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Inspiring construction specifiers for over 40 years

September/October 2021

See page 12







What are the key trends affecting the sector?

How is the industry tackling the skills shortage affecting many businesses?

Investigating the products having a sustainable impact on the market

Cool. Comfortable. Sustainable.


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EDITORIAL Oli Ballard - Editor/Director E: Barney Cotton - Digital Editor E: James Cook - Content Manager E: DESIGN/PRODUCTION Adam Whittaker - Senior Designer E: Melissa Larkin - Website Development E: Josh Dornbrack - Head of Multimedia E: SALES James Morgan - BD Manager E: CIRCULATION Adrian Warburton - Circulation Manager E: ACCOUNTS Jo Meredith - Finance Manager E:

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If you would like to get involved or have any news you would like to share, please contact us on 0203 096 2861 or email: Follow us on social media

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MD In Focus – Rob Glen, Access 360


Company in Focus: EJOT


Feature: Modular Construction


Debate: Skills


Product in Focus - Smart Technology


Project in Focus - Basement Extension


Feature: Roofing, Cladding & Insulation


Project in Focus: New Addington


Product Showcase


Sustainability in Construction Supplement


Building Products magazine is designed and produced by Business Leader Ltd.

Feature: Climate Crisis


Opinion: COP26


Sustainable Products Showcase


Feature: Boilers & Heating


September/October 2021 •



Proposals to help people build their own homes welcomed by Housing Secretary Proposals to help more people build their own homes have been ‘warmly welcomed’ by the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. Richard Bacon MP’s review of Custom and Self Build, commissioned by the Prime Minister, finds huge potential in the sector which could deliver 30-40,000 more homes every year, and recommends a major-scaling up of self-built homes to boost the overall housing supply. This will see homes that can be built in weeks that are better designed, built to the highest environmental standards and with cheaper household bills. The report was commissioned to improve the housebuilding industry by giving customers more choice, and to make home building a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “As we build back better we want to help more people build their own home, making it an option for thousands who’ve not considered it or ruled it out before. This will help get

more people on to the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people’s needs whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.”

THE BUSINESS BOARD INDUSTRY UPDATE For example, some current business opportunities include:

Supply shortages are now starting to seriously impact all areas of the construction industry, with the inevitable price rises starting to bite. We have all seen and experienced just about everything over the last 18 months, and many companies are nervous to tender due to the fluctuating material costs. On one hand many have maximised the government support and been comfortable, while others have seen surges in demand putting pressure on cashflow (despite the government loans - which if you are of a certain size, can often not touch the sides). The undue pressure on construction material costs and supply, are mainly down to Brexit and COVID-19. The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is the latest initiative from the government. If you are in acquisition mode, you should seriously consider it as some lenders are offering 100% acquisition finance on the right targets. Others are combining the RLS with invoice finance facilities to 2

£2m flood defence consultancy and product supplier - South of England

£3m home improvement specialist – South of England

£500,000 specialist joinery company in staircases – South of England

Recovery loan scheme assisted finance includes up to:

get enhanced terms, whilst still maintaining payments on application of funds. The Business Board are industry leaders in advising SME clients on the best approach to creating financial strategies to help evolve their businesses. We have probably talked through more strategies over the last 12 months, than the previous five years put together. • September/October 2021

100% acquisition finance

90% invoice finance facilities

Having been involved with construction and development for longer than we care to remember, we have seen and experienced much in the industry both in the good and challenging times, probably more than we also care to remember! For an informal, confidential discussion please feel free to drop me a line 0118 3881818 or email


Dale Murray CBE appointed Non-Executive Director at Rated People Find-atradesperson platform, Rated People, has appointed Dale Murray CBE to its board as a NonExecutive Director (NED). Dale co-founded Omega Logic which launched mobile phone 'top-ups' in the UK in 2001. Within five years the company’s gross transaction revenue had grown to £450m per annum, and she completed the sale of the company to First Data Corporation.


EXCEPTIONAL FAÇADES Always on top of your project

Good construction means ensuring that everything fits together just as it should. Paul and the team at Aquarian work closely with their supply partners to ensure their brick cladding systems are fit for purpose. So when an enquiry is received, the Aquarian team knows exactly which solution to offer.

She has held board roles in start-ups through to listed companies, as well as British government departments. She served on the Business Taskforce for David Cameron in 2013 and received a CBE from Her Majesty the Queen for services to business. Dale said: “I am thrilled to have joined Rated People as a NED. The company has already developed a reputation as an innovator and is passionate about being a great partner to trades businesses, as well as helping homeowners find skilled tradespeople.”

Brymor targets growth after £55m cruise terminal success A Hampshire-based construction company is backing the cruise industry to bounce back after a visit to a flagship terminal it built in Southampton.

"At Aquarian, we've been working with clients since 2007 to help ensure façades are designed, supplied and installed with no unwelcome surprises."

Brymor Construction directors and the project management team behind the £55m development for Associated British Ports (ABP) were given a tour as the first ships began to return.

To find out more, visit our website

Stephen Morton, chairman of 150-strong Brymor Construction, said: “Our visit was the first opportunity for many of our directors to see the world-class Horizon cruise terminal in operation alongside the many other developments we have worked upon at the port."

0808 223 9080

September/October 2021 •



Victorian Sliders secures £14m investment from BGF Welsh uPVC sash windows manufacturers Victorian Sliders have secured a £14m investment from capital growth investors BGF.

Controversial agenda announced for the Glazing Summit Some of the most controversial industry issues are set to be tackled at this year’s Glazing Summit, after organisers announced the topics that will be under the spotlight. The event, the biggest one-day conference in the glazing calendar, takes place on Thursday 21 October at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, and more than 300 leaders from across the industry are set to attend. Andrew Scott, Glazing Summit Founder, said: “After almost two years, and with all the challenges our industry has faced in that time, setting the agenda this year has been tough. “We wanted to focus on some of those challenges, such as the supply chain crisis and price hikes, outline the key legislative changes that are likely to impact the industry, and focus on the future and the opportunities sustainability will present. The topics are controversial, and the sparks are sure to fly, but we feel we have pitched it just right.” Four debates will include ‘Conquering the Supply Chain Crisis’, ‘A Sustainable Future – how will the industry adapt?’, ‘Is it time to get out, or scale-up?’ and ‘Running an installation business in uncertain times,’ while there will also be a discussion on ‘The Regulation Minefield: What the Industry Must Know.’ Each panel debate/discussion will consist of four expert panellists and a host to ask the tough questions. The agenda will also include three keynote speakers, including Economist and Bloomberg correspondent Greg Perdon discussing the economic outlook for the industry; legendary business guru and sales trainer Geoff Burch on how to build a better future; and Andrew Scott, Managing Director of Insight Data Ltd and renowned industry consultant, with the specialist data supplier’s ‘State of the Industry’ report. Andrew added: “With live events cancelled for the last year and a half, the industry is buzzing to get together and discuss how we tackle the challenges and shape the future.” For tickets, visit, call 01934 808293 or email 4 • September/October 2021

Established in 2005, Victorian Sliders is led by its founder and CEO, Scot Starkey. His team operate from a purpose-built 240,000 square foot production facility based in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. The investment from BGF will enable the management team to double production capacity and further invest in its recycling plant. Victorian Sliders is expecting to deliver over £30m turnover this year. Scot commented: "This investment will enable us to grow faster, support our customers better and expand our existing team of highly skilled and dedicated employees.”

PropTech business raises significant Series B funding WeMaintain, which is a PropTech company based in Paris and London, has raised €30m in Series B funding. The raise follows WeMaintain’s acquisition of fire alarm solutions company Shokly, and the business says it will allow WeMaintain to accelerate its international expansion. Jade Francine, WeMaintain’s Co-Founder and COO, said: “Our success in Europe is a strong indicator of the global needs of the sector. Property owners and managers have suffered from the status quo. We decided to respond through our technology and our ambitious approach. Singapore is an ideal place to prove the replicability and scalability of our model and technology.”


Bringing colours to a grey World. The Stratus Thermal Lantern Roof is now available in any RAL colour, with the option for different colours on different faces.

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Shoosmiths helps Peel L&P secure planning permission for 276 Bolton homes UK law firm Shoosmiths has advised Peel L&P, a UK real estate regeneration business, and their housebuilding arm, Northstone, to secure residential development permission for up to 276 dwellings in Horwich, Bolton. The appeal win against Bolton Council allows work to commence on housing plans for the Horwich Golf Club site, in an investment worth more than £34m, which will create more than 235 jobs during construction – part of Peel L&P’s and Northstone’s national housing delivery focus. Shoosmiths’ real estate team services a wide variety of clients on real estate, construction, planning, property litigation and environmental issues. Real estate partner and joint-head of Shoosmiths’ planning team, Kathryn Jump, led the advice to Peel L&P and Northstone. Kathryn said: “I’m very pleased to see Peel L&P and Northstone win this important appeal following such a

complex, yet crucial, case. The area will be transformed into much-needed new homes, tackling the demand for new market and affordable homes, whilst also providing new and enhanced public green spaces. "We are proud to have delivered such exceptional work for our clients and look forward to seeing the development take shape.”

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED 3-5 DAY LEAD TIMES! Materials shortages, price rises, shipping problems – it’s been a challenging year for everyone in our sector. But at SSQ, we’re still offering the same outstanding service we have for the last 40 years – a world-leading selection of quality natural slate products, quick lead times, and thousands of pallets of stock ready to go in depots across the country.

Want a supplier you can rely on, even when times are tough? Speak to SSQ. Call 020 8961 7725 WWW.SSQGROUP.COM

6 • September/October 2021


EQUANS secures £35m contract to deliver 268 sustainable Cheshire homes EQUANS, the services-led activities branch of French multinational electric company ENGIE, has secured a £35m contract to deliver a sustainable new housing development in Winsford, Cheshire. EQUANS will deliver a mixed tenure scheme of 268 homes, as part of a wider partnership that includes QWEST, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Riverside Group. Homes will be available for open market sale, shared ownership, and affordable rent. The consortium has secured Homes England Accelerated Construction Funding to deliver the project. The £450m Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme was launched to help unlock public land and increase the speed of delivery on local authority housing schemes across England. Tim Wood, Regional Managing Director at EQUANS UK & Ireland (North West), said: “We’re delighted to be working with key partners to deliver this innovative housing scheme, creating a new, low carbon neighbourhood for the Cheshire community. Sustainability and modern construction methods are at the core of this scheme and the heart of our business

strategy – as we look to support our partners embrace the energy transition we face and work towards a netzero carbon future.”

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01344 868 668 September/October 2021 •






ilco UK, Profab Access and Howe Green together form Access 360, a division of Tyman UK & Ireland, which provides access solutions for roof, ceiling, wall and floor access products to the construction industry. Here, Building Products talks to the Managing Director of Access 360, Rob Glen.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE AS MANAGING DIRECTOR ENTAIL? As the recently appointed Managing Director of Access 360, my responsibilities include achieving a higher level of integration between the three businesses and their operating systems, ensuring we are not just supplying a product, but providing the complete solution each client requires.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORKING BACKGROUND? I joined Access 360 as Interim Operations Director in June 2020. My main objective was to lead the operational and engineering responsibilities of the three contributory businesses to implement lean manufacturing, whilst simultaneously improving engineering design processes to achieve best working practice to ensure every customer receives the product and service they need.

This includes the successful implementation of a new ERP platform, which is driven by an agile configurator that can quickly and correctly define each unique specification, from sizing and formation, through to handle position and frame types.

Prior to this, I was the Managing Director of Don-Bur, designer and manufacturer of commercial vehicle trailers and rigid bodywork. My Engineering Degree and MSc in Manufacturing Business Management paved the way for my career in operations and engineering, with previous experience including roles within the Aerospace Division of Rolls Royce for a number of years and General Manager for one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive parts. 8

WHAT DOES YOUR AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE? As you can imagine each day is extremely varied. My main responsibilities centre around identifying and executing the strategy of each business to support Tyman UK & Ireland’s dedicated growth objectives. Central to this are the Tyman core values that help guide us in our decision making and policy development. This includes reviews of our quality and business systems to ensure they are fit for purpose, in addition to continuous innovation and product development to understand how we can continue to meet market needs to the best of our abilities. • September/October 2021



DO YOU FIND IT EASY TO ATTRACT THE SKILLS YOU NEED IN YOUR BUSINESS? COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the labour market across all levels, from manufacturing engineers on the shop floor, right through to senior level management. It is extremely important that businesses have the capability and flexibility to meet the expectations and needs of today’s talent. As part of Tyman UK & Ireland’s purpose and values, we are

committed to understanding what matters to our current and future employees. As part of this, we are dedicated to supporting the early stages of career development, which is why we are currently sponsoring an undergraduate through the final year of their Engineering Degree. This will place them in a strong position to accelerate their career with Access 360 when they graduate and support us in bolstering our new product development and engineering capabilities.

HOW ARE YOU POSITIONING THE BUSINESS TO DO ITS BIT TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE? The Tyman 2030 Sustainability Excellence Roadmap details our action plan and outlines how Access 360 will achieve sustainable operations to deliver more environmentally friendly product and service solutions.


September/October 2021 •




A key ambition of the Roadmap is accomplishing carbon neutral operational emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by the end of 2030. This will be accomplished by implementing a holistic approach to energy efficiency, including the deployment of renewable energy technologies, in addition to dedicated carbon removal projects. The Sustainability Excellence Roadmap also outlines our aims to deliver 100% sustainable packaging by 2026, in addition to eliminating waste to landfill within the same year. At brand level, we are proactively working to reduce the level of polystyrene within our product packaging, replacing it with starch-impregnated cardboard. This significantly improves the sustainability of our packaging, without compromising the quality of protection when the product is in transit. We are also proactively investing in new procurement and engineering practices to achieve the highest content of recycled materials within our products, whilst simultaneously improving their recyclability. As a result of this commitment, our Fire Rated and Non-Fire Rated riser doors are 98% recyclable, whilst the recycled content in our steel is currently between 20% and 25%, in line with the current European availability of scrap materials. We are also identifying areas where we can further invest within each business to improve efficiencies as far as possible. This includes the procurement of new equipment, in addition to providing dedicated training to ensure our teams are operating in the most effective way.

Bilco smoke vent


Canary Wharf access covers

WHAT TYPE OF LEADER WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE? Leadership is about getting the best out of your people. It’s essential to demonstrate humility and focus on the purpose of the business, whilst understanding what your employees need and how you can guide them. In order to continuously progress and collectively develop, it is important for my team and I to inspire one another to do the best we can. As a result, we can achieve a culture that has values including to never be frightened of failure, but to learn from it and continuously strive to improve and succeed. WHAT DO YOU DO TO SWITCH OFF WHEN YOU HAVE SPARE TIME? I previously restored a BMW M3, which I like to take on the road as much as I can. I’m also an avid sports fan and used to play frequently, although now I mostly watch it! HOW IS TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION IMPACTING YOUR BUSINESS AND SECTOR? New technologies are completely transforming the design and specification stages for construction professionals. The adoption of our new interactive configurator will enable professionals to build and visualise products to bespoke specifications before converting them into a BIM model. It is essential that we constantly innovate to meet market needs, and the introduction of these technologies will enable us to provide ultimate convenience by • September/October 2021

Large Access 360 wall panel

streamlining the specification stages for professionals. We have also adopted the use of 3D printers to generate conceptual products, so that individuals can physically see how their bespoke specification will look, function and perform. From an innovation perspective, we understand the importance of assisting the specification stages, but we also know the responsibility we have to support contractors in installing our products to the highest possible standard. This is particularly important for fire rated products where correct installation is paramount to achieving compliance and first-class performance. This is why we have developed our new PRECISION Adjustable Frame, a revolutionary certified system that sets a new standard for innovation, fire performance and functionality, making installation on site safer, faster and simpler. 

NEC BIRMINGHAM, 10-12 MAY 2022 +44 (0)7535 759 892 / +44 (0) 2078 863 071 Contact a member of the team today to discuss or visit #FITShow22



EJOT's BA-Plus range cover indoor, outdoor industrial and maritime environments


ew product developments by EJOT UK ensure the construction industry has access to a wide range of fastening solutions for concrete which offer improved long-term performance and designs that allow for easier use.

The vast array of applications requiring a dependable fixing into concrete has driven the development of numerous innovative fastening solutions. But – as EJOT can demonstrate – there is always the scope to push the boundaries in terms of their technical capabilities, application and performance expectations. This underpins EJOT’s commitment to R&D, which benefits from the continuous reinvestment of profits to drive new product development, both in the UK and across the EJOT Group. 12

The latest new products from EJOT represent an important evolution in two of its ranges that are already popular and widely used. These are the tangible results of proactive programmes led by EJOT’s experienced product designers and engineers to give structural engineers, architects and contractors the opportunity to think differently about the way they attach to concrete. Upgrades to EJOT UK’s ETA approved through-bolt range One of these developments is with EJOT’s range of European Technical Assessment (ETA) – approved through-bolts – also known as anchor bolts. The launch of the BA Plus provides a range of Option 1 anchors suitable for both cracked and non-cracked concrete applications. It builds on the strengths of EJOT’s • September/October 2021

established BA range of torquecontrolled expansion anchors, suitable for concrete and other hard base materials, including natural stone. The benefits are extensive, including: •

Quicker to install - the required installation torque can be achieved with 30-50% fewer revolutions than previously.

Secure in thinner concrete - new M8 and M10 through-bolts can now be used for anchoring in to concrete which is up to 20mm thinner.

Less risk of installer error - the potential for on-site errors is minimised through a setting depth clearly marked to the thread and anchor length letter coding marked on every bolt head.

EJOT BA Plus provides through-bolts for all the most typical cracked and non-cracked concrete applications ≥ C20/25 up to the seismic Option 1 performance. Backed with the independent assurance of ETA approval, the range offers a dependable solution for numerous applications, including steel structures, column base plates, heavy duty racking, cable racks, handrails and facades.

fixtures in Option 1 cracked, noncracked and hollowcore concrete, as well as other hard base materials.

But BA Plus is not the only new through-bolt development by EJOT. Its UK team has also developed a new range of through-bolts for Option 7 non-cracked concrete applications, BA-C NC. This provides a class-leading anchor for many other applications, including warehouse racking and stadium seating – again backed by the third-party assurance of an ETA.

Importantly, as these concrete screws need no expansion, they can be used closer to the edge of the concrete and at smaller spacings than when using anchors. They are also easy to use and install, with no specialist skills required, which can be a big time-saver on site.

Expanded EJOT concrete screws range offers new application potential Another major advance comes with the high-performing new additions to the EJOT range of carbon steel concrete screws. These offer greatly extended scope for achieving a secure, reliable attachment for metal

These new developments mean that its JC2 self-tapping concrete screws can be used as an alternative to anchors or screw/nylon plug combinations in an increased range of construction applications. This could include attaching façade scaffolding, shelving and handrails to battens, cable racks and formwork.


Only a small pilot hole is required, which generates a relatively small amount of dust. Once this is removed from the hole, the screws are simply driven into place – they are completely removable and relocatable, like a standard wood or metal screw, which makes them a versatile choice. The JC2 range offers six fastener types designed by EJOT’s R&D teams in both Germany and the UK, to offer superior performance in-situ along with hassle-free installation. All provide the independent assurance of ETA approval and are tested to offer fire resistance to 120 minutes. A trusted UK-focused concrete fastening systems partner Five galvanised or zinc alloy coated carbon steel concrete screws form the core product range, but EJOT has also developed a sixth option specifically to meet the needs of the UK market. This ETA-approved fastener with enhanced corrosion resistance is the JC6-KB, a bi-metallic concrete screw manufactured in A4 316 stainless steel with hardened carbon steel lead threads. As a result, the JC6-KB is suitable for outdoor Option 1 concrete applications approved for environmental classifications ranging from C1 up to C4, in accordance with BS EN 12944. Its development reflects how the UK R&D team, supported by the EJOT Group team in Germany, is ideally positioned to ensure local customers have the right products they need to apply in the way they prefer. The overall EJOT product portfolio may be designed to suit a global market, but that does not mean UK customers have to adapt the way they work when choosing the EJOT brand.

Throughbolt Range Typical Option 7 through-bolt application

EJOT's Option 1 through-bolt range covers standard to seismic applications

In fact, the team in Sherburn-in-Elmet is proactively developing UK-focused fasteners that are gaining traction in overseas markets too, making a positive contribution to the global construction market. This benefits from the EJOT strength that brings together the best of British and German engineering – an internationally respected combination. Full details about the EJOT range of fastening systems for concrete are available at, where new brochures for the various ranges can also be requested. 

September/October 2021 •



14 • September/October 2021




odular Construction has been touted as a sustainable and more efficient solution for the building products and construction sector, but are adoption levels rising and what are the key trends affecting the sector? Building Products Investigates.

Ian Fernandes-Johnson is Managing Director of Independent Design House Ltd and says that modular and offsite construction is nothing new and some of the same challenges remain. He explains: “The key trends are transport and build space; and size limitations regarding transport arguably have the biggest effect. Modular and off-site construction have been utilised for years and are nothing new. For example, the majority of London build projects are constrained by space for transport, off-loading and installation.” Ian also doesn’t believe that the concept of modular construction is being more widely adopted. He says: “With regards to off-site solutions, I don’t believe that it is being more widely adopted, as the limitations are probably still the same today as they were 20 years ago around space and logistics. "But I have seen advances with the on-site modular build processes. For example, bridges are now being built off-line, adjacent to their final installation position, before being

Nick Cowley Managing Director, Euramax

moved into place, thus reducing the impact on road closures.” Nick Cowley, who is Managing Director at Euramax, comments: “For modular, I think the only way is up in the decade to come. The sector has seen incredible growth in the space of just a few short years, but between now and 2030, I expect we’ll see a range of different factors cause the modular market to double or triple in size. "COVID-19 saw UK housebuilding slow to the lowest levels since 2009. We all hope that the worst of the crisis is behind us, but realistically, it’s likely that we’ll be living with regular flare ups of the virus for many years to come.


September/October 2021 •


FEATURE “When cases are high, it may become commonplace for workplaces to temporarily introduce social distancing measures – something that’s much more manageable in the controlled conditions of a factory than on site. “However, it’s increasing from a very low base. Now, less than 10% of British buildings are constructed from modular components. In Japan, it’s 15%, in the Netherlands, it’s 20%, and in Sweden it’s an incredible 80%. “In the years ahead, I predict we’ll see the UK start to rapidly catch up.” Nick also believes that it can help with the skills shortages the country is currently facing: “The country’s severe skills shortage continues. Construction sector job vacancies reached 35,000 earlier this year – the highest since records began, driven by an aging workforce and the impacts of Brexit. Again, modular offers a potential solution, requiring less manpower than conventional housebuilding.”

“They’re interested in sustainability and the potential of modular to some extent – but they don’t want to take the leap themselves. In a few years, we suspect they’ll eventually come around to the idea, but for those of us who want to kick-start decarbonising Britain’s housing stock immediately, it can be frustrating.” SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS Chris Williams, who is the Managing Director of Green Life Buildings (GLB), believes that modular construction could be the key to solving the housing shortage, but highlights that Brexit is having an impact.


Rod Davies Director, Energy Carbons

On future adoption for the modular construction methods, Rod Davies, who is a Director at Energy Carbon, is also optimistic but says that resistance to change in the sector is holding it back. He says: “There’s no question that modular will grow significantly in the coming years, but that growth could be occurring a lot faster. In our view, more than other issues like materials shortages and skills, the biggest thing holding the sector back is that the major players in construction are very resistant to change. 16 • September/October 2021

He comments: “The ongoing shortage of homes across England and making up that shortfall, due to the pandemic and lockdown, will see offsite housing construction rise. The declining number of skilled tradesmen due to Brexit is having an effect and reducing the impact of construction by moving more elements of construction work offsite and into a factory. This is also a significant driver. “In terms of the construction process, off-site construction provides specifiers with programme certainty and quality through simplification of site operations, while also reducing weather dependencies. Building buildings inside buildings offers greater quality control, projects can be completed in less time, and there are fewer safety concerns and risks as less time is spent on site. “However, shipping buildings by road has its own problems, not least in design restrictions, damage during transport and installation, and the final position can still be impacted by site conditions and weather. For that reason, our initial focus is more on

MODULAR CONSTRUCTION supporting on-site construction with modular off-site construction panels that speed up installation using semiskilled labour. 100m2 of wall panels can be installed in a day and ready to spray or cast the next.” COVID-19 Chris also disagrees with Ian that take-up isn’t rising and believes modern methods of construction, such as modular, will only rise in popularity.

He explains: “Due to the last 18 COVID-months, becoming more efficient is vital for most industries moving forward, and after the material shortage and price effects of the last few months, the construction industry needs to reduce waste in materials and manpower. MMC can help achieve that and has driven interest in our product and others. It is the way of the future due to legislation, carbon, labour, and affordability. “Construction is slowly moving away from older UK building techniques, which is increasing the demand for modular and offsite construction, and the building systems that fit into that space. We are certainly seeing more growth in our GLB M2 advanced building system as a result.” SUSTAINABILITY With tackling climate change a major focus for the sector, it’s interesting to assess whether more frequent adoption of modular construction methods will be good for the environment.

Chris Williams Managing Director, Green Life Buildings

Chris Williams comments: “Not all modular systems are the same and,


therefore, their carbon footprint will be different. The material choices fundamentally impact the home’s carbon footprint in construction and in operation. If we still want brick façades and finishes, the carbon footprint is going to be higher than a render or timber accent cladding that will not change even if built in a factory. “What changes in a factory is the amount of waste and an ability to use different products to achieve the same visual finishes with less carbon. For us at Green Life, the focus is on using the least amount of the best performing material for the job in hand. "The lowest carbon structural material is concrete, and with the latest IPPC report showing concrete acts as a carbon sink on top of having a very low emission per kg use rate, this means it is better than steel or wood. “Our panels use 80mm less than the width of a single brick. EPS is the best performing insulation on a carbon emission standpoint, outperforming mineral wool and other natural insulators. So, combine the right materials with low or no production waste and you start to tackle the problem head on. “Better design, better materials and less interfaces means less transport, less impact. And while that looks at the manufacturing and build process, modular and offsite construction provide benefits when the building is occupied. As the quality of buildings manufactured are better, buildings are heated and cooled more effectively, making them much more thermally efficient.” Nick Cowley also believes that modular construction can have a positive impact on the environment. He explains: “The benefits of modular for sustainable construction are obvious – less travel and transportation mean lower carbon emissions, and producing homes in a tightly controlled, lean manufacturing environment significantly cuts inefficiencies and waste. It’s for this reason more than any other that I think modular will one day become the dominant method of construction in the UK.” 

September/October 2021 •





ith the construction industry facing greater calls to reduce its environmental footprint, there has been a noticeable increase in the drive to adopt more modern methods of construction. Dave Lancaster, Senior Segment Manager at Uponor, explains the green benefits of pre-fitting pipework and radiant heating systems into modular assemblies.

Modular construction has come a long way in recent years. Following the Budget 2021 and the government’s announcement of an MMC 1 taskforce together with £10m funding to boost the sector, off-site construction has never been in a stronger position to lead the way in sustainability. Research carried out by AMA Research forecasts the MMC market to grow by 14% between 2020 and 2024. Much of this is expected to be driven by an increasing number of public sector procurement frameworks, more widespread adoption of BIM and the government’s commitment to making sure public works projects are delivered in a more collaborative, efficient and sustainable way, as set out in The Construction Playbook. In the future, we can expect to see more and more housing developments, schools, hospitals and care homes being built using this modern method of construction. A CHANGE IN PERCEPTION It is certainly the case that there is an existing perception of modular building out there that needs to be shifted, one which associates off-site construction with post-war era prefab. However, modular is not prefab. Of course, pre-fabrication is a form of modular process – it involves construction off-site – but the design 18

and construction process involved with modular construction is vastly superior. Modular construction is not just about building modules or pods off-site, it’s about constructing highquality fully fitted-out structures. Manufacturers across the entire building spectrum are now realising the benefits of off-site manufacturing and construction, and as a result, we are seeing greater collaboration throughout the supply chain and the adoption of new technologies in order to provide high-quality, greener solutions. Clearly, there are different approaches to installation onsite and modular assembly, which is in effect a factory and production line environment, but once people understand the benefits their attitudes towards piping prefabrication, and modular assemblies more widely, will shift. Pipework and radiant heating systems lend themselves perfectly to modern factory-based construction, for example, simple methods such as manifold plumbing reduce the number of fittings required, saving on costs and minimising the risk of leakage. When pipework is installed during off-site production, on-site waste can also be virtually eliminated and the minimal waste that might be produced can be easily controlled, which helps to avoid contamination and allows materials to be recycled appropriately and even re-used on future projects. Installing off-site allows for greater precision and quality control as the off-site factory process often involves people specialising in one specific area to a very high standard. Pre-fitting pipework into modular assemblies in a controlled environment helps to minimise heat • September/October 2021

loss and maximise energy efficiency as the modules can be air tested for leaks before they leave the factory. By working closely with our partners during a modular assembly, we can also ensure that best working practices are upheld, therefore guaranteeing consistent product and installation quality. ENSURING THERMAL COMFORT When it comes to providing thermal comfort, underfloor heating (UFH) is the perfect solution for off-site construction methods, particularly as we look at more sustainable ways to heat a building. UFH produces radiant heating which heats (or cools) an area at a consistent temperature. The system can be controlled by room or zone, which could be a bathroom pod, kitchen or bedroom, through a thermostat that regulates each pod or room. This is a more efficient way to heat a building and reduces the amount of energy required. In fact, it’s estimated to be between 20-25% more energy efficient than convectional heating. OPTIMUM USE OF SPACE Various studies on climate change indicate that temperatures within indoor spaces will rise above the comfort threshold of 26°C and that the energy needed for cooling will, in the future, exceed the energy needed for heating. As a result of this, future-oriented temperature control must include both heating and cooling while being as energyefficient as possible. In new builds, a radiant cooling system can be installed under the floor or behind a wall or ceiling. This makes underfloor heating systems the perfect fit for modular constructions that are limited on space as not only do they take up less room than convectional heating systems, such as radiators, but it is relatively easy to use an underfloor heating system for cooling too.


REACHING NEW HEIGHTS We are already seeing the advances that have been made in modular construction and what can be achieved through a close supply chain partnership. Vision Modular Systems UK was recently involved in the construction of what is currently the world’s tallest modular building, Ten Degrees in Croydon. The development features 546 apartments in two towers of 38 and 44 storeys, and by working closely with its suppliers, the company was able to design and deliver 1,500 completed modules to site in just 24 weeks. This included the off-site installation of bathroom pods and kitchens, wiring and plumbing comprising Uponor’s pipework and manifolds for hot and cold water systems. By working in collaboration with its suppliers, Vision has now been able to develop a template for its modules, and roll out this approach across future schemes. This form of volumetric construction is becoming more popular. Bathroom and kitchen pods, or bedroom and classroom modules, can be pre-fitted with plumbing, heating, electrics, doors and windows, and commissioned before leaving the factory to ensure there are no defects. Careful programming and scheduling can ensure efficient production and allow the units to be designed in a way to maximise the use of space on delivery vehicles, also helping to reduce carbon emissions. 

Dave Lancaster Senior Segment Manager, Uponor September/October 2021 •





espite the popularity and growing use of concrete structural insulated panels (SIPs) in a wide variety of building environments, many developers, contractors, and builders continue to overlook them. Chris Williams, MD of Green Life Buildings (GLB), believes that common misconceptions are the reason they are ignored. Here, he explains why GLB’s very own revolutionary SIP panel building system busts the myths.

As an industry, construction has largely stayed on the side of the traditional. And it’s easy to see why; after all, traditional building methods and materials have worked for decades. What that does, however, is provide a very rigid way of thinking and this is certainly the case when it comes to using concrete SIPs, and the certain perceptions of building with them. As Managing Director of Green Life Buildings, manufacturers and suppliers of a revolutionary concrete EPS panel, Chris Williams has come across those misconceptions more than most. “Concrete SIPs have been used to build millions of structures around the world, from domestic, industrial, and commercial construction, but there is still a reluctance to use them as opposed to bricks and mortar, for example,” said Chris. “That’s down mainly to a lack of knowledge of SIPs, and perceptions of them as a building product that are simply not true when looked at properly.” GLB’s advanced building system uses prefabricated insulated panels enclosed in galvanised steel mesh 20 • September/October 2021

with connectors which, once in position on site, are sprayed with a structural fine concrete coat to provide unbeatable strength. The panels can form walls, floors, landings, roofs, stairs, and internal partitions can be curved to meet demanding architectural specifications, meaning a single family home can be constructed almost entirely from the material in just five-six weeks. The system can be made to any specification and tailored to work with any design, while its flexibility means it can be built on any site, no matter how difficult. “Providing a building system that is cost-effective, better for the environment, and easy to install are the reasons behind our system,” said Chris: “And it proves that the misconceptions around concrete SIPs are exactly that." Size matters When people think of concrete SIP panels, they think they are not suitable for small projects but this, says Chris, is wrong, particularly when it comes to the GLB panel.


MODULAR CONSTRUCTION “Our panels can be made to any size; we’ve got a dwarf basement storeroom going into Ireland and it’s only 1.8m high, so it’s not very many panels at all. “With the GLB panel we can provide for small jobs or large jobs, there is no size requirement and, just as importantly, no price point. This means it’s not volume that drives the price.” Crane pain Concrete SIPs are thought of as too heavy to use without a crane, but the GLB panel takes that pain away thanks to its inherent lightness. “A general panel weighs 3.4kgs per square metre before concrete coating, eliminating any need for cranes or other external equipment as everything can be carried on site by hand,” said Chris. “Realistically, while we can make nine metre panels, they would be too cumbersome to lift on site so we can create the same effect with three three metre panels. We have installed six and a half metre panels 20 metres up in the air with a hand lift, so it is very doable. We couldn’t even get a crane onto the site, so there was no other way of doing it than using a Gin wheel off the side of the building.” More money Many assume that the cost of concrete SIPs is too expensive when compared with traditional building materials, but that’s not strictly true, says Chris. “Concrete SIPs done as a precast panel are very expensive, and that’s largely because on the design regulations for them, they have to use 150-200mm of concrete. “With our panel, however, we’re using just 80mm of concrete, so the cost of our panels is very low, and you’re not paying for somebody to make them, you’re getting a panel on site that your normal labourer, bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer can put up and finish off.” A hefty footprint There is also a view that concrete SIP panels have too high a carbon footprint, but this, much like the perception of concrete SIPs themselves, is wrong. Chris explained: “People don’t truly understand carbon; concrete’s reputation proceeds it as the biggest polluter for carbon dioxide in construction materials, but that is only because of the volume of concrete used internationally. If you were to swap that concrete for another product, be that timber, brick, or steel, then their carbon footprints would result in a higher overall carbon dioxide equivalent emission than that of the concrete they replaced. “Concrete has about 121g per kg of use, brick has 400-500, timber 400-800, and metals are greater than 2000 on average, so people need to understand what they mean by carbon footprint. It’s about how much you use as well as what you use. “If I were to build a timber home then it would have a higher carbon footprint than if I built a GLB concrete EPS home because we are talking about actual emissions, not off-sets or sequestered carbon.” 

World-leading polyurethane spray foam insulation manufacturer with 110 years of combined expertise from Huntsman, Icynene and Demilec.

September/October 2021 •





uramax Solutions are a leading manufacturer of fenestration products for the modular construction sector. Here, Operations Director Andy Boyd discusses how the Barnsleybased company’s highly efficient approach to manufacturing has allowed them to become leaders in their field. ANDY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN MANUFACTURING AND WHAT YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO EURAMAX SOLUTIONS? I’ve been with Euramax Solutions for five years, but have been in the broader manufacturing sector for over 30. In that time, I’ve worked for huge multinational companies such as Nestle and Hallmark, Associated British Foods, as well as a number of smaller organisations.

▴ Andy Boyd Operations Director 22 • September/October 2021

As one of the world’s biggest manufacturers, Nestle puts huge emphasis on manufacturing excellence, and follows a very strict and rigorous methodology designed to consistently deliver outstanding quality.

LEAN MANUFACTURING In recent years, I’ve sought to implement those same methodologies at Euramax – with the added benefit that I can be much more hands-on in my current role, compared to the huge team I was part of at Nestlé, and have input at every stage of the manufacturing process to ensure we’re offering the best products possible. HOW IS EURAMAX SOLUTIONS DIFFERENT AS A MANUFACTURING BUSINESS? Like all fenestration businesses, our core processes are simple – we combine a number of components to create a finished window or door. But it’s the way we approach those processes that makes us different. We are far more structured and organised, and have a relentless focus on constantly improving how we operate to provide better service to the end user. We have taken a lead from the automotive sector, and invested extensively in lean manufacturing and just-intime delivery. Clients expect quality every single time, so having an efficient setup that can produce products to a consistently high standard is vital. This approach, and Euramax Solutions’ historic knowledge of the holiday homes market, is what has helped us move quickly into the modular sector as they use the same principles of construction and delivery. WHAT ARE THE KEY CHANGES YOU HAVE MADE? Processing times through the factory have significantly reduced. We have managed to cut overall lead times by over 50% in the factory. By doing things differently, and introducing these highly efficient manufacturing processes, we are delivering better quality products at a faster rate and providing a better overall service to our customers. We are also winning more business as a result. HOW DO YOU TAILOR YOUR MANUFACTURING FOR EACH SECTOR YOU SUPPLY TO? The fundamental difference is that, while most fenestration companies set up their equipment to suit one system house, we have invested time and money so we can quickly change over our equipment to do several different system house profiles.

This means, for example, we can respond quickly and change over our welders, with point to point in under eight minutes for the next cycle of a different profile suite. HOW DOES YOUR DELIVERY METHOD MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR CLIENTS? Lots of companies will deliver products in bulk, and it’s a case of ‘there’s a frame, there are all the glass units, sort it out yourself,’ which can provide hold ups that modular companies can’t afford. We have tailored our own lineside delivery solution to get it modular specific, so everything is manufactured the exact same way, and is packaged together, making for an easy install. We’ve put in a great deal of time and effort to package things reliably and accurately, and to deliver them in a manner that best suits our customer. 

September/October 2021 •





he cocktail of Brexit, the pandemic and residual negative perceptions around working in the industry have resulted in a skills shortage affecting many building products businesses. To find out more about how the industry is tackling the issues, Building Products hosted a panel debate.

WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE SKILLS SHORTAGES IMPACTING SOME AREAS OF THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR? Paul Richards, Managing Director of Aquarian Cladding: "For any industry to be sustainable, it needs to evolve both organically and by bringing in new, fresh ideas. It’s, therefore, essential that we encourage not only young, dynamic talent but also re-skill those who’ve perhaps reached a cul-de-sac in their careers in other industries. "The construction industry’s perennial struggle is engaging with young 24

people and thinking ‘outside of the box’ in terms of our message of encouragement to them to join us. So, we only have ourselves to blame if we get what we’ve always got by doing what we’ve always done. The message in our invitation has to change. "Our industry is the second highest paid sector in the UK, and is responsible for building homes for the future, schools and universities to produce future world leaders, research labs to find cures for the modern world’s illnesses and to prevent environmental disasters, green energy plants for cleaner fuel, and transport hubs to enable us to explore the world. "Future generations can either talk and protest about climate change or join our industry to truly make a difference. There is no more rewarding place than the • September/October 2021

construction industry to turn words into action." Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence South West: "It’s generally estimated that almost 50% of workers in the construction sector are over 55. And in the absence of little young blood coming through, that number is going to rise. "Attracting young people into the construction industry is the biggest challenge we face, and we must all pull together to change the negative


WHO IS ON THE PANEL? Paul Richard Managing Director Aquarian Cladding Andrew Carpenter CEO Constructing Excellence South West Ian Fernandes-Johnson Managing Director Independent Design House Ltd Howard Trotter Business Manager Shelforce

perceptions that make it harder to attract young people. "We need to demonstrate what the industry is about through schools and inspire students from an early age, so they see construction as providing an exciting and diverse career, with amazing opportunities for personal development." Ian Fernandes-Johnson, Managing Director of Independent Design House Ltd: "We need to invest time and money in our future, with training schemes, apprenticeships, graduates’ positions, placements – anything that can attract new blood into the industry. "But my focus would be on encouragement and diversity - the construction industry is generally still years behind the times. It’s still maledominated, and there’s much more to be done to attract people from different backgrounds. "If the industry had more profit in it, then companies could be more progressive with the changes mentioned above. But, we are still an industry where it’s a race to the bottom on price, and profit margins are so minimal that most businesses are operating on a shoestring budget with very little float to be progressive and creative." Howard Trotter, Business Manager of Shelforce: "Despite the challenging last 12-18 months, the skills shortage will be the biggest challenge the fenestration and construction

sector will face. And with Brexit and the pandemic exacerbating the situation, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. "Attracting more young people and safeguarding our industry is massively important, of course, but a commitment to employment is also the key. At Shelforce we take an inclusive approach to recruitment and employment, with 75% of our workforce disabled. "It’s vital that we find ways of getting young people into the industry, but we also must not forget that there are people out there who would be fantastic in our industry and it’s about finding them and giving them a pathway in."


Suzannah Nichol MBE, CEO of Build UK: "In the short term, we are working with Government to demonstrate that, if the ambitious programme of infrastructure investment and development is to be maintained, then the rules need to be relaxed to make it easier for companies to bring in sufficient labour from overseas.

The Government is rightly investing in training and re-skilling the British workforce, and this is a welcome move, but it will take a minimum of 12 months for apprentices and others to complete their training and be able to work on these projects. We are being asked to build now, not in 12 months’ time, and this is the disconnect we are calling on the Government to acknowledge and take action to remedy. "More fundamentally, if construction wants to be a career of choice for the next generation, we need to improve our business model and increase our productivity to create sites, projects, and companies that young people want to work for." WHAT ACTION HAVE YOU TAKEN IN YOUR BUSINESS TO BUILDING TALENT PIPELINES? Howard: "Enticing young people into the industry is the most challenging aspect, and we are in the process of opening a dedicated training facility to provide regular work experience placements for students from nearby schools, including special needs schools. "By offering regular work experience placements, we want to help young adults of all abilities take their first steps into the workplace and have already developed a close relationship with a local community school catering to children with autism. Cont.

September/October 2021 •



"Now, we’re shifting focus to bring in experienced construction professionals, and training them up internally to offer outstanding improvement services."


Mark Worrall Managing Director LC International Suzannah Nichol MBE CEO Build UK

Paul: "I’m disappointed to say that we‘ve been struggling to find an apprentice since Easter. That said, the apprenticeship providers we’re engaged with are saying they aren’t getting many applications for apprenticeships through for any sector, so we’re not alone. "Thankfully, we don’t need to employ an apprentice tomorrow or by Christmas, but due to the nature of our business and the gestation period of a project, we can see that we will certainly need to add someone to the team who has sufficient experience in say 15 months. We would rather act and invest now to give them that exposure and experience than react when it’s too late by trying to train someone inexperienced next year when we are under more pressure to maintain our service levels.

"We have used the last 18 months to evaluate our business and identify what drives us. Part of that process has been to ensure we include succession planning. The average age of our staff across the whole business has been reduced by approx. ten years, so we’re creating an environment where we’ve got the opportunities, energy, and fresh ideas to grow the business sustainably and organically." Mark Worrall, Managing Director of LC International: "Earlier this year, we appointed our first apprentice, Sammy King. She’s already made an impact and has hugely impressed us with her enthusiasm and professionalism. "Based on our experiences with her, we’d be more than happy to take on other apprentices in future. "We’ve also been reassessing how we recruit the consultants who are the lifeblood of what we do at LC. Up until now, we’ve sought out people with significant improvement experience, often from outside construction.


WHAT IMPACT HAS THE PANDEMIC AND BREXIT HAD ON SKILLS IN YOUR SECTOR? Ian: "People who were able to retired early, adding to the skills shortage, and others have left the industry all together. But Brexit has had the biggest impact as there are not enough people around to cover the workload requirements, and for small businesses it is very difficult to recruit from overseas. We are currently working through our licence application to be able to do this, but with the huge costs and long timescales involved, the system is not tailored to small business." Paul: "Right now, the whole country is going through a consolidation period because of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. It’s common knowledge that there is a shortage of staff across many industry sectors, so the construction sector has got to work even harder than ever to attract good people. "It has been reported that large online retailers are paying as much as £22 an hour to their drivers. But what happens when those vehicles become self-driving? This sets a dangerous precedent which we’ve never seen before, making it very difficult for sectors reliant on lowerskilled labour to compete. "Due to the unsettling nature of coronavirus, I also read that baby boomers who are ‘empty-nesters’ and have paid off the mortgage have made life decisions to retire early. You

26 • September/October 2021



can hardly blame them, but who will do the jobs they once did? "Traditionally, we’ve been able to turn to Europe to help with our labour shortages, but for now, Brexit rules and rhetoric have not been inviting so they’re staying at home. Hopefully it will settle down, but in the meantime, our solutions can only come from this side of the Channel." Mark: "The impacts have been huge. Either on their own would’ve caused difficulties, but both at the same time have brought enormous disruption – and the construction skills shortage was already severe before either Brexit or COVID-19 started to bite. "The issue we’re facing now is that other sectors are beginning to recover from the worst phase of the pandemic, and many talented young people are being wooed by more glamorous sectors, like aerospace, automotive, gaming and so on. "As an industry, we need to get much better at communicating that there are thousands of socially valuable, satisfying careers to be had in construction. "One of our apprentices tells us that no-one she knows at school even considers construction as a career option. That’s very sad, and urgently needs to change." Andrew: "With the EU making up a considerable proportion of the UK’s construction workforce, and freedom of movement removed, the door has been shut on the skilled European workers on which the UK construction sector relies upon. "And with almost three-quarters of all non-UK construction workers estimated to be under the age of 45, it’s even more imperative to get our message right to get young people into the industry – and make sure we’ve got the right things in place to keep them here." 

HOW CAN WE TACKLE THE SKILLS SHORTAGE IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR? By Chris Rason, Managing Director at Aggreko Northern Europe There is definitely a skills shortage within the construction sector, but what is key to note is that this shortage is not confined to operating plant equipment – it also concerns on-site utility provision. Power provided by generators, for example, is key to a project’s continued running, but specification may not have previously been a priority. However, the fact the construction industry has to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 means that professionals may need to develop skillsets to identify, select and operate more sustainable technologies. Considering UK plans to invest heavily in major infrastructure and sizeable projects, these skills will become more vital as the years go on, as innovative approaches will be required. Given the seismic nature of these net-zero regulations, which only came into force in 2019, it is unsurprising there is a shortfall of specifiers and contractors with familiarity in this arena. One of the ways we try to help customers negate the skills gap is by treating our team of expert engineers as an extension of their team. By taking this route, businesses can more easily transition to greener energy and become familiar with greener technologies, including hybrid packages using the latest Stage V technology, energy storage and alternative fuels. Indeed, while hire cannot solve this skills gap, which is becoming an emerging problem for UK construction, it can ease the burden of labour shortages by providing businesses with equipment and dedicated support to see them through difficult periods. In the short-to-mid-term, this approach may offer one solution for accelerating the UK’s decarbonisation efforts while existing and upcoming workforces develop necessary skills for future challenges.  September/October 2021 •





ndrew Carpenter is Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence South West, a crosssector, cross-supply chain, member-led organisation charged with driving the change agenda in construction. While climate change has been on the agenda for the UK construction industry for some time, it’s now back in full focus after taking a back seat due to the recent pandemic. And rightfully so The recent Climate Change report delivered by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), described as 'a code red for humanity', provided sober reading on the state of our planet’s future and the crisis we face. The UK was already facing the hugely daunting and ambitious task of reaching net-zero carbon by 2050. But in recent weeks, the government has now gone even further – committing itself, and the country, to cutting emissions by 78% between now and 2035. Construction accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions, which means we become very important to hitting the target. And while 2035, let alone 2050, seems a long way off, if we have any chance of hitting those incredibly demanding targets, we need to accelerate change now. There is no doubt that our industry is doing more to maximise carbon efficiency, but before we start congratulating ourselves for our commitment to sustainability, we need to be doing more. There needs to be more research and development of more sustainable materials and working practices, including whole life carbon, and more collaboration between developers, designers, engineers, contractors, and clients to further reduce construction waste.

28 • September/October 2021

To reduce the carbon impact, we must construct homes and other buildings that deliver the highest standards of energy efficiency in the years ahead and minimise energy and resource use during the manufacturing and construction phase. As a more sustainable alternative to conventional construction, offsite and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) can reduce operational energy use and the carbon associated with it, and will be a key player in driving emissions down, not just by reducing travel to and from the site and limiting landfill of waste products, but by also working to limit the embodied emissions and delivering a more sustainable structure across its entire lifecycle. Offsite and MMC must be considered for all building projects to be delivered more efficiently and costeffectively. Achieving a net-zero construction industry is a huge challenge, and one that will require support from governments, but it’s one our industry can win by working together. Not only can we make construction greener, but we can also capitalise on opportunities for growth. 





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But entertainment and convenience are not the only factors that contribute toward the growing popularity of smart home tech.

Smart devices are about as integral to society today as almost any form of technology that we use daily. As the world evolves, it certainly seems that entire homes are becoming equipped with enough smart devices for optimal convenience and security.

One company offering the very latest in smart home security tech is bespoke architectural and structural glazing specialist NÜEVO HOME.

ooking for the latest in smart home technology? Bespoke glazing specialist NÜEVO HOME has the perfect product for you. Director Amar Dhillon shares the details…

According to a recent YouGov survey, a staggering 57% of homes in Britain now contain a smart device. Over 23% of the UK’s population owns at least one smart item, while one in six users control their smart devices from outside their home on a daily basis – whether it’s to ensure they have a hot drink ready and waiting when they get back, or to make sure their dog isn’t tearing up the sofa.

Security is another big reason for investing in smart products, with more and more homeowners opting for things like smart security cameras and doorbells.

“Thanks to COVID-19 lockdown measures, we’ve all spent a big part of the past 18 months indoors, and feeling secure in our homes has become increasingly important,” says Director Amar Dhillon. “As a result, popularity of smart home tech that offers state-of-the-art security features has risen sharply, and at NÜEVO HOME, we’re keen to help developers, contractors, architects and housebuilders tap into this lucrative and growing market.”


30 • September/October 2021

Keyless operation The London-based company offers the Schüco entrance door, a product that combines a diverse collection of timeless designs with excellent thermal insulation, weather resistance and endurance features. But what sets the Schüco entrance door apart is BlueCon, an access control module fitted into the door that uses Bluetooth wireless technology to communicate with a smart phone, allowing homeowners to open and close their door from within 4 metres away.


With BlueCon in place, a smartphone app activates the door as soon as the homeowner comes within four metres of it, enabling them to enter their home without having to use a key. The device consists of a small hardware module integrated directly into the door, which connects to an electric door lock, activating it on demand. An integral log function then records every action of the BlueCon module, providing full details of date, time,

and the identity of every user. The module can also be activated using an Apple Watch loaded with the BlueCon app. Digital keys are renewed every 24 hours, and if the smartphone is lost, unauthorised access is prevented by changing the user account and password in the app, or resetting the module to factory settings. In addition to keyless operation, BlueCon can also be set for manual activation by swiping a key on the same smartphone, and can be

programmed to allow multiple users to access the same door. BlueCon can also be linked to the rental portal Airbnb – customers can simply use the app to assign and send appropriate access authorisations for a limited period of time to guests, eliminating the need to hand over keys in person.


September/October 2021 •



Ultimate peace of mind Amar comments: “In the age of digital technology, smart home security systems have become more popular than ever, and as technology has improved, so have these systems. “Today, smart homes begin at the front door, and the BlueConequipped Schüco entrance door is the ideal product for this. “As a modular door management system for door communication and access control, it combines convenience and security with the latest technology and sophisticated design, while being extremely userfriendly and offering ultimate peace of mind. “At NÜEVO HOME, we’re always looking for the right products that will help our customers get ahead of the competition, and with BlueCon, we’re certainly doing that." 

32 • September/October 2021



Make drips and spills a thing of the past with the Q1® Floor Pro Board For professional painters and decorators, working with paint is never easy. The fear of drips and spills on pristine carpets and floors can cause serious headaches, particularly when customers expect their rooms cleaner than when you found them. Without the right protection in place, clean ups can be costly, both in terms of time and money and the impact it can have to your reputation. But for those looking for a solution to the age-old problem of paint and scuff-stained floors and surfaces, there is an answer – the Q1® Floor Pro Board. The ultimate in floor protection Made from reusable paper, the Q1® Floor Pro Board provides durable and long-lasting temporary floor protection for all kinds of painting and renovation projects. As it’s longer in length and lighter in weight than traditional floor protection boards, it’s extremely easy to use and reposition – even on rainy days, making your pre-paint prep a breeze. Say goodbye to heavy plastic sheeting which move without you realising or soggy cardboard flooring that simply doesn’t work. The proof is in the Pro Board Offering superior performance, the Q1® Floor Pro Board works by blocking moisture and liquids at the surface – meaning surfaces remain protected if the inevitable paint spill does take place. It’s also strong enough to withstand the constant back of forth of muddy outside boots, which can easily trample some floor protection, particularly in wet weather. It’s so effective that it can even be reused, offering painters and decorators maximum value for money when working on multiple jobs.

Don’t fail to prepare The success of any painting and decorating project starts with the important phase of preparation and by choosing a product that’s been proven to perform, you’ll have complete peace of mind that the Q1® Floor Pro Board is up to the task. But don’t just take it from us, professionals in the painting and decorating trade are turning to Q1® products time and time again. Nathan Carter from N.I.C.E Décor, said: “Preparation is the most timeconsuming part of my job and it’s crucial that I have 100% trust in the products and tools that I use. It makes my job easier knowing that the Q1® Floor Pro Board can take whatever I throw it, no matter the weather or conditions. It’s my go-to

hard surface floor protection when working on any painting project, be it renovation or restoration.” Better for the environment Eco-conscious painters and decorators can also work easy knowing their temporary floor solution is reusable, biodegradable and 100% recyclable – something that’s becoming increasingly important to environment-aware customers. As we all make efforts to find greener ways of working, products that are better for the environment are helping to tackle climate change. For today’s painters and decorators, who are aware of their environmental impact, the Q1® Floor Pro Board can help improve their green credentials.

To get your hands (or knees) on our Q1® Floor Pro Board, visit: www. q1-floor-pro-board/ September/October 2021 •





or this private property in South London, the luxury basement extension was a comprehensive project, extending below the entire footprint of the house and into the rear garden, and incorporating a swimming pool, recreational spaces, and a wine cellar.

Considering the nature of the project then, it was absolutely crucial that the waterproofing would adequately protect the luxury interior. Managing Director Warren Muschialli comments: “Considering the size of the basement area, the high water, the proximity to the River Thames and the fact that the structure was created using underpinning, the risk of water penetration in this basement was extremely high. “We therefore called on Newton Specialist Contractor Stonehouse to provide a complete waterproofing system for the entire structure using the most failsafe solution, the Newton CDM System.” Firstly, Stonehouse installed Newton 508 membrane to all internal walls and the floor, using Newton’s ancillary products to securely fix and seal the system. Drainage channels were also created using Newton Basedrain, feeding into a sump chamber containing two NP750 pumps, a highcapacity model that is capable of removing large volumes of water. Finally, where the basement extended beyond the footprint of the house, a liquid waterproofing 34

membrane was used on the new external buried roof. Stonehouse Managing Director Graham Stone comments: “At every phase of this project, we were aware of the presence of the River Thames. Water permeated throughout the excavation, and it was essential that the waterproofing of this substantial basement which also extends under the garden was reliable and robust. “Stonehouse has worked on over 50 projects with this architect, always using Newton products that match our work in terms of both quality and craftsmanship.” Warren also concludes: “We are extremely proud of the outcome of this project. Stonehouse are one of Newton’s oldest and most experienced specialist contractors, and they showed their expertise here by delivering a dry, safe basement for the client that could then be transformed into a beautiful new part of their home. “Furthermore, the installation was backed by Stonehouse’s 10-year installation guarantee, for complete peace of mind.”

Based in Tonbridge, Newton Waterproofing is a family run business of over 170 years that supplies, designs, and guarantees effective, robust, and third-party certified structural waterproofing systems in accordance with current legislation and best practice using a wide range of materials.  • September/October 2021


© Photos courtesy of Alistair Nicholls

September/October 2021 •



RAISING THE ROOF ON THE CHALLENGES AFFECTING THE ROOFING INDUSTRY R oofs are often regarded as simply the part of a building that keeps the rain out, or the place to put a TV aerial. However, as John Osborne explains the roofing industry is currently concerned about far more than the effect of the next thunderstorm on roofing products that have already been installed.

COVID-19; climate change; skills; and materials shortages are just some of the pressures that roofers have had to deal with over the last twelve months. However arguably the biggest challenge has been finding enough people to install roofing products. The National Federation of Roofing Contractors said: “The roofing industry is extremely busy currently, and this is putting a strain on the industry’s capacity. According to the NFRC’s State of the Roofing Industry Survey for the second quarter of 2021, three quarters of contractors (76%) said they were experiencing recruitment difficulty. There are skills shortages across a number of disciplines in the sector, with roof, slaters and tilers being the most in demand role currently.” Phillip Lidgerton, Managing Director, Building Materials Nationwide agrees that the skills shortage is a serious problem. He said that as most of the firm’s customers are returning trade customers, “We are constantly being 36 • September/October 2021


told about the state of the industry. Because we cover the entire country, we are also in the unique position of knowing the different issues affecting the different areas. "We used to find that one area of the country may have a shortage of bricklayers, whilst another had an abundance but were short on labourers, for example.

Phillip Lidgerton Managing Director Building Materials Nationwide

"However, this year, the whole country seems to be struggling with a lack of skilled labour; roofing is one of these areas. This has been exacerbated because demand for materials has increased dramatically and manufacturers can't keep up with

that demand. Furthermore, raw material costs have skyrocketed, and the importation process has slowed substantially due to Brexit, and a severe shortage of HGV drivers which just adds to the issues being faced.” Another big problem is the shortage of materials and the price of materials. “A shocking 81% of roofing contractors saw a deterioration in the availability of materials in the second quarter of 2021”, said the NFRC, “on what was already quite a severe shortage. Over half of roofing contractors (54%) are struggling to obtain concrete roof tiles, and just under half can’t get hold of timber battens (49%). Contractors are often facing lead times of 20 weeks+ to get these materials, and have seen prices rise by over 100%t in last year for some products.” Another challenge the roofing industry faces is changing hearts and minds. While easy to install roofing products are becoming more popular some local authorities in conservation areas are insisting that only traditional roofing tiles are installed. Phillip agrees that is a challenge: “We've long found that regardless of innovations made by manufacturers, local authorities will resist the pressure to open themselves up to the opportunity to explore new and innovative products that have the same appearance as traditional materials in conservation areas. "Everyday, we hear about the problems the planet is facing and the damage being done, and we are constantly told that we must explore every opportunity to source sustainable products, and this is a category a lot of easy to install products now fall under.” 2021 has been a tough year for roofing suppliers, and it is not over yet. Hopefully soon more people will fill the many jobs in the industry. Also, manufacturers of roofing products are continuing to develop innovative, attractive solutions.

Cont. September/October 2021 •



MAKING THE MOST OF ROOF SPACE WITH SOLAR FILM N eil Spann, Chief Executive, Power Roll explains how solar film can make an effective use of roofs. He said that Power Roll has developed 'a unique, flexible, lightweight solar film capable of producing ultralow-cost green electricity that is up to 20 times cheaper to make than existing flexible PV.' Power Roll’s microgroove film is suitable for non-load-bearing rooftops, building integration, transport, portable applications, off-grid projects and IoT (Internet of Things) sensors.

2050 may seem a long way off, but for the world to reach netzero emissions in 30 years’ time, it is widely agreed that we need to invest heavily in renewable energy generation now.

large-scale solar roll-out and keep the world on course for net-zero.

How much solar do we need? In terms of renewable capacity, National Grid, the UK’s energy systems operator reports that we needs to build 3GW of wind and 1.4GW of solar every year until 2050. We need to combine new generation capacity with energy storage to provide the flexibility to meet the country’s energy requirements. The UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its Sixth Carbon Budget report calls on the country to ‘frontload’ decarbonisation. In other words more needs to happen in the 2020s than in the 2040s with UK electricity production reaching net-zero by 2035.

Today’s solar technologies are well established and work well, so why change anything? It’s relatively cheap and easy to build ground mounted solar farms, using traditional rigid silicon PV modules. However, while public support for renewables is high, there is increasing concern about the impact large-scale solar farms are having on the landscape.

Renewable technology matures Thanks to advances in technology and economies of scale, wind and solar are now among the cheapest ways to add generation capacity to the grid. Both technologies are now being deployed without the need for subsidies and are attractive to investors. Statistics released by the UK government in 2019 showed that solar energy had an 85% approval rate with the public.

As an alternative to groundmounted projects, commercial rooftops should be ideal for solar, but many are unable to support the weight of traditional silicon solar PV panels. Technology and cost breakthroughs, however, mean that we can deploy flexible lightweight solar film economically on non-loadbearing rooftops. This approach offers a potential game changer for renewable energy that can sustain

With growing demand for more solar capacity and a good case for investment, the problem of increasing renewable generation capacity should take care of itself. However, there is growing opposition to utilityscale solar projects that occupy thousands of acres of greenfield land. Local residents are increasingly unhappy with the visual impact that ‘megascale’ solar farms have on the open countryside. Loss of agricultural

38 • September/October 2021

▴ Neil Spann Chief Executive, Power Roll

land and reduced biodiversity are also grounds for mounting opposition to solar farm planning applications. The roof-space opportunity Driven largely by the continued growth of online retail, warehouse space has grown dramatically over recent years. In the UK alone, the Warehousing Association estimates the total warehouse roofspace to be around 420 million sq ft, and forecasts suggest the spike in online sales during 2020 alone will create


techniques that will dramatically reduce the cost of solar film PV and deliver the lowest cost energy of any solar technology currently available. Power Roll’s approach to manufacturing solar film, which uses widely available materials, yields a carbon footprint that is up to 20 times lower than silicon PV and less than a tenth of the cost to manufacture than other flexible PV. Such an approach will enable solar film to replace traditional silicon PV especially for non-load-bearing roofs, such as warehouses and agricultural sheds. This opens up a huge opportunity, enabling countries to stay on track with expanding solar generation but without impacting on greenfield sites or risking loss of public support. The opportunities for lightweight solar film are global. Power Roll recently signed an agreement with a leading Japanese energy company to expand renewable power generation across Japan; a country with a higher population density than the UK. We have another agreement with Thermax Group, a leading energy and environment solutions provider, to develop the market for solar film in India. By installing solar film on commercial roof spaces we can also generate energy where it will be used by businesses, reducing their costs and simplifying power distribution.

demand for an additional 30 million sq ft of space. All of this roofspace offers a potential solution to expand solar capacity without using up greenfield and agricultural land. Power Roll’s estimates suggest that current UK warehouse roofspace could accommodate almost seven gigawatts of solar – equivalent to building 1,400 typical five megawatt ground-mounted solar farms. With lightweight solar film that is cheaper to make and install, we can fully

exploit the roof-space opportunity and take the pressure off the use of greenfield sites for solar farms.

As Britain’s National Grid Future Energy Scenario makes clear, we need to urgently invest in increasing solar energy capacity if we are to reach net-zero by 2050.

Emerging technology promises an affordable, flexible and lightweight solution While silicon PV is not suited to many rooftop applications, and conventional flexible PV can be prohibitively expensive, emerging solar film technology could well provide the solution.

To achieve that in the most efficient way possible, without losing the public’s goodwill towards solar, we must harness the latest technology solutions to enable us to make use of more roof space and save our green fields and agricultural land. Emerging solar film PV solutions will enable us to do just that.

We can manufacture solar film using well-understood roll-to-roll production September/October 2021 •





tuart Nicholson, Roof Systems Director at Marley explains what Marley is doing to prevent fires spreading.

As fire safety continues to be the highest priority for everyone in the construction industry, it is important that specifiers and architects are aware of recent reports about risks concerning roof fire barriers. Fire barriers are an unseen, but very important, product when installing a pitched roof on terraced or semidetached housing and apartments. When a roof is compartmentalised, fire stopping is required between the top of the party wall and the roof covering, acting as a seal to prevent spread of flames and smoke between properties in case of fire. However, there have been some house fires in recent years where the fire has spread across the line of the party wall and caused damage to neighbouring properties. This issue of fire spreading in roof voids was addressed in separate reports from the BRE and BBC Watchdog, 40

which raised concerns that some modern homes could have inadequate, incorrectly installed and, in some cases, no fire barriers at all. In terraced or semi-detached properties, this increases the risk that fire could spread rapidly through roof voids from one home to the next. Fire stopping is often achieved with a flexible mineral fibre quilt or sock, but a potential fire passage still exists at the line of the roofing battens, above the rafters, which can span across the junction between properties. Fire barrier products are available on the market to close this gap, but feedback suggests that these can be bulky and difficult to install in line with the roof tiles, especially with deep profiled tiles. Listening to these concerns, Marley has developed a new, easy-to-install, roof fire barrier that overcomes these issues. Marley’s new Roof Defence fire barrier gives specifiers the confidence of full fire protection, from one roof to the next, achieving up to a 60-minute fire rating. Roof Defence features two strips of intumescent material bonded at 90 • September/October 2021

▴ Stuart Nicholson Roof Systems Director, Marley

degrees, with an inverted T design, that can simply be installed under tiles and between roof battens to close all gaps in the event of fire. When activated by heat, the inverted T intumescent seal expands, filling the space between roofing battens and sealing all spaces under the tiles, slates, and other roofing elements. 

Need a complete roof system? We’ve got you covered.

September/October 2021 •



Gebrik provides unique finish to leisure and community centre in Croydon

W Jazz Rigden Sales Director, Aquarian Cladding

hen a £34m project in Croydon was faced with many complex problems, Aquarian Cladding Systems, together with its approved specialist contractor Express Dry Lining, provided the perfect solution with Gebrik.

Brick cladding system Gebrik was the star of the show on a £34m project that has played a central role in the transformation of the western side of Central Parade in New Addington. The stunning state-of-the-art, multilevel, Better New Addington Leisure & Community Centre, designed by GT3 Architects for the London Borough of Croydon, features buff brick cladding with 3D textured detailing thanks to external cladding supplier Aquarian Cladding Systems.

The project was part of the Southern Construction Framework and followed a string of work carried out by Willmott Dixon for the Borough. It was also home to the building contractor’s first Building Lives Academy, aimed at upskilling young people in the area and providing them with an opportunity to join the construction industry. Gebrik to the rescue Originally, another brick cladding system was specified for use,

however, due to the complexity of the stepped window frame detailing, the additional cladding support rail cost, the time it would take to install, and a lack of product warranty from the supplier, an alternative brick cladding system was required. To resolve the challenge, Aquarian and specialist cladding contractor Express Dry Lining, part of Aquarian’s Approved Installer Network, worked closely together to achieve an acceptable finish to match the specified material, which suited the local vernacular and met the aesthetic, programme, and commercial requirements. The solution also had to be a cladding system that used brick slips which could be produced as standard bricks to build landscaping planters and achieve a seamless ‘hitand-miss’ brick feature in the façade.

The unusual architecture demonstrates to architects and clients what can be achieved without having to compromise their design ideas.

42 • September/October 2021

As an innovative, panelised, insulating brick cladding system Gebrik, which has been successfully tested to BS8414 on five separate opccasions, and has an EN13501 fire rating of B,s1,d0, was perfect, with Aquarian supplying 1126m2 for use on the project.


A high standard To achieve the 3D features in accordance with the architect’s design brief, eighteen different panel and corner components were produced, 25% of which were bespoke and therefore projectspecific. The expertise of Express Dry Lining in the setting out of the substrate ensured the 60mm thick ‘brick wallpaper’ is consistent across the entire façade with perp joint alignment across both the stretcher and stack bond panels. And their attention to detail in ensuring the system was cleaned down after pointing ensured the façade was completed on time and to everyone’s satisfaction.


The finished project was completed six weeks ahead of the revised programme with Gebrik significantly contributed to the speed of construction and reduction in the programme, leading to significant cost benefits elsewhere. Aquarian Cladding’s Sales Director Jazz Rigden said: “Having supplied over 400 projects across the UK, the use of Gebrik on the New Addington Centre is truly unique and as always, Express Dry Lining did a fantastic job on the install. “The stepped reveal detail used to frame the main windows has never been attempted before and the result is stunning. The entire brick façade adds a texture to the building that one would not normally expect possible with the use of brick slips.” A building to be proud of The London Borough of Croydon is delighted with the quality of the completed building, with Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, quoted as saying: “This is a stunning new centre with first-class facilities for everyone in New Addington to enjoy and be proud of.”

While Peter Head, Director of Express Dry Lining said: “The design and installation support of Aquarian helped us ensure that all stakeholders were supported throughout the process of material selection, buildability, component production and assembly to achieve a photogenic building free of defects which will last. This is one of those projects to be proud of for a very long time.” Having been personally involved in many successful Gebrik projects, Jazz thinks this is yet another success story for Aquarian:“The unusual architecture demonstrates to architects and clients what can be achieved without having to compromise their design ideas. “It is unlikely any other brick cladding solution could have been used as cost-effectively and efficiently as Gebrik to create a façade of such high quality.” Working with architects, contractors and installation specialists, Aquarian's cladding systems also include the A1-rated brick systems MechSlip and NaturAL-X, and Piterak terracotta cladding system. 

September/October 2021 •



EJOT expands UK manufacturing, R&D and customer support in multi-million pound investment programme


onstruction fastening systems manufacturer EJOT has made a significant investment in its manufacturing capacity as well as customer and technical support in a project which has more than doubled the size of its UK HQ, production and logistical facility near Leeds.

The scale of its Sherburn-in-Elmet site will be increased to create a state-ofthe-art facility tailored to the needs of the UK market, with class-leading support for customer innovation. It will boost its capacity to produce its wide range of high-performing fastening solutions for the building envelope and many other construction applications, as well as advanced engineering fasteners predominantly for the automotive industry. In addition to providing extensive new manufacturing space and a logistical control centre 40% more storage capacity, the expansion includes a state-of-the-art upgrade to the EJOT Applitec centre – already unique in the industry. Unlike any testing and R&D facility available in the UK, this ‘application technology’ facility will be triple the size of the existing, providing a resource for fastener testing and new product development in conjunction with OEMs. The resources available will include two new environmental testing laboratories where the longterm performance of EJOT products can be reliably assessed. Robert Hardstaff, Managing Director at EJOT UK said: “Our ethos of ‘converting customer problems into product solutions’, both

More than 15% of EJOT UK's head office staff are part of Apprenticeship or higher career education schemes

reactively and often proactively to prevent problems evolving in the first place, requires us to have the right technical resources and quality procedures in place to meet whatever challenges our customers face.” In addition to expanding production of EJOT’s core range of fasteners and creating a platform to develop EJOT UK’s future workforce, the extended site will include new facilities for manufacturing the LIEBIG range of heavy duty anchors – a brand the EJOT Group acquired from Finnish company Sormat in 2017. Robert continues:“The investment programme represents so much more than just a building extension. It supports EJOT’s family business approach that drives our global strategy to continuously re-invest profits into the business and futureproof our employment needs by providing youth career

The Quality Connection 44

opportunities in highly skilled and technical roles.” • September/October 2021

EJOT UK currently has 10% of its UK HQ workforce benefitting from an apprenticeship programme in various formats. These apply to different areas of the business ranging from technical services and quality management to engineering and manufacturing. Qualification goals are both vocational and degree level. In addition to the construction market, EJOT provides fastening systems for applications across manufacturing and engineering, including the automotive, white goods and electrical industries. Many of the world’s leading car brands depend on EJOT fastening systems throughout their manufacture as they meet the global challenges to build stronger and build lighter. 

To find out more visit


Zip Water launches touch-free drinking range Leading manufacturer of instant drinking water systems, Zip Water, has bolstered its range of touch-free products in response to the pandemic.

Featured product: Zip HydroTap Touch-Free Wave

The innovative collection, which includes touch-free taps and water dispensers, is aimed at reducing touchpoints and the risk of contamination in communal spaces. The products have been enhanced or developed for the post-pandemic world and have been released to coincide with the gradual return of employees to the workplace. Zip HydroTap Touch-Free Wave – The latest innovation to the HydroTap range, this sleek and streamlined HydroTap dispenses instant filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water without the need for manual touch. Infrared sensors activate the flow and a unique two-point safety lock prevents the accidental dispense of boiling water. Offering 25 times more effective filtration than a standard water filter jug, it is the market leading product. Zip HydroChill HC03 Touch-Free – Ideal for reception areas and meeting rooms, this touch-free floor-standing water dispenser is mains fed and dispenses chilled or ambient filtered drinking water. It includes integrated UV sterilisation technology at dispense point and a nano silver surface coating that kills 99.9% of bacteria in 24 hours. Zip HydroBoil Touch-Free Adaptor – This touch-free adaptor is a simple and low-cost solution for access to contactless boiling water. It is available for both HydroBoil and Econoboil models and is a great solution for ‘back of house’ areas and office kitchens. Instanta SureFlow Touch-Free On-Wall Boiler – This contactless wall-mounted boiler uses infrared sensors to provide instant boiling water. It can be pre-programmed for timed dispense or operate on an on-demand basis. On top of this, being wall-mounted means it doesn’t take up valuable worktop space. Instanta SureFlow Touch-Free Counter-Top Boiler – Choose from on-demand or pre-programmed timed water dispense, for a contactless boiling water solution. Slimline and stylish, this product is also insulated for minimal heat loss.

“Our products have been designed to offer impressive safety innovations as well as style. Not only do they reduce contamination but, with the fast and reliable dispense of drinking water, they limit congestion in communal areas.” Victoria Himsworth HE AD OF M ARKE TING | ZIP WATER UK

For more information about the Zip Water Touch-Free range, which starts from £799+VAT, please visit or call 0345 646 1015

September/October 2021 •





aul Smith, F.H. Brundle’s Head of Marketing, charts the changes in fire regulations implemented over the last four years.

The Grenfell tragedy exposed that, in some parts of our sector, attitudes to fire safety needed to change. In the four years that followed, fire regulations rightly came under forensic attention right across construction and the built environment – and now, products that go into high-rise buildings must meet stringent standards. An independent commission, headed by former Health and Safety Executive Chair Dame Judith Hackitt, conducted a comprehensive investigation with the aim of identifying areas where regulations could be improved.

use on buildings over 18m tall that contained one or more dwellings.

anything below that is considered flammable.

Two years later, it was considering tightening restrictions even further – with a second consultation, held during the spring of 2020, seeking feedback on proposals to ban any combustible products over heights of 11m.

The second rating concerns how much smoke a product would produce, and is represented by an s1, s2 or s3 designation, with s1 being the best, s3 being the worst.

At the time of writing, we are still waiting for ministers to digest the submissions they have received and publish their conclusions – a process that’s understandably been held up by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But it is no surprise that many installers, contractors, building managers and others are steering clear of any combustible product on projects over 11m just to be safe. Fire standards explained. For products intended for use above the current 18m limit, the most important standard is BS EN 13501-1. During the assessment process, products are subjected to a series of rigorous tests, designed to review combustibility, smoke, the spread of flame, and so on. Then, products are given three ratings. The first is represented by a letter – A1 is the highest, F is the lowest. An A1 rating means a product is non-combustible, A2-rated products are described as having limited combustibility, while

The result was a lengthy list of recommendations, which the government accepted, and enshrined in law in December 2018. Contrary to what many were expecting at the time, Dame Judith did not recommend banning combustible materials. However, after conducting its own consultation exercise, the government went on to outlaw their 46 • September/October 2021

Finally, the third assesses how many flaming droplets or particles a product produces when it is on fire – with ratings ranging from d0 to d2. It is also worth noting that products that receive an A1 rating are not given an s or d designation, because if they are totally non-combustible, they won’t produce any smoke, droplets or particles. Quality non-combustible decking Here at F.H. Brundle, when we decided we wanted to develop a quality aluminium decking system suitable for all decking applications including the high-rise constructions, achieving outstanding fire performance was our highest priority. The result was Synergised - a robust, fully fire-rated aluminium decking system designed to meet the rigorous demands and standards of twenty-first century usage. Synergised is A1 & A2fl-s1 fire-rated for commercial and residential buildings, making it ideal for high-rise applications. What’s more, it’s made from structural-grade 6063 T6 aluminium, and finished with a 100-micron Qualicoat™ premium powder coating, giving it exceptional colour retention, even after years of exposure to the sun. Its highly slip-resistant surface is comfortable underfoot, and stays cool in hot weather, while the system itself is extremely quick and easy to install and can offer up to a 50% cost saving when compared to similar systems. 


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NEW ROOF FIRE BARRIER LAUNCHED TO PREVENT FIRE SPREAD Roof systems manufacturer Marley has developed a new fire barrier product following separate reports from the BRE and BBC Watchdog, which both raised concerns that some modern homes could have inadequate, incorrectly installed and, in some cases, no fire barriers. In terraced or semidetached properties, this increases the risk that fire could spread rapidly through roof voids from one home to the next. New Marley Roof Defence will help specifiers and contractors select fire mitigation measures with confidence as the system delivers full protection to prevent the spread of fire from one roof to the next. Achieving up to a 60-minute fire rating, it can also be specified as a comprehensive fire barrier in semi-detached and terraced properties, or as a fire break in expansive buildings with large footprints like apartment blocks. When specified as part of a full Marley roof system it comes with a 15-year guarantee, providing specifiers with assurance around its long-term performance capabilities. Roof Defence has just been short listed in the product innovation category at the Offsite Awards and the Structural Timber Awards.

For more information, please visit

MARLEY ALUTEC LAUNCHES NEW HOPPER RANGE Building upon an existing collection, Marley Alutec has launched a new range of contemporary hoppers, which will be available in three sizes; standard, large and extended. Thanks to the new launch, the company is now able to offer the widest range of aluminium hoppers on the domestic market. Sitting at the top of the drainpipe system, hopper solutions enable the collection of water discharged from flat roof areas through parapet openings. The versatile solution can help to prevent water being trapped on a roof in the event of a downpipe blockage while still allowing the water to safely discharge and overspill. Recently, they have become increasingly popular in the UK, particularly as we experience longer and more intense bouts of rainfall as a result of climate change. With the launch of its new range, Marley Alutec is now able to offer the widest selection of aluminium hoppers on the domestic market, all available in a variety of colours. The company’s solutions have been designed to suit any type of property and can be added easily to any existing Marley Alutec downpipe system. The new range of contemporary hoppers are available in three sizes; standard, large and extended with bespoke hoppers also available to suit more individual home designs.

For more information about Marley Alutec, please visit: 48 • September/October 2021




Our patented Overlay™ Plus underfloor heating board is a low-profile system that has been designed to be installed over existing floors. Making it the ideal product for renovation and new build projects. The new Overlay™ Plus accommodates all types of floor coverings whilst remaining lightweight rigid and easy to install. The panels are formed of extruded polystyrene giving them their lightweight feature while also providing additional properties such as; thermal insulation, decoupling and waterproofing. The panel features two thin layers of fibrereinforced polymer concrete with a polyester fleece-coated layer on top of an reflective aluminium foil. The aluminium layer is designed to evenly diffuse the heat from the pipes over the surface of the board. A version to reduce transmission of impact noise is available with a layer of synthetic rubber on the bottom side. PROPERTIES Overlay™ Plus Panel Dimensions

600 x 1200 x 18mm

Weight of the panel 1.2kg


Heat output at 50°c

82 W/m

Overlay™ Plus Acoustic Panel Dimensions

600 x 1200 x 18mm

Weight of the panel


Thickness of impact sound layer (when present)


Lw weighted impact sound reduction


Heat output at 50°c mean water temp.

82 W/m

For more information, call 01709 770 000

F. Ball and Co. Ltd.’s new Styccobond F58 PLUS is a fastdrying, fibre-reinforced, pressure sensitive adhesive that is ideal for the installation of LVT floorcoverings. Its fastdrying formulation enables LVT tiles and planks to be secured from just five minutes following application of the adhesive, allowing for a much speedier installation time. Developed as a ‘transitional’ adhesive, Styccobond F58 PLUS transitions from a wet-lay adhesive when initially applied to a subfloor, through a semi-wet stage to become fully pressure sensitive. The reinforcing fibres in the formulation provide resistance to lateral movement, holding tiles firmly in place and reducing the potential for them to slide around. As well as helping to reduce movement during installation, the adhesive’s high bond strength and strong initial tack prevents excess adhesive oozing between joints, facilitating easier application. Offering an extended open time of around three hours, when used as a pressure-sensitive adhesive (depending on ambient conditions), Styccobond F58 PLUS allows large areas of adhesive to be applied in one application without risking late placement of the floorcovering. Sales Director Darren Kenyon said: “Styccobond F58 PLUS offers greater flexibility to suit contractors’ needs and preferences, allowing early installation of LVT tiles to significantly reduce waiting time while the adhesive dries and minimising the downtime that areas are out of commission. High coverage rates delivered by each tub of adhesive also represents great value for money.”

For further information on F. Ball and Co. Ltd. Call 01538 361 633, visit September/October 2021 •




GLASS MOVEABLE WALL DELIVERS SPACE FLEXIBILITY TO VIBRANT NEW HOTEL Qbic Manchester, the fourth property in the Qbic portfolio, mixes striking design with admirable eco-credentials and affordability to deliver a truly eclectic destination hotel. Working with Qbic’s own interior designers and contractor, MY Construction, Style was specified to create flexible space in the hotel’s meeting rooms whilst also complementing the breath-takingly chic decor. Global lighting manufacturer, Megaman®, has launched its adaptable, fully fire-rated TEGO 2 integrated LED downlight, ideal for commercial and domestic applications. The innovative and unique LED system features the option to easily change both the beam angle of the fixture and the colour temperature, all while in situ. With Megaman’s cutting edge Dual Beam Technology (DBT), the TEGO 2 has two beam angles - 60° and 36°- available in one fitting. By simply pressing the lens, the beam angle can be changed easily by both the installer and end user. Dual CCT 2800K & 4000K can also be activated by twisting the lens once installed. This allows customers to toggle the colour temperature between warm white or cool white as well as adapting the beam angle with simple light fingertip control – all while the fitting is in situ. With a lumen output of 650lm at 7.5W, the TEGO 2 integrated downlight is also dimmable and rated IP65, making it ideal for environments with higher moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The downlights are also tested to provide fire protection for 30, 60, 90-minute ceiling constructions. The LED system includes up to 50,000hrs usage and a tool-free wiring install with a loop in/loop out function.

Finished in a stunning steel blue, the two identical Dorma Hüppe Variflex glass moveable walls incorporate telescopic end panels, giving a truly aesthetic finish. With 52dB acoustic integrity and semi-automatic operation the walls can be quickly manoeuvred into place, dividing or opening out the meeting areas to meet the demands of the day. Combining a stylish crittall effect with an a reeded manifestation added to the glass to match the room’s fixed glazing, these moveable partitioning walls not only add flexibility to the hotel’s space but also enhance the overall interior design. Qbic has reinvented the concept of affordable hotels, by focusing on what matters to its stylish, savvy, environmentally responsible guests. Located on the lively Deansgate strip, the Manchester hotel offers 261 pet-friendly rooms, boasts comfortable king-sized beds, has high-speed WiFi, plus waterefficient power showers and sustainable toiletries. “This hotel oozes the ‘wow’ factor,” said Andy Gibson, Style’s director for the North. “The moveable walls are effortless to manoeuvre, enabling hotel staff to create either three separate meeting rooms, one large and one small room, or open up the entire area. For more information visit,

For more information about MEGAMAN®, please visit the website at 50 • September/October 2021

or contact

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We’ve combined our relentless pursuit of innovation with Zehnder’s German engineering to bring some new, heavy-weight lifting stations to the commercial and industrial sector. They’re available in one or two pump options and in single or three-phase specifications. So, it doesn’t matter if it’s a factory or an office block, we’ve got the power you need to get the job done. September/October 2021 •



COMMERCIAL DURAPOST® CAN BRING POSITIVE BENEFITS TO LARGER SITES Birkdale has expanded its extensive product portfolio by launching a new patented Commercial DuraPost®. Available in a range of lengths from 2.4m up to 5m, Commercial DuraPost® is scalable for fencing projects up to 4m above the ground and offers an easy to install and hardwearing fencing solution. Commercial DuraPost® is a highly weather resistant fencing solution durability tested to EN 1794-1-2018 with wind speeds of up to 90mph. It is more substantial than standard concrete or timber posts and possesses a superior strength-to-weight ratio in comparison with other metal alternatives due to being manufactured from cold rolled galvanised steel. Crucially, it still maintains the light weight of the standard product, with a 4.0m Commercial DuraPost® weighing just 27.5kg. This key difference means that the Commercial DuraPost®, can be manoeuvred and installed easily, safely and with less man power, saving valuable time on site. It also enables more posts to be transported at once on weight limited vehicles. For larger projects – this can help reduce material deliveries. Furthermore, the steel used to manufacture Commercial DuraPost® is 2.5mm thick, compared to the classic DuraPost®, which has a thickness of 1.5mm, affording the new product even greater strength for larger scale fencing applications.

To learn more about Commercial DuraPost® by Birkdale, please visit: durapost/commercial-durapost

Are you bringing a new plastic product to market? We have the skills, knowledge and ability to take your concept from ‘Art to Part’ - turning it into a viable, saleable product. Size is no issue. We can help you with the design optimisation, choice of polymer, manufacturing method, tooling and process engineering whether the application is for a roof tile, an airbrick, a rebar spacer or a manhole covers Our expertise in design, development and production will get your concept to market fast and right first time. We can also project manage the whole journey for you if required. Give us the brief and we deliver the parts. We are a UK company and have been part of the UK plastics industry for more than 25 years. Give us a call and let us talk through your project.

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Atcham Industrial Estate SY4 4UG 52 • September/October 2021


A REVOLUTIONARY NEW TIMBER DOOR WHICH PROVIDES FIRE & SECURITY INTEGRITY WITH ACCREDITED RATINGS OF FD30 AND SR2. PIONEERING THE STANDARDS OF DOOR SAFETY. FIRE-SECURE® is a Timber Door which offers two unique benefits, timed protection from fire and timed protection from physical attack. Sunray have achieved the ability to provide a 30 minute fire rating on either face of the door (interior or exterior) as well as it having the accredited LPCB SR (Security Levels 1 & 2) certification. The result is a Timber Door which provides aesthetics with a range of colour and veneer finishes, vision panels, locking options and critically with the underlying assurance of Fire and Security protection.






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September/October 2021 •




Jacksons Fencing recently launched a brand new metal post product, Mi-T, to reflect emerging market trends, and offer a sustainable alternative to tackle the destructive nature of concrete posts.

Keystone’s award winning and BBA approved Hitherm+ Lintel provides a low-cost solution for reduced carbon emissions and is up to five times more thermally efficient than a standard steel lintel.

Available in lengths of 2.7m, Mi-T posts can be used with Jacksons’ framed timber fence panels. They’re constructed from hot-dip galvanised steel, to protect them from rust and corrosion, and they can also be powder coated in anthracite grey for a stylish finish.

Every housebuilder is now facing the challenge of enhanced energy efficiency within SAP which forces the designer to address thermal bridging in all its forms. While there are a number of design options available to boost efficiency, none offer the impact and cost efficiency within SAP of the Hi-therm+ Lintel. The Hi-therm+ Lintel uses a patented combination of a polymer isolater and galvanised steel to bond the internal and external walls together by spanning the intervening gap. The polymer isolater provides a powerful thermal break in the lintel and virtually eliminates this key thermal bridge. The Hi-therm+ Lintel has an impressively low thermal conductivity with a Psi value of 0.03-0.06W/mK making it the ideal low cost and sustainable solution for specifiers aiming to achieve building regulations with the fabric first approach. Unlike a two part lintel solution, Hi-therm+ offers the simplicity of a one piece, structurally superior top hat design creating stability during the building process. Hi-therm+ lintels are also available in the same lengths, sizes and loading capacities as the standard range of lintels.

From the rear of the panels, a narrow strip of steel is visible where the panels are fixed to the post. However, from the front, the post can hardly be seen, creating a seamless fencing run. The Mi-T posts hold the same 25-year service life guarantee as the wider Jacksons Fencing range, and Mi-T posts are 100% recyclable, meaning they have an extremely low carbon footprint and environmental impact. Mi-T posts are lightweight and easy to handle, making delivery more efficient as vehicles can transport more at once. Additionally, these posts are considerably lighter than concrete and timber, making them easier to install on-site. This benefits contractors who work alone, as they can be fixed in place easily from one side and don’t involve any lifting. KEY FEATURES 25 year guarantee 100% recyclable Easy to install Made from galvanised steel

Tel: 01283 200 150 54 • September/October 2021

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Take the plunge with Selectaglaze thermal secondary glazing Working with Mount Anvil, a swimming pool area in a Grade II Listed home has been restored to its former grandeur, with the assistance of Selectaglaze sealed units and curved on plan secondary glazing. Kidderpore Hall sits looking over North London, in what was referred to as the Childs Hill neighbourhood of Hampstead; once a relatively rural area. This imposing Greek revival ‘country home’ was commissioned by John Teil in 1843. Over the ensuing decades, it gradually fell into a state of disrepair, until in 2014 it was bought by Mount Anvil for redevelopment. It has been beautifully reimagined through an extensive refurbishment and brought back to a livable state as a single family home. One of the areas of the house which needed particular attention was a new pool and spa area in the basement. The original single glazed sash windows did little to provide heat retention. Selectaglaze secondary glazing was chosen to assist in upgrading the thermal insulation in this Grade II Listed building.

To ensure maximum U-values were gained in this exposed corner of the building, 24mm double sealed secondary glazed units were required with obscure glass to provide privacy. Six window and one door were treated with Series 41 side hung casements, glazed with 4-16-4 gas filled sealed units. However, to match the sightlines of the bay window framing the jacuzzi, curved on plan units were specified. For further information, please contact Selectaglaze on 01727 837271. Email:

NEW £4M FUND LAUNCHED TO INCREASE COMMUNITY LED AFFORDABLE HOUSING Communities will be given more opportunities to build homes in their neighbourhood thanks to a new £4m fund launched by the government.

local housebuilding. It delivers housing that is affordable locally and remains under the control of the community through land trusts or housing co-operatives.

The new grant programme, launched by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, gives community-led housing groups better access to high quality, affordable housing that meets the needs of local communities. The money will help community groups meet a range of costs incurred in trying to develop housing. This could include paying for searches, administration costs or legal advice, design work and planning applications.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “Communityled housing is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving their housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities where mainstream housebuilders are unable to deliver.

The community-led approach involves community-based groups taking responsibility for 56 • September/October 2021

"The Community Housing Fund has been set up to support housing schemes that are truly community-led and will last for generations to come, helping ensure we build back better.”








How is the UK construction sector tackling the climate crisis?

COP26 will be all about the pricetag – but we can’t forget the tech

What is the role of boilers in reducing carbon emissions?


58 • September/October 2021


How is the UK construction sector tackling the climate crisis?


n 2019, the UK construction industry produced 13.5 million metric tons of CO2, which is around 3% of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions from that year. 21-22% of the UK’s total carbon emissions (including imported emissions) are also directly controlled by the built environment sector.

We previously reported that the sector can reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but what is the sector doing to tackle the significant number of emissions that it’s responsible for and are there any barriers preventing it from reducing them? Here at Building Products, we’ve taken a closer look. The CO2nstruct Zero Program The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) recently launched CO2nstruct Zero, an industry-wide program, delivered in agreement with the Government, to drive carbon out of the construction sector. In the Performance Framework for the plan, a number of commitments made by the construction industry to reduce carbon emissions were set out: •

Working with the Government to deliver retrofitting to 27 million homes by 2040

78% of diesel plant to be eliminated from construction sites by 2035

From 2022, we will give all our clients the chance to become

net-zero by offering alternative low carbon design options •

We will target 1,500 of the sector’s businesses and clients to sign up to a measurable carbon reduction plan (including Race to Zero, Science based Targets or Climate Hub) by 2025

At the time of its release, Andy Mitchell, Co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, commented: “It is a bold and ambitious plan, laying out the priorities to deliver a fundamental change in the sector. “The CLC’s role is not to develop new solutions, roadmaps or new pathways – there are many groups in the industry well placed to do this – but we believe that the CLC does have a critical role to play in bringing people together to consolidate collective actions and plans for the sector. “We can help drive change by helping to share innovative solutions and set transparent goals and clear actions that everyone can help to achieve.” The first progress report of the scheme is expected in the Autumn, which will enable an assessment of its initial success to be made. However, the CO2nstruct Zero scheme is not the only scheme designed to reduced emissions.


September/October 2021 •



We spoke to Alexandra Jonca, Project Officer for the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap at the UK Green Building Council, who commented: “We are beginning to see an increase in initiatives for specific supply chains and built environment sectors. “The UKGBC Whole Life Carbon Roadmap sets out a carbon budget for the UK Built Environment sector to allow the sector to track its progress in reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050. “The Roadmap also sets out the policies and actions that will be needed for this transition, building on existing work in the industry. We are seeing sub-sectors (for example retail) publish their own decarbonisation roadmaps. “Companies and businesses are also taking action – 47 UK companies have signed up to the World Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which asks companies to achieve net-zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030 and to advocate for a netzero built environment.”


Zero-Carbon housing The Government’s Zero Carbon Policy scheme has required all new homes built from 2016 to mitigate the carbon emissions produced on-site because of the regulated energy use. But with the announcement of the Future Homes Standard, plans to create more energy-efficient homes and business have been accelerated. Under the Future Homes Standard, all new homes are expected to produce 75-80% lower carbon emissions compared to current levels by 2025.


Under this standard, new homes built from 2021 will also be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions. But to successfully deliver these lowcarbon homes, support from housing developers is essential, so to what extent are they providing it and is this standard being met? One company supporting the delivery of zero carbon homes is Sero, an energy service and tech company based in Cardiff, who recently launched a New Build Specification to help others in the industry deliver truly net-zero in operation homes. The publication of their specification follows the recent release of the Welsh Government’s latest Development Quality Requirements, Creating Beautiful Homes and Places, which requires that all newly built social homes in Wales will need to be fossil fuel free and reach the highest energy efficiency standards moving forward. Andy Sutton, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Sero, explained: “We’re sharing this specification to support the faster


and wider adoption of zero carbon new build construction standards as part of the urgently needed response to the Climate Emergency. “We know that homes built to this performance standard will be truly net-zero carbon in operation during the 2030s, although precisely when depends on the individual details of the home and layout. “The performance of the homes will be assessed post-construction to prove their net-zero credentials and we are developing a digital product to make this as simple as possible.” In April 2021, housing developer Etopia Homes also became the UK’s first developer to commit to achieving an EDGE Zero Carbon certification. This is a certification scheme run by Edge Buildings, which recognises homes that achieve a 100% reduction in operational emissions. Speaking at the time of the announcement, Joseph Daniels, CEO and Founder of Etopia Group, said: “The UK is in the midst of a dual crisis: climate change and a shortage of homes.

“Our commitment to achieving the EDGE Zero Carbon certification at Juniper Place is just the beginning of our journey to revolutionising the delivery of green homes across the UK. “Our data-led, technology-driven approach will ensure that we’re able to meet the certification’s stringent criteria, optimise our methods of delivering zero-carbon homes, and actively offer a ready-to-go solution to the UK’s climate change and housing crises.” The following month Starship also launched its first zero-carbon affordable homes project, a 105home development at the site of the 2017 gas explosion on the Wirral. However, earlier in 2021, the Government announced it was scrapping the Green Homes Grant Scheme after just 12 months. This scheme was set up to fund energyefficient home improvements and during the time it was running, 22,165 grants worth £94.1m were issued. Scrapping the scheme prompted widespread criticism from those in the industry.

“A move away from this spending commitment will undoubtably cost jobs and affect livelihoods at a time when our economy is on its knees. The government needs to seriously rethink this and deliver on the promises they have made. “Its commitment to achieving netzero by 2050 looks almost impossible without the widespread uptake of measures that will improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock – which is among the worst in Europe.” Whilst it’s important for new homes in the UK to be built with low-carbon technologies, the majority of Britain’s 29 million housing stock have been up for some time and many of them are not even close to meeting the performance levels required by the government’s Future Homes Standard. The Green Homes Grant was an important measure in addressing the disparity in energy-efficiency between new and existing UK homes, so it’s scrapping could be a major backwards step in the construction and home improvement sector’s fight to tackle climate change. Supply chains and the way buildings are being constructed “We need to increasingly look at buildings and products through a whole life carbon lens – decisions cannot be made without the consideration of their life cycle impacts”, said Tom Spurrier, Project Lead for the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap at the UK Green Building Council. “The product and construction stages are significant contributors to the whole life carbon footprint of a building and can be responsible for 50% of a building’s emissions.

Ian Henderson Managing Director, Boiler Plan UK

Speaking at the time, Ian Henderson, Founder and Managing Director of Cramlington-based Boiler Plan UK, commented: “It is disgraceful that the government has all but scrapped this scheme before it has even got off the ground. “Many businesses, including our own, have invested in infrastructure and people to deliver this initiative in line with the government’s guidelines.

“While there have been improvements in reducing the carbon intensity of material production and we have become better at designing efficient buildings, there are still significant improvements to be made. “Any new buildings must be designed to achieve net-zero, but this will not be enough to tackle embodied carbon, which is going to become a much higher share of the built environment’s carbon footprint. Cont.

September/October 2021 •



“Tackling embodied carbon will likely require the greater reuse of entire structures and materials, reconceptualising how we use buildings, and ensuring there is adequate government support for supporting decarbonisation strategies in high-polluting material industries. “Supply chains cannot decarbonise materials and products without support and demand from other players in the value chain. "One example where businesses have created eco-friendly alternatives to traditional building materials is artificial green walls. These are naturalistic wall panels built from eco-friendly materials, which are produced to directly replicate the organic movement and texture of living walls. "Vistafolia, a global supplier of artificial green walls, recently collaborated with the University of Surrey to create a new base polymer to enhance their artificial green wall product range, with the walls also being built using renewable sources."

Paul Alder Managing Director, Vistafolio

When speaking on the collaboration, Paul Alder, Managing Director of Vistafolia, had this to say: “We are incredibly excited to be working with the University of Surrey on this revolutionary research project, uniting meticulous design with pioneering science to accelerate the creation of a more sustainable product offering for our clients. “Not only will the project increase our own innovation efforts, but 62

the partnership will strengthen our positioning as a UK-led global business within the competitive artificial plant market. We hope to drive sustainability in the sector and encourage our competitors to focus on sustainability as a key issue while pushing the environmental boundaries in R&D and production.” Unfortunately, artificial green walls are more of a niche product, so their environmental benefits are somewhat limited. However, if their eco-friendly technologies were to be utilised to create a substitute for concrete walls, the production of which is particularly damaging to the environment, for example, they could significantly reduce emissions from the built sector. A development in Dallas, USA, was said to be creating the largest green wall in North America on the side of a 26-storey apartment building, so mass utilisation of this technology is, perhaps, within our grasp? So, what more needs to be done to reduce emissions from the sector? Tom said: “We need a comprehensive national strategy around domestic retrofit in the UK, to tackle the issue of our 27 million poorly insulated homes, which are predominantly heated via fossil fuels (gas and oil boilers)” • September/October 2021

“The built environment sector can decarbonise by 2050 using existing technologies and knowledge, but this will require the industry to step up. “We also need additional national policies on energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings, such as the Performance-Based Policy Framework for commercial and industrial buildings. Embodied carbon must be regulated as soon as possible, and the Government needs to deliver on its Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy. Net-zero is possible, but we do need every business in the industry, no matter how big or small, to commit to achieving a net-zero built environment.” Whilst the construction sector has clearly taken significant strides to reduce its emissions, there appears to be a strong case that the government’s proposals do not go far enough to tackle what is a very complex issue. Of course, the Government cannot assume complete responsibility for the need to lower emissions either, and if we are serious about reversing climate change in light of the damning IPCC report, we will all need to work together as best we can. 





Rod Davis and Nick Gander Directors, Energy Carbon

n November, Britain will host one of the most significant meetings of world leaders in human history. Nick Gander and Rod Davies of Energy Carbon argue that they quickly need to move past the question of who foots the bill, and instead focus on the cutting-edge tech that will deliver net-zero by 2050.

And three, ensure that developed countries raise the $100bn a year it’s been calculated will be required to make net-zero a reality, as well as pressure the financial sector to back this up with lending.

need for the world to hit net-zero in time (globally, heating is responsible for nearly half of all energy use, and 40% of the energy-related carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere).

Less talking, more doing Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s number three, the money, that’s likely to prove the biggest and thorniest issue of the lot.

But we’re still miles away from seeing concrete proposals for how those leaps are going to be achieved.

You could be forgiven for not realising that we’re three months away from one of the most important and potentially impactful events of the decade.

Worldwide decarbonisation is going to be unimaginably expensive. And someone has to foot the bill.

In November, COP26 – the 26th UN Climate Change Conference – is coming to Glasgow, at a makeor-break point in global efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change. The consensus now seems to be that the 2020s will be the pivotal decade in the fight against climate catastrophe. With this in mind, the British organisers of COP26 have set themselves three key tasks they want to achieve. One, to set the world on a path to global net-zero by 2050, and limit global temperature rises to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Two, help countries adapt to the fast and frightening climate change they’re seeing already.

But while it’s undeniably a good thing these conversations are going to be had, in a way, it’s depressing that this is the stage we’re still at. Really, these are things that should’ve been decided twenty years ago. We should be well into a comprehensive, worldwide process of rapid decarbonisation by now. But in actuality, we’re still talking about doing, rather than actually doing. And while ball-park budgets have to be set, especially when those budgets are as scarily vast as the ones required in this instance, it still strikes us as strange that we’re about to see all this talk about money, without much of an idea of exactly what it’s going to be spent on.

As a country and as a world, we need to be investing extensively in a whole range of different sustainable heating technologies, suited for every scenario where heating’s needed. Some of the products with the biggest potential to change the way we heat spaces for the better are still relatively unknown. These need to be rapidly brought into the limelight – we’d include the sort of quick-toinstall, sustainably-made far-infrared heating products we provide in that category. And some of the heating technologies that will help take us to 2050 probably haven’t even been invented yet. Arguing over the bill will inevitably be a major part of COP26. But at the conference, and in the months and years that follow it, it’s vitally important that we don’t forget the tech, too. 

In our own area of expertise, heating, there’s a mountain to be climbed if we’re going to achieve the sort of drastic leaps in sustainability we’ll September/October 2021 •



CAPELLA CP-WM-2 WORK MACHINE (NO DOORS) From hauling to towing to security duty, we have the plug-in utility vehicles to meet all your industrial and commercial needs. These cars come standard with material-handling grade Curtis controllers and AC motors built for heavy loads. VEHICLE STANDARD FEATURES 5kW (6.7HP) Motor 48V 450A Curtis Controller Lester On-Board Charger with Bluetooth Inductance-type, 0-5v Double A -Arm independent suspension, with adjustable shock absorbers, best in industry Four Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brake w/hand brake Double-ended Self Compensating” Rack & Pinion” Steering 2 Passenger Max Speed is 27 km/h (19.5 MPH) Minimum Turning Radius is 5.5 m (18 Ft.)

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PIR EVOLUTION HAS CRUCIAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THE ENERGY EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE OF OUR FUTURE BUILT ENVIRONMENT The evolution of Polyisocyanurate (PIR) panels is key to our future built environment’s sustainable delivery and performance. Innovations such as the tongue-and-groove joint which features on all four edges of Eurowall+, Recticel’s full-fill insulation board, have helped further establish PIR performance levels.

also revolutionised the installation process. When installed within a 100mm masonry cavity wall, a 90mm Eurowall+ board ensures a 10mmclear cavity is maintained, allowing traditional bricklaying methods to be followed. This results in reduced labour time and a cost-effective, more sustainable installation.

An ideal solution for cavity wall applications, Eurowall+ achieves lower U-values whilst maintaining traditional cavity widths. This is due to the aforementioned tongueand-groove joint which optimises airtightness, thus making it capable of achieving a U-value of 0.18 W/ m2K in a traditional 100mm masonry cavity wall.

Products such as Eurowall+ are an exemplar of how technical ingenuity can transform a standard PIR panel into a product of outstanding usability and thermal performance.

Powerful in performance yet slight in composition, Eurowall+ has

It confirms the theory that innovation brings reward. In the case of Eurowall+, this means better-insulated, sustainable properties with interiors that optimise comfort and wellbeing for the benefit of the occupier and the surrounding environment. 64 • September/October 2021



An innovative Scottish start-up business has launched a unique rapid-building product which offers an sustainable alternative to traditional building materials.


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Thermally efficiency Upto +65% more than conventional aluminium roof systems Styles

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The purpose designed Stratus Thermal Lantern Roof is discreet yet stylish. Every element has been designed to be exceptional. From the low profile 20˚ pitch that keeps sightlines to a minimum and slimline bars, views of the sky are maximised. The discreet black finish of the perimeter beam ensures that the view of the lantern from above is perfect too - all you’ll see is glass. Designed around an innovative thermally broken system, it provides excellent thermal performance that minimises condensation - while delivering the architectural refinement you’d expect of a high end aluminium lantern system. Available in a range of designs, with sizes up to 3m x 6m, this high end, high performance lantern roof is ideal for modern living. Stratus is high-quality British engineering at its best.

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QuickBlock is simple and easy to use and comes in flat packed form. The product can be used for permanent or temporary structures and don’t require specialist tools, materials or skilled labour. Much like children's building blocks, the blocks are built-in minutes and stacked to create any structure without the need for foundations. Recycled The blocks are manufactured from 100% polypropylene which would otherwise go to landfill. The product has been tested in a variety of applications and the company is open to collaboration with like-minded companies in the construction industry who see the benefits of this sustainable technology. Reusable Increasing the useful life of any product is important in the industry’s journey to net-zero. QuickBlock achieves this by offering a system that can be used many times for multiple projects Structures are assembled, disassembled when no longer required, flat-packed and then used again for entirely different project later. Recently this start-up company won the Circular Economy at the Scottish EDGE final sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland. CEO Andrew Vincent said: “We’ve worked to completely eradicate the virgin materials from our processes whilst maintaining a structural strength and performance of the blocks.”

Get in touch via or email September/October 2021 •





missions from domestic heating currently account for 14% of the UK’s total emissions. As the responsibility of heating the home falls upon the boiler, they account for a large part of domestic heating emissions. So, we thought we’d take a look at what role boilers will play in the future as the UK looks to address the urgent need to lower emissions and combat climate change.

Potential alternatives to fossil fuelburning boilers According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), 23 million homes (85%) are currently connected to the gas grid, using a boiler and wet-based central heating system. The remaining four million (15%) use either oil or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and are not connected to the gas grid.

We spoke to Stewart Clements, Director at the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council, about these technologies and the role he expects them to play in combatting emissions in the years to come. “At the moment there are a range of technologies that could be suitable to decarbonise domestic heating," said Stewart. “The primary among these will be heat pumps and hydrogen boilers. We do not consider that biomass boilers have a role, outside of some niche installations in rural locations.” Interestingly, approximately 8.5 million tonnes of wood goes to landfill in the UK each year, so if more biomass boilers were used, this could also prevent lots of waste from going to landfill.


“UK heating manufacturers are ahead of the curve on developing these technologies”, continued Stewart. “They have developed hydrogen ready boilers that can be installed today. These will then need a minor change for them to be able to burn 100% hydrogen when it is introduced into the gas grid. “The UK boiler manufacturers have committed that these new hydrogen ready appliances will not cost more than an equivalent natural gas boiler. UK heating manufacturers are also developing training courses and consumer educational information to assist the installation of heat pumps. “A range of solutions will be needed and so we need to ensure this range of technologies are ready to be installed in UK homes as soon as possible.”

The thing that gas, oil and liquid petroleum gas all have in common is that they are fossil fuels, although LPG emits virtually no soot and produces extremely low levels of CO2. Therefore, there is a strong need for boilers that are run on sustainable fuels. Two examples of boilers that are run on sustainable fuels are biomass and hydrogen boilers. Biomass boilers use sustainably-sourced wood pellets to product heat and as you might have guessed, hydrogen boilers use hydrogen gas.

However, biomass boilers are usually substantially bigger than gas and other fossil fuel-burning boilers. They’re also considerably more expensive, meaning they may not be suitable for the majority of UK households.

UK’s poorly insulated housing stock It has been previously reported that the UK has some of the worst insulated housing stock in Europe, meaning the effectiveness of hydrogen boilers and other lowcarbon alternatives is limited. Stewart Clements Heating & Hotwater Industry Council • September/October 2021

Stewart continued: “We urgently need the government to step up its efforts in improving the fabric


condition of homes. We need all homes to be at least EPC C as soon as possible. If this is not achieved, it will make the job of reducing emissions much harder.

“UK manufactures have developed hydrogen boilers and hydrogen ready boilers in a very short period”, said Stewart. “This demonstrates the ability of UK companies to innovate when there are clear signals from government. But the current uncertainty over the Heat and Buildings strategy, the demise of the Green Homes Grant and the small amounts of subsidy made available will hinder innovation.

“With regards to upfront costs, we know the government are planning grants for the installation of heat pumps. However, these do not go far enough. They will only fund a very small percentage of the installations needed to accelerate decarbonisation.” Air source and ground source heat pumps are two alternative solutions for sustainably heating the home.

“We are however also seeing exciting innovation in heating controls, which are teaming up with smart meters to help deliver better outcomes to consumers.”

Air source heat pumps take heat from the air and boost it to a higher temperature using a compressor, with the heat being transferred to your home to warm it up.

Smart heating controls can learn your heating routine and set your heating to respond to the weather. By optimising heating in the home, homeowners can save energy and lower their carbon footprint.

Ground source heat pumps harness natural heat from underground by pumping water through it in pipes. The heat pump then increases the temperature, and the resulting heat is used to provide heating or hot water.

However, it is currently estimated that around 5% of UK homes have smart heating controls installed. So, many more installations are needed for the impact to be truly significant.

These technologies are not carbonneutral, however, and nor are they suitable for every UK home.

With the cost of a new combi boiler being around £1,500 - £3,500, even if we start to see the emergence of hydrogen boilers in the domestic environment, there is also the issue of how many homeowners will be able to afford one straight away without government support.

The government also scrapped the Green Homes Grant after just 12 months earlier this year, which could have provided access to heat pumps and other low-carbon technologies for many homeowners. “It is disgraceful that the government has all but scrapped this scheme before it has even got off the ground”, said Ian Henderson, Founder and Managing Director of Boiler Plan UK, at time of its scrapping. “The government’s commitment to achieving net-zero by 2050 looks

Ian Henderson Boiler Plan UK

almost impossible without the widespread uptake of measures that will improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock – which is among the worst in Europe.

So, whilst there is hope that boilers will be able to reduce emissions from homes in the coming years, you could argue that more still needs to be done. 

September/October 2021 •





hen it came to providing a range of bespoke brick slip products to achieve intricate brick features throughout the façade on the buildings in the first phase of the Water Yards masterplan at Canada Water, IG Masonry Support was well-poised to deliver the goods.

Porters Edge, Canada Water is a mixed-use, multi-phased dockside regeneration project in the London borough of Southwark, situated between London Bridge and Canary Wharf. The first phase of this ambitious masterplan included 234 apartments rising up 18 storeys, located in four residential cores surrounding a landscaped courtyard and a 100,000 sq. ft. Decathlon store with a basement car park. The intricate brick features and balconies with brick soffits required 68

IG’s full catalogue of prefabricated components. IG collaborated with delivery architect Stockwool and main contractor Ardmore to design and manufacture bespoke brick slip systems that would achieve the architect’s vision. Porters Edge was a standout programme for IG Masonry Support and required a great deal of innovation and adaptability. IG’s technical team designed and manufactured a bespoke solution to achieve the brick soffits on the balconies. This solution was the first that used an extended B.O.S.S system based on steel. IG also provided hangers, which were flexible enough for movement between the main structure of the balcony and its system. The brick slip soffit balcony system had to be signed off by both the NHBC and the contractor. To obtain approval IG had to provide many calculations on thermal • September/October 2021

expansion, to prove that the brick soffit panel would work with the cladding that surrounds the balcony. IG’s prefabricated brick slip balcony soffit solution enabled Ardmore to achieve the desired brick detail quickly and effectively. For health and safety reasons the soffits were designed to be installed to the balcony on the ground. Once assembled, the whole balcony was lifted into position and connected to the building. The complex brick detail achieved above the windows, openings and recesses throughout the development highlights the design versatility of IG’s offsite soffit solutions. Capable of accommodating any brick type or bond pattern, IG’s technical team created both Brick Slip Lintels and B.O.S.S. units for achieving the stretcher bond detail on a combination of 102.5 and 327.5 soffits.

Ei1000G SmartLINK® Gateway

The smarter way to check every tenant’s safety. At any time.

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Accessible intelligence that can be actioned, reported on and documented

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Enables solution focused asset management







A Revolution In Tenant Safety | 01691 664100 | September/October 2021 •


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September October 2021 Building Products Magazine  

September October 2021 Building Products Magazine  


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