• 08 Mar 2018
    Global warming issues are once again in the news and we all watched with interest, developments at the World Economic Forum in Davos where the evidence is loud and clear, that we have an urgent need to curb emissions if we are going to come anywhere near the ambitious 2050 climate change targets. As in previous years, climate change and carbon emissions featured prominently at the WEF this year. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his opening address to warn us of the effects that exploitation of natural resources could have on humanity, while Anand Mahindra, co-chair of the WEF and chairman of one of India's largest conglomerates described cutting carbon emissions as not only good for the environment, but a commercial opportunity.  He said: “Everything that our group of companies have done to try and improve energy or to reduce greenhouse gases, has actually given us a return" and pointing out that over the last five years Mahindra (the conglomerate) has saved almost 60 million kWhs of energy - enough to supply power to 15,000 homes.  French President Emmanuel Macron also urged listeners to take heed of calls for action on climate change and laid out his ambition to make France "a model in the fight against climate change", with plans to phase out coal-burning. In stark contrast, the message from the United States of America couldn’t have been more different – after pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement in one of his first acts as President, and his recent tax levied against imported solar panels, it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump didn’t mention climate change or carbon emissions at all in his address. However, the WEF’s website is thankfully quite positive about the future potential for action on climate change, stating: “By being more innovative and efficient, and working with suppliers and local economies, companies are finding ways to cut carbon and costs. Between now and 2030, the world will spend $90 trillion on infrastructure. How those investments are directed will make all the difference.” They go on to state that we have a choice: to lock in backwards-looking technologies, or to spend this $90 trillion investment on sustainable projects: “Companies that prioritise clean technology, like renewables, and avoid investing in high-carbon infrastructure are not only being environmentally responsible, they are also future-proofing their growth by factoring in long-term risk and positioning themselves as winners of the low-carbon economy.” So how does all of this affect us?  In Europe around 40% of the energy used is in buildings and up to 60% of that comes from heating and cooling, with much of that energy coming from the burning of fossil fuels.  Installing high performing insulants such a PIR into our buildings (which are currently amongst the least energy efficient in Europe) is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy demand and cut CO2.   Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a range of policies and initiatives to improve the building stock. Whilst some improvements have been made and plenty of homes are better than they were, we still have many homes that are woefully inadequate, with occupants and owners living in fuel poverty without the means to upgrade their property or without the understanding of how to. The PIR industry is ready and waiting to meet the challenge to improve all existing buildings.  Via participation in the work of the Each Home Counts initiative we are working with others to ensure that energy efficiency measures are effective through good design and installation procedures and that compliance and redress routes are in place to ensure this happens. At a time when the construction industry is faced with change and political uncertainty, the PIR insulation industry is well poised to help deliver better performing buildings both now and in the future, as well as playing a part in the UK achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement. Visit www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    453 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Global warming issues are once again in the news and we all watched with interest, developments at the World Economic Forum in Davos where the evidence is loud and clear, that we have an urgent need to curb emissions if we are going to come anywhere near the ambitious 2050 climate change targets. As in previous years, climate change and carbon emissions featured prominently at the WEF this year. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his opening address to warn us of the effects that exploitation of natural resources could have on humanity, while Anand Mahindra, co-chair of the WEF and chairman of one of India's largest conglomerates described cutting carbon emissions as not only good for the environment, but a commercial opportunity.  He said: “Everything that our group of companies have done to try and improve energy or to reduce greenhouse gases, has actually given us a return" and pointing out that over the last five years Mahindra (the conglomerate) has saved almost 60 million kWhs of energy - enough to supply power to 15,000 homes.  French President Emmanuel Macron also urged listeners to take heed of calls for action on climate change and laid out his ambition to make France "a model in the fight against climate change", with plans to phase out coal-burning. In stark contrast, the message from the United States of America couldn’t have been more different – after pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement in one of his first acts as President, and his recent tax levied against imported solar panels, it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump didn’t mention climate change or carbon emissions at all in his address. However, the WEF’s website is thankfully quite positive about the future potential for action on climate change, stating: “By being more innovative and efficient, and working with suppliers and local economies, companies are finding ways to cut carbon and costs. Between now and 2030, the world will spend $90 trillion on infrastructure. How those investments are directed will make all the difference.” They go on to state that we have a choice: to lock in backwards-looking technologies, or to spend this $90 trillion investment on sustainable projects: “Companies that prioritise clean technology, like renewables, and avoid investing in high-carbon infrastructure are not only being environmentally responsible, they are also future-proofing their growth by factoring in long-term risk and positioning themselves as winners of the low-carbon economy.” So how does all of this affect us?  In Europe around 40% of the energy used is in buildings and up to 60% of that comes from heating and cooling, with much of that energy coming from the burning of fossil fuels.  Installing high performing insulants such a PIR into our buildings (which are currently amongst the least energy efficient in Europe) is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy demand and cut CO2.   Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a range of policies and initiatives to improve the building stock. Whilst some improvements have been made and plenty of homes are better than they were, we still have many homes that are woefully inadequate, with occupants and owners living in fuel poverty without the means to upgrade their property or without the understanding of how to. The PIR industry is ready and waiting to meet the challenge to improve all existing buildings.  Via participation in the work of the Each Home Counts initiative we are working with others to ensure that energy efficiency measures are effective through good design and installation procedures and that compliance and redress routes are in place to ensure this happens. At a time when the construction industry is faced with change and political uncertainty, the PIR insulation industry is well poised to help deliver better performing buildings both now and in the future, as well as playing a part in the UK achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement. Visit www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    Mar 08, 2018 453
  • 01 Mar 2018
    Bitumen has always had a bit of a bad record when it comes to getting an excellent fire rating. It must be emphasised of course that there are many products that contain bitumen, probably our oldest and still one of the best waterproofing materials available, that are hard to ignite even with prolonged direct flame – but that is another story. The material is a key ingredient of roofing felt which is traditionally torched on using a naked flame or requires molten bitumen to achieve a waterproof seal. The dangers of working with an open flame on any building or residence should be taken very seriously. With all the precaution and experience in the world, the law of averages is against you when you spend the entire day with a naked flame at high volume onto a building. A simple Google search with the key words ‘roof torch fire’ will present you with enough articles on fires related to torch applied roofing to leave you wondering how anyone would ever use this product. There are and have been for many years’ cold applied self-adhesive felt membranes but they still represent a small part of the total market and are not universally popular with roofing contractors So in spite of its reputation torch on Bitumen Felts still dominate the flat roofing market but according to one leading manufacturer, Proteus Waterproofing, based in Rayleigh, Essex, it is possible to install such a product using naked flame without the risk of fire. They have a top waterproofing layer or cap sheet that can achieve the highest fire ratings - and Proteus have added it within a new range of felts recently launched on to the market. The age old problem is of course, that a fire rated cap sheet costs a little more than one without the same high level of protection and in spite of the lessons of Grenfell price is still king and many contractors seem reluctant to go that extra mile in the interests of increased health and safety. Key providers are still not pushing the top fire rated membranes as much as they could or should, due to this increased cost because of fears of being out priced by their competitors offering much cheaper non-compliant or barely compliant alternatives. You could of course ask yet again what price do you put on a life and word is that architects, specifiers and key building owners such as housing associations are no longer prepared to take the risk. Manufacturers such as Proteus Waterproofing have invested in high end fire rated felts in a serious way and these could well find that they begin to dominate the market in areas where quality and health and safety are paramount. But, it is more likely that no real change will happen until new legislation outlawing felt products that fail to achieve good fire ratings is introduced. Surely - it cannot come soon enough. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/  
    383 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Bitumen has always had a bit of a bad record when it comes to getting an excellent fire rating. It must be emphasised of course that there are many products that contain bitumen, probably our oldest and still one of the best waterproofing materials available, that are hard to ignite even with prolonged direct flame – but that is another story. The material is a key ingredient of roofing felt which is traditionally torched on using a naked flame or requires molten bitumen to achieve a waterproof seal. The dangers of working with an open flame on any building or residence should be taken very seriously. With all the precaution and experience in the world, the law of averages is against you when you spend the entire day with a naked flame at high volume onto a building. A simple Google search with the key words ‘roof torch fire’ will present you with enough articles on fires related to torch applied roofing to leave you wondering how anyone would ever use this product. There are and have been for many years’ cold applied self-adhesive felt membranes but they still represent a small part of the total market and are not universally popular with roofing contractors So in spite of its reputation torch on Bitumen Felts still dominate the flat roofing market but according to one leading manufacturer, Proteus Waterproofing, based in Rayleigh, Essex, it is possible to install such a product using naked flame without the risk of fire. They have a top waterproofing layer or cap sheet that can achieve the highest fire ratings - and Proteus have added it within a new range of felts recently launched on to the market. The age old problem is of course, that a fire rated cap sheet costs a little more than one without the same high level of protection and in spite of the lessons of Grenfell price is still king and many contractors seem reluctant to go that extra mile in the interests of increased health and safety. Key providers are still not pushing the top fire rated membranes as much as they could or should, due to this increased cost because of fears of being out priced by their competitors offering much cheaper non-compliant or barely compliant alternatives. You could of course ask yet again what price do you put on a life and word is that architects, specifiers and key building owners such as housing associations are no longer prepared to take the risk. Manufacturers such as Proteus Waterproofing have invested in high end fire rated felts in a serious way and these could well find that they begin to dominate the market in areas where quality and health and safety are paramount. But, it is more likely that no real change will happen until new legislation outlawing felt products that fail to achieve good fire ratings is introduced. Surely - it cannot come soon enough. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/  
    Mar 01, 2018 383
  • 22 Feb 2018
    January saw the lowest temperatures in the UK since February 2016, and with the potential for more cold snaps on the way, it’s a good time to review the procedures for placing concrete in cold weather. If young concrete is allowed to cool to below freezing temperature, it is very likely that it will be damaged to the point of being entirely unfit for use. Should freshly-placed concrete be allowed to reach temperatures lower than 0°C, the water in the mix will freeze and expand; maintaining a temperature above zero degrees will help to ensure the intended strength of your concrete is reached- even if it is at a slower rate than was anticipated. However, if the concrete is able to reach a strength of approximately 2N/mm2 it is likely to be able to resist the expansion and damage It is important to note that even if temperatures don’t reach freezing point, low temperatures will cause the concrete’s strength to develop significantly slower than in warmer ambient temperatures. This strength is typically reached within 48 hours for most mixes, should the concrete be kept above 5°C. So how, during cold weather, should you keep concrete sufficiently warm for the first 48 hours to ensure that this strength is able to develop? Concrete should never be poured onto frozen ground, snow or ice. You can use heaters to thaw the ground prior to pouring concrete. If you plan to use heated enclosures, make certain they are both windproof and weatherproof. Your concrete should include a maximum water to cement ratio, to limit bleeding. Additionally, you should not begin your final finishing operations whenever bleed water is still present. It is important that formwork is not removed early, or else there is a risk that concrete in suspended slabs or beams could be too weak to carry its own weight due to the slower rate of strengthening the slow rate of strength development needs to be taken into account when calculating times for formwork removal. Strength gain can be increased by minimising the amount of cement replacements or using admixtures- always seek the advice of your suppliers If temperatures are low enough that frost is expected, useful protection measures include insulated or heated frost blankets and insulated formwork. Timber formwork often offers sufficient insulation by itself. Steel formwork is a poor insulator, and exposed surfaces should be covered with insulating material or temporary covers heated with space heaters. For severe frost, it is best to heat the concrete (10°C) for delivery. If heated concrete is not available, it is better to delay your concreting until the ambient temperature rises to above 2°C. When planning your concreting, you can obtain information on the likely temperatures from the Met Office, and should use this to plan your approach so you are never caught short or forced to delay your work. Armed with this information, you will be able to place your concrete perfectly, first time, whatever the weather. By Andrew Bourne, Senior Area Sales Manager - Concrete at Sika Visit: visit www.sika.co.uk
    366 Posted by Talk. Build
  • January saw the lowest temperatures in the UK since February 2016, and with the potential for more cold snaps on the way, it’s a good time to review the procedures for placing concrete in cold weather. If young concrete is allowed to cool to below freezing temperature, it is very likely that it will be damaged to the point of being entirely unfit for use. Should freshly-placed concrete be allowed to reach temperatures lower than 0°C, the water in the mix will freeze and expand; maintaining a temperature above zero degrees will help to ensure the intended strength of your concrete is reached- even if it is at a slower rate than was anticipated. However, if the concrete is able to reach a strength of approximately 2N/mm2 it is likely to be able to resist the expansion and damage It is important to note that even if temperatures don’t reach freezing point, low temperatures will cause the concrete’s strength to develop significantly slower than in warmer ambient temperatures. This strength is typically reached within 48 hours for most mixes, should the concrete be kept above 5°C. So how, during cold weather, should you keep concrete sufficiently warm for the first 48 hours to ensure that this strength is able to develop? Concrete should never be poured onto frozen ground, snow or ice. You can use heaters to thaw the ground prior to pouring concrete. If you plan to use heated enclosures, make certain they are both windproof and weatherproof. Your concrete should include a maximum water to cement ratio, to limit bleeding. Additionally, you should not begin your final finishing operations whenever bleed water is still present. It is important that formwork is not removed early, or else there is a risk that concrete in suspended slabs or beams could be too weak to carry its own weight due to the slower rate of strengthening the slow rate of strength development needs to be taken into account when calculating times for formwork removal. Strength gain can be increased by minimising the amount of cement replacements or using admixtures- always seek the advice of your suppliers If temperatures are low enough that frost is expected, useful protection measures include insulated or heated frost blankets and insulated formwork. Timber formwork often offers sufficient insulation by itself. Steel formwork is a poor insulator, and exposed surfaces should be covered with insulating material or temporary covers heated with space heaters. For severe frost, it is best to heat the concrete (10°C) for delivery. If heated concrete is not available, it is better to delay your concreting until the ambient temperature rises to above 2°C. When planning your concreting, you can obtain information on the likely temperatures from the Met Office, and should use this to plan your approach so you are never caught short or forced to delay your work. Armed with this information, you will be able to place your concrete perfectly, first time, whatever the weather. By Andrew Bourne, Senior Area Sales Manager - Concrete at Sika Visit: visit www.sika.co.uk
    Feb 22, 2018 366
  • 21 Feb 2018
    The demand for magnetic drilling services is increasing rapidly across the world with each passing day. Magnetic drilling is the process of creating accurate holes on ferrous metals with the use of heavy duty drilling machines and specialized equipment. It’s very important that magnetic drilling experts maintain high safety standards while using advanced tools and equipment to stay away from potential injuries and accidents. Your failure to follow important safety rules while executing magnetic drilling projects to meet your fabrication and construction needs can create a lot of trouble for you, so it’s better to stick to them. Here are some of the safety tips for magnetic drilling professionals to prevent injuries and accidents while using drilling machines. Refer The User Manual Before using any drilling machine, it’s very important for you to refer the user manual for enhancing your understanding of operational and safety issues. Being a drilling expert you can’t afford to use a cutting and drilling equipment without referring user manual, as that invites injuries and accidents. Considering the fact that the user manual consists of all the major and minor details about operating a machine, it’s crucial for you to go through it effectively. Get Proper Training You should never touch a tool without seeking proper training, otherwise, you will end up injuring yourself. If you start using a new tool without knowing much about it, you won’t know what kind of safety measures you should be taking to prevent injuries. So, it’s important to get proper training. Unplug Tools While Making Adjustments If in case you want to make any adjustments to your drilling machine make sure that you unplug in the first place. In other words, don’t ever try to carry out any maintenance and repair jobs without unplugging the machine, otherwise, you may encounter huge problems. Keep Your Equipment Safely It is very important for you to keep your equipment safely to avoid accidents. Make sure that you do not expose your power tools to water and rain. You shouldn’t be using such tools in wet locations. In addition to that, you should never use these drilling tools in the presence of flammable liquids. Whenever you are not using any tool, then make sure that it is stored in a locked-up place. Keep Your Work Area Clean & Well Lit A cluttered job site not only makes it difficult for you to carry out your work effectively but also invites accidents. Therefore, it’s mandatory to keep your site well-lit and in proper order. Keep all the walkways and pathways free from material supply and equipment, so that you can walk freely. Use Protective Gear & Clothing Whenever you execute a magnetic drilling project, you must wear protective gear and clothing. Don't ever wear loose clothes while using heavy duty tools because they make you extremely unconformable, as they can easily come in contact with the moving parts of the machine, thereby inviting a horrific accident. It means you should always use tight fitted clothes, robust footwear, safety glasses, ear plugs, dust mask, and protective gloves while using heavy duty drilling machines. When you wear right protective gear, you can safeguard your skin and other body parts from getting injured. Maintain Your Tools Effectively It's very important that you keep your cutting and drilling tools sharp and clean for effective performance. Examine your tool cords regularly and if you find them damaged make sure that you repair them effectively before using them. While changing accessories make sure that you follow the instructions that are provided in the user manual. In addition to that, it is also crucial for you to keep handles of your equipment free from oil and grease. Inspect Your Tools before Using Them You should always carry out a quick inspection of all the important parts of your machines before using them. It helps in enhancing your safety as well as productivity while using a tool. So, whenever you use power tools make sure that you maintain all the important safety standards to prevent the risk of injuries. By: Krysta Jackson Visit: http://www.cadrillers.com  
    503 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The demand for magnetic drilling services is increasing rapidly across the world with each passing day. Magnetic drilling is the process of creating accurate holes on ferrous metals with the use of heavy duty drilling machines and specialized equipment. It’s very important that magnetic drilling experts maintain high safety standards while using advanced tools and equipment to stay away from potential injuries and accidents. Your failure to follow important safety rules while executing magnetic drilling projects to meet your fabrication and construction needs can create a lot of trouble for you, so it’s better to stick to them. Here are some of the safety tips for magnetic drilling professionals to prevent injuries and accidents while using drilling machines. Refer The User Manual Before using any drilling machine, it’s very important for you to refer the user manual for enhancing your understanding of operational and safety issues. Being a drilling expert you can’t afford to use a cutting and drilling equipment without referring user manual, as that invites injuries and accidents. Considering the fact that the user manual consists of all the major and minor details about operating a machine, it’s crucial for you to go through it effectively. Get Proper Training You should never touch a tool without seeking proper training, otherwise, you will end up injuring yourself. If you start using a new tool without knowing much about it, you won’t know what kind of safety measures you should be taking to prevent injuries. So, it’s important to get proper training. Unplug Tools While Making Adjustments If in case you want to make any adjustments to your drilling machine make sure that you unplug in the first place. In other words, don’t ever try to carry out any maintenance and repair jobs without unplugging the machine, otherwise, you may encounter huge problems. Keep Your Equipment Safely It is very important for you to keep your equipment safely to avoid accidents. Make sure that you do not expose your power tools to water and rain. You shouldn’t be using such tools in wet locations. In addition to that, you should never use these drilling tools in the presence of flammable liquids. Whenever you are not using any tool, then make sure that it is stored in a locked-up place. Keep Your Work Area Clean & Well Lit A cluttered job site not only makes it difficult for you to carry out your work effectively but also invites accidents. Therefore, it’s mandatory to keep your site well-lit and in proper order. Keep all the walkways and pathways free from material supply and equipment, so that you can walk freely. Use Protective Gear & Clothing Whenever you execute a magnetic drilling project, you must wear protective gear and clothing. Don't ever wear loose clothes while using heavy duty tools because they make you extremely unconformable, as they can easily come in contact with the moving parts of the machine, thereby inviting a horrific accident. It means you should always use tight fitted clothes, robust footwear, safety glasses, ear plugs, dust mask, and protective gloves while using heavy duty drilling machines. When you wear right protective gear, you can safeguard your skin and other body parts from getting injured. Maintain Your Tools Effectively It's very important that you keep your cutting and drilling tools sharp and clean for effective performance. Examine your tool cords regularly and if you find them damaged make sure that you repair them effectively before using them. While changing accessories make sure that you follow the instructions that are provided in the user manual. In addition to that, it is also crucial for you to keep handles of your equipment free from oil and grease. Inspect Your Tools before Using Them You should always carry out a quick inspection of all the important parts of your machines before using them. It helps in enhancing your safety as well as productivity while using a tool. So, whenever you use power tools make sure that you maintain all the important safety standards to prevent the risk of injuries. By: Krysta Jackson Visit: http://www.cadrillers.com  
    Feb 21, 2018 503
  • 09 Feb 2018
    London Zoo. A furniture storage unit on Cranford Street, Smethwick. A block of flats on Joiner Street, Manchester. A multi-storey car park in Liverpool. Woburn Safari Park. Listers Land Rover, Solihull. What do these six seemingly disparate locations have in common? Each has been the victim of fire within recent weeks. Fire does not discriminate and can affect any kind of building or business. There is a tendency to only concern ourselves with the most serious outcome of a fire – loss of life – though any building at risk of fire has the potential to alter lives permanently. Thankfully no human lives were lost in the aforementioned fires, though this is not to say that no lives were affected. Seventy firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at London Zoo alone, and many more risked their lives at the scenes of the other fires. Woburn Safari Park lost thirteen patas monkeys, a devastating loss for its drive-through enclosure, and the emotional strain on the staff cannot be understated. Drew Mullin, Woburn's managing director, said some keepers were in tears as they tried to deal with the loss. More than 1,600 vehicles and their contents were destroyed in the inferno which tore through the King’s Dock multi-storey in Liverpool. Remarkably no serious injuries were sustained, but it isn’t hard to see how thousands of lives will be impacted, particularly at a time of year when family funds are often tight and the financial loss to the vehicle owners will sting all the more. The fire in a block of apartments on Manchester’s Joiner Street will have rendered a number of residents in need of temporary shelter. A fire such as this in a residential building can quickly become far more serious, and many families will have lost their belongings and sense of security along with their homes. West Midlands Fire Service confirmed that the whole of the furniture unit in Smethwick was alight. With approximately 3,000m2 of floor space, it is hard to imagine how much stock was lost or damaged. The human cost can be measured in loss of potential earnings and jobs, not only in the furniture unit itself but also in local businesses supported by those who work there. Three cars were destroyed and a further five were damaged in a suspected arson attack at Listers Land Rover, a dealership in Solihull. No one was injured, but three emergency vehicles were sent to deal with the fire - including an ambulance, stretching burdened medical services thinner. The causes of each of these fires will be subject to in-depth investigations, and already they serve to reinforce the findings of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recent interim report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which has identified that regulations are in urgent need of change. 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 also protect lives. 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 so also minimise costs and impacts, and sprinklers have been shown to contain, control or extinguish fires in 99% of cases1. The tragedy at Grenfell last year offered us a sharp reminder of the devastating effect that fire can have. These recent fires – while thankfully not on the scale of the Grenfell disaster – serve to demonstrate that fire does not discriminate; whether it is a warehouse, a school, a hospital, a car park, a hotel or a shop, fires happen on a regular basis. However, they can be contained and extinguished by systems such as sprinklers to ensure that life is not put at risk and businesses, jobs and the economy are protected. Efficiency and Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems in the United Kingdom: An Analysis from Fire Service Data, May 2017, Optimal Economics. Visit the  www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org  
    567 Posted by Talk. Build
  • London Zoo. A furniture storage unit on Cranford Street, Smethwick. A block of flats on Joiner Street, Manchester. A multi-storey car park in Liverpool. Woburn Safari Park. Listers Land Rover, Solihull. What do these six seemingly disparate locations have in common? Each has been the victim of fire within recent weeks. Fire does not discriminate and can affect any kind of building or business. There is a tendency to only concern ourselves with the most serious outcome of a fire – loss of life – though any building at risk of fire has the potential to alter lives permanently. Thankfully no human lives were lost in the aforementioned fires, though this is not to say that no lives were affected. Seventy firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at London Zoo alone, and many more risked their lives at the scenes of the other fires. Woburn Safari Park lost thirteen patas monkeys, a devastating loss for its drive-through enclosure, and the emotional strain on the staff cannot be understated. Drew Mullin, Woburn's managing director, said some keepers were in tears as they tried to deal with the loss. More than 1,600 vehicles and their contents were destroyed in the inferno which tore through the King’s Dock multi-storey in Liverpool. Remarkably no serious injuries were sustained, but it isn’t hard to see how thousands of lives will be impacted, particularly at a time of year when family funds are often tight and the financial loss to the vehicle owners will sting all the more. The fire in a block of apartments on Manchester’s Joiner Street will have rendered a number of residents in need of temporary shelter. A fire such as this in a residential building can quickly become far more serious, and many families will have lost their belongings and sense of security along with their homes. West Midlands Fire Service confirmed that the whole of the furniture unit in Smethwick was alight. With approximately 3,000m2 of floor space, it is hard to imagine how much stock was lost or damaged. The human cost can be measured in loss of potential earnings and jobs, not only in the furniture unit itself but also in local businesses supported by those who work there. Three cars were destroyed and a further five were damaged in a suspected arson attack at Listers Land Rover, a dealership in Solihull. No one was injured, but three emergency vehicles were sent to deal with the fire - including an ambulance, stretching burdened medical services thinner. The causes of each of these fires will be subject to in-depth investigations, and already they serve to reinforce the findings of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recent interim report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which has identified that regulations are in urgent need of change. 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 also protect lives. 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 so also minimise costs and impacts, and sprinklers have been shown to contain, control or extinguish fires in 99% of cases1. The tragedy at Grenfell last year offered us a sharp reminder of the devastating effect that fire can have. These recent fires – while thankfully not on the scale of the Grenfell disaster – serve to demonstrate that fire does not discriminate; whether it is a warehouse, a school, a hospital, a car park, a hotel or a shop, fires happen on a regular basis. However, they can be contained and extinguished by systems such as sprinklers to ensure that life is not put at risk and businesses, jobs and the economy are protected. Efficiency and Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems in the United Kingdom: An Analysis from Fire Service Data, May 2017, Optimal Economics. Visit the  www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org  
    Feb 09, 2018 567
  • 05 Feb 2018
    Failing roofs, car parks and walkways are a fact of life. However, when this vital infrastructure forms part of a well-populated social housing development, failure to address deteriorating pathways and the like before major damage sets in can lead to huge expense for the local authority involved.  With council purse-strings tightened like never before it’s possible the cost of pricey refurbishment projects will be passed to the taxpayer, so it’s in all our interests repairs are carried out quickly and with minimal disruption. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco explains what the solution to the issue of upgrading the UK’s rapidly ageing social housing stock and surrounding infrastructure is? In England there are around 2.5 million housing association tenants. With a national waiting list for social housing now at 1.36 million households or 3.4 million people, the need to maintain authority-owned buildings to the highest possible standard is more apparent than ever. For more than 150 years leading waterproofing and roofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, has been applying practical and technical expertise to a range of new and existing building requirements. This experience and skill is needed like never before with current figures showing one-fifth of Britain’s housing stock is more than 100-years-old. With many of these ageing buildings now in need of regeneration, it’s vital to choose products and systems that deliver long term performance for the client, and in a social housing context, that means a fast application for the contractor and minimal disruption to the residents. Housing stock given thermal blanket BriggsAmasco offers a broad range of waterproofing solutions for roofs, walkways, balconies and car parks. Renowned for providing full-proof, cost effective solutions to new and existing projects nationwide ensured the company was specified as Principal Contractor by Aberdeen City Council to upgrade weather tightness and thermal performance in its stock of more than 20,000 properties. The company supplied and installed a complete build up system comprising Icopal Monarplan single ply, 120mm insulation and Technatorch vapour control layer. Combining excellent thermal performance and airtight construction, the system has helped to reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint whist ensuring high quality waterproofing protection. Aberdeen City Council provides affordable housing for nearly 25,000 families and so it was important BriggsAmasco ensured minimal disruption was caused to council residents whilst also meeting strict health and safety regulations. By appointing BriggsAmasco for the installation, the council and its residents were guaranteed a high performance roofing system that will perform for many years to come. Building a path to better walkways Social housing refurbishment can achieve a range of desired results such as improving a structure’s aesthetics as well as shoring up its safety and potentially extending its lifetime. The same outcome is required of the surrounding infrastructure as council-owned walkways or pavements can be a huge drain on public resources if not properly maintained. Figures revealed councils in England paid out more than £82m in compensation over a five-year period to people who tripped on pavements or walkways. It is therefore vital these public paths are hazard-free to ensure damage limitation to public and council alike. BriggsAmasco helped breathe new life into an ageing and dilapidated walkway at a social housing complex in Hull. The surface of Wilberforce Walkway had suffered water ingress for a number of years due to it becoming beset with cracks and uneven surfaces. It led to trip hazards and uncomfortable walking conditions for nearby residents. Requiring comprehensive refurbishment to return it to its very best, BriggsAmasco applied an asphalt installation to the walkway, comprising 15mm Permapark Waterproofing layer and 25mm one coat Permapark Paving layer with a crimped finish. It ensured the new Wilberforce Walkway will provide social housing residents with long-term safe and reliable access. The cost of ignoring surface danger Failing public surfaces are not only a danger to people; machines can suffer too. Compensation pay outs are not limited to drivers whose cars have been damaged by a pot-holed road or highway; poorly maintained car parks can also result in a hefty repair bill for motorists. This is invariably passed on to the car park’s managing authority leading to an expense claim which could run to several hundred pounds; unnecessary expenditure, especially if the authority happens to be a cash-strapped local council or hospital. In such cases an urgent solution is required if a car park used by hospital visitors, staff, patients or social housing residents shows signs of disrepair. BriggsAmasco was appointed to replace a car park designed to serve housing association tenants in Southampton city centre that was causing damage to the structure and vehicles parked below due to surface leakage. With just six weeks to complete the project and the car park in operation throughout, the company installed 2500m2 of Permapark mastic asphalt waterproofing and surfacing system. BriggsAmasco ensured there was no disruption to residents during renovation which helped return the roof car park to its functional best. There is nothing anyone can do to halt time’s inexorable march, but BriggsAmasco has a variety of quality, cost-effective solutions to ensure the future survival of Britain’s ageing social housing stock and infrastructure. Vist:https://briggsamasco.co.uk/
    377 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Failing roofs, car parks and walkways are a fact of life. However, when this vital infrastructure forms part of a well-populated social housing development, failure to address deteriorating pathways and the like before major damage sets in can lead to huge expense for the local authority involved.  With council purse-strings tightened like never before it’s possible the cost of pricey refurbishment projects will be passed to the taxpayer, so it’s in all our interests repairs are carried out quickly and with minimal disruption. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco explains what the solution to the issue of upgrading the UK’s rapidly ageing social housing stock and surrounding infrastructure is? In England there are around 2.5 million housing association tenants. With a national waiting list for social housing now at 1.36 million households or 3.4 million people, the need to maintain authority-owned buildings to the highest possible standard is more apparent than ever. For more than 150 years leading waterproofing and roofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, has been applying practical and technical expertise to a range of new and existing building requirements. This experience and skill is needed like never before with current figures showing one-fifth of Britain’s housing stock is more than 100-years-old. With many of these ageing buildings now in need of regeneration, it’s vital to choose products and systems that deliver long term performance for the client, and in a social housing context, that means a fast application for the contractor and minimal disruption to the residents. Housing stock given thermal blanket BriggsAmasco offers a broad range of waterproofing solutions for roofs, walkways, balconies and car parks. Renowned for providing full-proof, cost effective solutions to new and existing projects nationwide ensured the company was specified as Principal Contractor by Aberdeen City Council to upgrade weather tightness and thermal performance in its stock of more than 20,000 properties. The company supplied and installed a complete build up system comprising Icopal Monarplan single ply, 120mm insulation and Technatorch vapour control layer. Combining excellent thermal performance and airtight construction, the system has helped to reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint whist ensuring high quality waterproofing protection. Aberdeen City Council provides affordable housing for nearly 25,000 families and so it was important BriggsAmasco ensured minimal disruption was caused to council residents whilst also meeting strict health and safety regulations. By appointing BriggsAmasco for the installation, the council and its residents were guaranteed a high performance roofing system that will perform for many years to come. Building a path to better walkways Social housing refurbishment can achieve a range of desired results such as improving a structure’s aesthetics as well as shoring up its safety and potentially extending its lifetime. The same outcome is required of the surrounding infrastructure as council-owned walkways or pavements can be a huge drain on public resources if not properly maintained. Figures revealed councils in England paid out more than £82m in compensation over a five-year period to people who tripped on pavements or walkways. It is therefore vital these public paths are hazard-free to ensure damage limitation to public and council alike. BriggsAmasco helped breathe new life into an ageing and dilapidated walkway at a social housing complex in Hull. The surface of Wilberforce Walkway had suffered water ingress for a number of years due to it becoming beset with cracks and uneven surfaces. It led to trip hazards and uncomfortable walking conditions for nearby residents. Requiring comprehensive refurbishment to return it to its very best, BriggsAmasco applied an asphalt installation to the walkway, comprising 15mm Permapark Waterproofing layer and 25mm one coat Permapark Paving layer with a crimped finish. It ensured the new Wilberforce Walkway will provide social housing residents with long-term safe and reliable access. The cost of ignoring surface danger Failing public surfaces are not only a danger to people; machines can suffer too. Compensation pay outs are not limited to drivers whose cars have been damaged by a pot-holed road or highway; poorly maintained car parks can also result in a hefty repair bill for motorists. This is invariably passed on to the car park’s managing authority leading to an expense claim which could run to several hundred pounds; unnecessary expenditure, especially if the authority happens to be a cash-strapped local council or hospital. In such cases an urgent solution is required if a car park used by hospital visitors, staff, patients or social housing residents shows signs of disrepair. BriggsAmasco was appointed to replace a car park designed to serve housing association tenants in Southampton city centre that was causing damage to the structure and vehicles parked below due to surface leakage. With just six weeks to complete the project and the car park in operation throughout, the company installed 2500m2 of Permapark mastic asphalt waterproofing and surfacing system. BriggsAmasco ensured there was no disruption to residents during renovation which helped return the roof car park to its functional best. There is nothing anyone can do to halt time’s inexorable march, but BriggsAmasco has a variety of quality, cost-effective solutions to ensure the future survival of Britain’s ageing social housing stock and infrastructure. Vist:https://briggsamasco.co.uk/
    Feb 05, 2018 377
  • 02 Feb 2018
    Every building is made up of hundreds if not thousands of different building products and materials. Each product has been tested in a laboratory and certified to confirm it will do its job. However, once on-site, materials will act differently. They come into contact with different atmospheric conditions and are reliant on the installation by a contractor. This is where on-site technical support proves its worth. On-site technical support is often under-valued, but as a business, Sika places huge emphasis on it. It’s a core part of our product offering and a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a global leader, producing products for a variety of market sectors from construction to automotive (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) supporting our customers is something we do - everyday. For Sika, on-site support starts at the research and development stage. We don’t just test new products in a laboratory and then package and sell them. We take them to market and test them in the real world. A laboratory is a controlled environment and our products are not installed in controlled environments – they are installed in some of the most challenging and harsh conditions you can imagine. Every site is different and contractors work in very different ways. As such, it is important to put our products into practice to see how they react. This could be from how they are handled on site; what effect the weather has on them and how they react to other materials. It is also important to get feedback from contractors as they are at the sharp end installing them every day – their feedback on how the product feels, how easy it is to work with is invaluable. We also believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that once our products have been specified, they are installed correctly and the end results meet the client’s expectations. Changing specifications happens all too frequently, often as a way of reducing costs. However, sometimes a change in specification has a knock-on effect and the end result is that it isn’t fit for purpose and ends-up costing the client more money. There is also the issue of interpretation. Many commercial and industrial projects we visit are made up of different areas, from manufacture to storage. The floors in these different parts of the building need to be treated differently as their usage can differ greatly. Therefore, different grades of flooring should be specified depending on their intended use. This is easy to overlook when looking at project drawings, but with on-site support the use of the building can quickly be ascertained and a suitable specification created. On-site technical support shouldn’t stop there. We work closely with our contractor network to assist them on a job-by-job basis. This starts with training for a site operative at our Preston or Welwyn Garden City facilities and runs right through to assessing on site performance on a job. This is essential for projects where Sika is providing a guarantee. Technical support adds value at every stage – from helping develop new product to creating appropriate specifications, assisting with workmanship to ensuring a specification is maintained and the results exceed expectation. The only way to do this is by witnessing products in-use and seeing projects being delivered. There is no substitute to real life. On-site support may be a traditional value, but it’s a value that Sika believes strongly in, and it’s something that I believe makes us that little bit different. By Mark Prizeman, Sika Technical Services Manager, Flooring and Refurbishment Visit: http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    524 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Every building is made up of hundreds if not thousands of different building products and materials. Each product has been tested in a laboratory and certified to confirm it will do its job. However, once on-site, materials will act differently. They come into contact with different atmospheric conditions and are reliant on the installation by a contractor. This is where on-site technical support proves its worth. On-site technical support is often under-valued, but as a business, Sika places huge emphasis on it. It’s a core part of our product offering and a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a global leader, producing products for a variety of market sectors from construction to automotive (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) supporting our customers is something we do - everyday. For Sika, on-site support starts at the research and development stage. We don’t just test new products in a laboratory and then package and sell them. We take them to market and test them in the real world. A laboratory is a controlled environment and our products are not installed in controlled environments – they are installed in some of the most challenging and harsh conditions you can imagine. Every site is different and contractors work in very different ways. As such, it is important to put our products into practice to see how they react. This could be from how they are handled on site; what effect the weather has on them and how they react to other materials. It is also important to get feedback from contractors as they are at the sharp end installing them every day – their feedback on how the product feels, how easy it is to work with is invaluable. We also believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that once our products have been specified, they are installed correctly and the end results meet the client’s expectations. Changing specifications happens all too frequently, often as a way of reducing costs. However, sometimes a change in specification has a knock-on effect and the end result is that it isn’t fit for purpose and ends-up costing the client more money. There is also the issue of interpretation. Many commercial and industrial projects we visit are made up of different areas, from manufacture to storage. The floors in these different parts of the building need to be treated differently as their usage can differ greatly. Therefore, different grades of flooring should be specified depending on their intended use. This is easy to overlook when looking at project drawings, but with on-site support the use of the building can quickly be ascertained and a suitable specification created. On-site technical support shouldn’t stop there. We work closely with our contractor network to assist them on a job-by-job basis. This starts with training for a site operative at our Preston or Welwyn Garden City facilities and runs right through to assessing on site performance on a job. This is essential for projects where Sika is providing a guarantee. Technical support adds value at every stage – from helping develop new product to creating appropriate specifications, assisting with workmanship to ensuring a specification is maintained and the results exceed expectation. The only way to do this is by witnessing products in-use and seeing projects being delivered. There is no substitute to real life. On-site support may be a traditional value, but it’s a value that Sika believes strongly in, and it’s something that I believe makes us that little bit different. By Mark Prizeman, Sika Technical Services Manager, Flooring and Refurbishment Visit: http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    Feb 02, 2018 524
  • 29 Jan 2018
    Construction giant Carillion’s plunge into liquidation has had an immediate impact, with the firm owing up to 30,000 businesses around £1bn in unpaid costs, as well as putting thousands of jobs at risk. What is clear from the collapse of such a seemingly untouchable giant such as Carillion is that there is a wider review needed for the way the industry is operating under its current business model. As part of that, the traditionally long and uncertain payment terms facing many construction subcontractors needs to be reviewed. The payment processes in place across many businesses within the industry are still manual and complex. Changes are needed to modernise and protect the sector against the impact of cases such as the Carillion collapse. Current reports state that Carillion owed money to between 25,000 and 30,000 businesses, some of which had bills which were equivalent to 10% of their turnover. The knock-on effect for subcontractors and the industry as a whole could be catastrophic. “Looking at previous cases where large contractors have collapsed, you typically see that around 17% or 18% of businesses who are creditors to the company don’t make it through the next five years”, states Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of trade body Build UK. It’s clear that steps are needed to improve cash flow between contractors and subcontractors – for the benefit of all. Automated payment processing systems are shifting from “nice to have” to an essential item for businesses to remain viable. For contractors, they benefit from increased efficiencies and a much more accurate understanding of their liabilities at any given time. For subcontractors, they gain visibility of the progress of their various applications for payment – something that will help them with their business planning. With the right technology, payment processes can become efficient, standardised, transparent and quick. Most importantly, the automation of these processes can allow for tracking and management across the whole supply chain which reduces risk and helps to build a clear and transparent picture of the finances affecting the business. Such disruptive technologies means the industry is facing a future of dramatic change. Visit www.openecx.co.uk
    427 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Construction giant Carillion’s plunge into liquidation has had an immediate impact, with the firm owing up to 30,000 businesses around £1bn in unpaid costs, as well as putting thousands of jobs at risk. What is clear from the collapse of such a seemingly untouchable giant such as Carillion is that there is a wider review needed for the way the industry is operating under its current business model. As part of that, the traditionally long and uncertain payment terms facing many construction subcontractors needs to be reviewed. The payment processes in place across many businesses within the industry are still manual and complex. Changes are needed to modernise and protect the sector against the impact of cases such as the Carillion collapse. Current reports state that Carillion owed money to between 25,000 and 30,000 businesses, some of which had bills which were equivalent to 10% of their turnover. The knock-on effect for subcontractors and the industry as a whole could be catastrophic. “Looking at previous cases where large contractors have collapsed, you typically see that around 17% or 18% of businesses who are creditors to the company don’t make it through the next five years”, states Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of trade body Build UK. It’s clear that steps are needed to improve cash flow between contractors and subcontractors – for the benefit of all. Automated payment processing systems are shifting from “nice to have” to an essential item for businesses to remain viable. For contractors, they benefit from increased efficiencies and a much more accurate understanding of their liabilities at any given time. For subcontractors, they gain visibility of the progress of their various applications for payment – something that will help them with their business planning. With the right technology, payment processes can become efficient, standardised, transparent and quick. Most importantly, the automation of these processes can allow for tracking and management across the whole supply chain which reduces risk and helps to build a clear and transparent picture of the finances affecting the business. Such disruptive technologies means the industry is facing a future of dramatic change. Visit www.openecx.co.uk
    Jan 29, 2018 427
  • 25 Jan 2018
    In a letter to Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose, following the New Year’s Eve blaze at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool. In a fire that looks set to have a financial impact of over £50million, the question should be are we creating buildings and structures that are resilient and do the regulations go far enough? The fire, which reached temperatures of 1000 °C, destroyed upwards of a thousand vehicles inside the car park and caused extensive damage to the building itself. In an interview with the BBC Joe Anderson said it was unlikely the building could now be saved. The Mayor went on to state in his letter there was a “question of their efficacy in dealing with petrol based fires”, but the statistics show that the opposite is true. According to the UK Fire Statistics, there were 162 car park fires between 1994 and 2005 in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. Automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained 100 of these fires; and in only 1% of cases did the sprinklers operate but fail to contain or extinguish the fire. It is assumed that the remainder of the fires were too small to actuate the sprinklers, or were contained quickly by other means. This 99% success rate of activated sprinkler systems containing or extinguishing car park fires lays to rest the myth that sprinklers are ineffective at controlling fires in this setting. While the car park met current Building Regulations, this only means that the building complies – not that it is resilient. The Regulations are designed with life safety in mind and in this case they worked and everyone got out without injury. However, property protection is not considered and as such a fire which destroys a structure entirely can still be considered a success. This is fundamentally wrong. As a result of the lack of focus on property protection it has been estimated by the Association of British Insurers that £20m of claims will be paid out to insurance customers for the loss of vehicles and possessions in the fire. The construction cost of the building itself has been estimated to be in the range of £15m, bringing the total cost of property damage to an estimated £35m. However, the total cost of the fire will be far larger when the effect on the city as a whole is taken into account. The loss of the car park’s 1,600 spaces, charged at £15 per day, means a potential £24,000 of lost revenue daily, and the car park may not reopen for a year or longer. If it takes 18 months to reopen, this will mean potential lost earnings of £13,140,000. Visitors will seek alternative places to park, causing confusion and congestion and potentially cancelled visits should suitable alternative parking not be found. The ripple effect from this will be felt by businesses in the area who could previously expect custom from those parked in the multi-storey, who will now be spending less time in the town as they search for alternative places to park. Initial estimates of the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the car park have fallen within the range of £600k to £950k; considerably lower than the costs incurred as a result of the fire – costs that not only affect the Liverpool Echo Arena but smaller businesses and the city as a whole. Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of sprinklers in car parks and the resultant costs of a fire such as this one, the regulatory guidance for building safety does not call for the installation of sprinklers. The regulations concern themselves solely with life safety and do not take into account the wider economic effects of fire. Compliance with the regulations as they stand offers the bare minimum standards, rather than adequate resilience. By the existing regulations’ measure, the fire was a success as no one was injured. However, to consider the Liverpool car park fire a ‘success’ would be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, and for this reason the BSA backs the call for a review of building regulations with regards to the installation of sprinklers across the built environment.  Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org
    532 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In a letter to Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose, following the New Year’s Eve blaze at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool. In a fire that looks set to have a financial impact of over £50million, the question should be are we creating buildings and structures that are resilient and do the regulations go far enough? The fire, which reached temperatures of 1000 °C, destroyed upwards of a thousand vehicles inside the car park and caused extensive damage to the building itself. In an interview with the BBC Joe Anderson said it was unlikely the building could now be saved. The Mayor went on to state in his letter there was a “question of their efficacy in dealing with petrol based fires”, but the statistics show that the opposite is true. According to the UK Fire Statistics, there were 162 car park fires between 1994 and 2005 in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. Automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained 100 of these fires; and in only 1% of cases did the sprinklers operate but fail to contain or extinguish the fire. It is assumed that the remainder of the fires were too small to actuate the sprinklers, or were contained quickly by other means. This 99% success rate of activated sprinkler systems containing or extinguishing car park fires lays to rest the myth that sprinklers are ineffective at controlling fires in this setting. While the car park met current Building Regulations, this only means that the building complies – not that it is resilient. The Regulations are designed with life safety in mind and in this case they worked and everyone got out without injury. However, property protection is not considered and as such a fire which destroys a structure entirely can still be considered a success. This is fundamentally wrong. As a result of the lack of focus on property protection it has been estimated by the Association of British Insurers that £20m of claims will be paid out to insurance customers for the loss of vehicles and possessions in the fire. The construction cost of the building itself has been estimated to be in the range of £15m, bringing the total cost of property damage to an estimated £35m. However, the total cost of the fire will be far larger when the effect on the city as a whole is taken into account. The loss of the car park’s 1,600 spaces, charged at £15 per day, means a potential £24,000 of lost revenue daily, and the car park may not reopen for a year or longer. If it takes 18 months to reopen, this will mean potential lost earnings of £13,140,000. Visitors will seek alternative places to park, causing confusion and congestion and potentially cancelled visits should suitable alternative parking not be found. The ripple effect from this will be felt by businesses in the area who could previously expect custom from those parked in the multi-storey, who will now be spending less time in the town as they search for alternative places to park. Initial estimates of the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the car park have fallen within the range of £600k to £950k; considerably lower than the costs incurred as a result of the fire – costs that not only affect the Liverpool Echo Arena but smaller businesses and the city as a whole. Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of sprinklers in car parks and the resultant costs of a fire such as this one, the regulatory guidance for building safety does not call for the installation of sprinklers. The regulations concern themselves solely with life safety and do not take into account the wider economic effects of fire. Compliance with the regulations as they stand offers the bare minimum standards, rather than adequate resilience. By the existing regulations’ measure, the fire was a success as no one was injured. However, to consider the Liverpool car park fire a ‘success’ would be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, and for this reason the BSA backs the call for a review of building regulations with regards to the installation of sprinklers across the built environment.  Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org
    Jan 25, 2018 532
  • 23 Jan 2018
    Air leakage in the form of a draught within a building’s fabric is usually easy to detect. A shiver-inducing light gust is normally solved with the closing of a door or window, or with the strategic placement of a gap-filling excluder. For a property to achieve Passive House standards for air tightness, however, requires sealing the building against air leakage which isn’t felt or immediately apparent. Securing good levels of air tightness is not only beneficial for the building’s owner in terms of reduced energy usage and lower fuel bills. Since 2006, UK Building Regulations have included compulsory air leakage testing of new buildings, requiring developers to prove the air tightness of a sample of new buildings on a new residential housing estate, for example. Air leakage or air permeability, which refers to escaping or penetrating a building, is generally seen in the following areas: at external wall and floor junctions around windows and doors around pipe work including those generally boxed-in behind fitted units or behind bath and shower panels at socket points and around electricity units. Air assessment and APR During an air test, assessors will fit a temporary airtight screen at the entrance door of a building, whilst all other areas, such as water traps and vents, are temporarily blocked or closed. A fan then blows air into or out of the building to create a pressure difference between inside and outside of approximately 50 Pa. Air tightness is calculated by measuring the rate of airflow through the fan whilst a range of pressure differences between the inside and outside of the house are sustained. To pass an air leakage test a building must achieve an air permeability result (APR) of 10 m3/(h.m2). However, some targets are even more stringent when defined at design stage. A test that doesn’t achieve a Building Regulations minimum performance requirement would be classed as a fail. Should tests fail to achieve the necessary performance level, the building may require remedial work and retesting. This is where a good test engineer will often be able to identify the leakage points and provide corrective advice. Ignore these areas of escape at your peril. by Martin Peat, Commercial Director at Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    399 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Air leakage in the form of a draught within a building’s fabric is usually easy to detect. A shiver-inducing light gust is normally solved with the closing of a door or window, or with the strategic placement of a gap-filling excluder. For a property to achieve Passive House standards for air tightness, however, requires sealing the building against air leakage which isn’t felt or immediately apparent. Securing good levels of air tightness is not only beneficial for the building’s owner in terms of reduced energy usage and lower fuel bills. Since 2006, UK Building Regulations have included compulsory air leakage testing of new buildings, requiring developers to prove the air tightness of a sample of new buildings on a new residential housing estate, for example. Air leakage or air permeability, which refers to escaping or penetrating a building, is generally seen in the following areas: at external wall and floor junctions around windows and doors around pipe work including those generally boxed-in behind fitted units or behind bath and shower panels at socket points and around electricity units. Air assessment and APR During an air test, assessors will fit a temporary airtight screen at the entrance door of a building, whilst all other areas, such as water traps and vents, are temporarily blocked or closed. A fan then blows air into or out of the building to create a pressure difference between inside and outside of approximately 50 Pa. Air tightness is calculated by measuring the rate of airflow through the fan whilst a range of pressure differences between the inside and outside of the house are sustained. To pass an air leakage test a building must achieve an air permeability result (APR) of 10 m3/(h.m2). However, some targets are even more stringent when defined at design stage. A test that doesn’t achieve a Building Regulations minimum performance requirement would be classed as a fail. Should tests fail to achieve the necessary performance level, the building may require remedial work and retesting. This is where a good test engineer will often be able to identify the leakage points and provide corrective advice. Ignore these areas of escape at your peril. by Martin Peat, Commercial Director at Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    Jan 23, 2018 399
  • 22 Jan 2018
    Contrary to popular belief it is almost impossible to start a fire on a green roof according to most experts. Fears that plants and other foliage would present a fire risk, particularly during the hot summer months have proved to be unfounded. Research has shown that the risk of fire is 15-20 times higher on traditional flat roofs with fully adhered bituminous waterproof membranes compared to extensive green roofs with grasses, perennials and Sedums In spite of this there has still been talk in recent years that we could be creating a “fire of London” situation where flames would spread from one green roof to another, fanned by the higher winds experienced on most tall buildings. So far, so alarmist but there is no doubt that fire fighters are concerned that in the event of a building fire, a green roof would trap heat and with the increased weight above, such a structure would provide an additional hazard once internal supports had been compromised. With the recent tragic events of Grenfell, all sectors of the construction industry are looking more closely at the regulations and developing new products and systems to provide maximum fire protection. One of the most likely potential problems for a green roof would be the spread of fire from an adjacent building via a party wall. One company, Proteus Waterproofing, based in Essex, have already identified such a scenario by producing a roof waterproof system that includes all the best U values from insulation such as PIR, combined with the fire resistant qualities of mineral wool. The system can be used with a whole range of different membranes. Such a package also offers a higher level of protection to buildings with green roofs by offering greater levels of fire resistance. It does mean of course that roofing now has to be designed in an entirely different ways to ensure that U vales are maintained and fire safety remains uncompromised. The European Standard is B Roof T4 which all roofs, particularly where it relates to party walls or compartmentation, must be achieved and this is the challenge for all new green roofs and similar design situations’ The first “true” extensive green roofs were built in Germany around 35 years ago and today it is estimated that there are at least five billion square feet of extensive green roofs built across Europe. This equals at least 350 square miles of green roofs with estimates that we are adding a further 20 new square miles every year. As green roofs have become more successful the critical comments about safety issues have also increased. However there is no record of any fire directly related to a green roof. But as we have seen, the weight of a green roof is a major potential hazard in a building fire but it now seems that we have a potential solution with companies such as Proteus developing systems that protect and contain the spread of fire. Sounds good to me…. By John Ridgeway Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/
    459 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Contrary to popular belief it is almost impossible to start a fire on a green roof according to most experts. Fears that plants and other foliage would present a fire risk, particularly during the hot summer months have proved to be unfounded. Research has shown that the risk of fire is 15-20 times higher on traditional flat roofs with fully adhered bituminous waterproof membranes compared to extensive green roofs with grasses, perennials and Sedums In spite of this there has still been talk in recent years that we could be creating a “fire of London” situation where flames would spread from one green roof to another, fanned by the higher winds experienced on most tall buildings. So far, so alarmist but there is no doubt that fire fighters are concerned that in the event of a building fire, a green roof would trap heat and with the increased weight above, such a structure would provide an additional hazard once internal supports had been compromised. With the recent tragic events of Grenfell, all sectors of the construction industry are looking more closely at the regulations and developing new products and systems to provide maximum fire protection. One of the most likely potential problems for a green roof would be the spread of fire from an adjacent building via a party wall. One company, Proteus Waterproofing, based in Essex, have already identified such a scenario by producing a roof waterproof system that includes all the best U values from insulation such as PIR, combined with the fire resistant qualities of mineral wool. The system can be used with a whole range of different membranes. Such a package also offers a higher level of protection to buildings with green roofs by offering greater levels of fire resistance. It does mean of course that roofing now has to be designed in an entirely different ways to ensure that U vales are maintained and fire safety remains uncompromised. The European Standard is B Roof T4 which all roofs, particularly where it relates to party walls or compartmentation, must be achieved and this is the challenge for all new green roofs and similar design situations’ The first “true” extensive green roofs were built in Germany around 35 years ago and today it is estimated that there are at least five billion square feet of extensive green roofs built across Europe. This equals at least 350 square miles of green roofs with estimates that we are adding a further 20 new square miles every year. As green roofs have become more successful the critical comments about safety issues have also increased. However there is no record of any fire directly related to a green roof. But as we have seen, the weight of a green roof is a major potential hazard in a building fire but it now seems that we have a potential solution with companies such as Proteus developing systems that protect and contain the spread of fire. Sounds good to me…. By John Ridgeway Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/
    Jan 22, 2018 459
  • 17 Jan 2018
    A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability. Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged: Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less The render system takes up minimal space Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure Withstands high water pressure Substrate preparation may be required  In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases. Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System: System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs Requires more space to install Acts as a vapour barrier Limited surface preparation required Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2  Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures. As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009. What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below. Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance. Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage. Visit: https://www.sikawaterproofing.co.uk/products-systems/sika-cd-cavity-drainage-system/  
    404 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability. Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged: Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less The render system takes up minimal space Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure Withstands high water pressure Substrate preparation may be required  In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases. Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System: System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs Requires more space to install Acts as a vapour barrier Limited surface preparation required Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2  Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures. As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009. What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below. Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance. Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance. Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage. Visit: https://www.sikawaterproofing.co.uk/products-systems/sika-cd-cavity-drainage-system/  
    Jan 17, 2018 404
  • 05 Jan 2018
    The introduction of Sewers for Adoption 7 (SfA7) has meant that engineers can now specify plastic inspection chambers instead of those made from concrete. Offering a substantially lighter, structurally sound, watertight chamber and one that benefits from exceptional loading capabilities, Paul Grills of Brett Martin takes a fresh look at modern plastic materials which are fast becoming the go-to alternative to traditional concrete chambers. With the intention of standardising the performance and installation of all ‘adoptable’ drainage installations, the SfA7 guidance provides installers with general specifications for drainage.  But when is an inspection chamber adoptable and when is it not? Adoptable inspection chambers serve two or more properties and are the first inspection chamber back from an adoptable lateral drain.  Non-adoptable chambers are installed within the property boundary and serve individual properties. Building a case for plastic One of the major step changes with SfA7 is that tried and tested engineered plastic inspection chambers are now being accepted for use in adoptable areas as an alternative to traditional materials such as concrete and offer significant cost and time benefits. Through the introduction of newly-defined design specifications and by bringing in installation standards for all adoptable drainage networks, SfA7 provides the specifier with Typical Access Chamber Details for flexible material (plastic) versions. This means that traditional rigid concrete chambers are no longer the only authorised option for adoptable drainage installations down to 3 metres. Plastic inspection chambers are now required to be designed, tested and manufactured to meet the requirements of BS EN 13598 under SfA7 guidance. Part 1 of the standard covers installations down to a maximum of 1.2m invert depth, and Part 2 covers deeper installations, including critical areas. Traditionally there has been some reluctance towards plastic inspection chambers from water authorities, even for Part 1 compliant installations. However with any lateral drain or sewer serving two or more properties and connections to the public sewer now able to be adopted by a water company, a traditional 1.2m concrete inspection chamber would not be practical in a lot of these instances. This change, enshrined in SfA7, has begun to result in a change of attitude from the water companies. Independently tested One of the reasons why plastic systems are becoming more accepted is due to the rigorous testing program set out in BS EN 13598. These independent tests include dimensional assessments, load testing, pressure testing and elevated temperature cycling to name just a few. Furthermore, a product certified by a third party (such as BSI) will be subject to this robust test program on an ongoing basis, ensuring that companies are consistently producing a product which meets this high standard. This impartial testing and certification should not only give water companies confidence in the system which they have installed, but also builders, surveyors and homeowners as well. Modern plastic systems are seeing increased interest due to their important set of benefits compared with concrete, including performance characteristics such as structural integrity, watertightconstruction and strong loading capabilities. And the substantially lighter weight offered by polypropylene chambers means there is no need for the craning required for the traditional concrete solutions, and that health and safety concerns on site are drastically reduced. Plastic sewer systems are also known for a very smooth internal surface in comparison to a concrete system. This reduced friction coefficient helps the flow of foul water, reduces the risk of blockages and means that the jetting pressure required for a plastic system is significantly reduced against a concrete pipe.  Ease of installation Along with being durable and robust, these modern plastic systems can be integrally socketed for improved pipe alignment thereby easing installation and performance, a vital consideration for a long design life.  An additional benefit of the integral socket is the system can be manufactured specifically to be compatible with other standardised plastic sewer products (such as BS EN 1401 pipe and fittings). This further improves on installation time and removes the need for additional adaptor pieces which go between concrete and plastic systems. With the official Sewers for Adoption 7 guidance now supporting the specification of plastic for adoptable solutions, local authorities can be sure they gain all the benefits of fit-for-purpose alternatives, and be fully in compliance with all standards. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    392 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The introduction of Sewers for Adoption 7 (SfA7) has meant that engineers can now specify plastic inspection chambers instead of those made from concrete. Offering a substantially lighter, structurally sound, watertight chamber and one that benefits from exceptional loading capabilities, Paul Grills of Brett Martin takes a fresh look at modern plastic materials which are fast becoming the go-to alternative to traditional concrete chambers. With the intention of standardising the performance and installation of all ‘adoptable’ drainage installations, the SfA7 guidance provides installers with general specifications for drainage.  But when is an inspection chamber adoptable and when is it not? Adoptable inspection chambers serve two or more properties and are the first inspection chamber back from an adoptable lateral drain.  Non-adoptable chambers are installed within the property boundary and serve individual properties. Building a case for plastic One of the major step changes with SfA7 is that tried and tested engineered plastic inspection chambers are now being accepted for use in adoptable areas as an alternative to traditional materials such as concrete and offer significant cost and time benefits. Through the introduction of newly-defined design specifications and by bringing in installation standards for all adoptable drainage networks, SfA7 provides the specifier with Typical Access Chamber Details for flexible material (plastic) versions. This means that traditional rigid concrete chambers are no longer the only authorised option for adoptable drainage installations down to 3 metres. Plastic inspection chambers are now required to be designed, tested and manufactured to meet the requirements of BS EN 13598 under SfA7 guidance. Part 1 of the standard covers installations down to a maximum of 1.2m invert depth, and Part 2 covers deeper installations, including critical areas. Traditionally there has been some reluctance towards plastic inspection chambers from water authorities, even for Part 1 compliant installations. However with any lateral drain or sewer serving two or more properties and connections to the public sewer now able to be adopted by a water company, a traditional 1.2m concrete inspection chamber would not be practical in a lot of these instances. This change, enshrined in SfA7, has begun to result in a change of attitude from the water companies. Independently tested One of the reasons why plastic systems are becoming more accepted is due to the rigorous testing program set out in BS EN 13598. These independent tests include dimensional assessments, load testing, pressure testing and elevated temperature cycling to name just a few. Furthermore, a product certified by a third party (such as BSI) will be subject to this robust test program on an ongoing basis, ensuring that companies are consistently producing a product which meets this high standard. This impartial testing and certification should not only give water companies confidence in the system which they have installed, but also builders, surveyors and homeowners as well. Modern plastic systems are seeing increased interest due to their important set of benefits compared with concrete, including performance characteristics such as structural integrity, watertightconstruction and strong loading capabilities. And the substantially lighter weight offered by polypropylene chambers means there is no need for the craning required for the traditional concrete solutions, and that health and safety concerns on site are drastically reduced. Plastic sewer systems are also known for a very smooth internal surface in comparison to a concrete system. This reduced friction coefficient helps the flow of foul water, reduces the risk of blockages and means that the jetting pressure required for a plastic system is significantly reduced against a concrete pipe.  Ease of installation Along with being durable and robust, these modern plastic systems can be integrally socketed for improved pipe alignment thereby easing installation and performance, a vital consideration for a long design life.  An additional benefit of the integral socket is the system can be manufactured specifically to be compatible with other standardised plastic sewer products (such as BS EN 1401 pipe and fittings). This further improves on installation time and removes the need for additional adaptor pieces which go between concrete and plastic systems. With the official Sewers for Adoption 7 guidance now supporting the specification of plastic for adoptable solutions, local authorities can be sure they gain all the benefits of fit-for-purpose alternatives, and be fully in compliance with all standards. Visit: www.brettmartin.com
    Jan 05, 2018 392
  • 03 Jan 2018
    As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different. I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope. The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.    Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are. Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others. A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward. On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year. These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity. Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.   It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage. We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them. If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us. By Rod Benson, Business Unit Manager for Sika Roofing
    385 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different. I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope. The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.    Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are. Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others. A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward. On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year. These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity. Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.   It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage. We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them. If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us. By Rod Benson, Business Unit Manager for Sika Roofing
    Jan 03, 2018 385
  • 02 Jan 2018
    The perception and benefit of rooflights, and more importantly daylight, has evolved to such extent it has become a fundamental element of contemporary architecture. ‘Daylight’ might be a simple word, but for many years it was given little thought or high consideration during the design or construction process.  With architects, clients and consumers all searching and wanting the latest offering, what steps can specifiers take to find the best rooflight product which offers the most benefits at an affordable price, whilst being aesthetically pleasing to the eye?  Naturally, with this evolution of opinions and desire comes product development.   Manufacturers work hard to launch new products regularly, with a solution available for whatever the requirement may be. This has resulted in an infinite variety of rooflight shapes, sizes, colours and glazing options to suit flat, pitched and curved roof applications. Irrespective of the number or extent of rooflights required for residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural structures, if the basics are followed the process can be as easy as 1-2-3:  design and specification, a market leading manufacturer and finally installation. Design and specification The choice of daylighting holds the key.  With so many options available, the early involvement of a rooflight manufacturer or daylight consultant at the design and specification stage of a project is critical as they can provide good advice and influence the right rooflight decision.  This could be in terms of the rooflight area required, benefits on energy saving or ventilation options as well as ensuring the most appropriate type of product is chosen for the individual requirements of a particular project. Working together during this time will ensure all requirements and benefits are achieved.  While a part of this requirement is meeting current legislation, it is also about meeting budgets whilst at the same time choosing the best product for the application that is quick and easy to install. This is not always an easy task when regulations need to be adhered to.  Smoke extraction, airtightness, u-values, solar gain, wind-loadings, watertightness are just some of the many considerations and requirements. It is therefore important to work with a rooflight manufacturer that can demonstrate, support and back-up their product’s performance and technical claims. Compliance with the differing national regulatory frameworks must be considered, with rooflights subjected to mandatory legislation and standards covering key performance factors including fire, thermal insulation, safety, and in certain applications, security. Care should be taken to ensure that any specification and installation meets the relevant standards, with a hierarchical approach often best practice. Meeting the relevant fire standards is paramount, insulation standards are important to meet energy efficiency standards, while safety requirements must also be satisfied. In particular, in the UK and Ireland, much assistance in meeting regulatory requirements is provided in extensive industry guidance, for example NFRC, MCRMA, NARM, ACR. Manufacturers at the top of their game Using a manufacturer which has a wide range of products will ensure the most reliable and cost effective option can be selected for any roof type or project requirement as they can offer unbiased advice on differing product types and applications to ensure that the project’s requirements of performance, aesthetics and budget is most appropriately met. A company with a more limited range of products could be more likely to recommend only the product that they supply rather than what is best for your project. A project can often benefit from using different rooflight products on the same roof, where specific performance, budgetary and aesthetic requirements can be matched to individual areas of the roof to ensure the most cost-effective overall budget. The perfect fit In a world where health and safety is paramount and with site labour, welfare and plant potentially so expensive, choosing the right manufacturer or product for your daylighting is crucial.  For contractors wishing to reduce site time on a roof and enhance safety, factory assembled rooflights are manufactured to tight tolerances, ensuring an accurate and reliable fit on site leading to time saved on installation, and reduced fitting costs. They say time is money, and costs can spiral out of control if the wrong choices are made.  With margins low and budgets tight, it’s important to recognise the value of UK quality standards for rooflights and check the origins and evaluate objectively the credentials of rooflight products.  Selecting an apparently lower cost rooflight might well compromise performance requirements and lead to higher costs in the long term.  Choosing the right rooflight manufacturer will ultimately give you peace of mind.  They can offer great quality, long lasting and compliant products that are quick and easy to install and backed up and supported by superb technical support. Through the synergy between rooflight manufacturers and specifiers working together and by taking a simple three step approach, it is possible to design, produce and achieve some of the most beautiful ‘daylight enhancements’ ever dreamt of on a building.  Visit: http://www.brettmartin.com/
    414 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The perception and benefit of rooflights, and more importantly daylight, has evolved to such extent it has become a fundamental element of contemporary architecture. ‘Daylight’ might be a simple word, but for many years it was given little thought or high consideration during the design or construction process.  With architects, clients and consumers all searching and wanting the latest offering, what steps can specifiers take to find the best rooflight product which offers the most benefits at an affordable price, whilst being aesthetically pleasing to the eye?  Naturally, with this evolution of opinions and desire comes product development.   Manufacturers work hard to launch new products regularly, with a solution available for whatever the requirement may be. This has resulted in an infinite variety of rooflight shapes, sizes, colours and glazing options to suit flat, pitched and curved roof applications. Irrespective of the number or extent of rooflights required for residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural structures, if the basics are followed the process can be as easy as 1-2-3:  design and specification, a market leading manufacturer and finally installation. Design and specification The choice of daylighting holds the key.  With so many options available, the early involvement of a rooflight manufacturer or daylight consultant at the design and specification stage of a project is critical as they can provide good advice and influence the right rooflight decision.  This could be in terms of the rooflight area required, benefits on energy saving or ventilation options as well as ensuring the most appropriate type of product is chosen for the individual requirements of a particular project. Working together during this time will ensure all requirements and benefits are achieved.  While a part of this requirement is meeting current legislation, it is also about meeting budgets whilst at the same time choosing the best product for the application that is quick and easy to install. This is not always an easy task when regulations need to be adhered to.  Smoke extraction, airtightness, u-values, solar gain, wind-loadings, watertightness are just some of the many considerations and requirements. It is therefore important to work with a rooflight manufacturer that can demonstrate, support and back-up their product’s performance and technical claims. Compliance with the differing national regulatory frameworks must be considered, with rooflights subjected to mandatory legislation and standards covering key performance factors including fire, thermal insulation, safety, and in certain applications, security. Care should be taken to ensure that any specification and installation meets the relevant standards, with a hierarchical approach often best practice. Meeting the relevant fire standards is paramount, insulation standards are important to meet energy efficiency standards, while safety requirements must also be satisfied. In particular, in the UK and Ireland, much assistance in meeting regulatory requirements is provided in extensive industry guidance, for example NFRC, MCRMA, NARM, ACR. Manufacturers at the top of their game Using a manufacturer which has a wide range of products will ensure the most reliable and cost effective option can be selected for any roof type or project requirement as they can offer unbiased advice on differing product types and applications to ensure that the project’s requirements of performance, aesthetics and budget is most appropriately met. A company with a more limited range of products could be more likely to recommend only the product that they supply rather than what is best for your project. A project can often benefit from using different rooflight products on the same roof, where specific performance, budgetary and aesthetic requirements can be matched to individual areas of the roof to ensure the most cost-effective overall budget. The perfect fit In a world where health and safety is paramount and with site labour, welfare and plant potentially so expensive, choosing the right manufacturer or product for your daylighting is crucial.  For contractors wishing to reduce site time on a roof and enhance safety, factory assembled rooflights are manufactured to tight tolerances, ensuring an accurate and reliable fit on site leading to time saved on installation, and reduced fitting costs. They say time is money, and costs can spiral out of control if the wrong choices are made.  With margins low and budgets tight, it’s important to recognise the value of UK quality standards for rooflights and check the origins and evaluate objectively the credentials of rooflight products.  Selecting an apparently lower cost rooflight might well compromise performance requirements and lead to higher costs in the long term.  Choosing the right rooflight manufacturer will ultimately give you peace of mind.  They can offer great quality, long lasting and compliant products that are quick and easy to install and backed up and supported by superb technical support. Through the synergy between rooflight manufacturers and specifiers working together and by taking a simple three step approach, it is possible to design, produce and achieve some of the most beautiful ‘daylight enhancements’ ever dreamt of on a building.  Visit: http://www.brettmartin.com/
    Jan 02, 2018 414
  • 12 Dec 2017
    There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    377 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There can be fewer buildings more important than a child’s place of learning. It’s therefore vital their educational surroundings are able to withstand the test of time and the worst of the elements which means obtaining maximum performance from a building’s first line of defence - the roof. As Dave Maginnis, Managing Director of leading roofing and waterproofing contractor, BriggsAmasco, explains, whatever the roofing system being installed – bur, single ply, hot melt, green roof, rooflights or solar PV - getting the small details right is essential or roof failure will fast become a very expensive problem. Standing water, membrane blistering, wind uplift damage…the causes of roof failure are as varied as they are destructive. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to common structural problems, but by taking into account a well-known phrase: “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” designers and builders can do much to ensure a structure’s highest and most important feature remains intact.  Even for the most site-hardened architect or surveyor, specifying the best flat roofing and waterproofing system can be a complex decision. From a humble flat to the grandest, awe-inspiring commercial structure, the materials applied to the roof will go a long way to deciding its long-term future. So how can you ensure a roof not only looks good, but remains weathertight and even thrives for years to come? The importance of technical support, surveying, estimating and contract management can play a vital role in waterproofing success, but initial specification is key. When Ceredigion County Council, based in south west Wales, announced it was to merge five schools to form a £34 million super school, every aspect of the new building had to aspire to the authority’s precise specification – including the roof.  A complete roof build-up system comprising Tata D100 steel decking, 160mm IKO Enertherm insulation and IKO Armourplan single plan membrane proved the ideal solution to ensure the school’s 1,000 primary and secondary pupils have robust and reliable all-weather protection. As well as providing shelter, a well-designed roof can help in the creation of a calm, ambient school environment. Natural light plays a crucial role in modern educational buildings, helping improve concentration levels and productivity; hence mono-pitch rooflights were installed as part of the super school’s specification. To complete the application and provide safe roof access for repairs or maintenance tasks, a Latchways Mansafe fall protection system was also installed. With schools and colleges looking to increase student awareness in terms of bio-diversity as well as allowing more recreation and growing of different plant species, green roofs are becoming a familiar feature in education establishments nationwide.  At the University of Greenwich in London, 22 separate roofs were waterproofed in  IKO PermaTEC hot-melt as part of a multi-tier rooftop garden on the new £38 million Stockwell Street building. Of the 22 flat roofs, 14 were converted into green roofs. IKO PermaTEC hot melt system was specified for the project as it can accommodate a wide variety of roof types and be applied in a range of weather conditions. With a proven track record of durability and long-term performance, PermaTEC provides outstanding protection that will last the entire design life of the building. Correct specification paid dividends for the university and contractors as the 14 roofs - landscaped with plants, trees, sedum and high tech terraces - were awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM. The green roofs are now home to wetland; climate-controlled greenhouses; an apiary of bees; outdoor vegetable grids and herbaceous landscapes. A well-appointed, expertly installed roof doesn’t happen by accident – it takes careful planning and attention to the smallest details. However, with diligence comes reward in terms of peace of mind - and in some cases – a regular crop of homegrown fruit and vegetables. Visit: https://briggsamasco.co.uk/  
    Dec 12, 2017 377
  • 07 Dec 2017
    Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    476 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Children with autism have a range of particular needs when it comes to the ideal learning environment, and these are unlikely to be provided for by standard classroom design. The Government’s current drive to bring school provision for children with autism into mainstream schooling raises questions over whether the environments they are expected to be taught in will be appropriate. Having been involved in several design and construction contracts to create classrooms for autistic children in mainstream schools we have become specialists in the area. In our experience using existing classrooms has created difficulties for both students due to the everyday challenges posed by autism. Unfortunately in many schools second grade portable buildings long past their use by date have been allocated to provision for an intake of autistic children, and in some cases children and staff have even had to use unused spaces like old lobby areas and cupboards. The drive to allow children with autism to grow and develop within a ‘normal’ school environment is to be applauded however it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to providing spaces which are worthy of the commitment being made to their education. We have found when designing for autistic children there is a need to assess the level of severity before jumping to a conclusion that the rooms need to be of a highly secure nature. Children being bought into a normal school environment are expected to take part in general school activities at different stages of the day so it’s important to design to a level that’s robust enough without going over the top. The brief we have applied to all buildings we have worked on is to secure a user-friendly design and deliver the finished project for a standard school construction budget. Working within a moderate budget does not mean the design needs to be compromised, but it does need to be thought through. We have identified eight key areas to consider when aiming to create learning spaces which support autistic children as follows: Flexible space: teaching tends to take place either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis so sub-dividing rooms using partitions allow staff to create areas depending on the requirements of the pupils needing to use them at that time. It is better to choose movable furniture so the layout can be readily changed, as opposed to the restricted all-facing-front design of a standard classroom space.   Break out spaces: these are critical for diffusing challenging situations with pupils; staff are able to see when a child is starting to become difficult or is finding a situation uncomfortable, and being able to move that child into a nearby non-intimidating space that is not intimidating can reduce the chance of confrontation and other children getting involved. Also a quiet area or room can work both for the children and staff - many schools pay close attention to children’s needs at the expense of staff who are often under stress and sometimes need a space to regain composure or just relax for five minutes. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen and an exercise area would complete the ideal range of spaces.   Wider corridors: an element that has become central to our designs is opening corridor areas up into larger spaces for uses beyond just access to include desk space or for a small group meeting area. This more open layout has the benefit of giving students a clear sight-line to classrooms which makes them feel more comfortable and less intimidated, providing a lighter feel to what is typically a building’s central core of a building. This can be further enhanced by substituting curves for right angled corners.   Providing a focal point: entrance areas are key as a focal point for the children; a good reception space is essential to allow them time to settle down and feel reassured before the day begins. It also provides parents with a dropping in point and an opportunity for an informal chat with a staff member if required. With a slight expansion on a standard design, entrances can be transformed from spaces to get through to important and useful spaces for autistic pupils.   Natural light: Most teachers will agree that natural light is essential, but a general rule with autistic children is that windows offering too much visual stimulation are a problematic distraction. Providing the views are fairly non-descript however there is no major issue with normal level windows especially if room layouts can be adapted to focus easily distracted children away from walls with windows. High level windows and rooflights go a long way to helping to achieve good natural light levels if there is an issue with the external areas in terms of normal level windows. We have found that creating high ceilings in particular sloping to the shape of the roof plus rooflights enables natural light to work well throughout the space and gives a fresh feel to the environment.   Key to all areas is the need for a high level of acoustic performance; classrooms need to have good sound absorption and reverberation. We have worked with acoustic ceilings specialist Ecophon to install acoustic tiles to ceilings to provide a high level of performance and walls designed to achieve the required acoustic levels for specialist teaching. Robust details for wall construction help with sound and impact.   To create a calming influence within the building the colour palette for internal finishes is one of the most critical areas that need to be addressed. After experimenting with various colour schemes we have settled on a combination of pastel colours and a feature wall with a bolder contrasting colour. Although still subtle this contrast can help to highlight the layout of the building for pupils. There has been much research into beneficial colours of finish for autistic children but we have a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating yet interesting enough to give the spaces character.   Enlivening Exteriors: if planning is in agreement, greater definition of the exterior external appearance of a classroom or area of a school can not only add character but can also help students focus on where they need to go when starting the school day, which can be of major benefit. We have found by using various external treatments such as timber, render and composite coloured panels, entrances can be brought to life and give students a positive entry point to the building, reducing confusion especially when arriving with all of the other school pupils each morning. Bearing all of these success factors in mind, one question stands out. If we take on board the points mentioned as being a way to achieve a better teaching space for autistic children and we accept that construction costs must stay within standard school budgets then why are more class spaces not being built along these lines? What is good for teaching children who see the world slightly differently must be at least as good for everyone else, and if we accept this then there would be no need for ‘specialist classrooms’ they would all just be ‘classrooms.’  By Martin Peat, Director, Richardson & Peat Visit: http://www.richardsonandpeat.com/
    Dec 07, 2017 476
  • 01 Dec 2017
    Using high performance insulation within the fabric of a building is key to meeting increased energy efficiency demands, but as we look to enhance the airtightness of homes, are we paying enough attention to other aspects including ventilation, heating, detailing and the quality of the installation? Overheating and poor air quality has seen wide and often simplistic coverage in the press, including even suggestions of deaths caused by overheating. This has led some to erroneously put the blame on insulation. However, despite the fact that overheating can be a problem, particularly poorly ventilated loft spaces, it is a more complex issue than insulation alone, and well-installed insulation could even help reduce overheating if a whole-house approach to building design is employed. As is so often the case, an intelligent solution to the problem will need to consider a range of factors. It is a given that the more insulation you have, the heat from solar gain will last longer, and if you don’t have adequate ventilation and design to limit internal and external heat gains, then of course that heat will stay in the building. But it’s not the fault of the insulation. Blaming insulation for doing its job is a bit like blaming an oven for global warming if someone leaves the door open. Ventilation provides a means by which moisture from activities such as cooking and bathing, as well as breathing, can be expelled and replaced by fresh outside air,. At the same it will also remove or dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate in a building, so that the indoor environment remains healthy for the occupants. An under-ventilated property can experience condensation issues and problems with air quality. An over-ventilated dwelling is usually less efficient, as lost heated air is replaced with colder unheated air from outside (with associated costs and carbon emissions from heating it). Warm and airy A good ventilation system will ensure the right amount of air moves consistently through the house and is vital in kitchens and bathrooms.  Excessive moisture in the air can lead to condensation and mould growth where it condenses on colder surfaces, not just in the bathroom itself but throughout the rest of the house.  A ventilation system will remove and dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate so that the indoor environment remains healthy for building occupants. Often the only form of ventilation in older homes is through natural leakage such as around doors and windows, or by opening windows, but these are uncontrolled with either too much, or too little, ventilation. When retrofitted, the airtightness of a building may increase through sealing up uncontrolled ventilation pathways, so it is essential that alongside any changes to the building fabric, an adequate ventilation strategy be considered.   Some designers question whether natural ventilation can provide sufficient ventilation in more airtight dwellings, which is why they often specify mechanical ventilation for more airtight homes due to concerns that natural ventilation will not perform adequately. A mechanical ventilation system can also include heat recovery, so that the heat lost with expelled air is in part recovered to heat the incoming cooler replacement air. Ventilation should ideally also come ‘out of the box’, with the capability to ramp-up and down operation without the need for user intervention as demands and needs change. Damp and mould A 2016 study by The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP looking at mould and dampness in European homes, concluded that “Enabling easy natural, automated or mechanical demand-related ventilation in buildings helps prevent development of damp and mould.” Mould-related damage was noted in the report as being frequent in Germany (10% of building damage being mould related), but levels were noted as being better (lower) for modernised buildings. The report noted that for those modernised buildings (after 1995) 35% of damage occurs due to insufficient thermal insulation; 33% due to insufficient ventilation; 22% due to defective installations and trapped moisture and 10% due to problems in sanitary /other areas. So from the report, it is clear that adequate insulation is the most important factor to help reduce moisture problems, but close behind is adequate ventilation provision. Whole-house approach  But it is not only insulation and ventilation; house design means taking the time on the details. For example, ensuring junctions are appropriately designed and constructed, as this makes a significant contribution to reducing heat loss. Thermal bridges occur at breaks in insulation at junctions and openings causing heat loss which ultimately leads to a drop in internal temperature and an increased demand for heating. This can increase the risk of surface condensation and mould growth. Good design and workmanship necessitates a proper level of quality assurance throughout design and construction and good detailing is particularly important for new-build and retrofit alike. The Government’s Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) has grappled with the issue and puts the focus on the whole energy performance of new houses in the context of user comfort, emphasising the importance of a robust and well-designed fabric, which has good levels of air-tightness coupled with an appropriate ventilation strategy and incorporates measures to minimise thermal bridging. There are many issues beyond the fabric of the building to consider when it comes to tackling overheating in housing, including its ventilation strategy, orientation and initial choice of location. While the issue remains a challenge for the industry, the problems are not insurmountable. If we want more thermally-efficient building envelopes as well as comfortable buildings, then we need to aim for a fabric-first approach which includes insulation such as high-performance PIR, however, at the same time, we need to design and build in a way that takes into account the effect of both external and internal heat gains that can lead to overheating.                                                   
    450 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Using high performance insulation within the fabric of a building is key to meeting increased energy efficiency demands, but as we look to enhance the airtightness of homes, are we paying enough attention to other aspects including ventilation, heating, detailing and the quality of the installation? Overheating and poor air quality has seen wide and often simplistic coverage in the press, including even suggestions of deaths caused by overheating. This has led some to erroneously put the blame on insulation. However, despite the fact that overheating can be a problem, particularly poorly ventilated loft spaces, it is a more complex issue than insulation alone, and well-installed insulation could even help reduce overheating if a whole-house approach to building design is employed. As is so often the case, an intelligent solution to the problem will need to consider a range of factors. It is a given that the more insulation you have, the heat from solar gain will last longer, and if you don’t have adequate ventilation and design to limit internal and external heat gains, then of course that heat will stay in the building. But it’s not the fault of the insulation. Blaming insulation for doing its job is a bit like blaming an oven for global warming if someone leaves the door open. Ventilation provides a means by which moisture from activities such as cooking and bathing, as well as breathing, can be expelled and replaced by fresh outside air,. At the same it will also remove or dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate in a building, so that the indoor environment remains healthy for the occupants. An under-ventilated property can experience condensation issues and problems with air quality. An over-ventilated dwelling is usually less efficient, as lost heated air is replaced with colder unheated air from outside (with associated costs and carbon emissions from heating it). Warm and airy A good ventilation system will ensure the right amount of air moves consistently through the house and is vital in kitchens and bathrooms.  Excessive moisture in the air can lead to condensation and mould growth where it condenses on colder surfaces, not just in the bathroom itself but throughout the rest of the house.  A ventilation system will remove and dilute the odours and pollutants that can accumulate so that the indoor environment remains healthy for building occupants. Often the only form of ventilation in older homes is through natural leakage such as around doors and windows, or by opening windows, but these are uncontrolled with either too much, or too little, ventilation. When retrofitted, the airtightness of a building may increase through sealing up uncontrolled ventilation pathways, so it is essential that alongside any changes to the building fabric, an adequate ventilation strategy be considered.   Some designers question whether natural ventilation can provide sufficient ventilation in more airtight dwellings, which is why they often specify mechanical ventilation for more airtight homes due to concerns that natural ventilation will not perform adequately. A mechanical ventilation system can also include heat recovery, so that the heat lost with expelled air is in part recovered to heat the incoming cooler replacement air. Ventilation should ideally also come ‘out of the box’, with the capability to ramp-up and down operation without the need for user intervention as demands and needs change. Damp and mould A 2016 study by The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP looking at mould and dampness in European homes, concluded that “Enabling easy natural, automated or mechanical demand-related ventilation in buildings helps prevent development of damp and mould.” Mould-related damage was noted in the report as being frequent in Germany (10% of building damage being mould related), but levels were noted as being better (lower) for modernised buildings. The report noted that for those modernised buildings (after 1995) 35% of damage occurs due to insufficient thermal insulation; 33% due to insufficient ventilation; 22% due to defective installations and trapped moisture and 10% due to problems in sanitary /other areas. So from the report, it is clear that adequate insulation is the most important factor to help reduce moisture problems, but close behind is adequate ventilation provision. Whole-house approach  But it is not only insulation and ventilation; house design means taking the time on the details. For example, ensuring junctions are appropriately designed and constructed, as this makes a significant contribution to reducing heat loss. Thermal bridges occur at breaks in insulation at junctions and openings causing heat loss which ultimately leads to a drop in internal temperature and an increased demand for heating. This can increase the risk of surface condensation and mould growth. Good design and workmanship necessitates a proper level of quality assurance throughout design and construction and good detailing is particularly important for new-build and retrofit alike. The Government’s Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) has grappled with the issue and puts the focus on the whole energy performance of new houses in the context of user comfort, emphasising the importance of a robust and well-designed fabric, which has good levels of air-tightness coupled with an appropriate ventilation strategy and incorporates measures to minimise thermal bridging. There are many issues beyond the fabric of the building to consider when it comes to tackling overheating in housing, including its ventilation strategy, orientation and initial choice of location. While the issue remains a challenge for the industry, the problems are not insurmountable. If we want more thermally-efficient building envelopes as well as comfortable buildings, then we need to aim for a fabric-first approach which includes insulation such as high-performance PIR, however, at the same time, we need to design and build in a way that takes into account the effect of both external and internal heat gains that can lead to overheating.                                                   
    Dec 01, 2017 450