BW: Workplace Experts has recently completed the refurbishment of the Baker Street headquarters for global property consultancy Knight Frank. Working with architects Resonate, BW strategically phased the project to ensure that 80% of areas could remain fully operational at any one time.

Faced with the task of completing this 80,000 sq. ft build while BW ensured minimal disruption for the constant flow of staff, visitors and clients.

Areas within the refit included three floors of office space, the reception and high-quality meeting rooms. While all floors were designed with state-of-the-art AV systems applied across all floors, the build also included technological advancements such as touch screens and 4K HD video walls, providing a productive and efficient working environment.

The success of such a build can be accredited to meticulous planning in order to meet deadlines for both BW and for their client, who had an upcoming major event taking place in the space.

Peter Nagle, Managing Director at BW: Workplace Experts said:

“We have worked with Knight Frank for a number of years on different projects, so to be asked to manage their own headquarters was an absolute honour and further cements our relationship with this prestigious client.”

BW has developed a long-standing relationship with Knight Frank, including working on another London project in Gutter Lane earlier this year.

Actuate UK, the new alliance of eight engineering services organisations, has urged Government to reconsider its intention to remove funding from the £2bn Green Homes Grants (GHG) scheme. Actuate has expressed their disappointment that only £320m is be made available through the GHG voucher scheme.

“Such drastic reduction of funding sends out all the wrong signals, especially as the Government aims to put the green economy at the heart of plans for rebuilding the economy” says Julia Evans from Actuate UK member BSRIA.

“Initiatives to encourage the take up of low carbon solutions need to be long term and consistent,” adds Hywel Davies, from Actuate UK member CIBSE. “A short-term stimulus does not create the market shift required to achieve net zero targets, including the development of a suitably skilled workforce in key sectors. To invest in the necessary recruitment, training and technologies, businesses must know that Government means business, and is in this for the long haul.”

Actuate UK has proposes that Government: review the operation of the GHG, in consultation with the sector groups that would implement the energy efficient and low carbon measures it is supporting and release all the original GHG funding, ensuring that the full £2 billion is available until March 2022 and act swiftly to resolve the administration problems with the scheme based on current feedback.

Actuate has also asked Government to consider a requirement for GHG voucher to be used to create a ‘green building passport’ to give homeowners a plan from the medium to long term and develop a robust pathway so that the GHG voucher scheme can support the transition into future long-term support. It also calls for VAT to be reduced to zero on all energy efficiency-related products.

Government has characterised the GHG initiative, set up in 2020 to improve the energy efficiency of 600,000 homes in England by issuing vouchers to carry out home improvements, as a “short-term stimulus”. Grants could be used up to the end of the 2020-21 financial year, although work could carry on until March 2022. A recent report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) noted that vouchers were being issued at a ‘snail’s pace’ – only 20,000 issued at the last count, just 5% of the available vouchers. However, there is clearly consumer demand and once administrative issues are resolved and the timescale extended, supply chains will have the full confidence to develop and support the scheme.

Ms. Evans added “We suggest that next week’s Budget is a huge opportunity for Government to underline its commitment to building a green economy and recovery, especially ahead of the UK’s hosting COP26, and that this should include ongoing commitment to green residential retrofit”.

Last week Kingspan outlined the actions it has taken and is taking in response to a number of serious issues arising out of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry process. Law firm Eversheds Sutherland has conducted a rigorous review of Kingspan’s UK Insulation Boards business to ascertain how the issues occurred.

Kingspan uncovered unacceptable employee conduct at its UK Insulation Boards business, and historical process shortcomings by this business. In a statement alongside its results last week Kingspan apologised again for these shortcomings which were not consistent with its values or its commitment to conduct its business to the highest safety standards.

Gene Murtagh, Chief Executive Officer of Kingspan said: “The unacceptable conduct and historical process shortcomings, involving a small number of employees in our UK insulation boards business, do not reflect the high standards of integrity and safety that are core Kingspan values, deeply held by our people.

“We have already implemented several important changes that demonstrate our commitment to product compliance and good governance. Our aims are clear: to reassure that safety takes precedence over all other considerations and to ensure this can never happen again.”

The actions taken, and underway, by Kingspan include a compliance and governance review led by law firm Eversheds Sutherland and Kingspan is committed to implementing in full the recommendations made

The group is also introducing new fire testing and accreditation protocols, publishing all BS 8414 test reports (pass and fail) and it will introduce a new Marketing Integrity Manual. Kingspan is also fully engaged in several industry initiatives including providing full support for the new Construction Products Regulator, and the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) that is due to be introduced later this year.

In addition it has appointed a Group Head of Compliance & Certification reporting directly to the Group CEO, whose team will cover each business division across the Group; extending the role of the Board Audit Sub-Committee.

 

Makita has launched a new self-balancing area site light – the latest addition to its range of LED site lighting solutions. The DML810 18V Self Righting Site Light LXT delivers up to 5,500 lumens (lm) and 360 degree illumination with the option for corded or cordless operation.

The self-balancing design of the Makita DML810 means that it remains upright even when knocked or bumped, making it ideal for busy sites. The 202 super luminous daylight white LEDs provide high quality illumination without the heat of halogens or incandescent lights. It features three operation modes, High (5,500 lm), Medium (3,000 lm) or Low (1,500 lm), and three illumination direction modes – full 360 degrees or 180 degrees to the left or right.

For versatility, the DML810 offers corded or cordless operation and utilises two Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries, using one battery at a time. This means the light delivers up to 15 hours of continuous illumination on Low with two 5.0Ah 18V batteries, and over 3 hours on High. When using AC power, the batteries function as a power back up to keep the area lit if the power fails.

This durable light unit is 787mm high and 420mm wide and is both dust and water resistant, with an IP54 rating when using battery power. It is also possible to connect up to 8 units together using the AC inlets and outlets to deliver light across the whole job site area. Convenient carrying handles and a balanced side position allow for easy movement, transportation and storage.

With over 270 products compatible with Makita’s Lithium-ion LXT battery technology it is one of the largest battery / cordless platforms in the world. This allows users to use just one battery type and seamlessly swap between different pieces of equipment as required.

Lyndsey Bailey, Assistant Product Manager at Makita UK said: “The DML810 18V Self Righting Site Light has been engineered to provide a robust, durable and versatile lighting solution that is suitable for the toughest site conditions. The high quality illumination makes work easier and safer, especially as the LEDs eliminate the hazards associated with the heat of halogen and incandescent lights.”

To find out more about the Makita DML810 18V Self Righting Site Light and the full Makita range visit www.makitauk.com.

Combining SPIT’s Pulsa system and Demon Cato’s RollaTray offers opportunities to increase the productivity of electrical installs on site. SPIT claims the solutions helps customers to dramatically reduce labour costs and increase productivity.

Rollatray is a cable management solution in place of traditional Cable Tray, Cable Basket and Cable Matting systems, designed for optimum speed across all installations. RollaTray minimises the requirement for on-site cutting and filing, reducing the need to acquire a hot works permit, which is sometimes required when using alternative metal channel systems. SPIT Pulsa is a direct fastening system, replacing drilling and traditional methods with rapid, modern and clean fixing into concrete and steel substrates. This reduces exposure to dust and provides a cleaner safer working environment.

By combining these two solutions a contractor can gain significant increases to profitability to achieve productivity levels previously considered unattainable. What’s more, the system’s simple installation and flexibility makes it suitable for use across a wide range of projects. As a result, the solution is already turning heads and has been chosen by leading firms on a number of high-profile jobs. 

The synergy between both solutions was recently seen during a renovation project in central Edinburgh, led by main contractor, Morris & Spottiswood.

Andy Russell, Operations Manager at Morris & Spottiswood, said: “Combining both technologies allowed us to reduce levels of dust, excess noise and HAV, which are all important modern health and safety considerations. Furthermore the ease of transportation due to the system being so compact, was yet another great benefit”. 

 Using the Pulsa system helps contractors to improve productivity, whilst also creating safer, cleaner and healthier environments for all on-site. When used in conjunction with RollaTray, these benefits are further amplified. SPIT claims current users of the collaborative system have already reported labor cost savings of up to 90 per cent.

 To learn more about the Pulsa system please visit: https://www.itwcp.co.uk/en/product-focus/pulsa-40p/ .

For more information about RollaTray please visit: https://www.demoncato.co.uk/rollatray/

This week there have been further calls for the government to scrap ‘reverse charge VAT’ and also concerns raised that using this new tax policy to tackle tax fraud will penalise reputable firms and not drive out rogue traders.

New data from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found that 66% of builders either anticipate that reverse charge VAT will have a ‘moderate or significant’ impact on their firm’s cashflow, are still unclear on the details of this complicated policy, or have never even heard of it.

When asked what the impact of reverse charge VAT will be on cashflow, builders said: Moderate or significant impact – 37%; Minor or no impact – 34%; I don’t know what the impact will be – 23%; and I don’t know what reverse charge VAT is – 6%

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Reverse charge VAT is a damaging policy being introduced at the worst possible time for builders. By removing the flow of VAT money between businesses in the construction supply chain, 4 in 10 builders say this will have a ‘significant or moderate’ impact on their cashflow. The construction industry stands ready to tackle tax fraud, but reverse charge VAT harms all builders for the actions of a minority of unscrupulous firms.

Deepak Singh Udassi, Director, City Lofts London, said: “It is important to tackle fraud in the construction supply chain. Due to the little to no regulation in the industry, rogue traders are able to operate freely, to the detriment of consumers and reputable businesses like mine and other FMB members.

“However, reverse charge VAT is not the solution. A mandatory licensing scheme for UK construction businesses would tackle the root cause of this problem by introducing a minimum barrier to entry. Licensing would also drive-up standards, professionalism and the reputation of the industry, which is clearly not well regarded across Whitehall as demonstrated by this punitive policy.”

Insulation and interior building products distributor, CCF, has launched a new Delivery Management System to raise the bar when it comes to providing efficient, controlled, and reliable deliveries.

The new Delivery Management System is designed to offer a more responsive and improved way for customers to receive delivery updates from CCF. All the customer has to do is provide the desired delivery date, site information, and a contact number – CCF will then take care of the rest.

On the day of delivery, on-site customers will receive a text message with a two-hour time slot and a portal link showing full details of the products that will be arriving. When the delivery is on its way, site contacts will then be able to see exactly where the CCF driver is via a live tracking system. For extra reassurance, another text notification is sent to the team twenty minutes before arrival. Once completed, a digital proof of delivery is emailed to the appropriate contact, which conveniently helps to reduce the time spent on administrative work.

The CCF Delivery Management System is available for customers to use nationwide, backed by CCF’s excellent delivery vehicle fleet, and completely customer focused service proposition commitment.

Catherine Gibson, Managing Director at CCF, said: “Our approach to working together with our valued customers and colleagues, to continually seek out and take action on important feedback, is crucial to maintaining our market leading position at CCF. We believe that by developing new tools in response to customer insights and industry trends, the best service possible can be provided. Technology like the Delivery Management System will help to bridge the gap between customers, delivery drivers, and local branch teams. As a result of this, any room for doubt is eliminated due to the complete transparency of what is being delivered and when. This is fantastic news for our customers and it is our ambition to always continue to find new ways to improve.”

To find your nearest CCF branch, please visit: www.ccfltd.co.uk/branch-locator

Today’s construction projects have a lot to live up to. They need to come together quickly, meet strict quality standards and offer longevity, all while meeting exacting design specifications. To achieve this, every little detail must be carefully considered, including the fasteners and fixings that hold the building envelope together, according to Neil Kirwan, Specification Manager at SFS UK.

As with many things in life, well-planned projects minimise the chance for errors to occur during construction, which can be costly to rectify further down the line. Building envelopes, brackets and subframe systems need to be considered carefully in order to withstand whatever the elements throw at them. Fasteners and fixings – the very components that hold the fabric of a building together – can directly impact the performance, lifespan and thermal efficiency of the structure.

Despite this vital role, fasteners are not specified until Stage 4 in the RIBA plan of works. In many cases, they can often be the subject of ‘corner cutting’ – directly affecting the total cost of ownership and operation of the building. The same can be said for refurbishments and renovations of existing structures, whether due to a change in use, improvements in aesthetics or a need to improve their structural performance and thermal efficiency. With the right specification from the outset, these issues can be avoided, ensuring that the building envelope remains robust over the system’s service life.

Specifying the right components: five key principles

There are five principles of fasteners: durability, weathertightness, airtightness, aesthetics and structural performance. Failure of the fastener to satisfy these functions may lead to the inevitable, and sometimes catastrophic, failure of the system. The key is selecting the appropriate fastener and then ensuring that the specification is not deviated from.

There are a multitude of fasteners available on the market, each one designed for a particular use. These include self-drilling fasteners, self-coring fasteners, self-threading fasteners and clamping fasteners – all of which are specifically designed to simplify installation on site.

To avoid failure of a fastener or fixing component, the building function, environment, type of fastener and its material must be considered early on in the design phase. For example, when specifying components in coastal areas, due care and attention needs to be given to the humidity and corrosive salt-content in the air. Whilst surface coatings can be applied to prolong a fastener’s life, best practice is to use austenitic stainless steel fasteners in combination with galvanised steel purlins to avoid bi-metallic reactions.

Specification: An exact science

It isn’t just the external environment of a building that impacts how fasteners should be specified – the building’s use can have implications too. With product innovation and knowledge key to ensuring the right solution, suppliers should work alongside project managers to offer training and bespoke advice, from concept through to completion. This was certainly the case for Centre Parcs’ refurbishment of their Longleat Forest site, which houses a subtropical swimming pool and restaurant facilities.

To ensure the fastening system could withstand the chlorinated environment of the pool areas, SFS worked closely with the contractors and project engineers to specify TDA-S and TDB-S, R5 (EN 1.4547) grade stainless steel fasteners. Super austenitic R5 grade stainless steel fasteners were also specially developed for the project to provide added protection against stress corrosion.

While the internal and external environment are key to specifying the right product for the job, the lifecycle of the components and total cost of use must also be considered. As the old adage goes, if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice – and this is almost certainly true of fasteners and fixings.

Energy efficiency

Specifiers also need to consider how building envelopes impact energy usage. As part of this process, there’s a need to identify areas where there are opportunities for reducing energy consumption, in line with Part L2 of the Building Regulations.

When refurbishing Shakespeare House in Hackney (see picture above), BPTW Architecture and Paneltec Services Ltd opted to install SFS’ NVELOPE NV1 vertical cladding system. In doing so, they were able to convert a low-quality housing block into a modern apartment building, complete with a contemporary feel and improved energy efficiency.

As well as being designed for concealed fix and structural bonding applications, the system is designed to allow expansion and contraction of the cladding when under strain from arduous weather conditions. Project Builder, SFS’ planning and design system, creates a bespoke solution, ensuring that the facade, fasteners and fixings are paired with the right brackets and subframe systems to offer installation and energy efficiencies.

Speed and efficiency, a winning combination

While the heat is on to increase the pace at which we construct new buildings, quality, thermal efficiency, sustainability and longevity must remain at the heart of the process.

Building envelopes, including the oft-neglected fastenings and fittings, must be considered much earlier in the plan of works, well thought out and properly specified, tapping into the latest technologies and product innovations. By embracing this much needed attention to detail, the industry can achieve the goal of faster construction and create buildings that are designed for the present but built and secured for the future.

For more about SFS, please visit www.sfsintec.co.uk.

The Ellen Terry building, a former cinema in the heart of Coventry University’s city centre campus, is to be given an internal transformation by refurbishment specialist Overbury.

The art deco building which has been a feature of Coventry’s city centre landscape since 1880 is now the home of the media and performing arts courses at Coventry University, and is named after Dame Ellen Terry, a star of the Victorian age and one of the leading Shakespearian actresses of her time.

The university and Overbury plan to breathe new life into the building’s specialist facilities, remodelling and upgrading its theatre and performance changing rooms as well as its teaching areas, taking the building’s utility and flexibility to the next level.

The investment is part of Coventry University’s commitment to seek to create world-class environments to maximise the quality of the student, teaching and learning experiences and spaces it has to offer.

The Ellen Terry building boasts a range of versatile features including a music studio, computer suites, darkrooms and performance spaces, all tailored to the needs of those studying courses linked to photography, performing arts, media, film-making, popular music and more.

Overbury will be working alongside architects at Robothams, project managers and quantity surveyors at Gardiner & Theobald and mechanical and engineering consultants at Stuart Turner to deliver the internal transformation.

The refurbishment is the latest project in a long-standing relationship between Coventry University and Overbury, which has seen large-scale refurbishments at the Sir William Lyons Building, the Whitefriars Building and the Richard Crossman Building in the past.

Work is due to start in February and is expected to take 10 weeks to complete.

Dr Shaun Hides, Academic Dean of Coventry University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “This is another fine example of the university’s investment in our faculty’s infrastructure and our commitment to providing excellent learning spaces for our students to take advantage of.

“We’re delighted with the ambition and support the university is showing through this development, which is a key part in the major investment in our faculty’s future. Together, these projects will take our Arts and Humanities facilities to the next level, giving our students access to innovative spaces that will support distinctive and truly cutting-edge approaches to creative and collaborative learning.”

Penny Mitchell, from Overbury, said: “We’re working alongside our partners using additional measures to ensure our work can be completed safely within the pandemic and are looking forward to seeing the project come to life.”

www.overbury.com

Test results showing poor performance of the ACM façade panels used on the Grenfell Tower façade were not disclosed to BBA when the manufacturer applied for certification. This week the Grenfell Tower Inquiry learned that an email sent in 2010 revealing poor fire test results needed to be kept ‘very confidential’.

Arconic’s president in France, Claude Schmidt, answered questions about testing of ‘Reynobond PE 55’ panels in which showed a difference in fire performance between flat panels and those produced in ‘cassette’ form.

The 2005 test on the aluminium composite material (ACM) cassette panel, which had a polyethylene core, showed it burned 10 times as quickly and released seven times as much heat and three times as much smoke when shaped in this way.

But instead of warning customers, the Arconic French subsidiary AAP SAS considered the test as a ‘rogue result’ and continued to sell the product using the classification it achieved when tested as a flat panel.

The inquiry heard that an internal Arconic email in 2010 had stated that the results of the ‘rogue result’ fire test on  ‘cassettes’ should be kept confidential.

When applying to BBA for a certificate to allow both panel versions to be sold on the UK high rise market, Arconic supplied only results from the flat panel test. However BBA require all available test data to be supplied.

The BBA issued Arconic with a certificate for both products stating that they achieved a Class 0 rating, the British equivalent of the Euroclass B rating.

Arconic’s Mr Schmidt, admitted to the Inquiry that the email suggested customers had been misled but it was not deliberate.