Home Designer and Architect - February 2021

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MAGAZINE FeBruary 2021

Chris Goggin of Rinnai UK looks at the state of play of new fuels in the mass marketplace.

Some of the Realities of De-Carbonising The UK Energy Market and Gas Appliance Conversion for the Housing Stock…… Chris Goggin of Rinnai UK looks at the state of play of new fuels in the mass marketplace. national roll-out converting the UK’s energy resources is n e e d e d fo r the UK to be completely decarbonized by the year 2050. For this to be made possible a vast amount of work needs to be planned, undertaken and completed in a national effort which lacks living experience in this unfamiliar process. A report carried out for the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy - Appraisal of Domestic Hydrogen Appliances, Frazer Nash Consultancy - has underscored this colossal task.


The work to be carried out in modifying the UK’s roads constitutes a concerted effort. Roadside powering stations have to be installed on all major routes in, around, and out of all major cities, as well as smaller towns and villages for cars to be able to refuel. This is a major task of organization and logistics that will, once completed, decrease the 26,000 early deaths a year caused by pollution emanating from fossil fuels. Alongside this task, homes across the UK must also transition to hydrogen expanding the amount of work exponentially. The transitional phase for UK domestic houses is far more complicated and intricate than selecting installation points and modifying petrol pumps. Initial approaches b eing considered have outlined a three-

step structure for the domestic conversion process. These three steps are an initial survey, preconversion preparation work, and the conversion itself. The first step – the survey, offers no real challenges. The survey will involve an assessment on all pipework and gas appliances lasting between one and two hours each property. There are no concerns other than selecting and training a competent work force to carry out this preliminary phase. The pre-conversion preparation work is where turbulence is first encountered. Anticipated complications focus on the accessibility of the copper pipe work. Some pipe work is certain to be secreted behind concrete and disappear down into ducts that minimize convenience. Copper pipes used in UK domestic housing also pose safety issues. It is believed that all pipe work infrastructure is readyto-use, however, there are still safety checks to be carried out in several areas such as ventilation and dispersion. Soldered copper pipes are thought to be sufficient in transporting Hydrogen but have yet to be ratified by Gas certification standards. Material degradation of copper pipes and surrounding areas are another anticipated area of difficulty. If large sections are too damaged to continue functioning, it will have to be fully substituted adding more time and effort.

Because of this, further surveys focusing on condition, age, and type of house could follow to approve which homes are more compatible with the Hydrogen transition process. The third step is the conversion itself. The difficulties each domestic conversion encounters will directly correlate to the problems each dwelling presents during the preparation work, such as concreted or hidden pipes. Replacing a boiler will take no more than a day; Hobbs, fires and ovens, half a day each. Two and a half days of labour has to be carried out in each house across the UK to refit appliances that certified gas engineers are not yet trained to complete. Taking into consideration that the conversion itself is reliant on favourable property preparations, current estimations on time per-property may change or

property. The secondary area of dependence rests on the availability of trained engineers and support staff to complete the work. The national roll-out will spread out regionally. This enables engineers to be concentrated and trained on site, as the region being worked in continues its conversion. A large number of support workers will also accompany the engineers.

fluctuate depending on each individual domicile and the safety standards of its existing infrastructure. Issues regarding the work force to carry out the energy transition process are still being discussed. There are 23 million domestic houses across the UK currently powered by gas, a major source of the UK’s harmful emissions. To service 23 million consumers, there are currently 130,000 individual engineers spread across 74,000 employers all of whom are Gas Safe registered. 80% of these engineers hold a domestic core qualification. Engineers will have to undertake and pass an additional qualification to assist in the conversion effort. A further work force of 100,000 will be required to support the engineers. This work force is yet to be assembled and when subsequently amassed, training needs to be provided. If the conversion process is to rely solely on current gas engineers, it is estimated that the energy transition rollout could take 16 years to complete, still well within the 2050 decarbonisation time limit set by the UK government. Factoring in the 100,000 extra work force, it is projected the conversion process could be carried out in as soon as four years. Delegating this work highlights further trepidations. If the work force is accelerated too quickly, there are concerns of employment post-conversion resulting in financial hardships for either investor or employee. The conversion process is reliant in two areas: Primarily, the conversion is dependent on what is found in the completed preparation work in each individual

A further effort is required in directing a mass media blanket of information that informs the public to the benefits of Hydrogen energy consumption; possibly before, during, and shortly after the conversion process; the content of this effort must be written, edited, re-written, printed and distributed across multiple media platforms containing consistent information. This too can be considered a task meriting considerable thought and effort. However, in between 1967 and 1977 the UK adapted from “town gas” to natural gas. 40 million appliances belonging to 14 million people where converted. Yet this was completed by engineers operating in a time where knowledge and general expertise was not as advanced when compared to current day trade standards; empirically demonstrating that the national roll-out of Hydrogen is entirely feasible and possible. Current plans have specified several problems that are anticipated to impact in every stage of the national energy transition process, notwithstanding the initial survey. A vast measure of work is to be organized, authorized and executed before the year 2050. The size of the task is substantial and will involve hundreds and thousands of people across multiple sectors, both public and private, working in unison to deliver a national energy conversion.

The task is huge, the work force yet to be discovered and the science and preparations that support the energy conversion are still not 100% fully focused into one definitively shared direction of action. Once these issues are confronted and simplified the national roll-out of energy conversion can begin, turning the idea into operational reality for home owners across the UK. Chris Goggin is Operations director of Rinnai UK. Rinnai is the world’s leading manufacturer of continuous flow hot water systems - it makes and sells 2 million units each year. The range of units can be manifolded to supply, limitless hot water to any site of any size. This means fast, efficient, temperaturecontrolled water on demand at the point of delivery – kitchens, showers, accommodation blocks, bathrooms, washrooms. It also means far less space spent on plant rooms and no or little maintenance as all units are proven to be robust with a long, long working life. Contact the company direct in gaining access to the supply of units Call 01928 531 870 or email sales@rinnaiuk.com – or engineer@rinnaiuk.com alternatively use the smart online contact points “Help Me Choose” or “Ask Us a Question”, all held on the website homepage at www.rinnaiuk.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.RINNAIUK.COM

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Image: Stone House - page 42-43

CONTENTS February 2021

4 Industry News 12 Heating & Ventilation 18 Bathrooms & Washrooms 26 Coatings & Paints 33 Sustainability 38 Outdoor Living

CONtact US Ben Pritchard

Publication Manager

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Jenna Burridge


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industry news

Self-cleaning and Air-purifying Facade

FLP Pond Liner adds tranquil touch to Devon farmhouse FLP, a brand of leading landscape supplier Green-tech has supplied the pond liner for a stunning new pond installed in a farmhouse located in South Devon. SWP Hydraulics from Devon approached FLP after an internet search. Their sales advisor provided guidance on measurements to work out the correct size needed. The pond is 29 meters long, 10 meters wide and 1.5m deep and after discussion an order was placed for 0.75mm Green Seal EPDM liner which has a reassuring 20-year guarantee. EPDM is a synthetic rubber membrane liner ideal for lining ponds, lakes, lagoons and streams. Ideal for aquatic installations, EPDM is a popular choice for larger projects where unusual shapes, contours and sizes are required. It is a highly robust pond liner and is resistant to UV degradation and other harsh environmental conditions. The EPDM pond liners can be installed all year-round as they remain extremely flexible at various temperatures. Nathan from SWP Hydraulics comments, “We decided to install a feature pond which would be designed to seamlessly blend the stunning Devon countryside with the tranquil calm of water which can all be enjoyed at close quarters from the deck. Having found Green-tech with a simple search online. The support and advise from specification through to fitting was excellent. It was quite a task to install and took nearly 3 weeks to fill from our Well, but we are very pleased with the end results.”


570 Broome Street in New York is a 25-story residential tower with groundfloor commercial units. Due to its location at the busy Holland Tunnel, the client decided on a low-maintenance, durable, rear-ventilated facade from Neolith. 570 Broome Street in New York is a 25-story residential tower with ground-floor commercial units. The design is the work of Manhattan-based architecture studio builtd. Due to its location at the busy Holland Tunnel, the client decided on a low-maintenance, durable, rear-ventilated facade. A total of 33,000 m2 of 12-mm-thick Neolith Jura limestone is installed on lightweight aluminium frames. The panels were produced in a special colour especially for the building. They are stain-, UV- and exhaust fume-resistant and also self-cleaning and air-purifying. www.neolith.com

Industry News

BiKBBI introduce daily COVID update for tradespeople In response to recent ‘confusing messaging’ from the devolved governments, The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) today launched a new tool for the industry, which provides clarity to tradespeople in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to current trading restrictions, by country. EO at The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation, Damian Walters, has been vocal about frustrations relating to mixed messaging from the devolved governments in relation to Coronavirus restrictions placed upon tradespeople. Damian raised this topic at a meeting with the newly appointed Secretary of State at The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this morning, Kwasi Kwarteng.


The new ‘COVID status checker’ can be found on the BiKBBI news page (www.bikbbi.org.uk/bikbbi-news) which clarifies the current status for each country for both domestic and construction settings. The website also links to the relevant pages within the respective government websites to aid understanding of responsibility.

Damian said: “Whilst I think it’s fair to say that the government have done a great job in many respects relating to this pandemic, the lack of cohesion between England, Scotland and Wales, especially on the subject of the differences in social restrictions has been less than satisfactory. Messaging for the thousands of tradespeople out there needs to be clearer, more consistent and better aligned between the devolved powers, or else this pandemic will not only have health implications, but also impact greatly on SME livelihoods”. The system, which is free to access by anyone, will be updated upon new guidance and reviewed daily.


industry news

Ultima Linear Bricks These bricks are not right for every build.

On paper they stand at just 38mm tall, and they are double the length of a standard brick. They tick the ‘long format’ box. But they are not just long format bricks. Whilst they tick every technical box, you have to lift them off the paper to appreciate their beauty. There you’ll find an unparalleled feel, and a surface texture that tells an honest story. They are so special, they have a unique name to match. Ultima Linear. It means ‘exceptional form, and a design led feel that calls for extra special projects.’ So, it’s true. The waterstruck bricks are not right for every build, but they make a statement in luxury housing, city apartments, office buildings, museums and University buildings.

You’ll find an unparalleled feel and a surface texture that tells an honest story. Ultima Linear bricks add serious personality to any residential or commercial project, but remember, they are not for the mundane. Architects and housebuilders love them, and our cities need them. So if you’re working on an exciting project, Ultima Linear would love to hear about it. Find them at: www.uk-brick.com

Persimmon: ‘A note of caution, but £1.2bn in the bank’

Overall Persimmon sold 13,575 homes (2019: 15,855), a decline of 14%, but sales to private buyers were only reduced by 9%. The group’s forward sales position at year end rose by 25% to £1.7bn, backed by £1.2bn of cash in the bank (2019: £1.4bn). The group sounded a note of caution in its outlook, referring to a lower pace of activity in recent weeks, in part due to a December change in the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Persimmon plc, one of the UK’s leading housebuilders today updated the market on its 2020 trading performance.

Commenting on the results, Steve Clayton, Manager of the HL Select UK Income Shares fund, which holds a position in Persimmon said: “Persimmon enjoyed a strong bounce-back when pandemic-driven restrictions on trading were lifted mid-year. Since then it has bolstered its balance sheet through robust cash generation and a forward sales position of roughly half a year’s expected revenues.

Like other housebuilders Persimmon saw sales interrupted by the pandemic, followed by a strong bounce-back once sites were able to reopen on a covid-safe basis. The group saw selling prices to private buyers rise by 3.7% over the year, with the group average sold price rising by 7%, reflecting a reduced proportion of lower-priced social housing in the mix.


“At this stage, with the end of the stamp duty holiday in sight, taking a cautious view of the immediate outlook is the right approach, but we have seen more bullish outlooks from some of the group’s rivals. Persimmon have also left investors waiting until their full year results in early March for news on the group’s dividend intentions. So perhaps no surprise then to see the shares a little weaker in early trading”.

Industry News

New Year …. M A new dawn.

any local independent shops whether it is the butcher in your village, greengrocer or the local pub have embraced additional business channels allowing customers to order, click and collect or have a home delivery. Thus, ensuring they continue to operate and are profitable during a challenging business year.

As the sun rises in 2021, we can reflect on some of the positive changes that the previous year has brought to our lives, one of which is an appreciation of the local independent business, within our community, that has always been there, but we haven’t always supported. However, we have now realised that they are competitively priced, friendly, and informative and often more flexible than their larger competitors willing to adopt new ways to transact and communicate with existing and new customers.

Restrictions have brought a new audience to online shopping and ecommerce, an audience who have previously not adopted to the digital age. On a practical level, this has meant that organisations have had to make sure their website content is simple and easy to use. In these changing and uncertain times, it has never been more important to understand your customers and your market. Here at the IPG, we have been impressed with how several of our members have responded to the changing competitive landscape and have adopted the new modern selling channels, making their businesses available 24/7 which will help them in their determination to continue to grow their business in 2021 and beyond.

Our experienced IT Team have supported members throughout the last 12 months with website development and ecommerce solutions. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what Mike at one of our members, Croxley Plumbing Supplies said: “From my initial consultation with The IPG to my weekly emails and phone calls, getting onboard with e-commerce has been a big success. Sales have increased since going live, but what is also improved is my profile in the local area. The number of visitors to my website has grown significantly. Never as much as now has our relationship with The IPG felt so much like a team.” Unlike 12 months ago some of our IPG members are now offering a click and collect service and their businesses are open 24/7 with their new effective online platforms. This has meant they have reached brand new customers online and have experienced increased footfall to their locations. After so much negative news about retail in the last month it is reassuring that the independent merchants are adapting and expanding their service and delivery channels making sure they remain in our community for the foreseeable future.

For more information visit www.the-ipg.co.uk •7•

industry news

New homes required to have 31 per cent lower emissions from 2021 New homes constructed from this year onwards will be expected to produce 31 per cent lower carbon emissions in preparation for the 2025 Future Homes Standard, the Government has announced following the completion of its consultation. New homes will be required to have “low carbon heating” and to be “zero carbon ready” by 2025, said the Ministry for Housing. The Future Homes Standard consultation contained two options; one for a 20 per cent reduction in emissions from very high fabric standards, or a 31 per cent reduction delivered by carbonsaving technology and improved fabric standards, such as double glazing. As a result of the decision to go with ‘option two’, new homes will be expected to produce 75-80 per cent lower carbon emissions compared to current levels. As part of meeting this demanding target, MHCLG’s consultation response confirmed plans to move forward with proposals to ban fossil fuel heating systems, such as gas boilers, in new build homes from 2025, with heat pumps intended to become the primary heating technology for new housing. Standards for existing homes are also set to tighten, with a “significant improvement” expected on the standard for extensions and replacements, repairs and parts, including the replacement of windows and building services such as heat pumps, cooling systems, or fixed lighting.


There will reportedly be “stringent” transitional arrangements to provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building to. These are planned to last for a year, and apply to individual homes, rather than an entire development. Nigel Banks, director of specialist projects at ilke Homes, said the announcement was “welcome news,” but “the timetable for implementation is too slow, meaning over a million new homes built between now and 2026 will need to be retrofit in the 2030s.” Banks asserted that, through its own modular building practices, his firm had demonstrated that homes can be delivered to zero-carbon standards now,

“on sites across the UK and for public and private sector clients.” According to the Housing Minister, the Government believes that “improving the energy performance of buildings is vital to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and protecting the environment for future generations to come.” The Government provided some optimism here, stating that there has already been “considerable progress made” on emissions from homes, with overall total emissions reduced by about a fifth since 1990 despite there being approximately a quarter more homes. The consultation will be open for responses until 13 April.

1. Broken plan layouts

2. Seating for the whole family

3. Super storage


kitchen design trends influenced by COVID-19 lockdowns says Davonport Davonport Kitchen & Home has revealed the key trends that will shape kitchen design over the next 12 months and unsurprisingly, the main influence is how the pandemic has changed the shape of our daily lives and the resulting demands on our homes. Richard Davonport, Managing Director 1. Broken plan layouts at Davonport kitchens commented: “When people think about kitchen design they tend to focus on the colour and texture of cabinetry, worktops, and splashbacks but the extraordinary year that we’ve just experienced will have a lasting effect not only on aesthetic choices but on the physical layout and configuration of the spaces and rooms that we occupy.” •10•

Open plan layouts have evolved over the last decade, however, with the whole family living and working from home together throughout 2020, the need for privacy and a sense of personal space has never been higher. Davonport has started to see a trend towards more broken plan layouts, with clients creating separate areas behind sections of walls or screens to accommodate activities such as working from home or watching television. Where homeowners are building new extensions to accommodate a kitchen, there is a shift towards more interesting floor plans to create clearly defined zones, rather than simply a ‘bigger is better’ approach.

5. Going for green

2. Seating for the whole family

5. Going for green

Prior to 2020, eating together as a whole family was a less regular event, often limited to Sunday roasts and special occasions. However, with families now together for most mealtimes, ample seating and space to dine together has become more of a priority. Davonport expects integrated seating solutions such as banquette and breakfast bar style seating to become ever more popular in 2021 and for homeowners to specify multiple eating zones to accommodate the dining habits of all family members.

Greens were a popular colour choice for hand painted kitchens throughout 2020. The bolder, darker shades paired with brass and gold tone accessories dominated social media feeds last year. However, the trend seems to be moving towards lighter, softer tones that are paired with more natural finished textures and materials.

3. Super storage

6. Home bars

During the first national lockdown of 2020, homeowners’ food shopping habits changed with many households using home delivery services for the first time and the need for the weekly shop to last for the full seven days including every mealtime and snack. This naturally led to a need for more storage for both fresh and food cupboard items as well bulky cleaning and household products.

With restrictions limiting our ability to socialise in pubs, bars and restaurants, many homeowners looked to recreate this environment in their own home. This led to a rise in popularity of ‘home bars’ with everything from integrated wine storage, to larger drinks cabinets, and bespoke cabinetry to store appropriate glassware.

Experts suggest that softer, natural tones and materials, reminiscent of nature, reflect that we are seeking to connect with the outdoors after spending more time than ever before within the same four walls.

Richard Davonport continued:

“With families spending more time than ever under the same roof, our homes have been pushed to the limits. Therefore, it is only natural that we have seen a shift in kitchen design as a result of the pandemic.

As the year progressed, the trend for increased storage and larger capacity appliances continued. It is therefore expected that walk-in pantries and larder-style units will be a big trend in kitchen design for 2021.

“Designing a multifunctional kitchen space that meets the needs of the whole family is now absolutely critical. Whether it’s a makeshift office, the location for a romantic ‘night-out’, a temporary coffee-shop, a classroom, or more traditionally, a place for the whole family to get together at mealtimes, our kitchens have to work harder than ever, so it’s hugely important that as much thought goes into making the most of the available space as it does the cabinetry design and colour.” - Managing Director at Davonport

4. Hot water taps Replacing a traditional kettle with a hot water tap was a popular choice for many homeowners in 2020 and the trend isn’t slowing as we enter 2021. Last year homeworkers realised the 4. Hot water taps benefits of hot taps; being able to make instant hot drinks in between (and even during) meetings, and the lack of noise meant reduced disruption to other family members sharing the same space. As a result, they have been a go-to addition to the modern kitchen.

5. Going for green

For more information please visit www.davonport.com or call 0845 468 0025.

6. Home bars

6. Home bars


Doors & Windows

Industry first as Deceuninck joins BFRC noise reduction scheme

eceuninck Managing Director Rob McGlennon said: “Noise pollution is a growing problem. There is mounting medical evidence of the severe impact of prolonged noise on people’s health, with higher instances of dementia, heart disease and strokes. In lockdown there was a huge reduction in road traffic and it reminded us how peaceful life is without excess noise.


“But with the right tools and technical innovations the window industry can improve people’s homes and wellbeing. BFRC’s Noise Reduction Rating scheme is an important development in helping to cut the impact of noise pollution, and we are delighted to be the first systems company to join this scheme. Deceuninck understands the positive impact acoustic windows have on people’s health and overall quality of life, and we’ve invested in systematic acoustic testing of our full product range.


Demonstrating its commitment to cutting noise pollution, Deceuninck is the first window systems company to sign up to BFRC’s new Noise Reduction Rating scheme. The scheme is designed to help systems companies and fabricators demonstrate the acoustic performance of their products. Using BFRC’s recognisable and well-regarded ‘rainbow’ label, it gives manufacturers a clear sales advantage and makes it easier for homeowners to understand the acoustic benefits of their new windows. “Much like energy rated windows, the scheme will let homeowners choose windows that cut noise and improve their home environment. We’re really excited by this chance to make a difference and make it simpler for fabricators and installers to benefit from this huge opportunity.” Lis Clarke, Operations Director for BFRC, says she is delighted that Deceuninck has chosen to become an early adopter of the Noise Reduction Scheme: “In discussions with Deceuninck it became clear early on that they had been looking for a system that would measure

the acoustic performance of their windows. When we presented the details to Rob and his team they did not hesitate in signing up to ensure their products were the first to be able to demonstrate this increasingly important performance criterion for homeowners. For many homeowners, noise reduction is as important as energy performance.” For further information on the Noise Reduction Rating Scheme visit www.bfrc.org. Learn more about Deceuninck by visiting www.deceuninck.co.uk and following @DeceuninckUK.






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First impressions count

The impact of a front door on a home’s kerb appeal September 2020 was a month of records for the UK housing market. The stamp duty holiday triggered the highest number of residential property sales ever agreed in a month. When selling or looking to purchase a house, first impressions really do count. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of leading window and door manufacturer Euramax, explains the impact of a carefully selected front door on a home’s kerb appeal. •14•

omes are selling faster than ever before in the UK. The average time to sell is 50 days quicker than any previously recorded figure, according to a report by real estate website Rightmove. In such a saturated market, it’s vital that a property stands out, for the right reasons.


In the initial stages of selling a property, the exterior appearance holds great importance: the front exterior shot of a home typically takes centre stage on online listings and many prospective buyers will make an informal driveby visit before requesting a viewing. With such a great focus on the home’s exterior, maximising kerb appeal is a crucial element of a successful exchange. Whether a homeowner is enhancing their property’s sellable status, or plans to remain

doors & windows there for years to come, the front door is commonly regarded as a property’s focal point, connecting the inside with the outside. It should reflect the personality of the home, and can provide a subtle hint towards the interior décor inside the property. Selecting a front door that successfully achieves this requires three key decisions: colour, material and design.

Colour choice A front door’s colour is ultimately down to personal preference, but there are a few essential considerations that should be made when creating a stand-out first impression. The goal is to radiate a welcoming feel, which can be reached either by adding a new colour or by maintaining the property’s existing colourway. One of the most popular colours to add to a property is a pale green. Inspired by nature, this hint of colour subtly matches any surrounding foliage. This promotes a view of the house and its garden as a single entity, helping the home to blend in with its exterior environment. Alternatively, neutral shades bring a classic and sophisticated style to any property. Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of grey interiors, so selecting a grey front door complements the interior décor and sets the tone of what’s to come if you were to enter through it. It’s also worth taking the style of the property into account, to ensure the door colour helps rather than hinders the home’s aesthetic appeal. For example, dark colours such as Anthracite grey may be too bold for ornate period homes, but the perfect fit for a modern or Tudor-style property. Considering all these points in advance gives homeowners some creative freedom with their door colour, without compromising on style.

Material matters Material is not only key to a door’s aesthetics, but also its functionality. Meeting a door’s aesthetic goals should not come at the expense of performance. Ultimately, a front door must provide security without sacrificing energy efficiency, so material choice should support these performance objectives.

A traditional material choice would be timber, thanks to its timeless look and customisability. There are many types of wood to select from and it can be painted any colour. However, timber comes with its downsides. Repeated exposure to harsh weather conditions can cause warping and peeling, hampering the door’s insulating properties and demanding periodic maintenance.

homeowners should be mindful of their property’s architecture and ensure that their door is in keeping with the style.

PVCu is another material option, which outperforms timber on energy efficiency and maintenance. PVCu doors have a smooth finish that is naturally insulating and weatherproof, requiring minimal maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, PVCu doors are now available in a range of colours, including Anthracite grey and Chartwell green. Their sleek, clean appearance makes PVCu doors an ideal option for modern properties.

It’s also advisable to spend some time considering the door’s accessories. Every front door must have a handle and a letter box, but you may decide on additional features such as numbers or a door knocker. Traditional doors may suit gold fittings, whilst contemporary properties may better suit chrome hardware.

However, the modern appearance of PVCu may look out of place on a traditional property, while timber doors may not meet all the performance goals. Composite doors combine the benefits of different materials to offer maximum security, unrivalled energy efficiency and virtually zero maintenance. With a variety of colour choices and the option to add a woodgrain effect, composite doors are suitable for any home, whatever its style.

Design details Having decided on colour and material, it’s important to think about the door’s design. As with colour choice,

The UK’s most popular four-panel door with two glass panels at the top and two solid panels at the bottom is a classic option that suits most properties. However, a modern property may benefit from a trendy design such as a door with four central glass square panels.

Euramax is a leading UK manufacturer PVCu and composite doors, which come in a range of colours with an array of customisable glass and accessory options. What’s more, our made-to-measure service allows us to offer bespoke products to meet any homeowners’ specific requirements. Whether your contemplating selling or just want to improve your property’s exterior, the front door holds the key to success. Carefully selecting a door’s colour, material and design ensures that the door seamlessly fits with the property’s style, while allowing the home’s interior style to shine through, making the property stand out for all the right reasons.


doors & Windows he architectural and building world is still moving fast and efficiently despite the challenges; and we are pleased to see all Steel Window Association manufacturing members and associate organisations continuing to be fully up and running. Sites are open and homeowners’ plans are coming to fruition.


Throughout the past few months, SWA has been the source of independent, comprehensive advice when members were busy trying to optimise and amend operations. We are still here to help so please do get in touch. There are always good reasons why a manufacturer or associate should become a member of The Steel Window Association (SWA). As well as having access to the latest product developments within the industry, members also

Steel Window Association members are fully operational and we are here to help as always Darren Lloyd, President of the Steel Window Association:

The New Year has got off to a start no one expected – so it does not seem right to holler Happy New Year as we always like to do. Yet, we do need to look forward with positivity and hope; and things will get better! receive information from organisations such as The Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) and the Construction Products Association (CPA). The GGF issues regular updates giving members guidance within the housing, construction and building maintenance industries – including the job retention scheme, small business grants, deferred VAT payments and business rates holidays. The SWA receives these updates and immediately forwards them to members.

AR Residence / DEDRAFT Located in a densely populated, busy street close to the impressive town hall building in Walthamstow the existing terraced house dates back to the 1920s. With both neighbours having rear extensions (one being built concurrently to AR) the terrace features a hotchpotch of largely banal rear extensions tacked on over the decades. aving lived at the property for several years the creative clients – an illustrator and librarian asked DEDRAFT to extend and modernise their home to create a bold external aesthetic, differentiating the new additions from the multitude of other extensions that dominate the rear. They were, however, keen to retain the low-level boundary fences, maintaining neighbourly interaction and to enable the garden to feel less boxed-in and isolated.


Externally our client was keen to add a flourish of colour to bring contrast and warmth to the


rear. Initially, an in-situ concrete plinth was cast to ground the new structure, and the concrete extruded out to form the patio finish. External concrete benches then project running along both boundaries, folding down to meet the patio finish. Opting for a dusty green aluminum clad finish we wanted the facade to be more expressive, detailing a cladding system with an increased depth to the shallow generic standing-seam of typical metalcladding systems. This increased depth applies to vertical fins, the door opening as well as the slender parapet detail. This simple detail adds rhythm, exaggerating the depth that articulates the facade catching the light differently throughout the day. Aligned with the composite

timber/aluminum window system the lacquered natural pine internal mullions add further depth to the external skin, working together with the exposed structural Douglas Fir roof joists. These joists slide unbroken across rooflight openings, casting shadows to the internal kitchen /dining space directing one’s view out over the rear garden.

A knock-out finish for tiling - a new simplified grout range from BAL BAL – the market-leaders in full tiling solutions – have launched a streamlined grout family including new BAL Grout Flex. pound-for-pound prize fighter, BAL Grout Flex is highly flexible grout with high strength and comes in five key colourways – packing a punch with a reliable finish.


It comes in narrow or wide joint versions – Grout Flex and Grout Flex Wide Joint for use from 2-5mm (narrow) and 3mm to 20mm (wide) joints. Easy to apply and mix up with colour consistency whatever the size of mix, it provides a smooth finish. BAL Grout Flex is available in 5kg and 10kg bags in White, Jasmine, Light Grey, Mid Grey and Dark Grey – with colour consistency in both narrow and wide joint versions. These have been identified as some of the most popular grout colours on the market and ensures that Grout Flex is


suitable for a whole host of tiling designs and projects. With more than 2 hours pot life, BAL Grout Flex gives fixers more time to grout up without worrying that the grout will go off in the bucket – even in hotter conditions – and means larger areas can be grouted with one mix. A 24-hour set time means longer time to wash off. As a flexible grout with a high polymer content, BAL Grout Flex is recommended for hard-water swimming pools, power showers and for use with porcelain, ceramics, marble, and natural stone in dry or wet environments. It can also be used for highly trafficked areas such as shopping malls, changing rooms, restaurants, and leisure centres. The introduction of BAL Grout Flex and Grout Flex Wide Joint means that BAL

have deleted a number of grouts from the range including: BAL Superflex, BAL Superflex Wide Joint, BAL Microflex and the colours of BAL Grout (BAL Grout will still be available in white only). Micromax2 - still best in class With the streamlined range of BAL Grout Flex, still best in class and in a division above is BAL Micromax2 – the undisputed champion of the UK market. Weighing in at 2.5kg, 5kg and 10kg pack sizes, BAL Micromax2 provides a perfect smooth finish on walls and floors in more than 35 colourways. Trusted for a crack-free, and efflorescence-free finish, BAL Micromax2 is also mould and mildew resistant with Microban anti-microbial protection. Microban antimicrobial product protection is a built-in active ingredient that enables products to

resist the growth of microbes such as bacteria, black mould, and mildew. Microban protection helps products stay cleaner, fresher, and last longer than products with untreated surfaces. Micromax2 can be used from 1mm to 20mm joint widths and sets in two to three hours for fast track project completion. Abrasion resistant it can also be used in domestic and commercial projects including shopping mall, restaurants, changing rooms and leisure centres (not swimming pools). BAL Micromax2 comes with the colour

matched Micromax sealant range for a seamless finish. A high-performance silicone sealant, Micromax is also formulated with Microban anti-microbial protection – ensuring clean sealant lines for years to come (with a regular cleaning programme). Perfect for sealing movement joints in floor and wall tiling installations, it has a high adhesion strength, is waterproof and hygienic and is suitable for surfaces including acrylic, ceramic, fibreglass, glass, glazed and painted in dry or wet interior and exterior environments. A knock-out finish BAL’s new focused range of grouts provide peace of mind with a fantastic finish to any tiling project. Perhaps you prefer separate narrow or wide-joint solutions – or one bag for all applications? Maybe you’re looking for a longer 2 hour working time or prefer a faster 30-minute working time and a fast track 2-3-hour set – we have the solutions. Two champions to choose from, a knockout finish from both. Alex Underwood, Head of Marketing at BAL, explained the change: “Our new range of grouts provides a simplified choice for fixers, contractors, specifiers and distributors – a poundfor-pound prize fighter, or a top heavyweight champion so to speak! “Grout Flex is a solid wall and floor grout with key colourways, whereas Micromax2 is a premium grout with an extensive colour pallet and added benefits such as Microban and efflorescence-free formula. “Two easy choices for any budget or project requirements.” For more information visit www.bal-adhesives.com


coatings & Paints

Edward Street Quarter announces ground-breaking air-purifying tactics Edward Street Quarter, the mixed-use development currently being built at the former AMEX House site in central Brighton, will introduce ground-breaking ways to improve the air quality in and around the site. eveloper First Base has ordered the use of antibacterial and air purifying paints which will benefit residents and occupiers as well as painters and decorators, as the materials are free of VOC emissions. The paints work by absorbing CO2 from the environment in their carbonisation process which leads to cleaner and more climate-friendly spaces.


To further reduce air pollution, the new neighbourhood’s design will introduce 16 species of native and non-native trees, in a mix of deciduous and evergreen, to its three predominantly green spaces – including field maple, weeping birch, Himalayan cedar, dawn redwood, Scots pine, hazel and pin oak. The average reduction of particulate matter near a tree is between 7 per cent and 24 per cent, according to a study by The Nature Conservancy, and large, healthy trees are the most effective at improving local air quality. A diverse mix of mature specimen trees will give the public games garden an


arboretum feel year-round and four species of disease-resistant Elms will provide shade and shelter to Mighell Street, which will be reintroduced with the development. Buildings within the development will feature 15,000 sq ft of green roofs, the area equivalent to five tennis courts, comprised of sedums, wildflowers and other plants which will absorb rainwater and provide better insulation. Habitat features such as hibernaculum and stripped tree logs will also be installed to attract invertebrates. To support local biodiversity, developers First Base also plan to install 20 bird boxes to encourage nesting of Great Tits, Blue Tits and House Sparrows in the city and imbed 67 different plant species sourced from a British nursery throughout the development. Landscape architect, Rosie Sargen of SpaceHub, commented, “We have carefully selected a range of resilient species, for example, Brighton is famous for its uses of Elm trees to bring shade, shelter and importantly contribute to cleaner air.”

Steve Eccles, project director at First Base, said: “Improving air quality is a big priority in urban locations and that is why we will deliver air purifying paint, new trees, shrubs and green roofs to make a positive impact around Edward Street Quarter. “Keeping healthy and staying well has always been important, however, Covid-19 has brought this to the forefront of everyone’s minds. We are pleased to be leading the way at Edward Street Quarter so that our community will work and live in a safe and healthy environment.” Edward Street Quarter will deliver 110,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, 39,000 sq ft of food, beverage, retail and leisure units, 168 new residential homes and three new public spaces. The mixeduse development will be built with a target to achieve a BREEAM Excellence rating, the globally recognised sustainability assessment for buildings. For more information, please visit edwardstreetquarter.com

coatings & Paints

Bang for your buck! Five home improvements you can make for under £100 Most of us have spent more time in our homes in recent months than ever before, so it comes as no surprise Brits are seeking to make home improvements, with Google searches for DIY once again on the increase during the latest lockdown.

or anyone thinking of sprucing up their home decor, one of the most common considerations is if it will add value to the property. Providing expert guidance, Hitachi Personal Finance has looked at the most effective home improvements you can make on a low budget, for less than £100.


1. Painting a room - £71 Nothing brightens up a room more than a fresh lick of paint and this is something that can easily be done yourself. Rather than paying for a professional decorator, why not invest in some brushes, rollers and have a bit of fun picking the colour you want for a room. To cover the cost of a main room, such as a lounge, kitchen or bathroom, paint will cost around £711 and will give your living space a much fresher look. If you are someone who monitors internal décor trends, choosing the right colour at the right time could even add more than £1,400 in value to your home if you came to selling2.

Providing you have had them installed previously, just replacing curtains or roll up blinds won’t cost as much as you think. Home interior retailers sell a range of good quality curtains for between £50£905 that can totally transform the feel of a room.

Sanding down and re-painting your front door will help alleviate any looks of tiredness from the outside and will certainly add kerb appeal. Although this sounds like a big job, the average cost of the paint and tools required to take this project on are attainable at just £80.6

4. Decluttering - free

2. Kitchen spruce ups - £60 They often say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but a full-scale kitchen refurb is not always necessary, and can prove very costly. It can be easy and cheap to make just a couple of subtle changes to change the whole complexion of the room.

A really simple way to improve the feel of your entire home is organising and decluttering from top to bottom. Excess belongings are commonplace in a lot of households and can often be forgotten for long periods, leading to even the most spacious properties feeling cramped and messy.

Vincent Reboul, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance, commented: “The start of the year is often a time of reflection, and this applies to our homes as well as our careers and personal lives. The lockdown means even more of us will be looking to take on home improvements in the coming months.

Adding or swapping a glass hob splash back can cost as little as £603, whilst tiling a wall could be just what you need to reinvigorate your kitchen area. The cost depends on the type of tile and size of your kitchen, but the average kitchen tiling will set you back just £35 per square metre4.

Taking the time to go through each room, organising items to keep and collecting ones you want to recycle or donate to charity, will free up storage space that you can then make good use of. And, of course, this will cost you virtually nothing and if donating unused items to charity it will help others and the environment too.

3. New curtains and blinds – £50-£90

5. Sprucing up your front door - £80

Old drapes in your window frames can make a room feel stale and dull, so replacing those with something more vibrant and colourful can really make a difference.

Make sure you don’t forget about the exterior of your home, as improvements on the outside can really add value to your property.


“Although a lot of DIY jobs can be quite large and costly projects, there are certainly tweaks and changes we can be making ourselves to have similar benefits without forking out huge sums of money. “We hope this guide inspires homeowners looking to try their hand at a few upgrades to give their house a fresh feel for 2021.” For more information on the home improvements you can make on a budget, visit: https://www.hitachipersonalfinance. co.uk/latest-posts/homeimprovements/ make-the-most-of-your-home-improvement-budget/

Protects with a Natural Look 3062 MATT Natural Ingredients Highly water repellent Extremely hardwearing Natural look, light reflections are defused.

Assisted Living and Care Home Exercise Assisted Living and Care Home Exercise: Why it’s integral to build in facilities which promote movement and activity for residents. Martin Williams of Saunders explores: The pandemic has meant many of the retired population have needed to remain in their homes for safety, sometimes meaning that they have no access to external space, and this is especially relevant in Assisted Living and the Care Home settings. Even the one outing per day during lockdown will have helped the mental and physical wellbeing of the wider population, so how do residents fair within the care sector environments and are they offering adequate physical activity within the senior living sector? It is, perhaps a good time to start looking at how we promote and integrate exercise into the buildings themselves through careful design inside and out. From the outset we should be approaching design for later living differently, ensuring that these spaces promote, encourage and are conducive to regular appropriate exercise. The general provision in my opinion, especially in converted care facilities, is fairly poor with little or no facilities provided. Some do have small gardens to sit in and also have aerobic exercise classes provided by visiting specialist trainers which are useful but it is not really enough. Many of the higher-end care homes provide gyms, sometimes swimming pools and bowls facilities as well as extensive gardens which are similar to the provision in luxury hotels but these are the exception. At Saunders we have considerable experience of designing retirement villages and ‘Later Living’ schemes always striving to incorporate adequate external space and landscaping


to encourage regular appropriate exercise where possible for residents. However, the assisted living and dementia care sectors are more challenging as more medical attention is required, and opportunities can be more limited but this is still possible and encouraged for general health and mental well-being. Family involvement here can be crucial but is hugely beneficial if this is possible. ‘Trim trail’ paths with benches or specimen shrubs as distance markers are really help to encourage exercise with a sense of achievement by increasing distance. Captain Tom’s recent walk around his garden is a great example. Raised flower beds designed for residents to safely get involved in gardening is also another very simple idea to encourage gentle exercise. Benches and covered areas for rest are also important. Exercise can be a great communal activity so flexible space to accommodate several residents at one time will encourage this. Easy access and the correct placement of these facilities is crucial and has to be carefully considered. There are some very simple solutions as described but exercise for the elderly population should be as much a way of life as it should be for all of us. Provision needs to be flexible and adaptable depending on health and capabilities and can be inexpensive but should be part of the overall design from the outset. These opportunities are imperative will help prevent illness and extend and improve the quality of life for the elderly.

Coatings & Paints

A Guide to Silicate Masonry Paint Exterior masonry is probably the toughest test of all for a paint. It needs to be durable and weatherproof, as well as good looking - and not all masonry paints were born equal. Ecopro Silicate Masonry Paint is a highly durable, breathable and weather resistant mineral paint.


arthborn believes its Ecopro Silicate Masonry System is the most advanced masonry paint available and in response to a growing demand, it has increased the colours available from 24 to 48, offering plenty of choice.

What is silicate masonry paint? In a nutshell, it’s a highly breathable masonry paint suitable for lime, concrete, brick, stone, concrete and pebble dash. Used on unpainted masonry surfaces it provides a durable, long-lasting finish. Conventional acrylic based paints may stop rain driving into a wall but they also create a barrier that stops moisture escaping. It’s widely recognised that unless a wall can breathe through the paint there will be a build up of moisture within the wall, causing blown paint and plaster or render.

Can you use silicate masonry paint on lime wash? You can use our Silicate Masonry System over existing lime wash provided it is completely sound and stable. However lime wash is also prone

to flaking off over time. If this is the case for your property, remove as much as possible before applying our Silicate System.

How does it work? Our system works by applying primer then paint to a bare masonry surface. The two products create a chemical reaction with the masonry and essentially ‘knit’ into the surface. If the previous paint work is also silicate paint, or limewash then you can repaint over it, but not over an acrylic paint, which would need to be removed.

Is it environmentally friendly?

Above: 48 shades in the new Earthborn silicate range Below: The Earthborn Silicate Masonry System in 5l and 10l packs

Very. Being water based and free of oils and acrylics, Ecopro silicate paint is virtually VOC and toxin free. That means it is very environmentally friendly and better for the health of decorators.

Is it suitable for internal brick walls? Yes, although most people use it on exterior walls because it is very durable. If you want a breathable paint for interior use, you might prefer to use our Claypaint, which is also highly breathable and easy to apply.

Now, both the primer and all of the 48 paint colours are available in 100ml tester pots, so the whole system can be tested on site. The new colour card and tester pots can be ordered from the Earthborn website. If you already know which shade you want, full size tubs and primer can now be ordered directly too. www.earthbornpaints.co.uk


Product Focus – Koster KB Flex 200 With a long background in structural waterproofing, Delta’s Director, Christopher Burbridge, tells us all about one of his favourite products. As much as I love structural waterproofing (and trust, me I really love it), Koster products really are a place to invest when it comes to your project needs. I’m not saying you must drop half your budget on a lot of products, but you do have to invest time, research and yes, perhaps a little cash, when it comes to creating a robust solution.


What is it? Where did it come from? A WOW product and one that never fails to impress me is Koster KB Flex 200. I absolutely love how Koster KB Flex 200 can instantaneously stop water in its tracks. Within seconds KB Flex 200 can solve massive problems, turning into an incredibly easy solution. It’s a great


“Impact” product. It is incredibly useful on lots of waterproofing project and is userfriendly. Koster Bauchemie AG have been specialising in development and production of high-quality waterproofing systems since 1982. Their headquarters are in the lovely town of Aurich, Germany. Delta Membrane Systems is the UK distributor of Koster products. What does it do? Koster KB Flex 200 is a permanent plastic sealing compound ideal for sealing pipe and cable penetrations,

cavities and for custom detail waterproofing solutions against moisture and pressurized water. Prior to application, the Koster KB-Flex 200 cartridges are laid into warm water and heated to approx. +30 °C. This ensures that the material has the optimal consistency for application. The application area flanks must be thoroughly cleaned from the inside so that they are free of dust, sand and other loose particles. Koster KB Flex 200 must be dimensioned so that the ratio of the width (w) to the diameter (d) of the installed material is not below 1.5:1. The maximum diameter of the waterproofing is 300 mm. Before applying Koster KB Flex 200, a backing is installed in the

penetration at a depth of 10 cm using a common 2C PU foam. The Koster KB Flex 200 cartridge is then placed in the gun and the material is pressed into the penetration from back to front utilizing the nozzle so that the resulting layer thickness is at least 8 cm.

leaks percolating through the structure at that time and/or to protect areas that are weak points such as service penetrations, which have the potential to leak. We need to ensure these areas are sealed prior to the application of the waterproofing system. As I mentioned previously Koster KB Flex 200 is a great impact product. It makes the job of “locking down a structure” an incredibly easy one.

what keeps you continually using it?

Koster KB Flex 200 can be used anywhere – from existing structures, to basements, swimming pools, as well as on new build projects.

Delta has an incredibly famous phrase “locking down a structure”. When we use this in a technical term, we are looking to stop any active water/

The product is ideal because: • • • • •

it doesn’t require ongoing maintenance it instantly can stop flowing water it doesn’t dry out and remains permanently mouldable it adheres extremely well to dry and moist substates it’s a great solution for sealing pipe and cable penetrations along with

• • •

leak sealing and gap filling and sealing it can be applied to dry, moist or wet substrates it has an immediate functionality it’s suitable for both positive and negative waterproofing

Want to witness Koster KB Flex 200 in action? We have a great “How to” video guide on our website “How To” Video Guide - Koster KB Flex 200 - Delta Membranes and we absolutely love showing our customers how great a product this is by doing live demonstrations at Delta HQ. If you’re passing HQ and would like a demo – we’ll always be happy to show you the value of this product. To find out more about Delta products, call 01992 523 523 or email: info@deltamembranes.com


bathrooms & washrooms

As we head into the new year and the challenges that face us , we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our policy of stockholding and how it is even more relevant today.

“‘These are challenging times for all businesses, and the last thing we need to make our projects even more stressful is a delayed chain of supply,” says Managing Director, JIS Europe, Richard Thelwell. “We are able to maintain the chain of supply quite simply due to our longstanding policy of stockholding providing further financial stability to ourselves but as importantly to our customers.”

Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, and manufactured from over 90% recyclable material. It does not rust, flake or corrode. It is the sustainable, durable choice.

Furthermore the Sussex Range is manufactured from 100% stainless steel including our recently introduced Black Edition of powder coated rails.

We offer 3 formats of rail throughout the range: Electric, dual fuel and central heating only and we offer both a polished and satin finish as well as the Black Edition Range.

“More and more people are coming round to the durability and sustainability of stainless steel, particularly after the year we have just had, we all need to be aware of our environmental and social impact.”

“The cornerstones of our business are quite simply quality, stock holding and ultimately customer service. The three work hand in hand.”

“On a practical note our customers don’t want to go to the expense and disruption of fitting out their bathroom to 2 years down the line find that an inferior mild steel rail rusts, leaks and they then need a complete re-tile when the replacement isn’t dimensionally identical to the original.”


We source our rails ethically and take our social responsibility seriously, from our sourcing to our manufacture to our charity initiatives.

“Wishing you all health and good will in 2021” Should you require further details please visit our website www.sussexrange.co.uk or contact us on 01825 722988 and info@jiseurope.co.uk

Black Edition Stainless Steel Towel Rails by JIS Europe 100% stainless steel towel rails 01825 722988 www.sussexrange.co.uk info@jiseurope.co.uk

Bathrooms & Washrooms

GROHE launches new RIBA approved CPD module:

Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities GROHE has launched its third RIBA approved CPD module, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities, in response to the increasing demand for hygiene-optimised solutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its aim is to facilitate greater awareness and provide inspiration to multiple stakeholders and industries working within the built environment, from architects and designers to housebuilders, retailers, and plumbers. sustainability credentials with products such as infra-red taps and flush plates which reduce water and energy consumption. Improving the accessibility of our private and public spaces is also a viable outcome, as more autonomous solutions will be favoured over traditional products that rely on manual operation.

The latest seminar-based training module is the first on RIBA’s CPD database to look at hygiene in both the kitchen and bathroom, allowing architects and designers an in-depth look at residential design under a hygiene lens, alongside its increasing importance in commercial settings. As a provider of complete bathroom solutions, GROHE is able to offer its expertise holistically when it comes to bathroom applications. The CPD session encourages architects to consider how all touchpoints in the bathroom can be optimised with hygiene in mind, across brassware and ceramics. Meanwhile in kitchen settings, GROHE looks at the emerging importance tapware can play in maintaining hygiene levels. GROHE first identified a seismic shift in the demand for hygiene-optimised products at the beginning of 2020, which reached new heights once the first wave of the pandemic hit the UK. “Whilst in the UK commercial market the transition to more hygiene-focussed public spaces and business environments has been in motion for some time, there has been increasing demand in the consumer markets, in such a way that has never been seen before“, says Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA. “Ongoing conversations with our partners and clients over the last year has signified to us that there is a real demand for more knowledge around hygiene and what solutions are available.


The pandemic is likely to impact both the short- and long-term implications of the way our buildings are designed and how we live and work in them. The design community are eager to expand their horizons in order to be able to adapt“. By designing our surroundings with hygiene front of mind, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities highlights other positive implications to consider too. For example, boosting

To mark the release of its new CPD module, GROHE has partnered with leading hospitality design platform, Hotel Designs, to host a virtual launch event for architects and designers on Tuesday 9th February 2021. Hosted by Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, and presented by Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA, the launch event will give attendees a first look at the new CPD session. GROHE will also be hosting a prize draw for all those who register, with twenty of its brand-new Rainshower SmartActive 130 handshowers to give away. Winners will be announced and contacted shortly after the event.

For those interested in attending the launch event, registrations can be made here. To express interest in booking a private CPD training session, emails should be directed to cpdtraining-uk@grohe.com.

Bathrooms & Washrooms

Roman Launch More Fluted Glass Options to Liberty Range The UK and Europe’s leading shower designer and manufacturer, Roman, has unveiled more stunning fluted glass options on its Liberty Wetroom Panels, Liberty Sliding Door and Liberty Hinged Door with In-Line Panel. he Liberty Sliding Door and Hinged Door with In-Line Panel are now available in five colour finishes - Silver Chrome, Matt Black, Brushed Nickel, Polished Nickel, and Brushed Brass - these on-trend products coordinate with brassware across bathroom spaces.



These new styles offer several design options to suit every style and shape bathroom including a choice of left or right handing. The Liberty Fluted Glass Sliding Door and Hinged Door with In-Line Panel can be installed on Roman’s AntiSlip Trays, Infinity Trays, and also the Low Level Trays to eliminate the step into the shower. They are all manufactured in 8mm toughened safety glass. All of Roman’s Liberty Wetroom Panels are now available in six colour finishes - Matt White is the latest extension to our colour

collection alongside Silver Chrome, Matt Black, Brushed Nickel, Polished Nickel, and Brushed Brass. “The glass texture distorts light and offers a degree of obscurity without reducing the light in the showering area, but it is the panels’ finished look that demands attention and adds value. Fluted glass has been really popular in the international hotel sector for the last few years, but there has been a growing clamour from Designers to bring more options into the retail sector - and now we can,” says Managing Director David Osborne.

Hinged shower door with in-line panel and frosted hinged toilet door with chrome fittings. Solid surface illuminated basin unit with inset concrete effect panel and integrated mirror column.

Roman has been designing and manufacturing showering solutions for over 35 years, and is home to the UK’s largest manufacturing plant. All Roman products are designed and created in Britain, offering the ultimate in quality, precision and craftsmanship ▪ UK Manufacturer

▪ Solid Surface Fabrication

▪ Dedicated In-House Design Team

▪ Products Exceed all Compliance Standards

▪ Supplier to Major International Hotel Groups

▪ Global Manufacturer to over 60 International Markets

▪ Bespoke Product Capability

▪ Promotes Sustainability and Circular Economy

▪ Experienced in Large Project Work

For more information please visit our website:


Underfloor heating helps homeowners take back power on energy costs Paul Simmonds, Digital Marketing Manager, Wunda Group There’s a lot to be said about waking up on a cold morning and having warm tiles underneath your feet. The pleasure of not feeling any draughts or cold spots in your home as you get ready for the day is a luxury. However many people worry that these luxuries come at a price. here is a growing concern that energy bills will skyrocket due to the increase of remote working. Energy bills are predicted to rise by 18% for home workers this winter, and heating experts, Wunda Group, want more people to consider the energy saving benefits of UFH.


How much energy does UFH use? Water based UFH, which runs through a series of pipes connected to a boiler, uses much less energy than central heating as it is designed to run at a lower temperature whilst providing a more comfortable level of heat. However, costs and efficiency will differ depending on construction, insulation, energy tariffs and how the heating is being controlled. For example, a room size of 40m² would cost around £900 per year to heat using electric UFH, whereas a water based UFH system would only cost about £180 per year. UFH uses less energy than standard radiators, and is designed to be more efficient at circulating the heat around a home and running at a lower input temperature. Where a radiator may require the water to be heated to up to 90°C, UFH can function as low as 35℃. However, running costs depend on the quality of the insulation in a home, how high the temperature in the room needs to be and how often the heating is on.


How to use underfloor heating efficiently Many guides and articles cover how to make sure your boiler is running efficiently, but using UFH effectively is not always covered. To keep the costs down over the winter, there are a few key things to consider: •

If you have a screed system use your thermostats setback feature - Heating screed from cold can be costly in time and energy, fortunately most thermostats feature a setback option, which allows you to set a “point of quick return” and if on those cold days the temperature drops below your setback, your screed floor heating can spring into action.

Improve your home’s insulation - Insulation in the home works to keep the heat in and reduces the amount of warmth that escapes through the walls, windows and roof. Newer homes tend to be more environmentally friendly and are often well insulated, but older homes are likely less insulated

and will need upgrading. By using an EPS floor heating system that retro-fits, you could benefit from additional insulation in your floor just from installing the floor heating boards. Be sure to ask your supplier about any test insulation value in the floor heating fixings. •

Consider a future-proof boiler alternative - Heat pumps naturally complement UFH as they supply a cost effective and steady temperature for homes. Depending on your property and the amount of heat it loses, a ground source or air source heat pump will be recommended, but UFH can be used with most boiler alternatives. Only heat when it is actually needed - It is possible to save energy by not using UFH all the time in every room. It is a good idea to limit the heat in the rooms that are used the least. With today’s technology most UFH systems allow users to zone various rooms. Just by turning the less frequently used rooms down to 16/17℃ is enough to make a difference to a home’s energy consumption.

Wundatherm’s Rapid Response® system is incredibly easy to install, with no mess or drying time and is extremely durable, as well offering an increase in thermal insulation. The lightweight low-profile boards are just 16 or 20mm thick, heat up in minutes and are suitable for any floor finish including carpet, vinyl, Karndean, Amtico, laminate, wood, ceramic and stone tiles. Once installed, the floor heating pipe is laid into the preformed grooves in the boards and the system is ready for immediate use. Wundatherm is totally future-proof and perfect to use with both boilers and future heat sources. With home heating accounting for 21% of our carbon footprint, homeowners must stop using fossil fuels to heat their homes in favour of sustainable green energy heating, in order for the UK to meet its climate change goals and get to net zero by 2050. For further information on the Wundatherm UFH system or a free estimate, call 0800 083 2677, email plans@wundagroup.com or visit the website at www.wundagroup.com


Heating & ventilation

Domus Ventilation MVHR System Specified For Extensive Office-to-Apartment Conversion Domus Ventilation’s HRX-aQ Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems and Domus ducting are being installed into the striking No. 1 Thames Valley apartment complex in Bracknell, Berkshire. This extensive development sees the building converted from offices to 130 single bedroom apartments laid out in two wings with floor-to-ceiling windows. s with most office to residential conversions, No. 1 Thames Valley has presented a number of challenges along the way, not the least the ventilation. Thankfully, Working Environments, which is responsible for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the mechanical, public health and electrical services, has plenty of experience in this field. This has enabled them to meet these challenges, from ducting that needs to run through the building façade to trying to match the ventilation grilles with the terracotta tiles in place.


Working Environments specified the Domus Ventilation HRX-aQ for this demanding project as the MVHR system was readily able to provide the level of indoor air quality required. Other factors that were taken into consideration were the pricing and cost-efficiency, plus the level of support provided by Domus Ventilation. The HRX-aQ MVHR system is ideally suited to No. 1 Thames Valley as it intelligently manages air conditions for maximum homeowner comfort. This is achieved through advanced AMIE (Air Management for Indoor Environments) technology including features such as digital humidity control, automated summer bypass and accurate system balancing. Unlike conventional humidity sensors, the HRX-aQ enables occupants to have direct control over managing the humidity levels in their home to suit personal comfort levels. By accurately measuring air humidity, the HRX-aQ’s extract speed automatically changes


from background to boost as the level of humidity increases, thereby providing optimal ventilation performance.

very easy to install, further assisted by the online training provided by Domus Ventilation.

The HRX-aQ features advanced bypass control, programmable by occupants based on time and temperature. In standard mode the MVHR units work by warming fresh air drawn into the building using the heat from waste stale air extracted from the kitchen and wet rooms. In conjunction with multiple time controlled bypass options (night time free cooling), the HRX-aQ also detects when air temperature reaches a preset level and intelligently activates the bypass mechanism allowing in cooler, fresh and filtered air.

Measuring just 199mm in depth and weighing from just 7.9kg, the HRX-aQ is compact and light enough to be easily installed in the most restrictive of ceiling voids. It can be simply designed-in with a straight in-and-out duct run and, in the case of No. 1 Thames Valley, is directly fitted to Domus 204x60mm Supertube rigid ducting for an air-tight connection, minimising pressure drops virtually eliminating air leakage. Its offset duct connections also mean that any duct crossover is much more straightforward. The accumulation of HRX-aQ’s quick and simple installation features make for one of the lowest install costs of any MVHR in the market today.

Working Environments has installed the HRX-aQ units at No. 1 Thames Valley within each apartment’s bathroom in the ceiling void, with the MVHR controller located in the utility cupboard. This is the first time the company has used HRX-aQ and, according to Robert Druce, Project Manager at Working Environments, they have found the units

For further information on the Domus Ventilation HRX-aQ range of MVHR appliances, please go to www.domusventilation.co.uk or call on 03443 715523.

Ask Mitsubishi Electric about sustainable heating In their latest podcast episodes, Max Halliwell from Ecodan talks to architect and Ecodan Brand Ambassador, George Clarke and other key speakers about Ecodan Heat Pumps. They discuss affordable warmth for UK social housing and consider the case for new-build developments versus fitting existing buildings with renewable technology. Listen at podcast.ecodan.uk heating@meuk.mee.com

The renewable heating alternative

Serious about sustainability


heating & ventilation

Rinnai To Create Hydrogen Information Hub For Consultants, Specifiers, End-Users Rinnai, manufacturers of hot water heating units and delivery systems for all commercial sites, is to create a comprehensive information hub dedicated to the subject of Hydrogen as a low-carbon energy for the future.

he Rinnai Hydrogen Information Hub will be aimed at building services consultants, engineers, specifiers and endusers. It will be online and include webinars plus all requested digital or onsite meetings.

decarbonisation through the use of Hydrogen. Heating emissions are a huge issue and Hydrogen is one answer to the Energy Trilemma, as we have stated several times,’ says Rinnai’s Chris Goggin who is also a board member of the ICOM Energy Association.

‘Rinnai welcomes the UK government’s recent ‘Ten Point Plan’, in particular the drive to

‘Hydrogen in the domestic setting is seeing up to £500 million government funding on trials for



homes using hydrogen, starting with a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, moving to a Hydrogen Village by 2025, with an aim for a Hydrogen Town – equivalent to tens of thousands of homes – before the end of the decade. Of this funding, £240 million will be for hydrogen production facilities. Rinnai has made data and information contributions and

heating & ventilation

had close consultations with the lead research agency primed with advising the UK Government. The UK, along with many other countries, faces an Energy Trilemma - the pressing need for de-carbonisation, which means a shift in energy pathways; security and longevity of supply; long term affordability to the industrial and end-consumer. This country’s housing stock is over 24 million units and the UK had a total energy consumption increase by 1.1 per cent in 2018 to reach 143 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), the highest level since 2013. Says Chris Goggin for Rinnai, “All questions and queries on the growing consensus on the suitability of Hydrogen as the replacement for all fossil-fuels will be answered by the Hub. Zero Carbon cannot be achieved via Zero Information on the strategies needed to achieve the goal”. “Hydrogen can make a major contribution to decarbonising the UK energy grid, whilst also providing a sustainable answer to the political and societal questions of the Energy Trilemma,” says Chris Goggin.

The distribution of Hydrogen creates a resolution to the Trilemma questions and the very necessary decarbonisation of the UK energy grid. Hydrogen can be potentially combusted through existing ‘in situ’ appliances, complete with smart controls and cost-effective hardware & software upgrades as demonstrated by proprietary technology in hot water heating units. Many countries in Europe and Asia are using the post-pandemic economic regeneration plans to instigate plans to switch to hydrogen as the main fuel source for housing, industry and transport. France has recently announced a €7 billion package to build a carbon-free hydrogen industry and Germany has allocated €9 billion. In the summer the European Commission stated it wanted to increase its production capacity of electrolysers from 250MW today to 40GW in 2030. Similar strategies have been released by the UK, Australia, and Asian countries. These moves are clear trends to massive public investments in the sector. Hydrogen is already ‘cost competitive’ in niche applications, according to recent research, with

the forecast that it is likely to at least price-match industrial-scale alternatives in less than a decade. Rinnai is a true global player in the manufacture of domestic and commercial appliances and operates in almost 50 countries. Rinnai is the world’s leading manufacturer of continuous flow hot water systems - it makes and sells 2 million units each year. The range of units can be manifolded to supply, limitless hot water to any site of any size. This means fast, efficient, temperature-controlled water on demand at the point of delivery – kitchens, showers, accommodation blocks, bathrooms, washrooms - and less space spent on plant rooms with no or little maintenance as all units are proven to be robust with a long, long working life. Call 01928 531 870 or email engineer@rinnaiuk.com or sales@rinnaiuk.com alternatively use the smart online contact points “Help Me Choose” or “Ask Us a Question”, all held on the website homepage at

www.rinnaiuk.com •39•

Heating & Ventilation

Hybrid Heating for the modern home – the choice is yours EHC offer a comprehensive Range of Electric Products that are all controlled by the well-established DSR Technology Control System. It enables you to select a Hybrid Heating Solution from the range for the various rooms within your property to suit your design style and budget – the choice is yours. All DSR Controlled Heaters are manually operated using the “easy to use” Controller located on the Heater. They also have Wi-Fi capability that can be activated when you purchase the optional DSR Smart Gateway which will allow you to control your Heaters Anytime, Anywhere 24/7 up to a maximum of 30 Heaters using our free bespoke APP. When used with the EHC Smart Gateway you can take advantage of the in-built Wi-Fi ready capability and are able to program your heaters individually or in groups. The DSR Control APP has many features designed to enhance your comfort levels and provide essential information regarding your heating


The DSR Range of Heaters all offer partial heat retention via the internal storage tiles. They are designed to provide an even heat across the surface area of the Heaters and in turn provide a combination of Convected and Radiant Heat. The comprehensive range of Heaters which are available in various Outputs are: • EHC Combination Heaters • Edge • Solaris • Visage

system. There is also an optional Power Meter Clamp available for Load Shedding Control. Popular features within the APP • Setting Times to suit lifestyle • Adjust each room temperature to suit using the manual boost • Limit electricity consumption to avoid exceeding maximum power available • Monitor your electricity consumption history • View the Temperature history by room • Alexa and Google Home commands

For further information or a free Brochure contact 01698 820533 or visit


heating & Ventilation

A useful app for homeowners and installers to visualise a free-standing stove installation Have you ever wondered what a modern, log burning stove would look like in your house, especially as you don’t already have a natural chimney breast for a fireplace?

his App allows the user to see what it looks like, as well as calculating the components required. Stoves can easily be installed into existing homes, be it a newly built house on an estate or an existing, older house or even a self-build project. A stove can be installed going through the ceilings of each room and out of the roof, or along the outside and up the building.


The App gives you a choice of four basic stove designs, to give an impression of what a typical design would look like in your home. This amazing App then be used to assist the installer in selecting the parts required following a full site survey, which can then be ordered directly from their chosen distributor of the Schiedel product range. Please note that as conditions on site may vary, the final price for the system may change following the full site survey and may vary between distributors. Please note that the installer may advise on additional components or advise which components are not needed (for

example extra wall bands based on exact measurements and site surveys). The quote provided is Schiedel’s list pricing and these prices are different with their distributors, who can also provide some amazing discounts.

Don’t worry. Enter the approximate values and we can calculate the components. Your installer or Schiedel’s technical support team can verify if the set of components are accurate for the installation.


The pipe lengths are different.

What sort of phone can be used?

This is because it is not recommended to have a joint within a ceiling or a wall. However, this can be assessed when on site or can be discussed with our technical team.

A modern phone from the last few years should be okay to run the augmented reality part of the Builder. However, the recommended spec is for a device running Android 7.0 and iOS 11. The relevant app stores will advise if this can be installed. How accurate is this? The accuracy will depend on the information and dimensions fed into the app but should always be followed up by a full site survey carried out by an experienced installer. Schiedel recommends HETAS accredited installers for solid fuel installations. I’m not sure about the accuracy of my measurements.

Some of the options are missing if I choose internal or external. That’s correct, some measurements aren’t needed, plus some options are not available when choosing one of the other options. If you have an installation which is different to the standard ones, then fill in the details for the closest installation type and put information in the notes section for our technical team to look at. www.schiedel.com/uk/ augmented-reality-chimneybuilder-for-stoves/


‘Stone House’ offers unparalleled sea and castle views Situated on the picturesque coast of Cornwall in South West England, the recently completed family home, dubbed the Stone House offers unparalleled sea views and a unique view of historic castle, St Michael’s Mount. Designed and brought to life by the combined efforts of Suzanne Brewer Architects and Lilly Lewarne Architects, Kebony, a global leader in the production of sustainable modified wood, was used to clad the exterior of this contemporary building, creating a beautiful natural mix of both wood and stone. Photography:Anthony Greenwood


The homeowner’s dream was brought to life earlier this year; Suzanne Brewer Architects, guided the project through a successful planning permission, whilst Lilly Lewarne Architects was the practice appointed to carry out the technical design and construction stages of this contemporary project by the sea. Stone and Kebony wood were the materials selected inside and out for their authenticity and the way in which they ‘wear in’ instead of ‘wearing out’, creating a rustic feel for the property which elegantly blends into the natural landscape of the Cornish hillside. Kebony’s enhanced durability, sustainable qualities and unique aesthetic made it the perfect choice of wood for this unique project. Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating

the wood with furfuryl alcohol - an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness, and dimensional stability. Kebony’s uniquely natural aesthetic and sustainable credentials were perfectly suited to realise the ambition of the modern seaside family home. One of Stone House’s key selling points is its spectacular view of both the Atlantic Ocean and St Michael’s Mount, famed for its picturesque landscape and uniquely peaceful community feel, with only 30 islanders calling the village their home. Each morning the village springs to life with school children and workers gathering to travel to the mainland, goods being loaded onto the quayside and islanders preparing for the jobs the day will bring. Rob Simmonds, Project Architect at Lilly Lewarne Architects commented: “We are very proud to have worked on the design and construction of this beautiful home on the south coast, which looks stunning within its natural surroundings. Working with Kebony wood was not only cost-effective but proved to be completely suited to the homeowner’s vision, and we certainly look forward to using the material again in future projects.” Nina Landbø, International Sales Manager Norway at Kebony added: “We are delighted that Kebony has played an important role in the development of this beautiful, rustic home in Cornwall. It is great to have made a longlasting mark on the unique British seaside town and we hope it inspires the development of many more natural, sustainable homes in the area, and across the globe.”



2020 is SureCav’s most successful year to date SureCav, an innovative brand of 100% recycled polypropylene backing membrane for masonry construction, announces 2020 as a record year for sales and enquiries.

he average growth in sales over the last 5 years is 15%. This has accelerated to an 18% average for Autumn/ Winter 2020. The forecast y/e figures for 31st January show EBITDA growth over 50% on the previous year.


These positive figures indicate an increasing appetite for the company’s two flagship products SureCav 25 and SureCav 50 as a focus on green construction in the specification and housebuilding sectors increases. Forecasts for 2021/2022 are positive, indicating this upward trajectory will continue with a predicted increase of 20-30% and further potential of achieving a 100% increase in sales within two years. Planning for Success Since its foundation, SureCav had previously seen steady growth and consistent interest in its product portfolio from traditional housebuilder and specifiers working within this sector. However, last year saw the brand make considerable, sweeping investments to strengthen its position and extend its reach. This began with the launch of a new, more intuitive, and targeted website which gives a more incisive picture of the product.


SureCav also signed-up to NBS’ powerful new construction product platform, NBS Source, which will position them front and centre with the whole of the British, Canadian, and Australian specifier audience. So unique are the brand’s products, a new, dedicated Uniclass code had to be developed when the portfolio was brought onto the system. This was further followed by a renewed commitment to BBA (British Board of Agrément) with continual engagement to ensure accreditation. A New Broom In the latter half of the year, SureCav signed a contract with a new manufacturer, the world-famous Hillbrush, one of the world’s leading producers of brushware and cleaning tools as well as experts in recycled plastics. Based in Mere, Wiltshire, close to SureCav’s headquarters in Wincanton, Somerset, the new partnership will open up a host of new audiences for the brand, including a greater presence in emerging markets like the USA. Brand new machinery and plant equipment will also improve efficiencies and ensure both SureCav 25 and SueCav 50 are made with as little environmental impact as possible.

Little Black Book In line with these new developments, SureCav has also grown its client base with new orders placed from across the housebuilding industry. Commenting on the figures, and looking forward, founder and managing director, Charlie Ayers, says, “When you consider these results against the backdrop of an extremely challenging year, full of uncertainty, one cannot help but be positive. It seems that, with far more time available to consider alternative materials to meet the increasing number of sustainability briefs, fast becoming the norm across all construction projects, built environment professionals are discovering the benefits of SureCav. “Significantly, once a specifier uses our product, they never go back to the original product it has replaced in the build. We expect this trend to continue and will, accordingly be ramping up sales and marketing activity alongside our new manufacturing partners, Hillbrush, to raise awareness of how SureCav not only improves your bottom line it also helps you do your bit for the environment.” To find out more about SureCav and its portfolio of products click here.


We asked eco-materials supplier Ecomerchant to pick some of the standout products from 2020 and asked if their popularity could be linked to current and proposed regulations. Liquid applied airtight membranes first arrived in the UK around 5 years ago. The idea that an airtight membrane could be spray or brush applied was groundbreaking despite the use of similar means of application for protective coatings and waterproofing. Blowerproof was first introduced to the UK by Ecomerchant in early 2016. The product became BBA certified (the first to do so) in 2017 and was quickly picked up by the Passive House sector. Over the past two years, liquid applied membranes have seen exceptional growth as the demand for airtight buildings increased. The ultimate application came in spring 2019 when the Imperial War Museum archive used Blowerproof to create the most airtight building in the UK (ACH 0.03) for storing its priceless archive of documents. For the refurb sector, the use of liquid applied membranes is a game-changer. The water-based VOC free liquid can be applied to almost any surface even in the trickiest and most demanding applications it creates a permanent flexible layer which allows airtightness to be delivered where previously achieving high levels were nigh on impossible. Wood fibre flexible batts and rigid carrier boards. Insulation is a key component of most retrofit projects and the increase in wood fibre use over the past few years has been steady - but the take up this year has been exceptional. Wood fibre is a versatile product, which offers desirable performance characteristics for new build and renovations. Being vapour permeable it helps buffer moisture, its density (up to 250Kg/m3) protects against overheating


Blowerproof BBA certified liquid applied airtight membrane applied direct to blockwork prior to application of dot & dab plasterboard. An effective, simple and secure way to achieve passive levels of airtightness.

and its natural makeup alleviates concerns over synthetic ingredients, off gassing and poor indoor air quality. The flexible batts are popular for installation between studs and the dense rigid boards for carrying render or plaster either internally or externally on timber frames or direct to masonry or brick.

Calcium silicate boards; the elimination of mould and subsequent reduction in health issues has driven sales of SkamoWall Board. The calcium silicate board is part of a system which includes adhesive, primer and plaster that combine to create a buffer to manage moisture, improve insulation and eliminate mould.

Steico Special Dry used as a roof sarking board on a Sussex Passive standard build. Building by Kithurst Builders using naturally insulated passive panels and Steico I joist roof. Airtightness materials Blowerproof and Pro Clima.

Sustainability No carrot but no stick either! On the subject of what is mandated and what is not 2020 is ending with a familiar scenario of promised changes and little real regulatory progress. The government has finally published plans for a new version of Approved Document L (for energy efficiency), a new F (for ventilation), and confirmed a new regulatory standard for managing summer overheating is on the cards. This consultation phase is still in progress.

Skamowall Board calcium silicate board used to line a basement retrofit, Skamowlall board insulates and buffers moisture and prevents mould growth. System comprises Skamol fungicide (optional), adhesive and finishing plaster. The whole system is vapour open.

The board’s inert chemical structure renders it incapable of supporting mould growth. The improved insulation and breathability of the system allow ventilation to harmlessly remove moisture from the building. The plastered board acts as a vapour control layer whilst remaining breathable. The SkamoWall Board has been a favourite of landlords and owners of older buildings with solid walls where persistent problems often cause unwelcome maintenance costs and tenant complaints.

Education is a key specification tool The use of these products is exclusively a matter of personal choice so why are they so popular? There are several answers but largely this is to do with how educated the buyer is about building features that are desired but not mandatory within building regulations. For non-developer new build this demand is clear and growing, driven by a client who include improved building performance and occupant health within the brief. For retrofit one reason may be the limits on design imposed where a significant uplift in performance can be achieved through upgrading the building fabric where options such as orientation, outward changes to shape or ‘look’ and modifying the footprint are not possible so forcing a more open approach to problem-solving. The UK construction sector knows that there are widespread problems with

carbon, energy, moisture, ventilation and health in our housing stock. But they persist in partial and piecemeal solutions, apparently oblivious to the interactions between these problems and the need for a holistic approach. A change of attitude and major upskilling of the workforce, especially in refurbishment projects, is required to deliver effective solutions to the enormous backlog of remedial works required to deliver the healthy, comfortable and affordable homes that are essential if the UK is to meet its carbon targets.

Health matters Since lockdown in March increased awareness of the way our buildings actually perform has been consequence of many of us spending more time at home, we have experienced how our buildings perform at times we would usually be absent i.e. during the day when we would otherwise have been at work. Increased focus on our health has broadened the interest and understanding of how building design and fabric can have a direct effect on our wellbeing, at the least this is shown as a precautionary approach to avoid known producers of toxins such as VOC’s or formaldehyde (prompted by the lockdown boom in home decorating and refurbishment) or on insufficient insulation or ventilation; at best our focus has shifted to including building health and indoor air quality (not mandated through building regulations) as part of what we need to demand from our homes and workplaces.

These documents currently apply to new-build homes in England, but we can expect further publications to pick up on Welsh standards, non-domestic development and existing buildings. Notice that retrofit is still not a priority despite estimates that around 80% of the homes we will be occupying in 2050 already exist. The UK GBBC report ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition’ which was launched at the Houses of Parliament in April 2019 provides a framework on how to achieve net-zero carbon buildings in both construction and operation (in-use energy consumption), whilst beginning to provide direction for addressing whole life carbon in the industry. Again this projects well into the future with targets set for 2030 for new build but not until 2050 for existing buildings. The much-vaunted PAS2035 (linked to the requirement to implement PAS2030) launched last summer is still not a mandatory requirement except for certain types of funded retrofit project, this excellent standard is advised rather than imposed so, therefore, is unable to deliver the intended improvements to existing homes at scale for the moment. Mandatory inclusion of PAS 2035 is currently scheduled from July 2021 for ECO (Energy Company Obligation) projects only. We are yet to feel the full effects of the Hackitt review and to cap the year off nicely we still have an unresolved Brexit to muddy the waters and prolong inaction. If we are to ‘build back better’ the connection between buildings that are low in embodied carbon, low energy users, that manage moisture through material choice and design, are healthy and nontoxic to the occupants and



PH15 System build Steico I joist construction, Vapourblock airtight racking board, Steico rigid woodfibre sheating, blown insulation cellulose or woodfibre.

durable, can be summed up by a requirement to simply build healthier buildings an ambition that is sadly lacking from almost all the current providers.

The housing crisis has not gone away We still have a crisis within the housing sector to deal with and a lot of this is tied in with energy efficiency and energy use. The nature of the problem is neatly encapsulated by Richard Tibenham director of Greenlite Energy Assessors and associate lecturer of building physics at the University of Lincoln. Tibenham refers to The Committee on Climate Change report ‘UK Housing: Fit for the Future?’ which claims that emissions reductions from the UK’s 29m homes have stalled, while energy use in homes


increased between 2016 and 2017. It further claims that we will not meet our legally binding targets for emissions reduction under the Paris Agreement without near-complete decarbonisation of the housing stock by 2050. At present, there is no agreed solution to modify the built environment such that it can operate in a carbon-neutral fashion by 2050. The problem can be made substantially less dire, however, by not adding yet further energy demand at this critical time. So whether it is carbon reduction in building operation, energy generation, design or materials choice we are facing the absolute need to decarbonise the sector, and this will need to be backed by mandatory regulations.

New build can rapidly become a retrofit problem. Lord Deben Chair of the UK CCC sums this all up rather neatly saying “there are other influences on housing emissions. For example, there is the fact that the Government still have not raised the standards for new buildings. At the moment, we are building more trouble every year1” in essence poor standards for existing buildings just increases the size of the retrofit market. They condemn most of what we are building now to retrofitting in the future a frankly crazy notion when we are already faced with the challenge of upgrading the energy performance of the entire housing stock, it is nonsensical to be continuously making the problem worse by allowing new homes to be built that will also need to be


Beltane Drive Wimbledon: Architect Tim Gledstone Construction PH15 System from Passivhaus Homes Ltd. Energy/Carbon Target: Passivhaus PLUS or net zero operational carbon. PH15: Delivering best energy performance using low embodied, healthy, building materials. Materials Steico wood fibre insulation Steico I Joists, Unilin Vapourblock airtight racking board, Pro Clima airtight tapes.

retrofitted, which begs the question why not build better now especially if this is straightforward to achieve. This situation is made worse by the various ways in which the law allows buildings to be built to historic standards2 astoundingly Government data shows that 62 per cent of homes that Persimmon built in 2018 were to standards that pre-date the 2013 Building Regulations, as were 52 per cent of Taylor Wimpey’s and 47 per cent of Barratt’s. They are not alone as government data shows that 12 per cent of the new homes built in 2018 were rated EPC C, whilst 7 per cent were rated D or below3. So little remains in terms of positive regulatory drivers for the present. One option is to elect to use a voluntary standard such as The Passivhaus Institute developed ‘EnerPHit Certificate’ (a quality-approved energy retrofit with Passivhaus components). This certificate sets a slightly different standard requirement to the full Passivhaus standard. Each home and building is unique and poses specific problems and solutions to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and ultimately achieve greater energy security.

However, EnerPHit does not directly address the issues of moisture and occupant health although it could be argued that they are mitigated by improved fabric and performance. In retrofit, in particular, there does need to be sympathy between the existing structure and the intended use, ensuring that the building functions without the likelihood of creating unforeseen problems that may later degrade the fabric. This requires a holistic approach and the use of a range of materials

and resolutions to create a long-lasting energy efficient healthy building. The use of non-standard materials like the ones highlighted by Ecomerchant does indicate to us that this process is underway and that there are many who will not wait for legislation to catch up. In fact they may well reap extra benefits in the future when others are faced with costly upgrades simply to bring buildings into compliance.

For more information please contact Ecomerchant: Web: www.ecomerchant.co.uk email: info@ecomerchant.co.uk Tel: 01793 847 444.

1 Lord Deben, Chairman, Committee on Climate Change Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Oral evidence: Energy Efficiency, HC 1730 Tuesday 26 March 2019 2 See notes 131-4 Select Committee BEIS Energy efficiency and net zero 12th July 2019 https:// publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmbeis/1730/173009.htm#footnote-047 3 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Live tables on Energy Performance of Buildings Certificates (2018)


Dove House Residential Care Home adds a platform lift Dove House occupies an 17th Century, historic property in the centre of the Market Town of Ashbourne. uilt as the Dower House for the Boothby Family who also owned the nearby, Ashbourne Hall, it has been extended over the years as a private residence, then private school until it was converted to a Care Home in the 1980’s. It provides care for up to 20 residents in 16 single and 2 shared rooms over three levels.


Director, Dr. Richard Shepherd, recently contacted Invalifts about the possibility of installing a platform lift to replace the 1980’s shaft lift, which had become unreliable. After an initial site survey, Invalifts recommended and installed their compact platform lift, with a custom footprint of 1180mm x 1530mm optimising the available space. The unit was installed in the existing shaft with fully glazed doors to maximise light into the area. In order to comply with EN81-41, all enclosed lifting platforms require a means of two-way emergency communication, so an intercom was implemented, in case of emergency. The residents and staff were thrilled with the installation. Dr. Shepherd said; “Thank you for the successful completion of the installation. The two guys who did the work were professional, courteous and worked closely with us to minimise the risks of having visitors to the Home. The lift is excellent, everything as we expected and we are impressed that it was delivered on time, installed in two days and we had a really good handover.” If you would like to know more about the our platform lifts or other access solutions, please contact the Invalifts team on 0845 468 2543 or alternatively, email sales@invalifts.com


Platform Lifts Our range of platform lifts includes the Commercial Platform Lift (right) - a premium quality enclosed platform lift with a customisable finish, and the option of glazing on 3 sides. Designed for offices, schools and public buildings with small footprints available, this is a premier platform lift. We also offer stair platform lifts and a range of platform lifts for both internal and external use.

The Platform Lift Experts

Tel: 0845 4682543 Web: www.invalifts.com



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Rinnai UK Main Office: 9 Christleton Court, Manor Park, Runcorn WA7 1ST London Office: 5th Floor Hyde Park Hayes 3, 11 Millington Road, Hayes UB3 4AZ

Rinnai is a global leader in gas appliance manufacturing, striving for reliable and consistent quality. Rinnai specialise in the development of Commercial and Multi-point water heaters.


Leaders in the electric heating and hot water industry for 15 years. Electric Heating Company Unit 40 Block 5, Third Road Blantyre Industrial Estate Blantyre Glasgow G72 0UP


With more than 30 years of experience, selling to more than 120 countries around the world, Panasonic is unquestionably one of the leaders in the heating and cooling sector. SAiGE Longlife Decking Ltd Vicarage Barns, Lower Quinton, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, CV37 8SG