Using Daylight To Create A Brighter Future

Building Products Index Ltd Steel, Windows Leave a Comment

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As winter approaches and the days shorten many people – office workers, students, home owners – look back on the long days of summer with a sense of regret. Daylight flooding into workplaces, schools, and homes has a positive impact on our daily lives, and that is not just a vague feeling, it’s a scientifically proven fact and one that architects and designers are keen to exploit.

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine went to three American scientists for their work on understanding circadian rhythms – the 24-hour cycle also known as the internal body clock. Daylight suppresses the hormone that induces sleep and the ultraviolet wavelengths in natural light have a positive effect on the body’s immune system. In other words, daylight induces wakefulness, cognitive function, productivity, general health and healing. No wonder in a recent – 2018 – survey 80 percent of UK office workers said daylight was important to them.

This, for a growing number of architects, is a clarion call for natural light to be recognised as a powerful design tool. A report by US practice HMC Architects comments: “As the importance of sustainable design grows, passive strategies like daylighting have become critical in reducing the impact of the built environment.” And they continue: “Today, we have more tools than ever to harness daylight. From innovative reflective materials to advanced computer modelling, architects are using modern technology to light buildings more efficiently. When you embrace these systems, you’ll create a brighter future.”

The most obvious component for assisting this design outcome is the window taking account, not just of its scale and positioning, but also its frame and glazing. The UK’s Building Regulations Part L1A, address the issue in an oblique manner while considering the balance between the insulation of a building and its energy demands. The Regs point out that: “Limiting the glazing on a project will increase the building’s reliance on artificial lighting, increasing the house’s energy demands.” But, conversely, “Overglazing might reduce the overall thermal insulation of a building.”

So there’s a delicate balance to be struck. A plentiful supply of natural daylight, not merely into but throughout a building, good insulation but adequate ventilation, and acoustic control all form parts of this elaborate jigsaw.

Steel window manufacturer Crittall is in a unique position to offer complete solutions to these cross-cutting issues so as to provide specifically tailored environmental conditions, whether the end result is a office complex, a university, a hospital or a home.

The hallmark of a Crittall window is the slender steel frame that is so much slimmer – and therefore admits so much more light – than the alternative window systems that use PVCu, timber or aluminium. All these alternatives require significantly larger profiles due to the basic differences in the frame material and their relative strengths. Crittall has a solution to offer whether the particular project demands a high performance, thermally broken steel system or a traditional rolled steel profile, both of which enhance the thermal performance of buildings, assisted by the windows’ excellent weathertightness and an extensive choice of glazing to control solar gain as required.

The use of such fenestration forms an important part of an architect’s passive daylighting strategy and addresses the issue of ‘collecting’ light into the building. But further options are available from Crittall to assist in the ‘distribution’ of natural light through the interior of a building. This can be achieved by incorporating Crittall Innervision® glazed interior partitioning screens, a seamless transfer of that increased level of natural daylight throughout the building reaching even the most remote working areas.

The performance of glazed interior screens can be further tailored to fine-tune levels of acoustic insulation, light transmission, thermal insulation and natural ventilation control to suit individual clients and applications.

As with its exterior windows, Crittall Innervision® screens are similarly manufactured using strong narrow steel frame and glazing bar profiles to offer maximum design flexibility without compromising the design intent.

They have been used in offices to provide acoustically separated working environments, in hotels, restaurants and homes to open-up the appearance of internal space while creating privacy and comfort without shutting out the light of day.

Passive daylighting strategies are a significant design tool for making buildings more environmentally sustainable while ensuring their occupants – whether pupil, patient, clerk, guest or resident – benefit from being inside. So, it’s time to do away with daylight robbery!

HEWI Solutions: Hand disinfection in the entrance area

Building Products Index Ltd sanitary accessories Leave a Comment

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The first impression counts: Hygiene is becoming increasingly important in people’s consciousness. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are affecting many areas of daily life. Companies, hotels and institutions are faced with the challenge of enabling customers, guests, patients and visitors to disinfect their hands in the entrance area. Discover our mobile disinfection dispenser column for active infection protection – where you need it.

 

HYGIENE WITH STYLE: THE NEW DISINFECTANT DISPENSER FROM HEWI

The new disinfectant dispenser column from HEWI meets the increased hygiene requirements in public and highly frequented areas. The mobile solution for hand disinfection increases hygiene in entrance areas of healthcare buildings, public buildings and the catering and hotel industry.

With the disinfectant dispenser column, HEWI offers design options and enables aesthetic implementation of hygiene measures in entrance areas and lobbies. The design line is available in stainless steel and powder-coated surfaces with a deep matt finish in white, grey tones or black.

DISINFECTION STAND STANDING

There are two functional dispenser variants to choose from: In the sensoric version, the sensor dispenser can be used without contact and is equipped with a drip tray. Thanks to a reinforced base, the column offers optimum stability for hand disinfection in the entrance area even with the manually operated dispenser version.

SYSTEM COMPETENCE – HYGIENE CONCEPT WITH COORDINATED DESIGN

The standing version of the disinfectant dispenser can be combined with other sanitary solutions. Soap and disinfectant dispensers, paper towel dispensers and waste bins are available in the respective design language.

 

More informations: https://www.hewi.com/en/sanitary/dispenser-systems

Newton and Axter Partner to Combine Waterproofing Expertise

Building Products Index Ltd waterproofing Leave a Comment

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Newton Waterproofing Systems and Axter Limited are proud to announce their UK waterproofing partnership. The two companies will be combining their expertise in basement waterproofing and podium deck and roof waterproofing in order to provide excellence to all customers.

The partnership will help to bridge the interface design and liability gap between above and below ground waterproofing; two disciplines that are typically seen on most concrete frame podiums.

Axter are a global roof waterproofing designer and manufacturer with vast expertise in both the new-build and refurbishment flat roof sectors. For more than 30 years they have been delivering excellence to their customers, reshaping roof waterproofing and sustainable roof design.

“Axter are proud to be a design partner of Newton, closing the design and guarantee link between below and above ground waterproof detailing. We’ve been working collaboratively on a series of tried and tested compatible interface details ranging from pile caps to property lines and upstand details, amongst others, in order to eliminate the design risk for architects and specifiers, and to ensure a guaranteed solution that does not leak.” – Michael Anaxagorou, Sales Director, Axter Ltd.

If you have a project that includes below-ground structural waterproofing and above-ground roof waterproofing, you can get in touch with the Newton and Axter technical teams by calling us on 01732 280640 or emailing tech@newtonwaterproofing.co.uk.

Introducing SMARTPLY MAX FR B

Building Products Index Ltd MDF Panels, Panels Leave a Comment

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MEDITE SMARTPLY has now launched SMARTPLY MAX FR B, the brand new Euroclass B OSB3, a market innovation bringing increased safety and reliability to an industry contingent on safety and predictability.

SMARTPLY MAX FR B is the first Euroclass B board—the maximum Euroclass rating for a timber panel—manufactured in the UK and Ireland to feature wood flakes treated with flame retardant solution before pressing. This ensures its flame retardance is integral and maintains its structural integrity, unlike many post-treated alternatives, making it the safer choice for use within timber frame construction, or projects that will require a large amount of timber product.

“We are extremely excited to introduce SMARTPLY MAX FR B to the marketplace, expanding our already extensive SMARTPLY OSB range,” comments Richard Allen, Sales Director at MEDITE SMARTPLY.

“In SMARTPLY MAX FR B, customers can expect all the fantastic benefits of a SMARTPLY OSB board, with the addition of ZeroIgnition® solution, a water based and environmentally friendly flame retardant which is added during panel production.

“This is a solution that has potential in a huge range of applications and industries, encompassing many modern methods of construction such as offsite and timber frame construction, light gauge steel and modular construction systems, as well as temporary structures.

“Whatever the sector, all customers can rest assured that this board’s flame retardance will hold to Euroclass B standard, even when cut to size, which makes it different to other FR boards out there.”

Manufactured using advanced resin technology that results in a high performance, no added formaldehyde panel, SMARTPLY MAX FR B can help specifying architects, contractors and fabricators contribute to the creation of safer, healthier environments.

This includes not only the built environments actively created but the natural environments left behind: SMARTPLY MAX FR B is sustainably produced using timber from sustainably managed Irish forests.

“At MEDITE SMARTPLY, we want to support a safer, wider future for timber buildings, that will enable the wider construction industry to work more sustainably and more efficiently, truly building for the future. This has been one of our main motivations in developing SMARTPLY MAX FR B.”

SMARTPLY MAX FR B also complies with the performance requirements in the Structural Timber Association’s (or the STA’s) FR BUILD “Design guide to separating distances during construction” for timber frame buildings above 600m² total floor area. We refer to this product as SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD within our range.

SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD can be used in a timber frame building when mitigation measures are required due to the distance from neighbouring buildings. There are wall and floor systems outlined within the guide which give points towards the overall building, this satisfies any mitigation that may be required. Please refer to the STA guide for more information.

Finally, SMARTPLY MAX FR B meets with the requirements of European Standards EN 300 and EN 13986, while also complying with the European reaction to fire class B-s2,d0 and Bfl-s1. Boards can be manufactured in largescale formats of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long, making it ideal for offsite manufacturing, alongside traditional building.

For more information of the new SMARTPLY MAX FR B, visit: mdfosb.com/en/smartply/products/smartply-max-fr-b

Staying Dry

Building Products Index Ltd Filler Leave a Comment

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Toupret’s HUMI-BLOCK solves a perennial problem for those who need to repair damp-damaged surfaces during restoration or remedial work. This highly effective damp-proof skimming filler provides a breathable barrier that blocks water penetration while still allowing water vapour to pass through substrates. It is a much-needed, reliable solution that resolves an all-too-common issue in repairs and maintenance work.

HUMI-BLOCK’s breathability helps to avoid replacing simple damp or flooding problems with condensation and mould issues. The professional grade damp-proof filler draws on Toupret’s 80-years-plus of industry experience, is easy to apply and has been specially developed for use on substrates that have suffered from damp, flooding or water ingress. This makes it ideal for flood-damaged basements, as well as cellars or garages above the water line.

This expertly formulated filler is easy to apply on damp or dry raw masonry or brickwork that is otherwise clean, sound, cohesive and hard. It can be applied as a skim coat and, additionally, to fill holes and cracks locally up to 1cm. HUMI-BLOCK can be applied to dry or damp substrates, allowing trades to get to work on water damaged areas far more quickly once they are stripped back to the brickwork. This means faster completion and decoration, which equals saved time and costs.

Once applied, HUMI-BLOCK can be coated with any water vapour permeable paint or system, including Toupret products such as Joint, Skim & Fill, Airspray or Decorator’s Skimcoat. There is no need to seal HUMI-BLOCK after applying it, because it will do the job of blocking inward damp penetration and the unwanted effects that can have, such as bubbling, flaking or crumbling substrates or finishes.

HUMI-BLOCK has a working time of up to four-hours and can be applied with a brush or trowel. It comes in 6kg handy-sized bags for smaller projects, or 20kg bags for larger jobs or heavy users. The product promotes maximum adhesion of coatings and finishes and is classified for water vapour permeability standards: V1 for EN ISO 7783-2 and W3 for EN ISO 1062-3.

As always, the experts from Toupret can provide on-site guidance or demonstrations for this product, as well as bespoke training from our technical team. HUMI-BLOCK and the rest of the Toupret range are widely available from leading building and decorators’ merchants across the UK.

 

For further information on HUMI-BLOCK and the whole Toupret fillers range, see www.toupret.co.uk.

Crossrail systemwide contractor ATC reaches for new heights with the help of Bilco UK

Building Products Index Ltd access solutions Leave a Comment

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With the new Elizabeth line set to deliver a 10% increase in rail capacity across central London, the project will provide a high frequency service that reduces journey times and creates new travel opportunities by linking 41 stations across 100 kilometres.

As part of the landmark construction project, over 42 kilometres of new tunnels, 50 kilometres of new track and 10 new stations are being developed in conjunction with major upgrades to the existing infrastructure.

Throughout the construction stages of the central section, which spans from Westbourne Park to Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane, over 350 of Bilco UK’s innovative aluminium Ladder Up® Safety Posts have been specified by Crossrail’s systemwide contractor Alstom TSO Costain Joint Venture (ATC Systemwide) to provide safe and secure access.

Weighing just seven kilograms due to the milled aluminium construction, the resilient Ladder Up® Safety Posts will provide engineers with unobstructed access to the walkways when conducting essential maintenance throughout the tunnels, once the line is operational.

Once fully open, the Elizabeth line will provide an additional 1.5 million people with access to central London within 45 minutes, covering Reading and Heathrow in the West, right through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East.

The specification process, managed by Construction & Rail Contractors McNealy Brown, focused on the requirement for durable yet functional access solutions that would consistently provide a safe and direct step through onto the walkway, without impacting on the surrounding electrical services.

The unique and high quality construction of the Ladder Up® Safety Post fulfilled each requirement of the brief. This includes features such as the innovative telescopic post, which mounts permanently to the top two rungs of any fixed ladder to provide a secure handhold that enables the user to enter or exit the opening in an upright and balanced position.

Clive Burfoot, Contract Manager at McNealy Brown, said: “When we first began researching potential access solutions for the Crossrail project’s central section, it became clear quite quickly that the Bilco UK Ladder Up® Safety Post was the only product available on the UK market that would fulfil our extensive list of requirements.

“The telescopic extension was one of the main benefits that secured its specification for this project, as it enables the Ladder Up® safety post to be both retracted and extended, a key function that wasn’t available with any other access solution.”

Each ladder has been installed with two Ladder Up® Safety Posts, which are located on either side of the ladder to provide the direct step through onto the walkway for increased safety and efficiency.

The installation process, which has been managed by ATC Systemwide, will provide secure access throughout all essential areas of the central section, including at either end of every station and at additional strategic locations.

Vimesshen Ravindran, Senior Mechanical Engineer at ATC Systemwide, said: “The lightweight construction of the Ladder Up® Safety Posts ensured the installation process was quick and easy, resulting in no unforeseen issues on site. When the system retracts, the high quality spring-balance and convenient lever release provides a controlled means of lowering into its retracted position. This delivers enhanced ease of operation, ensuring long term suitability and usability for the engineers when undertaking future maintenance tasks.

“The Ladder Up® Safety Posts will play an essential role in ensuring the central section of the Elizabeth line continues to run at the highest standard, so it was crucial we specified access solutions that would facilitate the continued maintenance of the line, safely and efficiently.”

The telescopic tubular section automatically locks when fully extended, while the adjustable mounting hardware accommodates any ladder rung size or spacing. The corrosion resistant construction can also withstand the demanding environment of the London underground system, ensuring its successful operation for years to come.

Darren Waters, Managing Director of Bilco UK, said: “We are extremely proud to have been involved in the UK’s high profile Crossrail infrastructure project and have worked closely with McNealy Brown and ATC Systemwide throughout every stage of the specification and installation stages.

“This has ensured our unique Ladder Up® Safety Posts have fulfilled each individual requirement of the central section of the Elizabeth line, from security and ease of usability, right through to long term durability. We look forward to seeing the completion of the Crossrail project as our innovative access solutions play a vital role in ensuring its safe and successful operation.”

Aiming to make travelling throughout the capital easier, quicker and less crowded for passengers, the Elizabeth line will not only reduce the strain on London’s transport network but transform the way passengers experience and interact with the city and its suburbs.

For further information on Bilco UK’s complete range of roof access solutions, visit www.bilcouk.co.uk or call 01284 701696.

Supporting the Greenprint, a vision for a fairer, more sustainable UK.

Building Products Index Ltd Green Roofing, Roofing Leave a Comment

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Mark Harris, Head of Technical at Radmat Building Products and Chair of the Green Roof Organisation outlines the companies’ support for Hubbub’s Greenprint and the drive to ensure no roof is unused.

Radmat Building Products have joined forces with The Green Roof Organisation (GRO) and National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) in support of Hubbub’s Greenprint, a 10-point policy plan that is asking the Government to support 5 key themes which, if adopted, would contribute to a green recovery and reduce inequality in communities across the country.

Radmat will be joining GRO in the specific support of the Changing the way we use space theme, and specifically the policy of Ensure no roof is unused.  This policy aims to drive the use of green roofs, using neglected roof spaces by covering them with plants and vegetation, which bring a number of excellent benefits for both the home and environment. Government backed small grants to help businesses and households green their roofs with plants and mosses and wherever possible combine with solar panels would help transform urban centres, by increasing their biodiversity and building resilience to climate change.

To highlight this policy, and launch the 2021 Green Roof Code of Practice, GRO and Hubbub are looking for a location in Manchester where green roofs can be installed to highlight the benefits to the local community, businesses and Government.  The project could include accessible green roofs, a roof level market garden, a biodiverse wildflower meadow for butterflies, bees and insects and possibly a convalescence garden.

The project will also aim to engage and empower the local community to take ownership of their green roofs through local partnerships and multiple volunteering opportunities for Manchester residents. This will help build and sustain capacity in the sector and local area, support job creation and retention, as well as develop skills in the green roof sector, including teaching installation and maintenance. Local schools and universities will be encouraged to use the green roof spaces as part of primary, secondary and tertiary education in a variety of subjects including geography, art, mathematics, environmental studies etc.

Hubbub is an award-winning charity and social enterprise that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment – disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems. Their aim is to revolutionise communications with the public about environmental issues – using everyday language and good design to make environmental actions desirable and tapping into things people are passionate about such as food, fashion, homes and neighbourhoods. This innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.

Hubbub’s Greenprint is seeking to change the way we:

  1. Live, by creating greener homes and connecting our communities.
  2. Eat, by creating ‘Community Food Hubs’ and introducing mandatory reporting on food waste by major food companies.
  3. Travel, by creating ‘Community Cycling Hubs’ and helping consumers make the switch to electric vehicles.
  4. Use Space, by ensuring no roof is unused and creating on-the-go recycling in green spaces.
  5. Dress and shop, by supporting textile innovators and introducing a single-use clothes levy.

Coo-Var now offering free online product training!

Building Products Index Ltd Paint Leave a Comment

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Instagram post Online Product TrainingCoo-Var are pleased to announce they are now providing online product training for everyone!

Coo-Var have a solution for every painting problem, from difficult floors, adhesion issues, applying two pack paints, priming and much more. Whether you need training on a specific product, group training or interested in knowing more about Coo-Var’s range we are here to help guide you.

The technical team are also available for tailored specifications and on hand to help with recommended applications.

Coo-Var’s product training packages include:

– Floor, sport and line marking paints
– Safety paints
– Varnishes & Oils
– Specialist Paints
– High-performance Paints
– Hammercote & paints for metal
– Specialist Primers
– CPDs

Coo-Var also provide training suited to your specific technical & specification requirements. As always, our technical services team are happy to help and can be reached on 01482 328053 or email info@coo-var.co.uk.

You can book training via the website visit https://www.coo-var.co.uk/book-product-trainingcpd

Follow us on twitter, Facebook & Instagram for regular updates.

 

Stannah Passenger Lifts For Hospice Extension

Building Products Index Ltd Lift Leave a Comment

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Stannah continues to support the local community with the installation of a bumper-size passenger lift in a brand new 2-storey extension to the Countess of Brecknock Hospice, a palliative care facility located within Andover War Memorial Hospital.

This is the second passenger lift installed in the hospice, with the first model delivering an equally efficient service in the original premises.

Time moves on. In 2020 we launch our latest passenger lift range under our well-known and much-loved names, with new technical features and improved car design.

CHALLENGE

To supply, install and maintain a passenger lift in the new extension to the Countess of Brecknock Hospice

Case study

Located within Andover War Memorial Hospital, the Countess of Brecknock Hospice is a specialist palliative care facility that opened in 1990. A Stannah passenger lift already operates in the main complex.

In 2019, a brand-new extension was completed to increase hospice’s care capability. To provide easy transportation around the 2-storey building, Stannah was once again the lift company of choice to supply, install and maintain a 33-person passenger lift.

The new lift delivers safe, efficient movement of patients, staff, visitors and equipment, including beds.

As the hospice is dear to many Andover-based Stannah employees for providing respite care to loved ones, the Stannah Group, which is active in the local community, funded a significant proportion of the new lift installation.

CLIENT: Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

PROJECT COST: £4.2 million

LIFT TYPE: A 33-person (2500kg), traction-drive passenger lift

CONTRACTOR: Amiri Construction, Fareham, Hampshire

ARCHITECT: Morse Webb Architects, Tadley, Hampshire

THE STANNAH SOLUTION

Stannah supplied and installed a traction-drive, 33-person, 2500kg-capacity passenger lift to deliver safe and comfortable movement of people of all mobility levels, including patients in beds or multiple wheelchair users, between the two floors of facilities

We delivered on every aspect of the project, from initial consultation through to project completion and 24/7, 365-day aftercare by Stannah Lift Services.

About the Stannah passenger lift

RS26398_Countess_of_Brecknock_008The lift car—interior design

Designed to complement the unit’s gentle, harmonious palette of pale grey walls and natural wood flooring, the lift enhances the safe, welcoming ambience.

Finished inside and out in robust satin stainless steel it is designed to take the knocks of daily use, and two floor-level bumper rails add an extra protective layer to the already resilient lift specification.

RS26409_Countess_of_Brecknock_019Safety

Intermediate support is provided by handrails to three-car sides. These assist user-safety and the manoeuvrability of cumbersome equipment, as does the anti-slip, black-sparkle PVC floor.

The autodialler (emergency phone) is pre-programmed to directly transfer any alerts to the dedicated telephone line in case of an emergency.

Compliance

The lift is designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of BS EN 81-73: 2020 Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts, and fulfils the specifications of the Health Technical Memorandum on lifts.

It also helps the hospice’s owners meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

RS26520_Countess_of_Brecknock_038Operational features

With small tendency vibrations and low-level noise emissions, the traction drive ensures that this heavy-duty lift delivers a smooth, quiet ride.

A key preference switch allows trained staff to override lift calls whilst the elevator is being used.

The two-panel, side-opening doors measure 1400mm x 2000mm and provide easy access for everyone involved.

The passenger lift was specified by Dominic Morse, Director at Morse Webb Architects, a RIBA Chartered practice operating throughout London and the Home Counties, comments:

​​​​“We targeted Stannah for the supply, installation and maintenance of a bumper-sized passenger lift as the Stannah Group is local to the project and so supportive and generous towards the Countess of  Brecknock Hospice. They are a Class 1 leading healthcare lift provider and delivered a seamless service from start to finish. Their ongoing lift maintenance package is integral to this service and   ensures that the lift operates reliably for many years to come.”

Support and maintenance

Stannah is a family-run company with total in-house expertise and a pedigree spanning over 150 years at the forefront of the UK lift industry.

This means that the Countess of Brecknock Hospice has the reassuring weight of a long-established, single-source lift company to keep their lifts working at peak performance.

As with all Stannah lift products, the new passenger lift is covered by Stannah’s comprehensive lift service plan. This includes 12 service visits in the first year, with continued lift maintenance by the South West England and Southern England branch of Stannah Lift Services. This forms part of our nationwide network providing comprehensive lift servicing and support.

RESULT

A fully accessible, user-friendly new extension to the Countess of Brecknock Hospice, all thanks to the new Stannah passenger lift. And a delighted client, as Michele Gard, Director of the Hospice Charitable Trust, comments:

“Stannah and its employees have been generous supporters of the hospice throughout its 30-year history. They provided the lift in the original building and now the new Stannah lift in our new hospice extension will ensure patients can be easily and comfortably transported between floors. We are so grateful for the support of Stannah – a local company helping the Countess of Brecknock Hospice to provide care for local people.”

WHY WORK WITH STANNAH?

The Stannah Promise

Stannah assures you that the team will do everything it can to live up to the family name and offer you the best products supported by a first-class service.

Our promise to you—“We are always true to our word”—is fundamental to how we operate as a group.

We guarantee safety at all times, we’re easy to work with, offer flexibility and expertise and always strive for the highest standards.

 

AIRCRETE AND THE MMC AGENDA

Building Products Index Ltd Blocks, Concrete Leave a Comment

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Photography Tim Crocker

The fundamentals of aircrete as a material have not changed since it was introduced into the UK market over sixty years ago. However, it has proved its worth over time and now makes a strong case for inclusion as a Modern Method of Construction (MMC).

It is hardly a secret that since the publication of the dramatic “Modernise or Die” white paper in 2016, government focus has sharpened on the need to support methods of housebuilding that are faster and higher performance.

Much of the debate on the subject focuses on factory-build modular homes, but in fact the definition of MMC is much broader and there is certainly nothing to dictate which materials or method are preferable.

I-housesThe MCHLG definition makes it clear that it is focused on objectives and is not trying to be prescriptive as to what products or methods are used to achieve them.

Aircrete remains the preferred material for most UK housebuilders. Combining strength with inherent thermal efficiency, aircrete blocks are also easy to use on site and, most importantly, provide the flexibility that housebuilders need when planning their sites. The speed of build can be increased or slowed in reaction to demand or to weather conditions.

Elements installationStandard aircrete blocks with traditional cementitious mortar are typically used for cavity wall construction. Repeated performance testing demonstrates that such wall constructions are easily able to meet the U-Value requirements of current building regulations and the uplift anticipated when the revised Approved Document L is published.

Where increased airtightness is the objective, the highest performance levels can be achieved with Thin-Joint construction – which has been the preferred choice for various low carbon and Passivhaus certified developments.

The ultra-thin joint which gives the system its name is not only airtight, but also, having a much faster curing time, allows for increased speed of build. With higher tolerances, the method also supports a more accurate build. Both these characteristics contribute to the system being acknowledged as a Modern Method of Construction.

Aircrete with handsawWhere a more system-based approach is required – particularly for larger developments of standard house types for affordable or build-to-rent markets – H+H has developed an entirely different solution.

Based on Celcon Elements: story-high panels of aircrete, the I-House system was developed in partnership with Roof Space Limited. The concept was to develop a housebuilding system, based on aircrete, that allowed the entire structure of a house to be built on site within a week.

Celcon ElementsCelcon Elements provide the walls which are simply craned into place onto pre-prepared foundations. Prefabricated timber first floors and prefabricated roofs complete the structure and the package is finished with exterior insulation. Within a week there is a watertight shell, ready for interior trades to move on site and exterior finishes such as masonry to be applied simultaneously.

Recognised on introduction in 2017 with a Housebuilder award, the I-house system has also been supported with both BPOAS and NHBC warranties and is rapidly gaining ground as an advanced Modern Method of Construction.

For more information on aircrete and on the range of building solutions provided by H+H, visit www.hhcelcon.co.uk.