• 10 Nov 2017
    Noise is all around us and can interfere with our working efficiency by being an annoyance and causing stress. Good or bad, the acoustical environment in buildings is ultimately a result of design and so it’s never been more important for architects and building engineers to silence a well-known source of undesirable noise and vibration – heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. A fundamental element of buildings across a wide range of sectors, building services equipment can create unwanted noise problems leading to workplaces that are uncomfortable and less productive. Noise sources can include everything from fans to variable air volume systems; grilles and diffusers to roof-top units; fan coil units to chillers, compressors and condensers; pumps and stand-by generators; boilers and cooling towers. As we create more energy efficient and airtight buildings, this has a knock-on impact both thermally and acoustically. However, this further drives the need for ventilation and thermal management, and this required airflow can then introduce a noise issue of its own, both break-out and in-line noise. Break-out noise is where sound transmits through the wall of ducting and into the room through which the ductwork is travelling.  In-line (duct-borne) noise or noise traveling through ductwork can create unwelcome high levels of background noise if not properly managed. This noise can raise stress levels in the workplace, harming communication and concentration and increasing fatigue. A poorly designed acoustic solution can potentially exacerbate issues by causing regenerative noise, and negatively affecting airflow. There’s also the issue of cross-talk, whereby speech privacy is compromised by room-to-room transmission via the ventilation system. Air velocity within a duct system is another important element as it influences the noise levels significantly. Regenerated noise can be created by transition pieces, bends, dampers, grilles and diffusers. Regenerated noise can be reduced by limiting the air velocities within the duct system; by easing transitions in the system design and by ensuring that internal acoustic treatments contain chamfers where appropriate to reduce the turbulent effect of sudden changes in opening or direction. When two adjacent or closely positioned rooms are sharing the same ductwork, sound travels within ducts and will decrease the room-to-room sound insulation dramatically. This, will of, course impact speech privacy and negatively affect the working environment through disturbance. Vibration and sound energy from HVAC operation will transmit to a structure and be redistributed around a building.  By isolating your systems from the structure before it has a chance to vibrate, through isolation mounts or decoupled through flexible linkages from the structure via the noise source and the duct runs, another path of noise has been reduced through physical materials. Silent treatment The SIDERISE range of noise control solutions can be tailored to meet project -specific design and performance requirements such as the octave band requirements of your HVAC unit, thereby delivering the optimum acoustic performance at the minimum cost. Manufactured from high performance open cell acoustic foam, parts are designed to ease airflow and lower regenerative noise, and the lining treatment is engineered to deliver the lowest possible Sound Power (LwA). These acoustic solutions give exceptional noise absorption, yielding reduced airborne noise at inlets and outlets, and lowering case radiated noise.  Lining kits are Class 0 fire rated to EN 13501-1 to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document B. Supplied as an easy-to-fit, pre-cut kit and backed with high performance modified acrylic adhesive for rapid installation on a manufacturer’s assembly-line, these noise control solutions offer exceptional performance for fan coil units, air handling units and heat exchangers. Existing buildings can benefit too. If there is a ductwork ‘in-line’ noise problem, open-cell melamine resin foams are an easy and cost-efficient way to introduce noise control.  At the terminal ends, where air is being delivered to the occupied spaces, you can remove the grille and simply install the foam inserts. Inherently flexible, the inserts are ideally suited to retro-fit installation, particularly in situations where there is minimal access and/or where less disruption is a consideration.  For ‘duct noise breakout’ another solution, which contributes well to quiet air-handling, are externally applied acoustic treatments. Easy to install without disturbing the HVAC system, this solution reduces break-out noise by providing a combination of acoustic absorption and sound reduction via inherently damped flexible mass membrane. While it’s difficult to escape sound completely, by proactively considering potential acoustic problems at the design stage of a HVAC system and adding sound control measures to minimise unwanted noise, building owners will have a far quieter system, which in the end, can go a long way towards promoting comfort and productivity.   By Graham Laws – Business Development Officer, Siderise Visit: www.siderise.com
    440 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Noise is all around us and can interfere with our working efficiency by being an annoyance and causing stress. Good or bad, the acoustical environment in buildings is ultimately a result of design and so it’s never been more important for architects and building engineers to silence a well-known source of undesirable noise and vibration – heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. A fundamental element of buildings across a wide range of sectors, building services equipment can create unwanted noise problems leading to workplaces that are uncomfortable and less productive. Noise sources can include everything from fans to variable air volume systems; grilles and diffusers to roof-top units; fan coil units to chillers, compressors and condensers; pumps and stand-by generators; boilers and cooling towers. As we create more energy efficient and airtight buildings, this has a knock-on impact both thermally and acoustically. However, this further drives the need for ventilation and thermal management, and this required airflow can then introduce a noise issue of its own, both break-out and in-line noise. Break-out noise is where sound transmits through the wall of ducting and into the room through which the ductwork is travelling.  In-line (duct-borne) noise or noise traveling through ductwork can create unwelcome high levels of background noise if not properly managed. This noise can raise stress levels in the workplace, harming communication and concentration and increasing fatigue. A poorly designed acoustic solution can potentially exacerbate issues by causing regenerative noise, and negatively affecting airflow. There’s also the issue of cross-talk, whereby speech privacy is compromised by room-to-room transmission via the ventilation system. Air velocity within a duct system is another important element as it influences the noise levels significantly. Regenerated noise can be created by transition pieces, bends, dampers, grilles and diffusers. Regenerated noise can be reduced by limiting the air velocities within the duct system; by easing transitions in the system design and by ensuring that internal acoustic treatments contain chamfers where appropriate to reduce the turbulent effect of sudden changes in opening or direction. When two adjacent or closely positioned rooms are sharing the same ductwork, sound travels within ducts and will decrease the room-to-room sound insulation dramatically. This, will of, course impact speech privacy and negatively affect the working environment through disturbance. Vibration and sound energy from HVAC operation will transmit to a structure and be redistributed around a building.  By isolating your systems from the structure before it has a chance to vibrate, through isolation mounts or decoupled through flexible linkages from the structure via the noise source and the duct runs, another path of noise has been reduced through physical materials. Silent treatment The SIDERISE range of noise control solutions can be tailored to meet project -specific design and performance requirements such as the octave band requirements of your HVAC unit, thereby delivering the optimum acoustic performance at the minimum cost. Manufactured from high performance open cell acoustic foam, parts are designed to ease airflow and lower regenerative noise, and the lining treatment is engineered to deliver the lowest possible Sound Power (LwA). These acoustic solutions give exceptional noise absorption, yielding reduced airborne noise at inlets and outlets, and lowering case radiated noise.  Lining kits are Class 0 fire rated to EN 13501-1 to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document B. Supplied as an easy-to-fit, pre-cut kit and backed with high performance modified acrylic adhesive for rapid installation on a manufacturer’s assembly-line, these noise control solutions offer exceptional performance for fan coil units, air handling units and heat exchangers. Existing buildings can benefit too. If there is a ductwork ‘in-line’ noise problem, open-cell melamine resin foams are an easy and cost-efficient way to introduce noise control.  At the terminal ends, where air is being delivered to the occupied spaces, you can remove the grille and simply install the foam inserts. Inherently flexible, the inserts are ideally suited to retro-fit installation, particularly in situations where there is minimal access and/or where less disruption is a consideration.  For ‘duct noise breakout’ another solution, which contributes well to quiet air-handling, are externally applied acoustic treatments. Easy to install without disturbing the HVAC system, this solution reduces break-out noise by providing a combination of acoustic absorption and sound reduction via inherently damped flexible mass membrane. While it’s difficult to escape sound completely, by proactively considering potential acoustic problems at the design stage of a HVAC system and adding sound control measures to minimise unwanted noise, building owners will have a far quieter system, which in the end, can go a long way towards promoting comfort and productivity.   By Graham Laws – Business Development Officer, Siderise Visit: www.siderise.com
    Nov 10, 2017 440
  • 08 Nov 2017
    With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested. Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations. Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks. As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52. The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills. Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold. To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy. By Mark Shaw, Technical Manager at Sika  
    473 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested. Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations. Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks. As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52. The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills. Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold. To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy. By Mark Shaw, Technical Manager at Sika  
    Nov 08, 2017 473
  • 06 Nov 2017
    The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay. The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions. Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers. Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple. We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers. We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings. Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain. Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error. For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes. Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks. There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain. And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come. For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/  
    568 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay. The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions. Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers. Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple. We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers. We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings. Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain. Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error. For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes. Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks. There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain. And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come. For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/  
    Nov 06, 2017 568
  • 30 Oct 2017
    Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound found in all organic substances but its presence in pressed timber products such as MDF has long been a contentious issue within the industry. With the increased focus on the importance of minimising risks to health in construction, manufacturers should go beyond the call of duty in reducing added formaldehyde in products. The timber panel products industry has made investments to drive change in this area and ensure that there are products available which reduce added formaldehyde in adhesives to zero. Specifiers are now able to make a strong contribution to reducing the associated health issues which formaldehyde can cause. There are rightly growing health concerns around formaldehyde, which is commonly found in the resins used to glue timber panel products together for strength performance. According to the HSE formaldehyde dust released in manufacture has the potential to lead to asthma and other respiratory problems, although there is no formal evidential link has been made between these issues and wood-based panels. High humidity, heat or sawing or grinding can lead to increased levels of formaldehyde vapour and dust in the air breathed in by workers. The release of formaldehyde as vapour, which can cause irritation, is highest in newly manufactured pressed wood products and decreases over time. The EU has taken steps to address the perceived risks by making all panel products conform to its already well established E1 classification on formaldehyde within EN 13986, meaning wood flooring adhesives have to have less than 0.75 ppm (parts per million) of formaldehyde.  The good news is that HSE states that the levels of so-called free formaldehyde in boards made to class E1 are “insignificant”, due to the resin having altered to form longer molecule chains during manufacture.  This means E1 boards have a negligible amount of formaldehyde present which can be breathed in during production, installation or use. So what does this all mean for a manufacturer? With a consistent commitment to research and development as the leader in the MDF market, Medite has long been at the forefront of reducing formaldehyde emission levels of panel products. We chose to go beyond the regulatory requirements to help protect everyone in the supply chain as well as end users. All of our products not only surpass the European E1 classification by some distance, they also meet the world’s most stringent formaldehyde emission control standard for our product category CARB2 (granted by the Californian Air Resource Board). But is there more that we can do? For customers wanting to ensure the absolute avoidance of added formaldehyde for interior applications requiring a zero tolerance approach, we developed Medite Ecologique. This unique FSC-certified product is manufactured using a zero added formaldehyde resin system. While manufacturers are complying with European standards as required to in order to market their products, we have gone to the next level in to actively mitigate the potential problems caused by added formaldehyde across our product ranges. As a responsible manufacturer we have worked hard to ensure that we have reduced added formaldehyde across all of our ranges. However the ultimate goal is to reduce it to zero and with Medite Ecologique we have achieved that, giving specifiers with stringent sustainability and health requirements the ability to choose the most environmentally sensitive option available for their project. Visit: https://mdfosb.com/en/
    443 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound found in all organic substances but its presence in pressed timber products such as MDF has long been a contentious issue within the industry. With the increased focus on the importance of minimising risks to health in construction, manufacturers should go beyond the call of duty in reducing added formaldehyde in products. The timber panel products industry has made investments to drive change in this area and ensure that there are products available which reduce added formaldehyde in adhesives to zero. Specifiers are now able to make a strong contribution to reducing the associated health issues which formaldehyde can cause. There are rightly growing health concerns around formaldehyde, which is commonly found in the resins used to glue timber panel products together for strength performance. According to the HSE formaldehyde dust released in manufacture has the potential to lead to asthma and other respiratory problems, although there is no formal evidential link has been made between these issues and wood-based panels. High humidity, heat or sawing or grinding can lead to increased levels of formaldehyde vapour and dust in the air breathed in by workers. The release of formaldehyde as vapour, which can cause irritation, is highest in newly manufactured pressed wood products and decreases over time. The EU has taken steps to address the perceived risks by making all panel products conform to its already well established E1 classification on formaldehyde within EN 13986, meaning wood flooring adhesives have to have less than 0.75 ppm (parts per million) of formaldehyde.  The good news is that HSE states that the levels of so-called free formaldehyde in boards made to class E1 are “insignificant”, due to the resin having altered to form longer molecule chains during manufacture.  This means E1 boards have a negligible amount of formaldehyde present which can be breathed in during production, installation or use. So what does this all mean for a manufacturer? With a consistent commitment to research and development as the leader in the MDF market, Medite has long been at the forefront of reducing formaldehyde emission levels of panel products. We chose to go beyond the regulatory requirements to help protect everyone in the supply chain as well as end users. All of our products not only surpass the European E1 classification by some distance, they also meet the world’s most stringent formaldehyde emission control standard for our product category CARB2 (granted by the Californian Air Resource Board). But is there more that we can do? For customers wanting to ensure the absolute avoidance of added formaldehyde for interior applications requiring a zero tolerance approach, we developed Medite Ecologique. This unique FSC-certified product is manufactured using a zero added formaldehyde resin system. While manufacturers are complying with European standards as required to in order to market their products, we have gone to the next level in to actively mitigate the potential problems caused by added formaldehyde across our product ranges. As a responsible manufacturer we have worked hard to ensure that we have reduced added formaldehyde across all of our ranges. However the ultimate goal is to reduce it to zero and with Medite Ecologique we have achieved that, giving specifiers with stringent sustainability and health requirements the ability to choose the most environmentally sensitive option available for their project. Visit: https://mdfosb.com/en/
    Oct 30, 2017 443
  • 27 Oct 2017
    Earlier this year, data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed the risk of suicide among low-skilled male laborers, particularly those working in construction, was three times higher than the national average. Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry, leading to companies such as BriggsAmasco, the UK’s leading national commercial roofing company investing in training schemes designed to educate employees and help them recognise the symptoms of psychological stress. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco, talks about the education programme and his company’s aim to highlight  issues surrounding ‘the invisible illness’. Construction is a tough environment to inhabit. The physical demands are heavy and the pace at which workers have to toil is unrelenting. There are also mental pressures. Deadlines need to be met on a daily basis to satisfy a seemingly never-ending chain of command that begins with the client, but can include a host of contractors and various trades which are dependent on a person a lot further down the line getting their bit right for a project to proceed at sufficient speed. Therefore, it’s fair to say the building industry, particularly the roofing sector, is not for the faint-hearted. If we concur with the stereotypical view, then construction workers are as tough as the materials in their possession; they’re insensitive to the perils they face in their line of duty, and they’re mostly easy-going types whose hard-earned brawn has insulated them against the fears and anxieties felt by those engaged in less-rigorous employment. The reality is somewhat different, however. This is borne out by figures that reveal one-in-six construction-based workers are suffering from a form of mental illness. The fact that suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls is even more daunting. Thankfully, it appears the industry itself is becoming aware of the health issue in its midst. Initiatives such as Mates in Mind, a recently-launched charitable programme designed to improve and promote positive mental health in construction, has the backing of the British Safety Council, the Health in Construction Leadership Group, and the Samaritans. However, when it’s considered a 2006 CIOB report, showed 70% of workers suffered from stress-related mental conditions as a direct result of working in the industry, its clear employees within the sector should be taking a firmer lead on ways to address the issue. Warning signs In June, BriggsAmasco staged a workshop for employees to help them recognise signs of mental health problems and encourage individuals to seek the right help. It was held as part of our annual Health and Safety forum on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors.The Mental Health First Aid coursewas delivered by a qualified, external trainer to ensure an effective and efficient approach was taken in relation to the subject. People often respond better to an outsider with a proper understanding of the topic they are delivering, and our aim was to ensure that our employees fully-absorbed the message being conveyed.   Staff interaction was encouraged throughout the course by sharing knowledge and personal experiences of the illness in an open-floor environment. Details were also shared on various mental health issues, and the warning signs to look out for, such as stress, anxiety and depression, that could indicate someone has a condition. The feedback from colleagues who attended the course was extremely positive. Most told us they found it incredibly insightful and gave them a new approach in their thought process regarding mental health issues. This was precisely the result we were hoping for. BriggsAmasco has covered more than 1,000 hours in health and safety training and awareness through internal and external courses. We also hold annual health surveillance assessments for our 200-plus safety-critical employees in which a detailed wellbeing assessment is carried out by a medical professional. This robust approach to the welfare of staff led to the company achieving ISO, 9001, 14001 and 18001 – one of a few UK organisations to meet all three standards. Adapting to change Health and Safety is paramount at BriggsAmasco. However, with so much focus being applied to the day-to-day safety aspect; the health issue is sometimes left in the background. Therefore, we felt it extremely important to raise awareness on the subject of mental health and reassure our employees that the support is there if and when required. Mental health issues reportedly account for people taking nearly 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion a year. Proof, therefore, the ramifications of this debilitating condition can travel far beyond the distress it causes an individual. The construction industry has been viewed by some as resistant to adapting to changes in working practices and behaviours, but it’s been swift to act in relation to a hitherto unspoken issue: the psychological wellbeing of its employers. At BriggsAmasco, we are aiming to overturn the negative view of mental illness and open-up discussion about its causes, symptoms and diagnoses. In our opinion, the construction industry should approach the welfare of its members with the same precision applied to a high-profile building or engineering project, which means paying as much attention to the interior, as well as the exterior details.
    565 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Earlier this year, data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed the risk of suicide among low-skilled male laborers, particularly those working in construction, was three times higher than the national average. Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry, leading to companies such as BriggsAmasco, the UK’s leading national commercial roofing company investing in training schemes designed to educate employees and help them recognise the symptoms of psychological stress. Dave Maginnis, Managing Director at BriggsAmasco, talks about the education programme and his company’s aim to highlight  issues surrounding ‘the invisible illness’. Construction is a tough environment to inhabit. The physical demands are heavy and the pace at which workers have to toil is unrelenting. There are also mental pressures. Deadlines need to be met on a daily basis to satisfy a seemingly never-ending chain of command that begins with the client, but can include a host of contractors and various trades which are dependent on a person a lot further down the line getting their bit right for a project to proceed at sufficient speed. Therefore, it’s fair to say the building industry, particularly the roofing sector, is not for the faint-hearted. If we concur with the stereotypical view, then construction workers are as tough as the materials in their possession; they’re insensitive to the perils they face in their line of duty, and they’re mostly easy-going types whose hard-earned brawn has insulated them against the fears and anxieties felt by those engaged in less-rigorous employment. The reality is somewhat different, however. This is borne out by figures that reveal one-in-six construction-based workers are suffering from a form of mental illness. The fact that suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls is even more daunting. Thankfully, it appears the industry itself is becoming aware of the health issue in its midst. Initiatives such as Mates in Mind, a recently-launched charitable programme designed to improve and promote positive mental health in construction, has the backing of the British Safety Council, the Health in Construction Leadership Group, and the Samaritans. However, when it’s considered a 2006 CIOB report, showed 70% of workers suffered from stress-related mental conditions as a direct result of working in the industry, its clear employees within the sector should be taking a firmer lead on ways to address the issue. Warning signs In June, BriggsAmasco staged a workshop for employees to help them recognise signs of mental health problems and encourage individuals to seek the right help. It was held as part of our annual Health and Safety forum on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors.The Mental Health First Aid coursewas delivered by a qualified, external trainer to ensure an effective and efficient approach was taken in relation to the subject. People often respond better to an outsider with a proper understanding of the topic they are delivering, and our aim was to ensure that our employees fully-absorbed the message being conveyed.   Staff interaction was encouraged throughout the course by sharing knowledge and personal experiences of the illness in an open-floor environment. Details were also shared on various mental health issues, and the warning signs to look out for, such as stress, anxiety and depression, that could indicate someone has a condition. The feedback from colleagues who attended the course was extremely positive. Most told us they found it incredibly insightful and gave them a new approach in their thought process regarding mental health issues. This was precisely the result we were hoping for. BriggsAmasco has covered more than 1,000 hours in health and safety training and awareness through internal and external courses. We also hold annual health surveillance assessments for our 200-plus safety-critical employees in which a detailed wellbeing assessment is carried out by a medical professional. This robust approach to the welfare of staff led to the company achieving ISO, 9001, 14001 and 18001 – one of a few UK organisations to meet all three standards. Adapting to change Health and Safety is paramount at BriggsAmasco. However, with so much focus being applied to the day-to-day safety aspect; the health issue is sometimes left in the background. Therefore, we felt it extremely important to raise awareness on the subject of mental health and reassure our employees that the support is there if and when required. Mental health issues reportedly account for people taking nearly 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion a year. Proof, therefore, the ramifications of this debilitating condition can travel far beyond the distress it causes an individual. The construction industry has been viewed by some as resistant to adapting to changes in working practices and behaviours, but it’s been swift to act in relation to a hitherto unspoken issue: the psychological wellbeing of its employers. At BriggsAmasco, we are aiming to overturn the negative view of mental illness and open-up discussion about its causes, symptoms and diagnoses. In our opinion, the construction industry should approach the welfare of its members with the same precision applied to a high-profile building or engineering project, which means paying as much attention to the interior, as well as the exterior details.
    Oct 27, 2017 565
  • 26 Oct 2017
    How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.  At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.   That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be. But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.    That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard. In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card. We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City. We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification. Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses. The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support. We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country. These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level. We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year. All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.   And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency. It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z). By Ian Muddiman, Head of Applications – Roofing at Sika UK  
    628 Posted by Talk. Build
  • How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.  At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.   That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be. But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.    That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard. In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card. We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City. We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification. Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses. The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support. We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country. These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level. We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year. All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.   And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency. It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z). By Ian Muddiman, Head of Applications – Roofing at Sika UK  
    Oct 26, 2017 628
  • 25 Oct 2017
    Small details pay big dividends in roof specification. As a building’s first line of defence and prominent thermal feature, a roof must maintain long-term, maximum performance. Therefore, every aspect of its installation and insulation should be considered to ensure t remains watertight, problem-free and energy-efficient during its lifetime. Andrew Rowley, Senior Designer at Gradient, the UK’s leading supplier of tapered roof insulation, highlights a few seemingly minor roofing issues, which if not addressed correctly, could result in major problems following installation. By failing to prepare, we prepare for failure - an oft-repeated phrase which applies very favourably to successful roof installation and its thermal performance. In the UK, homes are responsible for 27% of carbon emissions, a statistic that requires serious attention, especially as our government committed to reducing the country’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 as part of the Climate Change Act. To improve the thermal-efficiency of buildings old and new, perhaps we’d be advised to adhere to another well-known phrase - prevention is better than cure. Tapered and tailored to suit  The specification of bespoke, single-layer tapered roofing solutions can help alleviate risk when it comes to insulation. This outcome is easiest and best achieved in conjunction with companies such as Gradient which works closely with customers on the design and manufacture of a suitable system for a wide range of roofing applications. Placing the insulation process - from start to finish - into the hands of highly-experienced and skilled professionals not only maximises control standards in roof design, manufacture, performance and sustainability, it results in a better-conceived flat roof which is improved in value, performance and complies with all relevant legislative standards. Gradient is able to supply specialist technical support to provide customers with flat roof solutions - whatever a roofing project’s stage. However, it’s fair to say most problems occur when clients neglect to engage such company’s at the very start of the roof specification process which minimises the risk of future problems. The close proximity of door thresholds to roof decks resulting in underperforming U-values is a common issue. It’s an oversight which can lead to water-ponding and possible insect infestation, but can easily be avoided with early involvement from the roof insulation manufacturer. In such cases, a tapered roof insulation scheme can be applied, but the thermal performance will not be as good as it ought to be due to the aforementioned fault at the design stage. Encouraging developers to consider roof insulation sizes long before they start casting concrete is key to trouble-free roofing. When a building’s shell and certain fixtures and fittings are in position before roofing issues have been fully-addressed, it can often lead to height limitations being imposed on the insulation installed. Thus, flat guttering, the same thickness as the insulation is seen as a solution. Whilst this might be seen as a perfectly acceptable system for installers, developers would quite reasonably prefer a completely run-dry roof on which water is pushed to all available outlets. Mind the gaps Constraints on insulation height will sometimes rule-out the use of a fully-tapered roofing scheme, therefore a compromise on a particular roofing detail may have to be reached. It could lead to a roof design which doesn’t necessarily reflect best practice, but is nonetheless the best scheme with all factors considered. Compromise can take the form of a lower U-value, or the installation of a hybrid roof scheme in which insulation is applied below the deck. The latter solution is not ideal, as condensation is often a by-product. However, roofing firms such as Gradient are able to carry out calculations for a hybrid roof that will eliminate the risk of condensation. Whichever roofing insulation specified, its performance is only as good as the installer. Selecting a proven contractor to carry out installation work is vital - a task becoming more challenging by the day with Britain facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation, particularly in the roofing industry. If a contractor omits to fully-tackle air gaps, for example, in a perfectly-designed roof, the potential for condensation remains. Strip to reveal For developer, contractor and customer, time is money in the construction industry. With budgets being tightened across the sector as uncertainty over Britain’s post-Brexit future remains; so ever-tighter deadlines must be met. However, quality must not be lost in the rush to reach the finish line. For refurbishment projects in which an existing roof is overlaid, Gradient is able to design a tapered scheme, with surveys made all the easier due to the visibility of the building’s falls. It’s part of the company’s service to carry out the same assessment when a roof is stripped to its deck. Time restrictions will often lead to contractors refusing the offer of a second visit, even though the stripped roof could reveal a deck to be damaged or uneven and in need of a rethink as to how the insulation should be applied to improve its long-term performance. Again, the answer is good preparation. Building extra time into a roof’s installation before installers arrive on site will help avoid unseen issues which may crop-up as the process continues. Quality roof insulation, which protects against the ravages of the elements and time, as part of a long-term, waterproof system, doesn’t arrive by accident - it’s most definitely the result of excellent design and installation. Visit: http://gradientuk.com/  
    434 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Small details pay big dividends in roof specification. As a building’s first line of defence and prominent thermal feature, a roof must maintain long-term, maximum performance. Therefore, every aspect of its installation and insulation should be considered to ensure t remains watertight, problem-free and energy-efficient during its lifetime. Andrew Rowley, Senior Designer at Gradient, the UK’s leading supplier of tapered roof insulation, highlights a few seemingly minor roofing issues, which if not addressed correctly, could result in major problems following installation. By failing to prepare, we prepare for failure - an oft-repeated phrase which applies very favourably to successful roof installation and its thermal performance. In the UK, homes are responsible for 27% of carbon emissions, a statistic that requires serious attention, especially as our government committed to reducing the country’s CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 as part of the Climate Change Act. To improve the thermal-efficiency of buildings old and new, perhaps we’d be advised to adhere to another well-known phrase - prevention is better than cure. Tapered and tailored to suit  The specification of bespoke, single-layer tapered roofing solutions can help alleviate risk when it comes to insulation. This outcome is easiest and best achieved in conjunction with companies such as Gradient which works closely with customers on the design and manufacture of a suitable system for a wide range of roofing applications. Placing the insulation process - from start to finish - into the hands of highly-experienced and skilled professionals not only maximises control standards in roof design, manufacture, performance and sustainability, it results in a better-conceived flat roof which is improved in value, performance and complies with all relevant legislative standards. Gradient is able to supply specialist technical support to provide customers with flat roof solutions - whatever a roofing project’s stage. However, it’s fair to say most problems occur when clients neglect to engage such company’s at the very start of the roof specification process which minimises the risk of future problems. The close proximity of door thresholds to roof decks resulting in underperforming U-values is a common issue. It’s an oversight which can lead to water-ponding and possible insect infestation, but can easily be avoided with early involvement from the roof insulation manufacturer. In such cases, a tapered roof insulation scheme can be applied, but the thermal performance will not be as good as it ought to be due to the aforementioned fault at the design stage. Encouraging developers to consider roof insulation sizes long before they start casting concrete is key to trouble-free roofing. When a building’s shell and certain fixtures and fittings are in position before roofing issues have been fully-addressed, it can often lead to height limitations being imposed on the insulation installed. Thus, flat guttering, the same thickness as the insulation is seen as a solution. Whilst this might be seen as a perfectly acceptable system for installers, developers would quite reasonably prefer a completely run-dry roof on which water is pushed to all available outlets. Mind the gaps Constraints on insulation height will sometimes rule-out the use of a fully-tapered roofing scheme, therefore a compromise on a particular roofing detail may have to be reached. It could lead to a roof design which doesn’t necessarily reflect best practice, but is nonetheless the best scheme with all factors considered. Compromise can take the form of a lower U-value, or the installation of a hybrid roof scheme in which insulation is applied below the deck. The latter solution is not ideal, as condensation is often a by-product. However, roofing firms such as Gradient are able to carry out calculations for a hybrid roof that will eliminate the risk of condensation. Whichever roofing insulation specified, its performance is only as good as the installer. Selecting a proven contractor to carry out installation work is vital - a task becoming more challenging by the day with Britain facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation, particularly in the roofing industry. If a contractor omits to fully-tackle air gaps, for example, in a perfectly-designed roof, the potential for condensation remains. Strip to reveal For developer, contractor and customer, time is money in the construction industry. With budgets being tightened across the sector as uncertainty over Britain’s post-Brexit future remains; so ever-tighter deadlines must be met. However, quality must not be lost in the rush to reach the finish line. For refurbishment projects in which an existing roof is overlaid, Gradient is able to design a tapered scheme, with surveys made all the easier due to the visibility of the building’s falls. It’s part of the company’s service to carry out the same assessment when a roof is stripped to its deck. Time restrictions will often lead to contractors refusing the offer of a second visit, even though the stripped roof could reveal a deck to be damaged or uneven and in need of a rethink as to how the insulation should be applied to improve its long-term performance. Again, the answer is good preparation. Building extra time into a roof’s installation before installers arrive on site will help avoid unseen issues which may crop-up as the process continues. Quality roof insulation, which protects against the ravages of the elements and time, as part of a long-term, waterproof system, doesn’t arrive by accident - it’s most definitely the result of excellent design and installation. Visit: http://gradientuk.com/  
    Oct 25, 2017 434
  • 24 Oct 2017
    A Health and Safety Executive study revealed around 1,300 work-related injuries were reported between 2015 and 2016 in the food and drink industries. Of these, it’s estimated at least 25% were caused by uneven surfaces. Level flooring is therefore essential in heavily-industrialised areas involving high-levels of footfall and machinery usage. Without the need for rigorous effort, Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compounds can quickly even-out a large floor. Once the product is mixed with water according to its data sheet, it is simply poured over the floor’s uneven substrate. With a thinner consistency than other types of cement screed, the mixed compound will comfortably fill a surface’s uneven areas. Sika underlayment offers a smooth, hard-wearing solution to a range of flooring substrates. Mark Prizeman, Technical Services Manager, Sika Flooring and Refurbishment, offers a step-by-step guide to successful self-levelling flooring. The ease with which Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compound is mixed and applied enables wide-ranging surface coverage and a high-quality performance. Flat surfaces are comfortably achieved – even in thin layers – with little tension, stress and shrinkage during curing. A rapid-hardening version of the system is available. So, how is it applied? Doing the groundwork Firstly, it is important to remember that a levelled floor can never be stronger than its substrate. As such, a tensile test needs to be undertaken. This is achieved by adhering a steel dolly to the surface, isolating it and then pulling it off using a tensile tester, ensuring a minimum value of 1.5N/mm2. The compressive strength of a sub floor must have a value greater than 25N/mm2. The substrate’s dimensional stability must be secured and have permanent dryness in its lifetime. Any weak areas on the substrate should be removed by sanding, scraping, grinding, milling, blasting or brushing. Also old, loose and weak underlayments should be removed mechanically. Surface defects such as cracks must be patched prior or during priming as there is the risk of the screed material flowing into them and producing air bubbles or reflective cracks in the surface in case of substrate movement. Before applying subsequent floor coverings, cement screeds are required to display a residual moisture reading of ≤ 2.0 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 1.8 CM-%); calcium sulphate screeds:  ≤ 0.5 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 0.3 CM-%). Sikafloor primers can be used on a wide range of substrates before the application of Sikafloor self-levelling cementitious underlayment products. The primers can reduce the absorbency of the substrates and improve the adhesion between the underlayment and the substrate. In some cases they are also used as a protection for the substrate against the moisture coming from the self-levelling cementitious underlayments. All Sikafloor primers are rated as low-emission and meet GEV-Emicode EC-1 plus. Successful measures With the substrate primed and ready for its self-levelling compound, the next step is to measure the total area to be levelled in m2. This will calculate the amount of material necessary to achieve the mixture’s desired level and performance requirements. It’s important to note: product data sheets exclude waste and practical considerations such as surface roughness. Whether manually or pump-applied, the water added to the levelling compound should be clear, with the quality of potable water. It is prohibited to use contaminated or waste water. When it comes to applying the self-levelling compound, proper safety equipment should be worn and sufficient ventilation provided. The amount of water required for the levelling compound varies from product-to-product – see relevant product data sheet. A suitable mechanical hand mixing or mixing pump is recommended for the stirring process. Never add water to the powder or add it in stages, as this alters the product’s properties. The Sikafloor Primer and Sikafloor Level can be applied at substrate and ambient temperatures between +5°C and +30°C. Ensure all ventilation devices are switched-off during and after application for 24 hours. It’s also important to protect fresh surfaces from sunlight and direct sources of heat. Applying for a finish After mixing, pour out the self-levelling compound onto the primed surface and spread using a notched trowel or adjustable pin-leveller (pinrake) to the required thickness. The compound is applied by walking along the front and keeping a ‘wet edge’; that is, always placing material onto previously placed material before it starts to set, dry (turn matt) and harden. The width of the front will be determined by the application conditions – the higher the substrate and ambient temperature, the narrower the front. Ensure a continuous supply of mixed material and place it efficiently to allow maintaining a ‘wet edge’ which will reduce the differences between batches where the material is already starting to dry and set. Surface styling is affected by the choice of finishing tool. The use of a spike roller isn’t mandatory for every self-levelling compound, but can be recommended to remove troweling defects. The spike rolling process should not be delayed for more than five minutes after placing, particularly at higher temperatures. A significant time-lapse could lead to roller marks, unevenness on the mortar surface or ‘waves’. Excessive rolling of the application could also cause an unsightly appearance.  Depending on the thickness of the applied layer and the method of placing, the product’s ‘pot life’ and workability – usually limited to between 20 and 30 minutes at 23°C – should be decided.  Again, it’s important to reiterate that no flooring installation is the same. Mixture levels and application methods are product-dependent and likely to vary. Whatever the requirements, however, rest assured Sika offers the technical knowhow and support to ensure each self-levelling project runs as smoothly as the finished floor.
    439 Posted by Talk. Build
  • A Health and Safety Executive study revealed around 1,300 work-related injuries were reported between 2015 and 2016 in the food and drink industries. Of these, it’s estimated at least 25% were caused by uneven surfaces. Level flooring is therefore essential in heavily-industrialised areas involving high-levels of footfall and machinery usage. Without the need for rigorous effort, Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compounds can quickly even-out a large floor. Once the product is mixed with water according to its data sheet, it is simply poured over the floor’s uneven substrate. With a thinner consistency than other types of cement screed, the mixed compound will comfortably fill a surface’s uneven areas. Sika underlayment offers a smooth, hard-wearing solution to a range of flooring substrates. Mark Prizeman, Technical Services Manager, Sika Flooring and Refurbishment, offers a step-by-step guide to successful self-levelling flooring. The ease with which Sika’s self-levelling cementitious compound is mixed and applied enables wide-ranging surface coverage and a high-quality performance. Flat surfaces are comfortably achieved – even in thin layers – with little tension, stress and shrinkage during curing. A rapid-hardening version of the system is available. So, how is it applied? Doing the groundwork Firstly, it is important to remember that a levelled floor can never be stronger than its substrate. As such, a tensile test needs to be undertaken. This is achieved by adhering a steel dolly to the surface, isolating it and then pulling it off using a tensile tester, ensuring a minimum value of 1.5N/mm2. The compressive strength of a sub floor must have a value greater than 25N/mm2. The substrate’s dimensional stability must be secured and have permanent dryness in its lifetime. Any weak areas on the substrate should be removed by sanding, scraping, grinding, milling, blasting or brushing. Also old, loose and weak underlayments should be removed mechanically. Surface defects such as cracks must be patched prior or during priming as there is the risk of the screed material flowing into them and producing air bubbles or reflective cracks in the surface in case of substrate movement. Before applying subsequent floor coverings, cement screeds are required to display a residual moisture reading of ≤ 2.0 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 1.8 CM-%); calcium sulphate screeds:  ≤ 0.5 CM-% (heating screeds ≤ 0.3 CM-%). Sikafloor primers can be used on a wide range of substrates before the application of Sikafloor self-levelling cementitious underlayment products. The primers can reduce the absorbency of the substrates and improve the adhesion between the underlayment and the substrate. In some cases they are also used as a protection for the substrate against the moisture coming from the self-levelling cementitious underlayments. All Sikafloor primers are rated as low-emission and meet GEV-Emicode EC-1 plus. Successful measures With the substrate primed and ready for its self-levelling compound, the next step is to measure the total area to be levelled in m2. This will calculate the amount of material necessary to achieve the mixture’s desired level and performance requirements. It’s important to note: product data sheets exclude waste and practical considerations such as surface roughness. Whether manually or pump-applied, the water added to the levelling compound should be clear, with the quality of potable water. It is prohibited to use contaminated or waste water. When it comes to applying the self-levelling compound, proper safety equipment should be worn and sufficient ventilation provided. The amount of water required for the levelling compound varies from product-to-product – see relevant product data sheet. A suitable mechanical hand mixing or mixing pump is recommended for the stirring process. Never add water to the powder or add it in stages, as this alters the product’s properties. The Sikafloor Primer and Sikafloor Level can be applied at substrate and ambient temperatures between +5°C and +30°C. Ensure all ventilation devices are switched-off during and after application for 24 hours. It’s also important to protect fresh surfaces from sunlight and direct sources of heat. Applying for a finish After mixing, pour out the self-levelling compound onto the primed surface and spread using a notched trowel or adjustable pin-leveller (pinrake) to the required thickness. The compound is applied by walking along the front and keeping a ‘wet edge’; that is, always placing material onto previously placed material before it starts to set, dry (turn matt) and harden. The width of the front will be determined by the application conditions – the higher the substrate and ambient temperature, the narrower the front. Ensure a continuous supply of mixed material and place it efficiently to allow maintaining a ‘wet edge’ which will reduce the differences between batches where the material is already starting to dry and set. Surface styling is affected by the choice of finishing tool. The use of a spike roller isn’t mandatory for every self-levelling compound, but can be recommended to remove troweling defects. The spike rolling process should not be delayed for more than five minutes after placing, particularly at higher temperatures. A significant time-lapse could lead to roller marks, unevenness on the mortar surface or ‘waves’. Excessive rolling of the application could also cause an unsightly appearance.  Depending on the thickness of the applied layer and the method of placing, the product’s ‘pot life’ and workability – usually limited to between 20 and 30 minutes at 23°C – should be decided.  Again, it’s important to reiterate that no flooring installation is the same. Mixture levels and application methods are product-dependent and likely to vary. Whatever the requirements, however, rest assured Sika offers the technical knowhow and support to ensure each self-levelling project runs as smoothly as the finished floor.
    Oct 24, 2017 439
  • 23 Oct 2017
    The heat loss through junctions is known as thermal bridging and can be one of the most significant sources of heat loss within a building. In a building which has poor insulation, thermal bridging will be less significant, but in a modern new building, that has a highly insulated fabric, the heat will pass through these junctions much faster relative to the surrounding materials. While these junctions cannot be eliminated, properly designed details can drastically reduce this effect. It’s absolutely critical we understand the heat loss through these important parts of a building and use a qualified assessor to calculate the PSI value of a junction to better inform the design. The effect of thermal bridging can vary drastically between buildings depending on design, with anywhere between a realised 5-50% of a building’s heat loss coming through these thermal junctions. The rate of heat loss between these thermal junctions is measured as a PSI values (pronounced ‘si’). Calculating them will make the thermal model much more accurate and feed back into the design creating a real difference to the end client and in terms of energy savings, or even more floor area if radiators don’t need to be as big.  When standardised details are being used, the cost for each individual PSI value across each building is exceptionally low in comparison to other options. The value the client gains from putting in the calculated PSI values is extremely cost effective.  So, in situations where developers are using the same corner detail on several projects (i.e five houses in one location), it starts to add up quickly. SAP calculation methodology assumes default values that are very poor or estimates how much heat is going through those areas. By calculating that specific PSI value, you are actually measuring how much heat is going through at that point. The assessor can input and overwrite that poor value with something that’s realistic and can make 5-10% and sometimes 15% of carbon savings for the entire building.  On a standard detached or terraced house, the assessor can expect to make 5-6% carbon savings over ACDs. If the thermal junctions are not measured, then a default PSI Value is applied to the calculation. The problem in the industry is these default values or dated sets of values such as Accredited Construction Details (ACDs) and Enhanced Construction Details (ECDs) can be inaccurate.  At Darren Evans Assessments we will carry out an independently assessed thermal model to cover all of the places where the default values or ACD values are worse than in reality. As a PSI value assessor, we are essentially tightening down the design and making it more accurate by inputting correct and supported heat loss calculations.  This improved accuracy in the building model will lead to design improvements.  By taking the time to look at and feed that specific information into the calculation, the assessor is able to provide advice on how to help build these details. While there are some in the industry who create thermal models that are completely unbuildable, we are able to come on board and simplify the whole thing to make sure it is correct.  Independently assessed PSI Values will always be cost effective on every medium scale and larger residential development. When you have more than 10 units employing these details (over even multiple sites with standard details), the larger design and build contractors can focus too much on big ticket items such as expensive renewables and thermal bridging can be overlooked. If you can make a difference over whether or not the PV sits on the roof, the small cost to do the PSI value calculations versus, say, £70k worth of PV, would seem like a no-brainer. If you are not using independently assessed PSI Values in your SAP calculation you are five or 10 years behind everyone else. By Brandon Wipperfurth, Sustainability and Energy Consultant Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    388 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The heat loss through junctions is known as thermal bridging and can be one of the most significant sources of heat loss within a building. In a building which has poor insulation, thermal bridging will be less significant, but in a modern new building, that has a highly insulated fabric, the heat will pass through these junctions much faster relative to the surrounding materials. While these junctions cannot be eliminated, properly designed details can drastically reduce this effect. It’s absolutely critical we understand the heat loss through these important parts of a building and use a qualified assessor to calculate the PSI value of a junction to better inform the design. The effect of thermal bridging can vary drastically between buildings depending on design, with anywhere between a realised 5-50% of a building’s heat loss coming through these thermal junctions. The rate of heat loss between these thermal junctions is measured as a PSI values (pronounced ‘si’). Calculating them will make the thermal model much more accurate and feed back into the design creating a real difference to the end client and in terms of energy savings, or even more floor area if radiators don’t need to be as big.  When standardised details are being used, the cost for each individual PSI value across each building is exceptionally low in comparison to other options. The value the client gains from putting in the calculated PSI values is extremely cost effective.  So, in situations where developers are using the same corner detail on several projects (i.e five houses in one location), it starts to add up quickly. SAP calculation methodology assumes default values that are very poor or estimates how much heat is going through those areas. By calculating that specific PSI value, you are actually measuring how much heat is going through at that point. The assessor can input and overwrite that poor value with something that’s realistic and can make 5-10% and sometimes 15% of carbon savings for the entire building.  On a standard detached or terraced house, the assessor can expect to make 5-6% carbon savings over ACDs. If the thermal junctions are not measured, then a default PSI Value is applied to the calculation. The problem in the industry is these default values or dated sets of values such as Accredited Construction Details (ACDs) and Enhanced Construction Details (ECDs) can be inaccurate.  At Darren Evans Assessments we will carry out an independently assessed thermal model to cover all of the places where the default values or ACD values are worse than in reality. As a PSI value assessor, we are essentially tightening down the design and making it more accurate by inputting correct and supported heat loss calculations.  This improved accuracy in the building model will lead to design improvements.  By taking the time to look at and feed that specific information into the calculation, the assessor is able to provide advice on how to help build these details. While there are some in the industry who create thermal models that are completely unbuildable, we are able to come on board and simplify the whole thing to make sure it is correct.  Independently assessed PSI Values will always be cost effective on every medium scale and larger residential development. When you have more than 10 units employing these details (over even multiple sites with standard details), the larger design and build contractors can focus too much on big ticket items such as expensive renewables and thermal bridging can be overlooked. If you can make a difference over whether or not the PV sits on the roof, the small cost to do the PSI value calculations versus, say, £70k worth of PV, would seem like a no-brainer. If you are not using independently assessed PSI Values in your SAP calculation you are five or 10 years behind everyone else. By Brandon Wipperfurth, Sustainability and Energy Consultant Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Oct 23, 2017 388
  • 20 Oct 2017
    As we drive the performance of our building stock, it is becoming clear that one of the key challenges we must address is narrowing the gap between design and actual performance. The industry needs support to ensure we use more accurate modelling and data in order to understand how the building will perform in operation. If we don’t, the gap in performance can be as big as 200-450% greater than predicted. With project costs squeezed and ‘value engineered’, all too often performance suffers. By allowing design teams more time to spend on modelling and considering how the building will be used by its occupants, rather than being forced into ‘default values’ and specification, we will go some of the way to eliminating this performance gap. Understanding the gap The performance gap has two components: the compliance gap and the actual performance gap. The modellers estimate 50-70% is the compliance gap and can be solved by more realistic modelling mirroring the conditions more closely. The reasons for the second and larger actual performance gap are generally unknown. There’s speculation about this and assumptions, but little in the way of hard evidence. When a building is managed effectively, property value is maximised. A high performing building will ultimately generate maximum profit via high and continuous rental income, low operating and maintenance costs and low depreciation. Modelling tools are used for compliance, which means they use standard default values for the building design. All the operational plant which controls the building is then set at these ‘standardised driving’ conditions and the occupancy density (i.e people versus square metres) is based on industry averages. As a result these standard default values underestimate the usage by up to 100%. Software is used to meet building regulations and energy performance certificates, as well as being used for ranking rather than the operation of the building. When you pass the design stage, it’s essential that real numbers are inputted and this can be done via modelling techniques such as the Green Deal software developed by BRE. This allows users to tailor the usage of the building to match real operating conditions in. It allows you to work out what it should and shouldn’t be.  But from that point onwards much depends on how well the building is commissioned; what maintenance strategies and schedules are put into place; and how the building is managed. If this doesn’t happen you begin to see divergence. Buildings need to be commissioned properly with particular attention made to control systems and the needs of the occupants.  The power of management Building management systems (BMSs) and building energy management systems (BEMSs) are powerful tools in ensuring that buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. As technology becomes cheaper and advances more rapidly, control systems need to be flexible, upgradable and have the facility to easily communicate and integrate with other systems. However, care needs to be taken in their operation, and staff using these systems need to be fully trained. Ongoing commissioning and preventative maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure the potentially large energy savings are realised, operational costs are controlled and expensive failures do not occur. End-user needs should be taken into account, while staff training and awareness-raising should be carried out to get the building’s occupants involved. Ongoing commissioning is essentially a higher form of maintenance. Maintenance simply deals with faults. It’s also important to consider management issues. Is the right environment being provided? Is it being provided in the proper place? Is the building being turned off at the right times? If it is not managed properly, the performance gap will only get worse. Modelling doesn’t help with the building in-use but baselines the building predicted performance. It starts by putting decent controls in so things are turned off when they are not occupied. Once you have control of the building, you can put the management systems in place so that building is optimised for energy usage.  Focus on people One of the most important things to remember is that a building is built for the occupant. In terms of costs, staffing is around 95% and workplaces are key to productivity. Any reduction in productivity has a large effect on a business’s bottom line; after all 95% of operational costs are the staff. Buildings therefore need to be efficient, responsive and innovative, which is why it is so important to optimise the environment in first place.   It’s imperative that the industry treats the underlying causes not the symptoms. It’s like the heart problem analogy. A surgeon might repair a damaged heart with a stem cell but not treat the inherent diet and lifestyle issues. One of the main problems is that architects are not bringing the design teams early enough in the design process. The later you do this, the more expensive it gets and reduces the benefits in the long term. By engaging with the performance gap, it’s possible to deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. By Dr Andy Lewry, Principal Technical Consultant, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com
    425 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As we drive the performance of our building stock, it is becoming clear that one of the key challenges we must address is narrowing the gap between design and actual performance. The industry needs support to ensure we use more accurate modelling and data in order to understand how the building will perform in operation. If we don’t, the gap in performance can be as big as 200-450% greater than predicted. With project costs squeezed and ‘value engineered’, all too often performance suffers. By allowing design teams more time to spend on modelling and considering how the building will be used by its occupants, rather than being forced into ‘default values’ and specification, we will go some of the way to eliminating this performance gap. Understanding the gap The performance gap has two components: the compliance gap and the actual performance gap. The modellers estimate 50-70% is the compliance gap and can be solved by more realistic modelling mirroring the conditions more closely. The reasons for the second and larger actual performance gap are generally unknown. There’s speculation about this and assumptions, but little in the way of hard evidence. When a building is managed effectively, property value is maximised. A high performing building will ultimately generate maximum profit via high and continuous rental income, low operating and maintenance costs and low depreciation. Modelling tools are used for compliance, which means they use standard default values for the building design. All the operational plant which controls the building is then set at these ‘standardised driving’ conditions and the occupancy density (i.e people versus square metres) is based on industry averages. As a result these standard default values underestimate the usage by up to 100%. Software is used to meet building regulations and energy performance certificates, as well as being used for ranking rather than the operation of the building. When you pass the design stage, it’s essential that real numbers are inputted and this can be done via modelling techniques such as the Green Deal software developed by BRE. This allows users to tailor the usage of the building to match real operating conditions in. It allows you to work out what it should and shouldn’t be.  But from that point onwards much depends on how well the building is commissioned; what maintenance strategies and schedules are put into place; and how the building is managed. If this doesn’t happen you begin to see divergence. Buildings need to be commissioned properly with particular attention made to control systems and the needs of the occupants.  The power of management Building management systems (BMSs) and building energy management systems (BEMSs) are powerful tools in ensuring that buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. As technology becomes cheaper and advances more rapidly, control systems need to be flexible, upgradable and have the facility to easily communicate and integrate with other systems. However, care needs to be taken in their operation, and staff using these systems need to be fully trained. Ongoing commissioning and preventative maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure the potentially large energy savings are realised, operational costs are controlled and expensive failures do not occur. End-user needs should be taken into account, while staff training and awareness-raising should be carried out to get the building’s occupants involved. Ongoing commissioning is essentially a higher form of maintenance. Maintenance simply deals with faults. It’s also important to consider management issues. Is the right environment being provided? Is it being provided in the proper place? Is the building being turned off at the right times? If it is not managed properly, the performance gap will only get worse. Modelling doesn’t help with the building in-use but baselines the building predicted performance. It starts by putting decent controls in so things are turned off when they are not occupied. Once you have control of the building, you can put the management systems in place so that building is optimised for energy usage.  Focus on people One of the most important things to remember is that a building is built for the occupant. In terms of costs, staffing is around 95% and workplaces are key to productivity. Any reduction in productivity has a large effect on a business’s bottom line; after all 95% of operational costs are the staff. Buildings therefore need to be efficient, responsive and innovative, which is why it is so important to optimise the environment in first place.   It’s imperative that the industry treats the underlying causes not the symptoms. It’s like the heart problem analogy. A surgeon might repair a damaged heart with a stem cell but not treat the inherent diet and lifestyle issues. One of the main problems is that architects are not bringing the design teams early enough in the design process. The later you do this, the more expensive it gets and reduces the benefits in the long term. By engaging with the performance gap, it’s possible to deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. By Dr Andy Lewry, Principal Technical Consultant, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com
    Oct 20, 2017 425
  • 19 Oct 2017
    Productivity, well-being and happy employees are all key considerations in the ideal office environment. With noise being high on the list of annoyances in the workplace and a cause of work-related stress, how can designers and specifiers create a quieter office place, improve privacy and deliver exceptional floor-to-floor, room-to-room sound reductions?   The office has changed quite dramatically over the years, with informal, open-plan and flexible spaces replacing the more formal enclosed and private rooms of the past.  This flexible working ends up having a knock-on effect - increasing the level of occupation, upping noise levels, which in turn hinders productivity.  Acoustics, like lighting, should be an integral part of good architectural design and when it is done well, is a significant contributor to the well-being and productivity of the office employee.  From the outset it’s important to use materials which will achieve good acoustics and solve any sound transmission issues. The designer must also not only satisfy the legislative requirements, but the client or end user’s ‘wish list’ of acoustic behaviour. Proper acoustics, the unobtrusive sum of all sounds, is the key objective for a comfortable environment. Cross-talk The sound separation achieved between adjoining rooms or offices is often severely limited by ‘cross-talk’ via a common void. This common problem occurs when the transmission loss associated with this sound path is less than that provided by the primary separating element, for example, a partition.  Voids affected by ‘cross-talk’ include:  * Suspended ceiling voids at partitions,  * Access floor voids below partitions  * Cavities at floor slab edges to façades. To effectively reduce sound transmission or ‘cross-talk’ via hidden voids which sit above office partitions, ceiling void barriers should be installed directly in-line with the partition. The Sound Reduction Index or SRI (Rw) of the cavity barrier is not normally required to equal that of the partition itself. This is due to the presence of other obstructions in the room-to-room sound path such as the suspended ceiling. The individual performance of the barrier need only be sufficient to correct the shortfall between the partition and the untreated cross-talk path. Suspended ceiling systems The actual value of these paths can vary substantially. For ceiling voids, 15-40dB Dnf,w (DnCw) would usually be associated with most suspended ceiling systems. An acoustic engineer can assess a minimum SRI value for the cavity barrier with knowledge of either the existing overall path value or details of the individual path obstructing elements. Occasionally conditions arise that demand substantially higher SRI values of the cavity barrier, such as ceiling voids formed by open-cell or substantially perforated suspended ceilings. Twin barrier or multiple element arrangements can then be employed to accommodate almost all possible sound performance criteria.  In this situation, Rw values are for the barrier arrangement alone. Room-to-room performance (DnCw) would normally be significantly higher. Curtains to noise When you combine the evolving and changing nature of the workplace with modern lightweight construction, such as curtain walls, this can also present a number of challenges when it comes to acoustics.  The overall sound performance in a curtain wall building is effectively controlled by the ‘weakest link’. This means that very careful consideration should be given to any potential weak point to ensure it does not become the ‘limiting factor’ in the overall sound transmission performance. The curtain wall together with the movement joint should all be considered as potential weak points and thoroughly assessed accordingly. Making it soundtight Involved in projects throughout the world and having manufactured acoustic and fire insulation products for more than 40 years, SIDERISE offer a large range of tried and tested product enhancements specifically developed for both building interiors and the façade industry. From flexible and semi-rigid acoustic barriers for suspended ceilings to acoustic void closures for tops of walls and fire stops for profiled decks, the ceiling void barrier range is designed to effectively reduce sound transmission via hidden voids. Designed to reduce vertical and horizontal sound transmission in curtain wall buildings, this comprehensive range includes a choice of effective and proven acoustic void barriers and barrier overlays for facades that deal with all common sound path problems and are frequently used to assist in reducing flanking transmission between adjacent internal areas. Acoustic comfort in the built environment has become a concern to society and a challenge to designers. It is all too common when considering the specification of the seal between the slab edge and the facade, for product selection to be based exclusively in terms of compliance to the relevant fire regulations. For façade engineers, architects and their clients, it is essential that due consideration is given to both the acoustic implications and performance of the closure arrangement, ensuring any potential weak point in curtain walled buildings is controlled. The cavity seal should ideally always be selected at the design stage because at this point, the largest range of suitable products is potentially available to the designer.  Products can therefore be selected based on cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and acoustic performance.  Post or remedial treatment severely limits available product selection. Also it is invariably more expensive, less practical to install and may not always be fully compliant. Often the acoustic design of offices does not receive the attention that most other architectural systems would.  A superior acoustic environment should be a given. The use of performance enhancing products will mitigate against these issues and ensure any potential noise issues within offices are eliminated. By:Mike Carrick AMIOA, Head of Acoustics at Siderise Group Visit: www.siderise.com
    637 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Productivity, well-being and happy employees are all key considerations in the ideal office environment. With noise being high on the list of annoyances in the workplace and a cause of work-related stress, how can designers and specifiers create a quieter office place, improve privacy and deliver exceptional floor-to-floor, room-to-room sound reductions?   The office has changed quite dramatically over the years, with informal, open-plan and flexible spaces replacing the more formal enclosed and private rooms of the past.  This flexible working ends up having a knock-on effect - increasing the level of occupation, upping noise levels, which in turn hinders productivity.  Acoustics, like lighting, should be an integral part of good architectural design and when it is done well, is a significant contributor to the well-being and productivity of the office employee.  From the outset it’s important to use materials which will achieve good acoustics and solve any sound transmission issues. The designer must also not only satisfy the legislative requirements, but the client or end user’s ‘wish list’ of acoustic behaviour. Proper acoustics, the unobtrusive sum of all sounds, is the key objective for a comfortable environment. Cross-talk The sound separation achieved between adjoining rooms or offices is often severely limited by ‘cross-talk’ via a common void. This common problem occurs when the transmission loss associated with this sound path is less than that provided by the primary separating element, for example, a partition.  Voids affected by ‘cross-talk’ include:  * Suspended ceiling voids at partitions,  * Access floor voids below partitions  * Cavities at floor slab edges to façades. To effectively reduce sound transmission or ‘cross-talk’ via hidden voids which sit above office partitions, ceiling void barriers should be installed directly in-line with the partition. The Sound Reduction Index or SRI (Rw) of the cavity barrier is not normally required to equal that of the partition itself. This is due to the presence of other obstructions in the room-to-room sound path such as the suspended ceiling. The individual performance of the barrier need only be sufficient to correct the shortfall between the partition and the untreated cross-talk path. Suspended ceiling systems The actual value of these paths can vary substantially. For ceiling voids, 15-40dB Dnf,w (DnCw) would usually be associated with most suspended ceiling systems. An acoustic engineer can assess a minimum SRI value for the cavity barrier with knowledge of either the existing overall path value or details of the individual path obstructing elements. Occasionally conditions arise that demand substantially higher SRI values of the cavity barrier, such as ceiling voids formed by open-cell or substantially perforated suspended ceilings. Twin barrier or multiple element arrangements can then be employed to accommodate almost all possible sound performance criteria.  In this situation, Rw values are for the barrier arrangement alone. Room-to-room performance (DnCw) would normally be significantly higher. Curtains to noise When you combine the evolving and changing nature of the workplace with modern lightweight construction, such as curtain walls, this can also present a number of challenges when it comes to acoustics.  The overall sound performance in a curtain wall building is effectively controlled by the ‘weakest link’. This means that very careful consideration should be given to any potential weak point to ensure it does not become the ‘limiting factor’ in the overall sound transmission performance. The curtain wall together with the movement joint should all be considered as potential weak points and thoroughly assessed accordingly. Making it soundtight Involved in projects throughout the world and having manufactured acoustic and fire insulation products for more than 40 years, SIDERISE offer a large range of tried and tested product enhancements specifically developed for both building interiors and the façade industry. From flexible and semi-rigid acoustic barriers for suspended ceilings to acoustic void closures for tops of walls and fire stops for profiled decks, the ceiling void barrier range is designed to effectively reduce sound transmission via hidden voids. Designed to reduce vertical and horizontal sound transmission in curtain wall buildings, this comprehensive range includes a choice of effective and proven acoustic void barriers and barrier overlays for facades that deal with all common sound path problems and are frequently used to assist in reducing flanking transmission between adjacent internal areas. Acoustic comfort in the built environment has become a concern to society and a challenge to designers. It is all too common when considering the specification of the seal between the slab edge and the facade, for product selection to be based exclusively in terms of compliance to the relevant fire regulations. For façade engineers, architects and their clients, it is essential that due consideration is given to both the acoustic implications and performance of the closure arrangement, ensuring any potential weak point in curtain walled buildings is controlled. The cavity seal should ideally always be selected at the design stage because at this point, the largest range of suitable products is potentially available to the designer.  Products can therefore be selected based on cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and acoustic performance.  Post or remedial treatment severely limits available product selection. Also it is invariably more expensive, less practical to install and may not always be fully compliant. Often the acoustic design of offices does not receive the attention that most other architectural systems would.  A superior acoustic environment should be a given. The use of performance enhancing products will mitigate against these issues and ensure any potential noise issues within offices are eliminated. By:Mike Carrick AMIOA, Head of Acoustics at Siderise Group Visit: www.siderise.com
    Oct 19, 2017 637
  • 18 Oct 2017
    Roofing can be an incredibly precarious profession, writes Dean O’Grady, Product Manager at Sika. One in five deaths in construction work involves roof projects, whether in the course of carrying out specialist work or simple maintenance. A roof’s height and potential fragility creates an immediate risk factor, which is increased manifold by the use of naked flame processes applied during installation or maintenance. To help reduce the perils associated with roof fires through naked flame applications used to dry-out or install torch-on membranes, the NFRC has launched a Safe2Torch campaign. Roof contractors across the UK are being asked to support the initiative which offers a host of best practice guidelines designed to minimise the threat of roof fire and reduce the risk to life and property. Companies which pledge their support to the campaign will indicate they have read and understood the guidance and are committed to promoting and implementing the campaign throughout their organisation. This will provide clients with the assurance that their contractor/manufacturer has planned their roof works in accordance with safety advice outlined in the Safe2Torch campaign. Safety points Included within the Safe2Torch campaign is a section focusing on pre-hot works checks that should be carried out to eliminate potential hazards associated with the use of gas torches. These include: Ensuring any combustible materials such as dry leaves, flammable liquids, wood, paper, etc, are removed from the working area Assessing the roofing substrate, as under no circumstances should a torch be applied direct to a timber-based deck or upstand Avoiding naked flame or high heat contact with foam or fibreboard combustible fillers found in expansion joints Selecting a torch-free product for abutments with open cavities or open perpends Avoiding using naked flames near fixed timber, plastic fascia or soffits Although Sika specialises in roofing products that eliminate the use of a naked flame applications, we would urge companies throughout the industry to support the Safe2Torch campaign, as we feel the health and safety of employees within our sector should be the number one priority of manufacturers and contractors alike. Ultimately, the way to mitigate issues with roofing naked flame works is to select a safer installation system. This will not only improve safety, it can help reduce installation time and on-site costs. Sika supplies a wide range of products which are rapid and simple to install for a wide range of flat roof applications. Cold options For example, the Sika-Trocal S-Vap 5000E SA is a new multi-layer, self-adhesive vapour control layer, which offers superb bonding strength for air-tight roof construction. Consisting of polymer-modified bitumen with a glass-fibre mat reinforcement and an aluminium foil as top layer, The self-adhesive feature eliminates the use of naked-flame installation, making for safe, simple and quick installation. It can also provide a temporary waterproof layer for up to four weeks without the aid of additional weight, ballast or mechanical fastening.  Capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic without tearing, S-Vap 5000E SA is perfect for use on profiled metal decks. Ideal for a range of substrates, it can be used in conjunction with Sika C-250 Spray insulation adhesive in an adhered roof build-up without the need for fasteners to secure thermal insulation boards. Sika C-250 Spray is applied via a pressurised canister that covers an approximate 140m², in minutes, a benefit that has helped speed-up the installation of Sika-Trocal single-ply roofing systems by up to 50%. Primer 610, also from Sika-Trocal, has been specifically developed alongside S-Vap 5000E SA. also spray-applied via a pressurised canister that covers an approximate 180m2  to 200m2 roofing area, Primer 610 dries in minutes; a benefit that also helps speed-up the installation of Sika-Trocal single-ply roofing systems. Like the S-Vap 5000E SA, versatility is one of the Primer 610 system’s many strengths, enabling its use on many existing substrates. The NFRC is to be applauded for its Safe2Torch initiative; any campaign which seeks to make the industry safer deserves our utmost attention and respect. Bituminous systems have been around for centuries, and because ‘torch-on’ is tried-and-tested with contractors reluctant to change their application method, it’s likely hot-working practices will continue for years to come. There is an alternative, however, and with on-site safety quite rightly a major concern within the industry, perhaps it’s time roofing companies warmed to the idea of systems without hot works. For more on the Safe2Torch campaign, contact: safe2torch@nfrc.co.uk .
    513 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Roofing can be an incredibly precarious profession, writes Dean O’Grady, Product Manager at Sika. One in five deaths in construction work involves roof projects, whether in the course of carrying out specialist work or simple maintenance. A roof’s height and potential fragility creates an immediate risk factor, which is increased manifold by the use of naked flame processes applied during installation or maintenance. To help reduce the perils associated with roof fires through naked flame applications used to dry-out or install torch-on membranes, the NFRC has launched a Safe2Torch campaign. Roof contractors across the UK are being asked to support the initiative which offers a host of best practice guidelines designed to minimise the threat of roof fire and reduce the risk to life and property. Companies which pledge their support to the campaign will indicate they have read and understood the guidance and are committed to promoting and implementing the campaign throughout their organisation. This will provide clients with the assurance that their contractor/manufacturer has planned their roof works in accordance with safety advice outlined in the Safe2Torch campaign. Safety points Included within the Safe2Torch campaign is a section focusing on pre-hot works checks that should be carried out to eliminate potential hazards associated with the use of gas torches. These include: Ensuring any combustible materials such as dry leaves, flammable liquids, wood, paper, etc, are removed from the working area Assessing the roofing substrate, as under no circumstances should a torch be applied direct to a timber-based deck or upstand Avoiding naked flame or high heat contact with foam or fibreboard combustible fillers found in expansion joints Selecting a torch-free product for abutments with open cavities or open perpends Avoiding using naked flames near fixed timber, plastic fascia or soffits Although Sika specialises in roofing products that eliminate the use of a naked flame applications, we would urge companies throughout the industry to support the Safe2Torch campaign, as we feel the health and safety of employees within our sector should be the number one priority of manufacturers and contractors alike. Ultimately, the way to mitigate issues with roofing naked flame works is to select a safer installation system. This will not only improve safety, it can help reduce installation time and on-site costs. Sika supplies a wide range of products which are rapid and simple to install for a wide range of flat roof applications. Cold options For example, the Sika-Trocal S-Vap 5000E SA is a new multi-layer, self-adhesive vapour control layer, which offers superb bonding strength for air-tight roof construction. Consisting of polymer-modified bitumen with a glass-fibre mat reinforcement and an aluminium foil as top layer, The self-adhesive feature eliminates the use of naked-flame installation, making for safe, simple and quick installation. It can also provide a temporary waterproof layer for up to four weeks without the aid of additional weight, ballast or mechanical fastening.  Capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic without tearing, S-Vap 5000E SA is perfect for use on profiled metal decks. Ideal for a range of substrates, it can be used in conjunction with Sika C-250 Spray insulation adhesive in an adhered roof build-up without the need for fasteners to secure thermal insulation boards. Sika C-250 Spray is applied via a pressurised canister that covers an approximate 140m², in minutes, a benefit that has helped speed-up the installation of Sika-Trocal single-ply roofing systems by up to 50%. Primer 610, also from Sika-Trocal, has been specifically developed alongside S-Vap 5000E SA. also spray-applied via a pressurised canister that covers an approximate 180m2  to 200m2 roofing area, Primer 610 dries in minutes; a benefit that also helps speed-up the installation of Sika-Trocal single-ply roofing systems. Like the S-Vap 5000E SA, versatility is one of the Primer 610 system’s many strengths, enabling its use on many existing substrates. The NFRC is to be applauded for its Safe2Torch initiative; any campaign which seeks to make the industry safer deserves our utmost attention and respect. Bituminous systems have been around for centuries, and because ‘torch-on’ is tried-and-tested with contractors reluctant to change their application method, it’s likely hot-working practices will continue for years to come. There is an alternative, however, and with on-site safety quite rightly a major concern within the industry, perhaps it’s time roofing companies warmed to the idea of systems without hot works. For more on the Safe2Torch campaign, contact: safe2torch@nfrc.co.uk .
    Oct 18, 2017 513
  • 17 Oct 2017
    While the life-saving benefits of sprinklers are undisputed and well-known, the inclusion of automated sprinkler systems within offices can add value to a scheme by increasing design options, saving on capital costs and reducing the construction programme. An adequate level of fire safety is a statutory requirement but the decision as to how the fire safety measures are achieved is down to the designer. A recent BSA report, produced by leading engineering consultancy WSP: The Impact of Automatic Sprinklers on Building Design – Commercial Sector, Offices, outlines the beneficial impact that incorporating sprinklers can have and how they can add value to building design. Sprinklers are a key component in the long-term strategy of any building and if considered early in the design process, they can be included at little, and sometimes at no cost. One of the key advantages of an automatic sprinkler system is it enables the balancing of fire protection measures which in turn opens up a number of significant design opportunities. An office which has automatic sprinklers allows occupants more time to escape when a fire occurs, which for the designer means they can incorporate longer travel distances and narrower door and stair widths, freeing up their design. In addition, the maximum travel distances in an office building can be increased by around 15% when an automatic sprinkler system is incorporated. This provides flexibility in the location of staircases and reduces the necessity of introducing escape corridors. Another design benefit with sprinklers is in the number of firefighting shafts and fire mains can be adjusted.  In a building without sprinklers, a firefighting shaft should be provided such that no part of a floor is more than 45 metres from a fire main outlet in a protected stairway. If a building is fitted with sprinklers, the distance can be increased to 60 metres. Sprinklers act to limit fire growth so that compartment sizes can be increased, which in turn offers additional design options.  In addition to greater freedom in the building layout, sprinklers can work to contain a fire and limit fire to the compartment of origin. Building Regulations Approved Document B recommends that buildings are separated sufficiently, or that a portion of the building’s facade should be fire-resistant to prevent fire spreading between buildings. The area of facade required to be fire-rated is proportional to the distance between the facade and the site boundary. However, because automatic sprinklers inhibit fire size and therefore spread of fire, the non-fire-resistant area of facade can be doubled, giving designers greater flexibility in facade design and layout. In addition to the flexibility introduced in terms of the façade material and internal layouts, there is a misconception that sprinkler heads cannot be concealed and are visually unappealing. The use of concealed heads, however, ensures that they can be discreet when desired. Ultimately, the consideration of automatic sprinklers at the earliest stages of the design will enable stakeholders to realise and benefit from a wealth of design freedoms. Through robust research and by looking at different building types and design options, the consideration of automatic sprinklers should be part of any robust design development for a new office project. For more detailed information about the benefits relating to different building types and design options, download The Impact of Automatic Sprinklers on Building Design, Commercial Sector Applications – Offices which is available by clicking http://www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org/publications/impact-automatic-sprinklers-building-design-wsp/
    415 Posted by Talk. Build
  • While the life-saving benefits of sprinklers are undisputed and well-known, the inclusion of automated sprinkler systems within offices can add value to a scheme by increasing design options, saving on capital costs and reducing the construction programme. An adequate level of fire safety is a statutory requirement but the decision as to how the fire safety measures are achieved is down to the designer. A recent BSA report, produced by leading engineering consultancy WSP: The Impact of Automatic Sprinklers on Building Design – Commercial Sector, Offices, outlines the beneficial impact that incorporating sprinklers can have and how they can add value to building design. Sprinklers are a key component in the long-term strategy of any building and if considered early in the design process, they can be included at little, and sometimes at no cost. One of the key advantages of an automatic sprinkler system is it enables the balancing of fire protection measures which in turn opens up a number of significant design opportunities. An office which has automatic sprinklers allows occupants more time to escape when a fire occurs, which for the designer means they can incorporate longer travel distances and narrower door and stair widths, freeing up their design. In addition, the maximum travel distances in an office building can be increased by around 15% when an automatic sprinkler system is incorporated. This provides flexibility in the location of staircases and reduces the necessity of introducing escape corridors. Another design benefit with sprinklers is in the number of firefighting shafts and fire mains can be adjusted.  In a building without sprinklers, a firefighting shaft should be provided such that no part of a floor is more than 45 metres from a fire main outlet in a protected stairway. If a building is fitted with sprinklers, the distance can be increased to 60 metres. Sprinklers act to limit fire growth so that compartment sizes can be increased, which in turn offers additional design options.  In addition to greater freedom in the building layout, sprinklers can work to contain a fire and limit fire to the compartment of origin. Building Regulations Approved Document B recommends that buildings are separated sufficiently, or that a portion of the building’s facade should be fire-resistant to prevent fire spreading between buildings. The area of facade required to be fire-rated is proportional to the distance between the facade and the site boundary. However, because automatic sprinklers inhibit fire size and therefore spread of fire, the non-fire-resistant area of facade can be doubled, giving designers greater flexibility in facade design and layout. In addition to the flexibility introduced in terms of the façade material and internal layouts, there is a misconception that sprinkler heads cannot be concealed and are visually unappealing. The use of concealed heads, however, ensures that they can be discreet when desired. Ultimately, the consideration of automatic sprinklers at the earliest stages of the design will enable stakeholders to realise and benefit from a wealth of design freedoms. Through robust research and by looking at different building types and design options, the consideration of automatic sprinklers should be part of any robust design development for a new office project. For more detailed information about the benefits relating to different building types and design options, download The Impact of Automatic Sprinklers on Building Design, Commercial Sector Applications – Offices which is available by clicking http://www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org/publications/impact-automatic-sprinklers-building-design-wsp/
    Oct 17, 2017 415
  • 16 Oct 2017
    Human health and wellness is at the forefront of building design with the emergence of the WELL Building Standard® (WELL), the first standard of its kind which rates a building’s impact on occupants and gives a single ‘wellness’ rating for buildings.  But what are the challenges for the specifier and contractor to meet this standard and how difficult is it to find the right flooring system? Steven Argent, Construction Director at fit-out specialists QOB Interiors, looks at the WELL Standard and taking a healthy view in the specification of a flooring system. When you consider the average person spends well over 90% of their life in and around buildings, the creation of a healthy environment will have a direct impact on their wellbeing.  Illness costs UK businesses on average £550 per employee per year, amounting to a staggering £30 billion annually, according to the Chartered Institute of Professional Development, so incorporating wellbeing into our buildings has never been more important. Putting the emphasis on the human element, WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. While the building industry is used to dealing with and incorporating well factors such as light and air quality, other features that impact mobility, access, nutrition, access to water, to name but a few - are new territory for many designers and fit-out specialists. This innovative approach to building design and operation is set to change the way we create building interiors. A well-made floor Whether it’s contributing to air quality and sound reduction, adding to atmosphere or helping to create a hygienic environment, floors play a significant and increasingly important role in a healthy and productive environment.  A well-chosen floor can add texture and comfort, whilst having the capability to reflect light and delineate spaces as well. To meet the WELL standard, it’s important to choose flooring manufacturers offering products that contribute to the health and wellbeing of building occupants. A flooring manufacturer which offers low VOC, phthalate-free products and solutions which are sound-reducing and allergy approved will make a significant contribution towards creating a healthier workplace and meeting WELL certification. One Carter Lane The first project in Europe to achieve the standard is One Carter Lane, the London office of multi-disciplinary engineer Cundall. As the first building in Europe to be delivered under WELL, there was careful attention to the specification of every single material and product used to ensure it met the criteria of WELL. This included research, testing materials as well as checking credentials and conformity. It is surprising when you start to scrutinise products how difficult it can be to find materials that are natural and don’t contain any toxins. It’s vital specifiers think carefully about what is used and the long term effects this has on building occupiers. From a design by architects Studio Ben Allen, the challenging 15,400 sq ft Cat B commercial office fit-out was carried out to stringent tolerances with a focus on the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials. Every aspect of the ground floor fit-out by QOB – from materials used, to lighting, heating and open space – had to be thoroughly considered as to the impact on post-occupancy use before the design was finalised. The specification of materials under WELL meant only those that had a very low concentration of formaldehydes and volatile organic compounds (VOC) could be used. The VOC rating of all materials had to be between negligible and zero, ensuring that office fixtures, fittings and fabric did not expel harmful chemical or organic emissions. Medical research has shown that indoor air quality has a major influence on the health, wellbeing and productivity of building occupants.  A floor like no other At the Cundall offices, all furnishings, insulation, interior paint, adhesives, oils, waxes, varnishes and finishes were specified for low or zero VOC, formaldehyde and toxic content.  A recycled, woven nylon floor tile from a Swedish manufacturer was specified for the flooring in main office area and fitted to the raised access floor system with an ultra-low VOC adhesive. The flooring material used in the main office area is from Bolon’s Botanic selection and is a natural Bolon tile. This particular product aids the reduction of VOC absorption which makes it the perfect fit for this environmentally aware fit out. The solvent-free adhesive used for bonding the floor tiles has an extremely low emission level of VOCs which makes it harmless for those who apply the product and for the people work in the environment in which it is applied. In addition, a WELL approved anti-slip, noise-absorbent and easy to maintain satin rubber floor was used for the tea point area. This was also applied used the ultra-low VOC adhesive. As a preventative measure, during construction, the specialist contractor ensured that all the carpet tiles were kept protected in the secure site office, to further reduce the chance of VOC’s absorption.  Managing the fit-out meant ensuring there was an understanding of product selection on the site so that operatives couldn’t defer away from using the approved materials. This was achieved through specific site inductions, informing the installation teams of the environmental standards to be achieved and their contribution to achieving them. Furthermore it was vital that the selected environmentally accredited materials performed to ‘industry standards’ so as to dispel the common myth that there would be a noticeable loss of performance. This was achieved through the ridged review of manufacturer’s material data sheets and ‘benchmarking’ the install to observe quality of workmanship and the acceptable performance of the installation prior to continuing with the whole install. With the constant monitoring and testing of indoor air quality under WELL so critical throughout the fit-out, it was vital there were precautions in place to isolate work areas to ensure any dust was contained, preventing contamination entering into other areas of the site. In addition, dust covers were used on light fittings and airtight plastic covers on all grills, filters, ducts and fan coil units. The WELL Building Standard is uncharted territory for many across the industry, but at One Carter Lane, Cundall has an office environment that sets a high benchmark for the workplace, putting people’s health and wellbeing at the very heart of the building. Visit: http://qobinteriors.com/  
    438 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Human health and wellness is at the forefront of building design with the emergence of the WELL Building Standard® (WELL), the first standard of its kind which rates a building’s impact on occupants and gives a single ‘wellness’ rating for buildings.  But what are the challenges for the specifier and contractor to meet this standard and how difficult is it to find the right flooring system? Steven Argent, Construction Director at fit-out specialists QOB Interiors, looks at the WELL Standard and taking a healthy view in the specification of a flooring system. When you consider the average person spends well over 90% of their life in and around buildings, the creation of a healthy environment will have a direct impact on their wellbeing.  Illness costs UK businesses on average £550 per employee per year, amounting to a staggering £30 billion annually, according to the Chartered Institute of Professional Development, so incorporating wellbeing into our buildings has never been more important. Putting the emphasis on the human element, WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. While the building industry is used to dealing with and incorporating well factors such as light and air quality, other features that impact mobility, access, nutrition, access to water, to name but a few - are new territory for many designers and fit-out specialists. This innovative approach to building design and operation is set to change the way we create building interiors. A well-made floor Whether it’s contributing to air quality and sound reduction, adding to atmosphere or helping to create a hygienic environment, floors play a significant and increasingly important role in a healthy and productive environment.  A well-chosen floor can add texture and comfort, whilst having the capability to reflect light and delineate spaces as well. To meet the WELL standard, it’s important to choose flooring manufacturers offering products that contribute to the health and wellbeing of building occupants. A flooring manufacturer which offers low VOC, phthalate-free products and solutions which are sound-reducing and allergy approved will make a significant contribution towards creating a healthier workplace and meeting WELL certification. One Carter Lane The first project in Europe to achieve the standard is One Carter Lane, the London office of multi-disciplinary engineer Cundall. As the first building in Europe to be delivered under WELL, there was careful attention to the specification of every single material and product used to ensure it met the criteria of WELL. This included research, testing materials as well as checking credentials and conformity. It is surprising when you start to scrutinise products how difficult it can be to find materials that are natural and don’t contain any toxins. It’s vital specifiers think carefully about what is used and the long term effects this has on building occupiers. From a design by architects Studio Ben Allen, the challenging 15,400 sq ft Cat B commercial office fit-out was carried out to stringent tolerances with a focus on the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials. Every aspect of the ground floor fit-out by QOB – from materials used, to lighting, heating and open space – had to be thoroughly considered as to the impact on post-occupancy use before the design was finalised. The specification of materials under WELL meant only those that had a very low concentration of formaldehydes and volatile organic compounds (VOC) could be used. The VOC rating of all materials had to be between negligible and zero, ensuring that office fixtures, fittings and fabric did not expel harmful chemical or organic emissions. Medical research has shown that indoor air quality has a major influence on the health, wellbeing and productivity of building occupants.  A floor like no other At the Cundall offices, all furnishings, insulation, interior paint, adhesives, oils, waxes, varnishes and finishes were specified for low or zero VOC, formaldehyde and toxic content.  A recycled, woven nylon floor tile from a Swedish manufacturer was specified for the flooring in main office area and fitted to the raised access floor system with an ultra-low VOC adhesive. The flooring material used in the main office area is from Bolon’s Botanic selection and is a natural Bolon tile. This particular product aids the reduction of VOC absorption which makes it the perfect fit for this environmentally aware fit out. The solvent-free adhesive used for bonding the floor tiles has an extremely low emission level of VOCs which makes it harmless for those who apply the product and for the people work in the environment in which it is applied. In addition, a WELL approved anti-slip, noise-absorbent and easy to maintain satin rubber floor was used for the tea point area. This was also applied used the ultra-low VOC adhesive. As a preventative measure, during construction, the specialist contractor ensured that all the carpet tiles were kept protected in the secure site office, to further reduce the chance of VOC’s absorption.  Managing the fit-out meant ensuring there was an understanding of product selection on the site so that operatives couldn’t defer away from using the approved materials. This was achieved through specific site inductions, informing the installation teams of the environmental standards to be achieved and their contribution to achieving them. Furthermore it was vital that the selected environmentally accredited materials performed to ‘industry standards’ so as to dispel the common myth that there would be a noticeable loss of performance. This was achieved through the ridged review of manufacturer’s material data sheets and ‘benchmarking’ the install to observe quality of workmanship and the acceptable performance of the installation prior to continuing with the whole install. With the constant monitoring and testing of indoor air quality under WELL so critical throughout the fit-out, it was vital there were precautions in place to isolate work areas to ensure any dust was contained, preventing contamination entering into other areas of the site. In addition, dust covers were used on light fittings and airtight plastic covers on all grills, filters, ducts and fan coil units. The WELL Building Standard is uncharted territory for many across the industry, but at One Carter Lane, Cundall has an office environment that sets a high benchmark for the workplace, putting people’s health and wellbeing at the very heart of the building. Visit: http://qobinteriors.com/  
    Oct 16, 2017 438
  • 13 Oct 2017
    Buildings are responsible for nearly 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. Well-insulated existing and new-build properties will help improve that figure, but only if the insulation is correctly fitted in the first place. Global leaders in PIR manufacture, Recticel Insulation, provides a guideline to installation practices and techniques in respect of one of the more innovative insulation products on the market. A Green Building Council report released earlier this year revealed 25 million homes need to be refurbished by 2050 in order to meet insulation standards, and achieve the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80%, by then in line with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Excess energy used to heat draughty buildings is a major contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, hence the need for quality insulation that is fitted to a high standard. The onus on providing buildings which deliver in terms of thermal performance will largely fall on architects, developers and the building industry as a whole. However, manufacturers can also play their part by continuing to refine the properties and performance of ‘fabric first’ materials which are so vital in putting a thermal seal on the building envelope. Innovative solution Dedicated to raising the standards of insulation products in the UK, Eurowall + represents Recticel Insulation’s commitment to PIR innovation to improve a building’s thermal performance and enhance the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants. Eurowall + was the first rigid insulation board to feature a tongue and groove joint on all four sides. This interlocking feature ensures boards slot together easily to provide insulation that is solid and airtight and minimises heat loss caused by thermal bridging, as well as offering effective protection against elements such as wind-driven rain. In the quest for improved energy efficiency, designers can be left with little option but to increase the thickness of insulation in a dwelling’s external walls. This additional insulation can be added internally, externally or within the cavity, all of which mean that floorplans need to be enlarged, which for housebuilders can mean smaller rooms or fewer houses per plot. Eurowall +, a premium, full-fill cavity insulation board manufactured from high performance closed cell polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam, has been developed to allow designers and housebuilders to maintain traditional build techniques, without compromise to thermal performance. It’s resulted in a board that achieves a U-value of 0.18W/m2K to enable compliance with Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2013 in England and Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2014 in Wales. Installation made easy Installing Eurowall + couldn’t be easier. To help the installer fit the boards the right way, there is a different gas-tight foil-faced finish on each side: one is distinctive grey alkali-resistant facing for placing against the inner leaf; where wet cement can affect the foil facing. The other is a low emissivity multi-layer aluminum facing which enhances the thermal resistance of the cavity. Eurowall + eliminates the need to tape board joints, whilst the boards themselves should be installed in a brick bond pattern with staggered vertical joints.  Wall ties should be applied in the same way as if a partial-fill board were being installed. This involves cutting a slot in the tongue joint with a trowel then pushing the wall tie into it. Retaining discs fit onto the wall ties, acting as a spacer to help maintain the 10mm cavity.  In terms of reveals, wall ties continue to be installed at every second course of blockwork, rather than every course, as is common practice. Two ties are positioned within 225mm of the reveal. Corner details are formed by cutting the boards squarely and closely ****-jointing. A vertical 300mm wide DPC covers the corner and runs the full length of the junction. Cavity trays are fitted by either cutting the insulation at an angle and running a DPC over the top of it,  or using a partial-fill board behind the section where the DPC is due to be fitted. Case study: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire Eurowall + was used by Mentmore Homes in the construction of two energy-efficient, detached five-bedroom homes in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, valued at £2.5 million each. The high-quality, traditionally-constructed homes feature external walls built using brick/block cavity construction. Cavity wall is the UK’s most common method of wall construction for residential dwellings. For Mentmore Homes, a significant challenge was to retain a standard-sized cavity while complying with the latest Building Regulations. To maximise the thermal performance of the external walls without increasing the width of the 100mm wide cavity, Mentmore Homes specified Eurowall + full-fill insulation. Using this high-performance PIR insulation board enabled the developer to meet the thermal performance required to achieve Building Regulation compliance. A total 500m2 of Eurowall + boards were used in the wall construction of the two houses. Nicholas Peck, contracts manager at Mentmore Homes was impressed with the performance of Eurowall +: “We wanted to make the properties as energy efficient as possible; to make this happen the best place to start is the insulation,” he said. “Specifying Eurowall + meant we didn’t have to increase the size of the wall cavity and lose space inside the properties”. The panel’s interlocking feature was another element of the product that Peck says was beneficial: “Eurowall +, because it slots together so easily will remain solid and airtight,” he said. “We required a high-performance product for this extremely high-profile project and Eurowall + didn’t disappoint”. Case study: Hedge End, Southampton; Ludgershall, Andover Ease of handling and simplicity of installation were just two of the reasons Foreman Homes selected Eurowall + to insulate the walls of the homes on two large housing developments in the south of England. The schemes at Hedge End, Southampton, and Ludgershall, Andover, together contain a mix of over 300 plots of social and private housing; homes vary in size from two- to five-bedrooms. Mark Kew, a bricklayer with Foreman Homes, applauded the benefits of using Eurowall +: “In 35 years’ experience in construction, the insulation developed by Recticel is easy to cut accurately due to the grid printed on the foil-facing side which makes it easy to install with minimal waste. I can honestly say our quality and speed have excelled as a result of its use.” In total over 15,000m2 of Eurowall + insulation was installed. For Foreman Homes, using Eurowall + meant the homes’ external walls could be built quicker and easier resulting in a corresponding saving in construction costs.  And, the full-fill insulation’s excellent thermal performance will mean that residents on both developments will be able to enjoy their comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings. As these case studies demonstrate, innovative PIR products such as Eurowall + contain a host of benefits to fit the 21st century need for insulation which improves a property’s thermal performance and speeds-up the overall construction process. However, for the performance to match the quality of the product, its installation has to be correct – hopefully first time.  Visit: http://www.recticelinsulation.co.uk/
    461 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Buildings are responsible for nearly 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. Well-insulated existing and new-build properties will help improve that figure, but only if the insulation is correctly fitted in the first place. Global leaders in PIR manufacture, Recticel Insulation, provides a guideline to installation practices and techniques in respect of one of the more innovative insulation products on the market. A Green Building Council report released earlier this year revealed 25 million homes need to be refurbished by 2050 in order to meet insulation standards, and achieve the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80%, by then in line with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Excess energy used to heat draughty buildings is a major contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, hence the need for quality insulation that is fitted to a high standard. The onus on providing buildings which deliver in terms of thermal performance will largely fall on architects, developers and the building industry as a whole. However, manufacturers can also play their part by continuing to refine the properties and performance of ‘fabric first’ materials which are so vital in putting a thermal seal on the building envelope. Innovative solution Dedicated to raising the standards of insulation products in the UK, Eurowall + represents Recticel Insulation’s commitment to PIR innovation to improve a building’s thermal performance and enhance the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants. Eurowall + was the first rigid insulation board to feature a tongue and groove joint on all four sides. This interlocking feature ensures boards slot together easily to provide insulation that is solid and airtight and minimises heat loss caused by thermal bridging, as well as offering effective protection against elements such as wind-driven rain. In the quest for improved energy efficiency, designers can be left with little option but to increase the thickness of insulation in a dwelling’s external walls. This additional insulation can be added internally, externally or within the cavity, all of which mean that floorplans need to be enlarged, which for housebuilders can mean smaller rooms or fewer houses per plot. Eurowall +, a premium, full-fill cavity insulation board manufactured from high performance closed cell polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam, has been developed to allow designers and housebuilders to maintain traditional build techniques, without compromise to thermal performance. It’s resulted in a board that achieves a U-value of 0.18W/m2K to enable compliance with Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2013 in England and Part L1A of the Building Regulations 2014 in Wales. Installation made easy Installing Eurowall + couldn’t be easier. To help the installer fit the boards the right way, there is a different gas-tight foil-faced finish on each side: one is distinctive grey alkali-resistant facing for placing against the inner leaf; where wet cement can affect the foil facing. The other is a low emissivity multi-layer aluminum facing which enhances the thermal resistance of the cavity. Eurowall + eliminates the need to tape board joints, whilst the boards themselves should be installed in a brick bond pattern with staggered vertical joints.  Wall ties should be applied in the same way as if a partial-fill board were being installed. This involves cutting a slot in the tongue joint with a trowel then pushing the wall tie into it. Retaining discs fit onto the wall ties, acting as a spacer to help maintain the 10mm cavity.  In terms of reveals, wall ties continue to be installed at every second course of blockwork, rather than every course, as is common practice. Two ties are positioned within 225mm of the reveal. Corner details are formed by cutting the boards squarely and closely ****-jointing. A vertical 300mm wide DPC covers the corner and runs the full length of the junction. Cavity trays are fitted by either cutting the insulation at an angle and running a DPC over the top of it,  or using a partial-fill board behind the section where the DPC is due to be fitted. Case study: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire Eurowall + was used by Mentmore Homes in the construction of two energy-efficient, detached five-bedroom homes in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, valued at £2.5 million each. The high-quality, traditionally-constructed homes feature external walls built using brick/block cavity construction. Cavity wall is the UK’s most common method of wall construction for residential dwellings. For Mentmore Homes, a significant challenge was to retain a standard-sized cavity while complying with the latest Building Regulations. To maximise the thermal performance of the external walls without increasing the width of the 100mm wide cavity, Mentmore Homes specified Eurowall + full-fill insulation. Using this high-performance PIR insulation board enabled the developer to meet the thermal performance required to achieve Building Regulation compliance. A total 500m2 of Eurowall + boards were used in the wall construction of the two houses. Nicholas Peck, contracts manager at Mentmore Homes was impressed with the performance of Eurowall +: “We wanted to make the properties as energy efficient as possible; to make this happen the best place to start is the insulation,” he said. “Specifying Eurowall + meant we didn’t have to increase the size of the wall cavity and lose space inside the properties”. The panel’s interlocking feature was another element of the product that Peck says was beneficial: “Eurowall +, because it slots together so easily will remain solid and airtight,” he said. “We required a high-performance product for this extremely high-profile project and Eurowall + didn’t disappoint”. Case study: Hedge End, Southampton; Ludgershall, Andover Ease of handling and simplicity of installation were just two of the reasons Foreman Homes selected Eurowall + to insulate the walls of the homes on two large housing developments in the south of England. The schemes at Hedge End, Southampton, and Ludgershall, Andover, together contain a mix of over 300 plots of social and private housing; homes vary in size from two- to five-bedrooms. Mark Kew, a bricklayer with Foreman Homes, applauded the benefits of using Eurowall +: “In 35 years’ experience in construction, the insulation developed by Recticel is easy to cut accurately due to the grid printed on the foil-facing side which makes it easy to install with minimal waste. I can honestly say our quality and speed have excelled as a result of its use.” In total over 15,000m2 of Eurowall + insulation was installed. For Foreman Homes, using Eurowall + meant the homes’ external walls could be built quicker and easier resulting in a corresponding saving in construction costs.  And, the full-fill insulation’s excellent thermal performance will mean that residents on both developments will be able to enjoy their comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings. As these case studies demonstrate, innovative PIR products such as Eurowall + contain a host of benefits to fit the 21st century need for insulation which improves a property’s thermal performance and speeds-up the overall construction process. However, for the performance to match the quality of the product, its installation has to be correct – hopefully first time.  Visit: http://www.recticelinsulation.co.uk/
    Oct 13, 2017 461
  • 10 Oct 2017
    The move towards mortar-free, dry fix roof and drainage solutions has made it quicker, easier and safer to install throughout the build process. Offering a wealth of benefits to the installer and homeowner, Hayley Lowry, Marketing Manager of Ariel Plastics outlines the dry-fix options for new-build projects and how these systems are the simple, cost-effective, low maintenance route to a weathertight roof, whatever the elements have in store. Dry fix roofing is the term used to describe the mechanical fixing of roofing materials. Traditional mortar bedding is still the most widely-used fixing method in England and Wales, in contrast to Scotland, where 80% of roofing is already mechanically-fixed. However, the increased incidence of storms during recent years has clearly highlighted the unreliability of mortar. The switch to dry fix roofing in Britain and Ireland is well established but looks set to gather even greater momentum. Considering all the advantages, it is not difficult to see why. The roof is the most exposed part of any building. Using mortar to secure vulnerable areas of the roof, such as the verge, will inevitably lead to future maintenance. Differential movement causes mortar to crack and no reliance should be placed on its tensile or shear strength. The action of frost and rain will exploit the development of hairline cracks. In contrast, because dry fix roofing is mechanically-fixed it offers improved safety, security and increased resistance to wind uplift and water penetration. Dry fixing is a year-round solution; it can be carried out in damp and freezing conditions. A fast and simple process, it’s a method that eliminates the need for mix-and-apply mortar and its incurring mess. Special skills and tools are not required to dry fix, making it highly cost-effective. It also complies with BS 5534, a new code of practice that details design standards, performance and installation of pitched roofs and vertical cladding using slates, tiles and wooden shingles. Regulation change BS 5534 came into force in February 2015 and outlined a number of changes including the use of mortar, which can no longer be used in isolation to fix ridges and hips. These should now also be mechanically-fixed. Fixing requirements for roof tiles have been increased in the latest code of practice which also requires all single-lapped tiles on a roof to be mechanically-fixed. It also states perimeter tiles should now have a minimum of two fixings. In addition, testing bodies now have to assess the measurement of the wind uplift resistance of underlays. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations place a duty of care on designers to select building components that minimise health and safety risks, not only during construction, but during future maintenance. The use of dry fix roofing eliminates the need to repair failed mortar bedding, therefore avoiding future maintenance work and improving safety on site. In terms of dry fix options, mortar-freeproducts which provide a unique jointing system and can be used with half-round and angled ridges are ideal for this practice. This is not only the quickest method of installing ridge tiles to a roof; it produces a neat ridge line of traditional appearance whilst also providing high-level ventilation. Product options For dry verge, the ideal products are ones which enable verge tile fixing without the need for mortar whilst protecting verge tiles from wind uplift, pest infestation and weather degradation. Most systems are universal and come in a range of colours to blend with most tiles, slates and bargeboards. With the UK experiencing more frequent extreme weather conditions, greater responsibility has been placed on the roofing underlay to cope with increasing wind forces. The potential effect of an underlay subjected to excessive wind loading is for it to balloon upwards potentially causing the tiles or slates to dislodge. This issue has been addressed in the latest revision to BS5534: 2014 Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling. Effective from March 2015, the guidance outlines the minimum requirements for taping the side laps of roofing underlays dependent on the exposure of the roof to wind uplift, batten gauge and the underlay selected. In addition to the prevention of wind uplift, the taping of side laps of roofing underlays helps improve the thermal performance of a building by reducing air filtration and convective heat loss. Dry fix valleys are another product option. Fully-weatherproof options manufactured from GRP are now available offering a cost-effective alternative to lead.  Dry fixing of valley troughs is quicker, less dependent on site skills and guarantees a neater finish than mortar bedding. Slate, tile and ridge vents are available to install mechanically on the roof without the need for mortar. Similarly, a wide range of eaves ventilation products are available to mechanically fix: eaves vent kits, rafter and fascia trays, over fascia vents and soffit vents. With availability of so many proven products, it’s no wonder the construction industry is rapidly turning to dry fix products as the quick, easy-to-apply, cost-effective solution for weathertight roofing. Visit: http://www.arielplastics.com/
    495 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The move towards mortar-free, dry fix roof and drainage solutions has made it quicker, easier and safer to install throughout the build process. Offering a wealth of benefits to the installer and homeowner, Hayley Lowry, Marketing Manager of Ariel Plastics outlines the dry-fix options for new-build projects and how these systems are the simple, cost-effective, low maintenance route to a weathertight roof, whatever the elements have in store. Dry fix roofing is the term used to describe the mechanical fixing of roofing materials. Traditional mortar bedding is still the most widely-used fixing method in England and Wales, in contrast to Scotland, where 80% of roofing is already mechanically-fixed. However, the increased incidence of storms during recent years has clearly highlighted the unreliability of mortar. The switch to dry fix roofing in Britain and Ireland is well established but looks set to gather even greater momentum. Considering all the advantages, it is not difficult to see why. The roof is the most exposed part of any building. Using mortar to secure vulnerable areas of the roof, such as the verge, will inevitably lead to future maintenance. Differential movement causes mortar to crack and no reliance should be placed on its tensile or shear strength. The action of frost and rain will exploit the development of hairline cracks. In contrast, because dry fix roofing is mechanically-fixed it offers improved safety, security and increased resistance to wind uplift and water penetration. Dry fixing is a year-round solution; it can be carried out in damp and freezing conditions. A fast and simple process, it’s a method that eliminates the need for mix-and-apply mortar and its incurring mess. Special skills and tools are not required to dry fix, making it highly cost-effective. It also complies with BS 5534, a new code of practice that details design standards, performance and installation of pitched roofs and vertical cladding using slates, tiles and wooden shingles. Regulation change BS 5534 came into force in February 2015 and outlined a number of changes including the use of mortar, which can no longer be used in isolation to fix ridges and hips. These should now also be mechanically-fixed. Fixing requirements for roof tiles have been increased in the latest code of practice which also requires all single-lapped tiles on a roof to be mechanically-fixed. It also states perimeter tiles should now have a minimum of two fixings. In addition, testing bodies now have to assess the measurement of the wind uplift resistance of underlays. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations place a duty of care on designers to select building components that minimise health and safety risks, not only during construction, but during future maintenance. The use of dry fix roofing eliminates the need to repair failed mortar bedding, therefore avoiding future maintenance work and improving safety on site. In terms of dry fix options, mortar-freeproducts which provide a unique jointing system and can be used with half-round and angled ridges are ideal for this practice. This is not only the quickest method of installing ridge tiles to a roof; it produces a neat ridge line of traditional appearance whilst also providing high-level ventilation. Product options For dry verge, the ideal products are ones which enable verge tile fixing without the need for mortar whilst protecting verge tiles from wind uplift, pest infestation and weather degradation. Most systems are universal and come in a range of colours to blend with most tiles, slates and bargeboards. With the UK experiencing more frequent extreme weather conditions, greater responsibility has been placed on the roofing underlay to cope with increasing wind forces. The potential effect of an underlay subjected to excessive wind loading is for it to balloon upwards potentially causing the tiles or slates to dislodge. This issue has been addressed in the latest revision to BS5534: 2014 Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling. Effective from March 2015, the guidance outlines the minimum requirements for taping the side laps of roofing underlays dependent on the exposure of the roof to wind uplift, batten gauge and the underlay selected. In addition to the prevention of wind uplift, the taping of side laps of roofing underlays helps improve the thermal performance of a building by reducing air filtration and convective heat loss. Dry fix valleys are another product option. Fully-weatherproof options manufactured from GRP are now available offering a cost-effective alternative to lead.  Dry fixing of valley troughs is quicker, less dependent on site skills and guarantees a neater finish than mortar bedding. Slate, tile and ridge vents are available to install mechanically on the roof without the need for mortar. Similarly, a wide range of eaves ventilation products are available to mechanically fix: eaves vent kits, rafter and fascia trays, over fascia vents and soffit vents. With availability of so many proven products, it’s no wonder the construction industry is rapidly turning to dry fix products as the quick, easy-to-apply, cost-effective solution for weathertight roofing. Visit: http://www.arielplastics.com/
    Oct 10, 2017 495
  • 09 Oct 2017
    Poorly-insulated homes can have an adverse effect on the health of the occupants, particularly the very young or elderly during winter months. The issue becomes more acute in multi-occupancy buildings. With a fair chunk of the UK’s social housing stock having been built in the 1960s, much of it is showing signs of age and disrepair. Ben Warren, Managing Director at global building materials manufacturer, Baumit, considers how improved insulation and internal plaster can tackle issues with mould and damp for the long-term benefit and wellbeing of the building and occupier. Creating better-insulated homes is more than about keeping occupiers warm and dry. It’s equally about facilitating an indoors environment in which residents can live happily and healthily for as long as they remain. Ageing buildings and the UK’s wet, mild climate provide the perfect storm for damp to thrive. This is particularly concerning when multi-occupancy, social housing buildings are affected, as these provide affordable accommodation for many elderly people and young families. Long-term exposure to mould and damp can lead to chronic health issues for the more vulnerable members of society. Big decisions The importance of choosing the right insulation is therefore paramount to creating interiors in which occupants can thrive. When it comes to deciding between external or internal wall insulation, it’s very much a case of horses for courses, as any selection will be based upon what the building’s owner is hoping to achieve or the age and type of brick the property is constructed from. For landlords of privately-owned multi-occupancy buildings, financial considerations might conclude an EWI system is more appropriate, and here’s why: from a rental point of view, if you have a room that is 5m2,to provide a decent level of internal wall insulation would require a minimum build-up of 15cm. This would result in a 6% reduction in floor area, which might not sound like a huge amount, but could equate to a significant incremental loss in buildings containing several properties. Loss of floor space equals loss of income for the landlord, therefore in such instances there’s a commercial argument for choosing external wall insulation. In terms of external wall insulation systems applied to housing association properties, acrylic top coats are very much in vogue. It’s an option primarily based on cost. Local authority funding has been cut to the bone across the board - every pound is being accounted for. It means, although an insulation system specified for a council-owned building might fit the budget, it’s not necessarily best for the property or its occupants’ long-term well-being. Through everyday living, residents create water vapour. Baths, washing, cooking…it all creates steam - even breathing. Now, consider how much vapour is generated in a multi-occupancy building containing, say, 150 tenants. All that vapour will pass through the building’s elements, but in cases where the EWI contains a non-vapour permeable acrylic topcoat, the vapour will be trapped. This can lead to condensation and the dreaded “d” word – damp. Therefore, an external wall solution that might have appeared cost-effective in the immediate-to-short-term could potentially result in unnecessary and unforeseen expenditure. Let it breathe Applying non-breathable EWI to a building causes what might be referred to as the “plastic bag effect” - walls can become cloaked in condensation from non-escaping vapour. To create a breathable outer layer for buildings private or public, a silicon-based finish render, such as Baumit’s SilikonTop, is preferable. Water-repellent, stain and weather resistant, the system provides a robust white or coloured façade. It’s easily applied to mineral renders old and new, providing a decorative, vapour-permeable topcoat that makes for an attractive exterior, whilst optimising occupants’ living environment.  Another benefit of ‘going external’ when it comes to wall insulation? EWI removes the dew-point - the temperature below which water droplets condense – from the inside of a building to prevent condensation forming. Baumit openSystem provides a perfect example of an EWI system that let’s go of moisture and retains airtightness. Its unique perforated Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) façade insulation boards ensure high vapour permeability, resulting in the release, rather than the entrapment, of water vapour. It has the added benefit of having no effect on a building’s airtightness. OpenSystem comprises six, high-quality vapour permeable components. It includes Baumit NanoporTop, an innovative self-cleaning topcoat render which uses ‘photokat’ photocatalysis technology to create optimum protection against contamination using the power of light. The system is also made up of Baumit PremiumPrimer, a superior quality primer for pre-treatment of hard or non-absorbent mineral substrates; and the aforementioned EPS boards. When applied as part of a new-build or refurbishment project, each component helps increase a structure’s ‘breathability’ to collectively offer outstanding levels of insulation. In short: EWI improves the aesthetics on the outside and the building’s thermal performance without affecting the interior space. Successful wall insulation, whether exterior or interior, is largely dependent on the correct system being specified for the appropriate environment. The consequences of getting it wrong could prove disastrous for building owner and occupant. With interior walls, for instance, this could lead to condensation forming on the surface of the inner face, or even worse, interstitial condensation within the wall that may result in material failures. Vapour permeability is as important to internal wall systems as external ones. Baumit’s range of lime-based, thin-coat plasters offers an excellent option for interior walls. Baumit KlimaDekor, for example, is vapour permeable and low in emissions, making it a high-performance, environmentally-friendly, breathable plaster. Whilst internal wall insulation might be viewed as a less cost-effective option, particularly for owners of multi-tenanted buildings, for single projects it could provide the aesthetic as well as thermal solution. For example, when installing insulation to a semi-detached house, it might be that you want to retain a brick façade to ensure it mirrors the neighbouring property. An interior system is therefore a great solution. It’s worth being aware, however, that interior wall insulation will incur some disruption for residents, whereas external systems can be applied without installers requiring access to a property’s interior. External or internal wall insulation? Each has its benefits, but neither will be effective long-term without the vital human element, which means specifying the correct system for the appropriate purpose. Visit: http://www.baumit.co.uk
    593 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Poorly-insulated homes can have an adverse effect on the health of the occupants, particularly the very young or elderly during winter months. The issue becomes more acute in multi-occupancy buildings. With a fair chunk of the UK’s social housing stock having been built in the 1960s, much of it is showing signs of age and disrepair. Ben Warren, Managing Director at global building materials manufacturer, Baumit, considers how improved insulation and internal plaster can tackle issues with mould and damp for the long-term benefit and wellbeing of the building and occupier. Creating better-insulated homes is more than about keeping occupiers warm and dry. It’s equally about facilitating an indoors environment in which residents can live happily and healthily for as long as they remain. Ageing buildings and the UK’s wet, mild climate provide the perfect storm for damp to thrive. This is particularly concerning when multi-occupancy, social housing buildings are affected, as these provide affordable accommodation for many elderly people and young families. Long-term exposure to mould and damp can lead to chronic health issues for the more vulnerable members of society. Big decisions The importance of choosing the right insulation is therefore paramount to creating interiors in which occupants can thrive. When it comes to deciding between external or internal wall insulation, it’s very much a case of horses for courses, as any selection will be based upon what the building’s owner is hoping to achieve or the age and type of brick the property is constructed from. For landlords of privately-owned multi-occupancy buildings, financial considerations might conclude an EWI system is more appropriate, and here’s why: from a rental point of view, if you have a room that is 5m2,to provide a decent level of internal wall insulation would require a minimum build-up of 15cm. This would result in a 6% reduction in floor area, which might not sound like a huge amount, but could equate to a significant incremental loss in buildings containing several properties. Loss of floor space equals loss of income for the landlord, therefore in such instances there’s a commercial argument for choosing external wall insulation. In terms of external wall insulation systems applied to housing association properties, acrylic top coats are very much in vogue. It’s an option primarily based on cost. Local authority funding has been cut to the bone across the board - every pound is being accounted for. It means, although an insulation system specified for a council-owned building might fit the budget, it’s not necessarily best for the property or its occupants’ long-term well-being. Through everyday living, residents create water vapour. Baths, washing, cooking…it all creates steam - even breathing. Now, consider how much vapour is generated in a multi-occupancy building containing, say, 150 tenants. All that vapour will pass through the building’s elements, but in cases where the EWI contains a non-vapour permeable acrylic topcoat, the vapour will be trapped. This can lead to condensation and the dreaded “d” word – damp. Therefore, an external wall solution that might have appeared cost-effective in the immediate-to-short-term could potentially result in unnecessary and unforeseen expenditure. Let it breathe Applying non-breathable EWI to a building causes what might be referred to as the “plastic bag effect” - walls can become cloaked in condensation from non-escaping vapour. To create a breathable outer layer for buildings private or public, a silicon-based finish render, such as Baumit’s SilikonTop, is preferable. Water-repellent, stain and weather resistant, the system provides a robust white or coloured façade. It’s easily applied to mineral renders old and new, providing a decorative, vapour-permeable topcoat that makes for an attractive exterior, whilst optimising occupants’ living environment.  Another benefit of ‘going external’ when it comes to wall insulation? EWI removes the dew-point - the temperature below which water droplets condense – from the inside of a building to prevent condensation forming. Baumit openSystem provides a perfect example of an EWI system that let’s go of moisture and retains airtightness. Its unique perforated Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) façade insulation boards ensure high vapour permeability, resulting in the release, rather than the entrapment, of water vapour. It has the added benefit of having no effect on a building’s airtightness. OpenSystem comprises six, high-quality vapour permeable components. It includes Baumit NanoporTop, an innovative self-cleaning topcoat render which uses ‘photokat’ photocatalysis technology to create optimum protection against contamination using the power of light. The system is also made up of Baumit PremiumPrimer, a superior quality primer for pre-treatment of hard or non-absorbent mineral substrates; and the aforementioned EPS boards. When applied as part of a new-build or refurbishment project, each component helps increase a structure’s ‘breathability’ to collectively offer outstanding levels of insulation. In short: EWI improves the aesthetics on the outside and the building’s thermal performance without affecting the interior space. Successful wall insulation, whether exterior or interior, is largely dependent on the correct system being specified for the appropriate environment. The consequences of getting it wrong could prove disastrous for building owner and occupant. With interior walls, for instance, this could lead to condensation forming on the surface of the inner face, or even worse, interstitial condensation within the wall that may result in material failures. Vapour permeability is as important to internal wall systems as external ones. Baumit’s range of lime-based, thin-coat plasters offers an excellent option for interior walls. Baumit KlimaDekor, for example, is vapour permeable and low in emissions, making it a high-performance, environmentally-friendly, breathable plaster. Whilst internal wall insulation might be viewed as a less cost-effective option, particularly for owners of multi-tenanted buildings, for single projects it could provide the aesthetic as well as thermal solution. For example, when installing insulation to a semi-detached house, it might be that you want to retain a brick façade to ensure it mirrors the neighbouring property. An interior system is therefore a great solution. It’s worth being aware, however, that interior wall insulation will incur some disruption for residents, whereas external systems can be applied without installers requiring access to a property’s interior. External or internal wall insulation? Each has its benefits, but neither will be effective long-term without the vital human element, which means specifying the correct system for the appropriate purpose. Visit: http://www.baumit.co.uk
    Oct 09, 2017 593
  • 06 Oct 2017
    The health and wellbeing of building occupants is a hot topic. It has been acknowledged that buildings have a direct impact on human wellbeing and happiness, something that is compounded by the large amount of time we spend indoors. With this growing interest has come a move to understand Biophilia and its potential to improve indoor environments. However, with this also comes the challenge of how we measure its impact. This raises the question, if we are to truly understand its impact on building occupants, how closely should we link Biophilic design with post-occupancy evaluation? The term Biophilia was first used by psychologist Erich Fromm to explain our “love of life and all that is alive”. In 1984, Edward O Wilson released his book ‘Biophilia’ and defined the term as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. The concept suggests that humans have an innate attraction to natural processes, and hold a biological need for physical, mental and social connections with nature. Research has shown that being in natural environments, or even viewing scenes of nature, can have a general positive impact on our wellbeing. Presence in natural environments has been known to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst also helping us to feel calm, balanced and inspired. Through the industrial revolution and technological advances, our lifestyles have shifted in terms of how and where we both work and spend our leisure time. As a result, in the developed world, we spend on average 90% of our lives in buildings. This statistic is one we’ve heard many times before, maybe so many times that we’re now becoming desensitised to it. As a result it’s especially important to remember exactly what this statistic is telling us; that we spend the majority of our time indoors, separated from nature and the wealth of benefits it brings to us. A way to address this is to bring the outdoors indoors, design our built environment to work with nature, and create internal surroundings that incorporate the natural world and its multiple facets (colour, light, air, plants, sound, texture, diversity) into our lives. Biophilic design does just this, and provides the built environment with a method of satisfying our need to connect with nature, even when spending time indoors. The evidence base for Biophilic design is widespread across various building types. In office workplaces, over the long term, Biophilic design can reduce absenteeism, reduce comfort complaints and help to retain employees. In addition to this, the workplace can become more efficient as a result of Biophilic design through employees feeling more inspired, creative and productive. Likewise in school buildings, strategic Biophilic design has been linked to improved learning, improved health of staff and pupils and a more enjoyable learning experience. In healthcare buildings, Biophilic design has been said to support quicker recovery rates amongst patients, decreased medication dependency, reduced stress amongst staff and patients and improved mental wellbeing. In the retail sector, buildings that incorporate Biophilic design can find their store provides a more enjoyable consumer experience which can draw in customers and boost sales.  But, how do we go about measuring these reported impacts? If the health and wellbeing benefits of Biophilic design are understood to be present in various building types, can we measure the extent of their success? How do we determine which Biophilic design elements are most successful in different building types? These questions lead me to believe there needs to be symbiotic relationship between Biophilic design and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) methods, right from the get-go. This might seem like an unusual pairing. Their names alone would suggest these two processes would occur at opposite ends of the scope of works; the design obviously coming first, and the post-occupancy evaluation doing exactly what it says on the tin by taking place long after building handover and occupation. However, to better understand the wealth of benefits known to Biophilic design, it could be argued that the design should influence the methods of POE, and likewise the POE should impact upon the design. During the design process, questions and research methods for the POE could be formulated based around the design intent as it develops, right from the beginning of the project through to the start of the construction phase when final design details are ironed out. Similarly once completed, the outcomes of POE could then influence changes to the Biophilic design. Alterations and tweaks could be made to the design based on which Biophilic design elements have met their design intent, those that haven’t, and those that might have produced unexpected outcomes. Further to this, restrictions to the POE methods could be taken into account whilst making decisions around the Biophilic design. For example, if during the design the end tenant’s intended office floor plan is unknown, locating a living wall at one end of the floor space might mean that half of the office occupants rarely experience or interact with the feature. This will in turn impact on the POE, meaning that half the occupants will not be able to answer questions investigating the impact of that feature. As such, to support the POEs ability to thoroughly investigate each Biophilic feature, the design decision could ensure the living wall is located in a communal break-out space, or incorporate two living walls in each end of the office space. The BRE and Oliver Heath Design, supported by a wide range of partners, are embarking on a new research project around Biophilic design. A live office refurbishment will provide robust building environment and occupant data as evidence for positive health and wellbeing impacts of Biophilic design. Occupant surveys and POE quite clearly will have a very important role to play in understanding the outcomes of the project. The project is creating a baseline of data by monitoring the existing building for one year before intervening with Biophilic refurbishment, and monitoring the office again. The long-term findings from which are intended to be linked to the Biophilic elements thus giving a better understanding of the extent of product and design on occupants. This will support the case for Biophilic design in numerous areas of the built environment industry, including BREEAM. With Strategic Director Alan Yates on the Project Board, BREEAM intends to utilise the findings to better inform the Health and Wellbeing category and work around POE methodologies.  In its widest context, Biophilic design has a lot to offer the refurbishment and fit out sectors that will benefit clients, building owners and occupants. It doesn’t have to be deep refurbishment, complex or expensive – the simple choices of floor covering, paint on the walls and lighting have significant Biophilic qualities. The use of POE is key to understanding the evidence base of this, and educating the industry so that informed well researched choices can help create workplaces of the future, that are healthier and more energising, from the offices of the past. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com By Kerri-Emma Dobson, BREEAM Technical Consultant   Blog first published on building.co.uk.  
    431 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The health and wellbeing of building occupants is a hot topic. It has been acknowledged that buildings have a direct impact on human wellbeing and happiness, something that is compounded by the large amount of time we spend indoors. With this growing interest has come a move to understand Biophilia and its potential to improve indoor environments. However, with this also comes the challenge of how we measure its impact. This raises the question, if we are to truly understand its impact on building occupants, how closely should we link Biophilic design with post-occupancy evaluation? The term Biophilia was first used by psychologist Erich Fromm to explain our “love of life and all that is alive”. In 1984, Edward O Wilson released his book ‘Biophilia’ and defined the term as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. The concept suggests that humans have an innate attraction to natural processes, and hold a biological need for physical, mental and social connections with nature. Research has shown that being in natural environments, or even viewing scenes of nature, can have a general positive impact on our wellbeing. Presence in natural environments has been known to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst also helping us to feel calm, balanced and inspired. Through the industrial revolution and technological advances, our lifestyles have shifted in terms of how and where we both work and spend our leisure time. As a result, in the developed world, we spend on average 90% of our lives in buildings. This statistic is one we’ve heard many times before, maybe so many times that we’re now becoming desensitised to it. As a result it’s especially important to remember exactly what this statistic is telling us; that we spend the majority of our time indoors, separated from nature and the wealth of benefits it brings to us. A way to address this is to bring the outdoors indoors, design our built environment to work with nature, and create internal surroundings that incorporate the natural world and its multiple facets (colour, light, air, plants, sound, texture, diversity) into our lives. Biophilic design does just this, and provides the built environment with a method of satisfying our need to connect with nature, even when spending time indoors. The evidence base for Biophilic design is widespread across various building types. In office workplaces, over the long term, Biophilic design can reduce absenteeism, reduce comfort complaints and help to retain employees. In addition to this, the workplace can become more efficient as a result of Biophilic design through employees feeling more inspired, creative and productive. Likewise in school buildings, strategic Biophilic design has been linked to improved learning, improved health of staff and pupils and a more enjoyable learning experience. In healthcare buildings, Biophilic design has been said to support quicker recovery rates amongst patients, decreased medication dependency, reduced stress amongst staff and patients and improved mental wellbeing. In the retail sector, buildings that incorporate Biophilic design can find their store provides a more enjoyable consumer experience which can draw in customers and boost sales.  But, how do we go about measuring these reported impacts? If the health and wellbeing benefits of Biophilic design are understood to be present in various building types, can we measure the extent of their success? How do we determine which Biophilic design elements are most successful in different building types? These questions lead me to believe there needs to be symbiotic relationship between Biophilic design and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) methods, right from the get-go. This might seem like an unusual pairing. Their names alone would suggest these two processes would occur at opposite ends of the scope of works; the design obviously coming first, and the post-occupancy evaluation doing exactly what it says on the tin by taking place long after building handover and occupation. However, to better understand the wealth of benefits known to Biophilic design, it could be argued that the design should influence the methods of POE, and likewise the POE should impact upon the design. During the design process, questions and research methods for the POE could be formulated based around the design intent as it develops, right from the beginning of the project through to the start of the construction phase when final design details are ironed out. Similarly once completed, the outcomes of POE could then influence changes to the Biophilic design. Alterations and tweaks could be made to the design based on which Biophilic design elements have met their design intent, those that haven’t, and those that might have produced unexpected outcomes. Further to this, restrictions to the POE methods could be taken into account whilst making decisions around the Biophilic design. For example, if during the design the end tenant’s intended office floor plan is unknown, locating a living wall at one end of the floor space might mean that half of the office occupants rarely experience or interact with the feature. This will in turn impact on the POE, meaning that half the occupants will not be able to answer questions investigating the impact of that feature. As such, to support the POEs ability to thoroughly investigate each Biophilic feature, the design decision could ensure the living wall is located in a communal break-out space, or incorporate two living walls in each end of the office space. The BRE and Oliver Heath Design, supported by a wide range of partners, are embarking on a new research project around Biophilic design. A live office refurbishment will provide robust building environment and occupant data as evidence for positive health and wellbeing impacts of Biophilic design. Occupant surveys and POE quite clearly will have a very important role to play in understanding the outcomes of the project. The project is creating a baseline of data by monitoring the existing building for one year before intervening with Biophilic refurbishment, and monitoring the office again. The long-term findings from which are intended to be linked to the Biophilic elements thus giving a better understanding of the extent of product and design on occupants. This will support the case for Biophilic design in numerous areas of the built environment industry, including BREEAM. With Strategic Director Alan Yates on the Project Board, BREEAM intends to utilise the findings to better inform the Health and Wellbeing category and work around POE methodologies.  In its widest context, Biophilic design has a lot to offer the refurbishment and fit out sectors that will benefit clients, building owners and occupants. It doesn’t have to be deep refurbishment, complex or expensive – the simple choices of floor covering, paint on the walls and lighting have significant Biophilic qualities. The use of POE is key to understanding the evidence base of this, and educating the industry so that informed well researched choices can help create workplaces of the future, that are healthier and more energising, from the offices of the past. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com By Kerri-Emma Dobson, BREEAM Technical Consultant   Blog first published on building.co.uk.  
    Oct 06, 2017 431