Kemperol protects Liverpool’s Royal Liver Building

Part of Liverpool’s UNESCO designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City, the Grade I listed Royal Liver Building is one of the city’s ‘Three Graces’ and an iconic waterfront landmark.

The building’s imposing façades are crowned by a cupola in each corner, each forming the roof of a feature boardroom office below. The huge clock towers either side of the building mirror this pattern, with a ‘mini’ cupola on each of their four corners. All 12 cupolas direct the eye upwards to the summit of the building where a verdigris Liver Bird perches eternally on each of the final, central cupolas.

With Cunard, one of Liverpool’s greatest companies, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, it was time to refurbish the distinctive cupolas of one of its most famous buildings in the world in time for a celebratory flotilla. Kemper System’s 1K-PUR cold liquid-applied waterproofing system was selected to complete the challenging scheme.

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The cupolas are of concrete construction and have been protected by various waterproofing systems over the years but water ingress was becoming an issue and in some areas the concrete was failing and had to be repaired to return the surface to its original domed shape.

Roofing contractor, K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd were appointed by main contractor Quadriga Ltd, specialist restoration contractors, to carry out the challenging task of working at height on the roofs in an exposed waterfront location.

Comments Neilan Symondson from Pendlebury: “Scaffolding was erected on a small area of the roof at a time and an upgrade to localised areas of the roof beneath each cupola, along with a larger stretch on the Strand elevation, was incorporated into the scheme to capitalise on the accessibility we had to those locations while the scaffolding was in place.

“For these areas, we installed an inverted insulated roof build up, using Kemper System’s V210 cold applied waterproofing system to waterproof the substrate, followed by insulation and then paving.

“The Kemperol 1K-PUR we used for the cupolas works in the same way, with a combination of liquid resin and reinforcement fleece, but it is much more viscous than the Kemperol V210, making it more suitable for the cupolas’ vertical surfaces.”

SpeKemper2cialist Approach

Pendlebury selected the Kemperol 1K-PUR systems following trials carried out prior to commencing the project to ascertain the best approach to delivering the project with the level of finish required by the building’s management company, CBRE, and English Heritage while managing the time constraints of the project.

The challenging weather conditions of the building’s waterfront location and the need to identify a system that was suitable for the varying surfaces on and around the cupolas also influenced the specification. The method of fleece application and ease of use of the Kemperol system was ideally suited to meeting these criteria on a scheme that involved working up to 14 storeys high.

The installation team began the restoration of each cupola by repairing each concrete structure using Kemper System’s primer mixed with quartz sand to make a mortar that could be used to build up the eroded areas.

The large cupolas have a two metre high vertical surface before the structure starts to curve and gradually become flat over the top. Pendlebury used a combination of Kemper System’s EP5 primer and quartz sand to create a key on the substrate before applying the liquid Kemperol 1K-PUR resin with brushes and rollers. Kemper System’s 120g reinforcement fleece, cut to size and shape on site, was then laid onto the wet resin. Finally, further resin was immediately applied over the top to allow complete saturation of the reinforcement fleece in a single wet-on-wet process to provide a totally seamless, monolithic membrane.

For the larger cupolas, the scheme also involved scroll features and termination details and the installation team also painstaking applied the system around the solid granite mini scroll features that surround each of the smaller cupolas.

CBRE’s Simon Hepple adds: “In terms of surface area, the Royal Liver Building scheme was not large but is was extremely challenging and required both a specialist approach and careful product selection.

“Kemper System’s Kemperol 1K-PUR was ideal for this unusual project.”


This article appeared as the cover story for the July/August 2015 issue of Building & Facilities Management.



Offices of Distinction


Falling within the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington, Sloane Street is internationally recognised as one of London’s best addresses, famed for its luxury stores, chic shopping and rarefied property market.

Under the stewardship of the Cadogan Estate, Charles “Sloane” 1st Earl Cadogan, sold a development lease to architect and builder Henry Holland. Holland laid out the street plan for the area encompassing Sloane Street, Sloane Square and Hans Place – to be known for half a century as “Hans Town”.

In the early 1800’s Jane Austen moved to No. 64 Sloane Street to be with her brother and literary agent, Henry. It was here that she wrote “Sense and Sensibility”. This magnificent six storey property, along with its neighbour No.65 has been refurbished, and now provides office accommodation to the very highest modern standards.

Selectaglaze secondary glazing was chosen as an ideal solution to provide high levels of acoustic and thermal insulation, leading to a more comfortable and peaceful environment. Selectaglaze’s wide product range allowed sympathetic designs for a variety of window styles, including gently curving bays and arched headed frames.

A total of 95 windows were treated mostly with hinged and sliding systems, all with a white powder painted finish to match the interior décor. Toughened safety glass with a low emissivity coating provides very high insulation levels. All frames are bespoke manufactured and individually site measured to ensure the closest fit and optimum sealing.

Founded in 1966, Royal Warrant holder Selectaglaze is a specialist in the application of secondary glazing within buildings of all styles. Products are tested and assessed for performance. An extensive range of literature and guidance notes covering acoustics, thermal performance and security is available together with a technical advisory service and a RIBA approved CPD Seminar.

For further information, please contact the Marketing Department on 01727 837271; email or visit the website at:


capFIX – a guaranteed solution to de-bonding issues

Gemini Adhesives has launched a unique solution to the common problem of capping or skirting de-bonding issues. A brand of Gemini Adhesives, capFIX is a proven system which has the benefit of a full written adhesion guarantee. It is particularly suitable for facilities that require a safe, germ-free environment such as hospitals, nursing homes or surgeries.

De-bonding of capping or skirting is a recurring dilemma. Simply re-applying adhesive doesn’t work, as chemicals from the original capping or skirting have leached out and contaminated both the adhesive and the wall itself, rendering the surfaces unsuitable for re-gluing.

Bacteria can also build up behind the de-bonded capping causing a potential health hazard. Tests were carried out at a leading London hospital where swabs were taken from the flooring in front of the skirting/capping and then from between the wall and the capping were it had de-bonded. The swabs were then independently analysed by Microsearch Laboratories of Halifax.

The results of these tests clearly demonstrate the scale of the predicament. The level of bacteria from swabs taken between the wall and the capping were over 110 times higher than those taken from the flooring in front of the skirting and the capping.

capFIX provides a complete solution to these problems. Following an initial free site survey, any existing capping or skirting is removed, walls are sealed with a special stabilising solution and then phthalate and carbon black free capping and skirting is fitted. This repair provides a permanent, germ-free bond which comes with a written adhesion guarantee.

Mark Grant, director of Derbyshire Flooring Ltd, deals with de-bonding issues on a daily basis. He comments, “My company contracts to the NHS and carries out a lot of remedial work.

“Over the years I have received constant call outs to capping strips and skirtings de-bonding and it seemed that no matter which method I used to re-bond them, they de-bonded again in no time at all.

“Gemini approached me with the capFIX solution and explained exactly how the system works. To be honest, initially I was sceptical about it. The results, however, have been impressive. It has stood the test of time and I can now say that capFIX has proved to be a successful long-term solution for de-bonding issues.”


Tel: Freephone 0800 313 4181   Email:



Leading Foundation Trust chooses Yorkon off-site solution


Frimley Park Hospital chose a Yorkon off-site building solution from the Portakabin Group for a new 34-bed emergency care ward to help address the increased pressure on health services particularly during peak periods.

The two-storey ward building which provides beds for critical and elderly care was handed over after just four months on site. The use of off-site construction ensured any disruption to the hospital was kept to an absolute minimum and radically reduced the programme time to allow earlier occupation to the benefit of the local community.

Frimley Park Hospital, part of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, was the first hospital in the UK to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. It serves around 400,000 local people in Surrey, Hampshire and East Berkshire and has experienced significant increases in GP referrals and emergency medical admissions.

The new ward building has expanded capacity and was manufactured and partially fitted out off site in York which cut the programme time by around half compared to site-based building methods.

Commenting on the use of a Yorkon off-site solution, Greg Hinde, Capital Project Manager at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said, “Speed was the principal driver for choosing modular building for this scheme. Site-based construction just would not have enabled us to have the building up and running as quickly. The new wards have been well received by staff and patients. We think the design of the work stations within the bed-bay areas works particularly well and facilitates patient contact. The overall design and layout is very open and spacious, and provides a fantastic environment for patient care and for staff to work in.”

“The team at the Portakabin Group was great to work with and we would not hesitate to recommend this approach to other trusts needing to expand capacity, quickly and cost effectively.”

Simon Ambler, Director of the Portakabin Group, said, “The pressure on health services and particularly on emergency care units continues to rise year on year. As a result, we are seeing increased demand for a range of healthcare buildings – wards, theatres and diagnostic facilities, which are being strategically planned by trusts anticipating their needs for the coming winter months and peak periods.”

“These buildings are complex, specialist and highly serviced facilities required to expand capacity on typically extremely constrained hospital sites. These requirements are increasingly being met using off-site solutions – in up to half the time of site-based building methods, with much less disruption to patient care, greater certainty of completion on budget and on programme, and to stringent quality and NHS standards.”

Facilities in the new building at Frimley Park Hospital include single en-suite rooms and six to nine-bed wards, clean and dirty utilities, kitchenettes, staff rooms, offices and stores. Externally it was finished in light grey with a dark grey trim and it has a flush, column-free façade.

The use of an off-site solution for this ward building also helped to address the site challenges. This was a highly restricted, sloping site in close proximity to other hospital facilities which had to remain in use throughout the construction programme. A retaining wall was constructed as the site sits lower than the adjacent road – and this blue light route had to have access for emergency vehicles maintained at all times.

The pre-installed Yorkon concrete floor system was specified throughout the building for a robust and high performance finish. The new wards are linked to an existing ward building at both ground and first floor levels which required precision engineering of the steel-framed modules.

The Portakabin Group has an extensive track record in the healthcare sector, having completed a wide variety of bespoke building projects using Yorkon off-site solutions, including ward extensions, self-contained theatre blocks, emergency care units, haemodialysis centres, offices, community clinics, and complete hospitals, delivering all the advantages of off-site construction.

For further information about Yorkon off-site building solutions for hospitals and clinics, call 0845 2000 123, email or visit


Johnstone’s Helps Restore Georgian Property

The heritage qualities of Johnstone’s Trade’s Flat Matt coupled with Johnstone’s colour expertise have been instrumental in the refurbishment of an 18th century property in Yorkshire.

Fenay Lodge, a Grade II Listed home on the outskirts of Huddersfield, had been left damaged after a serious roof leak, which required a comprehensive redecoration of its hall, stairs and landing.

In order to remain faithful to the property’s heritage, the owners sent samples of the existing paint colours to Johnstone’s colour advisory department, PPG Extra, to try and identify a colour scheme befitting of the building’s history. Johnstone’s advised that the mid-late Georgian period was characterised by toned down and muted colours such as sage green, blue grey, soft greys and stone colours and that a dead matt finish was also typical of the era, making Johnstone’s Flat Matt, which can be tinted to over 16,000 colours, the ideal product choice.

To prepare the walls, several layers of previously applied wallpaper had to be stripped away leaving just its original plasterwork. Johnstone’s Stain Block Primer was then used to prevent any stains left by the water from bleeding through the paint film.

The muted pale stone grey and green-grey colours the homeowners selected, were both specially mixed for the project using Johnstone’s advanced colour tinting system and were contrasted with woodwork painted in white Acrylic Satin from Johnstone’s Ecological range. To provide linear contrast and to highlight the elegance of the cantilever staircase, the bannister rail was stripped down and painted black in Johnstone’s Quick Dry Opaque Wood Finish.

The property’s owner said: “We put a lot of faith in Johnstone’s products being able to restore the area to how it may well have looked over 200 years ago and of course, to remove any trace of water damage and they didn’t disappoint. From the advice we received about the colours and finishes that typified the Georgian period, the service we received at our local Johnstone’s Decorating Centre, to the outstanding finish delivered by the products, the entire process was exceptionally smooth.

“Johnstone’s identified colours to match original samples and mixed to a near exact match and the dead matt finish provided exactly the period look that we were after. We’d have no hesitations in recommending Johnstone’s products to anyone else in the future.”

Johnstone’s Trade celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. To find out what it’s got in store please visit


Portakabin Group wins Best Employer at Apprenticeship Awards

The Portakabin Group, the UK’s leading modular building specialist, has won the Large Employer of the Year category at the York Apprenticeship Awards.

These awards celebrate employers’ outstanding commitment to apprenticeships and demonstrate the real benefits the scheme can bring both to young people and to businesses.

In addition to the corporate award, Jordan Bean, a Portakabin Engineering Manufacturing Apprentice, was runner up for the York Apprentice of the Year Award in the 16-24 age category.

In the past three years, the Portakabin Group has increased its recruitment of apprentices from one to more than 30 and has plans in place to significantly expand the initiative over the next two years with a view to creating a ‘Portakabin Group Academy’.

Apprentices range from joiners, electricians, plumbers, painters, a fabricator/welder and wood machinist to trainee project managers, a CAD design specialist and a draughtsperson.

Young people have been placed across the business – at the Group’s international headquarters and manufacturing centre in York, in its Hire Division, at East Yorkshire-based Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, and in its Scottish operations. The Group also now holds its own annual ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards.

Commenting on the initiatives, Derek Carter, Chief Executive of the Portakabin Group, said, “Our experience has shown that young people bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm into the business which can really invigorate a workforce. Apprentices are constantly learning new techniques and the latest skills which they pass onto their colleagues. This approach fits really well into our commitment to encouraging innovation, fresh thinking, and creative solutions that help to reinforce our position as the UK’s market leader in modular and off-site construction.”

“The apprenticeship scheme provides us with a consistent pool of talented individuals who benefit from first-hand experience within our business and relevant qualifications to help their personal development and maximise their potential. The quality of our workforce is fundamental to the long-term success of our business and all our trainees, whether apprentices or graduates, play a vital role in ensuring we continue to achieve our aspirations and growth.”

“Apprenticeships are valued at the highest level within the Group and give us the opportunity to work with the local community and training providers, and to contribute to young people’s education. We will continue to invest in the scheme and would strongly encourage other employers, large and small, to embrace the benefits.”

In the last year, the Portakabin Group has received a number of national and regional awards and accolades in recognition of its commitment to social responsibility, community initiatives and the environment, including a Gold Award in the Business in the Community Environment Index, a Zero Waste Platinum Award, and York’s Think Green Business of the Year.

The Portakabin Group has the resources to deliver both bespoke buildings and standardised accommodation solutions to organisations in the public and private sectors, in the most challenging timescales, on almost any site, with less disruption, and less impact on the environment. Applications for Portakabin modular solutions are diverse and include open plan office accommodation, hospitals and health centres, security buildings, teaching blocks and even complete schools, for both interim and permanent uses.

For further information about modular building solutions for permanent and interim applications, visit, email or call 0845 401 0010.


Ecophon acoustic ceilings go completely green

Ecophon has converted its entire range of acoustic solutions to a plant-based binder, taking 24,000 barrels of crude oil out of the production per annum and reducing emissions accordingly. By using the new plant-based binder across their product families Ecophon is now also able to introduce guaranteed recycling of all products manufactured from 3rd generation glasswool.

 “Our ambition is to have a sound effect on people, in everything we do. To do this we always strive to stay ahead of market and regulatory demands,” said Will Jones from Ecophon. “The plant-based binder is a major development. Anybody on the lookout for green acoustic solutions no longer has to hunt for particular products, they can just turn to us.

“We give great detail to detail, so we’ve spent some time investigating that the plant-based binder would actually deliver regarding functional quality and acoustic values. It was also important that our products as a whole, not as separate components, comply with standards. That makes them true solutions. Instead of launching a green product line, we decided to convert every single Ecophon product in accordance with our sustainability goals.”

Ecophon is actively committed to sustainability and uses glass wool based on more than 70% recycled glass, and without fossil raw materials. One recycled bottle is enough to make 1.5 panels. Only water-based paints made from safe materials are used, and the products have no added antimicrobial chemicals or formaldehyde.

The whole Ecophon range now complies with the toughest standards for indoor climate, including French VOC, A+ and California Emission Regulation. Acoustic values have also improved from an already high level.

For more information, please visit


Midroc chose VIVIX® facade panels for high rise project in Malmö

Contractor Midroc chose VIVIX® exterior façade panels to clad the outside of the residential building Bohus, in Malmö, Sweden. Altogether nearly 3000 square meters of the lightweight and impact-resistant facade material was fitted

It is in central Malmö that the municipal housing company MKB together with Midroc Project Management have just completed a tower block consisting of 54 apartments. It’s a house with 15 floors, built in the yard of an existing property, in line with the municipality’s ambitions to densify the city to meet the growth of the population there.

Midroc has used VIVIX facade panels before. For them, customisation and material properties were decisive factors in the choice of cladding material. For this project, Midroc commissioned panels at the exact dimensions, but the panels can also be easily cut to the desired dimensions in the workplace.

Watch the video here: (


Guide to gutter maintenance

HD-Sharman1By Mark de Rozarieux, managing director of HD Sharman

Provisional Met Office figures released at the beginning of January showed that 2014 was the UK’s fourth wettest year since records began in 1910. Furthermore, five of the UK’s six wettest years have occurred since 2000.

Gutters are hostile environments, not only managing rainfall of increasing volume and intensity, but also accumulating silt, leaves and other materials, and they can quickly become blocked. Structural movement can cause them to corrode and leak. The joints, ends and outlets are areas of particular risk of failure.

Poor maintenance of the gutter can result in water ingress, a major cause of structural damage that is not only costly to repair, but which can also result in considerable disruption to the operation of a business.

Despite this, gutters remain an often-overlooked area of building maintenance.   Yet there are things facilities managers can and should do to ensure that the guttering of the buildings that they’re responsible for continue to perform to the highest standards:

1. Inspect regularly

Regular gutter inspection should be a standard part of every property maintenance regime, so that potential problems can be prevented and damage avoided. Inspections should be carried out at least twice a year, more if the building is situated close to trees. If the building features industrial gutters, the Metal Gutter Manufacturer Association (MGMA) recommends that gutters and rainwater systems should be inspected at least four times in their first year to help inform the preparation of the most appropriate future inspection and maintenance plan.

2. Look out for …

  • Blocked downpipes – These areas accumulate leaves and general detritus, and need to be kept clear to enable gutters to operate efficiently.   Leafguards can be employed to help prevent blockages.
  • Weak joints – The joints between gutter sections and around the downpipes are particularly prone to failure. The application of silicone-based liquid plastic over joints can help to extend the life of a gutter in the short term.
  • Corrosion – Remove rust and grime to check what lies beneath. Rust can result in the creation of tiny pits in a gutter, which grow overtime into larger holes.
  • Insufficient outlet capacity – Older gutter systems were built to handle rainfall of lower volume and intensity than we are now experiencing.   Consequently, increasingly outlets fail to efficiently drain rainfall from the gutter. More outlets or increasing the size of existing ones can reduce this problem.

3. What solution should I specify?

When faced with a leaking gutter, choosing the right solution can prove to be daunting as there are a myriad of leak repair solutions available on the market.   However, facilities managers can save time and money by educating themselves about the solutions available and specifying one that will prove effective in the long-term, not just a short-term ‘quick fix’.

‘Traditional’ methods of repairing leaking gutters involving mastics (resins), are not appropriate for larger projects, as they offer only short-term solutions, resulting in further leaks in future which themselves will require repair.

So, which solutions are the best?

One of the most popular methods of stopping leaks on gutters of various size and shape has been to reline the gutter with a waterproof membrane. Gutter lining presents itself as a lower cost solution than repairing the gutter itself, and gutter liners can often perform better than the original installation. A proven choice for contractors and facilities managers alike, gutter liners are easy to install and offer minimal disruption to the occupiers of the building.

4. Install appropriate gutter lining

Choosing which type of gutter liner to use depends on various factors including the condition of the exiting gutter, the weather and the severity of the joint problems to be addressed. The most reliable way to ensure long-term prevention of leaks is the installation of a free floating membrane gutter liner, a waterproof membrane fitted to the original gutter without structural work, so even if the gutter itself cracks, the lining remains intact, preventing leakage.

5. Selecting the right lining

In the UK, warm, dry weather can rarely be confidently predicted. This means that in order to guarantee installation at the specific time required a weather independent, solvent-free, gutter lining solution should be selected, rather than one that requires the application of adhesives which require warm, dry weather in which to set.

As for all construction specifications, look for a product that has acquired the approval of a recognised industry body, such as the British Board of Agrement (BBA). The BBA is a government-backed organisation, offering approval and certification for construction products and services that fall outside the parameters of British Standards kite marks.

Choosing the right gutter lining specification is vital, with the end result being the professional installation of a sustainable product that will ensure that your gutters are permanently watertight, and so help protect your entire property from water ingress into the long-term, helping to preserve the original structure.
Tel: 01298 812371


Lifting the lid on manufacturer’s knowledge

There is still no common standard on roof access products and the regulations are still quite vague. This makes it imperative for manufacturers to share their knowledge through initiatives such as Bilco Assist, says James Fisher, Managing Director of Bilco.

The roof hatch can still be specified by the architect, the main contractor, the M&E contractor or even the roofing contractor; so no real expertise has been accumulated by anyone. That expertise still rests with the manufacturers. Over the years, countless architects and builders have asked us for advice when unsure what to specify; so we decided to make this service official in the form of Bilco Assist and we believe other manufacturers should do the same.

Architects often draw a square because they know there must be a roof hatch, but it isn’t an actual specification. Sometimes it can be interpreted as one, triggering a commission for a costly bespoke product where an off the shelf solution would have served the purpose perfectly well. Those who ask for help early on benefit in terms of cost, as well as safety and longevity.

Roof access products require careful consideration and high quality construction. They must stand up to considerable wind speeds and must be able to stay open when required, both to safeguard the user and to prevent costly, even irreparable, damage. Specification should be influenced by use, especially if intended for regular maintenance access. Roof hatches should allow operatives to move safely through them, so it is advisable to add a LadderUp safety post, which allows the user to maintain three points of contact with the ladder when entering and exiting the hatch. It is always a good idea to include a fixed ladder over a moveable one if possible.

If you need smoke ventilation alone, a Natural Smoke and Heat Ventilator (NSHEV), which must by law now be CE marked, should be installed. This too can be a bespoke product or a standard size, so it is sensible to take advice when specifying.

Our technical department often gives guidance at the earliest possible stage to avoid any costly mistakes, but Bilco Assist is not just about waiting for calls from specifiers. We proactively provide CPD seminars so that there can be a greater dissemination of the principles of good specification of access products and we’re equally happy to carry out a site visit. In addition, we provide plenty of information online, including full CAD drawings of our products, together with Building Information Modelling data. We provide a link to the relevant NBS Building specification, which gives detailed information on the individual product; this can help to create an accurate project specification as it gives you precise rather than generic information.

Bilco-assist-logoNaturally, our product pages include installation instructions, product data sheets and submittal drawings, all available for download from the relevant product page. We believe that all manufacturers should do this.

Ideally, expertise in specifying roof access products will now grow. Until that happens, Bilco Assist will be here to help.

This article appeared as the cover story for the April 2015 issue of Building & Facilities Management.