Local Authority Building & Maintenance September 19

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SPECIAL REPORT Liberty talks to LABM about how adopting a systems thinking approach can transform property services, adding greater value for LAs, HAs and their customers.



September 2019 Vol.35 No.7

REGULARS 5 COMMENT Housing Lifeline 6 NEWS 20-year housing investment plans — £1bn London regeneration project — National Housing Summit 2019 — 100 years of council housing 10 INDUSTRY COMMENT Matthew Warburton, Policy Advisor at the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) 12 IN THE SPOTLIGHT LABM finds out Danfoss’s pioneering work with heating and hot water controls 14 LEGAL UPDATE Winckworth Sherwood considers the Home Building Fund for new development SPECIAL REPORT 17 Think differently Systems thinking approach to property services 59 GUEST COMMENT Cheryl Hiles, Energy and Environment Sector Director at Pell Frischmann

HOUSING & REGENERATION 20 Transformational regeneration A look at Urban Union’s large-scale regeneration projects in Scotland 23 Offsite Benefits The advantages of specifying building products manufactured using offsite techniques

Urban Union was formed to help meet Scotland’s growing demand for affordable housing of the highest quality

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HEATING & VENTILATION 36 House Warming Grade II Upton House in Poole gets a heating upgrade

46 Understanding Smoke Risk Full-scale room testing to assess how wall insulation performs in a typical room fire

38 Take Control New heating controls to boost the performance of Monmouthshire Housing Association’s properties in south Wales

49 Torch Safe, Not Sorry The NFRC’s Safe2Torch campaign 52 The Power of the Web The advantages of using metal web joists on housing projects

40 Keeping Comfy The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence’s publication ’Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality’

55 Fire up Your Knowledge The need for greater understanding of flame-retardant treatments for external timber surfaces on buildings

42 Hybrid Renewable Solutions Installing bespoke hybrid renewable heating solutions in council properties


44 Clean up Job Advice on resolving issues caused by poor heating system circulating water quality in high-rise properties 45 ROUND-UP

26 Modular Construction Delivering new homes at scale through offsite construction 28 Training Drills Bringing vacant sheltered accommodation back into use for fire safety trials 31 Work Hub Transform housing repairs and gas servicing across 28,000 properties 35 ROUND-UP

Listed building heating replacement

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Flame-retardant treatments for timber


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Housing lifeline “A hundred years ago, if you worked hard, you could expect a decent home to live in, with pride and dignity. Things have got to change, we must build for those without a stable, affordable and secure home.” These are the words of architect, television presenter and Shelter Ambassador George Clarke, speaking passionately about council housing in his television programme — George Clarke’s Council House Scandal — which aired on Channel 4 in July. In the programme George talked to a stallholder from Redbridge, whose family had become homeless after their two eldest children left home — they lost benefits, fell into rent arrears and were evicted. Since becoming homeless the family have lived in temporary accommodation. They have sofa surfed, slept in a car in a supermarket car park and endured a cockroach-infested, rat and mice riddled hotel, of which Mark said: “I wouldn’t let a pet stay there, that’s how bad it was.” The lack of a place to call their own and severe dislocation has unsurprisingly taken its toll on the family’s wellbeing. In the programme Mark commented: “It was very tough because the children started exhibiting mental health problems, they had depression, suicidal thoughts.” In a statement for the programme Redbridge Council said: ‘Residents are suffering a housing crisis that was made in Westminster. This is compounded by spiralling private sector rents and historic under-investment in affordable housing. The council is stepping up with the largest council housing programme in decades, including 600 genuinely affordable council homes by 2022.’ George also spoke to Harlow Council Leader Mark Ingall. In Harlow there are 12 permitted developments. Standing outside one of the buildings where office space has been converted into residential units, Mark Ingall said: “There is a council housing crisis but a conversion like this isn’t the answer to it. At the end of the last war this country was bankrupt and yet we managed to build thousands and thousands of council homes. There is absolutely no reason why the Government today can’t provide proper houses.” 2019 marks a hundred years since the Addison Act was introduced and the first council homes

With the recent ministerial “changes ushering in the sixth new Housing Secretary in a decade and Brexit still rumbling on, it is vital housing doesn’t slip down the Government’s agenda.

came into being. George believes we need: “a long-term plan, a 21st Century council estate, better than anything we’ve ever built before.” As part of his new campaign George wants government to build 100,000 council homes a year and review Right to Buy. Georgge intends to build a low carbon council housing estate using the latest modular construction methods, which he says will be “designed so beautifully they help reduce the stigma associated with social housing across Britain.” Manchester City Council has already offered George a derelict piece of land on which to realise his vision. With the recent ministerial changes ushering in the sixth new Housing Secretary in a decade and Brexit still rumbling on, it is vital housing doesn’t slip down the Government’s agenda. We need more vocal proponents of council housing like George Clarke to come to the fore. Council housing offers a genuine lifeline for so many people, particularly the vulnerable. The work councils do to support residents involves so much more than putting a roof over someone’s head, encompassing employment, financial and wellbeing services too. This is why social housing is so important. Government must recognise this and provide significantly greater investment to help councils deliver the good quality council housing so desperately needed. For more on George Clarke’s campaign visit www.channel4.com/councilhouse #councilhouse100. LABMONLINE.CO.U K





COVER STORY: Wates Residential held a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the start of work on its West Street development in Erith. Image shows Glen Roberts, Operations Director for Wates Residential; Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley; and Caroline Field, Head of Regeneration for Orbit. Photo credit: Diane Auckland/Fotohaus.


SPECIAL REPORT Liberty talks to LABM about how adopting a systems thinking approach can adding greater value transform property services, for LAs, HAs and their customers.


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Housing investment contracts

£1bn London regeneration project

Clarion Housing Group signs contracts to deliver 20 years of investment in our homes.

Demolition has begun on one of London’s biggest housing regeneration projects, marking a significant step forward for the £1bn scheme. The project will deliver around 5,200 high quality homes over the next 12 to 15 years, doubling the amount of council rented accommodation and more than doubling the number of affordable homes. The Napier and New Plymouth House site in Rainham is the first of 12 to be regenerated as part of the joint venture partnership between Havering Council and Wates Residential.

Waterfront Plaza development

Work is set to start on urgently needed affordable homes in a prime Leith location thanks to the efforts of three locally based organisations. The 82 apartment homes, located at the prominent CALA Homes (East) Waterfront Plaza development, will be delivered in addition to 15 homes for discounted ‘Golden Share’ sale, 291 further private homes and 1,500sq.m of flexible workspace units. CALA Homes (East) in partnership with Hart Builders (part of Cruden Group) will construct the affordable homes. Comprising four three-bedroom, 58 two-bedroom and 20 one-bedroom properties, the homes will be handed over to Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA) with the first tenants moving in by May 2021. Half (41) of the affordable apartment homes will become social housing with the other half allocated for mid-market rent.





Clarion Housing Group has selected three preferred bidders to each deliver a 20-year planned investment contract. Engie, Wates and United Living have been selected following a competitive tender process. Combined, the three contracts will be worth £1.17bn and they will cover 67,000 properties. The investment programme will see Clarion residents benefit from kitchen and bathroom refurbishments, external decoration, boiler replacements and heating system upgrades, electrical testing and re-wiring and renewals of roofs and lifts. Clarion’s Strategic Procurement Board, including resident representatives from its Property Engagement Group, jointly took the decision to procure long-term contracts for this work to strengthen the Group’s partnerships with contractors and maximise benefits for residents and their communities. Peter Nourse, Director of Assets at Clarion Housing Group, says: “Each year we invest significantly in maintaining and improving our existing homes. We are really pleased to announce the selection of three preferred bidders to carry out this vital work over a 20-year period. Longerterm contracts provide security to both ourselves and our partners, to realise the benefits of collaboration and investment at scale. All three preferred bidders share Clarion’s commitment to quality and social value and our residents and their communities will be the beneficiaries.”

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Simon Lacey, Regional Managing Director for ENGIE’s Places & Communities division, comments: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Clarion — particularly for a project like this — as we are passionate about providing sustainable and safe homes, which will enhance lives. Long-term investment is a model we not only support but encourage; as our unique combination of placemaking capabilities — including energy, services and regeneration — can help to deliver homes, buildings and communities that people are proud of and will stand the test of time.” David Morgan, Managing Director of Wates Living Space, adds: “The duration of this partnership presents us with an invaluable opportunity to ensure that customers and their communities receive an unwavering continuity of service. We will work with Clarion to continually improve their homes, ensuring that we maintain and build upon the high standards of service on which we pride our business.” Daren Moseley, Managing Director of United Living (South) Refurbishment, says: “United Living is extremely proud and excited to have secured this long-term arrangement with Clarion, founded very much by our commitment to considerable social value and community investment, evidenced by a proven track record in the delivery of quality outputs and positive customer satisfaction.”

Housing association beats RTB


A County Durham housing association has overturned the loss of affordable homes through ‘Right to Buy’ for the first time since the 1980s.

National Housing Summit 2019

Thousands of much-needed affordable homes have been lost to future tenants through the controversial scheme since it was introduced by the Government in 1980. But an innovative construction programme by believe housing has bucked this trend in the majority of County Durham for the first time. believe housing is now on course to complete more than 125 new affordable homes in the 2019-20 financial year, with Right to Buy sales running at just under that level. Work already committed for the 2020-21 financial year should see believe housing’s new-build programme comfortably outstrip Right to Buy sales, with further growth in the pipeline. The change in fortunes for affordable housing in the area is the result of a £70m investment by believe housing in constructing new properties. The programme, unlike many others, has been designed to focus on smaller sites where shorter turnaround times can be achieved. A mix of family homes and wheelchair adaptable bungalows are being built, with work on nine sites currently underway. The approach also has the benefit of creating new homes in a wider range of communities. Chief Executive of believe housing, Bill Fullen (pictured at a completed housing development in Crook), said: “For nearly 40 years housing organisations have been grappling with the aftermath of Right to Buy,

with a reduction in the number of homes we can provide to those who need them most. But now, for the first time, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and begin to really tackle the housing crisis. “This turnaround to building more affordable homes than are being lost is a really important crossroad for housing in County Durham. It’s taken many years of hard work to get here, but it’s work that will mean that scores more families in communities across the area will have access to an affordable and secure home. “Our construction programme is different from most in that we haven’t only been interested in the raw numbers; we’ve been working with local communities to help decide what is best for the long-term. That’s why we’ve chosen to build on so many smaller sites and develop our work organically, which is really paying off. It’s the kind of approach that only a not-forprofit housing association can take.”

The Summit will be taking place on the 25th and 26th September at the Barbican in London. On day one delegates will get to hear from Together with Tenants early adopters about their progress so far, and find out how this new approach is helping build a stronger relationship between tenants, residents and their landlords. Healthy New Towns will also be up for discussion. Housing associations will get guidance on how to apply the principles of healthy city design to new sites and regeneration projects. International perspective will be provided Solveig Råberg Tingey, Chief Economist, BL – The Danish Social Housing Sector, who will discuss tackling segregation in housing, the Danish way. Day two opens with the debate: Housing — the pancea for political deadlock? ‘In an increasingly fragmented and divided nation, is solving the housing crisis the vehicle for increased cross-party collaboration, helping to reestablish the political centre-ground and find long-term, sustainable solutions to society’s problems?’ Join the debate to find out. There will also be sessions on aligning infrastructure and housing, and delegates will get to hear how a range of companies have come together to offer a new way of supporting homeless people. Whilst in Building Better’s session advice will be offered on how we can adopt MMC at scale. To find out more about the event visit summit.housing.org.uk.

NEWS Celebrating council housing


Rotherham Council leaders have unveiled a plaque to commemorate the first ever council home in the borough.

Ashford Garden Village initiative

The plaque has been installed on number one First Avenue in East Dene, which still remains the property of the council 100 years since it was built. It was the first of a swathe of new homes to be built by the then local authority when council housing began a century ago. The plaque was unveiled by Cllr Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Housing at Rotherham Council who has also put forward a motion to Council to reaffirm commitment to the provision of social housing for the next century. Cllr Dominic Beck (pictured) said: “This plaque celebrates a century of council housing and also our on-going commitment to building council housing for generations to come. “Council housing is just as important now as it was 100 years ago, if not more

so, and we know we have over 6,500 people on our waiting list. We are working hard to provide more options for people and to continue to maintain quality housing for our existing and new tenants.” The Council is committed to increasing the range of housing options available to people wanting to live in and across the borough. The first tranche of the Council’s shared ownership scheme, called ‘The Bellows’, launched recently at Bellows Road, Rawmarsh. Both events celebrate the past and the future as the authority embarks on the biggest council housing delivery programme for more than a generation under its Rother Living brand, inspired by Rotherham’s rich history of industry. The programme will deliver 253 homes for council rent or shared ownership.

A cluster of major developments in Ashford, Kent, have been included in a national government housing building initiative and allocated £150,000 funding to support their delivery. The Government has announced that 19 new garden villages will be built across England. The South of Ashford Garden Community will provide 7,250 homes for the scheme. The community includes the Chilmington, Court Lodge and Kingsnorth Green developments, and will receive a share of the £3m fund to help with the next stage of their development. Construction at Chilmington is underway while sites at Court Lodge and Kingsnorth Green are allocated for development in the Local Plan to 2030. The creation of well-planned and designed, locally led garden communities makes a critical contribution to the Government's ambitions both to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, and to provide a stable pipeline of homes for the future. These places are designed to become vibrant new communities where people can live and work, and to create a legacy that will be enjoyed and valued by future generations.



Will Boris back council housing? Matthew Warburton, Policy Advisor at the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH), considers the impact of the recent ministerial changes and the potential of a no deal Brexit on the affordable and social housing agenda. n 2nd July ARCH and the National Federation of ALMOs held a very successful Parliamentary reception to celebrate 100 years of council housing, or more precisely, 100 years since the Addison Act, which launched the first national council housebuilding programme, became law. Both the then Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, and his Labour opposite number, John Healey, spoke about the need to invest in a new generation of council housing, returning to the spirit of Addison’s pioneering initiative. In a rare — these days — outbreak of cross-party agreement, John Healey congratulated Kit Malthouse on the steps he had taken towards making this possible, and hoped that he would not be shuffled to another post when the new Prime Minister took over. Of course, this was not to be, and we now have a new Secretary of State and a new Housing Minister who, up to the time of writing, have had little to say about anything, least of all council housing. The week before the ARCH reception, delegates at the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference in Manchester received a surprise address from outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who also emphasised the importance of investment in housing for social rent and council housing in particular. Her speech was empty of significant new policy


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announcements, although she did say that the Government’s response to consultation on the Social Housing Green Paper would be published in September. It was widely interpreted as an attempt to firm up her legacy and make it more difficult for her successor to take a radically different direction. Any other successor, maybe, but with Boris Johnson there must be some anxiety it will have the opposite effect. Certainly, the spending pledges he has already made in his first few days in office have not included social housing. More worryingly, the only references to housing made by any member of the new Government have emphasized the need to build more homes, but made no reference at all to the need for any of them to be affordable.

Brexit impact The new Government has not acknowledged the likely housing implications of its commitment to leave the EU on 31st October with or without a deal, but a no-deal Brexit is predicted to have a serious impact on the housing market. At the start of the year, the Bank of England suggested that house prices could fall by as much as 30% in the event of a ‘disorderly’ Brexit. In July, the OBR forecast a less dramatic fall of 10%, but this would nevertheless have a big effect on housing investment.

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…the only references to “housing made by any member of the new Government have emphasized the need to build more homes, but made no reference at all to the need for any of them to be affordable.

Yes, those lucky enough to have the funds to buy could find themselves paying less, but developers would be likely to just stop building new homes they did not expect to sell at a profit. There would be a knock-on effect on affordable housing funded through section 106 and similar agreements, which rely on a share in the profits a developer would otherwise have made on a site. The most charitable interpretation of the Government’s silence so far on housing is that Ministers are still trying to work through the implications of their Brexit policy and find ways to counter its impact.

■ www.arch-housing.org.uk

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DANFOSS LABM visits Danfoss’ Silkeborg and Nordborg facilities in Denmark to find out about the company’s origins in bellows technology and how its products are helping to transform the energy performance of buildings.

The PFA and Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation constructed the Hotel Alsik in Sønderborg, (the tall building on the far left)

The Danfoss facility in Silkeborg

Full of energy anfoss began life as Dansk Køleautomatik og Apparatfabrik in 1933, the brainchild of Mads Clausen. Mads’ parents owned and worked a farm in Elsmark in the Nordborg municipality of Denmark. As the second son, his destiny was not to takeover the family farm when his parents retired, but to ply an alternative trade. Fortunately for Mads, he naturally inclined more towards engineering and in 1929 got a job with Brdr. Gram, a Danish company that produced cutting-edge refrigerators. It was this job that was to inspire Mads to set up on his own producing thermostatic valves, initially operating out of his old bedroom at his parent’s farmhouse in Nordborg whilst the business found its feet. Jørgen M. Clausen, Mads’ son and current Chairman of Danfoss’ Board of Directors recalls: “Brdr. Gram got their valves from the USA from five different manufacturers, one of which was Sporlan, which is still in business today. My father took the valves home with him after work and dissembled them in the evening. He dreamt of making his own valve with the


The first TRVS created by Danfoss

best from each of the others. Together with friends in Sønderborg, they had the different parts produced and assembled so they could send a sample to refrigerator manufacturer, Atlas, in Copenhagen. My father invited Hans Gram to establish a partnership with him, but nothing came of this. So he began by himself, and this was the beginning of the long journey towards Danfoss’ bellow production.” The first of Dansk Køleautomatik og Apparatfabrik’s innovations included water valves, thermostats, pressure switches and filter driers. Mad’s quest to produce bellows began in the 1930s, however it was the 1950s before his dream of manufacturing bellows at scale would become a reality. According to a book produced by Danfoss to mark the history of the bellow: ‘In 1942, having accumulated the required knowledge, they were ready to begin their own bellows production on the very same day that England bombed the German factory [one of the three major producers in Europe], which had been supplying

The TS710 Timer control

bellows up to that point. This breakthrough lent a helping hand to all Scanindavian refrigeration companies, making it possible for them to keep production running until the end of the war. ‘But, it proved difficult to extrude the tubes to become sufficiently thin, and to shape the convolutions without the risk of the tubes breaking. The outcome of the hunt for the perfect method, which began in the 1930s, did not emerge until 1958 when the mass production of bellows began.’ The product is still in use today and apart from a few refinements, is largely unchanged.

Engineering Tomorrow In 1939 Danfoss employed 26 people, now the company employs well in excess of 30,000 people, has two facilities in Denmark (in Silkeborg and Nordborg), as well 27 factories in 11 countries across the world and is a multi-national global concern. The company’s tagline is ‘Engineering Tomorrow’, an ethos that reflects the company’s origins and founder Mad’s pioneering spirit. Denmark fully embraces sustainability — 64% of all buildings in the country are heated by district heating. Many people might be surprised to know that

Company Fact File Company name: Product area(s):

The Universe Science Park in Nordborg founded by Jørgen and Anette Clausen

Denmark imports significant amounts of waste from countries like the UK to incinerate and use as heat to power plants. Danfoss is at the forefront of technology to improve how buildings consume and use energy. Identifying and taking into consideration global trends such as digitalisation, urbanisation and climate change, Danfoss invests 4% of its annual sales into research and development. By 2030 the company aims to reduce its energy intensity by 50% compared to 2007 figures. Since 2007 the company has cut its energy consumption by 43% and reduced CO2 emissions by 27%. In 2005 Jørgen Clausen and his wife Anette realised one of their dreams by founding The Universe Science Park, a theme park designed to inspire and encourage children and young people to take an interest in science and technology. The park occupies the site of Mads Clausen’s parents’ farm, which still stands today and remains largely unchanged to how it was when Mads lived in the property — in terms of decoration, furniture and period features — except for a few modern additions which help visually tell the story of Danfoss. "The first prototype of the world's first radiator thermostat was tested in my father's office. It was the birth of the world's first thermostatic valve for controlling the temperature in a room. The actual marketing began in 1952, when the radiator thermostat was launched as a device that saves money and makes centrally heated rooms more comfortable, and from there on it just took off" recounts Jørgen Mads Clausen, Chairman of the Board at Danfoss. That radiator thermostat turned 75 this year. The latest incarnation is the intelligent Danfoss Eco — which has

Company size: Head Office address: Contact number: Email: Website: Twitter: Company Ethos:

Mission Statement:

Danfoss Ltd Residenial Buildings (TRVs, ERCs, Motorised Valves, Floor Heating Controls and Electric Heating Mats), Commercial Buildings (Hydronic Balancing & Pressure Controls, Electric heating solutions), District Energy (Energy Meters, Sub-Stations, Heat Exchangers, Control Valves) 300 Capswood, Oxford Road, Denham, Bucks, UB9 4LH 01895 61700 ukheating@danfoss.com https://danfoss.com/en-gb @Danfoss_UK Engineering Tomorrow. We have a history of engineering solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible. And our legacy is one of rising to increasingly complex challenges, delivering exceptional results, and meeting the needs of our customers. Leading the way to sustainable transformation. We’re meeting many of the world’s climate, urbanisation and food challenges with proven reliable solutions — and we’re just getting started. Driven by the power of an electrified society, and fuelled by the opportunities of going digital, Danfoss is dedicated to engineering solutions that can unleash the potential of tomorrow.

already won prestigious Ret Dot and Danish Design Awards. According to a report from the European Building Automation Controls Association, in Europe there over 500 million radiators with manual and unregulated valves. If radiator thermostats were installed on all of them, two billion Euros and 130TWh of energy could be saved every year, reducing Europe’s annual CO2 emissions by 29 billion tonnes.

Intelligent technology In 2019 Danfoss took the decision to streamline its high efficiency range of Time controls for domestic heating and hot water systems to provide a simpler choice for contractors, without compromising on end-user benefits. The TS710 and FP720 for example, which replace all existing Danfoss timers, are easy to programme for either 24hr, weekday/weekend (5/2) or seven-day periods. They feature an intuitive user interface, with simple controls and a large backlit display. In addition, the Timers incorporate a service interval timer, which can be activated by the installer as a gas safety feature for social landlords. The company has also released a new look TP5001 programmable room

thermostat, which replaces existing TP7000 and TP9000 models. In accordance with Boiler Plus regulations, the microprocessorbased programmable room thermostat includes on/off load compensation control for increased comfort and improved economy over standard On/Off control, although this can be selected if required.

Installer hub The latest innovation from Danfoss is the Installer Hub, which goes live in September. This new online resource is designed to make choosing and fitting one of the company’s domestic heating controls as straight forward as possible for heating contractors. As well as offering a comprehensive online product resource and a repository of useful information, there are plans to include a forum facility in the future. The site can be accessed at https://installer.danfoss.co.uk/. Gareth Ash, Danfoss Marketing and Technical Support Manager, describes the site as an “online encyclopaedia of all things Danfoss,” saying: “With just a few clicks, contractors can find the latest product data sheets, online training and links to our helpful ‘How To’ videos on YouTube.”


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Patricia Umunna is a Partner in the Housing Finance team at Winckworth Sherwood. ■ Patricia can be reached by email: pumunna@wslaw.co.uk. Visit www.wslaw.co.uk. n the 2017 budget Philip Hammond increased the funding available for the Home Building Fund from £3bn to £4.5bn to support the building of new homes. The fund provides finance for loans, which are made available by Homes England to private sector entities provided they meet certain core eligibility criteria. The GLA also receives funding from the Government for housing, which is administered by City Hall and is also made available to private sector entities through loans. The HE loans are made available usually for a five-year term for development finance. Interest is normally at a variable rate. Usually sales income can be recycled and Homes England will consider allowing other external funding into the borrower subject to Homes England having priority in terms of repayment and ranking of security. Financial covenants are normally light and often just include a loan to cost and a loan to development value. The GLA loan documentation is very similar to the Homes England documentation but both are quite different to the Loan Market Association (LMA) form of loan agreement, which is used by most



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Funding pot Winckworth Sherwood’s Patricia Umunna considers the Home Building Fund for new development. banks and neither follow the LMA format. It is a standard form of document and assumes a simple funding structure for a single development with related covenants and terms. Homes England and GLA have both shown willingness to fund unusual developments and become involved in complex funding structures but their standard form documents do need to be heavily adapted to accommodate anything more bespoke.

Compliance conditions Another difference to the usual bank form of loan agreement is that the Homes England and GLA agreements contain additional standard terms and compliance conditions, which are governmental requirements. Like most banking loan agreements, a Homes England/GLA loan agreement will include specific clauses relating to anti-money laundering, Counter Terrorist Financing, Know Your Customer, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption. In addition, there will be extensive clauses not usually in banking loan agreements, relating to public relations, publicity, confidentiality, freedom of information (as it applies to a government body), data protection, intellectual property and state aid. Usually a Homes England/GLA funding agreement must be signed and completed by 31st March of each year because of government budget requirements. This does mean that completion is time critical and because of government signing protocols it is usually necessary for the documentation to have been completed and ready for execution two or three weeks prior to 31 March. st

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Homes England and GLA “have both shown willingness to fund unusual developments and become involved in complex funding structures but their standard form documents do need to be heavily adapted to accommodate anything more bespoke.

GLA funding documentation, although very similar to the Homes England documentation, does also contain covenants, which are GLA/London specific. These are further requirements such as compliance with the London Plan, ensuring that employees working on the development are paid the London Living Wage, and compliance with other GLA regulations and guidance. In addition GLA interest is usually at a fixed rate. Although these funding documents can be seen as onerous and covenant heavy when compared with a usual bank style loan agreement the financial covenants are often much lighter and usually just based on loan to value ratios. Another advantage is that as the Homes England/GLA interests are more aligned with the borrower (ie to build more houses) than would be the case with a bank, Homes England or GLA can have a more flexible approach when any amendments or consents are required during the period of the loan.


Transparency and trust is crucial to systems thinking

Think differently Thinking radically differently to transform property services. Ray Jones discusses how systems thinking can add greater value for both clients and customers. cross the property services industry there are exciting opportunities to rethink traditional ways of working and bring fresh ideas to the sector. The need to boost efficiency continues to be a challenge for contractors, as clients are looking to the industry to demonstrate how it can continually add value. At Liberty, we believe added value is not just about driving down cost – it’s about rethinking the way we work and building partnerships to make sure that investments and resources are targeted where they are


needed most. Our commitment as a contractor working across all areas of property services, including gas servicing, mechanical and electrical and repairs and maintenance, is always to work in a way that is smart and straightforward. Our approach is to do the correct work for the customer at the right time — every time.

Increased effectiveness Systems thinking, using the Vanguard Method, focuses on economising how we work to remove unnecessary processes and increase the effectiveness of our

service to deliver better outcomes for customers and clients. We continuously check how we do things and gain a greater insight into our business by taking an ‘outward-in’ approach to view services from the customer’s point of view. We listen to colleagues to understand what is working and what isn’t and empower them to make the right decisions for the customer. Liberty’s experience so far has demonstrated that this approach makes sense if all parties have the trust, openness, time and commitment to a different approach. In partnership with clients, Liberty is successfully using systems thinking, and hybrids of, to deliver contracts more effectively.

Systems thinking in practice Working with Portsmouth City Council, Liberty is responsible for the gas boiler installation, servicing and maintenance of approximately 15,000 homes. Using a systems thinking approach, we worked in partnership with the council to map out their processes for every job. We talked to employees, customers, suppliers and shadowed jobs from when they were called through to the council, to completion. This allowed us to identify any areas in our processes that were wasteful and didn’t add value. Right from the outset of the contract, we were able to develop a new way of working that was specifically


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...we adopted a multi-skilled approach that allowed a “single gas engineer visiting the property to carry out installations, repairs and servicing which would have

previously required involvement from three specialists.

customers, we have changed the way we book our annual gas checks to ensure we are using the method of contact that best suits them. In doing this, we found that 75% of all services could be completed within five days from first contact by calling customers to allow them to choose the time that is most convenient to them. In Portsmouth, this alone allowed us to reduce the no access rate from 33% to just 8%, and allowed Portsmouth City Council to move from a 10 month servicing cycle, to a genuine 12 month cycle, effectively saving Portsmouth City Council a whole years’ servicing budget over the term of the contract.

built around the needs of customers. For example, a major part of the waste was engineers leaving customers’ homes to get parts or to book replacement part jobs in for another day. We recognised this was a crucial area to introduce change to meet our ambition of completing the right work every time and delivering more in each visit. We implemented a new system that has two key changes: Firstly, we adopted a multi-skilled approach that allowed a single gas engineer visiting the property to carry out installations, repairs and servicing that previously would have required involvement from three specialists. Secondly, arrangements were made for delivery drivers to transport the parts needed to our engineers if they were not available from their van stock. These two interventions allowed engineers to complete more work in one visit, saving time, minimising disruption and most importantly, significantly improving customer satisfaction.

Open and transparent relationships A key asset is helping to build better partnerships with clients, suppliers and contractors by working together to understand every element of the customer journey. This builds trust and develops stronger relationships that respect the value that all parties bring. Transparency and trust is crucial to systems thinking and can be improved through the wider adoption of open book accounting. This gives clients full visibility of commercial information and supports a partnership

Smart and straightforward The changes the systems thinking approach has helped us to identify are simple, smart and highly effective. For example, by talking and listening to

Liberty is responsible for the gas boiler installation, servicing and maintenance of approximately 15,000 of Portsmouth City Council’s homes

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approach, which has sadly deteriorated within the sector in the recent past. With Portsmouth, Liberty has taken this approach to share the benefits of cost savings made through systems thinking interventions. This has allowed Liberty to deliver works outside of the scope of the original contract, paid for fully by the cost savings made elsewhere. This open and transparent relationship has also saved Portsmouth City Council significant procurement costs when they chose to extend the contract to its 10-year term and they have also been able to reduce costs associated with administration required for service booking to zero as this is now handled by Liberty. The partnership approach has developed an apprenticeship programme, which has been operating for more than eight years. As a result of this programme 50% of the engineers now working on the contract are ex-apprentices. With big changes on the way for our industry, we need to be ready and agile in our responses. I believe that systems thinking is one way that we can enable the sector to achieve this. This is an exciting time for property services to be dynamic, responsive and to transform traditional ways of thinking to deliver long-term value and benefits for clients and their customers.

Ray Jones is Group Managing Director at property services company Liberty ■ To find out more about Liberty’s services visit www.rdr.link/lh001

It is important to understand every part of the customer journey


Transformational regeneration

Laurieston development in Glasgow

Urban Union was formed to help meet Scotland’s growing demand for high quality affordable housing. A partnership between McTaggart Construction and Robertson Group, the organisation works with local councils and housing associations to deliver large-scale regeneration projects across Scotland, as Neil McKay tells LABM.


n 2012 Urban Union began to work on the delivery of a £140m revitalisation of Laurieston in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. The project, which will deliver a total of four phases of housing over a nine-year period, will include over 1,000 mixed-tenure homes, community facilities, open space and recreation areas. To ensure the successful delivery of this ambitious regeneration project, we employed a partnership approach, working closely with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, New Gorbals Housing Association and Glasgow Housing Association. This collaborative approach facilitates the exchange of knowledge and skills between industry leaders, which has helped ensure the success of the project thus far. Over the years, many parts of Glasgow have undergone rejuvenation. As the Gorbals has previously had a reputation for deprivation and poor housing, Laurieston was identified as a key Transformational Regeneration Area. The development work to date has helped to transform the community and reconnect it with surrounding neighbourhoods —

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changing perceptions and ultimately improving the lives of local residents. During the 1960s and 1970s, many residents of the demolished tenements in the Gorbals area were rehomed in highrises. This negatively impacted community living and resulted in an increase of antisocial behaviour, tainting the social fabric of Laurieston. Our ongoing development at Laurieston aims to knit this part of the city to surrounding areas by integrating communities. In undertaking this task the objective was clear: transform perceptions by regenerating Laurieston, while providing a full range of high quality affordable homes. To meet this objective, we took on a clear design approach shaped by a comprehensive understanding of the financial, cultural, social and environmental factors of delivering the project. Laurieston is more than just regeneration of bricks and mortar; it is the regeneration of a community with a team that is committed to ensuring a coherent, sustainable approach focused on long-term projects that support growth and community living. From the outset of the development, local representatives were chosen to

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contribute to the overall masterplan. Urban Union has continuously consulted this group, with a public consultation on the final masterplan held locally and received very positively.

Quality housing Breathing new life into the community with a range of high-quality, affordable homes, we have provided a range of property choices suitable for the entire community, house types include a mix of terraced homes, townhouses and apartments so there is something to suit every budget. The properties have been developed to evoke the traditional character and grid pattern of Glasgow tenement districts. Clever use of communal spaces encourage community living and prevent anti-social behaviour. High industry standards were a key part of the design commitment, with all new homes on the development achieving an ‘EcoHomes’ rating of ‘Very Good’, meeting with ‘Secured by Design’ criteria. To ensure the development’s seamless integration into the area, the homes at the development have been built close to existing infrastructure,

giving residents easy access to great local schools as well as amenities and bars, cafes, shops and restaurants.

A bright future The Coliseum site will complement existing redevelopment of Laurieston

Long-term benefits As well as providing high quality homes and a holistic approach to regeneration, at Urban Union we strive to deliver more than just housing. We are committed to the developments we operate and we are passionate about delivering tangible benefits to the local community that will continue long after the regeneration is complete. From its inception, Laurieston Living has created genuine opportunities for locals, including educational opportunities in the construction industry for young people. We have also partnered with local schools in Glasgow to introduce a wider employability programme, providing a path to a better future with greater opportunities for those moving from school to further education. Urban Union has also demonstrated a firm commitment in fostering creativity within the community through establishing

a significant ‘Arts and Living Strategy’ at Laurieston Living. Working with WAVEparticle, which is based just a stone’s throw from Laurieston, we have created a five-year arts strategy for the area with the ambition of exploring and connecting it to the rich history of Laurieston.

Weaving together the historic fabric of the area with modern living standards, the project is adding to the area’s rich and fascinating history. Providing a range of attractive property styles and affordable housing options, the future of the development looks bright, promoting a sense of community and ownership amongst tenants. Further progress is being made, with work well underway on the second phase of Laurieston Living. The design for Phase three of the development is also well underway, with an intention to submit for Planning Approval before the end of the year. Morale in the community is high, and residents look to the future with positivity and excitement.

Neil McKay is Managing Director at Urban Union ■ For more information visit www.urbanunionltd.co.uk


The balconies are installed after wet works are complete with minimal impact to the rest of the construction

Offsite benefits John Baillie discusses the advantages of specifying building products for housing projects that are manufactured using offsite construction techniques. he construction site is a very busy place where a great deal of skill is required from site managers and engineers to ensure that projects run smoothly and the order of works and scheduled material deliveries arrives in the correct order and on time. Of course, more deliveries mean more people on site and a greater requirement for health and safety precautions, as all these individual components come together to complete the overall development. One of the best ways to manage this is for deliveries to be swift and efficient; ensuring delivery personnel are off site again as soon as possible. Aside from personnel, many developments can be carried out on quite


tight sites and therefore it is important that materials are not sat onsite too long, reducing valuable workspace and causing logistical problems. The aim is to achieve speedy efficiencies onsite; which reduces costs, should not come at the expense of quality or consistency in quality on the build, and this is where the benefits of offsite construction really comes into its own. To use an example, at Windoor our balcony systems are a pre-fabricated modular system, which means that whilst they are bespoke to each individual project, they are manufactured in our own

Pre-fabricated inset balconies on site at Ladywell Green, Eccles

factory environment, by our own team of specialists who work within our strict quality control standards. This means that each unit is consistent, has the same team working on it, and is finished off with quality components under strict factory conditions. The system is powder coated for longterm durability and being finished in our factory eliminates environmental issues such as inclement weather or damage and


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HOUSING & REGENERATION process is clean and depending on access can be done alongside other trades with little or no disruption. At this point the balconies can be installed whatever the conditions without detriment to the quality of the installation, this process is carried out by our own specialist team of installers who are all specifically trained.

The System 1000 balcony is factory assembled by fully trained specialists

Fit externally

soiling from pests including pigeons during construction. It also avoids any risk of damage onsite from other materials or equipment, including cross contamination to any internal workings from onsite debris, maintaining the high standards of operation of the system. All components are clean, fully operable and smooth.

Major components Our factory manufacture includes the coming together of the two major components; ie the system railings and the glazing, which is also carried out in clean and controlled conditions. It is imperative that where there are seals and joints, these are clean and accurate so again the factory environment allows the highest

standards and consistency across units. Every railing and every glazed panel or balustrade panel is checked so we know that the balcony has left our factory in perfect condition. Once the balcony order has been fulfilled, it is then transported and delivered to site. We only use professional and experienced logistics teams who know how to handle the balconies. They are securely packaged and stowed for transit to avoid any damage so they remain in perfect condition. Balconies arrive onsite ready to be fixed to the building. The interface between the Windoor system and the façade is made with aluminium flashings and EPDM gaskets. The installation

Depending on the order of works, the balconies are usually installed once all the wet works are complete. The installation team work alongside the major contractors and the installation is swift and clean. The balcony pods or stacks are fixed externally to the building with not only minimal disruption to other works but also to the residents themselves, who can even remain in situ whilst the balconies are installed. The only internal access required, once installation is complete, is for finishing’s and décor. The system is suitable for developments where a previous balcony existed or not. It can be manufactured to affix onto the existing concrete slab or it can be fully constructed as an ‘extension’ to the building with its own fully supported floors and roofs. Partnering during a project is hugely important. From the initial design stage with the architect to the construction phase, maintaining good communication is a key issue with offsite construction and that is something we really pride ourselves on at Windoor. Some site issues do not materialise until the construction phase and therefore it is useful for these to be fed through to the manufacturing team so that any adaptations can be made whilst the system is still in the factory. We continually monitor customer satisfaction levels and that process includes responses from the contractor. Feedback we have received to date is that Windoor are an excellent partner both off and onsite with the system itself being of high quality and there being a good collaboration onsite with the installation team.

John Baillie is Managing Director of Windoor ■ For more information about Windoor’s offsite construction process visit www.rdr.link/lh002

The Windoor balconies are manufactured in controlled conditions in the factory

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Waugh Thistleton Architects and Swan Housing are working together to deliver a midrise modular scheme in Tower Hamlets

The world is in the midst of a housing crisis with unprecedented global mass migration to cities. In order to deal with this flow of people, more high-density buildings are needed. In the UK the demand for homes continues to outstrip supply. Waugh Thistleton Architects discusses a solution that has the potential to deliver significantly more homes, as well as boost the local economy and employment opportunities.

Modular construction T

he housing and labour crisis must be addressed within the context of the global climate emergency. Changes to the Building Regulations have resulted in a significant reduction in the operational energy used in buildings, however no legislation exists requiring reduced embodied energy in construction. Concrete and steel in construction are currently responsible for more than 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions; this will increase if current trends within the industry continue. If we are to meet the zero carbon target by 2050, alternative sustainable building materials, such as mass timber, must be used to reduce waste and emissions caused by the fabric of the new homes we build. In the last 50 years manufacturing productivity has increased by 230% while the construction industry is 19% less productive. Drawing on the efficient, high quality production methods developed by ship, aircraft and car production, offsite manufacture addresses some of the failings of traditional construction. Since the HRA borrowing cap was removed in 2018 local authorities are once again building social housing and as landlords they demand high quality, low maintenance, fast solutions which are future proofed to adapt to ever changing environmental legislation.

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Delivery mechanisms Innovative delivery solutions are emerging such as PLACE’s (Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise) new approach to tackling homelessness through acquiring modular temporary accommodation, and Pocket Living’s homes for local first-time buyers at less than 20% market value. Both are reimagining the delivery of housing using offsite methods of construction. Waugh Thistleton Architects are working with Swan Housing, a social housing provider and an industry leader in the development of modular construction. In their state of the art, high-tech factory based in Essex, they have created an offsite modular manufacturing approach known as the ‘NU build system’ using low carbon cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural panels. The Architects and Swan Housing are on site with a midrise modular scheme at Watts Grove in Tower Hamlets comprising 65 homes over six storeys. Close collaboration between Waugh Thistleton Architects and the Swan factory team on the design and delivery of this scheme has resulted in the publication of a series of books, which describe the key strategic and component specification requirements for volumetric modular. The NU build modular process plan explains how to deliver modern

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methods of construction (MMC) efficiently and how delivery of modular timber impacts on the standard RIBA work stages.

Design guidance The Modular Design Guide explains the interrelationship between consultants, the client and the factory. Designing for modular means thinking about how each module is made, transported and assembled at every stage of the design development. The second book: The System Guide helps consultants understand the specific evaluation criteria to be considered to ensure compatibility with the modular system. This does not mean standardising homes, but considering the standard process of manufacture. Waugh Thistleton’s involvement with offsite technologies has spanned two decades, delivering more than 20 buildings using various offsite MMC for clients like Berkeley Homes and Pocket Living. Modular significantly reduces time on site, minimising the lengthy disruption as well as noise and dust pollution associated with a traditional building site. This has significant benefits for local authorities who often own tight sites in densely populated areas. The manufacturing times of elements in the factory are reduced. Information generated by BIM allows the factory to order products ‘just in time’ with the

Waugh Thistleton Architects and the Swan factory team have produced a series of books covering the requirements for volumetric modular

benefit of a consistent material and labour supply chain. The factory environment means that short days and bad weather do not interfere with production. Each module can be constructed in a clean and controlled environment with the necessary tools and materials close at hand to a high level of quality and consistency. Factories offer workers regular hours along with a safe and clean working environment. Improved conditions attract more diverse workers to the construction industry and if, like Swan, the factories are located close to the sites where the modules are required there can be employment benefits to the local economy.

Repeatable process Modular construction is the development of a repeatable process not a repeatable product. The Mitsubishi GS Car Chassis Platform uses the same compact car platform for numerous models across many brands resulting in millions of variations. A modular system must form the base for a

wide range of module types and buildings. The modular process enables the designer to create a variety of products that can be linked together to create different building types, rather than a limited number of modules creating repetitive environments. It is crucial councils and housing associations specify offsite construction methods early. Early designs must be carried out with offsite manufacturers in mind otherwise designers will generally design the way they always have resulting in the same answers. Offsite methods radically change the way construction works, requiring new skills and a different approach. Construction becomes more about quality and logistics, demanding

At its factory in Essex Swan Housing has created an offsite modular manufacturing approach known as the ‘NU build system’

a fundamental change in the mindset and skillset of clients, consultants and contractors in the industry.

With thanks to Waugh Thistleton Architects for preparing this article â– waughthistleton.com


Conducting regular training exercises is essential to ensure the firefighting crews maintain their skills

Cecil Norris House has been used as a local training facility for firefighters at Shoreham Fire & Rescue

Training drills SafeSite Facilities tells LABM how it brought a vacant sheltered accommodation back into use for fire safety trials. fficial figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have revealed that the number of long-term vacant properties — those empty for at least six months — across England has risen to more than 216,000, the highest level since 2012. This accounts for £53.6bn of property in England, according to an analysis by modular home and school builder Project

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Etopia. Coastal towns and cities posted the biggest percentage rise in long-term empty homes with Portsmouth topping the table with the number more than doubling to 939 in the year to October 2018. Local firefighters in Shoreham, West Sussex are bucking this trend by bringing one empty property back into use to conduct fire safety drills. Cecil Norris House in Ravens Road was

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sheltered accommodation until early 2019, when residents were relocated so that site surveys for a new development could be completed. The Council has recently set out its plans to demolish the site later this year to make way for a block of one and two bedroom homes and boost Adur’s current housing stock. Construction and property consultants Robinson Low Francis are project managing the redevelopment and brought in SafeSite Facilities to secure the property while their site design and scoping was completed.

Repurposing derelict buildings Andrew Serby, Director, Robinson Low Francis says: “Following a fire at a separate vacant council site in the area, Watch Manager Beth Parry-Evans from Shoreham Fire & Rescue approached me to discuss the use of derelict buildings. During these discussions we discovered that other empty properties could be very beneficial for training drills. “With the full support of the council, the use of Cecil Norris House has been used as a local training facility, providing Shoreham Fire & Rescue with a new building to really test their skills. We’ve received very positive feedback from the

Fire Station about the use of the building for training drills and we will be working with them to see if further vacant sites could be repurposed in the same way.”

Unique location Watch Manager Beth Parry-Evans, Shoreham Fire Station comments: “Although our crews routinely carry out training exercises at our own facility, over time, this environment can become all too familiar. I wanted my training to reflect real life emergencies where the terrain in unknown. “Cecil Norris House has delivered a completely unique and, crucially, unfamiliar location for our firefighters to practice critical breathing apparatus procedures, practice with new equipment and conduct incident command scenarios. Although the exercises we carry out there are staged our crews respond as they would in a genuine incident. We use real smoke, dummies and obstacles to give our whole-time and retained crews a realistic and challenging rescue scenario.

Robinson Low Francis is project managing the redevelopment and brought in SafeSite Facilities to secure the property

“It’s essential that we conduct regular training exercises so our crews can maintain their skills. Being able to do this in a new environment means we can simulate the same challenges as an unknown

situation, replicating as close as possible the scenario every firefighter enters when they respond to an emergency. This facility has tested and trained crews not only from Shoreham but also from surrounding fire stations to a higher level. Future lives could be saved as a result.” Sales Team Leader, Greig McGarva, SafeSite Facilities adds: “We installed almost 150m of timber hoarding and a 5m vehicle gate at Cecil Norris House. It’s not often we’re happy to hear that people have forced entry into vacant properties that we’ve secured but in this case we’ll make an exception! At a time where there is a national ambition to find temporary uses for vacant buildings and land, rather than let these sites lie empty, this is a fantastic example of an otherwise empty space being used to improve public safety.”

■ For more information on SafeSite Facilities work visit www.rdr.link/lh003


The council decided to procure new mobile and back-office systems that were fully customisable to handle complex workforce management

Work Hub Sandwell Council and Kirona have formed an alliance to transform housing repairs and gas servicing across 28,000 properties. LABM finds out more. andwell Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) covers an area made up of six different towns, with a population of around 325,000 people. The council provides a wide range of services including education, adult social care and the maintenance of social housing.


The challenge In the social housing sector, the council is responsible for carrying out repairs and service checks to approximately 28,000 properties across the Sandwell area. SMBC had a number of suppliers for various elements of its IT infrastructure; scheduling, mobile working, housing management/asset management system and text messaging. This caused a number of performance issues due to integration of the above systems. Previously the council was using an alternative back office system, to manage repairs and maintenance requests. This created a significant amount of paperwork, which not only had an environmental impact but meant staff were duplicating effort. There were also issues with information not synchronising between field-based employees using mobile technology and the back office. This coupled with ageing legacy mobile hardware, operatives were

making unnecessary trips to the office for paper copies of tenant information. All this led to increased administration and frequent downtime.

The solution The council decided to procure new mobile and back-office systems that were fully customisable to handle complex workforce management. The programme of work initiated by Sandwell was ambitious in terms of scale and given timeframes, with the business case only viable if the solution was in place by March 2018. In order to streamline the process, the council wanted to reduce the number of suppliers it appointed. Through a number of procurement tenders, Kirona was successful for the supply of the mobile solution, the dynamic resource scheduler (DRS) and the JM Work Hub including their text messaging. As a trusted partner of the council, Sandwell knew that Kirona was small yet agile enough to help deliver a programme of work, within the tight time constraints to benefit the council’s departments and services. SMBC and Kirona scoped the specification of the requirements, to keep the solution and workflow as simple as

possible. They were keen to avoid cumbersome process steps imposed by other applications, and the focus was on the core activities of getting a job in to the system, scheduled, allocated and completed, all whilst keeping the customer informed through text messaging. With the time pressure of the go-live date, it was decided that as part of Kirona’s software delivery cycle for the activity, they would form a collaborative software testing team made up of Kirona and SMBC staff. The team co-located in Kirona’s offices to perform the software testing as it was being developed. The collaborative software testing ran until early 2018, when the software — Work Hub — was released to SMBC for formal User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Work Hub


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unites back office teams, mobile workforces and customers by providing a single, centralised source of data and delivers realtime information to mobile workers. The UAT of the new Work Hub uncovered very few issues, and allowed the team to transition the solution to live in good time for the end of March 2018; the critical date required to meet the objectives of the business case. In addition to launching the new backoffice and mobile systems, Sandwell also provided operatives with a choice of mobile hardware and encouraged them to use the devices as personal handsets. This reduced the need for extra training on using the handsets as well as the reduction in costs of repairs to the handsets.

Next phase of digital transformation After going live with both mobile and the new back-office platform in its Repairs and Voids Service in March 2018, Sandwell and Kirona embarked on the next phase of the roll out. This involved Gas Servicing by introducing dynamic resource scheduling,

mobile job management and further developing text messaging solutions already in place within the Repairs Service. Historically the Gas Servicing engineers were assigned their work on paper, which made compliance to gas certification more challenging. Introducing Kirona’s Dynamic Resource Scheduling provides greater transparency with what work has been assigned to contractor operatives, along with real time progress on how each external contractor is performing. The cyclical module automatically identifies properties due a gas service, based on the last gas servicing anniversary date. DRS assigns around 500 jobs per week, scheduling them and sending out appointment texts and reminders, to not only minimise no-access, but also keep customers better informed and help avoid unnecessary calls. Collaboration between parties was critical, wider than the relationship between SMBC and Kirona. SMBC had already made some key decisions around their strategy for resident self-service for example, and the solution for that needed to be incorporated using seamless integration to the Kirona product suite.

The outcome

Sandwell provided operatives with a choice of mobile hardware and encouraged them to use the devices as personal handsets

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The SMBC and Kirona partnership agree that the success of this implementation is attributed to a combination of planning, innovation and commitment, but mainly to working in collaboration as one team with a single focus, making the most of the very best relationships, which have been heavily invested in by all parties concerned. Sandwell Council has seen a number of benefits, following the rollout of Kirona’s Work Hub. The real-time information sharing and improved text message system for tenants, means customers can be kept up-to-date with the state of repairs. The introduction of the Kirona products has helped improve customer satisfaction from 87% to around 94%. The text messaging service has also helped see an improvement in the reduction of no-access rates. No access rates have dropped to below 10% with a target of around 7%. This has also resulted in a saving of £32,000 for this financial year.

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Sandwell Council and Kirona introduced dynamic resource scheduling, mobile job management and developed the text messaging solutions already in place within the Repairs Service to Gas Servicing

Cultural change Neil Martin, Business Manager in the Asset Management and Maintenance Service at Sandwell Council says: “The cultural change that Kirona’s software is delivering is really important to us. We’ve achieved a greater degree of transparency than we ever had before. We are able to carry out more work in-house and have consolidated a lot of datasets into a unified and dynamic format. Managing contractors effectively depends on having good visibility. Kirona’s software is enabling us to manage the performance of the contractor. We are looking forward to generating more benefits from the technology in the future.” Neil Harvey, CTO at Kirona adds: “Our suite of field service management solutions has given Sandwell Council a streamlined, stable and dynamic way of managing repairs and gas servicing across thousands of properties. Handling these tasks effectively is critical to the council’s ability to house people safely, and we’re delighted to be supporting them.” Following the success of the latest rollout, SMBC plans to extend the application of Kirona’s suite of products to other services such as estate management, repair waste collections and fire checks to flatted accommodation.

With thanks to Kirona for preparing this article ■ www.kirona.com

HOUSING & REGENERATION ROUND-UP Fire-rated panels draw HAs at Housing show

Certifire approval for letterplate

New designs and Class 1 fire-rated panels from Fibo UK drew interest from housing associations and other providers at the CIH’s annual conference and exhibition at Manchester in June. Five times quicker to fit than tiles, the bathroom and kitchen wall panels come with a 15-year guarantee and are used across the UK in social housing (with free trials for landlords), student accommodation and retirement homes. The package is completed by a range of new accessories — including two hybrid-polymer sealants and a powerful adhesive.

UAP Ltd is pleased to announce that its TS008 letterplate, The Soterian, recently achieved Certifire approval. Independently tested by Warringtonfire Testing & Certification, the letterplate is certified for FD30 and FD60 timber doorsets. The solution is approved for use with a variety of door assemblies — timber faced and edged door leaves with a solid cellulosic core in a timber, metal or composite frames having fire resistance of 30 and 60 minutes, depending on letterplate assembly. As a complete letterplate system with an integral intumescent liner material, it can be fitted to endure fire attack from either face. The product practically eliminates the risk of an intruder gaining access to a property by means of physical force, ‘fishing’ and lock manipulation.

■ For more information on Fibo’s waterproof wall panel system visit www.rdr.link/lh004 CMS raises the standard sustainably at Ferguslie Park Hundreds of homes at Ferguslie Park in Paisley have been upgraded sustainably with high performance PVC-U windows and doors. The large-scale refurbishment project for Ferguslie Park Housing Association has seen 300 of the landlord’s 803 properties transformed. The project involved CMS Window Systems manufacturing and installating a range of PVC-U window types, plus external doors complete with sidescreens, finished with a Rosewood external woodgrain to the exterior and white inside the homes.

■ For more information on CMS’ range visit www.rdr.link/lh005

■ For more information on The Soterian visit www.rdr.link/lh006


Upton House in Poole

House warming Upton House, a Grade II* listed Georgian Mansion House situated in Upton Country Park in Poole — a popular spot for visitors — was in need of a plant room refurbishment. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, which manages the building, worked with consultant Hampshire County Council Property Services to bring the heating plant into the 21st Century. or the last nine years, Hampshire County Council Property Services has worked with council officers in Poole to consult on the design of mechanical services, which include heating systems. Mike Morris, Senior Property Manager for BCP Council, explains: “We have a limited maintenance budget, and the main thing we are concerned about first and foremost is keeping people warm and dry, so boilers and roofs form a big part of our maintenance programme. It is great we have the opportunity to


work with Hampshire County Council Property Services who have been doing this for such a long time. The heating system designs are so well-developed, we feel protected.” As a local company with over 100 years of heritage in Poole, BCP Council also has a long working relationship with Hamworthy. Three Hamworthy UR430 atmospheric single stage cast iron boilers, dating back to the 1980s, were delivering heating to the building, had come to the end of their life, and needed replacing. With Hamworthy looking to trial its new Upton boiler and a

The new flue system installed at Upton House

building with a matching name, Upton House was chosen as the test site and the council received the product free of charge.

Establishing what needs refurbishing The old Hamworthy cast iron boilers provided heat to the basement, ground and first floor. The chosen model of the new Upton boiler UF400-2 delivers an output of 197kW per module (394kW combined) of which two are stacked on top of each other. As a modular boiler system, these are compact and can be taken apart for easier handling. Thanks to their small size, the

later point when the proposed plan is to replace the existing heat emitters. To create the pressurised primary circuit, which the Upton boilers require, an expansion vessel and wall mounted single pump pressurisation unit were installed. An air and dirt separator to catch any further debris and dosing pot to introduce chemicals, such as corrosion inhibitors, into the system have also been added to the secondary circuit. Additionally, a new flue was required to deal with the condensate and pressure in the new system, which posed another challenge.

The new Upton boiler UF400-2 delivers an output of 197kW per module (394kW combined)

Refurbishment versus conservation boiler modules could be transported down the stairs. Access like this usually complicates refurbishments, but the boiler was sited in the plant room without the need for bigger handling equipment. The Upton has an aluminium heat exchanger with quick heat transfer and delivers a gross seasonal efficiency of up to 96.5% for economical heating. Sequencing via the built-in Siemens LMS controls system further helps improve efficiency and even use across the installation. Due to its small size, there is now more space in the plant room, making it easier to access equipment. This has been used to install additional ancillaries to future-proof the plant and improve access for maintenance. As the refurbishment was carried out in winter, a temporary boiler was required to bridge the gap between the removal of the old and installation of the new equipment. It was placed outside the building with hoses also run externally. This all had to be co-ordinated with events using the function rooms downstairs and daily

operations of the council offices on the first floor of Upton House in order to neither disturb visitors nor council workers.

Accommodating old and new The existing (‘old’) open-vented heating system underwent a system flush, as oxygen ingress over the years caused corrosion and the build-up of sludge, which is common in these types of systems. Due to the risks (such as leaks) associated with pressurising an openvented system, a plate heat exchanger was installed which connects and hydraulically separates the secondary (old) and primary (new) heating circuit. This also protects the new boilers from debris in the existing system and allows for adequate system flow. New pipework has been used in the primary circuit, which the Upton is connected to. As part of the boiler replacement design, numerous valves are installed at low and high points of the system. This allows to isolate sections and flush them again at a

As a Grade II* listed building, Upton House is subject to rules ensuring that any works do not affect its appearance. This means the new flue had to meet strict guidelines and aesthetic requirements. It was designed and relocated from its original position and moved to the middle of an internal quad. Mike comments: “While we do understand the conservationist’s concerns of visual impact on the building, we have to make sure that health and safety isn’t compromised. The design managed to let the flue terminate at a relatively low level. It was also painted, so it matches the colour of the building and looks much better now. The old flue was rather unsightly and the new one is basically entirely hidden from visitors’ sight.”

With thanks to Hamworthy Heating for prepaing this article ■ For more information on Hamworthy Heating’s new Upton boiler UF400-2 visit www.rdr.link/lh007

The pressurisation equipment installed in the plant room at Upton House


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It is essential for any housing association to carry out a rigorous maintenance programme to ensure that its building stock remains in good condition. One such housing association in south Wales has invested in new heating controls, which offer more maintenance schedule flexibility, leading to a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of the maintenance team operations. LABM finds out more. onmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) is widely recognised as one of the leading housing associations in Wales and is responsible for a property portfolio of more than 4,000 homes. Whilst undertaking the replacement of 800 gas boilers, the decision was made to retrofit new heating controls across the entire property portfolio that would allow heating services managers to schedule maintenance work further in advance and ensure compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations. With this in mind, MHA contacted Drayton to seek advice on a heating control solution that met these requirements and would help the maintenance team meet its strict KPIs. Adrian Simmonds, Heating Services Manager at MHA, says: “The biggest issue we faced when attempting to carry out any annual gas appliance service was gaining access to the property within the required timeframe. The service interval time controller utilised on our previous heating control system wouldn’t allow us to give the tenants enough notice of when the annual gas safety check was due, which led to a large number of delayed services to properties and a significant impact on our KPI success rate. “We have 12 engineers in our team who cover an entire county so it’s imperative that we are able to complete scheduled maintenance work first-time as this ensures that not only are our operations are running


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Take control as efficiently as possible, but that we are also compliant with strict regulations. The law requires an annual gas safety check for social landlords, whereas it is only a recommendation for homeowners.”

Drayton recommended the use of its LP111Si time control

New heating control Adrian continues: “When we began the replacement of more than 800 boilers, we felt this would be the opportune time to look for a new heating control solution that gave us the scheduling flexibility we desperately needed. We looked at various suppliers but felt Drayton was the best fit for us not only due to its extensive range of solutions, but also because the manufacturer could provide a system to meet our exact requirements. “Drayton worked closely with us and recommended the use of its LP111Si time control, which allowed us to set the notice of service alert to 10 months and two weeks. This gave us six weeks to organise

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the property visit, carry out the annual service and provide a landlord gas safety certificate, all within the timeframe set out in the regulations. We have also utilised the Drayton RTS thermostats, motorised valves and RT414 thermostatic radiator valves, giving our tenants complete control of their heating requirements. “We have now rolled out the retrofit of Drayton controls, with 85% of our property portfolio having the system installed, and we have realised the benefits very quickly. We now have more control over our maintenance programme, to the point where we can target entire streets at a time, meaning we keep unnecessary visits to an absolute minimum and run our operations far more effectively. As a result, we are currently achieving a maintenance success rate of 99.93%. “In addition to the success of the improved maintenance regime, we have also received great feedback from our tenants. With the majority of the property occupants being of retirement age, they have commented on how well lit and how simple the Drayton system is to use.”

With thanks to Drayton for preparing this article ■ For more information on the Drayton LP111Si time control visit www.rdr.link/lh008


Resident comfort is an important consideration with the health benefits of good indoor air quality (IAQ), low noise levels and thermal comfort all widely recognised. The recent publication by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) ‘Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality’ adds to the call for councils to ensure residents’ homes have good IAQ. Tom Wodcke reports. he negative health effects of poor IAQ are clear. Extensive research has linked poor indoor air quality (IAQ) to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia, so it is vital this issue is urgently addressed. NICE has published draft guidelines, ‘Indoor Air Quality at Home’, in which it calls on local authorities to adopt new IAQ strategies, urging them to be aware of the air quality in residents’ homes to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and so help protect health. Key to improving poor IAQ in homes is raising awareness and knowledge of the causes and how to combat them. Activities such as cooking, cleaning, showering, drying clothes and burning candles all significantly affect IAQ when effective ventilation is absent. NICE’s guidelines advise the use of mechanical ventilation, in addition to natural background ventilation, to combat build-up of pollutants, damp and condensation. Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) is an ideal choice for mechanical ventilation in social housing. This energy-efficient method of ventilation gently replaces polluted, unhealthy air with filtered drier air creating a healthier indoor environment where condensation and mould find it hard to exist. Another area landlords need to consider, highlighted in the NICE Guidelines, is the importance of a balanced approach to insulation and ventilation. As homes have become increasingly airtight to improve efficiency it is essential effective ventilation

A Vent-Axia approved installer commissioning one of the company’s ventilation solutions


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Keeping comfy is installed too. This allows homes to breathe and moisture in the air to escape, otherwise condensation will occur. But it’s also important the most suitable form of ventilation for the individual property is installed. For instance, PIV is ideal for combating condensation and mould in problem properties.

Testing and maintenance Although the NICE Guidelines highlight the need to ensure rented homes have a ventilation system that complies with design and performance requirements, correct installation, testing and maintenance are vital too. Property managers and landlords need to undertake regular maintenance to ensure ventilation effectiveness is maintained. And it’s also crucial to let residents know how their ventilation system works and why it is important not to turn it off. To help local authorities the NICE document recommends a simple step that landlords can take is to ensure IAQ is checked when a property undergoes other

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inspections. Plus, any risk factors identified in an inspection could then be used to help other homes at risk. The NICE Guidelines also encourage local authorities to work with housing officers, environmental health, midwives, social workers and care workers to use existing home visits to identify those at risk and to develop a referral process when poor IAQ is identified. Advising residents about recognising the risks of poor IAQ is vital too. NICE suggests local authorities should give general advice to residents on how to improve ventilation if the source, such as traffic pollution, cannot be controlled, as well as advising them to report inadequate ventilation to their landlord. If action is not taken within an acceptable timeframe, proactive reporting should be in place for private and social tenants to report their landlords to the local authority.

Sound levels The Chief Medical Officer’s 2017 Annual Report ‘Health Impacts of all Pollution’ stated: ‘Noise stands second to poor air

Vent-Axia’s PoziDry Compact Pro offers ultralow sound levels thanks to its anti-vibration EPP body

quality in terms of the burden of ill health caused by a single pollutant’. Bearing this in mind, it’s important to consider acoustics when specifying ventilation. For instance, traditionally many metal-boxed PIV units have been large, bulky and vibrate noisily, which can affect resident comfort. This can often mean ventilation is turned off, resulting in condensation, mould and poor IAQ. The latest PIV units have been designed to minimise noise, leaving residents undisturbed. For example, Vent-Axia’s PoziDry Compact Pro now offers ultra-low sound levels thanks to its anti-vibration EPP body, which makes the unit condensation resistant too. It also has a precision engineered forward curved centrifugal impellor assembly, further reducing noise levels to as low as 11dBA, thus improving resident comfort.

Thermal comfort Good thermal comfort is another important consideration, especially for vulnerable residents whose health can easily be affected by being too hot or too cold. To improve thermal comfort for residents in high and low temperatures, the latest PIV units feature summer and winter comfort settings allowing installers to change a unit’s temperature-triggered boost and cut-off settings, thus ensuring homes remain at a comfortable temperature all year round. This is particularly useful in homes with young children or the elderly where occupants may want to maintain their indoor temperature to a constant level. This sort of control option means resident comfort is improved as the thresholds can be adjusted to suit individual occupants. With the PoziDry Compact Pro, the fresh, filtered air enters the room through the discreet grille, which can be set to one of eight positions, ensuring the airflow is always directed upwards, thus reducing cold draughts. Another way of effectively controlling thermal comfort is to specify a PIV unit with an integral heater. With this type of unit, a heater element automatically activates when necessary, tempering the supply air to a chosen temperature, thus helping ensue good thermal comfort in the home. Local authorities have a duty of care to ensure their residents are living in a healthy environment. Since IAQ, noise and thermal levels all affect health and wellbeing these are core areas to consider.

Tom Wodcke is Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia ■ For more information on PoziDry Compact Pro visit www.rdr.link/lh009


Bespoke hybrid renewable heating solutions are helping local authorities keep their tenants warm efficiently, explains Paul Wakefield.

Hybrid renewables Grant’s VortexAir hybrids cleverly couple air source heat pump technology with an oil boiler via simple plumbing and electrical arrangements

ocal authorities and housing associations are increasingly looking to environmentally and economically sustainable alternatives to heat their housing stock. Although it is fair to say that the majority of oil boilers can still tick the box for many off gas properties and probably will do for some time to come, a number of manufacturers offer greener solutions, such as air source heat pumps, to complement and often work alongside oil fired boilers as a hybrid heating solution.


Packaged together A hybrid system is a combination of two or more efficient heating technologies, such as a boiler and a renewable appliance like a heat pump. These are packaged together to function as one unit, maximising system efficiency for the end user, whatever the weather. Grant UK is working with local authorities to make hybrid heat pump and oil boiler solutions practical and effective for their developments. Hybrid models, such as the Grant VortexAir, unlock the benefits of green energy to off-gas developments. It combines an Aerona³ R32 inverter driven air source heat pump with an ultra low NOx VortexBlue blue flame oil-fired boiler and, in distress purchase situations, allows for the immediate restoration of a property’s heating while also enabling specifiers to introduce cleaner energy into their properties. A Hybrid system provides contractors with flexibility when it comes to installation. In a retrofit or breakdown situation, the oil boiler and heat pump can either be installed at the same time or in two-stages, with the oil boiler installed first to quickly restore a home’s heat and hot water and the heat pump installed at a later date. Additionally, the Hybrid’s oil boiler can either be sited internally as a stand-alone unit or externally alongside the heat pump depending on the availability of space. This

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Hybrid utilises an advanced control system that automatically monitors the system temperatures, seamlessly switching the unit to the most effective heating mode (heat pump, oil, or a combination of both).

F-Gas Regulations Renewable products like heat pumps are also being improved to provide better efficiency. The 2014 EU Fluorinated

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Greenhouse Gas (F-Gas) Regulations is legislation designed to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, with the introduction of a series of targets designed to limit the use of gases with the highest Global Warming Potential (GWP). R32 refrigerant, which is used in Grant’s latest Aerona³ heat pumps, has a GWP considerably lower than other typical heat pump refrigerants such as R410, thus complying with legislative targets.

Grant’s smallest heat pump, the Aerona³ 6kW model (shown above), can be incorporated into bespoke hybrid heating solutions

In addition to having a lower GWP figure of 675, R32 is a single-component refrigerant, which means it has no temperature glide. Refrigerant blends that have two or more components exhibit temperature glide but as R32 only has one molecule in its formation, its saturated liquid and vapor temperatures are the same. By removing the risk of the refrigerant suffering from glide, the system can recharge and recycle with greater ease, making it more efficient.

Bespoke solutions It’s important that local authorities work with manufacturers to design efficient and effective heating solutions for schemes. Recently for instance, Grant UK worked with a local council to replace the solid fuel heating systems in their properties with hybrid technology. As part of this solution a bespoke hybrid system was designed, comprising a 6kW Aerona³ R32 heat pump with a 15/21kW VortexBlue oil boiler. This combination of a 6kW heat pump with an oil boiler is not part of our main Hybrid range offering but it demonstrates how we can provide tailored heating solutions to meet a development’s needs. By partnering with a company that offers multiple solutions, from oil-fired to renewable heating options, social housing providers can benefit from their expertise and insight ensuring the most appropriate technologies are utilised on projects. Grant’s renewable technology has been specified for numerous local authority and housing association schemes, for example Hebridean Housing Partnership installed 77 heat pumps, replacing existing solid fuel systems with this low carbon form of heating. Easy to install and ideal for housing associations, hybrid solutions are definitely a heating solution to keep in mind.

Paul Wakefield is Managing Director for Grant UK ■ For more details on Grant UK’s Hybrid solutions visit www.rdr.link/lh010


Carradale House in Poplar

Clean up job A new cleaning solution helped resolve issues caused by a poor heating system circulating water quality in high-rise properties managed by a London-based social housing provider. LABM has all the details. oplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA) owns and manages around 10,000 homes in East London. Like many social housing providers, the organisation realises the importance of clean water in heating systems to ensure that the systems operate efficiently and without problems for their tenants and leaseholders. It’s vital that particularly with high-rise developments, there is virtually no debris circulating in the heating systems and any debris there is, is removed as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the system components. In addition, removal of air and micro-bubbles from the system will also ensure the system operates smoothly. The social housing provider required a system to operate in one of its buildings —


Carradale House in Poplar. The property has four Potterton NXR 3 280kW boilers installed. Wilo offered to run its new particle separator system on a protracted trial to illustrate the benefits of the system and to address the issues the property had. The main issues were mechanical seal failures on pumps due to poor system water quality as well as poorly made up joints during the installation of the system. Leaks were causing the system to constantly introduce new clean water to the system, which was diluting the inhibitor, reducing its effectiveness and helping to cause unacceptable levels of debris forming in the system. Wilo’s new Wilo-SiClean Comfort is a particle separator system that is integrated into heating systems to provide automated

circulating water cleaning. The circulating water is set into centrifugal motion so the particles of debris, both magnetic and nonmagnetic, can rotate downwards and collect in the desludging tank. The cyclone created in the separator combined with the vortex effect, leads to venting of the fluid and supports the degassing process. Magnetic particles are removed by magnetophoresis. The system was installed in the basement plant room of the property and the discharge from the system runs to drain. The ‘plug and play’ system is simple to install and maintain, and is designed to provide particle separation for larger heating systems.

Trial period Over the period of the trial, the results showed huge improvements to the system circulating water — a large reduction in conductivity of 12% and a reduction of the iron in the water samples taken by a massive 75%, which is the main reason for mechanical seal failure and damage to pump reliability. There was ample evidence of the removal of the black magnetite sludge from the system, clearly seen where the system was drained. Dave Barnett from Poplar HARCA says: “We ran system health check reports on the system before we installed the Wilo equipment, during the trial and at the end of the trial and the results were very good. The Si-Clean Comfort was removing the debris from the system and improving the quality of the circulating water significantly for the building, so I would have to say I was impressed.” Wilo’s Service Sales Manager Adrian Ball adds: “This was a great opportunity for us to illustrate the benefits of this equipment in large buildings, especially where the existing system was clearly experiencing a number of issues that needed attention. We addressed them and proved that our equipment was up to the task of sorting these issues for Poplar HARCA”

With thanks to Wilo for preparing this article ■ More details about the WiloSiClean Comfort can be found by visiting www.rdr.link/lh011

The SiClean system in the plant room at Carradale House

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HEATING & VENTILATION ROUND-UP Water conditioning unit supports resource centre for the blind

New pre-plumbed heat pump cylinder

Spirotech has gifted a SpiroCross water conditioning unit to the Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind in support of the charity’s plans to develop a central hub for services for the visually impaired. The AX125 deaerator, dirt separator and hydraulic balancing unit has been installed in the boiler room in the adjacent Boston Lodge, which the Centre is refurbishing with the help of volunteer tradesmen and donations from manufacturers. The AX125 delivers three functions in a single unit — active deaeration, dirt separation and optimum hydraulic balance — and will help to keep the Lodge’s newlyrefurbished heating system running smoothly and efficiently. As a low loss header, the SpiroCross provides hydraulic separation between the boilers and the heating circuit, regulating the pressure and flow rate.

A new pre-plumbed, singlecoil heat pump cylinder has been added to Firbird’s Envirocyl hot water storage cylinder range. Designed specifically for use with the company’s Enviroair air source heat pumps, the pre-plumbed cylinder saves valuable installation time and includes pre-fabricated pipework, wiring and an integrated 50 litre buffer. Featuring a 3m2 purpose-designed coil, which allows maximum heat transfer of renewable heat into the stored water, the cylinder offers a highly efficient way of providing space heating and domestic hot water. The cylinders are available in a range of capacities from 180 to 300 litres and include a 3kW electric immersion as standard. When used in conjunction with an Enviroair air source heat pump, the cylinder is capable of providing up to 100% of a home’s hot water demand.

■ For more information on Spirocross visit www.rdr.link/lh012 Derby Homes installs ASHPs to reduce heating bills for tenants In a bid to achieve greater efficiency for 54 off-gas flats and as part of an ongoing initiative to reduce levels of fuel poverty and improve SAP ratings across its portfolio, Derby Homes decided to explore the use of renewable heating technology at its Rivermead House complex. Vaillant suggested the aroTHERM air source heat pump. Ideally suited to off-gas areas, it offers excellent energy efficiency and allows tenants to have total control over their heating. By positioning the ASHP on tenant balconies, disruption was kept to a minimum with no sacrifice to living space. Vaillant brought its renewable show trailer onsite, demonstrating to residents exactly how the heat pump works and showcasing its Quiet Mark approved low noise levels.

■ For more information on the Envirocyl range visit www.rdr.link/lh015

■ For more information on the aroTHERM ASHP visit www.rdr.link/lh013 Ventilation solution optimises offsite capabilities

MHVR units chosen for historic building

As offsite construction growth continues to grow, Gilberts has introduced a solution that simplifies incorporation of building services. The company’s MFS (Mistrale Fusion) provides a standalone unit, requiring no ductwork or plant, to ensure a comfortable ambient environment within each space — in air quality and air temperature. It means one MFS delivers ventilation, cooling and heating as needed, with no external connections. Once onsite, annual design consumption of just 34kw per classroom means that Gilberts’ MFS can cost as little as £5*/classroom/year to operate. Installed through an external façade or window, Mistrale MFS mixes internal and external air to ventilate the internal space. The integrated low energy fan energises to blend the internal air, ensuring an even distribution of airflow, with control over temperature and CO2 levels within.

Residents living in the recently developed ‘Ogden’s Tobacco’ building in Everton, Merseyside are benefitting from MVHR units from EnviroVent that provide good indoor air quality and protect the fabric of the building by controlling condensation. Liverpool Mutual Homes converted the historic Grade II listed building into 19 apartments. The apartments retain many historic features, including high ceilings, which presented issues with heating. Housing Maintenance Solutions, the contracting arm of Liverpool Mutual Homes, specified EnviroVent’s energiSava 250 MVHR unit because of its intelligent vapour tracking humidity control (Intellitrac), which constantly monitors the humidity levels in the dwelling and reacts instantly to changes. The intelligent system does not wait until a room has reached a fixed level of humidity before increasing the airflow rates.

■ For more information on MFS visit www.rdr.link/lh014

■ For more information on the energiSAVA 250 visit www.rdr.link/lh016


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Exova Warringtonfire has conducted full-scale room testing to assess how wall building envelope products and general room contents contribute to the development of a fire and production of toxic gases.

Adrian Pargeter discusses the full-scale room testing to assess how wall insulation and general room contents perform in a typical room fire conducted by Exova Warringtonfire, and offers advice on how local authorities can better safeguard tenants in the event of a fire.

Understanding smoke risk moke inhalation is the primary cause of fire-related deaths in homes and offices. Local authorities have a clear legal responsibility to ensure proper provision is made to mitigate these risks within their building profiles, allowing occupiers to safely evacuate. These measures can include a range of detection and prevention systems such as smoke alarms, sprinklers and fire doors. A growing number of specifiers are also looking to understand how building materials and room contents may contribute to smoke and fire development. To consider this, Exova Warringtonfire conducted full scale room testing assessing how wall insulation and general room contents perform in a typical room fire.


Initial tests

Fire hazards The most obvious danger presented by fire is heat. In a modern domestic room, small fires can quickly become fully developed, reaching flashover in a matter of minutes (this is the point at which the flammable gases released by burning materials within a room near-simultaneously ignite). Smoke presents a further hazard both to those directly exposed to a fire, and to occupants in other rooms or in the process of evacuating. Inhalation of the toxic fumes and harmful particles within this smoke is known to cause or contribute to the majority of fatalities in fires in domestic properties.

The variables Due to the complexity of fires, it is difficult to assess how room contents and construction products may contribute to smoke toxicity. The smoke produced by burning materials, and the resulting risk to occupants, are strongly dependent on location of the burning material, the fire scenario (e.g. room size, temperature, ventilation), and exposure time. To shed some light on this issue, PU Europe commissioned leading testing experts — Exova Warringtonfire — to carry out a detailed study looking at the relative contribution of both room contents and building fabric insulation on heat release, smoke production and toxic gases for a

ISO 9705 tested room dimensions and contents

fire starting in a furnished room. The research was carried out within a full-scale test room designed to the specifications given in ISO 97051.

Testing process The research was carried out within a fullscale test room designed to the specifications given in ISO 97051. The room was furnished with curtains, an armchair, small table, TV with bench and bookcase. All walls (apart from the wall containing the doorway) were insulated. To better understand the contribution of the insulation material within the scenario, two tests were conducted which differed only in the wall insulation material, one

with polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation and the other with rock mineral fibre insulation. To achieve a fair comparison, the insulation thicknesses differed (80mm PIR vs 140mm rock mineral fibre) so that the wall U–values in both tests were identical. The insulation materials were installed between 50mm wide wooden battens at 570mm centres and were lined with a 12.5mm layer of plasterboard. The scenario used a 30kW gas burner to simulate a waste paper basket fire, which ignites the curtains and spreads to the armchair within the first five minutes of the test. The burner was positioned in the corner of the room beneath the curtains. A power socket was also added to a wall near the burner to provide a realistic weak spot in the plasterboard lining. The burner was ignited and allowed to burn for five minutes before being turned off. The development of the fire was then observed. The time of ignition for the armchair was chosen as the starting point for the analysis.

The results Analysis of the heat release from the tests showed that flashover was reached 7.24 minutes after the ignition of the armchair in the rock mineral fibre test and 6.55mins in the PIR test. In both cases, flashover was caused by burning contents alone, as the plasterboard had not yet been breached. As Graph 1 shows, a second peak heat release was observed at between 13–15 minutes, the fire then decayed. The insulation materials were not directly exposed to flame until about 20 minutes into the test when the plasterboard first began to crack, and no further heat peaks were recorded after this point. The heat release rates for both tests fell below 50kW after around 50 mins. The following gases were measured during the test: ● carbon monoxide; ● carbon dioxide; ● hydrogen cyanide; ● formaldehyde; ● acrolein; ● sulphur dioxide; ● hydrogen chloride; and ● nitrogen oxides.

Left: Graph 1: Heat release rate versus smoke transmission

Below: Graph 2: Concentrations of CO

occurred. At this stage, the concentrations of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide briefly but clearly exceeded lethal concentrations. In the decay phase, carbon monoxide concentrations were very similar in both tests. Contribution of gases from the insulation materials occurred very late and only after much higher concentrations were measured from the burning contents. For rock mineral fibre, formaldehyde and acrolein concentrations were higher in the decay phase whilst for PIR insulation, hydrogen cyanide concentration was higher. However, all concentrations measured in the decay phase were well below lethal concentrations. Measurements clearly showed that the early stages of the test, when the insulation was not yet involved in the fire, contributed most to human toxicity.

Evidence based approach The Exova Warringtonfire looks only at a specific test scenario in two configurations, however, its results still provide useful information for local authorities looking to ensure a high level of fire safety. By

selecting room furnishings with a high level of fire resistance and deploying an effective fire management and evacuation strategy (including to detect fire and prevent or limit its spread) local authorities can help to safeguard occupants in the event of a fire. 1


Adrian Pargeter is Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Kingspan Insulation UK ■ For more information on Exova Warringtonfires’ full scale room testing visit www.rdr.link/lh017

A sharp peak in the concentration of the toxic gases was reached when flashover


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Torch safe,not sorr y While flat roofs are a superb solution for schools, leisure centres and other commercial buildings; failing to factor in fire risks during hot works at the design stage can have catastrophic consequences. Daniel Tucker discusses the NFRC’s Safe2Torch campaign and associated manufacturer support. oof fires caused by gas torches, no matter how minor, pose a threat to the user, product, property and, in extreme circumstances, to life and will potentially impact the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of roof covering. Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015), specification writers have a statutory responsibility to manage any risks they may create through their designs. One element of this is the risk of fire during construction, and it is essential to make sure all fire risks are identified at the survey stage and factored in to the specification before it is written. This means that anyone writing a flat roof specification, which involves hot works needs to assess the hazards associated with the works and design out, or greatly reduce, the risks of fire. Hot works refers to a process that includes a source of ignition and has the potential to create a significant fire safety risk. Common hot works include cutting, grinding, welding, torch-on roofing, bitumen boiler work and drying substrates


Safe2Torch contractors must follow Safe2Torch guidance when using a gas torch

with a torch before application of a roof system — all of which can form part of flat roof installation. Where a combustible material is present, or the risk of fire occurs, or the risk is not known; an alternative, torch-free solution should be specified from the outset — although this can just be local to the risk area. This means that while torch-on membranes are safe, the specification needs to reflect areas where risk could exist.

Safe2Torch guidelines The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) launched Safe2Torch in November 2017. Developed in partnership with contractor and manufacturer members of the NFRC, Safe2Torch seeks to reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches. The campaign is designed to support specification writers in complying with CDM 2015 and ties in with the HSE-led Helping Great Britain Work Well strategy, which promotes a safer and healthier working environment. In the 18 months since launch, great strides have been made across the sector to ensure awareness and implementation

of the Safe2Torch guidelines and processes; with the NFRC and its supporters still working hard to see it become the default design approach in all flat roofing applications involving hot works As an example of these efforts, manufacturers must — in addition to being an NFRC supplier member — follow Safe2Torch guidance and checklist when writing specifications; and have the range of materials to satisfy the specification. Under Safe2Torch, specification writers must always undertake a site inspection prior to works to ensure that any fire risks have been identified and whether alternative products other than torch-on are suitable. The specification, and any Safe2Torch roof plan — which highlights the areas where it is not Safe2Torch — must always be available in the tender package and on the roof. It is also recommended to mark areas that are not Safe2Torch on the actual roof prior to commencement of work. Many of the design considerations and steps that would be taken to eliminate fire risk — such as recognising that timber decks can burn; that open perpends can


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Under Safe2Torch, specification writers must always undertake a site inspection prior to works

track flame into cavities or that flame proximity to combustible materials, such as timber cladding, is hazardous — might seem like common sense. Yet these can still be overlooked in practice, and the criteria for safe practice could not be easier and more accessible thanks to the detailed guidance and comprehensive checklist published by the NFRC.

The development of thermically activated bitumen has “been a significant development in membrane technology, allowing combustible and sensitive substrates and details to be covered ‘cold’ and keeping all surfaces free from fire risk during application.

Best practice Campaign registration is set to become mandatory for all CompetentRoofer and NFRC members involved with flat roofing; and this should prove a great incentive for designers and specifiers to write membership and/or scheme registration into their requirements For their part, Safe2Torch contractors must follow scheme guidance and a checklist when writing specifications; follow Safe2Torch guidance when using a gas torch either for drying out and/or installation work; carry out work using flame-free solutions when appropriate and carry out robust fire checks after hot works have finished. One requirement placed on the specifier by Safe2Torch is the identification of ‘exclusion zones’ which separate combustion risk and Safe2Torch zones, and then specifying a suitable means of detailing using cold or ‘cool work’ materials and installation techniques. These exclusion zones could be, for instance, where pitched roofs and flat roofs meet at eaves, or junctions with plain tile cladding; or around window cills and roof lantern details. An example of ‘cool work’ materials would be thermically activated flat roof

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systems — such as those from the BMI Icopal TorchSafe range — which combine the use of thermically activated products, hot air welding and specially formulated primers. The development of such Safe2Torch compliant solutions, like thermically activated systems, reveal the importance of manufacturers in helping frame Safe2Torch. This involvement was imperative as, however laudable the scheme, it would be impossible to implement practically without contractors having access to materials and product ranges suitable to satisfy Safe2Torch specifications; or design and technical support services.

Membrane technology The development of thermically activated bitumen has been a significant development in membrane technology, allowing combustible and sensitive substrates and details to be covered ‘cold’ and keeping all surfaces free from fire risk during application. These innovative membranes are manufactured from dual compounds of SBS-modified bitumen to the upper surface, combined with a high tack, low activation thermically activated compounds to the lower.

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For the decks, high-performance speciallyformulated primers improve the bond adhesion of thermically activated selfadhesive bituminous membranes. Primers are available in brush and roller applied or spray applied variants to suit the installing contractor’s preference. Outside exclusion zones, capsheets will still generally be torched. They are available in high fire-resistant formulations that provide a fire protection layer, shielding the roof from spread of flame and fire penetration. When designing flat roofing, observation of Safe2Torch requirements and utilisation of proprietary design and specification services — and systems such as BMI Icopal TorchSafe — will help meet the statutory responsibility to manage risks created through those designs under the CDM 2015; not to mention greatly reduce roof fires and the high costs — personal and financial — that can ensue.

Daniel Tucker is Systems Product Manager at BMI UK & Ireland ■ For more information on the BMI Icopal TorchSafe range visit www.rdr.link/lh018


Metal web floor cassettes being installed ©Wolf Systems

The power of the web Nick Boulton discusses the benefits of metal web joists for housing associations. lmost every social housing developer and builder is exploring the options for faster build times, improved quality, and safer construction through the use of offsite or site-assembled components. It’s an easy route into Modern Methods of Construction (MMC); so much in vogue again due to trades skills shortages and the Government’s push for greater productivity. In recent years, the use of metal web joists and ‘I’ joists has become very common. Metal web joists are manufactured to the exact requirements specified by the customer, eliminating onsite wastage of both time and materials. Factory-made metal web joists are also lightweight, strong and versatile. They are a popular choice with architects, specifiers, housing associations and their contractors. They are suitable for timber frame and masonry walls. A joist is, of course, still just


a joist — a type of beam that spans a space and helps support a load. Materials-wise, they also share the same basic elements as trussed rafters — timber structural members joined with pressed-steel nail plates to create a rigid supporting frame. But a metal web joist has some particular characteristics and benefits that work well for the public sector for housing and mixeduse schemes constructed from timber frame, masonry, steel or concrete.

Access and energy efficiency Frequently used in the construction of floors (but also used in roofs), metal web joists are generally easier, faster and more cost effective than other flooring solutions. The main benefit is the easy access they provide for services, with no need to cut or drill holes in the joist. And that means no joist notching which could compromise the strength and function of a traditional joist.

A great way to reduce onsite construction times, “improve build quality and minimise risks to site safety is to buy the metal web joists, which have been preassembled in the factory. 5 2




No more drilling holes. Pipework, ducting and cabling for heating, ventilation or electrics can easily be routed through the joist space long after the metal web joists have been installed. This also eliminates the need for surface pipework. Metal web joists also cater for thicker insulation and mechanical heat recovery and ventilation systems, assisting with creating more energy efficient buildings. This has the benefit of likely reducing heating and energy bills for social housing tenants.

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Design flexibility and installation A metal web joist floor system can provide longer clear spans. This in turn eliminates the need for loadbearing intermediate walls, which gives greater design flexibility in locating bearing walls and partitions. This allows the designer freedom to choose a variety of internal room layouts within an external shell, and the freedom to easily alter the layout in the future should the needs of families or tenants change The offsite manufacturing of metal web joists means that a consistent level of quality can be assured. They are available in a wide range of sizes to suit almost any design. However, if required they can also be supplied with a solid trimmable end to accommodate any onsite variations.

Metal web joists ©ITW

Most metal web joists require no onsite alterations and can also be easier to handle as they are up to 40% lighter than equivalent solid timber joists. Consequently, the joists can be easily manoeuvred around the site, often without the need for specialist lifting equipment. All of this means that the metal web joists can be installed quickly, reducing building costs. Alternatively, a great way to reduce on-site construction times, improve build quality and minimise risks to site safety is to buy the metal web joists, which have been preassembled in the factory. These will have been made to your specification and delivered to site as floor or roof cassettes. These units can easily and quickly be craned into place providing instant floors for access and safety. Talk to your local TRA member about the options available.

Reduced vibration of the floorboards The wide top and bottom chords of the metal web joists allow speedy fixing of floor decking and ceiling materials and there is no need for herringbone strutting if the span exceeds 4m. Instead a strongback is usually used. A strongback is used to dampen vibration by increasing the stiffness of the floor and reduce deflection by load sharing. The reduced section of timber used in the manufacture of the metal web joists, combined with the metal web itself, means less shrinkage is experienced leading to quieter and longer lasting floors. Of course, it’s not just floors. Metal web joists are also suitable for flat and pitched roofs where, due to their span capability, they can provide an economical alternative to steel, concrete and other materials. Many TRA-registered metal web joist manufacturers also manufacture trussed rafters, which can offer further cost savings through streamlining the supply chain.

Nick Boulton is Chief Executive of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) ■ To find out more about the benefits of metal web joists visit www.rdr.link/lh019


NORClad used on housing

Fire up your knowledge Greater understanding of flame-retardant treatments for external timber surfaces is essential say the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Wood Protection Association (WPA).

reek philosopher Socrates once said that ‘Education is the kindling of a flame’. Knowledge amongst specifiers on flame retardant treatments for timber materials used externally on a building needs rekindling, judging by the debate following the external fire at Samuel Garside House a few months ago. Two wood industry bodies, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Wood Protection Association


(WPA), are now working together to extend and refresh specifiers’ and building control officers’ understanding of this crucial topic. A recent survey of specifiers by a WPA member revealed that just over 70% of those surveyed were unable to define what is meant by the term ‘fire resistance’ and just under 60% were unable to explain the term ‘reaction to fire’. To correctly specify for, or inspect, buildings with external timber detailing such as timber cladding, it is vital to understand the terminology and the treatment options available, and the benefits that flameretardant treatments can impart.

Method matters

NORClad FR treated cladding used on a school

The term ‘FR’ means different things to different people. In relation to timber it is generally understood to mean ‘Flame Retardant’. In a fire situation, flames spread at first across the surface of wood. A flameretardant treatment impedes the timber’s ignitability and natural spread of flame, slowing the growth of the fire, and providing vital extra time for escape and evacuation. The TTF and WPA recommend two methods by which wood products should receive flame-retardant treatment. The first is the inclusion of the flame-retardant during the manufacture of the product, for


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ROOFING, CLADDING & INSULATION example in certain brands of MDF and OSB wood panel products. The second method is applying the flame retardant to finished wood products, such as timber cladding or sheet materials, in a controlled industrial process, away from the building site. Treatment must take place in factorycontrolled conditions and be covered by an accredited quality scheme such as WPA’s ‘Benchmark FR’ certification.

Performance claims from “manufacturers of FRtreated timber products should be thoroughly checked as part of due diligence on the FR product that is being considered.

Strong advice The TTF and WPA strongly advise against the use of brush-on coatings from a can. The efficacy of these brush-on treatments in an emergency situation relies on the original contractor having correctly applied the coating on-site, to the right depth and consistency, in addition to having in place a regular maintenance scheme. It is hard to prove that this job has been undertaken correctly. There are also three classifications for flame-retardant treatments, applicable to the service environment for the timber product. WPA’s Type INT1, for timber in dry interior applications, can be used for indoor situations where humidity does not exceed 75%. Type INT2 is a more humidity-resistant treatment suitable for uses such as interior cladding, and for use in weather-protected areas. Type EXT treatments are leach-resistant and used for

external situations such as outdoor timber cladding, infrastructure projects etc. Both trade bodies advise that, with timber, which has received an FR treatment, good design detailing and competent workmanship at the point of installation are still necessary. The uprating of timber using a flame-retardant treatment is complimentary to good design and not a substitute for it. A suite of free online training, initially designed for Building Control Officers and now available to everyone in the construction supply chain, can be found on the TTF and WPA websites. Building Regulations state that external surfaces of a building ‘should adequately resist the spread of flame’. The fundamentals of any specification or

inspection regime start with performance requirements, as expressed in Euroclasses under EN 13501. This standard details the product’s ‘Reaction to Fire’ in specific circumstances. Wood products with a flame-retardant treatment can potentially reach as high as Euroclass B (only Euroclass A is higher, but that can only apply to non-combustible materials).

Important factors The Euroclass performance requirement for the project and the service environment for the timber are both important factors. The performance of a treated timber product will be found in the product’s Declaration of Performance (DoP). It is also important to check the Reaction to Fire Classification Report for the product, which will give its allimportant field of application. It will also give a rating for smoke production (through a small letter ‘s’ and a number) and for production of flaming droplets, indicated with a small letter ‘d’. Thus a product may be labelled as ‘Euroclass B, s-1, d-0’. Fire test performance and the field of application are extremely specific. If a product’s Classification Report states, for example, that a 25mm Spruce board was tested without an air gap behind it and was mounted on plasterboard during the test, then the flame retardant properties apply only to that product and in that field of application. In other words it cannot be taken to apply to timber that is less than 25mm thick, or of a different species, or installed where there is an air gap or on backing materials deemed to be of higher risk in accordance with BS EN13238. Performance claims from manufacturers of FR-treated timber products should be thoroughly checked as part of due diligence on the FR product that is being considered. If no Classification Report is available, TTF/WPA advice is very clear: change the supplier.

With thanks to the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Wood Protection Association (WPA) for preparing this article ■ A Flame Retardant Specification Manual is available, alongside six Facts Sheets and Guidance Notes to download visit www.rdr.link/lh020


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ROOFING, CLADDING & INSULATION ROUND-UP New white fibre cement façade material launched Demand amongst architects for an elegant white fibre cement façade material has resulted in a new shade of EQUITONE [natura] being introduced. The ‘Quartz White’ shade has been designed and developed following robust research. The subtle white hue is inspired by the soft colour palette of nature and matches EQUITONE’s authentic fibre cement shades. The fibre cement material can be cut and fabricated into a variety of shapes and sizes, enabling architects to create striking patterns in the exterior design. The range offers a low maintenance, durable fibre cement façade material with a life expectancy of at least 50 years and a fire classification of A2-s1, d0. It also has an optional permanent antigraffiti protection making it suitable for a variety of building types.

■ For more information on the EQUITONE [natura] range visit www.rdr.link/lh021 Expanded insulation range offered for passive fire protection system Isover is pleased to announce its U Protect insulation system for passive fire protection in HVAC applications in an increased choice of insulation thicknesses. The U Protect system has been tested under EN 1366-1 & EN 1366-8 and assessed against BS 476: Part 24, offering up to two hours fire resistance in HVAC ventilation and smoke extract ducts, and one-hour fire resistance for kitchen ducts. The system comprises two insulation products; U Protect slabs (available in 30, 40, 50 and 70mm) and U Protect wired mats (now available in additional 30mm and 90mm sizes), as well as a range of U Protect accessories. Both are made from ULTIMATE, an innovative mineral wool that is easy to install, lighter than stone wool alternatives.

School specifies robust solution for flat roof refurbishment project

A new primary school in Moray, Scotland, recently installed the Sarnafil HD system to meet the need for a new high-quality flat roof refurbishment. The school required a system to improve the building’s thermal performance, save energy and improve robustness — providing a solution tough enough to mitigate damage caused by vandalism attacks experienced at the school. By combining the thickest single ply membrane available — 2mm — and robust insulation board (SarnaTherm HD), the Sarnafil HD system offered a resilient and wellinsulated solution. Plus, with the 2mm membrane outperforming all other membranes according to puncture test data, the system guarantees a longlasting roof. Moray Council specified Sarnafil HD for the 2,500m2 roof after having previously used the company’s products on other projects.

■ For more information on the Sarnafil HD system visit www.rdr.link/lh024 Air barrier chosen for student accommodation

Shackerley has extended the options available from its SureClad range with the introduction of SureClad Terracotta. This variety ensures that specifiers have plenty of choice to answer the requirements of their project’s design, structural loading parameters and local planning considerations from a single, trusted UK manufacturer/supplier. The company’s cladding experts designed and engineered the new range in-house, creating a specific horizontal fixing rail to offer a terracotta façade system that is both more durable and easier to install. It has been tested and certified for enhanced resilience to impact damage, as compared to other terracotta systems, and is also certified to be Class A1 to BS EN 13501-1 non-combustible, making the system compliant for any building, including residential properties above 18m high.

The Wraptite airtightness membrane has been installed on a new highrise student accommodation project in Newcastle upon Tyne. Main contractor Opto Property Group and subcontractor Halcyon Cladding & Roofing required a Class B firerated airtightness membrane able to comply with the requirements for buildings over 18m as specified within Approved Document B: Fire Safety November 2018 and as stipulated by the NHBC. The A. Proctor Group’s Wraptite air barrier system was chosen. It offers a safer and simplified membrane system, conforms with the required Class B rating, and provides a fully selfadhered vapour permeable air barrier certified by the BBA. The membrane bonds back to the substrate, ensuring a simplified design to achieve airtightness and easy installation method. The membrane will fully bond to virtually any substrate, requiring no mechanical attachment, seals or tapes to suppress air leakage around junctions or penetrations.

■ For more information on the SureClad Terracotta Ventilated Façade System visit www.rdr.link/lh023

■ For more information on the Wraptite membrane visit www.rdr.link.lh025

■ For more information on the U Protect system visit www.rdr.link/lh022 Terracotta Ventilated Façade system introduced


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Coming up in the September issue of LABM…

LABM revisits Nottingham City Homes’ project to refurbish two 1960s tower blocks create a new extra care facility. Image ©SCOPIC Productions.

SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS & COMMUNAL BUILDINGS ● A look at how the use of rainscreen cladding materials enables architects to move away from the traditional school building and create striking, aesthetically pleasing facilities, discussing the development of the Mulberry Park Community Hub — which is also a local primary school and nursery — at the centre of a new residential development near Bath. The building features perforated gold panels with a PPC coated aluminium support frame on the school hall.

● LABM hears from the Seismic Consortium, a Government-funded research and development project to help improve the efficiency of primary school design, procurement and construction.

FIRE PROTECTION & SECURITY ● The Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations will change how we build and maintain our buildings, however we don’t have to wait, we already know most of what we should be doing. Enfield Speciality Doors offers advice.

LIGHTING, ELECTRICAL & ENERGY EFFICIENCY ● Lighting plays a big part in contributing to global warming and governments around the world are reacting to the need to reduce energy consumption. European regulations are already in full force, with many inefficient lamps already banned, with more to follow suit over the next few years. Here we consider how local authorities can reduce the carbon footprint of their properties through effective lighting design and specifying mor energyefficient solutions.

Advertisement index Aico Limited .............................................................................................(page 33) AKW Medi-Care Limited .......................................................................(page 35) Akzo Nobel- (ICI Paints) .......................................................................(page 22) BMI UK & Ireland ....................................................................................(page 54) Carrs Coatings Limited ...........................................................................(page 9) Danfoss Limited ....................................................(inside front cover gatefold) Danfoss Limited .......................................................................................(page 41) Electrical Contractors Association ......................................................(page 15) Grant Engineering (UK) Limited ..........................................................(page 39) Horne Engineering Limited .................................................................(page 29) Icynene .....................................................................................................(page 53) Intratone ....................................................................................................(page 21) James Jones & Son .................................................................................(page 7) Marmox UK Limited ...............................................................................(page 27) 5 8




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Nationwide Windows & Rev Systems Ltd .......................................(page 34) Pegler Yorkshire Group Limited .........................................................(page 43) Permarock Products Limited ...............................................................(page 48) Polypipe Civils Limited ............................................................................(page 2) Proctor Group Limited ...........................................................................(page 51) Samuel Heath & Sons ...........................................................................(page 30) Screwfix Direct ..................................................................................(back cover) Sika Limited ................................................................................................(page 8) Spirotech UK Limited .............................................................................(page 19) Step Exhibitions ...............................................................................(loose insert) Structherm Limited ..................................................................................(page 11) Swish Building Products Limited .......................................................(page 48) Wavin ........................................................................................................(page 25) Wilo (UK) Limited .....................................................................................(page 16)


Smar t energy Cheryl Hiles, Energy and Environment Sector Director at Pell Frischmann, offers advice on planning for a smart energy future. idden amongst the torrent of political activity this summer, the Government committed to halting the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. This commitment will have significant implications that the Government and planners must now work to get right. It is positive that many authorities are declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ — a powerful statement of intent. What happens next, however, will make the biggest difference. It is within this context that the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West has shone a valuable spotlight on the role of planning as a key facilitator in delivering a cornerstone of this agenda — a smart energy system. Smart energy is fundamental to decarbonising our economy cost effectively. The RTPI South West’s national research, published on 18th July 2019, drew heavily on the experience of planning professionals from local authorities — especially in the south west of England. This research recognised significant strides have been made to support lower emissions, but that the action to-date and existing planning tools only take us part of the way. The report acknowledges the important role of every planning professional in helping make the transition to a smart energy system the foundation of energy policy in the UK. It calls on the Government to recognise the need for smart energy to be at the core of planning for new homes, jobs, transport and infrastructure, and to invest in planning authorities to achieve that. There is already a legal duty and policy imperative on local planning authorities to take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, but the research found other pressures sometimes mean this is not prioritised. To overcome that we need a reinvigorated emphasis on emissions reduction and planning’s contribution.


Whole systems approach The research has shown that local planning authorities have the greatest impact when they take a whole systems approach to planning for smart energy. Local areas that successfully undertake whole system energy planning with their Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), businesses, local communities and other stakeholders can create an environment where initiatives have community support, projects are deliverable, and a positive planning environment supports the development of locally appropriate and fully integrated smart energy systems. Embedding smart energy objectives, not only throughout planning but also across a wide variety of functions of the local authority, has proved to be highly effective. Collaboration between local authority departments and with business, communities and DNOs can unlock important evidence and resources. It will also support the development of innovative business models based on smart technology. This enables viability barriers to be overcome and locally appropriate solutions to be delivered. This means local authorities have a particularly important part to play given their role in setting policies for future placemaking. To meet our Net Zero obligations by 2050, our homes, businesses, transport and energy systems all need to be completely decarbonised. Retrofitting is always more costly than designing efficiently and appropriately in the first place, so it is important that local authority planners act soon to establish what is right for their communities and plan for this now rather than risk more intrusive and more expensive action later. The RTPI ‘Planning for a Smart Energy Future’ report recommends that local planning authorities and those new combined authorities with plan-making

research has shown “thatThelocal planning authorities have the greatest impact when they take a whole systems approach to planning for smart energy.

powers, should urgently review their approach to ensure their policies and actions support smart energy as part of delivering a zero-carbon future. Technologies and infrastructure are changing rapidly but so also are the ways in which people will access energy and mobility services. This research urges the Government to consider how spatial planning can help reduce emissions and harness the business benefits that will be generated from transition to a zero-carbon economy. It makes no sense, economically, socially or environmentally, to continue to plan and deliver new homes, buildings and infrastructure today that will require costly retrofitting tomorrow.

Article written on behalf of the RTPI SW Planning for Smart Energy Project Team ■ For a copy of Planning for a Smart Energy Future visit www.rdr.link/lh026


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