend more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace, with air quality being crucial to the levels of comfort felt within these spaces. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. A sensor can help overcome this issue by providing data to a BMS managing humidity levels and ensuring an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents, the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and alert occupants of the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Sensors enable accurate data Building sensors, installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions. Designers and consultants need to be sure the equipment being used will perform as efficiently as possible, which is why access to accurate, reliable data detected initially by a sensor will ensure products endure the test of time and help maintain the optimum environment for inhabitants. As well as assuring a system works efficiently once installed, a consultant must also consider whether the products they have specified will perform as intended. On handover, sensors give eventual asset owners more control over the performance of a building and its energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. As well as assuring quality, performance and efficiency, sensors could be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050. The hidden workforce With clean lines and minimalist detail commonplace in modern building design, it is no wonder the humble sensor has been fashioned to look modest. However, do not be deceived; what the sensor lacks in size, it makes up for in power. One or two sensors on the wall are responsible for responding to and monitoring all the conditions of any controlled space. On the other side of the wall behind the scenes, there are scores of devices that are constantly managing the conditions of a controlled space. Air handling units are responsible for supplying and circulating air around a building, and also have to extract stale air from the premises. If fresh air is introduced into a building to ventilate a certain room, if it is freezing cold outside, the temperature of the air will have to be increased. It may also need to be filtered or dehumidified. Here, sensors come into their own, testing and monitoring the air so that data can be used to change the conditions of the controlled space. There will be sensors measuring the humidity and temperature of the air, sending information to the controller and in turn to the air handling unit on the other side so that air can be cooled and particles directed out. There’s an entire operation going on behind the scenes, of which sensors play an essential role in detecting whether an indoor environment is comfortable for occupants. Efficient installation Whether it is a new-build or refurbishment project, system integration is one of the key foundations for creating a smart, energy efficient building. Whilst sensors are an important element of a data-driven asset, for a Systems Integrator, a sensor’s installation must be as efficient as its eventual performance. Sontay understands that system integration is complex work, which is why its sensors offer ease of installation and commissioning. Many Systems Integrators need things immediately, and as a supplier Sontay is well-poised to swiftly deliver what is required. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming ever more vital to the way we work today, and in the future.  
    276 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In a world of smart buildings, the link between building management systems and IT has never been more important, but these computer-based systems require an army of efficient sensors to ensure a building’s performance is optimised. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director of smart sensor supplier, Sontay offers insight into the important role of sensing devices and how they help create smarter buildings. We reportedly spend more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace, with air quality being crucial to the levels of comfort felt within these spaces. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. A sensor can help overcome this issue by providing data to a BMS managing humidity levels and ensuring an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents, the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and alert occupants of the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Sensors enable accurate data Building sensors, installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions. Designers and consultants need to be sure the equipment being used will perform as efficiently as possible, which is why access to accurate, reliable data detected initially by a sensor will ensure products endure the test of time and help maintain the optimum environment for inhabitants. As well as assuring a system works efficiently once installed, a consultant must also consider whether the products they have specified will perform as intended. On handover, sensors give eventual asset owners more control over the performance of a building and its energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. As well as assuring quality, performance and efficiency, sensors could be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050. The hidden workforce With clean lines and minimalist detail commonplace in modern building design, it is no wonder the humble sensor has been fashioned to look modest. However, do not be deceived; what the sensor lacks in size, it makes up for in power. One or two sensors on the wall are responsible for responding to and monitoring all the conditions of any controlled space. On the other side of the wall behind the scenes, there are scores of devices that are constantly managing the conditions of a controlled space. Air handling units are responsible for supplying and circulating air around a building, and also have to extract stale air from the premises. If fresh air is introduced into a building to ventilate a certain room, if it is freezing cold outside, the temperature of the air will have to be increased. It may also need to be filtered or dehumidified. Here, sensors come into their own, testing and monitoring the air so that data can be used to change the conditions of the controlled space. There will be sensors measuring the humidity and temperature of the air, sending information to the controller and in turn to the air handling unit on the other side so that air can be cooled and particles directed out. There’s an entire operation going on behind the scenes, of which sensors play an essential role in detecting whether an indoor environment is comfortable for occupants. Efficient installation Whether it is a new-build or refurbishment project, system integration is one of the key foundations for creating a smart, energy efficient building. Whilst sensors are an important element of a data-driven asset, for a Systems Integrator, a sensor’s installation must be as efficient as its eventual performance. Sontay understands that system integration is complex work, which is why its sensors offer ease of installation and commissioning. Many Systems Integrators need things immediately, and as a supplier Sontay is well-poised to swiftly deliver what is required. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming ever more vital to the way we work today, and in the future.  
    Mar 15, 2021 276
  • 11 Mar 2021
    With one eye on the UK government’s target for carbon neutrality by 2050, the construction industry continues its drive to improve the energy performance of the country’s housing stock. Indeed, the thermal efficiency of new-build homes is the focus of a long-awaited consultation relating to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations. The codes, which relate to insulation and ventilation, are part of the Future Homes Standard (FHS). Due for introduction in 2025, the FHS will require new-build homes to be future-proofed with low-carbon heating and ‘world-leading’ levels of energy efficiency. Improved and more stringent fabric efficiency is among the FHS’s headline considerations. It’s proposed the unprecedented level of energy performance will be met by minimising heat loss from walls, windows, doors, floors and roofs, as well as by paying more attention to junction details. Putting a thermal seal on these elements will reduce the need for mechanical heat resources which fuel greater energy output. Heat loss from gaps around a window, for example, is greater than the amount that escapes from the window itself. This is caused by thermal bridging and the insulation failing to protect the element as a whole. Heat lost in this way is calculated via the PSI value method, which the Future Homes Standard review is looking to standardise according to different window types. Put a seal on performance gap If approved, a bespoke PSI value system for windows as a measure of thermal performance will doubtless increase the workload of designers and property assessors, but it must be welcomed if it helps plug a significant source of energy leakage and results in buildings performing as-designed. A well-insulated wall is all well and good, but its thermal performance will be nullified if windows continue to be a conduit to heat escape. The performance gap issue was addressed by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report, ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, in which she spoke of the need for a ‘Golden Thread’ of information to ensure best practice was upheld between all stakeholder links in the building supply chain. This, along with an upskilling of workers throughout the construction industry, was highlighted by the report as being essential to improving building standards and creating safe, thermally-efficient homes. Let’s hope all those involved in the building supply chain take Dame Judith’s learned recommendations on board. Solutions for easy-fit, long-term thermal performance Hard foam insulation products such as Eurowall Cavity or the full-fill version, Eurowall +, offer an effective, easy-to-fit solution to heat loss caused by thermal bridging in cavity walls. User-friendly, the Eurowall PIR panels match the height of a wall’s blockwork, thus eliminating the need for on-site cutting and resizing to result in a time and cost-effective installation. Eurowall + panels feature an innovative tongue and groove detail on all four sides. This means the panels not only slot together easily, they produce a tight-locking finish that minimises heat loss through thermal bridging and offer increased protection against wind-driven rain, as well as improved airtightness. Available in a range of thicknesses, Eurowall + can achieve a 0.18 U-value with a 90mm-thick panel in a 100mm cavity. To reach the same thermal performance with mineral wool, for example, the project would require a much thicker insulation. Therefore Eurowall + also helps reduce a building’s footprint; a crucial characteristic where plot size is limited.   Design-out bridging issues Eliminating thermal bridging in wall, window and door junction details is a proven enabler to reducing a property’s carbon load. It is also enhances the health and wellbeing of occupants by mitigating the risk of damp or mould growth caused by cold spots. It’s a performance issue that ought to be addressed at the design and construction phase, but too often it reveals itself once the property is in situ and so the new-build-to-retrofit cycle begins. It’s a failing of standards that comes at a cost to homeowners and the environment and should not be tolerated if future emissions, as per the government’s 2050 pledge, are to be null and voided.
    212 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With one eye on the UK government’s target for carbon neutrality by 2050, the construction industry continues its drive to improve the energy performance of the country’s housing stock. Indeed, the thermal efficiency of new-build homes is the focus of a long-awaited consultation relating to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations. The codes, which relate to insulation and ventilation, are part of the Future Homes Standard (FHS). Due for introduction in 2025, the FHS will require new-build homes to be future-proofed with low-carbon heating and ‘world-leading’ levels of energy efficiency. Improved and more stringent fabric efficiency is among the FHS’s headline considerations. It’s proposed the unprecedented level of energy performance will be met by minimising heat loss from walls, windows, doors, floors and roofs, as well as by paying more attention to junction details. Putting a thermal seal on these elements will reduce the need for mechanical heat resources which fuel greater energy output. Heat loss from gaps around a window, for example, is greater than the amount that escapes from the window itself. This is caused by thermal bridging and the insulation failing to protect the element as a whole. Heat lost in this way is calculated via the PSI value method, which the Future Homes Standard review is looking to standardise according to different window types. Put a seal on performance gap If approved, a bespoke PSI value system for windows as a measure of thermal performance will doubtless increase the workload of designers and property assessors, but it must be welcomed if it helps plug a significant source of energy leakage and results in buildings performing as-designed. A well-insulated wall is all well and good, but its thermal performance will be nullified if windows continue to be a conduit to heat escape. The performance gap issue was addressed by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report, ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, in which she spoke of the need for a ‘Golden Thread’ of information to ensure best practice was upheld between all stakeholder links in the building supply chain. This, along with an upskilling of workers throughout the construction industry, was highlighted by the report as being essential to improving building standards and creating safe, thermally-efficient homes. Let’s hope all those involved in the building supply chain take Dame Judith’s learned recommendations on board. Solutions for easy-fit, long-term thermal performance Hard foam insulation products such as Eurowall Cavity or the full-fill version, Eurowall +, offer an effective, easy-to-fit solution to heat loss caused by thermal bridging in cavity walls. User-friendly, the Eurowall PIR panels match the height of a wall’s blockwork, thus eliminating the need for on-site cutting and resizing to result in a time and cost-effective installation. Eurowall + panels feature an innovative tongue and groove detail on all four sides. This means the panels not only slot together easily, they produce a tight-locking finish that minimises heat loss through thermal bridging and offer increased protection against wind-driven rain, as well as improved airtightness. Available in a range of thicknesses, Eurowall + can achieve a 0.18 U-value with a 90mm-thick panel in a 100mm cavity. To reach the same thermal performance with mineral wool, for example, the project would require a much thicker insulation. Therefore Eurowall + also helps reduce a building’s footprint; a crucial characteristic where plot size is limited.   Design-out bridging issues Eliminating thermal bridging in wall, window and door junction details is a proven enabler to reducing a property’s carbon load. It is also enhances the health and wellbeing of occupants by mitigating the risk of damp or mould growth caused by cold spots. It’s a performance issue that ought to be addressed at the design and construction phase, but too often it reveals itself once the property is in situ and so the new-build-to-retrofit cycle begins. It’s a failing of standards that comes at a cost to homeowners and the environment and should not be tolerated if future emissions, as per the government’s 2050 pledge, are to be null and voided.
    Mar 11, 2021 212
  • 08 Mar 2021
    In August 2019, a fire started in the roof area of a care home in Crewe but then spread rapidly and completely destroyed the complex.  Seventeen months later, a bedroom fire at another care home in Mobberley, Cheshire was extinguished by an automatic sprinkler system in less than three minutes. It begs the question: with so many vulnerable residents in these buildings, why did one care home have sprinklers and the other not, writes Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance? Whilst thankfully all 150 staff and elderly residents were evacuated safely from the Beechmere Residential Care Home in Crewe, the building contained no sprinklers.  If the incident commander had not overruled the ‘stay-put’ policy and ordered a full and immediate evacuation of the residents, the outcome of this fire would have had been very different and with potentially tragic consequences. Technically, the building should have had compartmentation but clearly it didn’t. According to Lee Shears, Head of Protection at Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, this decision to evacuate saved lives. He said: “It's clear that the fire wasn't behaving in the way that we would expect, and I must praise the swift and decisive actions in ordering the immediate evacuation of residents.” This fire also raises the question of why elderly people, many of whom need assistance, were housed in an unsprinklered building. In contrast, the fire at the Sunrise Care Home in Mobberley in January 2021 had a very different outcome, with an automatic sprinkler system activating and extinguishing the fire prior to the arrival of the Fire and Rescue Service.  The damage to one bedroom is minuscule when compared to the substantial cost of rebuilding the Beechmere Care Home, the emotional upheaval of resident relocation and their loss of treasured possessions. Commenting on the effectiveness of sprinklers, Lee Shears said; “This is a perfect example of how sprinklers work to not only save lives but protect property and possessions within premises like this. This fire was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler in the room before the arrival of our firefighters. It only affected the area at the source of fire, which is a perfect example of how these devices should work.” Fires such as these once again highlight the rationale for greater consideration of property protection alongside life safety as a reasonable requirement. Such an expectation would result in more buildings being designed to be resilient to disproportionate damage, using combinations of passive and active fire safety measures. The BSA believes that sprinkler systems would be a major part of this change and should be considered more readily as a viable option right across the built environment, whether it is a care home, a block of flats, a hospital, school, retail or leisure facility or commercial and industrial building. We must always be thankful when a fire is contained and extinguished with no loss of life, but it is not enough. Lives are still affected regardless, and we must strive to minimise the effect that fire has in all circumstances. When we protect property and halt the spread of fire we not only protect lives, we also protect businesses and jobs. A properly-controlled fire can be the difference between a building requiring renovation or demolition. Halting the spread of fire when it is first detected is the best way to limit damage and  minimise costs and impacts. Sprinklers have been shown to contain, control or extinguish fires in 99% of cases1. The contrast between two buildings with and without a sprinkler system in a fire can be quite stark. In the event of a fire, many businesses with sprinkler systems suffer a minor interruption and find they are back up-and-running in a matter of hours. Those without can see five to six times the damage and suffer longer spells of interruption. These systems make buildings and businesses resilient to fire incidents because they control or extinguish a blaze before the fire and rescue service arrives. The impacted business can be operational within hours, avoiding the economic and social costs.       
    215 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In August 2019, a fire started in the roof area of a care home in Crewe but then spread rapidly and completely destroyed the complex.  Seventeen months later, a bedroom fire at another care home in Mobberley, Cheshire was extinguished by an automatic sprinkler system in less than three minutes. It begs the question: with so many vulnerable residents in these buildings, why did one care home have sprinklers and the other not, writes Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance? Whilst thankfully all 150 staff and elderly residents were evacuated safely from the Beechmere Residential Care Home in Crewe, the building contained no sprinklers.  If the incident commander had not overruled the ‘stay-put’ policy and ordered a full and immediate evacuation of the residents, the outcome of this fire would have had been very different and with potentially tragic consequences. Technically, the building should have had compartmentation but clearly it didn’t. According to Lee Shears, Head of Protection at Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, this decision to evacuate saved lives. He said: “It's clear that the fire wasn't behaving in the way that we would expect, and I must praise the swift and decisive actions in ordering the immediate evacuation of residents.” This fire also raises the question of why elderly people, many of whom need assistance, were housed in an unsprinklered building. In contrast, the fire at the Sunrise Care Home in Mobberley in January 2021 had a very different outcome, with an automatic sprinkler system activating and extinguishing the fire prior to the arrival of the Fire and Rescue Service.  The damage to one bedroom is minuscule when compared to the substantial cost of rebuilding the Beechmere Care Home, the emotional upheaval of resident relocation and their loss of treasured possessions. Commenting on the effectiveness of sprinklers, Lee Shears said; “This is a perfect example of how sprinklers work to not only save lives but protect property and possessions within premises like this. This fire was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler in the room before the arrival of our firefighters. It only affected the area at the source of fire, which is a perfect example of how these devices should work.” Fires such as these once again highlight the rationale for greater consideration of property protection alongside life safety as a reasonable requirement. Such an expectation would result in more buildings being designed to be resilient to disproportionate damage, using combinations of passive and active fire safety measures. The BSA believes that sprinkler systems would be a major part of this change and should be considered more readily as a viable option right across the built environment, whether it is a care home, a block of flats, a hospital, school, retail or leisure facility or commercial and industrial building. We must always be thankful when a fire is contained and extinguished with no loss of life, but it is not enough. Lives are still affected regardless, and we must strive to minimise the effect that fire has in all circumstances. When we protect property and halt the spread of fire we not only protect lives, we also protect businesses and jobs. A properly-controlled fire can be the difference between a building requiring renovation or demolition. Halting the spread of fire when it is first detected is the best way to limit damage and  minimise costs and impacts. Sprinklers have been shown to contain, control or extinguish fires in 99% of cases1. The contrast between two buildings with and without a sprinkler system in a fire can be quite stark. In the event of a fire, many businesses with sprinkler systems suffer a minor interruption and find they are back up-and-running in a matter of hours. Those without can see five to six times the damage and suffer longer spells of interruption. These systems make buildings and businesses resilient to fire incidents because they control or extinguish a blaze before the fire and rescue service arrives. The impacted business can be operational within hours, avoiding the economic and social costs.       
    Mar 08, 2021 215
  • 02 Mar 2021
    After a long and cold winter spring is almost at the door. We all can’t wait to bask in some sunshine and enjoy again the outdoor. It is after all the most wonderful season of the year, bringing a sense of rebirth and reawakening our senses. Nature awakens from its slumber in an explosion of colours that wipe away the greyness and lifts our moods with it. A great way to maximize this wonderful feeling is to make sure that our home also looks fresh and springy. Choosing the right colour schemes, or even better, decorating your living room (of bedroom if you so prefer) with a themed tonality ensures that the good mood you took back from a walk in the park stays with you also when you close the door of your home behind you. Spring is also the best time of the year for embarking in a redecorating project, as the temperatures are neither too cold or too hot, ensuring that paint or glue dry at the recommended pace. The decision that needs to be taken is therefore whether to just repaint the living room with a fresh new coat of paint or to pick a flowery wallpaper and install it. Of course, the first seems easier to do it but the reality is not quite as it appears. Wallpaper technology has developed in leaps and bounds over the last few decades and it’s a far cry from the papery mess of a couple of generations ago.   Wallpaper advantages versus painting your walls Let’s take a look at the possible benefits of installing a wallpaper when compared to just adding a new coat of paint to your walls. A much broader variety of unique designs to choose from When picking a wallpaper, the possibilities are almost endless. Whether you go for a botanical design, choose minimalistic, geometric patterns or go for elusive and exotic material with a haptic surface feel, the range of possible combinations simply cannot be matched. This allows to customise the look of your home in a unique way so that it reflects your taste and aesthetics. Paint options are much more limited to a specific range of colours and shades. Better resistance Modern wallpaper is more resistant than a painted wall when it comes to  small bumps and little accidents.  It also stands better the test of time, so you can enjoy its design until you decide to give your room a new look. Easy to install A common misconception is that wallpaper is difficult to apply. This might have been the case 50 years ago, but nowadays nothing could be further from the truth. All you need to do is to be calm and careful when you apply it to the wall to avoid the occasion air bubble. Compare it with traditional paint, where very often you end up with unwanted shades and an uneven distribution of colour, requiring several coats to obtain a half decent result and it’s a no brainer. It can be cleaned Most contemporary wallpapers can be easily cleaned with a soft sponge, removing even smudges without problems. Of course, this does not apply to all wallpapers, as there are some materials that are more delicate than others, and it’s therefore a good idea to pay attention to the specific details of each models. This is a clear advantage over traditional paint, as all you need to do is dampen a sponge in some soapy water and the damage is gone. It can cover some imperfections Old walls show the signs of time and a coat of paid will not do anything to hide this. A wallpaper can instead conceal small imperfections on the wall without too much trouble. Small holes can be simply filled with a polyfilla and, once you apply the wallpaper, your wall will appear flat and new.  Choosing the right botanical wallpaper Picking a wallpaper is never easy as there are many models to choose from. If you want to bring that unique spring feeling in your home you are in luck as botanical wallpapers are very much in trend nowadays. Whether it’s a minimalistic and subtle motif, design to stay in the background to highlight a painting or some exquisite piece of furniture or a majestic and lush motive on a feature wall, designed to be the focal point of the room, it is up to your taste and the specifics of your interior design choices. Generally speaking if you go for a large motif it is better to pick a single wall and go monochrome on the other walls, picking the main colour theme of the motif. What is important however is to pick a design that makes you happy!  
    303 Posted by Talk. Build
  • After a long and cold winter spring is almost at the door. We all can’t wait to bask in some sunshine and enjoy again the outdoor. It is after all the most wonderful season of the year, bringing a sense of rebirth and reawakening our senses. Nature awakens from its slumber in an explosion of colours that wipe away the greyness and lifts our moods with it. A great way to maximize this wonderful feeling is to make sure that our home also looks fresh and springy. Choosing the right colour schemes, or even better, decorating your living room (of bedroom if you so prefer) with a themed tonality ensures that the good mood you took back from a walk in the park stays with you also when you close the door of your home behind you. Spring is also the best time of the year for embarking in a redecorating project, as the temperatures are neither too cold or too hot, ensuring that paint or glue dry at the recommended pace. The decision that needs to be taken is therefore whether to just repaint the living room with a fresh new coat of paint or to pick a flowery wallpaper and install it. Of course, the first seems easier to do it but the reality is not quite as it appears. Wallpaper technology has developed in leaps and bounds over the last few decades and it’s a far cry from the papery mess of a couple of generations ago.   Wallpaper advantages versus painting your walls Let’s take a look at the possible benefits of installing a wallpaper when compared to just adding a new coat of paint to your walls. A much broader variety of unique designs to choose from When picking a wallpaper, the possibilities are almost endless. Whether you go for a botanical design, choose minimalistic, geometric patterns or go for elusive and exotic material with a haptic surface feel, the range of possible combinations simply cannot be matched. This allows to customise the look of your home in a unique way so that it reflects your taste and aesthetics. Paint options are much more limited to a specific range of colours and shades. Better resistance Modern wallpaper is more resistant than a painted wall when it comes to  small bumps and little accidents.  It also stands better the test of time, so you can enjoy its design until you decide to give your room a new look. Easy to install A common misconception is that wallpaper is difficult to apply. This might have been the case 50 years ago, but nowadays nothing could be further from the truth. All you need to do is to be calm and careful when you apply it to the wall to avoid the occasion air bubble. Compare it with traditional paint, where very often you end up with unwanted shades and an uneven distribution of colour, requiring several coats to obtain a half decent result and it’s a no brainer. It can be cleaned Most contemporary wallpapers can be easily cleaned with a soft sponge, removing even smudges without problems. Of course, this does not apply to all wallpapers, as there are some materials that are more delicate than others, and it’s therefore a good idea to pay attention to the specific details of each models. This is a clear advantage over traditional paint, as all you need to do is dampen a sponge in some soapy water and the damage is gone. It can cover some imperfections Old walls show the signs of time and a coat of paid will not do anything to hide this. A wallpaper can instead conceal small imperfections on the wall without too much trouble. Small holes can be simply filled with a polyfilla and, once you apply the wallpaper, your wall will appear flat and new.  Choosing the right botanical wallpaper Picking a wallpaper is never easy as there are many models to choose from. If you want to bring that unique spring feeling in your home you are in luck as botanical wallpapers are very much in trend nowadays. Whether it’s a minimalistic and subtle motif, design to stay in the background to highlight a painting or some exquisite piece of furniture or a majestic and lush motive on a feature wall, designed to be the focal point of the room, it is up to your taste and the specifics of your interior design choices. Generally speaking if you go for a large motif it is better to pick a single wall and go monochrome on the other walls, picking the main colour theme of the motif. What is important however is to pick a design that makes you happy!  
    Mar 02, 2021 303
  • 23 Feb 2021
    We are all aware that there is a massive skills shortage in the construction industry and we all know that major manufacturers and trade organisations have worked hard for many years to improve the situation – sadly with little progress. In an attempt to attract new talent to the building business, the focus has been very much on teens and older students, but according to some education experts the construction industry should be setting its sights a little lower – even talking to children as young as five. KidsUnlock, a global online learning platform for students of between five and 16, claim it is possible to identify potential career paths for young people at a very early age by using detailed research to assess academic and creative abilities. KidsUnlock is a portal for parents to help their children with online learning, but unlike other platforms the parents and the students both have to take tests and answer a series of personal questions before they are allowed to access the site. This allows the organisation to assess the abilities and IQ of each child with the added bonus of being able to identify potential career paths and other areas where a child could excel – and that includes the construction industry. They do this by concentrating on the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding, through thought, experience, and the senses. Apparently, the stuff happening inside our brain - our feelings, emotions, creativity, processing, problem solving or storing of information - is collectively known as cognition. Think of it as a computer. The brain is the hardware and cognition is the software. The core objective of the human brain, like a computer, is to receive inputs such as regular data or information to store, process and action. The better the computer, the faster the action. Similarly, the better the cognitive ability, the smarter the brain, the better it will perform. Most successful people have better cognitive abilities and this helps them to better understand and process information more smartly and to take action where it is most needed. This is also helps to work out potential career paths for children based on these tests and that includes construction. This is what they teach students via their online Platform and this ensures that they can quickly understand and deliver information and have higher chances of succeeding in school, competitions and life in general. The better the cognition, the smarter the performance and early childhood is the best time to build these incredible abilities. It is the science behind their platform and this is what they assess and deliver in four key areas - IQ, Focus, Decision making and Creativity. Maybe the building business could do something similar by identifying children at the youngest possible age with continued development of their interest in construction. It is a real possibility and we should perhaps consider it. Visit: www.kidsunlock.org    
    211 Posted by Talk. Build
  • We are all aware that there is a massive skills shortage in the construction industry and we all know that major manufacturers and trade organisations have worked hard for many years to improve the situation – sadly with little progress. In an attempt to attract new talent to the building business, the focus has been very much on teens and older students, but according to some education experts the construction industry should be setting its sights a little lower – even talking to children as young as five. KidsUnlock, a global online learning platform for students of between five and 16, claim it is possible to identify potential career paths for young people at a very early age by using detailed research to assess academic and creative abilities. KidsUnlock is a portal for parents to help their children with online learning, but unlike other platforms the parents and the students both have to take tests and answer a series of personal questions before they are allowed to access the site. This allows the organisation to assess the abilities and IQ of each child with the added bonus of being able to identify potential career paths and other areas where a child could excel – and that includes the construction industry. They do this by concentrating on the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding, through thought, experience, and the senses. Apparently, the stuff happening inside our brain - our feelings, emotions, creativity, processing, problem solving or storing of information - is collectively known as cognition. Think of it as a computer. The brain is the hardware and cognition is the software. The core objective of the human brain, like a computer, is to receive inputs such as regular data or information to store, process and action. The better the computer, the faster the action. Similarly, the better the cognitive ability, the smarter the brain, the better it will perform. Most successful people have better cognitive abilities and this helps them to better understand and process information more smartly and to take action where it is most needed. This is also helps to work out potential career paths for children based on these tests and that includes construction. This is what they teach students via their online Platform and this ensures that they can quickly understand and deliver information and have higher chances of succeeding in school, competitions and life in general. The better the cognition, the smarter the performance and early childhood is the best time to build these incredible abilities. It is the science behind their platform and this is what they assess and deliver in four key areas - IQ, Focus, Decision making and Creativity. Maybe the building business could do something similar by identifying children at the youngest possible age with continued development of their interest in construction. It is a real possibility and we should perhaps consider it. Visit: www.kidsunlock.org    
    Feb 23, 2021 211
  • 08 Feb 2021
    More than nine years ago it was estimated the market for garden rooms was worth in excess of £100 million. In the last 12 months some experts have estimated that this figure has more than doubled – a direct result of Covid-19 and the move to working from home. Garden Rooms have been turned into offices, gymnasiums and leisure areas on an unprecedented scale in the last years as homeowners have desperately sought more space and there is every reason to believe that this is a trend that is unlikely to slow down for some time. For the uninitiated, it is worth pointing out that Garden Rooms are not simply sheds or logs cabins. We are effectively talking about luxury all year-round buildings that provide a major asset to most homes and they have a price tag to match. It is not unusual to find that an upmarket garden room will cost in excess of £30,000, although there are many cheaper options available. Most householders will be looking for a ready-made kit version, but for those that are really serious, garden rooms can be built to order and offer incredible value for money. One such company, Essex based TJW Projects, has specialised in building bespoke garden rooms and is undercutting the big boys in the process. As a smaller organisation they can provide rooms that meet the exact specification of the customer rather than having to choose a ready made off the shelf version. The really good news is that TJW is able to provide exactly what’s needed for up to half of the price of most of its competitors and it is going down very well with customers desperately needing more space. Garden Rooms currently account for 42% of the outdoor buildings market.  Homeworking has continued to increase in popularity and this has contributed to sales of garden buildings. However, whilst garden rooms were initially seen as a solution to homeworking, increasingly they are being used for a much wider range of activities. It has almost become a home working status symbol to have an outdoor garden room which can be easily installed and as long as you are not interested in building anything too high then planning permission is not usually required. Things to consider are a good base, usually the versatile concrete slab and if you want to use the room all year round then insulation is also required in addition to services such as electricity and internet for office working. When is the trend likely to slow up – not for a good many years according to the experts so why not plan your garden room now? If you want to know more then visit https://www.tjwprojects.com/services/garden-rooms        
    280 Posted by Talk. Build
  • More than nine years ago it was estimated the market for garden rooms was worth in excess of £100 million. In the last 12 months some experts have estimated that this figure has more than doubled – a direct result of Covid-19 and the move to working from home. Garden Rooms have been turned into offices, gymnasiums and leisure areas on an unprecedented scale in the last years as homeowners have desperately sought more space and there is every reason to believe that this is a trend that is unlikely to slow down for some time. For the uninitiated, it is worth pointing out that Garden Rooms are not simply sheds or logs cabins. We are effectively talking about luxury all year-round buildings that provide a major asset to most homes and they have a price tag to match. It is not unusual to find that an upmarket garden room will cost in excess of £30,000, although there are many cheaper options available. Most householders will be looking for a ready-made kit version, but for those that are really serious, garden rooms can be built to order and offer incredible value for money. One such company, Essex based TJW Projects, has specialised in building bespoke garden rooms and is undercutting the big boys in the process. As a smaller organisation they can provide rooms that meet the exact specification of the customer rather than having to choose a ready made off the shelf version. The really good news is that TJW is able to provide exactly what’s needed for up to half of the price of most of its competitors and it is going down very well with customers desperately needing more space. Garden Rooms currently account for 42% of the outdoor buildings market.  Homeworking has continued to increase in popularity and this has contributed to sales of garden buildings. However, whilst garden rooms were initially seen as a solution to homeworking, increasingly they are being used for a much wider range of activities. It has almost become a home working status symbol to have an outdoor garden room which can be easily installed and as long as you are not interested in building anything too high then planning permission is not usually required. Things to consider are a good base, usually the versatile concrete slab and if you want to use the room all year round then insulation is also required in addition to services such as electricity and internet for office working. When is the trend likely to slow up – not for a good many years according to the experts so why not plan your garden room now? If you want to know more then visit https://www.tjwprojects.com/services/garden-rooms        
    Feb 08, 2021 280
  • 08 Feb 2021
    As 2021 takes its first tentative steps, what fates does it have in store for the UK construction industry? Recticel and Gradient’s Commercial Director Paul Simpson offers his view on the potential challenges that lie ahead. When asked to provide a prediction on what the following months might bring for the building sector, I think it’s important to be realistic. We remain in the middle of a pandemic that has taken many lives, and may take many more. Therefore, the nation’s health and safety should remain the principle consideration before attentions turn to our economic recovery. We’ve been told the vaccine roll-out is crucial to our escape from the current crisis, and as all seems to be going well on that front, there is real hope on the horizon that this year will be better for all. However, as the politicians and scientists care to remind us, there is a long way to go before anything like normal Iife returns. And therein lies the problem for the construction industry and business as a whole: none of us knows how long the current lockdown restrictions will last. It means long-term plans, which are crucial to commercial success, remain on hold whilst we await news of the government’s exit strategy from lockdown. In the meantime, as we have throughout this health crisis, Recticel and Gradient remain committed to providing customers with the best possible service. This means doing everything we can to ensure our distribution partners have the products they need to maintain the building supply chain and ensure projects are fulfilled. Supporting the supply chain The building supply chain’s effective operation is essential to keeping the construction industry buoyant, which in turn will be essential to the UK’s post-pandemic economy. Any break in the chain will have a negative domino effect, leading to every other link failing to deliver what it promised. I fear this becoming a real issue when the furlough scheme ends, as it may result in the closure of many businesses that relied on its financial support. Ultimately, smaller distributors and subcontractors will be most at risk when the government’s support package expires, but each is a vital link in the building supply chain. A shortfall in such resources will inevitably lead to project delays and extra expenditure for supplier and client; a potential burden that is particularly unwelcome at this time of economy uncertainty. Having said how difficult it is for building companies to plan for the months ahead, I think the issue could be relieved by local authorities, for example, offering those in the supply chain some insight into projects that are on the horizon. Obviously, this will not be easy, as councils and the like are also having to deal with an unprecedented situation. For them, committing to future projects at a time of great financial uncertainty will be a precarious practice. However, any kind of heads-up on the likelihood of building programmes in the education and commercial sector being progressed would be most welcome. This would provide much-needed foresight to the construction-based suppliers who at the moment are struggling to deal with the here and now. It almost goes without saying, but long-term planning is everything in business. Supply and demand quandary Despite the emerging global health crisis, 2020 was the best-ever manufacturing year for Recticel and Gradient. We’re anticipating similar success this year. However, all the while uncertainties remain over when and how lockdown restrictions will be lifted, then the construction industry will be faced with a challenge on how best to juggle supply and demand issues. Suppliers worldwide will be dealing with the same quandary: order too much stock and we could be left with a surplus due to building projects being delayed or cancelled. Conversely, should suppliers proceed with more caution there will be concerns that ongoing restrictions could lead to manufacturers not being able to meet product demands. A supply chain needs continuity to function properly, but as has been said many times throughout this pandemic, these are unprecedented times. Business strategies the world over are – to a certain extent – being led by governments, which in-turn are being dictated to by the virus. The future is an ever-changing picture. The best forecast I can currently make is that we will continue to supply our distribution and waterproofing partners with the materials – and details of building projects that are in the pipeline – in order to keep their end of the building supply chain strong. I’m sure 2021 will be a much better year for the UK construction industry and the world in general. By being patient and following health guidelines, I believe summer will see us in a much better position to put delayed business plans into practice.   Visit: https://www.recticelinsulation.com/en-gb/home 
    214 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As 2021 takes its first tentative steps, what fates does it have in store for the UK construction industry? Recticel and Gradient’s Commercial Director Paul Simpson offers his view on the potential challenges that lie ahead. When asked to provide a prediction on what the following months might bring for the building sector, I think it’s important to be realistic. We remain in the middle of a pandemic that has taken many lives, and may take many more. Therefore, the nation’s health and safety should remain the principle consideration before attentions turn to our economic recovery. We’ve been told the vaccine roll-out is crucial to our escape from the current crisis, and as all seems to be going well on that front, there is real hope on the horizon that this year will be better for all. However, as the politicians and scientists care to remind us, there is a long way to go before anything like normal Iife returns. And therein lies the problem for the construction industry and business as a whole: none of us knows how long the current lockdown restrictions will last. It means long-term plans, which are crucial to commercial success, remain on hold whilst we await news of the government’s exit strategy from lockdown. In the meantime, as we have throughout this health crisis, Recticel and Gradient remain committed to providing customers with the best possible service. This means doing everything we can to ensure our distribution partners have the products they need to maintain the building supply chain and ensure projects are fulfilled. Supporting the supply chain The building supply chain’s effective operation is essential to keeping the construction industry buoyant, which in turn will be essential to the UK’s post-pandemic economy. Any break in the chain will have a negative domino effect, leading to every other link failing to deliver what it promised. I fear this becoming a real issue when the furlough scheme ends, as it may result in the closure of many businesses that relied on its financial support. Ultimately, smaller distributors and subcontractors will be most at risk when the government’s support package expires, but each is a vital link in the building supply chain. A shortfall in such resources will inevitably lead to project delays and extra expenditure for supplier and client; a potential burden that is particularly unwelcome at this time of economy uncertainty. Having said how difficult it is for building companies to plan for the months ahead, I think the issue could be relieved by local authorities, for example, offering those in the supply chain some insight into projects that are on the horizon. Obviously, this will not be easy, as councils and the like are also having to deal with an unprecedented situation. For them, committing to future projects at a time of great financial uncertainty will be a precarious practice. However, any kind of heads-up on the likelihood of building programmes in the education and commercial sector being progressed would be most welcome. This would provide much-needed foresight to the construction-based suppliers who at the moment are struggling to deal with the here and now. It almost goes without saying, but long-term planning is everything in business. Supply and demand quandary Despite the emerging global health crisis, 2020 was the best-ever manufacturing year for Recticel and Gradient. We’re anticipating similar success this year. However, all the while uncertainties remain over when and how lockdown restrictions will be lifted, then the construction industry will be faced with a challenge on how best to juggle supply and demand issues. Suppliers worldwide will be dealing with the same quandary: order too much stock and we could be left with a surplus due to building projects being delayed or cancelled. Conversely, should suppliers proceed with more caution there will be concerns that ongoing restrictions could lead to manufacturers not being able to meet product demands. A supply chain needs continuity to function properly, but as has been said many times throughout this pandemic, these are unprecedented times. Business strategies the world over are – to a certain extent – being led by governments, which in-turn are being dictated to by the virus. The future is an ever-changing picture. The best forecast I can currently make is that we will continue to supply our distribution and waterproofing partners with the materials – and details of building projects that are in the pipeline – in order to keep their end of the building supply chain strong. I’m sure 2021 will be a much better year for the UK construction industry and the world in general. By being patient and following health guidelines, I believe summer will see us in a much better position to put delayed business plans into practice.   Visit: https://www.recticelinsulation.com/en-gb/home 
    Feb 08, 2021 214