Dura Cladding Helps New Landmark Development at Rushden Lakes Achieve its Sustainability Goals

Composite Timber Dura Cladding has been chosen for an exciting new retail, leisure and tourism destination in the Nene Valley. The Rushden Lakes site near Northampton is due to open this month and is the largest out-of-town scheme of its kind in a decade.

HPW Architecture led the design and development of the masterplan for the project, which is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty and centres around restoring public access to a network of lakes, as well as offering unrivalled shopping and leisure facilities.

As the development is situated adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a designated nature reserve, it was critical that both the design and construction processes embraced the challenges and opportunities provided by the unique setting. In consultation with the Wildlife Trust and Natural England, HPW designed three net-zero energy buildings (NZEBs), which are clad in Dura Cladding from Dura Composites. Dura Cladding is made from high performance composite timber and is a sustainable alternative to traditional timber made from recycled materials. Dura Cladding is also 100% Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Certified and offers superb low maintenance properties as well as an attractive finish that looks just like natural wood but doesn’t ever require treating, painting or staining.

The net-zero energy buildings comprise of the Boathouse, Wildlife Trust Visitors Centre and the Management Office which are distinguished from other buildings in the development through the use of Dura Cladding Type 150 Flush in Cedar colour. All three buildings are super-insulated with all required energy for operation generated on-site to keep running costs to a minimum.

The anchor retail buildings on the terraces including House of Fraser have been part clad in Dura Cladding Type 150 Flush in Grey to provide a contrasting finish whilst retaining the aesthetic look, durability, UV performance and sustainable credentials that the developers were looking for.

Commenting on the project, Gary Wilburn, director of design and sustainability for HPW said: “This is a unique project and one which we have been delighted to have been involved in right from the concept stage 8 years ago. At HPW we specialise in projects like this where wildlife and the natural surroundings are a key part of the design, and we’re really pleased with the role that the Dura Cladding in both Cedar and Grey have played in helping us maintain that ethos. With a project on this scale it’s important to ensure that the resulting development delivers on all of its promises and the recycled properties of Dura Cladding, together with its FSC® status have helped us to meet our overall sustainability goals. The low-maintenance benefits of a composite timber cladding combined with the peace of mind provided by the product warranty have contributed towards a genuine legacy for future generations of which we are very proud.”

The first phase of the Rushden Lakes development is due to open in July and will be followed by phase two of the scheme, which includes additional shops, restaurants and a 14-screen cinema.

Dura Cladding is available to purchase now through International Timber and selected Jewson branches. The products come in 3 widths and 5 attractive colours and appeals to architects, builders, contractors and commercial property developers looking for an aesthetically pleasing, hard-wearing and low maintenance way to finish the exterior of both new and refurbished buildings.

For more information about Dura Composites, visit the website at http://www.duracomposites.com/cladding 

For more information on HPW Architecture, please visit the website at http://www.hpw.co.uk/ and to view the latest video of the development visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GFxF5AQClQ


Roof warranties: Seeing the big picture in the small print

 John Hynes, Head of Safe Access at Fixfast, considers how taking a closer look at roof system warranties could unlock more value for building owners and managers.

On average, a commercial roof lasts 20 to 30 years and typically accounts for 5% of initial build cost. For building owners, the return on investment from this important long-term asset can vary significantly depending on how it is managed over its lifetime.

The total ROI from a roof is determined by a number of factors. Of course, the quality of the design and construction of the roof itself is key. But life-cycle costs like its energy performance, durability, maintenance and repair requirements can account for five times the up-front capital expenditure. So, building owners and managers should be including the roof in any ongoing strategies for minimising the total cost of ownership of the building.

But that’s not always the case. It seems, when it comes to roofs, out of sight often means out of mind. Aided, in no small part, by the warranties given by roof system manufacturers and installers. Just as they’re intended to, these warranties are giving peace of mind to owners in terms of the upkeep required to the roof.

This means too many building owners, and the managers they employ, are underestimating their responsibilities for maintaining and repairing their roofs. There is a common misconception that long-term warranties, while potentially very valuable, are insurance policies that cover virtually any roofing problem, regardless of cause or circumstance. But the small print on the vast majority of these guarantees tells a different story. Once signed, warranties actually commit owners to carry out regular inspections and maintenance to their roofs. Not doing so invalidates these agreements and exposes the owner to potentially much higher costs in the event of failure of the roof system.

So what should facilities executives be doing to preserve the cover within their warranties and prolong the useful life of their roof?

Firstly, the detailed specifications of any warranties held should be checked. Most stipulate, as a minimum; annual inspections, prompt repairs if defects are found, that debris is removed on a regular basis, any coatings are periodically maintained – and that good records of all this are kept. If there’s no hard evidence that the roof has been maintained, making an irrefutable case when claiming against the warranty becomes very difficult.

A preventive and routine maintenance programme should be designed around these specifications. As well as meeting the obligations within warranties, preventative maintenance enables owners to identify and remedy problems before they escalate in severity and cost. In fact, implementing a proactive maintenance programme should be seen as an opportunity to unlock the roof’s full value. Studies have shown that by carrying out planned repairs as opposed to emergency repairs, the expected life of the roof nearly doubles and maintenance costs can be halved over its lifetime.

Any roof inspection should look at the roof, of course, but also the associated fixings and fabrications. Weaknesses in the integrity of the overall roof structure are usually found at junctions, joins and where equipment has been installed. So the facilities manager should also consider developing a roof plan that maps all this equipment, and the locations of any prior leaks or repairs, to aid inspection.

Lastly, carrying out these inspections and any resulting maintenance should be made as easy and cost effective as possible. The facilities manager’s aim should be to encourage adherence to warranty conditions by removing any barriers to frequent inspection. Installing permanent height safety and safe access equipment is a good way to do this, as they allow in-house maintenance personnel to carry out inspections. Modular access ladders and rooftop guardrails minimise the need for temporary access systems like cherry pickers, and the use of specialist contractors – both of which require more involved planning and greater cost. So it makes sense to consider permanent safe access provision as part of the design brief for a new building or extension, or when refurbishments of older buildings are being scoped. In either of these instances, specialist fall protection suppliers can offer facilities managers useful guidance on the specific access and safety requirements of their building.

While easier access has been found to promote more frequent rooftop maintenance, there is another very good reason for building managers to take a considered approach to maintenance and access; preserving the safety of the employees, site visitors and contractors working at height. Indeed, statistics from the Health & Safety Executive show that, in 2015/2016, there were over 37,000 falls from height in the UK, resulting in 6,500 injuries – 37 of these were fatal.

So, as the expression goes; ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. For building owners and managers looking to maximise ROI, protect valuable warranties and minimise lifetime costs, it is wise to take a well-planned approach to managing their roof that works over the long term.


Edinburgh school benefits from Saint-Gobain solutions

Saint-Gobain in Scotland has supplied a range of solutions for the new £28.5 million Portobello High School building, in Edinburgh.

Commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council, the new building accommodates 1,400 pupils and has replaced the existing building on Duddington Road, home to the school for 51 years.

In addition to more traditional teaching and learning spaces, the development incorporates a 25m swimming pool, games hall, gymnasium and two all-weather sports pitches for school and wider community use.

With 22 brands operating overall in Scotland, seven of the businesses worked in close collaboration to support the school build; British Gypsum, Celotex, Frazer, International Timber, Ecophon, Jewson and Isover supplied a range of innovative products, from wall to floor solutions.

The solutions specified will provide key benefits, such as thermal efficiency and sound insulation to create a comfortable teaching environment for students, teachers and visitors.

The multi-purpose insulation board, Celotex TB4025, was used on the ground floor of Portobello High School, to overcome localised thermal bridges. By reducing thermal bridging, this product solution will ensure reliable long-term energy savings for the building.

Acoustic performance is a key consideration for school buildings, as poorly designed sound environments can have a negative impact on learning and concentration in schools, as well as hindering classroom communication.

As a result, British Gypsum’s Gyproc DuraLine plasterboard was specified to enhance sound insulation and impact resistance performance, contributing to a peaceful learning environment for pupils.

In addition, Isover supplied acoustic partition roll to the project, a high-performance glass mineral wool, that helps to reduce noise from adjacent rooms. As well as offering superb acoustic performance, the product is made from up to 86% of recycled glass, making it an environmentally friendly acoustic solution.

International Timber worked closely with the Jewson Branch in Falkirk to supply a range of timber product solutions for the stairways and corridors in the school, as well as the outside entrance.

Timber cladding provides an attractive, lasting and durable finish both for internal and external environments. Fire treated Siberian larch cladding, lacquered oak timber and MDF Oak and skirting was specified, in addition to dressed timber, sawn timber and plywood sheets. Siberian Larch is a strong robust wood with moderate durability and is resistant to rot and fungal attack. The timber is pleasing to the eye with warm colours: golden brown varying to yellow and orange in heartwood. Due to its high density, Larch wood maintains high wear resistance and is non-corrosive.

JM Architects, based in Edinburgh, commented “The timber elements have been chosen to visually counter point external soffits and features with the lighter rendered surfaces. Internally the bridge and stair were detailed to visually make them prominent elements within the interiors. The materials allow for future wear and tear and patination of the surfaces by the pupils and teachers of the school.”

Ecophon’s Akusto Wall A system was installed in the Games Hall in a Super G Grey finish. The system is an impact resistant wall absorber, so is ideal considering the size and nature of the space. The Super G Wall Panels are impact resistant and also provide Class A absorption to aid with acoustics.

Frazer, a Saint-Gobain distribution brand, supplied over £100,000 of materials to the building, including drainage systems and landscaping solutions including paving, kerbs and manhole rings.

Stuart McKill, Sustainable Habitat Leader for Saint-Gobain in Scotland, said: “As one of the largest manufacturing and building distribution businesses in the UK, we are able to supply a wide range of product solutions that work together to provide buildings that are not only fit for purpose, but provide benefits to the occupants, in this instance the pupils and teaching staff.

“We are thrilled that such a large amount of our products have been chosen for Portobello High School, and we are confident that pupils will be able to benefit from a learning environment that truly puts them first.”

Ruth McKay, Headteacher at Portobello High School, said: “The new school building has had a positive impact on all of us – the students are happier and there is a spring in the step of teachers too. It feels special to come into a building like this; the environment will be a great place to learn for the students.

“The effect on the local community is going to be felt too, as it will benefit the people around Portobello who can hopefully embrace and make use of this fantastic facility.”

The new school building opened at the beginning of November. JM Architects worked on the project alongside main contractor Balfour Beatty Ltd and A + E Construction Scotland Ltd.

For more information about Saint-Gobain in Scotland, visit http://www.saint-gobain.scot/ 



Sika’s watertight roofing membrane provides sanctuary for stunning new church

The flexible, easy-to-apply, aesthetic properties of Sika’s watertight single-ply membrane proved the ideal solution for a stylish and unusual roof design – the crowning glory of a new, multi-million pound community church.

The £4.5 million C3 Centre in Cambridge was built to host community events as well as serve as a place of worship. The two-tier building’s architecturally-striking feature is its ‘fantail’ roof. Tapering to a point at one end, the roof’s design presented a challenge to Farrans Construction, main contractors of the church building project.

The company required a roofing system which not only offered the optimum watertight performance; it had to complement the structure’s eye-catching design. With Cambridge Flat Roofing specified to carry out its installation, the Sika-Trocal SGK system met the contractor’s brief to perfection.

Suitable for both new build and refurbishment applications, in both warm roof and cold roof construction, Sika-Trocal SGK is the best-cost performance bonded membrane for use on all types of substrates. Offering excellent flexibility and high resistance to ageing and weathering, Sika-Trocal SGK ensures a long-lasting, low maintenance roof covering.

Wayne Farrington, Director at Cambridge Flat Roofing, commented: “The roof looks pretty spectacular and certainly offered a challenge in terms of its construction. There’s no doubt the Sika-Trocal SGK system’s specification aided the building process.

“It not only looks as good as it performs, it was simple and quick to install. It made a potentially tricky installation, quite straightforward.”

Work on the church roof started in March 2015. As well as the installation of Sika-Trocal SGK on the 1,500m2 main roof, Cambridge Flat Roofing applied Sika-Trocal’s Type SGmA single-ply membrane as part of a sedum roof build-up on a lower area of the building.

The fully-adhered Type SGK roofing membrane is approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) to have a life expectancy in excess of 35 years. Its easy application ensured the church’s stunning roof was completed ahead of the client’s strict eight-week deadline to ensure this gloriously-designed building will remain watertight and functioning as a vital community hub long into the future.

For more information please call 01707 394444, or visit www.sika.co.uk.


Tessa Jowell set to inspire builders at IMPACT roadshow events across England

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) is delighted to announce Tessa Jowell as keynote speaker for their upcoming corporate social responsibility (CSR) roadshows to be held across England as part of their CITB funded programme, IMPACT.

The federation’s specialist training and business development unit, NFB Business & Skills, supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), is hosting a series of IMPACT: CSR in construction events with the aim of helping SME contractors to develop, deliver and report on their CSR activities in a way that helps them achieve the benefits an effective corporate social responsibility strategy can bring.

Tessa, currently Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, will be a keynote speaker at the forthcoming roadshows in 2017. As a well-known and respected political speaker, Tessa will discuss the importance of being a responsible business in the construction industry by focusing on investment in skills to support corporate social responsibility impacts.

Tessa, honoured with the Freedom of the City of London in 2014, played an instrumental role in bringing the Olympic Games to Britain. As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and the first in government to back the bid before becoming Olympics Minister, she worked tirelessly to keep preparations on track for an outstanding display in 2012.  Her passion for education, public health, employment and equality is driven by her belief that everyone should have the same opportunity to succeed.  With her political career spanning ministerial positions for Women, Public Health, Work and Pensions, and Regional Affairs, Tessa will provide delegates attending the roadshows with valuable information to take away.

Registration is now open for the roadshows taking place in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, London and Bristol.   Other industry relevant and locally relevant speakers will also provide important knowledge on their experiences of CSR and how it is shaping both the sector and the procurement landscape. To register or learn more about the IMPACT programme, visit http://csr.construction/.



Low cost solution to slippery decking

Wooden decking can become hazardous in damp and slippery conditions, creating the possible threat of a slips or falls for anyone walking across the surface. Outside areas where people gather need to be made safe so FibreGrid has come up with a solution to this problem with the development of Anti Slip Standard GRP Decking Strips, part of their affordable  GRP SlipGrip® Standard range. Timber decking becomes safer with these quick and easy to install DeckGrip Strips, which come supplied with decking screws and are pre-drilled.

Available in lengths of 1200mm and 2400mm and widths of 50mm and 90mm, these decking strips are ideal for most decking areas and walkways. They are designed with a chamfered edge to provide additional safety which reduces any possibility of trips and falls.  Unlike other products, no glue is required to install the product.

From an aesthetics view point, given the choice of widths available, DeckGrip Strips are able to complement existing decking areas by making a feature of the Strips against the timber substrate.

Main advantages:

  • This tough safety solution for decking will last longer than the lifetime of the timber. The fibreglass construction won’t rot or warp and will remain safe even in wet conditions
  • The product offers cost effective, low maintenance long term safety
  • Tough enough for use in busy public spaces
  • Rapid, easy installation means it can be done will people continue to use the area while the strips are installed



IRWIN Launches Ergonomically Designed Pro Comfort Screwdrivers

New Pro Comfort Screwdrivers are the first ever screwdriver offering from the IRWIN brand in the UK

IRWIN® Tools,  driven by innovation for over a century, announces the launch of its first ever range of screwdrivers for the UK market, building on the renowned,  excellent performance trade professionals have grown to know and trust.

The new range of Pro Comfort Screwdrivers, available now, feature a unique distinctive handle designed especially for an enhanced ergonomic grip giving added comfort, performance and efficiency. They are available in a core range, covering the most popular tip types and sizes, including Phillips, Slotted, Pozidriv, Torx and Parallel heads. Available to purchase individually or as part of ten piece, nine piece and six piece set, features include:

  • Dual material (polypropylene and rubber) covered trilobular handle for an ergonomic grip
  • Chrome-Vanadium (Cr-V) steel shaft with corrosion protection
  • Black phosphate finished magnetic tip for improved alignment, easy driving and extended life
  • Hex bolster which allows for increased torque when using with a wrench
  • Magnetiser/demagnetiser accessory available

“IRWIN prides itself on the continuous innovation of our product categories with the ambition of enabling our customers to get the job done with increased precision, comfort and speed. The launch of Pro Comfort Screwdrivers with their ergonomic handles, marks Irwin’s first step into the UK screwdriver category for the brand,” explained Amber Popowicz, Sr. Brand Activation Manager at IRWIN.

IRWIN’s Pro Comfort Screwdrivers and VDE Insulated Screwdrivers, for electrical work up to 1000V AC, are available at leading tool stockists.



Stop leaks fast with the ‘water stopper’ Vandex Plug from Safeguard

The Vandex Plug from Safeguard Europe – the UK’s leading specialist in damp- and waterproofing, and masonry repair solutions – is a fast-acting cementitious mortar that will stop leaks and seepage through, and seal cracks in, masonry, concrete, earthenware and stone in seconds. It can also be used as an installation mortar for fixings in wet areas, and even underwater.

Examples of applications for the Vandex Plug would include: plugging leaks in clay pipes; caulking tunnel segment joints; installing fixings in water structures requiring immediate use; installation of steel elements in concrete or masonry; erosion resistant shoring of canal sealing – and as a general erosion resistant mortar for elements affected by rain.

For optimum results, substrates for application must be clean, sound and free of surface contamination such as salts or algae. Leaks must be cut out, leaving an appropriate ‘chase’ for the plug.

Setting time is largely dependent on the quantity of mixing water used: standard value at 200C is 1kg of plug mortar to 0.25 litre of water. The plug must be added to the water and mixed quickly – mixing time is about 15 seconds, with setting taking place in about 30 seconds. Vandex Plug from Safeguard is available in 15kg resealable plastic tubs, and has a storage shelf life of around 12 months.


Impressive Center Parcs roof refurb completed with zero guest disruption

Pictures show the Centre Parcs project during and after completion

With capacity for almost 4000 guests and 96% occupancy, keeping the central area of Center Parcs Longleat Forest open was key to the refurbishment of its impressive Subtropical Swimming Paradise. A massive challenge for Delomac Roofing, the project to renew the roof with a Sika Sarnafil membrane was accomplished with two years of meticulous planning and 30 months of onsite construction.

Originally completed in 1994, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise roof and glazed rain-screen systems were in need of refurbishment. The new roof installation was planned in close discussion with the Sika Sarnafil and Delomac supply chain, developing the specification to address all the client’s strict performance, environmental and aesthetic requirements.

Chris Meadows, Technical Advisor, Sika Sarnafil explained: “The client needed a durable, long lasting roof system that would complement the woodland setting. This was complicated by differences between the swimming pool side and dry side, with restaurants and meeting rooms, of the building.

“We proposed two distinct solutions– a mechanically fastened system using Sarnafil S327-18EL for the dry side and an adhered system using Sarnafil G410-18EL for the more humid area. Both were specified in Patina Green to blend with the natural environment. Sarnafil membranes are cold applied and free from naked flames, the obvious choice for an open site.”

An innovative temporary terraced platform was designed and installed, suspended underneath the main structure by cables and lattice beam scaffold units. Work was carried out over 16 separate sections, like a wagon wheel – ensuring the structure was not compromised by uneven load distribution. This stepped, terraced temporary roof was then covered with plywood and completely weathered by Delomac with a Sarnafil membrane.

With the temporary roof in place, existing glazing and coverings could be safely removed, maintaining water-tightness with guests enjoying the facilities below. Scheduled over more than two years, this way of working resulted in a dry building envelope, despite some of the wettest weather on record.

Comprehensive vapour barrier measures were used on the pool side of the building to ensure the high humidity chlorinated environment was contained. Robust SFS sealant and Sarnafil metal-lined vapour barrier detailing at all Glulam beams and fascia interfaces ensured no risk of condensation.

Sarnafil membrane and accessories were used for all the coverings, and again overall specification development was tailored to suit the varying build-ups; new, overlay, bonded and mechanically fastened. An increased thickness membrane was manufactured in one single batch to ensure colour consistency. Sika added further value with an impressive 17 visits to the site by the Applications Team to advice and support.

Brendan McNulty, Delomac Roofing, described the challenges the team faced during the project: “Installation methods and curved roof areas required our operatives to work from harness and rope access. We developed an innovative material loading trolley with the builder to deliver materials to the work sections safely, without compromising finishes.

“Workmanship standards remained exceptionally high, despite the challenging logistics, and met the client requirement of consistent lap and detail arrangement. This was also helped by the quality of the Sarnafil membranes. The finished installation has transformed the internal and external appearance of the building. Rooflights and white soffit finished decking have provided a bright and airy environment, with the external green finish blending subtly with the landscape.

“Most importantly, safe, unlimited guest access to the pool, restaurants and meeting areas was maintained throughout the entire project; something we’re very proud of.”

Sika Sarnafil is based at Sika Limited, Watchmead, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 1BQ. Call 01707 394444, fax 01707 329129, email sarnafilroofing@uk.sika.com, visit www.sarnafil.co.uk or follow @SikaSarnafilUK on Twitter.



SICK Laser Scanning Technology Makes Reliable Building Security Easy

Technology developments to SICK’s LMS range of 2D laser scanners have made it easier than ever to secure and protect outdoor open spaces reliably, even where there are frequent vehicle movements, with one scanner capable of covering an area the size of a football pitch.

Both intrusion and anti-collision protection have been made more customisable and adaptable for building security, distribution centres and critical infrastructure, including railways, airports and bridges, thanks to innovative developments to the SICK LMS141 range of time-of-flight laser scanners.

Neil Sandhu, SICK (UK) Product Manager explains: “SICK laser scanners are well known for their robust and reliable protection, even in challenging environments or weather. Now, with the LMS 141, security monitoring and collision protection for a whole range of complex profiles and changing situations is possible while avoiding false alarms.”

The new LMS 141 2D laser scanner has been optimised for building and outdoor security, providing reliable scanning protection in which the fields can be precision-configured through an easy-teach function to suit the shape, size and permitted areas of almost any location. Scanners can also be integrated with CCTV and lighting systems for full image identification purposes.

Regular moving objects such as vehicles in designated spaces can be taught-in to the sensor software, and the LMS 141’s Core and Prime options offer differing degrees of complexity depending on the application, with automatic or configured fields and the ability to teach-in with or without a PC. The unit also allows for gradual profile build-up to avoid false alarms, for example, with snow accumulation, piles of leaves or grass growing.

“The LMS 141 has our widest-ever scanning field, capable of detecting even black targets over an area up to 30 metres by 20 metres, almost football pitch sized,” Neil Sandhu continues. “So you can protect large areas like building perimeters and vehicle yards with very few scanners.

“Because you can define and configure a number of fields and profiles to allow for changing conditions over time, fields can be easily be set. For example, you can allow for pre-set access paths during the day, which are automatically protected at night, or you can guard around objects, vehicles, windows and doors, allowing set proximity only at designated times.

“The LMS 141 offers invisible protection with superior performance to non-laser technologies such as radar and infrared, at a competitive price to installing a high security fence, for example.”
With its IP67, tamper-resistant housing, the LMS 141 has a wide temperature range of between -40°C and +60°C capability, can operate independently of changing light levels and is unaffected by rain, fog and snow.

The SICK LMS 141 time-of-flight laser scanner emits an infra-red laser beam pulse which scans a field range up to 270° via a rotating mirror. The scanner’s sensor measures the return time of each pulse to build a profile which is compared to the taught-in profile. The unit can be mounted horizontally, on its back, vertically, on the floor or on posts or walls to provide the required protective field.

Connected via a tough, UV resistant cable, the LMS141 is available with Ethernet and CAN communication for easy integration to local control networks; smartphone alarms can be set up via a PC for remote monitoring. The compact, discreetly coloured unit is only 162mm by 102mm by 106mm and 1.1kg for easy installation.

For more information on the SICK LMS 141 laser scanner, or any of SICK’s security and protection scanning devices, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email andrea.hornby@sick.co.uk