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  • Requested by Sir David Amess MP (pictured), and former firefighter and MP Jim Fitzpatrick (Chairman and Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group), the first dedicated debate on the subject since 2014 made it abundantly clear that sprinklers should be part of overall fire safety solutions in both new and existing buildings. There was a unified voice across the members in the chamber and we wholeheartedly agree with all the experts – the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) the Building Research Establishment, London Councils, RICS, RIBA and COIB – to act and legislate now. The members emphasised the need to listen to the experts and not the myths. Fire and Rescue Services tackle fires across the country every day. They understand the challenges of those fires and the need to control them quickly to avoid loss of life and damage to property, and of course the danger they are exposed to when firefighting. The NFCC makes it abundantly clear that building standards in England must be enhanced and brought in line with national policy in Scotland and Wales. Sprinklers are essential for building safety and public safety, and should be installed on a mandatory basis to appropriate buildings, not just high rise residential. The evidence shows that sprinkler systems have an operational reliability of 94% and of those cases, they extinguished or contained the fire on 99% of occasions across a wide range of building types.[1] There are no cases on record of multiple fire deaths occurring in buildings with appropriately designed, and properly installed and maintained sprinkler systems. “The ABI states that in the UK no one has ever died from a fire in a fully sprinklered building,” said Jim Fitzpatrick. The evidence also shows that no lives have been lost in the UK due to fire in homes fitted with working domestic sprinkler systems. Furthermore, mistaken perceptions about cost can be dispelled. Sprinklers are not expensive – as little as 1% of the total build if they are included at design stage – and there is overwhelming public support for their use. The debate only served to highlight that we have been kicking the can down the road for far too long and with devastating consequences. This was reiterated by Sir David Amess, “Wales and Scotland are much further ahead in regulating for automatic fire sprinklers in their built environment. This nonsense can no longer go on and we will not accept it. We want action on this, and we want sprinklers to be installed retrospectively, particularly in new school buildings.” Clearly we need to pick the can up and act.  There is a strong body of evidence that tells us that fire sprinklers are an important layer of safety.  They are not being utilised, through ignorance or misunderstanding.  We should be seriously considering a much wider deployment of sprinklers, using them right across the built environment whether it is a hospital, school, retail or leisure facility or commercial and industrial building.The nation will benefit if more are fitted because sprinklers save lives, save businesses, save jobs and protect the environment.  If we act now, we can make a difference. Visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org    
    116 views Apr 23, 2019
  • The resin-based system was one of 50 shortlisted finalists in this year’s Tomorrow’s Contract Floor (TCF) Awards, which honour the best products and services in the construction industry. The winner was decided by an online poll, with Sika ComfortFloor® gaining an extremely creditable third place. Pete Hollingworth Business Unit Manager for Sika Flooring in the UK said: “This result is a superb endorsement of ComfortFloor®’s proven properties as a safe, durable flooring solution for a range of hygiene-critical applications including schools, hospitals and kitchens through to education facilities or office and retail spaces looking for something which can be tailored to bespoke design schemes.” Shortlisted products in the TCF Awards, now in their eighth year, were selected for their innovation, ease of installation, safety, style, and sustainable qualities. Pete added: "Sika ComfortFloor® is a triumph of technical innovation. It’s proof of the company’s drive to develop flooring systems which simplify the installation process without compromising quality. Congratulations to all those involved in the creation and promotion of this exemplary system."  
    100 views Apr 11, 2019
  • This prestigious event will be held at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel, with the conference covering a wide range of industry related topics from regulatory reform to mental health in construction, along with a detailed technical programme that aims to promote debate and challenge convention. The conference is delighted to welcome back the Reverend Kevin Fear on day two with his keynote address, Mental Health in Construction – What can we do to improve it? Rev Fear is sure to impress again following the phenomenal response from last year’s attendees when he delivered his session on Professional Responsibility and Construction Ethics. The comprehensive exhibition will be populated with a variety of businesses showcasing many innovative products and services. The Built Environment Awards will also be presented at the Conference black-tie gala dinner. The awards are a chance to highlight excellence and details on how to enter can be found at, https://www.cbuilde.com//awards/ The event is a must for all Building Professionals. Representing excellent value for money, the event is priced at only £325 + VAT (CABE Members) £375 + VAT (Non-Members) for the full two day residential package. Those booking before 31May 2019 are eligible for a 10% early bird discount. For more information about CABE’s Annual Conference and Exhibition taking place at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on 03-04 October 2019, visit www.cbuilde.com/events/annual-conference-and-exhibition-2019/ If you are interested in exhibiting at our conference please contact Kirri Porter-White on 01604 404121 or email kirri.porter-white@cbuilde.com
    148 views Apr 02, 2019
  • Launched in 2004, the awards ‘celebrate the best in architecture’ by acknowledging the practices responsible for the most outstanding body of work in the UK. This year’s event includes 18 categories, with Recticel sponsoring the ‘Housing Architect of the Year’ award. Laura Katon, Recticel’s House Building Manager for the Southern Region, who will be attending the awards, said: “We are delighted to lend our support to these superb awards. They highlight the wonderful work of some very talented architects. As innovators of high-performance insulation solutions, Recticel recognises the awards’ commitment to celebrating new and exciting developments in building design.” The entry date for this year’s awards has now closed and a shortlist of finalists has been drawn-up in each category. The winners will be announced at a presentation event on Wednesday, May 1st at the Park Plaza Hotel in London. Visit: www.recticelinsulation.co.uk
    105 views Mar 29, 2019
  • Preston Bus Station, for which Sika provided the concrete repair and solution, was judged winner of the MiPermit Inspiration category at this year’sBritish Parking Awards (BPA). The renovation was carried out by Makers Construction on behalf of Lancashire County Council. It waspart of a larger restoration of the Grade II-listed bus station and included the building of a new coach station and toilets, and the refurbishment of a café. The award winners were announced at a gala ceremony held at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel. Pete Hollingworth at Sika said: “This is a wonderful achievement. The BPAs are renowned throughout the industry, so for our products to have in some way facilitated Preston Bus Station’s success is immensely gratifying. Congratulations to all those who helped deliver this superb scheme.” In the same awards, Sika products played a part in another car park refurbishment gaining industry recognition. The renovation, completed at a site in High Wycombe by Cemplas Waterproofing and Concrete Repairs in conjunction with Clifford Devlin on behalf of Johnson and Johnson, was shortlisted in the BPA’s Refurbishment of the Year category.  
    132 views Mar 22, 2019
  • Exhibiting on stand 1-508, Incorex was one of more than 1100 exhibitors from 50 countries, at the hugely popular and busy event. Representatives from Incorez’s sales, technical, custom services and marketing teams were on-hand to demonstrate and answer queries on its polyurethane and epoxy technology to customers from across the industry. Show highlights at the ECS included the company’s aldimine latent curing agents, the Incozol® range of oxazolidines; the water-based epoxy hardener, Amirez, and its range of polyurethane dispersions under the Dispurez® brand. Commenting on the three-day event, Michel Eberlein the European Sales Manager at Incorez said: “This premier event was once again very productive and provided a great opportunity to promote our custom chemistry branding and specialist resins and polymers.” Incorez Ltd is a leading manufacturer of polyurethane and epoxy technology, with its products distributed to over 25 countries around the globe. The company’s product range includes waterborne polyurethane dispersions, waterborne polyurethane/acrylic hybrid dispersions, waterborne epoxy curing agents and oxazolidines. Incorez works in partnership with companies to develop ‘customised’ solutions to meet their exact requirements. Visit: https://incorez.com/contact.
    155 views Mar 22, 2019
  • Providing best-in-class information and asset management in line with emerging industry standards, the CDE is at the heart of Heathrow’s Information strategy, and will ensure the efficient whole-life management of Heathrow’s critical assets. It will be its primary common information repository and allow for specific controls to be put in place to share information in a controlled manner with suppliers and across Heathrow’s departments. Wes Simmons, GroupBC CEO, said: “GroupBC is thrilled to have been selected as the CDE for this prestigious project. It’s a marquee win in the global infrastructure and aviation sector. Partnering with Excitech and Autodesk brings together a wealth of experience and expertise focused on delivering a world class solution to Heathrow, set to lay down a benchmark for other major aviation clients to aspire to.” Expected to be completed by December 2020, the project is already underway. It will see the deployment of Autodesk’s BIM 360 visualisation and design tools integrated and underpinned with management and governance from GroupBC’s Enterprise CDE. Jo Ellman Brown, PMO Director at Heathrow, said: “We are aiming to be the first airport operator in the world who can leverage value from our digital assets, allowing our people to work in a safe environment, design and plan in a collaborative way, and operate a fully integrated asset system.   David Hughes, Excitech’s Managing Director, said: “The GroupBC and Autodesk technologies being deployed are market-leading and will enable Heathrow to trust the data they hold and have the confidence to make decisions based on ‘one version of the truth’. As well as enabling Heathrow to have accurate, up-to-date information readily available in the CDE, the new solution will result in fewer surveys and reduced costs as a result of earlier and greater collaboration across all parties. Additionally, maintenance costs will reduce through better, earlier clash detection and more accurate maintenance information being readily available. About GroupBC GroupBC has been developing enterprise-scale information management solutions for construction-related projects and asset owners since 1998. Our extensible, UK hosted Common Data Environment (CDE) makes it easy for teams to collaborate, manage and share documents data and spatial information from a central, secure cloud-based platform. GroupBC is renowned for pushing the boundaries of technology, integrating project and asset data with external systems and datasets in order to provide rich and valuable insights which enable timelier and better decision making. Customers include Balfour Beatty, Costain, Nationwide Building Society, Sainsbury’s and Thames Water. www.groupbc.com About Excitech Excitech provides technology solutions and services for the construction sector, supporting the complete project life cycle from the manufacture of building products through to design and construction, building handover and maintenance. Its services include the provision of software, consultancy, training and support, and it offers a comprehensive range of IT, Document Management and Facilities Management solutions. Established in 1985, Excitech is the largest Autodesk Platinum Partner in the UK specialising in the construction sector, and has accreditations with leading technology vendors such as Microsoft, Dell, and HP. For further information, visit www.excitech.co.uk. About Autodesk Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you’ve ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything. Autodesk, AutoCAD, BIM 360 and Revit are registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.  For further information visit www.autodesk.com. © 2019 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.  
    142 views Mar 15, 2019
  • Now in their eighth year, the TCF Awards honour construction-based products and services that help guarantee a perfect floor finish on every installation. Shortlisted products and services are selected for their innovation, ease of installation, safety, style, and sustainable qualities. The winner will be decided by an online vote. Simply visit https://gbr.sika.com/flooring/en/sika-flooring/news/sika-comfortfloor-in-line-for-industry-award--so-cast-your-votes.html to choose your favourite product or service from the 50 shortlisted finalists. Sarah James at SikaFloor, said: “Sika ComfortFloor’s selection as a finalist for this year’s Tomorrow’s Contract Floor Awards is recognition of the range’s superb contribution to the commercial flooring industry. It’s received many fine testimonials from contractors and clients alike, so to have this additional acclaim is particularly pleasing. We would ask as many people as possible to show their support and vote for Comfortfloor® via the simple online process.” Votes can be cast until Friday, March 15th.  The winner will be announced in April.  
    144 views Mar 08, 2019
  • What are your responsibilities as an R & D project leader?  I work with the research and development team to ensure we deliver new product development that is fit for purpose and will ensure the future growth of the Incorez business. To do that, we develop research strategies to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. We have a really creative team at Incorez and always have many ideas running at the same time. Of course, there are technical and commercial considerations within that.  The real focus for us as a team and a big part of my role is to ensure projects are kept on track and delivered to target. We need to stay focused on innovation so we can develop quality products that will be the best solution for our customers. Our aim is to understand exactly what our customers want, whether a change in established products or something completely different, fully understanding their individual needs allows us to provide solutions that can surpass expectations. The latter could be anything from a new product that meets a gap in the market or tuning established technology to comply with legislation. We are always looking into the market to see what we can do and what there is a demand for. When did you become interested in chemistry and how has it defined your work? I have had always had a passion for chemistry ever since my time in school.  I found that I could be a lot more creative with chemistry. After I received my masters in chemistry, I was fortunate to be offered work at Incorez. It was an exciting time for the company as they had just built a brand new R & D facility and had a strong team of chemists. The company was big on innovation, new technologies and was very creative. With polymer chemistry, I have always appreciated the practical aspects of work. I enjoy working together with our own R & D team and different parts of the company in order to see a project through from a blue sky idea to a product that works in the marketplace. What sparked your interest in polyurethane and epoxy technology (polymer chemistry)? During university, I enjoyed the organic side of chemistry and was interested in how it would tie in with real life applications.  My industrial placement at Sika’s headquarters in Zurich gave me a lot of insight into that. I was working on products that I could see would make a difference in everyday life. The ability to see that end result was a real sense of achievement.  At Incorez, you really get that hands-on experience. It is always exciting, challenging, and there is always something new. I think that is what I like mostabout working in the polymer industry. It is something you can physically experiment with. It’s always changing and you are not always working on the same thing. How do you think chemical research is driving innovations in construction? It’s a balance. On the one hand we are constantly pushing the boundaries of pre-existing technology while on the other we are always exploring new innovations with chemistry. It can be challenging anything from legislative requirements such as low or zero VOCs, or low monomer content. It’s essentially about building on our existing technologies whilst always having new ideas in the pipeline. We are always focusing on how we can develop products that make construction applications easier but also safer at the same time. Can you give us some idea of a typical day? My day is constantly varied and I’m always balancing different projects. My time could be spent researching or reporting, whilst simultaneously monitoring a reaction running in the lab or speaking to customers. You have to be able to multi-task! We need to be efficient with our project planning, and the next steps. What does our customer want? How are we going to produce new innovative products? There are always challenges on the horizon which keeps me driven and determined. What are some of your biggest challenges facing young researchers? There is always a massive drive down on legislation due to stringent requirements. At the same time, we are challenged to produce the same quality of performance which isn’t always easy, such as when we are working with water based technology rather than solvent based.  Many customers are moving over to use more environmentally-friendly and sustainable products but there is a lot of competition in the market and not everyone is prepared to make that change yet. We are constantly staying ahead of the market trends to be as innovative as possible. The question is not what are the competition doing but rather what are they not doing yet?  What scientific achievement are you most proud of? It was my first product at Incorez, an anime hardener for high gloss floor coatings.  It was a challenge but we achieved it by working closely with the customer. It was my first custom chemistry product. Our customer was asking for something very specific that was challenging to achieve. Having a great working relationship enabled us to drill down to exactly what they wanted.  We managed to develop a product that met the customer’s requirements, with added benefits too. We exceeded their desired goals and now they are one of our biggest customers.   What developments in the chemicals industry are you most excited about? I think it’s got to be 3D printing as there so much advancement in the technology and it ties in a lot with the chemical and construction industry. For example, it’s now possible to print 3D smart objects made up of stimuli responsive material with no motor function that can basically respond to the environment through physical and chemical make-up alone. It’s very impressive what 3D printing is capable of, especially from a sustainability aspect. It’s going to completely revolutionise the future of development. With gender diversity in the workplace so important what steps can be made to increase the number of women in chemical sciences? There is a constant increase in the number of women in science anyway which is great, but I think we need to keep encouraging this further. Incorez as a company, for example, has a presence at the Lancashire Science Festival where we encourage children to come along. It’s a good way to try and increase that engagement with potentially the next generation of scientists. Who in your opinion was the most influential woman in science? It would have to be Marie Curie, the first woman in science to receive a Nobel Prize. She was the first one to break new ground and made a lot of changes for women in science after that.   Visit:  https://incorez.com/
    188 views Mar 04, 2019
  • Last week, UK government advisors published a report announcing that all new homes should be banned from connecting to the gas grid within six years as a way of tackling climate change writes Darran Smith, Technical Manager at Alpha Heating Innovation. Whilst there is a need for the UK to tackle climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, is banning gas from new homes the right way to go about it and is it just yet another idea to achieve what seems like the impossible goal of zero carbon homes? The report, from the independent Committee on Climate Change, states that they want all new-build homes in the countryside to be warmed by heat pumps and cooking done on induction hobs, rather than using gas boilers and hobs. They say that new homes should be the initial target as it's much more economical - £4,800 to install low-carbon heating in a new home compared to £26,300 in an existing house. The report adds that in cities, new housing estates and flats should be kept warm by networks of hot water and the water could be heated by industrial waste heat. Whilst a move to more sustainable energy is a good idea, there are a number of drawbacks. Firstly, domestic heating using systems such as heat pumps only work if homes are insulated to the highest standards and therefore require little heating. As such, there needs to be consideration given to the building fabric. There is also the issue that to many, ground source heat pumps are a new technology and are we fully up to speed on how to get the best from them and how systems should be designed and installed for efficient operation? Furthermore, there is the issue of timescales. For many housebuilders, land banking and securing planning approval based on regulations and standards at that time, rather than at the time of construction work starting, will impact on how a ban can be enforced. There is also the risk that if a ban on gas is introduced, will developers and housebuilders take the path of least resistance and look at electric as a heating method? This could be a huge step backwards - a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Whilst I agree that as a nation and as an industry we need to look at how we reduce our emissions, I’m not sure a ban on gas is the right way. You could also argue that housing is not the biggest culprit - 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes - and that we should be focussing on the industrial and commercial sector where the majority of emissions come from. The problem with a move to renewable energy in homes could be more deep rooted however. Many will remember in December 2006, the government made an ambitious pledge that would ensure that within a decade every new home would be a 'zero carbon' home. Britain was the first country ever to have made such a commitment and the plans dictated that come 2016 all new homes would be expected to generate as much energy on-site through renewable tech - such as wind turbines and solar panels - so to cancel out their overall emission of greenhouse gases. This clearly hasn’t happened. The Code for Sustainable Homes was drawn up to facilitate this plan and in 2007 government proposed tightening Building Regulations to achieve the target, first by 25% in 2010, and then by 44% three years later. We then had the Climate Change Act which aims to reduce carbon emissions (compared to 1990 levels) by 34% come 2020 and 80% come 2050 with The Carbon Plan setting out how this would be achieved. Yet nine years after the ambitious pledge, in 2015, a Treasury paper ‘Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’ effectively dropped the requirements for zero carbon buildings stating that they will ‘keep energy efficiency standards under review’, recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established. All in all, it has been one step forwards, one step backwards. As such, please excuse my scepticism over a plan to make all new homes gas free in just six years. A move to greener energy is the right thing to do and we need to find a way of getting more homes to use technology such as solar. We have seen significant increase in demand for systems such as our award-winning SolarSmart boiler and I have no doubt the industry will move to these over time. However, I do feel that six years is rather ambitious. There is nothing wrong with ambition but history has shown that we are not very good at delivering on our promises and pledges. It should be noted that these are just recommendations at this stage and are part of the Committee on Climate Change’s plan for the UK to meet its 2050 target. Time will tell if this recommendation is put in to action but I feel it will take a lot longer than six years for all new homes to be gas free. Visit: https://www.alpha-innovation.co.uk
    132 views Feb 28, 2019