PSBJ February 21

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Public Sector Build Journal February 2021

SUCCESSFUL PROJECT DELIVERY Eight thought-provoking ideas to ensure project satisfaction all round




Issue 102

Tackling climate change amid the ongoing pandemic


An insight into the renewed focus on offsite construction

F. Ball offers crucial preparation advice to avoid floorcovering failures

Introducing Pilkington SaniTise™, a world-first in glazing. Coated with a layer of titanium dioxide, the glass provides antimicrobial properties. Tested by leading universities it helps protect against enveloped viruses. Pilkington SaniTise™. For a healthier, cleaner, safer world. For further information visit


Image ©Ryder Architecture


Hannah Woodger

Rebecca Kemp

Print & Digital Advertising Sam Ball

Jim Moore

Print Design Manager Jack Witcomb

Digital Design Manager

Summers-Inman gives eight thought-provoking ideas to ensure successful project delivery within a challenging setting. See page 08.

Matt Morse


Rachel Pike

Sales Support & Administrator

Klare Porter

Publisher Sam Ball Published by

Cross Platform Media Ltd.

Barham Court, Teston, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5BZ 01622 232725

Welcome to the February issue of PSBJ... You could say we are well-versed in lockdown best practice by now, but even as we find ourselves immersed in round 3.0, concerns are mounting for the safety of construction workers forced to press on and commute into inner-city sites. Prompted by images of overcrowded Tube stations, recent press has highlighted construction workers’ fears over travel into sites (construction is deemed “essential” by the UK Government) saying these people feel let down and have called for a pause. As an industry, we have praised our own resilience to this global crisis and have hailed the swift uptake of COVID-secure measures so that the country can continue operating in some capacity. But at what cost? Join our debate on Twitter, where you can give your views on whether construction workers are right to be concerned, and, if so, what more can be done. Throughout the past year, the importance of safe, rapid construction has never been more apparent, and offsite manufacturing has seemed to play a crucial part in achieving this and does, in turn, require less workers to be on construction sites. In this month’s issue, we shine a light on the surge in offsite construction for healthcare. Turn to page 14, where Premier Modular’s Managing Director, David Harris, discusses why a renewed focus on offsite construction is helping the sector address some of its biggest challenges. Elsewhere, TÜV SÜD Dunbar Boardman advises on how to mitigate the risk of facade warranties being invalidated, TG Escapes discusses the benefits of using timber in education buildings and V4 Services showcases its delivery of a world-class leisure facility.

PSBJ is a proud supporter of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.

Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and return addressed envelope. No responsibility will be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editor's hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographics or artistic belongs to Cross Platform Media Ltd. The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not necessarily represent the view of the publisher. The Publisher does not accept any liability of any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Don’t forget, you can also access all of the magazine’s features, product news and supplier information on PSBJ’s user-friendly and engaging website. Fully responsive, the website allows you to read all the latest stories on-the-go either on your phone or tablet. Simply visit


Hannah Woodger • Editor • Find us on Social Media:      @psbjmagazine



06 News

A round up of the latest industry news, including charity events, awarded contracts, completed projects and much more.

08 Upfront

Summers-Inman gives eight thought-provoking ideas to ensure successful project delivery within a challenging setting, with reference to its ongoing involvement as project manager of three primary schools in Newcastle upon Tyne.

12 Leisure

Public sector consultancy V4 Services has worked in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to develop and open Northern Ireland’s new flagship leisure facility.

14 Healthcare


David Harris, Managing Director of Premier Modular, looks at the renewed focus on offsite construction and how it is helping to address some of the biggest challenges in the healthcare sector.

18 Floors, Walls & Ceilings

22 Legal & Business

16 Housing

20 Fire Protection

24 Education

To increase output while maintaining its quality and improving the energy efficiency of its properties, Yorkshirebased ilke Homes turned to Euramax for its windows and doors.

Louisa Eyles, Commercial Marketing Manager at Amtico, explores the vital role flooring has to play in modern healthcare environments.

Adam Jurka from Ramtech Electronics looks at why buildings with dangerous cladding need to follow NFCC guidance and move to safer, more permanent interim measures to protect residents from fire.

Mohamed Merchant, Associate Director at TÜV SÜD Dunbar Boardman, discusses how to implement a facade access strategy to mitigate the risk of warranties being invalidated.

Not only does timber have significantly less environmental impact than steel or concrete, it has other properties which bring additional benefits to those using an education building day in, day out. TG Escapes’ Mark Brown explores further.

Specifying a CFA member for your next flooring project could mean the difference between success — or a flooring failure. Most of the UK’s largest and best known Manufacturers, Distributors, Contractors and Consultants are CFA members, and for good reason. • CFA members promote high standards, knowledge and expertise • Specifying CFA members will maximize your investment and minimize costly flooring failures • CFA members have to pass a strict vetting process

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26 Talking Point

Liam Gillard, Programme Manager at Salix Finance, discusses the need to tackle climate change amid the ongoing pandemic, and the importance of making the most of current vacant buildings to invest in energy improvements.

28 Infection Control

COVID-19 has brought forward the mainstream adoption of touchless washroom technology. explores some of the options available.

30 Technical Focus

F. Ball and Co. provides crucial advice to guard against the problems caused by excess subfloor moisture when installing floorcoverings.



Following the Government’s plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Tom Murray, Specification Director at Baxi Heating, discusses what this means for the social housing sector.

34 Product Showcase

A dedicated focus of industry news, products and case studies to help specifiers and local authorities make informed decisions.

FIRE DOOR HARDWARE As important as the door

A fire door is an essential part of a building’s passive fire protection system. A critical component of every fire door is the hardware on it.

WOOD WAX FINISH Osmo has the solution for all interior wood surfaces! • Water and dirt resistant • Especially suitable for furniture and DIY projects • Suitable for children’s toys according to EN71.3 • Mix of transparent, intensive or custom colour tones • No sanding necessary for future applications – simply re-apply! • Microporous, breathable finish. Doesn’t crack, peel or flake

At ZEROplus we have been independently fire testing door hardware for over 20 years, to be able today to offer an extensive range of tested products. Seals Hinges Locks Euro Cylinders Lever Handles Door Closers Letter Plates

Door Stays Vision Frames Louvres Door Viewers Flush Bolts Panic & Emergency Exit Hardware




INDUSTRY UPDATES Each month PSBJ rounds up the latest public sector construction updates, from new contracts to industry awards.

Stepnell hits major milestones on three southern school schemes

Works start on £3.4m Staffordshire healthcare facility Midlands contractor G F Tomlinson has commenced works on the new Greenwood House Medical Centre in Burntwood, Staffordshire. Due for completion in September, the new £3.4m medical facility, located on Lichfield Road, will bring first-class healthcare facilities to the community, relieving the pressure of local hospitals. The new single-storey centre will consist of 12 consulting rooms, five treatment rooms, a healthcare and phlebotomy room, and a health education space with an adjoining pharmacy unit, and will be built on a site previously occupied by a residential care home, which has been vacant since 2008. The scheme has been funded by NHS England’s Estates and Technology Transformation Fund, which aims to improve healthcare services for patients across the country with modernised facilities and technology. Procured through the Staffordshire County Council framework, G F Tomlinson has been selected to provide construction works for the site and this is the fifth project the contractor has procured through the framework since 2016.

Award-winning construction partner Stepnell has made significant progress with three of its education projects in the southern region – Gordon’s School, Canford School and The Woodroffe School. The projects, which all include the development of brand-new facilities for students and staff, have recently reached substantial construction milestones and contribute to Stepnell’s ever-growing portfolio of education clients. Rob Speirs, Regional Director at Stepnell, said: “We’re excited that Stepnell is continuing to strengthen its position as a leading contractor in this sector and we are proud of our involvement in these projects that will help to facilitate learning for generations to come. We will continue to remain on site throughout this next stage of lockdown as long as it is safe to do so. We are committed to delivering our projects on budget and on time, but the wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance. We will carry on implementing these health and safety precautions with full vigour while monitoring any changes in the Government guidelines to make sure we are adhering to the rules set in place.”

Property industry ‘must do more’ to improve perception among UK communities The property industry must do more to demonstrate the positive impact of construction projects on communities across the UK, according to new research by leading public sector procurement authority, SCAPE. In this latest nationwide research, SCAPE found that as few as one in five (20%) people in the UK believe that property developers will deliver against the commitments they make in relation to social value and improving local communities. The research forms part of Social Value: More Than Metrics, a new report by SCAPE that explores the evolution of social value in the public sector and the impact that contractors and developers are having on local communities. Mark Robinson, Group Chief Executive at SCAPE, said: “In the seven years since the Social Value Act was passed, the new duties required in procurement have played a valuable role in guiding public bodies and contractors to consider the wider impact of public investment on society. However, as we await the imminent launch of the Government’s Construction Playbook – which will increase the focus on socioeconomic improvement – our research shows that work still needs to be done to improve public perception regarding the benefits being created through construction projects.” Read the full report here: https://www.


Clatterbridge Cancer Centre scoops more design awards The new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool is transforming the lives of people in the city and improving the standards of cancer care in the UK, whilst continuing to win accolades for its design and construction. The cancer hospital beat a high calibre of competition from projects across the North West to win the Project of the Year in the North West Regional Construction Awards. The project is part of a £162m investment in transforming cancer care for the 2.4 million people of Cheshire and Merseyside – a region where people are more likely to develop cancer than almost anywhere else in the country. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust and its in-house property and estates team, PropCare, coordinated a collaborative design and delivery team for the project with BDP (architect), AECOM (multi-disciplinary engineering services) and Laing O’Rourke (lead contractor) working closely together to design and deliver the project from concept through to completion. The North West Regional Construction Awards are hosted by the School of Science, Engineering and Environment at the University of Salford.


Major extension planned for hospital’s mental health unit Mental health provision in the North East is set for a boost following the award of contracts to deliver an extension to the Sunniside Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead. Procured through national framework provider Pagabo’s Professional Services Framework, national project and programme management consultancy Faithful+Gould and leading construction firm Morris & Spottiswood – which were appointed through Pagabo’s Medium Works Framework – will deliver an extension to the mental health facility, which is run by Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. Karen Carter, Regional Relationship Manager for the North at Pagabo, said: “We’re delighted to have been involved in the administration of this vitally important development of the Sunniside Unit’s mental health facility – a service that will help to support members of the surrounding community for years to come.” The Sunniside Unit provides inpatient admission, assessment, treatment and discharge planning to any patient within the Gateshead area who either has a diagnosis of a functional mental health illness (over the age of 65), are presenting symptoms of acute psychiatric distress and require assessment for diagnosis or are presenting acute psychiatric distress and are in crisis where there are risk indicators of danger to themselves or others.

Wates Construction starts on site at Carlisle leisure hub redevelopment National contractor Wates Construction has now started on site at the Sands Centre, after being appointed by Carlisle City Council to deliver the £21.5m leisure and community hub. The project will see the redevelopment and expansion of the current facility at The Sands Centre, incorporating state-of-the-art facilities. Set across two storeys and accessed by a bespoke, internal street, the new-build extension will add 40,000ft2 to the existing building, with the redeveloped centre offering facilities including an events hall complete with a viewing gallery, a four-court sports hall, a 25m swimming pool with spectator seating and a 20m learner pool complete with an innovative moveable floor. Wates has been appointed to deliver all build works, to be carried out in strict accordance with COVID-19 operating procedures, and carefully planned to avoid disruption to the existing Sands Centre. As part of its enabling works, Wates has supported Carlisle City Council and its leisure provider GLL by creating a temporary leisure facility at the nearby Newman’s School to support capacity for the community.

Pick Everard announces Community Development Partnerships consortium

WBD advises Northumberland County Council on £43m learning and leisure campus

Community Development Partnerships is a brand-new consortium – led by national independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard – that has gained supplier status on Pagabo’s new national developer-led framework, worth an estimated £47bn. The Pick Everard-led consortium comprises Watkin Jones PLC, Charles Street Buildings (Leicester) Ltd, Trebor Developments LLP, APB (Leicester) LLP, Sowden Group Ltd and Venture Properties Group Ltd. Acting on behalf of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, the Pagabo framework will cover a range of developer-led schemes within the construction industry and is open to all public sector bodies including schools, universities, local authorities, police and emergency services, NHS organisations, health and social care providers and housing associations, as well as central Government departments and the Ministry of Defence. Pagabo’s framework – which will run for five and a half years – features nine lots covering three contract structures: Property Development via Joint Venture and Special Purpose Vehicle, Long Income Lease and Lease Back, and Property Development Single Site by Development Agreement.

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised Northumberland County Council on the development of a multi-million-pound learning and leisure campus in Ponteland. The construction of the £43m campus is now complete and comprises a 52-place nursery, 420-pupil primary school and 1600-pupil secondary school, all on the same site, alongside a state-of-theart leisure centre, cafe, sports bar and library. The facility opened its doors on 3rd November. A multidisciplinary WBD team advised on the project led, on the construction side, by Partner Simon Rowland and Chartered Legal Executive Helen Coxon and, on the projects and procurement side, by Partner Iain Greenshields and Associates Peter Cantwell and Nicholas Moss. Simon Rowland, Partner and Head of WBD’s Construction and Engineering team, commented: “Helping our clients to support the North East community and economy is an important strategic goal for WBD. We’re thrilled to have supported Northumberland County Council so it could provide the community of Ponteland with this ground-breaking scheme, which is the first of its kind in the country and one of the council’s largest ever capital programmes.”


UPFRONT All images ©Ryder Architecture

THREE NEWCASTLE PRIMARY SCHOOLS PROGRESS DESPITE THE PANDEMIC The coronavirus pandemic has presented the greatest global challenge in living memory and has had a significant impact on our daily life, society and the economy. It has necessitated all project managers to review the way they are delivering projects on the ground because working remotely and following social distancing measures have added extra pinch points in a typical construction programme. is no less so than T his on a complex threesite project Summers-Inman is involved in for Aura Newcastle. Aura Newcastle, an established building consultancy organisation, was appointed by Newcastle City Council to deliver the design and build schemes for SLR Schools Batch 1 – the construction of Simonside Primary School, Broadway East First School and Kingston Park Primary School, which are all located on the fringes of Newcastle upon Tyne. The appointment has called upon every aspect of the firm’s professionalism and expertise in undertaking the multi-discipline roles of project manager, employer’s agent, quantity surveyor and principal designer within the particularly challenging COVID-19 site setting.


Driven by the projected growth in demand for school places across Newcastle, stemming from the large-scale housing developments planned and underway in the north and outer west of the city, these will generate significant numbers of school-age children, particularly primary-age pupils. SummersInman was successful in securing its roles to build these schools on the strength of the added value its teams can bring to the table in education sector construction projects. Andrew Rapmund, Associate Director at Summers-Inman, who is undertaking the roles of Project Manager and Employer’s Agent, talks about his work on this project and provides eight thought-provoking ideas to ensure successful project delivery within a challenging setting.

Eight ideas to ensure successful project delivery With any project we begin, we consider each to be unique in its own right so that no assumptions are wrongly made about how things might develop. Instead, we start by asking what the specific objectives are for the client and the project; what are the key measures of success and what are the key risks to achieving them. Once we understand these three elements, we tailor our knowledge and skills by using the RIBA Plan of Work as the framework for managing progression of the scheme, culminating in co-ordination and delivery of formal reports at the end of RIBA Stage 2 and RIBA Stage 3.

Along the way, we operate with eight steps, which we believe result in the delivery of a successful project – on time, to budget, which meets everyone’s expectations and without any unforeseen occurrences – notwithstanding the challenging environment in which we are all currently working.

1. Strong brief management Within our firm, we ensure that our brief is robust and reliable. We allow time in the programme to sufficiently engage in enduser consultants and detailed briefings. We always challenge requirements in all respects – functionality, adaptability, specification and cost. We establish that there is a clear, simple document which captures all the key requirements and to which everyone is working.


The team: The delivery team consists of: Newcastle City Council – client Aura Newcastle – client in partnership with Newcastle City Council Robertson Construction Group – main contractor Ryder – architect firm Summers-Inman – project manager, employer’s agent, quantity surveyor and principal designer Desco – mechanical and electrical design services WSP – civil and structural/ fire/highways consultant Oobe – landscape architect

2. Stakeholder engagement We liaise with stakeholders throughout the construction process, hold consultations and feedback sessions. We ensure that the project programme has the right amount of time afforded for these consultations so in the early stages of our project these meetings will be focused around design progress, risk review, value management/ design workshop and design coordination meetings, which are reported and summarised at the monthly project board via our dashboard report.

3. Effective risk management Too often risk management is merely a workshop that ticks a box but does not deal with the issues in a meaningful way. We

address this by using a simple but effective tool – a key issues and risks log, each with an action owner and a red, amber, green priority. Any more than 15 to 20 items and it becomes unmanageable and ignored. We report on these key items every month and review them in design team meetings.

4. Check in with your design team We pride ourselves on being good and diligent managers ensuring that the design team sticks to the brief – it is surprising how often members of the team can stray off course – and we challenge all unnecessary enhancements or expensive details. We make sure the programme has enough time for everyone

to do their job properly and coordinate information – allowing too little time for this is a false economy.

is that obtaining input from constructors can provide a valuable insight to the best route to market.

5. Establish effective procurement

6. Strategic programming

A well-considered procurement strategy is one of the key aspects of project delivery. Too often, design teams revert to what they have done before, often without consultation with potential contractors prior to tender, who are then expected to understand, price and plan a complex project in six to eight weeks. We believe that this is a missed opportunity. We engage with contractors prior to completion of Stage 3 design and ask them to critique it. This way, at Stage 3, changes can be made without significant compromise. A further bonus

We prepare a master programme, which is developed and agreed with the client and project team. The master programme is compiled from a schedule of main activities, milestones and constraints applicable to the project so that it meets the client’s principal objectives. It allows enough time to enable the design team to fully complete and coordinate the design. Likewise, it is vital that an early assessment of the construction duration is made during programme development as the overall completion and ‘go live’ date of the facility will be heavily influenced by this. 



7. Be cost-control efficient At Summers-Inman, we pride ourselves on the accuracy, robustness and detail provided in our cost-planning activities. We maintain a vigilant overview of costs throughout, including challenging design consultants if we believe better value solutions are available. We work on the principle of considering best value, rather than least cost and our lifecycle costing expert is on-hand to consider solutions not just from a capital expenditure perspective but overall best value.

8. Manage change effectively Once you have established the project budget and programme, it is important that both cost and programme are maintained as the design develops. Our baseline documents for managing any change are the project cost plan and master programme. We instigate a change control system to ensure any changes that may have a material effect on scope, cost, quality or programme are adequately assessed and managed to provide all necessary information for informed decision by Aura and Newcastle City Council on any proposed changes.


UPFRONT But it is not just enough to implement these eight processes. We also need to consider the sustainable element to construction and, moving forward from the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of working together collaboratively. At Summers-Inman, we are very much aware of the environmental impacts that construction can cause and are active in ensuring we are building our way to a sustainable future. By working closely with Ryder Architecture on all these schools, we are building to current building regs Part L.

Thinking of the future Thankfully, the coronavirus pandemic has not affected progress on these schools. However, it has resulted in some financial implications on current and future contracts. Therefore, it is essential to proactively plan to address foreseeable implications by engaging at an early stage with the contractor, subcontractor and supply chain to take the necessary steps to mitigate delays. It is vital that we all work collaboratively, as a team, to de-risk the future by proactively planning for it. Seek compromise and expect that things will be different, reassure people, promote collaboration and a positive attitude! Kirsty Thirlwell, Chief Executive of Aura Newcastle, said: “These schools will provide a stimulating learning environment which will bring to life 21st-century education for teachers and pupils. We are delighted with the work that Andrew Rapmund, SummersInman Project Manager, has produced so far. He is extremely competent, a strong leader and remarkable in his delivery, which is an excellent representation of the services Summers Inman provide.” 



DELIVERY OF WORLD-CLASS FACILITY EASY AS ABC Public sector consultancy V4 Services has worked in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC) to develop and open Northern Ireland’s new flagship leisure facility.


outh Lake Leisure Centre is the latest completion for V4 Services in the leisure sector and is the largest project in the council’s ambitious capital investment programme. Located overlooking the stunning Craigavon Lakes, the new state-of-the-art facility offers a 50m pool, the largest gym in Northern Ireland, an eight-court sports hall, multiple studios, a health and wellbeing suite, a children’s leisure pool, a soft play zone and Café IncredABLE, a social enterprise that creates meaningful opportunities for people with a learning or intellectual disability, including those with autism. One of the most significant recent investments in health and wellbeing in Northern Ireland, the £35m facility has been developed to meet the needs of a growing population and increased


demand for a range of leisure and professional sporting enthusiasts regionally. Construction of the multimillion-pound transformative build project was undertaken by local contractor Farrans, with consultancy advice and support delivered by V4 Services throughout the entire project lifecycle, from preliminary concept and masterplanning to design, implementation and aftercare. Selected by the council in 2015, the V4 Services specialist leisure team delivered a number of services over the course of the project, including earlystage affordability, needs analysis, business planning support and procurement support and advice, utilising evidence-based practices to drive all decision-making throughout the process. The business case developed by V4 Services was predicated

on a rationalisation plan that involved the replacement of three older facilities in the Craigavon area with this world-class facility. Whole-oflife savings were generated to fund the capital costs and to reduce dependency on council funding in the longer term. After completing the business case and developing the investment strategy, the team also provided the strategic advice and support initially before moving to the necessary practical and operational inputs for the highly ambitious project. Led by Steve Laird, the multidisciplinary team combined experience across leisure operations, financial, procurement and sales and marketing to ensure the project was delivered efficiently and that any challenges were quickly and effectively overcome. A significant challenge the team

encountered was a need to break down the silos that are barriers to transformation. To overcome this, regular review meetings were held across the council, allowing new relationships to develop and different departments to highlight areas that needed consideration based on their specific expertise. Mark Parkinson, Strategic Director People at ABC Council, said: “The council’s vision was very ambitious and required a major cultural change and transformation programme, as well as an investment programme. We appointed V4 Services as our trusted advisors in 2015 and they have been our business partners throughout the lifecycle of the project, culminating in the opening of the South Lake Leisure Centre on 2nd November 2020.  “V4 provided total commitment to achieving our

LEISURE project objectives, and have been very hands-on, applying their wide-ranging sector knowledge across all aspects of the project and creating a real culture change in how people behave. The team were dedicated to the project and the timeline, and wholly supported the council during the pandemic, ensuring safe and controlled management and support. I would have no hesitation in recommending the V4S team to any other authority that needs to turn their vision into reality.” Lesley Kippax, Director at V4 Services, added: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this spectacular leisure facility for the people of Armagh, Bainbridge and Craigavon. Our dedicated team invested themselves right from the start of the project to carve out a pathway to delivery that would support the council’s overall mission and bring their ambitious vision to life. I’m hugely proud of what the team have achieved with ABC Council and the relationships we have developed.” As part of the council’s commitment to high levels of spend within the local market and small- to medium-sized enterprises, local contractor Farrans Construction was appointed to lead the construction of the project. As well as creating more than 500 jobs during the construction phase and dedicating half a million man hours to the project, Farrans was committed to providing a positive legacy in the local community through skills development, education and local capital investment. 



THE SURGE IN OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION FOR HEALTHCARE In this article, David Harris, Managing Director of Premier Modular – one of the UK’s leading offsite specialists – looks at the renewed focus on offsite construction and how it is helping to address some of the biggest challenges in the healthcare sector. is definitely a surge T here in interest in offsite construction in every sector but particularly in healthcare. The speed and quality benefits of taking a manufacturing approach to construction are clear and have been well-documented – but are now more relevant than ever before. The pressure on health services and particularly on emergency care units has continued to rise year on year – and then the pandemic hit.

Complex, specialist and highly-serviced facilities The buildings required to expand capacity in the NHS can be complex, specialist and highly-serviced facilities and needed on already extremely constrained hospital sites. There is also the critical issue of minimising disruption to the provision of existing hospital services during construction. These requirements are increasingly being met using innovative offsite solutions – on severely restricted sites, in up to half the time of site-based


building methods, with much less disruption to patient care, greater certainty of completion on budget and on programme, and to stringent quality standards. With good design, highlyefficient processes and a robust and flexible building solution, offsite construction can deliver comfortable and welcoming environments for patients and staff, with complete long-term flexibility to meet changing local needs, in compliance with NHS best practice for building design – and on some of the UK’s most challenging building sites.

The implications of COVID-19 on the offsite sector The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a renewed focus on offsite manufacturing. UK construction was already facing huge challenges around productivity which has a major impact on the affordability of delivering new public sector projects – from hospitals to schools and social housing. The short-term impact of COVID-19 on UK construction

was dramatic with many projects halted completely during the first lockdown, which resulted in delayed completions. Sites re-opened but many are having to operate at a reduced level to meet social distancing requirements. In contrast, work continued on almost all Premier sites at every stage of the pandemic. This proves how offsite construction can mitigate the effects of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and demonstrates how the approach can radically reduce risk on time-sensitive and fast-track projects. It is clearly easier to implement COVID-safe procedures in a controlled factory environment – as well as to maintain consistently higher build quality.

The increasing use of offsite in the healthcare sector The Government has announced significant investment in healthcare – as well as in infrastructure and education – and now with a welcome presumption in favour of offsite.

Flexibility is key. Offsite manufacturers, such as Premier Modular, that can provide buildings manufactured and fitted-out entirely off site – or who have the expertise to marry offsite with in-situ construction methods to create hybrid solutions – can better meet individual project requirements. Offsite building solutions can deliver purpose-designed healthcare facilities and extensions for permanent applications, or high-quality temporary buildings to meet short-term increases in service demand or for decant use during redevelopments. As well as different building types, there should be the flexibility for the offsite specialist to work as a principal contractor directly for an NHS Trust, as a supply chain partner to a main contractor, or using construction management. Then the opportunities for offsite are tremendous.

Rapid building solutions for healthcare Nightingale Exeter Premier supplied modular buildings spanning more than 1700m 2 to double the size of a re-purposed retail unit to create the Nightingale Hospital Exeter. The 116-bed hospital is designed to provide high-quality specialist care for seriously ill coronavirus patients in the South West. It has also provided additional capacity by delivering safe and fast access to diagnostic testing.

HEALTHCARE Working as a partner to BAM, the integrated modular buildings were configured and installed in just four weeks to accommodate essential facilities for the new hospital. This scale of project would typically have taken around four months from receipt of order to handover. The buildings were fitted-out on site by BAM to accommodate facilities including the pharmacy, staff welfare, catering, utility rooms, patient transfer and stores. Graham Kingdon, Construction Director at BAM, said: “The new hospital is a fantastic facility for the South West and was a tremendous effort by the whole construction team. There was an impressive collective desire and positivity throughout to make this happen and in only 57 days. “Premier rose to the challenge and was responsive to our requirements to help us extend the existing building to deliver this emergency healthcare project to a radicallyreduced programme. They were able to accommodate the client’s design changes and their site team worked well with our project managers so we could co-ordinate M&E installation and fit-out with our supply chain.”

New in-patient accommodation, North Middlesex Hospital Now on site is a £1.1m project to build a 20-bed ward at North Middlesex Hospital. This is being delivered to a very short 16week programme.

Due for completion spring 2021, the contract includes fitting-out with medical gases, CCTV, nurse call systems and a complex air handling system.

COVID test centre roll-out Premier was awarded a multimillion-pound contract by the Department of Health and Social Care to provide bespoke modular buildings for COVID-19 testing. The project was doubled to 50 sites across the UK, from Inverness to Portsmouth. This major national project is supporting the Government in increasing testing capacity in the pandemic and was procured through the Crown Commercial Service. Since the first test centre was delivered in Bolton, Premier has now set up standalone community testing sites in towns and cities across the country including Inverness, Durham, Leamington Spa, Nottingham, Aylesbury, Buxton, Leeds and Liverpool.

Pre-fitted, bespoke test centre buildings Each standalone test site has a 110m2 purpose-designed testing building pre-fitted with eight patient cubicles, hygienic walls, separate staff entrance and exit, test collection and drop-off zones and a family testing room. Premier’s contract also includes the supply of welfare facilities in three buildings to accommodate a PPE room, stores, test preparation, staff rest room, kitchenette and toilets, as well as essential services – water supply, effluent collection and electricity generators.

George Swanepoel, Project Manager for the Havant centre at testing service provider Sodexo, said: “The site set-up and the testing facility at Havant are fantastic. This is a well-designed building which is highly efficient for maintaining patient flows and social distancing. The modular solution is easy to keep clean, is not exposed to the elements and is a safe and comfortable environment for our staff to work in. The building installation went very smoothly in just a few hours. This testing site has had a really positive impact on the local community.”

Optimising the benefits of offsite What we need now is for more enlightened NHS Trusts and building designers to better understand how offsite manufacturing methodologies can be applied to the specification and delivery of healthcare construction projects. To optimise the benefits, there needs to be a more collaborative approach to procurement, early engagement with the offsite specialist and a drive towards best value. 



A WINDOW INTO MODULAR HOMES Three million new homes must be built in England over the next 20 years to solve its housing crisis, a report by housing charity Shelter says. Companies manufacturing new builds in factories possess the ability to speed up the delivery of high-quality, sustainable new housing across the UK. Homes, which creates i lke up to 2000 new factorybuilt homes a year, turned to leading window and door manufacturer Euramax to provide energy-efficient windows and doors for its housing schemes. To increase output while maintaining its energyefficient status, ilke Homes needed to collaborate with like-minded suppliers. When searching for a window and door supplier that could deliver quality while improving the energy efficiency of its homes, it turned to Euramax.

Modular benefits Modular methods of construction (MMC) offer many benefits when compared to traditional building methods. Modular builds can be completed up to 50% faster, are 30% cheaper to build and produce 90% less waste.


The factory-controlled production environment eliminates factors that can often impede construction projects, such as disruption from weather conditions. Control also improves quality, and ilke Homes’ modules undergo stringent quality checks at various stages along the production line to ensure the completed components reach their assembly site without defects. To produce its homes to the highest quality and without delays, ilke Homes needed to work with a reliable window and door manufacturer that could seamlessly integrate into the production line. “We needed a partner that could understand our manufacturing processes and had the capacity to meet our production demands,” said Rachel Kaye, Procurement

Manager at ilke Homes. “We were eager to source a local supplier to help keep our carbon footprint low. That’s when we discovered Euramax, which already supplied its windows and doors to offsite construction projects.”

Tailor made In addition to delivering zero-carbon homes, ilke Homes’ modular builds are fully customisable – right down to each fixture and fitting. “Euramax supplies unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVCu) windows and patio doors to seven of the nine house models we manufacture,” said Kaye. “While the window profiles are all similar, the final product we install always depends on customer requirements and house type. For instance, some of our

schemes need acoustic or light reflecting glazing, whereas others require bespoke coloured window frames. “We pride ourselves on creating modern homes that merge effortlessly into local communities, so the windows and doors we install need to reflect this. As part of our ongoing partnership, Euramax supplies us with stylish products in classic white and anthracite grey. They even sourced a specific grey frame colour for us, called Moondust.” The windows and doors do not only need to look good; they must also meet stringent safety and quality measures. “In our first year of working with ilke Homes, Euramax has supplied windows and doors for 12 of its housing schemes – each with different requirements,” said Richard Banks, Commercial Director at Euramax.


environmental impact than onsite construction, we must do all we can to encourage an ecofriendlier industry.” To further boost the efficiency of deliveries and installation for ilke Homes, Euramax provides module identification numbers (MINs) for each stillage. The identification numbers are specific to the windows and doors for each house and module type, ensuring that the products are installed without hassle.

Communication is key

“Safety is a critical factor and our technical team works to meet the safety requirements for modular homes, which include ensuring each habitable room has a fire escape. We also make certain that all window sizes and apertures, whether a top hung or drop window, remain the same.” Euramax products are certified by the official national police security initiative, Secured by Design (SBD). The initiative tests and certifies products to a set of security, design and manufacturing standards to make sure the windows and doors installed into ilke Homes’ builds are safe and secure.

Time to deliver In addition to supplying safe, customisable and quality products, Euramax also ensures its delivery process reflects ilke Homes’ requirements for quality control and carbon reduction.

“Euramax delivers all its products in stillages, which has numerous advantages for ilke Homes,” explained Kaye. “Firstly, the stillages protect the products during transportation, minimising the risk of damage. The stillages also eliminate unnecessary plastic waste, reducing our environmental impact.” As the deliveries come in one large order, transportation can be kept to a minimum – further reducing the carbon footprint of the production process. Maintaining a low carbon footprint isn’t only important for ilke Homes, it’s also a priority for those that will be living in the finished homes, and for the wider construction industry. Currently, the construction industry is responsible for 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

Furthermore, the Committee on Climate Change estimates that home heating systems are responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – a problem that has been created due to poorlydesigned windows and doors that allow heat to escape. Euramax manufactures double-glazed windows and doors that are rated ‘A’ for high energy efficiency by The British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC). The BFRC rates the efficiency of fenestration products on a scale of A to G, with A identified as the most energy-efficient. “Installing certified energyefficient products is vital for ilke Homes as it allows us to produce homes that contribute to the reduction of emissions the built environment produces,” added Kaye. “While modular construction has a lower

With high outputs and an emphasis on delivering quality, communication between everyone in the modular supply chain is vital to success. From regular monthly meetings to consistent input from Euramax’s technical team, the communication between the two companies has allowed ilke Homes to continue producing homes without fault. In addition, Euramax has delivered installation training to guide ilke Homes’ assembly team on the factory floor. “This additional support has been extremely beneficial in improving the knowledge of the team and efficiency of the production line,” said Kaye. “Besides helping to establish a trustworthy and reliable relationship, the support from Euramax has allowed us to achieve the best outcome for our modular homes.” Euramax continues to support ilke Homes on its quest to bring a greener, smarter, technologydriven form of housebuilding to the mainstream. “ilke Homes are receptive, open and accommodating to ideas from Euramax,” said Banks. “This has made it easy for us to work together, developing specific products and constantly improving efficiency on both sides – what a partnership is all about. “While the UK is boosting its efforts to increase modular construction, it’s evident more must be done to deliver sustainable, affordable housing. Euramax is invested in supporting ilke Homes and looks forward to continuing this partnership, and helping meet this vital demand.” 



CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH Visitors to hospitals or care homes are unlikely to contemplate the type of flooring they are walking on, yet the design and cleanliness of this surface has never been more important. Louisa Eyles, Commercial Marketing Manager at Amtico, explores the vital role flooring has to play in modern healthcare environments.


or many, flooring is simply a functional product that doesn’t justify a second thought. However, it fulfils an incredibly important role in a range of applications, whether fitted in a hospital, care home or GP surgery. Not only does flooring need to provide a durable, easy-to-clean surface to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, but it also has to deliver on a design level to complement interior schemes and balance practicalities. These are especially important when it comes to wayfinding, or zoning, to highlight different areas for visitors and patients.

Practical patterns Wayfinding is essential for any large commercial building, but perhaps none more so than in healthcare settings, where occupants may need to reach their destination swiftly, without anyone guiding them. It is vital that staff, patients and visitors


can easily navigate unfamiliar environments, leading them safely without the need for third-party assistance (such as having to ask someone for directions), which makes the type of flooring a critical element. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) offer a variety of different colours, laying patterns and textures, which can all be used to create pathways in open-plan spaces and corridors, or to give areas distinct identities. For instance, classic parquet is a versatile pattern and can be used to promote movement in hallways, however, its heritage and warmth can also evoke a home-from-home feel for care home residents. Furthermore, using flooring to aid wayfinding can reduce or omit the need for additional signage, while creating an attractive design feature. When utilised in healthcare settings in particular, wayfinding caters for a diverse range of needs. Distinctive, contrasting colours can be used in some environments to signify different departments (e.g. A&E and wards), while others (such as reception areas and waiting rooms) will require more subtle tonal changes. Every project will differ.

Dementia-friendly designs When designing with dementia patients in mind, contrasting colours and overbearing patterns are discouraged. The floor should be viewed as one continuous surface, as any large tonal contrasts can be interpreted as ‘a step’ by dementia sufferers, causing them panic and confusion – which could also result in a fall.

FLOORS, WALLS & CEILINGS While it is essential to keep the hue of a floor consistent in a dementia-friendly care environment, it is equally important that areas such as doors, walls and skirting can be easily distinguished. In particular, the colour of the flooring on stairs should contrast with the walls, so it’s important to choose a flooring material that can be supplied in a wide variety of colour options that allow easy zoning of rooms or areas. And when it comes to colour options, cool hues such as blue and green help people to feel calmer; however, it’s important to note that older residents or patients may experience these colours as ‘washed out’ and find it harder to differentiate blues and greens. Alternatively, reds, oranges and yellows are stimulating colours, ideally used in activity areas.

Durability and resilience While there is often temptation to base flooring decisions purely on aesthetics alone, resilience is crucial for healthcare environments. The product chosen to embellish a property’s floors must stand up to heavy footfall, while simultaneously combatting stains, scratches and spillages. Natural materials, although popular for their looks, will suffer in terms of their resilience. For example, wood is prone to fading and staining, and can continue to move, expand or shrink long after installation. It is also high maintenance and often requires ongoing treatment to retain its appearance. Stone and ceramic flooring, on the other hand, is hardwearing and can withstand high traffic, while providing natural resistance to scratches and sunlight/UV fading – but, unfortunately, its slippery nature underfoot does not lend itself to environments where safety is key.

However, LVT in stone or wood designs offers the same natural charm, without any limitations, making it an increasingly popular alternative. This type of flooring offers long-term resilience and design freedom, while withstanding heavy traffic and resistance to scuffs and stains. LVT will not splinter or shrink and, with proper care and maintenance, will continue to offer the same aesthetic years after installation. High-quality LVT products consist of several layers, including a vital urethane coating that protects against wear. However, it is worth noting that not all LVT flooring is the same; while the individual layers that come together to create the tiles are important, the density given to the performance wear layer is vital when measuring durability. And, although the thickness of backing layers can vary, this will not improve a floor’s long-term ability to withstand the constant stresses of a high-traffic area. In addition to quality and durability, the length of warranty and guaranteed performance is also important. Fortunately, Amtico offers some of the longest commercial warranties on the market, such as 20 years for the Signature LVT collection.

Safety Safety is imperative in healthcare facilities, not only for patients and residents, but also staff and visitors. LVT is available in non-slip variants to reduce the risk of trips and falls, while also providing resistance to chemicals and spillages.

Modern safety LVT uses near invisible particles, increasing friction levels between people’s feet and its surface. As a result, it can offer exceptional levels of slip resistance, while meeting the design brief for decorative flooring. The control of bacteria is more important than ever in these environments; yet, hygiene doesn’t start and stop with cleaning. The latest safety flooring incorporates antimicrobial technology, scientifically proven to resist the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungus between cleaning schedules. The additional ability to improve a building’s hygiene levels is a major benefit, especially when it can resist the growth of bacteria such as MRSA and E.coli throughout the useable lifetime of the floor. Regardless as to whether healthcare projects are new build or in-situ refits, flooring fulfils a multitude of tasks. Durability, colour and safety are all essential components for a floor that performs to the highest possible standard. However, by taking a fresh approach to the specifications available and opting for LVT, hospital and care home environments will benefit from superb slip resistance, ease of cleaning and improved hygienic benefits; they can also adopt improved aesthetics from a variety of planks and tiles in a wide range of colours and finishes. Those factors certainly make for a powerful and visually stunning combination. 



A WAKE-UP CALL FOR FIRE SAFETY Here, Adam Jurka, National Sales Manager at Ramtech Electronics, looks at why buildings with dangerous cladding need to follow NFCC guidance and move over to safer and more permanent interim measures to protect residents from fire. than three and a half M ore years after the devastating fire at Grenfell, residents in some high-rise buildings are still relying on ‘temporary, short-term’ measures, such as waking watch to alert them of a fire. Official figures illustrate the scale of the problem with 300 tower blocks over 18m in England alone, all with ‘Grenfell-style’ cladding and still waiting to be made safe. This doesn’t include the Government’s estimated 1700 buildings over 18m that have systems known to be dangerous, including some timber, high-pressure laminate and polystyrene cladding and insulation systems. Then there are an estimated 100,000 buildings between 11 and 18m across the UK that may have dangerous cladding materials on the outside. At current levels of progress, remediation work on these buildings will take decades. In the meantime, waking watches are far from ideal because they rely on the person seeing the fire in a very large building with multiple floors. Other buildings with dangerous cladding are protected only by security guards, who are expected to patrol 24 hours a day, alerting residents should


a fire break out. The cost of doing this – borne by the building owner and/or residents – can be as high as £250,000 a year per building. There is then the issue of how long it takes a waking watch person to alert an entire block of residents, when we know that fire can spread in minutes. They are usually required to do this using an airhorn, hardly an efficient method in a multioccupancy building.

A technology-based approach NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) has recently released its third edition ‘Guidance to support a temporary change to a simultaneous evacuation strategy in purpose-built blocks of flats’. It clearly states that building owners should move to install common fire alarms as quickly as possible to reduce or remove the dependence on waking watches. This is the clear expectation for buildings where remediation cannot be undertaken in the ‘short term’. This approach should, in almost all circumstances, reduce the financial burden on residents where they are funding the waking watches. Others also support this guidance, calling for affected buildings to move over to safer and more permanent interim measures, such as sprinklers and fire alarms. Achieving this using a wireless fire alarm system offers several benefits; it can be rapidly deployed to create a ‘common’ fire alarm in any size of building, whilst being wireless avoids having to drill holes through walls for cabling, so maintaining integrity of the fire compartments. The NFCC has identified holes or apertures as a potential issue claiming “common alarm systems installed in the premises must not have any adverse effect on the other fire safety provisions in the building. For example, the installation of a wired system must not create a route for fire and smoke to spread in fire-rated walls which were previously imperforate”.

The signal from a wireless fire alarm system passes through all commonly-used materials in a building, which avoids having to drill holes. If just one of the heat/smoke detectors is activated, it sounds an alarm via multiple interconnected call points in all areas of the building allowing ‘simultaneous evacuation’. They do not rely on manual intervention, or a waking watch person seeing the fire. Systems are available that have a three-year battery life, so little or no maintenance is required, whilst automatic detection reduces human error. When specifying a wireless fire alarm system, it should be compliant to EN 54. Innovation in internet connectivity, apps and the ability to collect, analyse and interpret data in live stream have extended the functionality of wireless fire alarm systems. For instance, the REACT app-based safety system can remotely communicate alerts raised by the alarm system in realtime to relevant personnel, such as property managers, who are based off site via an app installed on their smartphone or tablet device. Alerts raised can be supported with site-specific plans to highlight the incident’s precise location. Users can then record actions on their device, which are automatically uploaded to the cloud for feedback to relevant group members. There are real and justified safety concerns from residents about having waking watch personnel, and especially at a time when they are required to maintain social distancing. That is the reason why a growing number of organisations support NFCC’s call for common fire alarms or sprinklers. 








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DON’T INVALIDATE YOUR FACADE WARRANTY Mohamed Merchant, Associate Director at TÜV SÜD Dunbar Boardman, discusses how to implement a facade access strategy to mitigate the risk of warranties being invalidated. on the D epending facade material used, a manufacturer will normally offer a 10- to 12-year warranty, which is covered by the specialist facade contractor. However, warranties are conditional and full of exclusions which relate to issues such as a lack of or insufficient direct hands-on access, negligence, wear and tear, failure to handle and incorrect installation. Without full and thorough consideration of everything that may impact warranty validity, any failure in a facade’s material could therefore prove to be extremely costly for the building owner. For example, a warranty will not cover defects or damage if building owners have failed to adhere to the warranty contract’s clauses. This will without doubt include a requirement that the facade system must be capable of delivering maintenance personnel safely and efficiently. Inefficient access, such as strategies relying on extended reach and wash poles, may not fully comply with warranty


clauses. It is therefore important to define the direct hands-on access options at the early stages of building design, so that the cleaning and maintenance strategies can be fully integrated as part of the entire build programme. Facade contractors will specify the cleaning regime and frequency to comply with the manufacturer’s warranty terms. This data should therefore be made available to the facade access specialist during the design stages, to help them specify the most suitable types of facade access equipment. Records of all cleaning schedules and frequencies should also be kept and maintained, and made available to the facade contractor and manufacturer, if requested. As all glazing systems are subject to some degradation over time, periodic inspection and maintenance works should be carried out systematically. The frequency of maintenance and inspection will depend on the nature of the glazing material, its levels of exposure and the building’s location.

However, unfortunately buildings are often designed with little or no thought and maintenance crews find themselves having to work around inappropriate planning decisions. For example, it is very common to find on an internallyglazed building that the glass cannot be brought into the finished building due to interior components, which defeats the object of having internal glazing in the first place.

Significance of enhancing facade longevity Another issue that should be considered during the development of the facade access strategy is the impact of the external environment. While this is beyond the control of the building owner or maintenance organisation, it can nullify warranties. Potential defects caused by the environment must therefore be factored in, and they can be minimised if efficient maintenance strategies are considered early on. For example, tall buildings

Mohamed Merchant is an Associate Director at TÜV SÜD Dunbar Boardman, one of Europe’s leading elevator, escalator and access consultancies.

are at greater risk than lowrise buildings, owing to their direct exposure to rain and ultraviolet radiation, which causes a greater rate and intensity of deterioration. Over the course of a building’s lifetime, some element of a facade’s integrity is likely to fail, which is when the warranty comes into play. To ensure that facade warranties are maintained, the facade access designer must therefore consider an array of interlinking elements via pre-construction reports. They should also involve all interested parties, including the building owner, cleaning company, cladding manufacturer and structural engineer. 

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THE BENEFITS OF USING TIMBER TO BUILD IN EDUCATION Timber is the oldest and most sustainable building material ever known. Not only does its use have significantly less environmental impact than steel or concrete, it has other properties which bring additional benefits to those using an education building day in, day out. TG Escapes’ Consultant Mark Brown explores further. is the only T imber construction material that is truly sustainable. 97% of timber used in Europe is registered under the FSC and PEFC schemes resulting in the European forested area increasing by 30%. Timber uses far less energy to harvest and manufacture (-676kg/ CO2e/m3). Timber is not only a carbon sink (sun, water, carbon),


it releases oxygen and improves air quality during its 60-year life cycle. Timber weighs 20% the dead weight of concrete and 6% the dead weight of steel. According to the Athena Calculator, wood outperforms concrete and steel on a number of environmental measures. Versus timber, concrete causes +470% more water pollution, 150% more fossil fuel

consumption and 240% more smog potential. Steel causes 300% more water pollution, 140% more fossil fuel consumption and 120% more smog potential. So, on environmental considerations alone, a timber frame building solution is a good choice. However, when constructed well, a modular timber frame system can also produce a building which is net-

zero carbon in use and one that looks and feels much warmer than alternatives. Weitzer Parkett, ProHolz Austria and partners undertook a research project called ‘School Without Stress’ where the idea was to try to scientifically demonstrate the advantages of using timber within a classroom and its longterm benefits to students who study within them. They found that on average, children in a timber classroom had 8600 less heart beats per day than those in a traditional building. At TG Escapes, we combine the use of natural materials with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors and covered decking areas for easy access to the outdoors. This enhances wellbeing and educational outcomes.

EDUCATION A study by A Sigman shows that children exposed to nature: Scored higher on concentration and self-discipline Improved awareness, reasoning and observational skills Better reading, writing, maths, science and social studies Were better at working in teams Showed improved behaviour overall. We conduct regular research amongst customers in education to understand how our timber frame buildings perform as classrooms, SEND spaces, studios, early years settings and more. The feedback shows that these ‘natural’ buildings provide spaces which feel very different to other types of buildings. One headteacher comments: “Giving the children a new setting to learn in has had a big impact on their motivation. Working amongst natural surroundings has enhanced the imagination and creativity.

“Talking to the pupils about the eco-friendly features has been a great way to teach them about sustainability and the environment.” Another states: “The environment seems settled and calm. Children are able to focus on learning. It’s had a very positive impact on staff wellbeing.”

“Both children and staff have really enjoyed working in this lovely new classroom, with easy access to the outdoors for play. A welcome bonus is that we have saved significantly on energy costs!” comments an education leader. 



A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY? Liam Gillard, Programme Manager at Salix Finance, discusses the need to tackle climate change amid the ongoing pandemic, and the importance of making the most of current vacant buildings to invest in energy improvements that will help rebuild the country in a more environmentally-friendly way.


Liam Gillard is Programme Manager at Salix Finance – a Government-funded organisation which works to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions across the public sector.


he pandemic naturally continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and while responding to the crisis remains imperative, it is also important that public sector organisations do not lose sight of their commitment to tackling the ongoing threat of climate change. Climate-led investments will play a key role in rebuilding the nation and its economy post-COVID-19. A ‘green economic recovery’ will encourage innovation within green industries, stimulating job creation while helping to shape a more environmentally-friendly future for us all. Such investments will also be essential if the UK is to meet its climate targets, with the nation having already committed to achieving netzero emissions by 2050, and having recently announced new targets to reduce emissions by 68%, compared to 1990 levels, by 2030 1. The UK is also set to host one of the largest international climate change

summits – the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) – for the first time in November 2021, and with this in mind we, as a country, must lead by example. Successfully achieving a green recovery will require a collaborative effort to be taken across all sectors of society, including the public sector, and every organisation will need to play its part. One way that organisations can tackle climate change and contribute towards the national green recovery is by investing in energyefficient technologies that will significantly reduce an organisation’s energy consumption and carbon footprint. Doing so will enable them to support jobs across the green sector, providing a further boost to the economy. As the UK’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic, achieving cost savings will no doubt be a key focus for many public sector organisations. As well as helping to improve buildings and the environmental landscape, investing in energy-

efficiency projects has the added benefit of bringing significant financial savings to organisations that install them. In addition, financial savings can be made on maintenance costs due to the longer lifespans and improved reliability of new technologies. By reducing costs, organisations can invest money in other key resources as well as improve their overall resilience, something that is particularly important right now in such an uncertain economic climate. Relatively simple measures, such as LED lighting upgrades and adding insulation or heating controls, can reduce energy usage and bills substantially, saving organisations thousands of pounds. An example of this is Wrexham County Borough Council, in North Wales, which worked in partnership with Freedom Leisure and Salix Finance to invest over £115,000, upgrading the lighting in its sports areas to more energy-efficient LEDs. The project enabled the council to save an estimated £17,662 a year as well as deliver on

TALKING POINT decarbonisation, reducing its annual carbon emissions by approximately 36 tonnes. Upgrading to more modern, LED lighting can be one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption and is a good start for many organisations looking to implement energysaving measures. Looking at renewables, such as solar panels and heat pumps, can also be viable options to help businesses future-proof their buildings. Taking a holistic approach to energy efficiency by looking to install multiple improvements at the same time (rather than focusing on one technology type) can substantially increase financial and carbon savings as well as improve the building environment for its users. With millions of employees currently working from home and many offices and buildings remaining empty, there has never been a better time to invest in energy upgrades, avoiding staff disruption while helping to make cost savings that will cushion organisations against future spending cuts.

While there is an obvious case for investing in energy efficiency upgrades, the reality is that making such investments may not seem like a viable option to many organisations right now given the current financial climate. However, despite the pandemic, funding options are still available to help invest in such technologies. These include interest-free loans from Salix, which are paid back over several years from the savings made on energy bills. Since 2004, Salix has invested £971m in energyefficiency projects across public sector organisations in the UK, resulting in estimated savings of over £203m and 867,000 tonnes of carbon a year 2. The organisation offers funding for both large-scale and small-scale projects and covers over 100 technologies, including LED lighting, building energy management systems and renewables. As the world works hard to recover from the pandemic, and with the ongoing drive of the climate change agenda,

supporting green industries has never been more important. On an individual level, investing in energy-efficiency projects can help organisations to become more resilient, while also contributing to a greener future for us all.


news/uk-sets-ambitious-newclimate-target-ahead-of-un-summit 2





COVID-SAFE TOUCHLESS WASHROOMS IN EASY REACH The importance of touchless washroom technology has long been recognised for its benefits in respect of hygiene. However, COVID-19 has brought forward the mainstream adoption of these products. explores some of the options available. often takes a major event for I ttechnologies to jump from the niche to the mainstream, and the pandemic is certainly accelerating the rate of adoption of any products that can reduce the risk of disease transmission. This is why invested during 2020 to offer clients an extended range of touch-free products that provide architects, contractors and clients with a complete ‘touchless washroom’ package.

How to go contactless The motion sensor technology incorporated into touchless washroom products is already proven and similar to that used in other areas of our lives, such as lighting and automatic doors. An infrared sensor on the device is triggered when an object – your hands or body – moves into its path, which bounces back into the sensor and switches it on. The key solutions now available to upgrade an existing washroom or create the safest new facility include:

Automatic low-energy hand dryers Probably one of the earliest adoptions of touchless technology, automatic hand dryers have already been shown to be effective in helping washroom managers and cleaners improve infection control and reduce the costs associated with other hand drying methods, such as paper towels or linen roller towels. Today’s generation of low-energy dryers, such as the Diamond Dryer or Biodrier Executive, provide


these hygiene and waste-saving benefits with energy efficiency and operational advantages. Powerful drying is delivered with low-energy usage as low as 300W, and brushless motor technology, combined with a design that minimises the number of components used, ensures a long service life with minimal, easy maintenance.

Sensor taps Increasingly common in commercial washrooms, automatically-operated sensor-controlled taps switch on when the tap’s sensor detects hands placed beneath the tap opening. This triggers the valve for water to be released for a set period of time allowing users to wash their hands. Popular for their efficiency and ease of use, sensor taps work intuitively, and because no physical touching is needed to operate them, they can significantly reduce the spread of bacteria. In addition, their controlled water flow prevents the risk of taps being left on accidentally to save significantly on the cost of water in comparison with traditionally-operated taps.

Touch-free hand sanitiser and soap dispensers Touch-free dispensing brings better hygiene to any environment and helps monitor the use by controlling the amount of soap. The COVID pandemic has seen the installation of these types of dispensers in many public buildings to allow users to sanitise on entry and exit, so the public are increasingly used to seeing this technology in action and are comfortable with it.

No-touch flushing toilets Much like sensor taps, no-touch flushing toilets are popular with users and effective in infection control. The technology is mature and well-refined to offer reliability and a long service life. Electronically-operated and programmable, these WC flushing systems can reduce water use by as much as 30% and prevent the cost and inconvenience associated with the common issue of handle maintenance and repair.

Protecting users, minimising risk The development of touchless products demonstrates how technology has the potential to reduce public health risks and keep building users as safe as possible. That needn’t come at the expense of washroom aesthetics or operational efficiency, and in fact this will be enhanced in most cases too. Coupled with more fundamental washroom design changes, such as increasing the spacing between sink basins and urinals and using more wall-hung sanitaryware to allow for easier floor cleaning, our washrooms of the future are set to look very different and are here today. 

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DEALING WITH DAMP – MOISTURE MANAGEMENT TO AVOID FLOOR FAILURE Unmanaged excess subfloor moisture is the leading cause of floor failure and frequently results in delays to projects, major inconvenience and expense when remedial work is required. To help avoid these situations, Stephen Boulton, Technical Service Manager at leading subfloor preparation products manufacturer, F. Ball and Co., provides crucial advice to guard against the problems caused by excess subfloor moisture when installing floorcoverings.


nchecked subfloor moisture, whether residual construction moisture or rising damp, can attack flooring adhesives and damage floorcoverings. It can also promote mould and bacterial growth. Not only can this ruin the finished appearance of a flooring installation, but it can potentially cause complete floor failure and present a health hazard. The breakdown of adhesives as a result of contact with moisture can also cause increased VOC emissions in indoor environments. To prevent this, it is important to take time to determine subfloor moisture levels and deploy an appropriate moisture management solution, where necessary, prior to installing floorcoverings.


Testing F. Ball recommends that a moisture test is undertaken as part of any flooring installation, having first prepared the subfloor so that it is suitably smooth, sound and free of contaminants. If the subfloor Relative Humidity (RH) levels exceed 75% (65% if wood floorcoverings are to be installed), a moisture management solution will be required to prevent excess subfloor moisture attacking adhesives and damaging floorcoverings.

A quick, non-intrusive way to identify the presence of subfloor moisture is to use a handheld radio frequency moisture meter. If the device indicates the presence of moisture in the subfloor, further testing will be required to determine the precise subfloor relative humidity levels and if a moisture management solution is required. The only method of measuring subfloor relative humidity levels with certainty, and the method advocated by British Standards, is to use a calibrated hygrometer. These devices measure the relative humidity of a small volume of confined air in equilibrium with the subfloor, taking into account the ambient temperature.

TECHNICAL FOCUS The device is affixed to the subfloor using butyl tape to create an airtight seal around the base of the instrument. It is then left for a sufficient amount of time to allow entrapped air to reach moisture equilibrium with the screed or base before the unit is switched on. Equilibrium can generally be assumed after leaving the instrument overnight and readings taken four hours apart show identical readings. It is recommended that multiple digital hygrometers are placed at regular intervals across the entire subfloor area to make allowance for variations in moisture levels.

Waterproof surface membranes The application of a waterproof surface membrane is the usual solution for effectively controlling damp. The best-performing epoxy waterproof surface membranes will isolate excess subfloor moisture where relative humidity values are up to 98%, with a single-coat application, which will fully cure in as little as three hours. Quicker, two-coat systems are also available that will create an effective barrier against residual

construction moisture where relative humidity values are up to 95%. The first coat cures in 15 to 20 minutes. A further 30 minutes curing time is required for the second coat.

An alternative solution An alternative solution for dealing with damp is available for where a waterproof surface membrane cannot be applied. This may be the case where flooring installations are part of a refurbishment project and screeds are contaminated with oil, other chemicals or old adhesive residues. It is also useful in heritage settings where the subfloor must be preserved. In these situations, a looselay isolator membrane can be laid directly onto the subfloor, without the requirement for an adhesive, to provide a barrier to stop excess subfloor moisture causing floor failure. These membranes typically have nodules on the underside, creating an airspace to allow water vapour to travel to the edge of a room, into a dry wall or ventilated area, where it can safely escape. A wide range of floorcoverings can be adhered to its upper surface. This enables durable new floors to

be installed and easily removed at a later date, allowing buildings to be returned to their original state and offering a solution for temporary flooring installations.

Next steps Once a suitable moisture management solution is in place, contractors can proceed with preparing the subfloor for the installation of new floorcoverings. Where an isolator membrane has not been used, this should include the application of a levelling compound to create a perfectly smooth base for the receipt of floorcoverings, remembering to prime beforehand. Once the levelling compound has cured, floorcoverings can be installed using an appropriate adhesive. At this stage, the compatibility of particular floorcoverings and adhesives should be checked to further ensure against floor failure. To do this, the adhesive manufacturer’s Recommended Adhesives Guide should be consulted or referring to floorcovering manufacturers’ instructions will advise the product for the optimum results. 



DECARBONISING SOCIAL HOUSING Following the Government’s plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a number of subsequent sustainability pledges and announcements made, Tom Murray, Specification Director at Baxi Heating, discusses what this means for the social housing sector.


he UK Government’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 was a watershed moment among the world’s major economies. In fact, the pledge effectively kickstarted a programme of deep decarbonisation across the country’s public and private sectors. Making this goal a reality, however, will not just mean adjustments within the industry but also fundamental changes to the way people live and work. Improving the energy performance of residential properties will be central to these plans, particularly in social housing which is estimated to account for 10% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. But what might this look like in practice and what do social housing providers need to do to align their building stock, new and existing, with legislation?


The challenge ahead According to the Energy Saving Trust, the majority of household CO 2 comes from heating and hot water emissions, which accounts for roughly 31% of the nation’s total. Prior to net-zero’s pass into law, the UK was aiming for an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. This would have meant reducing the carbon generated from a home’s heating and hot water to 692kg per year. Now, however, this figure will need to drop to 138kg per household per year – a reduction of 95%. Importantly, all new builds will need to be carbon-neutral from day one to avoid adding to the 28 million existing homes that will require retrofitting with thermally-efficient materials. The mission is formidable, not least for large social housing property portfolios. In order to better understand the

challenge ahead, a further look at policy and recommendations being made to underpin net-zero ambitions in the residential space is vital.

Policy Since June 2019, the Government has made several announcements that give an understanding of how the built environment will work in a netzero economy. For the new-build sector, policy to be aware of includes the Future Homes Standard, which is likely to seek ending the use of gas heating systems in all new-build dwellings by 2025. Once this happens, alternative heating technologies to natural gas boilers, such as air source heat pumps (ASHPs) combined with hot water cylinders, will need to be specified. More immediately, the 10th version of the supporting Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP 10.2), part of the Building Regulations Approved Document L consultation in 2019, is now on the horizon. What we know so far is that proposed changes to Building Regulations will likely mandate tighter targets for new dwelling emissions. Once the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

(MHCLG) consultation response is released, and the implementation date for changes is confirmed, there will be more onus on newbuild developers to drive lowcarbon development. For existing homes already on the gas grid, hydrogen is currently being explored as an alternative fuel. Near identical in appearance and performance to condensing gas boilers today, hydrogen boilers like those being developed by Baxi Heating could provide efficient, zero-carbon space heating with little disruption to the existing building. This is very important, especially for local authorities and social housing providers, who need to balance meeting low-carbon regulation and maintaining a duty of care. As a result, it should be welcome news that social housing stock on the gas grid should be able to transition to hydrogen boilers easily if required, with little disruption to tenants.

What these changes mean for social housing It is important that renovation, maintenance and improvement works carried out now continue to prioritise heating systems that are as energy efficient as possible to future-proof properties and safeguard

HVAC residents. Selecting highlyefficient gas boilers combined with accessories designed to improve SAP ratings, such as the Baxi Assure in flue outdoor sensor (IFOS), shower heat recovery units (SHRU) and flue gas heat recovery (FGHR), will also help to keep energy bills as economical as possible by preventing wastage throughout the day. For new-build social housing properties being developed in line with the Future Homes Standard, Baxi Heating has developed a residential specification range of products including highlyefficient ASHPs, designed to be combined with Assure hot water cylinders. Because ASHPs aren’t currently specified or installed in great numbers and there is room for error, indemnified Baxi Design services can support social housing providers with this technology. Not only this, but bespoke Baxi Training services can be provided onsite to educate social housing contractors across ASHPs and the rest of the product range. Given the close ties to the public sector, social housing providers are under extreme pressure to improve energy performance and act as an example to other private landlords. However, this

challenge will be difficult to achieve without trusted industry support. This is why the Baxi Assure complete home service has been developed to support social housing providers navigate the residential specification heating and hot water system challenges, today and tomorrow. The Baxi Assure complete home service provides expert design service and SAP advice for new-build projects, quality spares and replacement parts from the Baxi Genuine Parts division, bespoke training courses from

Baxi Training and hassle-free online warranty registration using Baxi Project Hub. Furthermore, a dedicated team of specification managers provides one point of contact for all hot water and heating system requirements. Overall, decarbonising social housing will be a process, but with the right support social housing providers can rise to the net-zero challenge and continue to play their part in helping the UK to realise a more sustainable future. 



FLOODS, SUDS AND PERMEABLE PAVING This winter’s flooding is a timely reminder of the importance of sustainable drainage systems – or SuDS – in reducing the damaging impacts of rainwater runoff. The latest developments in SuDS and concrete block permeable paving are featured in a new webinar and guidance from the trade association Interpave. Over 25 years of use, concrete block permeable paving has demonstrated unique capabilities as a multifunctional SuDS technology. It combines a structural pavement with an inherent drainage system and needs no additional land take for water conveyance, attenuation and storage. This technology also eliminates pipework, gulleys and manholes, and therefore costs less to install or maintain than conventional drainage and paving.

Clean water Permeable paving is specifically designed for a dual role, acting as the drainage system as well as supporting people and vehicles. At the same time, many pollutants are substantially removed and treated within the paving layers before the water leaves it. As a result of this unique capability, permeable paving offers a gradual supply of treated water that can be integrated within landscape design, promoting biodiversity and green infrastructure. It also provides clean water at the head of the ‘SuDS management train’ enabling safe open SuDS features on the surface, downstream. Concrete block permeable paving can be laid level and still avoids puddles without the need for drainage gulleys. It provides a safe, firm surface for everyone – including wheelchair users and people pushing prams – unlike gravel and other loose materials. It is therefore the preferred option around trees, rather than tree grilles, according to BS8300-1 (2018).


Planning requirements National and local planning policies call for SuDS, encouraging techniques such as permeable paving. For example, the Draft London Plan says that ‘development proposals for impermeable paving should be refused where appropriate, including on small surfaces such as front gardens and driveways’. This stance is supported by the 2019 National Planning Policy Framework. There is a growing choice of concrete products available from Interpave manufacturers, designed specifically for permeable paving. Essentially, they have the same impressive performance as conventional modular concrete paving products, being slip-resistant, durable, strong and sustainable. And today there are more shapes, styles, finishes and colours than ever to give real freedom of choice. The difference with permeable paving is enlarged joints, filled with a permeable aggregate, and the materials used below the blocks, which are specifically selected to accommodate water.

New webinar A new CPD webinar – presented by Bob Bray of Robert Bray Associates, with over 20 years’ experience in SuDS and landscape design – explores how straightforward flow controls can optimise permeable paving and SuDS. It covers techniques including water storage in paving compartments deployed around a site, to integrate SuDS within development and avoid land-take.

The webinar is supported by the latest edition of ‘Understanding Permeable Paving and SuDS’, an essential introductory guide to all aspects of concrete block permeable paving for SuDS – and much more. Its benefits include potential for ‘cool pavements’ helping to reduce the urban heat island effect, making our cities more comfortable in summer. Another important innovation – set to play a major role in the post-pandemic public realm – is the retrofitting of concrete block permeable paving as an overlay to existing streets. This low-intervention technique enables transformation of the public realm in response to the raft of recent active travel and open space initiatives. 0116 232 5170

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SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL DESIGN There is, rightly, a continuing trend towards sustainability and sustainable design being spearheaded by forward-thinking architects and designers and building product manufacturers all keen to minimise waste in the construction industry. Initiatives and schemes from PEFC and FSC certification through to Cradle-toCradle design, circular economy LEED, BREEAM and DGNB are all leaders in the fields of sustainability. This is helping drive manufacturers and specifiers to think about how they work and the products they use.

One of the manufacturers that has been championing this is Danish woodwool panel manufacturer Troldtekt. Both FSC- and PEFC-certified, the company has set strict environmental targets for its manufacture and products culminating in a transparent roadmap in its 2013 CSR report.

GERFLOR SUPPORTS SUSTAINABILITY WITH TARAFLEX AT JERSEY SPORTS CENTRE When Les Ormes, which is Jersey’s premier self-catering holiday and sports centre, wanted to refurbish an old tennis building by transforming it into four new netball courts, it turned to international flooring specialist Gerflor to supply 2000m 2 of its world-class Taraflex sports flooring. Nathan Maguire, Les Ormes Sports General Manager, commented: “The Jersey Netball Team who train and play on the new surface are extremely delighted with its performance.” Taraflex Performance provides excellent co-efficient of friction meaning that twists, turns and stops/starts can be carried out without fear of slipping or gripping and subsequent injuries. The shock absorption qualities of Taraflex Performance also helps players gain even more enjoyment from the sport. Chris Pursey, Gerflor Area Sales Manager, South West and Channel Islands, commented: “It’s excellent to see one of our sports floors being given a second life after it was used at the Island Games tournament five years ago. They can now play a multitude of different sports in the hall and the variety of colours used makes this project so unique.”

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The company’s green stance has not gone unnoticed among designers and ethical designers, such as Sibley Grove, which pioneers strategies that deliver sustainable interior schemes. For example, when the studio was appointed to redesign The Chamberlain Hotel’s public areas, sustainability was paramount. The studio’s unique approach to design assesses the environmental and social impact of every design decision, from the origin of the materials to where they end up at the end of their lifecycle. As a result, the design studio specified as many sustainable and Cradle-toCradle-certified materials as possible, including Troldtekt’s panels Cradle-to-Cradle certified to ‘Silver’ level. By specifying these, the environmental impact is minimal. Troldtekt is circular and the material can go back to nature as a nutrient in the biological circuit or be included as a raw material in the production of cement in the technical circuit. By adopting a circular approach to design, Sibley Grove removes the traditional linear system of consumption and waste that plagues the design industry. It considers the entire lifecycle of a product, ensuring materials are reused or integrated back into the natural world. This reduces demand on resources, reduces landfill and encourages the production of clean, reusable materials. 01978 664255

KNAUF UK AWARDED BBA CERTIFICATE FOR THROUGHWALL SYSTEM The Knauf ThroughWall exterior infill panel system has now achieved BBA certification (certificate number 20/S046). ThroughWall combines Knauf products into an entire exterior infill wall panel system, from internal wall lining to sheathing board and external insulation, allowing for the addition of exterior finishes such as rainscreen cladding or masonry. The BBA assesses manufacturer’s products and systems, and awards certificates as recognition for the product’s quality and reliability for application in the built environment. The Knauf ThroughWall system has passed the rigorous testing process and the third-party certification will reassure architects and specifiers of the system’s safety. Mandeep Bansal, Technical Advocacy Director at Knauf UK and Ireland, said: “Being awarded a BBA certificate for the ThroughWall system is a major achievement and reflects Knauf’s continued commitment to investment in research and development for the benefit of all our customers. This certification also provides necessary information to help satisfy the requirements of building control and insurers.”

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WHY SPECIFYING THE RIGHT FLOOR FOR DANCE AND THE PERFORMING ARTS IS CRITICAL Architects and specifiers play a vital part when specifying the correct floor that is fit for purpose. Harlequin works with leading industry specialists to ensure its range of sprung and vinyl floors protect the health and wellbeing of dancers and performers. The floor is a dancer’s most important work tool; not only is it the canvas for their creativity, it also gives them protection against slips, falls and longer-term stress injuries. The correct floor is critical to the longevity of a performer’s career.

It is a common assumption that a welldesigned sports floor will suit the needs of dancers, but this is not the case. There may be a temptation to specify floors for aesthetic or budget reasons, or to specify sports floors in the mistaken belief they will be suitable


for dance, but only a floor developed specifically for dance will do. Harlequin is the world leader in advanced technology floors for the performing arts, entertainment and display. Established in the UK over 45 years ago, Harlequin remains the industry choice for the world’s most prestigious dance and performing arts companies, theatres, venues and schools, production companies and global events. Harlequin’s experience and reputation is founded on the design, manufacture, supply and installation of a range of high-quality portable and permanent sprung and vinyl floors chosen by the world’s leading venues – from the Royal Opera House to the Bolshoi Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet to the Queensland Ballet. 01892 514888

F. BALL PRODUCTS LIE AT HEART OF COMMUNITY PROJECT High-performance subfloor preparation products and adhesives from F. Ball and Co. have been used to install floorcoverings as part of a refurbishment to transform a 19th-century school into a community centre. A&H Flooring was commissioned to install floorcoverings as part of the project. Work commenced with a moisture test for the stone subfloor. As results found RH levels to be above the 75% maximum threshold for installing floorcoverings without a moisture management solution, F. Ball’s Stopgap F77 waterproof surface membrane was chosen to provide a barrier to stop excess subfloor moisture, thereby preventing potential floor failure. To facilitate this, contractors used F. Ball’s Stopgap 1200 Pro, a high-performance, fast-setting, fast-drying levelling compound, to create a smooth base for the application of the waterproof surface membrane.

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DESIGNER CONTRACTS DONATES OVER £100,000 TO STRICKEN HOSPICE Designer Contracts, one of the UK’s largest flooring contractors, has donated more than £100,000 to Chesterfield-based Ashgate Hospice. The company ran an online Christmas prize draw to raise funds for the hospice which has been hit hard by the pandemic and then added a £100,000 donation to the £4865 raised from the competition. It is the second time Designer Contracts has stepped in to help the hospice. In 2019, the company gave £100,000 to help fund the hospice’s ‘Three Bedded Bay Appeal’ which was launched to raise money for renovations to its patient bays. Designer Contracts’ Managing Director, Peter Kelsey, said: “Charities had a really rough ride in 2020 and we wanted to help in any way we could.”

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COMPLEX FLOWER CEILING COMPLETED FOR QATAR METRO When the Qatar Government announced a €130bn diversification and modernisation programme, with a first phase being the development of the Doha Metro Network, Hunter Douglas Architectural was honoured to be involved. The exterior of the station is constructed from golden sandstone, while the interior glistens with a mother-of-pearl iridescence – and complementing these designs is a complex, bespoke-designed Hunter Douglas Architectural ‘petal ceiling’. The design involved a deep drawn petal frame made from 1mm steel with an inlay 15mm honeycomb panel, which was 2.5m in length. Together, with the triangle-shaped rear construction, they form the base for honeycomb panels that are connected with torsion springs. 01604 648229



NSG GROUP AND UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE SOWING SEEDS FOR FUTURE GLASS APPLICATIONS The NSG Group and University of Cambridge are collaborating on ground-breaking new glass applications, while using the latest technology to realise the future of manufacturing. The group, which owns Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, is currently working with the university’s Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing team (FIAM) to establish a way of printing conductive materials onto wide areas of curved glass surfaces. The research aims to see the conductive materials applied to curved glass surfaces, such as car windscreens, using inkjet printing technology at the final stage of the manufacturing process. This process will help make high-tech curved glass more cost-effective to manufacture, while helping it to be increasingly customisable for customers – boosting its marketability.

PREMIER MODULAR COMPLETES APARTMENT INSTALLATION PHASE FOR EMERGENCY HOUSING SCHEME Premier Modular, a leading offsite construction specialist, has completed the installation of 58 apartments for a new £9m emergency housing scheme for Buckinghamshire Council in High Wycombe. Due for completion this summer, the project is being delivered by an innovative partnership between Premier Modular and Claritas Group. Manufactured and fully fitted-out offsite, these highly-sustainable apartments are being completed in a much shorter timescale than with in-situ construction to help meet the rising demand for housing for homeless people. The one-bedroom apartments, each weighing around 10 tonnes, were installed using a 250-tonne crane and in around two weeks. Each home arrived on site complete with shower rooms and kitchens. The apartments are built around a central courtyard, which will provide a valuable amenity space for residents.

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DEANESTOR COMPLETES FIT-OUT OF NEW SPECIALIST CRITICAL CARE CENTRE Furniture and fit-out specialist, Deanestor, has completed a £1.3m contract for Laing O’Rourke for the manufacture, supply and installation of furniture and fittings for the new £350m Grange University Hospital in South East Wales. Completion of the new hospital was accelerated in the coronavirus pandemic to make 350 new patient beds available early. To help achieve this, Deanestor installed over 1000 soap and towel dispensers and 263 PPE centres, and manufactured and fitted 48 HTM71 pharmaceutical storage solutions, all in less than three weeks. Deanestor manufactured around 3000 items of furniture for the 55,000m2 hospital, including laboratory furniture, shelving, base and wall cabinets in compliance with all relevant HTMs. 01623 420041


HY-PLAST UNVEILS HIGH-SPEC DECORATIVE PVC CLADDING SYSTEM Hy-plast is a family-run business with over 30 years in the PVC market. The company has spent over two years producing a new high-specification wall cladding system called KarEbinR. KarEbinR offers a wide range of ‘Kolours’ which have a soft, desirable, appealing and unique colour palette for many corporate needs. KarEbinR is an innovative brand that focuses on getting high-quality products into the marketplace at a highly attractive price. The product has the highest specification in the market having an S2 fire rating, it’s recyclable and has 0% landfill, is K1 assured and has a K20 warranty. 0113 532 5355

BAL – a market-leader in full tiling solutions – has launched a streamlined grout family including new BAL Grout Flex. BAL Grout Flex is a highly-flexible grout with high strength and comes in five key colourways. It comes in narrow or wide joint versions – Grout Flex and Grout Flex Wide Joint – for use from 2 to 5mm (narrow) and 3 to 20mm (wide) joints. With the streamlined range of BAL Grout Flex, still best-in-class and in a division above is BAL Micromax2 – the undisputed champion of the UK market. Weighing in at 2.5, 5 and 10kg pack sizes, BAL Micromax2 provides a perfect smooth finish on walls and floors in more than 35 colourways. Trusted for a crack-free and efflorescence-free finish, BAL Micromax2 is also mould and mildew resistant with Microban anti-microbial protection.

TITAN LITE PROTECTS MOVEMENT JOINTS WITHIN NEW UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL The fire protection of critical movement joints within the main floor slabs of the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital in Birmingham has consumed some 1000m of Titan Lite 120/60, as a well-proven and widely-specified passive fire protection product. The specification of the TBA Firefly system came about as the result of consultation between the main contractor, Balfour Beatty and IFC (International Fire Consultants), in conjunction with the NHS Trust’s senior fire officer. Manufacturer TBA Protective Technologies duly provided its standard details and other certifications to the project team and delivered onsite training for the specialist package contractor, Flynn Interiors. Managing Director of Flynn Interiors, Jim Flynn, commented: “Titan Lite is a very good material covered by all the required certifications for the most demanding situations.”


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