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Public Sector Build Journal March 2021





Issue 103

LONG-TERM INTEGRITY OF BRICK-BUILT BUILDINGS Embracing the traditional beauty of brick through brick slip soffit solutions


The importance of play and exercise for children’s wellbeing

Wondrwall talks smart heating and why it’s key to green housing

The effective use of frameworks will be pivotal post-pandemic

The world leader in timber preservation technology




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™ Protim Solignum Limited trading as Koppers Performance Chemicals. Koppers is a registered Trademark of Koppers Delaware, Inc. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this document, Protim Solignum Limited gives no undertaking to that effect and no responsibility can be accepted for reliance on this information. Information will be updated when the need arises. Please ensure you have an up to date copy. All products are produced by independently owned and operated wood processing facilities. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Koppers Performance Chemicals, Protim Solignum Limited, Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1LS. Visit: www.kopperspc.eu, Email: kpc@koppers.eu, Call: +44 (0)1628 486644, Fax: +44 (0)1628 476757. Registered in England 3037845. © Copyright 2018.

by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Manufacturers Of Wood Preservatives Protim Solignum Ltd Marlow, Buckinghamshire



Hannah Woodger


Rebecca Kemp


Print & Digital Advertising Sam Ball


Jim Moore


Print Design Manager Jack Witcomb


Digital Design Manager

IG Masonry Support looks at how offsite construction is helping us create buildings that embrace the traditional beauty of brick. See page 30.

Matt Morse



Rachel Pike


Sales Support & Administrator

Klare Porter



Welcome to the March issue of PSBJ... The gradual easing of lockdown, combined with the promise of spring, has sparked renewed hope that brighter days are ahead. Although normality is still a way off, it’s still imperative to increase wellbeing by taking advantage of these balmier days and seek solace in the outdoors. Once again, this turns our attention to the provisions available to the public in their local areas. The need for communal green spaces and dedicated, safe play areas are a vital lifeline for many families – but adventure can come in many forms, as PSBJ finds out in this issue.

Sam Ball

In this month’s Upfront focus, we showcase a truly inspiring concept brought to the community of West Gorton by landscape architecture firm BDP, alongside engineering and design consultancy Arup.

Published by

Unlike a typical park, this green space has been designed as a sustainable drainage park, utilising an interconnected series of swales, rain gardens and bio-attenuation features. The community can explore the woodland areas and embark on ‘free play’ delving into the nooks and crannies of features such as rocky creeks and tree-lined paths. The benefits to the local community are endless, especially in these unprecedented times when wellbeing through play and nature has never been more important. Turn to page 08 where you can read more about this unique project.


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Continuing the theme of the value of play, we speak to Timberplay – a leading provider of play spaces – which stresses the importance of play and exercise for children and explores how play will have a huge impact on post-pandemic planning. To learn more, head over to page 12. Elsewhere in this edition, we speak to Daniel Burton of Wondrwall – a leader in intelligent home management and renewable energy technology – who explains why decarbonising heating is high on the agenda for many social landlords and housing developers. Meanwhile, Deanestor discusses how school design is meeting the pace of social and technological change. We also explore why frameworks are going to be key to unlocking change in the construction industry as we come out of the pandemic with Pick Everard’s Alastair Hamilton.

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 www.psbjmagazine.com.


Hannah Woodger • Editor • hannah@crossplatformmedia.co.uk 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

Landscape architect firm BDP, alongside Arup, has designed a new sustainable drainage park in Manchester.

12 Leisure

Timberplay discusses the importance of play and exercise for children in these unprecedented times and how play will have a huge impact on postpandemic planning.


14 Healthcare

18 BIM

22 Legal & Business

16 Housing

20 MMC

24 Education

An extensive flooring and walling solution is helping to provide a safe, homely and calm environment for new mothers at a revolutionary new maternity delivery suite.

Wondrwall, a leader in intelligent home management and renewable energy technology, talks smart heating and why it is key to affordable green housing.

Many overlook the fact that BIM is a strong enabler for many other modern technologies developed for the sector. Buildots explains why this is the case.

Tim Oakley, Head Consultant at LHC, argues how post-COVID procurement can help boost modern methods of construction (MMC).






Zero Seal Systems Ltd Units 43 - 45 Ladford Covert, Seighford, Stafford, ST18 9QG, United Kingdom Tel : +44 (0)1785 282910 E-mail : sales@zeroplus.co.uk



With a Government target set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, innovators within the construction sector are exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact.

Furniture in education is continually developing to meet the evolution of collaborative learning and the integration of technology. Deanestor explains more.





26 Talking Point

Pick Everard Partner, Alastair Hamilton, believes that the effective use of frameworks will be pivotal as the industry moves out of the pandemic.

28 Disabled Access

AKW discusses how going back to basics and looking at adaptations in the bathroom, such as safety flooring and bidets, can have a significant impact.

30 Technical Focus

IG Masonry Support gives an insight into the types of weather testing available for masonry support systems so that our brick facades last for generations.

32 RCI

A stylish aesthetic has been achieved for an affordable housing development in Newhaven, East Sussex, thanks to specialist corrugated fibre cement sheeting.

28 34 Product Showcase

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

Latest Schöck BBA Certification raises the bar. Thermal break technology you can trust.

No need to compromise on performance, quality or service. Schöck products meet full compliance with relevant UK building regulations, are approved by the BBA, LABC registered and classified as fire resistance class REI 120.


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19.02.21 08:04



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

Midlands contractor appointed to major NHS SBS construction framework Modular builder CoreHaus establishes first UK manufacturing site The innovative modular housebuilder, CoreHaus, is opening its first UK manufacturing site at a County Durham business park as part of its scale-up plans. CoreHaus has secured its new 20,000ft2 unit at Jade Business Park, in Murton near Seaham, and recruited a highlyskilled team to start production of its unique modular homes, which have already been successfully trialled in the north east of England. CoreHaus will now be able to expand production and perform a greater scope of work including the assembly of steel frames that are central to its modular homes. The company’s five-year plan will see CoreHaus producing 1000 modular homes a year, resulting in more than 100 people working across the business. Managing Director of CoreHaus, Scott Bibby, said: “With such a great facility situated in the heart of the North East and at such a competitive rate, it made perfect sense to set up our manufacturing site at Jade Business Park.” CoreHaus is a joint venture company between Newton Aycliffe-based Carlton & Co Group, the parent company behind North East-based Homes by Carlton, and national social enterprise Fusion21, specialist in public procurement for the built environment based near Liverpool.

Esh Construction to deliver £9.2m affordable housing scheme Esh Construction has commenced work on a £9.2m scheme which will deliver 82 new homes for affordable rent and shared ownership in Castleford. The land is being jointly developed by Leeds Federated Housing Association (LFHA) and WDH, with each registered provider managing 43 units and 39 units respectively. Designed by Leeds-based Brewster Bye Architects and supported with Homes England funding, a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses will be constructed as well as four bungalows. The scheme will transform a 2.2-hectare patch of unused grassland on Pemberton Road which LFHA successfully purchased from Wakefield Council in 2020. Esh Construction’s affordable housing division has been appointed as the design and build contractor for the development – which includes new road construction and all associated external works – working in partnership with Brewster Bye Architects, BWA (Europe) and Walker Ingram Associates. Construction work commenced in February 2021, with a view to the first new homes being available for residents in summer 2022.


G F Tomlinson has been successfully selected as an approved partner for the NHS Shared Business Services PS-Works: Public Sector Construction Works Framework, which launched on 17th December 2020. The framework will provide a compliant procurement route to market for all NHS and wider public sector construction works requirements across the UK, and G F Tomlinson has been appointed to deliver projects up to the value of £5m across the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire regions. 41 contractors in total have been selected to work on projects up to the value of £5m across the UK including G F Tomlinson, and projects to be delivered will include healthcare, education, housing, social care, leisure, libraries, blue light, transport, recycling and waste, industrial and commercial facilities, as well as mixed-use regeneration projects. As part of the complex bidding process, G F Tomlinson was required to prove innovation and sustainability in its delivery, as well as consistency of engagement with stakeholders. Following its successful appointment to the framework, the contractor must embrace and commit to eight core framework objectives when delivering projects, which include: value for money, collaboration, approved organisation satisfaction, quality, sustainable procurement, social value, modern methods of construction and an integrated supply chain.

London college appoints GRAHAM as preferred contractor in two-stage tender Imperial College London has selected GRAHAM as preferred construction partner to build a new School of Public Health (SPH) at its White City Campus in West London. Designed by Allies and Morrison, the state-of-the-art multidisciplinary hub forms part of the college’s major new campus in west London, bringing together world-class researchers, businesses and partners from academia to work, share ideas and turn cutting-edge research into benefits for society. The School of Public Health is being built to support leading research, education and community engagement in health and wellbeing. Providing almost 58,000ft2 over nine storeys, SPH will occupy the building up to level seven, which will include two floors of teaching space – with small study rooms, common space and a large lecture area – and five floors of office space and meeting rooms for staff, basement plant space for changing facilities and bike storage. At the ground floor level, there will be shared space with open-plan meeting areas. GRAHAM will fit-out all levels of the building (with the exception of the top floor, which is shell and core only). Construction will take place over a two-year programme with completion expected in spring 2023.


Leisure expert selected for new Waterfront leisure centre Sports and leisure specialist GT3 Architects has been named as the architect for a new multi-million-pound leisure centre scheme for Hartlepool Borough Council. The Newcastle- and Nottingham-based practice was selected to deliver the design for the new facility, which will be situated by the town’s marina and form a key part of The Waterfront regeneration. The new site – which will replace the town’s existing Mill House Leisure Centre – is set to feature a range of facilities, including three swimming pools – a main, a learner and a recreation pool – a multi-station fitness suite, a flexible space for multi-activities and a refreshments area. As part of the project, GT3 Architects will be undertaking extensive stakeholder and public engagement exercises to help inform their plans and create a design that fully serves the local community. Simon Dunstan, Director at GT3 Architects, said: “We’re delighted to be involved. As a local practice, it’s great to see the amount of regeneration work and funding happening in the North East – and in Hartlepool particularly. The Waterfront has been such an exciting project to be involved in over the last few years and we’re excited to take it to the next stage with the introduction of the new leisure centre. This ambitious project will create an exciting new leisure and community destination for the region and support the ongoing regeneration of the town.”

Morgan Sindall Construction wins £19m contract for Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Morgan Sindall Construction has won a major £19m package of work to deliver an extension and programme of improvements to the emergency department at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust selected the main contractor for the scheme through the Southern Construction Framework (SCF); a collaborative delivery vehicle which Morgan Sindall Construction has held a place on since 2006. The SCF is run by Hampshire and Devon County Councils. Plans were submitted to expand the hospital’s busy A&E last year, due to significant service pressures. The new build will help to meet with projected demand, and provide a modern healthcare facility for the east Devon population. The new three-storey development will be located adjacent to the current building on Barrack Road. At 3500m2, the building will enable the hospital to expand its clinical services with a state-of-the-art treatment environment. As a teaching hospital, it will also provide high-quality education and training space for future generations of medical students.

£16m Histon and Impington Park Infant School build opens its doors Cambridge Primary Education Trust’s £16m primary school build in Histon and Impington has opened its doors to children for the first time. Following handover from contractor and designer R G Carter in December, Histon and Impington Infant School relocated from its site in New School Road to the Buxhall Farm site off Glebe Way just before the Christmas holidays, and ahead of the 6th January return date. The new school comprises 14 classrooms, a main and small hall, library, staff and breakout areas, and a food technology area and kitchen. As part of the construction, highway upgrade works were undertaken along with the creation of a new footpath and alterations to the nearby junction and a toucan crossing for students’ safety. The construction team from R G Carter will be back on site in the spring to finalise the landscaping and seeding of the new nature garden at the rear of the school, which also provides play areas and a mini wooden amphitheatre. The school also has an adjoining space which will be used for breakfast and after-school clubs and wrap-around care facilities with the potential to provide pre-school provision for up to 52 children. Will Robinson, Project Manager for R G Carter, explained: “It has been a pleasure to work on another exciting project with Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver this new and much-needed primary school in the local area and we look forward to the students benefitting from this amazing facility.”

Willmott Dixon completes £46.5m University of Birmingham development Building work has completed on the £46.5m School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham, thanks to national contractor Willmott Dixon. The state-of-the-art 12,000m2 facility spans five floors and features a double-height atrium. The development aims to not only bring together many of the institution’s engineering disciplines, but also provide opportunities for successful collaboration between academia and the industry. Procured through the Constructing West Midlands framework, the School of Engineering puts industry at the heart of the university’s campus, alongside the £16.4m UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems. The facility’s design was curated specifically with agile and collaborative working between academics, researchers, students and staff in mind. The development offers open-plan spaces and cellular facilities including a dedicated Student Support Hub, a new 179-capacity design centre, a 50-seat electronics and electrical-focused project space, 20 flexi-bays specifically allocated for staff and student interactions, three 50-seat seminar rooms and also features 160 drop-in study spaces throughout the building. The basement also houses a full-size set of railway points, the university’s pantograph test rig and a test track for the scaled hydrogen-powered train – further expanding the university’s commitment to the integration of academia and industry.



The landscape design for the park seeks to promote social cohesion and wellbeing, as well as environmental benefits to the city – Jenny Ferguson, Landscape Architect at BDP

COMMUNITY PARK PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY Climate change and the need to plan for green infrastructure is playing an increasingly significant role in a new approach to design in built-up areas. In addition, heavy rainfall events are becoming more frequent and managing this excess water in our urban environments is increasingly challenging. Jenny Ferguson, Landscape Architect at BDP, explores further. part of an innovative A sscheme to use nature-based solutions to combat the effects of climate change and reduce stormwater flooding in Manchester, landscape architect firm, BDP, alongside engineering and design consultancy, Arup, has designed a new sustainable drainage park for the community in West Gorton


– using an interconnected series of swales, rain gardens and bioattenuation features. The new community park, which opened in the summer of 2020, is the final piece in a £100m regeneration scheme of 500 new homes, new community facilities and school improvements in the area.

Unlike a typical park, the green space in West Gorton has been specifically designed using materials that enable the management and flow of rainwater into a drainage system to help prevent flooding.

Permeable paving and rain gardens The paths and hard surfaces in the park have been replaced with permeable paving to allow rainwater to percolate through the ground or channel from surrounding roads to irrigate the new planting. Infiltration basins and planted swales are included in the design to soak up water and any remaining will flow into sunken rain gardens, which have been planted with a range of biodiverse vegetation to enhance the area’s natural environment. During heavy storms, water will be diverted

from road and paving gullies into these nature-based features, where planting will filter and absorb the water, thus significantly reducing pressure on the active drainage system. A series of headwalls around the water inlet and outlet positions are constructed using natural stone to minimise soil erosion. Through the centre of the swales are a series of timber check-dams, to physically slow the water flow rate. This means the park and the swales can act more like a sponge, soaking up the water to feed the plants. By the time the remaining water reaches the central rain garden, which is covered by a timber pontoon deck, there is significantly less water that needs to be managed. This overflow water becomes a feature of the garden – feeding the plants and presenting a really enriched environment.


Community spaces BDP and Arup worked with Manchester City Council, the Guinness Partnership (TGPL) and the University of Manchester (UoM) on the project. TGPL led a consultation to identify the community’s needs and aspirations for the open spaces and, through engaging with the community, raised awareness about the challenges of climate change to inspire local people to take pride in and ownership of the new park. As such, the landscape design for the park seeks to promote social cohesion and wellbeing, as well as environmental benefits to the city. The design incorporates three distinct areas; a woodland area filled with tree-lined paths and play features; a biodiverse meadow with picnic area and community area for outdoor events. The aim is to encourage visitors to

interact with nature and feel a strong sense of community. The woodland area uses natural elements such as timber and rocks in a newly-designed playground space, providing objects for ‘free play’ to encourage physical movement and creative play. A pebble rill captures water run-off and provides an addtional play feature within the woodland play area for children to follow. Planting is positioned along this rocky creek to capture and attenuate the water on its journey down to the rain gardens. To the southern part of the woodland play area, a sunny glade has been created by removing a dense cluster of existing trees, allowing light to penetrate down to the paths, towards the timber seating spaces below. Existing paths have been given a new surface wearing course to refresh them and provide a practical, accessible surface for all.

In the biodiverse meadow, running parallel with the primary pedestrian path, is a sinuous trail, with stepping stone logs and beams, along with seating niches set into low timber retaining walls, to provide an alternative fitness route for children or adults. The trail runs through the meadow and orchard spaces, continuing through the rain garden using stepping stones which lead to a storytelling space. The incorporation of information boards around the park gives details of the water attenuation features and the permeable paving in the park as well as educational descriptions of the biodiverse habitats and wildlife that can be found. The community area towards the south of the site includes open lawns, community planting areas and a piazza space that is designed to be

used by the community for events, sports and pop-up markets. The paving in this area is fully permeable, further attenuating heavy rainwater, filtering it through a series of formal channels. This water irrigates the new trees and plants and provides a rich, sensory environment for the community to enjoy. An open-sided timber structure with acrylic roof catches more rainwater into water harvesting butts beneath, so that there is no requirement to connect to a potable water supply for the watering of plants. Raised growing beds provide a communal area for those people in the community who have a keen horticultural interest and wish to grow their own food. The growing area is maintained solely by the local residents and a community group helps structure the management of the space. 





“The woodland area uses natural elements such as timber and rocks in a newly-designed playground space, providing objects for ‘free play’ to encourage physical movement and creative play.”

Measurement and monitoring This park is the first UK demonstrator project for the GrowGreen initiative, which is funded by the European Union’s 2020 Horizon programme. The initiative aims to show how green infrastructure can combat against the effects of climate change by providing quantifiable evidence. The University of Manchester will monitor the stormwater flows over the next five years to examine how effective the park and the permeable paving is in reducing flooding. The data they gather will then be used to inform the design of other green spaces in flood prone areas across the EU. There are two main criteria that will judge the success of the park in reducing flooding in the area. Firstly, the flow of water into and out of the pavements is being monitored and measured and the quantity of ‘attenuation’ by the design features can therefore be calculated. The second judgement will be the long-term condition and durability of the materials used. Any deformations in levels or deterioration of the surfaces will impact greatly on the aesthetics of environment, which are designed to be pleasing and calming for the community. The original innovation at West Gorton Community Park is in the combination of permeable paving alongside nature-based solutions to further slow the flow of water down and really manage the water at the source. Ordinarily, natural swales work with the topography of the site, taking water from surrounding soft landscapes. In this particular instance, the swales and rain gardens are managing the water captured through an intelligent permeable paving network and from the surrounding road network, as well as from the grassy areas.

A sustainable future With the awareness of sustainability issues increasing and with climate change starting to impact people’s lives directly, the design of community spaces and public realm is more important than ever before. At West Gorton, the combination of natural solutions and intelligent permeable materials provide an innovative function that supports the local community and solves many of the local council’s challenges. The result is a park that reduces flooding in and around central Manchester, creates a net gain in biodiversity but, most importantly, provides a lasting community space where residents can interact, feel safe and, ultimately, take pride in. For Manchester City Council, the hope is that West Gorton Community Park acts as an exemplar for this kind of park in the region. Certainly the use of permeable paving and natural materials has provided an innovative solution and it is clear that for future projects, the design must be carefully considered and tailored to the topography and space of each individual site. This way, we can avoid rapid deterioration, increase community interaction and ensure the best results for the environment for years to come. 




THE VALUE OF PLAY POST-PANDEMIC In this article, Timberplay explores the importance of play and exercise for children in these unprecedented times and how play will have a huge impact on post-pandemic planning.


ockdown, stay at home, social distance, schools closed for some, schools open for others – the world at the moment is confusing for many children and it has been extremely tough for them to manage and understand. As we begin to slowly move out of the global crisis, we begin to consider the impact of play and exercise on children, and how post-pandemic planning for the public realm can create a world that nurtures its children and green spaces. But how will our post-pandemic world look? Communities have recognised the importance of public spaces during the pandemic; from local access to green space for exercise to social hubs such as parks. No matter which we are talking about, these places are always at their best when they are vibrant, create an atmosphere and provide a safe place for communities to gather where children are able to express themselves. One of the places where we see the biggest impact on children from coronavirus restrictions is that many have been unable to learn social skills. They haven’t had access to schools, nurseries, sports


clubs etc. that pre-pandemic would have been well-used and fundamental in aspects of their development. However, some positive changes have been observed, such as an increase in families walking, cycling and running together who beforehand may have not gone out for exercise and instead spent time indoors undertaking sedentary activity. There is some belief that this may even extend to children looking back on lockdown with some fondness of a slower pace of life and family togetherness.

It goes without saying that day-to-day exercise has huge benefits for children – from reducing obesity levels to mental health benefits. Exercise has been a fundamental tool during these unprecedented times for children to release their emotions and deal with their frustrations and conflict. Play is a great device to get children to exercise without necessarily making them feel like they are, it is informal and relaxed, it has no set rules and allows children to use their imaginations.

Play can happen anywhere, and although there may be advantages to play in green spaces, during the pandemic play has happened in streets and gardens. There has been a return to some fundamental play types; playing with mud and rainwater, and making snowmen. Without the opportunity for formal and informal play during this pandemic, many children would be faced with even greater challenges to their development. Unfortunately, access to the outdoors has not been available for all. Some children have been forced to play indoors, with little access to outdoor play provision. This is particularly poignant for children living in built-up urban environments and flats without gardens. With little space to express themselves, it can become easy for them to feel trapped, and the lack of access to play is having a hefty negative impact on mental health. The big question for play is will post-pandemic planning ensure that it is at the forefront of public realm design, and accessible for all? The fact that our

LEISURE parks, in particular, became destinations during the pandemic has bolstered community backing and public recognition of the vital importance of these spaces. Conversely, our city centres have taken a battering with shops and the hospitality sector under enormous pressure. These businesses are going to need help to regenerate footfall and reinvigorate the high street. To do this, we need to take advantage of the pent-up demand and frustrations caused by lockdown, to make our public spaces more attractive for all – and crucially include children in this. To encourage footfall and make our high streets places where people of all ages want to visit, we must see a regeneration of spaces to make them more childfriendly and encourage people to shop as families, but also make use of play facilities and encourage outdoor activity. In general, making the public realm family-friendly helps to create a vibrancy and atmosphere that will bring communities together. Planning must allow for the

engagement of all ages. We have all seen situations where a parent has wanted to stop for a moment to enjoy some space but the child becomes bored or, similarly, it’s not much fun for a child being dragged through a space at breakneck speed to get the trip over and done with as quickly as possible. Designing those spaces for all will make the spaces much more successful, increasing dwell time and associated spend in nearby shops and cafes, bringing about a greater

connectedness with the city. This will then lead to opportunities for interactions with fellow citizens, an improvement in people’s lives and mental health of all ages. Doorstep play is also one way in which planning must consider ways to offer play for all, and at a local community level. Over the last few decades, there has been a huge change in the restrictions that children are faced with when it comes to roaming. Many children are now unable to leave their local street

or garden without an adult, meaning they are losing some aspects of independence and have less access to play. In compensation, lots of fenced and designated play spaces have been developed, but what does this say? Is it that “we know it’s important for you to play and that’s not so easy now, so here is a special place for to play” or are we saying, “this is the only place you can play”? The former is positive, the latter is disturbing. The main change we must see post-pandemic is childled planning. We see that planners are promoting the introduction of play into the public realm but they often have fixed views about what that should be, typically dominated by playgrounds. But playgrounds themselves are all too often designed around adult anxieties rather than children’s needs and it’s not necessary for a space to look like a typical playground for it to have play value. Children can find play value anywhere and post-pandemic, this will be key to engaging them socially back into communities. 




ALTRO IS AT THE BIRTH OF A NEW REVOLUTION An extensive Altro flooring and walling solution is helping to provide a beautiful, safe, homely and calm environment for new mothers and their babies at a revolutionary new maternity delivery suite at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.


he facility, comprising nine birthing rooms, has been created to ensure mothers, babies and families have a homefrom-home experience, but in a clinical and psychologically-safe environment. A hospital setting, but without the hospital feel. The major transformation was a close collaboration between staff in the maternity department, Altro and Eden Flooring. Zoe Nelson, Acute Maternity Matron at the hospital, was at the forefront of the new venture. She said: “The old delivery suite hadn’t been upgraded for at least 25 years, so we were delighted when budget became available to bring it upto-date with a refurbishment. “Some time before, we upgraded the birthing centre, creating a relaxing, homely, nonclinical feel and incorporating Cornish scenes and themes into the design. We wanted to


replicate this in the new delivery suite, but we needed to find better quality and more robust flooring and walling this time around, because we had a few issues with the products, which were not from Altro. “The new delivery suite includes a high-dependency facility too, which means there is more traffic, and therefore a greater need for robust products that will perform long term. We wanted to learn by our mistakes. “Our Estates Department Manager, Duncan Clift, recommended Altro, because he has used them before in the hospital with great success and trusts their products. At this point, every staff member in the maternity department was asked to submit their ideas for the new space, their vision, both practically and visually. It was a complete team effort and everyone was listened to. Both

HEALTHCARE Altro and Eden Flooring totally understood what we wanted to achieve and went the extra mile to help and support us in bringing our vision to life. “As a result, we continued the theme of bringing Cornwall into the space, and we did this very effectively using Altro’s product range. We chose flooring the colour of sand, blue walling to mirror the sea, grey surrounds to replicate rocks, and we created some incredible wall art of Cornish ocean scenes with Altro’s Digiclad. We have also named each room after famous places in the local landscape. The result is a beautiful, relaxing environment that plays a vital part of every baby’s start in life.” A key part of the selection of Altro products were their proven clinical credentials. Safety, hygiene and practicality were paramount. Zoe added: “As well as visually stunning, and giving us some superb colour and style options, it was recommended that Altro products would be ideal for this environment because they are safe, robust and easy to keep clean – all vital factors.” The Altro products used in the new delivery suite were: Altro Wood and Altro Pisces flooring; Altro Fortis wall protection; Altro Whiterock Satins and Altro Whiterock Digiclad wall sheet. Zoe continued: “As well as the environment being transformed for the women in our care and the evidencebased positive effects this has on labour and outcomes; staff have felt a renewed satisfaction and joy in coming into work. It was quite a challenge, however, the Eden team worked tirelessly and with sensitivity of their working environment to complete the project without any adverse issues. The relationship between us was of paramount

importance and I got the sense that we all enjoyed our working relationships along with the team approach that ensued. “Since the new unit opened 18 months ago, feedback from mothers, families, staff, other hospital trusts and the medical profession has been overwhelmingly positive. We are all so proud of what we have achieved here. It’s the ideal space for bringing new babies into the world, and a complete team effort including every department and person. We were ecstatic to welcome the Princess Royal to officially open the suite and it was very important to me that she met representatives from Eden and our estates team who made it happen. “Ultimately, it has made a huge impact on how we present ourselves corporately and our unique calming design is now being role-modelled across the wider trust and indeed others further afield. We have been approached by other trusts who have seen our Twitter activity and been suitably impressed. “As staff, we have stopped apologising for how our maternity unit looks but instead are now celebrating the pride we have for it.” The hospital’s Estates Manager, Duncan Clift, said: “Altro products have helped us to transform the delivery suite into something very special, and even though we had a very tight budget, we were able to completely realise our vision with what I believe are the very best products on the market. They have ticked every box for us. “The praise and feedback across the board is testament to what a great job everyone has done.” 




THERE’S NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION TO DECARBONISING DOMESTIC HEATING Decarbonising heating is high on the agenda for many social landlords and housing developers. As well as playing a vital role in tackling climate change, increasing the energy efficiency of housing is essential to reduce the escalating fuel bills for residents. Daniel Burton of Wondrwall, a leader in intelligent home management and renewable energy technology, explains more. to the Committee A ccording on Climate Change’s 2019 report on UK housing, “the quality, design and use of homes across the UK must be improved now to address the challenges of climate change. Doing so will also improve health, wellbeing and comfort, including for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those living with chronic illnesses”.


Government funding initiatives, such as the SHDF (Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund) and the Green Homes Grant, tend to favour a fabricfirst approach. The established view is that the best way to decarbonise domestic heating is to invest heavily in insulation, and then install a low-carbon heating system, such as an air

source heat pump. Whilst this approach can work in many situations, it will not always be the most cost-effective way to achieve the end goal. In some cases, it is not even practical or possible to retrofit homes in this way. Housing developers and social housing landlords must therefore urgently consider alternative approaches.

A change of mindset For many years, gas has been the go-to solution for domestic heating and hot water. However, as part of its commitment to decarbonising energy, the UK Government has declared that from 2025, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid. While some hold out hopes that clean hydrogen gas may be available by then, it is not currently an option. Housing developers must now look for the most efficient way to heat homes using electricity as a source of energy. With gas being so much part of the current mindset, it’s hardly surprising that air source heat pumps – which rely on a familiar set up of pipes, thermostats and radiators – are currently the most popular way to electrify domestic heating and hot water. But while air source heat pumps do have a lot to recommend them, they are not necessarily the best option in every case. Heat pumps rely on a ‘low and slow’ approach – drawing heat from the environment to gently but steadily heat homes. This works well if homes are extremely well insulated and the outside temperatures are not too low. Otherwise, either the heat is lost too quickly, or the system needs to operate well outside its margins of efficiency.


“As part of its commitment to decarbonising energy, the UK Government has declared that from 2025, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid.” – Daniel Burton, Wondrwall

Air source heat pumps are particularly unsuitable for retrofitting properties, as upgrading insulation to sufficient levels pushes the overall costs up significantly. On top of the cost of extra insulation, air source heat pumps are an expensive retrofit. The old central heating system needs to be completely replaced with an external compressor unit, a new central hot water immersion tank, heating water clusters and more. The radiators also need to be bigger to compensate for the lower running temperature. There are also some situations where fitting a heat pump externally is simply not viable – for example, in high-rise buildings. There is another option out there, however, that takes a radically different approach.

An energy solution for the digital age Manchester City Council recently explored a different approach to electrifying domestic heating in a newbuild development in West Gorton, Greater Manchester. The affordable houses were equipped with modern digital and renewable energy solutions that can deliver reductions to energy bills of up to 90% for tenants. The mews-style threebedroom homes, built in partnership with Manchester City Council, are fitted with

solar PV and battery storage. But what makes them unique is the intelligent solution that ties these elements together. The self-learning system, designed by Wondrwall, automatically adapts heating, lighting, security and energy consumption according to the behaviour of the occupants, environmental conditions and wholesale energy costs. A combination of electric underfloor heating and infrared panels can quickly provide warmth when needed, and the intelligent, partitioned, hot-water cylinder heats water only when needed. A system comprising solar panels, inverter and battery storage provides free electricity from the sun and enables the tenants to take advantage of hourly fluctuations in energy costs. For new and old properties, the cost of installing this ‘smart and agile’ solution compares favourably with wet heating systems, heat pumps and high levels of insulation.

A day in the life of an intelligent home The key to the effectiveness of the system is its ability to learn and adapt to the information in real time. The system will begin a typical day by checking the weather forecast shortly after midnight. Combining this information with what it knows about the behaviour of the occupants and the

performance of the solar panels, it will predict how much electricity it needs to draw from the grid to meet the family’s needs for the day. The system then analyses time-of-use tariffs for the day and determines the most cost-effective time to charge the domestic batteries. If there is an unexpected energy requirement during the day, the system might respond by supplying energy from the battery and importing energy from the grid. Conversely, if there is a spike in energy from the PV solar panels, the system will export energy back to the grid. During the evening, when energy prices are at their peak, the system powers the house entirely from energy stored in the battery. After midnight, the system processes the day’s data, adjusts its algorithm accordingly, and the cycle begins again.

A smarter approach to allocating resources When faced with a big task and a limited budget, it makes sense to allocate resources where they will be most effective – even when that means questioning our assumptions. It’s clear from the West Gorton project that ‘fabric first’ is not the only way to decarbonise domestic heating. A smart and agile approach may be a better fit in many situations. Social housing landlords and housing developers should therefore evaluate projects on a case-by-case basis when choosing the right approach to decarbonise domestic heating, rather than putting their faith in a one-size-fits-all approach. 




WHY IS BIM THE ENABLER FOR DIGITAL PROCESSES ON PUBLIC SECTOR PROJECTS? BIM (Building Information Modelling) as a process and technology has been transforming public sector project delivery since BIM Level 2 was mandated back in 2016. Whilst its benefits are clear to see, many overlook the fact that BIM is a strong enabler for many other modern technologies developed for the sector. Buildots explains why this is the case.



he construction industry’s digital journey encompasses many aspects including apps, AI, IoT and other bespoke software. They are becoming increasingly more important across public sector construction projects, as complex processes are made easier with the aid of technology. With digital solutions, risks are being avoided and mitigated, and once arduous programmes of work are now far more efficient and seamless. But the technology that is making the most transformative difference is BIM, which is at the core of the industry’s digital offering and has been for some time. BIM is the first time that the industry has an agreed end-product that it is aiming to create through its delivery process – it’s the first time the different pieces of the puzzle are properly coordinated. It is therefore creating (well, in most cases) an agreed goal for the first few years of construction’s process. HILTI, for example, announced its JAIBOT last year, a robot aimed at replacing some of the repetitive and dangerous works conducted on site. It requires good and final plans to operate, otherwise it will not be able to drill holes properly. Other technologies, such as AIbased programme generation and

BIM optimisation, need BIM to fully grasp the complexity of the project it is planning, and provide the best course of action. Buildots puts BIM at the centre of the site’s day-to-day operations. It leverages the capacity of off-the-shelf 360° cameras to inject as-built data into BIM models, creating a perfect view of the status of works. On top of the live model, an advanced dashboard system creates the construction control centre, showing progress reports, monthly valuations, and flags any divergences from designs or programme. Once the model becomes live, other technology vendors can tap into the model to receive real-time progress information, to trigger shipments, streamline payments or generate better execution plans for the following week. Companies that invest in creating workflows around BIM are wellpositioned to quickly leverage new products that can directly affect their bottom lines.

BIM as the enabler: what are the other benefits? The NBS’ National BIM Report 2019 highlights a 60% increase in BIM adoption from 2011 to 2019, which suggests that BIM is being used more widely across public sector construction projects. The Government’s Construction 2025 targets will further

help BIM to raise its profile. To fulfil the Government’s targets, many contractors and asset owners are turning to smarter and greener methodologies and processes. BIM’s enabling value plays an important role in this case, as these parties will want to be able to predict their footprint prior to construction and measure it once an asset is in use. BIM’s value will become further recognised as the industry strides towards greater quality and traceability. Dame Judith Hackitt’s golden thread of information has been lauded as one of the most prominent methods the industry should adhere to in order to ensure best practice across the board. To align with this process, there will be a higher demand from companies to know and understand the role of visible data within an asset or project. Having a clear audit trail of what has been done, who did it and how it was installed will create this all-important golden thread of information. It will also highlight the value of data and information on a digital sphere; data that isn’t gathering dust in a filing cabinet or stowed away on a server, but essential to informing the decision-making process regarding the performance of a building. This is where the concept of connected data comes in. Historic data stored across multiple, disparate silos can be of use to the asset owner, yet the way in which it is held often renders the

information inaccessible and inefficient, if it needs to be referenced. Neither can this data help to craft a reliable like-for-like image of how a building is performing; old data is a reference of what occurred and not necessarily a tool that confidently reports on how an asset is currently operating. In the case of the data created using Buildots, in addition to the immediate value for the construction project team, the collected historical data of multiple projects can be combined to create even greater value for the industry. A construction company could use that to benchmark its projects and activities, decide how to better plan its next projects or focus on construction methods that are more suitable for its workflows and expertise. It creates opportunities to identify repeating issues or common bottlenecks throughout the entire company’s projects portfolio, and develop new workflows and processes to avoid those in the future. Both an enabler and enhancer of processes on public sector construction projects, BIM is changing the industry’s landscape and for the better. We expect many of the new technologies to only work on BIM-enabled projects, where it will widen the productivity gap between companies who have adopted change versus those that stayed behind. 




HOW POST-COVID PROCUREMENT CAN HELP TO BOOST MMC Tim Oakley, Head Consultant at LHC, talks to PSBJ about its work to instill confidence in local authorities to implement MMC and demonstrates the accessibility of offsite through its frameworks and tools.


he first COVID-19 lockdown marked a sudden and radical change for public-sector housing and construction procurement. Fast forward to lockdown number three and it appears that the changes of the last year could be beneficial for new MMC contracts in the public sector.

Kickstarting change The closure of offices and sites initially left local authority and housing association schedules in tatters, with public bodies unable to plan the completion of existing projects or to launch new projects. The preparedness of procurement staff, both on the supplier and buyer side, to carry out their respective duties was placed under significant stress. As the crisis has continued, it became obvious to us that contracting authorities and their suppliers would need to work in partnership to plan an eventual exit from relief and transition to new, sustainable operating models. This is what has been happening over the last year. LHC is taking a very positive view, as much of the disruption of 2020 has accelerated a process of change that will bring many benefits for this year.

Challenging perceptions of MMC This environment of change has also helped many local authorities and public-sector clients to revisit their thinking on construction. While they may have been reluctant to be ‘early adopters’, they can now see that this is a good time to learn from others’ experiences of MMC. By applying that learning to the way public-sector projects are


delivered and embracing the benefits that MMC can offer, they can help to address a range of delivery challenges that local authorities were facing before the pandemic, particularly the shortage of local authority housing. The main request from LHC’s clients is for open and honest insights from our many years’ experience delivering hundreds of MMC projects large and small. The key benefits are already clear to us: MMC homes have lower overall lifecycle costs as project delivery is much faster, so contracting authorities will see the sales or rent revenue much earlier. But there can be pitfalls too, so working with expert local procurement teams is the best way to get started.

Support for contracting authorities There are often concerns that MMC housing schemes are too complex to manage. However, our experience is, that through framework agreements, contracting authorities can manage this process much more easily; with a single point of contact and technical expertise from the initial stages through to design, construction, handover and use. LHC’s Offsite Project Integrator (OPI1) framework can help to deliver an experienced and integrated supply chain. The OPI1 framework was launched last year to help authorities to find the technical support that can help with the planning and implementation of offsite housing schemes. It covers the preliminary stages prior to RIBA Stage 0 and then implementation to Stage 7. This framework sits alongside the Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH2) framework to offer local authorities and housing associations solutions at every stage, from design right through to occupation.


Reducing risk LHC has also introduced the Framework Alliance Contract (FAC-1) in all its procurement frameworks, with the aim of sharing objectives, introducing transparent performance measurement, aligning commercial interests and setting up collaborative governance, all of which promotes shared risk management. FAC-1 provides a new style of framework agreement which achieves much higher satisfaction rates between all parties. Disputes are reduced, and alliance members can more easily work together to achieve the greater efficiency, value outputs and cost savings from MMC projects.

Delivering outcomebased procurement New public contracts regulations in 2015 forced procurement teams to consider key issues such as sustainability, whole-life costs, lifecycle analysis and social value. All of these issues have been driven home even harder over the last year. Of course, there is still lots to be done to ensure the new, post-COVID ‘outcome-based’ procurement approach, as set out in the Transforming Public Procurement green paper published last December, is better understood and more widely adopted.

The green paper suggests that buyers should be allowed to include criteria that go beyond the contract to encourage suppliers to operate in a way that contributes to economic, social and environmental outcomes on the basis of the most advantageous tender. It also proposes using public procurement reform to drive innovation in the UK, through fostering markets for innovative new products and services. Using a new flexible, competitive procedure, buyers will be able to engage proactively with the market much earlier than before. This early engagement is vital if the UK is to take advantage of the innovative solutions that MMC can offer to drive the delivery of new homes. It will

also allow the MMC market to bring its wealth of technological experience to the table to provide more imaginative proposals. A further exciting proposal will support innovation in construction by encouraging market collaboration. Consideration is being given to the use of ‘innovation labs’ that aim to bring innovative suppliers and relevant bodies together to develop ideas, including through ‘multiple supplier collaborative solutions’. This also links to recent guidance in the Construction Playbook Procurement Policy Note 09/20, that highlights the need for in-scope organisations to drive the adoption of MMC including digital and offsite manufacturing technologies through standardisation and aggregation. This is something LHC is keen on doing through its new OffSite Alliance working groups, where the consultants, contractors and manufacturers appointed to our offsite frameworks will collaborate with our clients to provide strategic direction and leadership. This insight will be used to improve the development of the use of offsite construction through LHC members and across the wider market. This will continue to be our focus for 2021, along with increased emphasis on pan-industry collaboration – the only way to ensure we truly build back better. 




Mark Sugden is a UK and European patent attorney leading the Housing & Construction Group at European intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers.

INNOVATING TO REDUCE EMBODIED CARBON With a Government target in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, innovators within the construction sector are exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact of property development and the built environment.


hile much of the focus to date has been on energysaving technologies, innovators in the sector are increasingly turning their attentions to tackling ‘embodied carbon’. Every building material has its own carbon footprint. Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gases released throughout the supply chain of a material, including during the extraction of raw materials, as well as the processing, transportation and construction stages. This can account for up to 50% of a building’s wholelife carbon emissions. Traditionally, the reduction of carbon emissions has focused around increasing energy efficiency and pushing for renewable energy production. However, to sufficiently reduce carbon emissions, the industry must now concentrate on embodied carbon reduction too. As the issue of climate change escalates, the construction industry is increasingly taking both embodied and operational carbon emissions into account. The UK Green Building Council has an ‘Advancing Net Zero’ campaign, which aims to promote and support the acceleration of net-zero carbon building and provides


a framework to support its delivery. So, how can recent innovations help the construction industry in its mission to reduce levels of embodied carbon? The building materials which hold the greatest carbon footprint are concrete and steel. As such, these have become a target for innovators looking to reduce embodied carbon levels. Kiss House, a UK home provider, has recently filed a UK patent application for a technology concerning the reduction of embodied carbon in the foundations of buildings. Foundations often largely consist of either steel or concrete, making them a major contributor to embodied carbon levels. Kiss House’s solution involves the use of glass reinforced fibre beams and joists, which rest on small steel screw piles. In comparison to traditional foundation systems, this method lowers their carbon footprint by 70%. Other innovators have focused on making the production of cement more environmentally-friendly. In January 2020, European research and technological development centre, Tecnalia, had a patent granted for a more energy-efficient method

of producing cement clinker, called ‘microwave clinkerisation’ or MIKE. Due to the very high temperature needed to produce clinker from calcium carbonate, and the base material having carbonates within it, a considerable amount of CO2 is emitted during the clinker production process. By changing the composition of the base material, Tecnalia has created a means of forming clinker at lower temperatures, which helps to reduce the embodied carbon of the resulting cement. Another innovator that has developed a new composition of concrete is the Ronzoni Institute in Italy. The Ronzoni Institute has filed a European patent application, which could ultimately lead to patent protection in the UK, involving a cement composition containing less calcium carbonate. The result of this is that fewer carbon emissions are released into the environment during the manufacturing process. Collaboration between innovators, both large and small, also looks to be a promising route to reducing embodied carbon emissions. LafargeHolcim, a global building materials and solutions company, has partnered with SME Solidia Technologies to

develop a reduced CO2 cement. Using a unique concrete mixture, and a specialised curing process that utilises CO2, they are aiming to create a concrete that has a 70% lower carbon footprint than traditional portland cement systems. Through collaboration with larger businesses, smaller businesses with a large intellectual property (IP) portfolio can utilise their IP whilst reducing the barriers to bringing a new product to market and gaining access to a larger portion of the market. Thus, collaborations of this type may provide SMEs with the opportunity to promote their business to a wider audience, whilst also facilitating further R&D activity. When entering into an R&Dfocused collaboration, it is vital for the businesses involved to establish each party’s existing IP which is being shared, and to agree on ownership of IP created during the collaborative work. The sharing of any existing IP should be limited to what is strictly needed for the particular project, and should only be shared under the protection of a non-disclosure agreement. Much is being done to reduce carbon emissions in the construction sector, and the net-zero emissions by 2050 goal is becoming ever more possible with each innovation. In order to achieve this goal, the construction industry will need to continue to innovate to further reduce the embodied carbon in the built environment. 












HOW SCHOOL DESIGN IS MEETING THE PACE OF SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE In this article, William Tonkinson, Managing Director of education furniture and fit-out specialist, Deanestor, looks at how school design is evolving to reflect the pace of social and technological change.


esearch has shown how children excel in stimulating, inspiring learning environments. Every inch of our schools is now scoured for the ability to contribute to learning. Corridors are being widened to become extensions to the classrooms; stairs can provide seating space; learning plazas encourage social interaction to replace underutilised foyers; previously single-use spaces such as dining halls and libraries are being designed to have multiple functions, accommodating performances and group learning hubs.

Social spaces to develop knowledge Secondary schools are moving towards a campus style of design which is closer to a college or work environment to better prepare young people for higher education or the world of work.


Students now have more ownership of their learning and there is a move away from the teacher being the focal point at the front of the class. This is a significant shift driven by the curriculum and facilitated by new technology. A range of different spaces, such as learning plazas and hubs, encourage collaborative learning and a more fluid approach to teaching with a higher level of social integration. Furniture has to be more agile, mobile and easy to reconfigure to reflect this transformation. Classrooms were typically separated by walls and doors. Open layouts now have glass partitions and uninterrupted lines of sight, utilising design ideas from cuttingedge workplaces, such as Google and Apple campuses.


In many secondary schools, each child is equipped with a tablet and the majority of learning materials are digital, which reduces the need for physical storage. Modular workstations allow students to mirror screens, casting their digital work onto teaching walls, encouraging discussion and interaction. Furniture needs to integrate with the latest technology and accommodate future developments – such as the transition from desktop computers to tablets, but also projectors and digital recording equipment. Considerations that impact on furniture specification include docking stations, decluttering, space-saving, disability access and device sharing.

Bringing nature into the learning environment Nature has a calming effect and children’s cognitive performance can improve in naturalistic environments. Research has shown the benefits of biophilic design for schools and we are now seeing more projects extending this theme beyond primary to secondary schools. Biophilic design is an interior style that recreates nature and incorporates nature-inspired features. Examples include the use of muted colours such as greens and blues replacing bright primary colours, wood finishes, soft seating, carpets rather than hard floors, and high levels of natural light.

Making school design more personal

The importance of flexibility The pace of social and technological change means modern learning environments have to rapidly evolve. Fundamental to making educational spaces work is incorporating longterm flexibility so that as technology, curriculum and pedagogies continue to develop, those changes can be supported and not hindered. Teaching staff need to be able to tailor the learning environment to allow for short-term changes of layout and use – and for longterm expansion and contraction as capacity fluctuates in line with local demographics. This means movable or modular furniture that allows spaces to be rearranged with ease. Furniture often has multiple functions. A bookcase would now be mobile and could have an integrated

whiteboard so it can be both a room divider and a teaching aid. Lockers can have integrated booth seating or workstations, encouraging social interaction. We often have to configure furniture to work both in individual classrooms and in a large double classroom, which can be opened up using movable or retractable walls. Super science laboratories can now accommodate two large classes working simultaneously on practical and written work.

The impact of technology Technology in schools today is invisible, personal and mobile. This reduces students’ dependence on the teacher, promoting peer-to-peer collaboration and widening the sphere of learning beyond the confines of the classroom to the whole school campus.

People are more invested in the environments they can influence. In schools, if you give students the opportunity to change their learning space, engagement is enhanced. This means increased choice and variation in furniture types, different seating arrangements and finishes within the learning environment. Collaborative spaces allow students to learn alongside and from each other. A quieter space for thinking or reading can improve concentration simply by making it easier. The flexibility of seating and desk or table arrangements allows students to create personalised learning spaces for the groups they are learning with – or for individual study. In classrooms, students tend to choose the same desk every time which restricts social interaction and the opportunity for shared learning. Removing desk barriers, for example, with modular furniture, can bring a class together to enhance discussion and collaboration. Lightweight chairs, soft seating, tables of different heights and movable walls can transform alcoves into quiet reading spaces or to suit small group learning or instruction.

Early e n g a g e m e n t for a successful school project A typical new-build school will be fully designed before the furniture specification is developed at a much later stage. The issue here is the M&E services are often installed before the furniture specification has been finalised – and the services may not then work with the furniture. This means an excellent building cannot be used to its full potential. By bringing the team together at pre-construction stage – users, architect, contractor, M&E consultant, furniture and fit-out specialist – every aspect is fully co-ordinated, leading to a much more successful project. Cost planning is more accurate and there are fewer design changes to the furniture, improving cost efficiency. Services should be located around the precise layout of the furniture – not vice versa. 




FRAMEWORKS ARE KEY TO UNLOCKING CHANGE IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Alastair Hamilton leads Pick Everard’s national project management, cost management and advisory teams. A chartered Quantity Surveyor, he is passionate about delivering projects that meet the client’s requirements while achieving the best value possible.

Construction is set to lead the way as the UK looks to move out of the COVID-19 pandemic and towards economic recovery – and the public sector will be at the forefront thanks to Government spending pledges across a variety of sectors. Partner at leading independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard, Alastair Hamilton believes that the effective use of frameworks will be pivotal.


ublic sector development has played a hugely important part in stimulating development across the UK, with key projects often acting as a catalyst for private sector schemes to come forwards – and the coronavirus pandemic has only emphasised this further. As an industry, we now have a real opportunity to ‘build back better’ not just in terms of the actual bricks and mortar, but also by placing a real emphasis on social value and the legacy both within the industry and the communities in which we are working.

Frameworks delivering value As a business, we are extremely experienced in working with our clients via frameworks and really understand how a well-managed framework


can add genuine value, especially to public sector organisations which are often time-poor and working within financial constraints. There are the obvious advantages of procuring through a framework – efficiencies, certainty of cost and delivery timescales, but the value goes well beyond that. One of the key aspects of delivering works via a framework is that we are able to place social value at the heart of a project – working in collaboration with both the client and the framework provider to ensure that building works have a positive impact throughout the build and into the future. This shared objective is incredibly important as it means there is a real focus on delivery, which translates into tangible benefits.

We are really passionate about doing ‘better’ within the construction industry and firmly believe that frameworks allow us to play a key role in doing just that through the projects we are involved with. This means not only delivering value for money for clients, but also focusing on the social value initiatives that matter to that particular project – whether that be creating work experience placements and apprenticeships, engaging with local people who are currently out of work or supporting with important local community projects.

Social value at the heart of placemaking The way in which we approach placemaking in our towns and cities has changed. More than ever before, central Government and

TALKING POINT local authorities are focused on embedding health and wellbeing into our communities. You need only look at the likes of the planning white paper or the recently-produced National Infrastructure Strategy to see just how important ‘levelling up’ and the health and wellbeing of our communities are to informing policy, and I firmly believe that frameworks play an important part in delivering this. Social value is at the heart of frameworks; projects procured in this way are required to report on and deliver positive outcomes over and above the schemes themselves. The advantage of procuring via a framework, especially when it comes to pivotal community projects is that the notion of social value is embedded right from the start. At Pick Everard, we are really focused on leaving a positive, long-term legacy and we’re able to do just that in collaboration with our supply chain via frameworks. We put the concept of better placemaking, better lives for communities and improved health and wellbeing at the core of what we are delivering for our clients – aligning with the objectives laid out particularly by the public sector and delivering against them.

Driving competitive excellence in the marketplace The collaborative approach adopted by frameworks really supports delivering competitive excellence in the marketplace as we work together to upskill the supply chain and drive improvements across the industry. Measurement and evaluation processes are so important to delivery via a framework, which means that we are constantly interrogating our activity and are able to make improvements throughout the project lifecycle. This is particularly valuable when it comes to working with SMEs which are really the lifeblood of the construction industry and play such an important part in driving economic recovery. This is also where innovation is really driven, and by working collaboratively, we are able to learn from one another – ultimately resulting in a seamless delivery model for clients. We benefit from a really dynamic supply chain and using a framework is a great way to harness that capability and drive industry-wise improvements. In taking this approach, we are future-proofing the construction industry as we look to close that skills gap and develop young and talented people throughout their careers. It will see the standard of delivery across the industry – across the private and public sectors – improve and the marketplace will change for the better. 





BACK TO BASICS – PROVIDING SAFE BATHROOM SPACES Over half (54%) of households in the social rented sector have one or more household members with a long-term illness or disability. With such a high level of need, how can the bathroom be made an even safer space, cost-effectively? Here Stuart Reynolds, Head of Product and Marketing at AKW, a leading UK provider of accessibility solutions, discusses how going back to basics and looking at adaptations, such as safety flooring and bidets, can have a significant impact.

ne way that those with long-term illnesses or disabilities can be made safer is to make sure that high-risk areas, such as the bathroom, are as easy to access as possible. As well as good lighting and conveniently positioned grab-rails, an area that is often overlooked is the flooring. Does the flooring meet anti-slip standards? Accessible bathroom flooring should conform to both HSE and International standards and have high barefoot and footwear slip-resistance. If possible, choose flooring, such as AKW’s anti-slip vinyl safety flooring, which has a PTV (Pendulum Test Value) that exceeds wetroom requirement standards, providing complete peace of mind for end-users and social landlords alike. Is the flooring patterned or highly contrasting in colour? A person with dementia can be confused by flooring speckles or texture and assume it is pieces of dirt that need to be picked up. Also, a change in flooring colour from the bathroom to a shower tray or hallway can mistakenly be assumed to be a step. To avoid this, ensure that the bathroom is finished using a uniform safety flooring in a single colourway.

Promoting toileting independence An area that can be particularly challenging for some to access without help is toileting. Making toileting as straightforward as possible is vital. Bidets can offer a solution to this, as they don’t require the same complex levels of dexterity or physical ability that are otherwise needed. Many will remember the avocado-coloured bidet of the 1970s, however, bidets have come a long way since then and an over-toilet seat attachment version can be a cost-effective addition, helping to promote dignity and keeping individuals independent for longer.

Versatile bidets An over-toilet seat attachment, such as AKW’s bidet unit is typically much cheaper than buying and installing a two-in-one bidet/toilet. The cost and installation of such models can be under £1000, which means they are classed as minor works and eligible for a local authority Minor Works Grant. The solution is also transferable. So, if there’s a change of residents or the current occupier no longer needs the use of a bidet, it can be removed and used elsewhere. The seat-like attachment overcomes the challenges of fitting an additional bidet into a small bathroom. As every resident is unique, advice should be sought from an occupational therapist or appropriate healthcare professional to ensure the chosen bidet will meet the resident’s ongoing needs. Going back to basics by looking at flooring and toileting adaptations, social housing providers can help deliver safer bathroom spaces for many years to come. 










For more details, call our specialised team to discuss your particular project on:

01252 645534

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QUALITY IS CRUCIAL TO LONG-TERM INTEGRITY OF BRICK-BUILT PROPERTIES Scott Denham, Sales Director at IG Masonry Support, looks at how offsite construction is helping us create buildings that embrace the traditional beauty of brick through the utilisation of hygrothermally-tested brick slip soffit solutions that combine modern engineering and familiar aesthetics with safety and long-term performance.


rick buildings are designed to withstand the ravages of time and the elements; the latter benefit being particularly crucial due to climate change, resulting in an increase of extreme weather systems worldwide. If the properties we build today are to remain standing for generations to follow, quality must be maintained during all stages of the construction process. Brick has been used in construction for many generations, mainly because of its consistent shape, compressive strength and ability to absorb water. Buildings made from brick can cost less in the long-run, as lower amounts of energy are required for heating. It is no surprise then, that brick continually proves to be of popular use among construction professionals as long-term value can be achieved. Brick buildings leave a lasting legacy for the community, as they can endure the test of time for many years and still look


as good as they did when completed. This sense of endurance and communal appeal are important factors for any building that is a focal point of its community, especially schools and healthcare facilities. The intricate detailing that brickwork enables is like no other and can be utilised to ensure a brick-based building sits perfectly within its surrounding environment. Brick detail in the form of brick soffits, deep reveals and flying beams continually make for stunning exteriors, enabling truly unique detailing to be created. With these designs in high demand, offsite-manufactured brick slip units fill a huge gap in the market. Intricate designs are no longer in the domain of skilled craftspeople; they can be created in the quality-controlled, efficient environment of a factory, without the need for any lengthy and costly fabrication onsite.


Produce unique facades offsite Construction processes and regulations are continually changing. As such, product manufacturers have to change and adapt, to ensure their products conform. In recent years, traditional brickwork has been paired with a more modern form of fabrication that assures quality, intricacy and long-term value: offsite manufacturing. Many construction professionals are looking at how factoryproduced systems can support the onsite processes as a way of speeding up the build process, improving safety and ensuring quality and conformity. Offsite-manufactured solutions can be utilised to create intricate brickwork detailing that would be costly and complicated to fabricate on site. It takes time and skill to create complex and uniform brickwork detailing to a project’s brief, yet with prefabricated solutions this level of detail and replication simply isn’t an issue. Taking the construction of complex brick features offsite into factory-controlled conditions drives the level of quality and consistency that is needed to achieve excellence and long-term value across all construction

projects, especially schools or healthcare facilities that may wish to create brickwork detailing to add personality or identity to their exterior structure. Many manufacturers weather-test prefabricated products so they know the solutions are built to last. The external walls of buildings are exposed to a wide range of weather conditions including: wetting and drying, heating and cooling, freezing and thawing, to name but a few. IG Masonry Support recently launched its BBAcertified B.O.S.S. A1 system, a hygrothermally-tested, carbon-neutral product which is ‘A1’ fire-rated and suitable

for use on projects that require Building Regulations Document B compliance. The B.O.S.S. A1 units were tested to demonstrate structural performance, following a period of accelerated weathering. The bond strength of the system was evaluated after being subjected to hygrothermal conditioning in accordance with EAD090062-00-0404. The testing involved subjecting the B.O.S.S. A1 units to repeated heat/rain cycles, followed by repeated freeze/ thaw cycles at a controlled temperature and humidity, all designed to simulate naturally occurring conditions. This testing validated the physical

performance and long-term durability of all components as well as ensures the products are fit for purpose. Whilst some trends fade over time, brickwork will always be a constant. There is now the technology available on the market to create stunning prefabricated brick facades and detailing that hit the mark on function and visuals. With this type of offsite manufacturing, the everelusive quality control and value can be achieved where it matters most on public sector projects, ensuring the same grade A finish is translated on site every time. 




MODULAR SOCIAL HOUSING WITH A GRAND DESIGNS-STYLE AESTHETIC A stylish aesthetic has been achieved for a well-received affordable housing development in Newhaven, East Sussex, thanks to specialist corrugated fibre cement sheeting being applied to modular apartments.


outhern Sheeting supplied the facade materials to modular housing builder Boutique Modern to help deliver 13 affordable flats, which the local council is hailing as a “game changer” for social housing. The units were built offsite at a factory in Newhaven and then loaded onto a flat vehicle and lifted into place at the site using cranes. A spokesperson for Boutique Modern said: “Southern Sheeting were very helpful and worked hand-inhand with the manufacturers and specialist sub-contractors to bring the expertise needed at the outset of the project. They supplied us with Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting as vertical wall coverings for the external facade of the building, as well as all fixings and ancillary products.” The team at Boutique Modern delivered the modular homes for Lewes District Council, with OSM


Construction as the main contractor. Boutique Modern manufactured the homes offsite, completing the roof and the external facade on site, with Southern Sheeting detailing and supplying the cladding package. The two-stage design and build process included the demolition of existing office buildings and then the construction of 13 offsitemanufactured modular apartments, over three storeys, to form Palmerston House. The development includes six two-bedroom apartments and seven onebedroom apartments. A spokesperson for Boutique Modern said: “Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting was selected by Boutique Modern to be used as vertical wall cladding on the development as it offered a modern design aesthetic, provides a cost-effective solution and has a reaction to fire classification of A2-s2,d0.

ROOFING, CLADDING & INSULATION “We have used Southern Sheeting before on smaller projects, but this was the biggest project we have worked with them on. They are the go-to in the South East for cladding and roofing products and expertise.” Dan Hill, from Southern Sheeting, said: “We love the aesthetic our Profile 3 corrugated cement sheeting has created for this modular social housing project. It’s exciting to see it being used in this way in a development that will deliver stand-out and beautiful homes to people in need.” Profile 3 Eternit corrugated fibre cement sheeting, which was used on the development, is made from a carefullyformulated mix of cement and water, reinforced with a combination of both natural and man-made fibres. The long-lasting nature of this formula has a 50-year-plus life expectancy for all its sheets and accessories. An added bonus is that the semicompressed sheets are quick and easy to install and fix, reducing time, labour and costs. Its vapour permeability reduces condensation and offers excellent thermal and noise insulation. Profile 3 fibre cement sheets are virtually maintenance-free, with no rust or corrosion. This results in highly cost-

effective weatherproofing, making the material suitable for exposed coastal settings such as Fort Road in Newhaven. It is also available in a range of colours. Lewes District Council recently published an interview on YouTube with its Leader and Ward Councillor for Newhaven South, Councillor James MacCleary. He visited the new development and praised it as an exciting and revolutionary style of council housing, built locally, which also reinvested in the town. He said residents were already moving into the development and that he was thrilled people would be able to enjoy their first Christmases in such a safe and high-quality environment. The councillor pointed to Palmerston House’s energy efficiency, which should enable it to operate off the grid for three to four months of the year, solar panels and electric charging points, as well as high standards of fire safety. The homes are super insulated, meaning they are 40% more energy efficient than traditional homes. The district council is hailing the homes as a “game changer” for social housing and a window on the future for residential schemes.

In a recent statement about the development Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing at Lewes District Council, said: “Palmerston House represents a complete and hugely exciting departure in 21st-century housing construction. These wonderful new homes provide a design template that I am certain will be replicated all over the UK as decision-makers discover what we have achieved in Newhaven. “There is no doubt that this is a game changer, not just in terms of raising the bar for sustainability and fire safety, but also in build quality and finish. The apartments are stunning examples of what social housing professionals should be striving for.” Championing the development, Cllr MacCleary, added: “When the Co-operative Alliance took over the council last year, we put building homes and reducing carbon output at the heart of our agenda. Palmerston House achieves both of those things. “On top of that, it is a truly cutting-edge building that just adds to the sense that Newhaven is a town where a lot is happening. It’s a great addition to our town and, most importantly, represents a positive future for local families who can now look forward to spending Christmas together in their new home.” Boutique Modern began building the homes in October 2019 and delivered them to the site in March 2020. The whole development was completed in September 2020. 




A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY The benefits of replacement, energy-efficient aluminium windows and doors can result in large savings on energy bills, explains Russell Wallbank, Architectural Project Manager at window and door system supplier Schüco. A pool of water on a window sill or a blind flapping in a cold draft are the telltale signs that a window has reached the end of its life. While you may not need an expert to tell you that a window has failed, it is worth talking to an expert when it comes to selecting the best value product for its replacement. Often a school will employ a building surveyor to assess the extent of fenestration to be replaced. They will contact a window and door system supplier, such as Schüco, for advice on the most appropriate and cost-effective replacement. This may involve visiting the school to assess the installation, writing a specification for the job and even producing preliminary window drawings. A concern often raised is whether planning permission is needed to replace a failed window or external door. Generally, planning permission is not required, providing the aesthetics are not being changed significantly and the replacement unit’s thermal performance is equal to or better than the one it is replacing (which is almost always the case with modern materials and Schüco thermally-efficient framing systems). While planning permission may not be needed, replacement windows and doors must comply with current Building


Regulations which apply to thermal performance, safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation. Of course, the big advantage of using a leading system supplier like Schüco is that a school will benefit from a quality, cost-effective, compliant solution. For example, it is good practice to ensure the new window provides at least the same amount of natural light as the one it replaces, because natural light reduces the need for electric light, saving energy, while helping students to concentrate. Ventilation too is important. In the past, if a classroom required ventilation the teacher would have to open a window, even in winter. Now window systems can incorporate passive or active ventilation to ensure that there is always outside air entering the classroom, even with the windows closed. Furthermore, where solar gains are likely to cause overheating in summer, glazing can be treated with a heat-reflective coating. Or, if the budget and the planners allow, you can also install other methods of solar control by Schüco such as external louvre blades and brise soleil. Often the best solution is to replace energy-inefficient windows and doors with units made using a thermally-broken aluminium frame and energy-efficient

double-glazed units. These will have a significantly better thermal performance, improving comfort in both summer and winter to create a more pleasant learning environment while helping reduce the school’s heating bill. An additional benefit of using Schüco is that its door and window systems can be combined. For example, the Schüco AWS 70 SC window system can be installed together with the Schüco GFT 50 external door system for high-traffic areas, which includes an anti-finger trap solution.

www.schueco.com/uk 01908 282111 mkinfobox@schueco.com

Fire-resistant security entrance doorsets are now available from UK manufacturer Enfield Speciality Doors. The PAS24 FD30 doors are certified for fire and security and are ideal for internal entrance door specifications for apartments. Enfield’s new entrance doors meet BS 476 for fire resistance and smoke control, as well as PAS24 for enhanced security, which is required for the police-backed Secured by Design certification. Single doorsets are available with up to 33 dB acoustic performance. The high-security 30-minute fire doors are available in a range of finishes suitable for apartment refurb and new-build projects for both social housing or private landlords. The doors incorporate a severe-duty core with a hardwood frame and a range of high-quality ironmongery. Options include a door viewer for extra security, anti-snap letterplates and cowls, and a choice of closers. A Fortress threestar thumbturn cylinder with hardened pins for anti-drill, antipick and anti-bump resistance offers ultimate peace of mind.

0208 805 6662

www.enfielddoors.co.uk sales@enfielddoors.co.uk




Profab Access has launched a new website, which streamlines the specification and design choices for architectural professionals. As the refreshed website has been built with architects and specifiers in mind, the result is an enhanced user experience and navigation structure, which enables individuals to easily identify the necessary building products they require for upcoming projects. The latest home page enables users to quickly navigate Profab Access’ diverse portfolio of riser doors, wall and ceiling access solutions, grouped together by category, while the search function also allows users to directly access the page they’re looking for. The site’s updated product pages present a cohesive range of in-depth product information, supported by comprehensive technical specifications, including BIM models, CAD drawings and installation guides. The renewed investment in Profab Access’ digital presence, which is now mobile-friendly, brings the website’s design language in-line with those of Bilco UK and Howe Green, who together form the Access 360 division of Tyman Plc.

www.profabaccess.com sales@profabaccess.com

01827 718222


GILBERTS STEPS UP TO ENABLE SCHOOL RE-OPENING Working together, safely, was central to enabling one construction team to deliver a £19.5m new school build project on time, ahead of usual schedules. The team from main contractor Bowmer + Kirkland, in partnership with Gilberts Blackpool, at Ealing Fields High School in West London overcame the impact of COVID on site working to still deliver the bespoke screening louvres in less than three months from initial order to installation compared to the programmed 15 weeks. In that time, Gilberts designed, supplied and installed the bespoke WGK75 louvres to create plant ventilation screening 1.55m high x up to 20.7m long, with a double door section to allow access for plant maintenance etc.

www.gilbertsblackpool.com 01253 766911 info@gilbertsblackpool.com

The former Ottakar’s bookstore in High Wycombe has been given a new lease of life and brought back to its former glory as a pillar of the town centre, through a state-of-the-art regeneration project featuring bespoke cladding panels from Proteus Facades. The Proteus SC cladding panels are arranged in a striking half-hexagon design that appears to float outward from the main structure. The 6m-high facade, where the panels themselves are embellished by intricately-designed, leaf-shaped perforations, has the ability to stop people in their tracks while they gaze at the intriguing, shimmering aesthetic. Installed by J & PW Developments, the Proteus SC panels at White Hart Street, were fabricated from a 3mm J57Up aluminium alloy with a brush polished, mirror-effect finish, anodised to Anolok 543.


0151 545 5075

PURE MAINTENANCE SOLUTIONS FROM SENIOR As well as helping to save energy by providing some of the lowest U-values available to the UK market, Senior Architectural Systems’ patented range of thermally-efficient PURe aluminium windows and doors are also proving popular with specifiers looking to reduce long-term maintenance costs. Robust, durable and with an expected lifecycle in excess of 40 years, Senior’s PURe aluminium windows and doors benefit from an enhanced PUR thermal barrier which can achieve exceptional low U-values. Owing to the inherent strength of the aluminium frame, the system offers a cost-effective alternative to using energy-efficient triple-glazing which, when used in high-traffic environments, such as schools and student accommodation buildings, has a greater risk of breaking and would be more expensive to replace.


01709 772600




CUSTOM COLOUR MIXING WITH OSMO Country Colour just got even more exciting. Along with the 19 standard colours Osmo offers, the exterior wood finish Country Colour is now available in over 2000 custom colours, which are made to order from your local Osmo dealer.

NEW ALTRO WOOD ADHESIVEFREE FLOORING IS A WINNER Altro Wood adhesive-free flooring is providing a Bedford care home with a homely, practical and safe new surface for their dining room – and it was installed in under a day. Altro Wood adhesive-free is a safety wood-look floor with easy cleanability, perfect for decorative, homely or biophilic areas. Jackie Ballinger, Registered Manager at Henrietta House care home, says: “One of our members of staff has a very positive experience of Altro wood-look flooring, so we approached Altro and they told us about the benefits of their new adhesive-free product. It was just what we were looking for.” New Altro Wood adhesive-free flooring creates maximum impact with minimum downtime. With 12 colour choices, 14 dB sound reduction, a 10-year guarantee and Altro’s one in a million slip-resistance reassurance, Altro Wood offers high levels of comfort underfoot, providing a safe, durable and decorative solution for busy spaces. Altro Wood adhesivefree has 12 wood-look designs, allowing the creation of biophilic, stylish, or warm and homely aesthetics, together with the durability needed for medium- to high- traffic areas.

01462 480480


www.altro.co.uk enquiries@altro.com

No matter what finish you want to give your life – Osmo has the right colours. The best part is you get to choose: soft, warm or bold. Our do-it-yourself mixtures make it all really easy to create new colours. Country Colour will bring out the best in wood surfaces in the home and garden. What nature has invented we cannot make any better. This is why Osmo focuses on oil- and wax-based finishes that work naturally. The oil penetrates deep into the wood, protecting it from inside; the waxes form a microporous surface – allowing the wood to ‘breathe’. At the same time, we pay attention to the right balance between good application properties and safety for you and your family: only quality oils and waxes are used. Not to forget, our production guarantees quality: the high content of colour pigments offers hiding power from the very first coat.

www.osmouk.com 01296 481220 sales@osmouk.com

A NEW GENERATION LOOSELAY FLOORING CHOICE FROM GERFLOR The UK flooring market has for some time been embracing new challenging concepts and fully endorsing an ethos of innovation and creativity. At the very forefront of this ‘design freedom’ is international flooring specialist Gerflor, which has responded to this creative challenge by producing a brand-new looselay flooring range for 2021. Gerflor’s brand-new Taralay Libertex range is an ‘enabler’, allowing designers to be brave and unfettered with designs without having to delve deeply into their wallets. Taralay Libertex provides installers with a rapid, high-quality, easy-to-lay flooring product. Taralay Libertex features a new generation of textile backing across the sheet vinyl range, specifically developed for commercial applications such as education, hospitality and shops, offices, care homes, together with housing and common areas. Nav Dhillon, Marketing Manager at Gerflor UK, commented: “Our new Taralay Libertex range represents a step forward for 2021 in terms of our fast-track looselay offer.”

03332 412901

www.gerflor.co.uk contractuk@gerflor.com

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

Tel: 0115 941 1126

www.cfa.org.uk Email: info@cfa.org.uk

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DR. SCHUTZ PU SEALER – MAKING LONGER-LASTING FLOORING Dr. Schutz, the German floor care company, offers PU Sealer, an innovative solution that quickly and easily transforms tired, damaged or old floors, at a fraction of the time and cost of an entire floor replacement.

As well as renovating any floor with a fresh and lasting finish, PU Sealer offers added protection for flooring areas prone to high traffic. Such areas with a heavy foot volume tend to wear very quickly when they don’t have a hardwearing product applied. Not only can this cost money, but it can be a time-consuming issue to fix. By applying the PU Sealer, flooring can be kept in a great condition for many years. The water-based, eco-friendly PU Sealer can be applied to most types of flooring, including vinyl, tiled and epoxy resin. Adding 40 microns of protective thickness to floors, PU Sealer extends the lifespan by up to six times and provides a lasting clear matt finish. Thanks to the permanent sealing, it protects against friction and discolouration from chemical spillages. Due to the product’s special water-based substance, the PU Sealer also reduces dirt adhesion and the time needed for day-to-day maintenance.

www.drschutz.co.uk 01296 437827

F. BALL PRODUCTS USED TO CREATE INSPIRING LEARNING SPACE High-performance products from F. Ball and Co., including Styccobond F41 carpet tile tackifier, have been used by iFlor Flooring Contractors to install a bright combination of grey, pink and blue Paragon and Balsan carpet tiles in the sixth-form study room at The Charter School in North Dulwich, London. As well as adding a splash of colour to the school’s sixth-form study room, iFlor was commissioned to install Forbo vinyl sheet in a number of classrooms, using Stopgap 700 Superflex levelling compound and Styccobond F46 pressure-sensitive adhesive. Styccobond F41 carpet tile tackifier is designed to provide a permanently tacky film that prevents loose lay carpet tiles from moving laterally, but still allows for individual tiles to be lifted and replaced with ease.


01538 361633


MULTIBOARD FINDS ITS CALLING FOR KETTERING CONVENT CONVERSION The ease of installation and all-round performance characteristics offered by Marmox Multiboard have led to a leading dry-lining contractor recommending the versatile tile-backer boards to a client engaged in the redevelopment of a former convent near Kettering. Bedford-based Conroy Dry Lining became converts after purchasing a pack for a trial installation. Director Leo Conroy, who runs Conroy Dry Lining with his brother Martin, commented: “On the Kettering project, we’re doing all the internal plasterboarding and skimming, but in the bathrooms – for which we proposed the Multiboard to the developer – the boards are being fixed to the timber frame for the tilers to follow on. We’re really impressed with the product and have recommended it for some other prestige work.”



01634 835290


MAGPLY PUTS IN STRONG PERFORMANCE A comprehensive refurbishment project, addressing a community centre belonging to Sevenoaks District Council, is featuring the benefits of Magply boards as the substrate for a through-coloured render system that will be exposed to rugged use. Epsom-based Surrey Screed & Renders is the specialist sub-contractor applying a K-Rend system across the Magply boards as well as an area of insulation panels. Surrey Screed & Renders’ MD, Matt Wray, confirmed: “We work right across the South East from Milton Keynes down to the south coast and are an approved applicator for Weber systems as well as K-Rend which the architects specified here. Magply is a product we use a lot of as it works hand-in-hand with K-Rend – not only meeting all the performance criteria as a substrate, but being remarkably reasonably-priced as well.”

www.magply.co.uk 01621 776252 gmp@intpetro.com

Speak to our audience directly...

With our new

FCA and PSBJ Magazine Webinar series and magazines are determined to support the industry during this difficult period, and with a huge uplift in our online training and promotional areas, we are launching a new initiative that can involve you. It’s your chance to speak to our audiences - directly! Featuring a range of topics including: industry training, technical expertise, solutions for projects and more.

30/60-minute webinars and live Q&A sessions. Your brand and your expertise listed on the registration page.

Delivering interesting, topical and educational content in the most accessible manner. This campaign is launched to over 30,000 architects, specifiers and contractors for FC&A magazine and 14,000 housing associations, local authorities, heads of estates for education and healthcare buildings.

Your own dedicated brand and webinar promoted exclusively through FCA / PSBJ channels. All opt-in GDPR-compliant attendee data from your session given to you.

If you are interested in taking part or would like to know more about our webinar series, please contact Cross Platform Media via telephone or email. 01622 232719



Fully inclusive turnkey service

A MODERN METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION WITH NO LIMITATIONS Modular construction based on a timber frame is a more flexible system and can meet a large variety of needs, explains TG Escapes. As a modern method of construction, sectional modular buildings using timber frame are far more versatile than you might think. Each building can be designed to the specific needs of the customer and make best use of the available space. This means that there is no limit to how this construction method can be used. TG Escapes provides modular ecobuildings in education, leisure and business with over 700 completed projects in the UK. All our buildings have been designed by our in-house architects delivering projects from 60m2 to 2000m2. They include flat and pitched roofs, two storeys, large-span studios and intimate breakout spaces. They

are used for canteens, chapels, changing facilities, kiosks, training centres, cafes as well as offices and classrooms. TG Escapes’ sectional modular process saves time and money versus a traditional build. This means less time on site, causing less disruption, which is particularly important in education where educational continuity is paramount. “The school and city council really liked the end-product concepts and we worked to benchmark TG Escapes against other providers, as well as visiting a scheme in progress beforehand,” comments one building consultancy project manager.

TG Escapes offers a full design and build service undertaking all principal designer and principal contractor duties. Our turnkey solutions include planning permissions (where required), site preparation by dedicated groundworks experts and full safety compliance. We have a dedicated team, including inhouse design and pre-contract resource, committed to supporting consultants with tenders, grants and bids. We offer a variety of finishes including timber or composite cladding, render in a range of colours and brick slips. “TG Escapes were very efficient and accommodating, the team fitted into the school perfectly and the children loved watching the builders work on the new project,” explains a chartered building surveyor.

Long-lasting and highly energy-efficient structures Our buildings are permanent structures built using sustainable materials. Our timber frames are highly insulated and perform exceptionally well versus a cavity wall construction. Our buildings are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic and highly practical but, just as importantly, they are built to last 60 years or more with appropriate maintenance. Education needs and approaches may well be very different in the future and our timber buildings are far more adaptable than a rigid brick option. A significant consequence of the way in which our buildings are constructed is that they are highly energy-efficient to run and are classed at least as A-rated structures. With suitable PV solar panels, these buildings can be classified as netzero in operation. We provide several warranties upon the completion of the build. Each building comes with a 10-year structural warranty (covering foundations, floors, walls), and we provide an additional one-year warranty for all fixtures and fittings. Our roofs use an Evalon single-ply membrane from an international leader in rubber roof manufacture. A Construction Line Gold member, an approved partner of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) and a member of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), customers score us 4.9 out of 5 based on 154 reviews. One customer, an estates and facilities manager, commented: “Working with TG Escapes was very good. The buildings provide a better quality environment for staff and students.”

www.tgescapes.co.uk 0800 917 7726 info@tgescapes.co.uk



AKW LAUNCHES THE ULTIMATE EASY-TO-USE SHOWER AKW, one of the UK’s leading providers of accessibility solutions, has launched the ultimate in easy-to-use smart electric showers – the AKW SmartCare Lever. This new BEAB CARE-certified electric shower has all the contemporary styling of the existing SmartCare range, but also comes with an easy-touse lever handle. Designed with visual impairments and dexterity and mobility issues in mind, the AKW SmartCare Lever shower can be quickly and seamlessly retrofitted, without any retiling required. The key to the new shower’s design is its simplicity. A large centrally-located lever contains a prominent ‘on-off’ switch and the lever can be easily grasped and turned to control the shower’s temperature. For those with visual impairments, the shower has audible temperature control clicks, large red and blue temperature symbols and a large back-lit power button. It also has a matt

anti-glare finish to reduce glare for those with dementia. Thermostaticallycontrolled to avoid scalding, the unit has rounded surfaces and edges for additional safety and comes with an easy-adjust shower head and 2m antikink smooth hose, to make showering even easier. With eight electrical and water entry points, dual power blocks for left- or right-hand wiring, and cable and pipework compatibility, the AKW SmartCare Lever shower is easy to install. It can be retrofitted on the majority of original shower footprints and comes with a five-year warranty as standard. Available as 8.5 or 9.5kW options, the shower also has the option of wireless connectivity to all AKW DigiPump shower waste pumps.

www.akw-ltd.co.uk 01905 823298 sales@akw-ltd.co.uk


POLYPIPE ANNOUNCES THE ACQUISITION OF ADEY INNOVATION This progressive move will see ADEY further support the industry through innovation and sees two leading UK brands working together towards the same purpose of water management and creating a sustainable environment. Matthew Webber, ADEY Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are excited to be joining Polypipe and by the growth opportunities ahead. The companies share a similar culture and philosophy, focused on delivering sustainable water and climate management solutions. The combined business will allow us better to serve our customers, which will continue to be the foundation for our future success.”

www.adey.com 01242 546700 info@adey.com

Highways UK has recognised an innovative roadside barrier concept developed by Pilkington UK, part of the NSG Group, in its Civils and Materials Innovation Awards. The barrier concept designed by Pilkington UK features a special coating that is able to break down gaseous nitric oxide emissions from road traffic, while its lamination also gives it sound-attenuating properties that help to reduce noise pollution. The company, which hopes to arrange trials of the barrier, expects the combination of features to have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of communities that live near busy roads and motorways. The concept won the award scheme’s environment category against strong entries from infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty and road-marking specialist WJ-Group.


0161 235 0354

VENT-AXIA’S LO-CARBON POZIDRY PRO PIV PUT TO THE TEST Leading British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia has put its Lo-Carbon PoziDry Pro positive input ventilation (PIV) to the test in a real home environment. The PoziDry Pro was installed in a three-bed home in Reading which suffered from an ongoing condensation and mould problem. Air quality data from before and after the PIV installation showed a sharp decline in both total volatile organic compound (VOC) levels and mould VOC levels after the system was installed, whilst also successfully tackling condensation and mould. After the PoziDry Pro was installed in the home, the total VOC levels (a general indicator of IAQ) dropped by 40% while mould VOC levels (an assessment of the actively growing mould in a home) dropped by 67%. There was also no longer condensation upstairs and no appearance of new mould. This emphatically illustrates how PIV significantly improves indoor air quality (IAQ) in the home. And with better IAQ, there are fewer allergens or triggers, helping with health problems including asthma and eczema.


0344 856 0590




AKW LAUNCHES STYLISH ONYX SHOWER CUBICLE AKW, one of the UK’s leading providers of accessibility solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of its Onyx Care Pod. This stylish, standalone shower cubicle can be installed to suit both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users alike.

ROCKWOOL DEVELOPS CPD IN RESPONSE TO FLAT ROOF FIRE RISK CHALLENGES ROCKWOOL has launched a new CPD (continuing professional development) module to help roofing contractors and specifiers mitigate fire risk in flat roofs. The new module has been developed by the stone wool insulation manufacturer to enhance industry understanding following regulation changes and provide guidance on determining relevant non-combustible classifications in flat roofing systems. The ‘Fifth Facade’ CPD explores the role of the roof in the spread of fire and the potential risks when non-combustible roof insulation is not carefully considered, especially for multipurpose flat roofs. The learning module advises on current standards including BS EN 13501-5 BROOF (t4) and how to future-proof current designs to meet future policy, and give greater protection to buildings and their users now. The CPD also outlines ROCKWOOL’s range of fire-resistant stone wool insulation products that are compatible with a variety of modern flat roof systems. Register to attend the ROCKWOOL CPD session at rockwool.co.uk/fifthfacade.

www.rockwool.co.uk/fifthfacade 01656 868400 customersupportcentre@rockwool.co.uk


The Onyx Care Pod significantly reduces installation times, saving both time and money. A maximum of two days is required to remove the existing bathroom and install the Care Pod, compared to the traditional five to seven days for an adaptation installation. The total cost of supply and fit is in line with a standard adaptation but using much higherend products. The competitive pricing of the Onyx Care Pod also makes a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) a realistic funding option. Available as alcove or corner shower units, in a range of dimensions, the Onyx Care Pod solution comes with AKW’s Larenco 6mm toughened glass, two mid-grey grab rails and a height-adjustable padded fold-up shower seat as standard. The accessories meet the required light reflective value (LRV) rating for those with visual impairments and are also suitable for those with dementia. It is available with a choice of either the AKW SmartCare Plus BEAB Care-approved electric shower, or Arka thermostatic care mixer valve (TMV3) shower. With safety front-of-mind in the design of the pods, the shower tray has a higher slipresistance than other surface mounted trays and can also be recessed for wheelchair users. The Onyx Care Pod wall panels are structural, allowing them to support a range of mobility aids and accessories that can be fixed during, or post, installation, to user-specific heights. The wall panels are also easy to clean and harbour less bacteria than grouted tiles. As all of the Onyx Care Pods come with duo doors, care-assisted bathing is made easier, providing users with a long-term showering solution that can meet future, as well as present, requirements.

www.akw-ltd.co.uk 01905 823298 sales@akw-ltd.co.uk

NEW ROCKWOOL HVAC CALCULATOR SIMPLIFIES SPECIFICATION ROCKWOOL has made selecting the optimum thickness of HVAC insulation quicker and easier, with the launch of ROCK-EQ, a new online calculator. Designed for mechanical engineers, consultants and insulation installers, ROCK-EQ produces detailed, project-specific calculation reports and recommendations. Available at rockwool.com/uk/resourcesand-tools/tools/rock-eq, the new tool provides extensive calculation options. Users enter basic information about their site conditions and HVAC system, and ROCK-EQ calculates the optimum thickness based on the HVAC product selected. The calculator can be used to specify solutions for requirements including condensation control, heat gain or loss, personnel protection, and protection against freezing. For extra ease of use, ROCK-EQ has standard pipe sizes, equipment materials and common claddings built in, but will also let users input specific data for their project if necessary. The ROCK-EQ calculator has been designed to work alongside the recently-launched ROCKWOOL HVAC Systems Guide, bringing together all the information needed to specify effective HVAC insulation.

www.rockwool.com/uk/resources-and-tools/tools/rock-eq 01656 868400 customersupportcentre@rockwool.co.uk


LATHAMS LAUNCHES NEW A&D SPECIFICATION TEAM A new team at materials supplier James Latham will connect architects, designers and specifiers with the most innovative and exciting products on the market today. Bringing together expertise and insight from around the company, the Lathams Specification Team has been launched as a one-stop solution for materials specifiers. There is a strong focus on products with unique benefits, including solid surfaces, hardwearing laminates, antimicrobial acrylics and robust exterior cladding. Aesthetics are well catered for too, with the team able to recommend a range of surfaces, finishes, colours and styles suitable for any project. These include products that mimic other materials, such as decors that replicate the look and feel of various stones, woods and linens. The team’s knowledge incorporates a broad product portfolio including solid

surfaces such as HI-MACS and Avonite and decorative laminates and veneers from manufacturers including Egger, Xylocleaf, Kronospan and Decospan. While currently offering consultancy via video conferencing, the team will support customers throughout the UK, corresponding with the locations of Lathams’ various showrooms and depots. The specification team comprises Debbie Northall (London), Joe Sepede (Yate, Thurrock and Hemel Hempstead), Natasha Smith (Dudley and Leicester), Mark Robinson (Leeds, Ireland and North West England) and David Schofield (Leeds, Gateshead and Scotland). To coincide with the announcement of the new team, a solid surfaces website has

also gone live, providing an additional detailed product resource for specifiers and customers. Featuring product information, case studies, videos and inspirational images from HI-MACS, Avonite and Studio Collection brands, the website offers guidance and support on the specification of solid surfaces for a range of architectural applications, both internally and externally.


Counter-balanced for easy operation

Highly insulated hatch (U value of 0.60 W/m K)

High strength wooden ladder (load rating of 180 kg/tread)

6-point latching system for an airtight seal (class 4)

Learn more about the Designo loft ladder...

www.premierloftladders.co.uk/designo 0345 9000 195 | sales@premierloftladders.co.uk


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 pilkington.co.uk/sanitise

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PSBJ March 21  

In this month's edition, we shine a light on the value of play. On page 08, we showcase a truly inspiring concept brought to West Gorton's c...

PSBJ March 21  

In this month's edition, we shine a light on the value of play. On page 08, we showcase a truly inspiring concept brought to West Gorton's c...