Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry


EWI contract

Anglian has recently been awarded an External Wall insulation (EWI) contract by Oxford City Council

Commencing on site this month, Anglian will insulate timber framed terrace houses as part of the council’s pilot scheme being undertaken in the Rose Hill Estate which is located on the south-east outskirts of Oxford.

Using the Structherm EWI system, a 60mm phenolic board will be applied to the walls and covered with a basecoat render and reinforcing mesh. An acrylic finish will then be applied to the front and rear elevations of the house and a brick effect render to the gables. Residents will also be given the choice to select the colour of the render before it is applied to their home.

This is Anglian’s first EWI contract for Oxford City Council having previously completed window and door contracts for Oxford CC over many years. Anglian sales director, Ross St Quintin said: “It’s great for Anglian to be working with Oxford CC once again, we are delighted to assist with the delivery of this pilot scheme.”


Offsite M&E

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) has completed the delivery of a major mechanical and electrical (M&E) scheme at Crown Woods College, in Greenwich, demonstrating the multitude of advantages that offsite prefabrication can bring to enable a more sustainable, safer and efficient way of delivering building services solutions.

Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and built by main contractor Balfour Beatty, the new £48 million secondary school, part of the Phase One £100 million Greenwich Council ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF) scheme, features nine buildings linked by external covered walkways. The facility has been organised into three colleges or ‘schools within a school’ with 450 pupils each. In addition there is a post 16 college that will also accommodate 450 students.

At Crown Woods College, BBES’ Modular Systems+ division has designed and supplied multi-service 3D corridor modules that incorporate full M&E services as well as operating as air conditioning ducts for the classrooms. Lined with acoustic foam, the air path fulfils the design noise criteria to create an ideal learning environment for this new facility.

Using the latest lean construction methods and off-site fabrication techniques, BBES has delivered the completed 3D modules and modular risers installed on site for an efficient and safe installation. Manufactured by BBES at its Modular Systems+ facility, this allowed site construction to run concurrently, making significant savings on the project timeframe.

BBES is able to maximise project efficiency while ensuring quality management is maintained throughout each process. The modular arrangement also eliminates material wastage, helping to maintain projects sustainable targets and provide significant cost and time benefits compared to traditional installations.

“Through a series of workshops we worked with the design team, the architect Nicholas Hare Architects LLP and BBES’s project team to engineer the ideal solution for the services and air circulation components,” said Mark Hammonds of BBES’s Modular Systems+. “By utilising an offsite prefabrication approach we have been able to deliver components in a much more efficient, sustainable and safer way.”

Ministerial visit

Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change recently visited Rampton Drift in Longstanton, where energy-saving technology is being retro-fitted at 13 former barracks properties which will eventually form part of the new town of Northstowe.

Jablite Dynamic Insulation is one of the solid wall insulation solutions that are on trial at Rampton Drift. Power savings will be charted and it is hoped other families will be encouraged to cut their carbon footprint.

“We are very pleased to be part of this excellent project which is leading the way in preparations for the Green Deal,” Richard Lee, managing director at Jablite, said.

“Jablite Dynamic Insulation is a completely new insulating technology. It provides, quite simply, the best insulation performance for solid wall available; using a ventilation system to capture escaping heat and return it into the home. “This also reduces condensation, improving air quality which helps to maintain a healthy living space.”

The Rampton Drift project will examine a number of energy-saving measures including insulation, solar panels and super-efficient boilers worth a total of £320,000. All will be retrofitted in houses, which were built between 1956 and 1970.

Mr Barker said: “It’s really important the public realises energy efficiency is no longer a boring, intrusive process but is something that’s going to save them money and improve the value and quality of their homes as well.”


Campus redevelopment

A trio of architectural aluminium systems from leading UK supplier Kawneer proved a “key element” to the redevelopment of a city college, for reasons including sustainability, robustness and aesthetics.

Kawneer’s AA110 curtain walling was used on the student refectory that provides panoramic views of Sheffield as well as the walls of the flagship atrium. Glazed strip sections were also used on the atrium’s curved roof, complemented elsewhere by AA601 top/side-hung casement and AA602 pivot windows and series 190 heavy-duty commercial entrance doors.

Winner of a regional award for outstanding contribution to improving air quality, the £60 million Sheffield City College is home to 6,000 students, 600 staff and a host of sustainable features including a trio of roof-mounted 15m-high wind turbines, the first of their kind to grace the city skyline.

As well as these, the iconic purpose-built college also features photovoltaic panels, a rainwater recycling system, green sedum roofs, a balancing pond to channel water for re-use, natural ventilation of all rooms, high-efficiency light fittings and an additional turbine at ground level.

The three-year project was completed in four phases by main contractor JF Finnegan – the first being a nursery, the second a three-storey catering wing, and the third the atrium building and seven-storey tower containing 50 teaching rooms including the National Enterprise and Health and Social Care Academies. In addition, there is an aviation wing, training salons, dental and science laboratories, learning resource centre, spa and restaurant.

The final phase included a sports hall, outdoor sports pitches, landscaping and new college entrance, with students moving into each new phase to allow demolition of the old buildings.

Architect Mike Hall said: “We did work closely with Kawneer and produced our details in accordance with the Kawneer system as we have used Kawneer products in the past with great success and Kawneer were extremely pro-active in helping us produce the details and input into the spec. We had no issues in accepting the Kawneer product as a contractor’s proposal.

“The Kawneer systems are a key element, providing natural light into the atrium space and integrating smoke vents, providing a fantastic panoramic view of the city from the refectory.

“The college, with its use of sustainable building techniques and renewable energy technologies, is high on the sustainability agenda and it was extremely important that the building materials were reflective of this. The use of an aluminium system with high recyclable properties was important.

“The Kawneer system complied with the aesthetic and performance requirements of the project extremely well, providing a robust yet elegant solution.”


Pain-free cooling

Patients are benefitting from a comfortable environment using low energy cooling and heating in the new Pain Centre at the Salford Royal Hospital which is undergoing a £200 million modernisation programme.

The Manchester and Salford Pain Centre (MSPC) is located in a new purpose-built extension to the existing Irvine Building and is part of the hospital’s extensive building programme which is being phased over five years.

As a designated low energy project, energy and running costs combined with aesthetic considerations were drivers for the Pain Centre’s fit-out in addition to patient and employee comfort. To this end, the consultant Engineers – AECOM (formerly Faber Maunsell) – specified chilled beams for their energy efficiency, low noise levels and comfort benefits.

Waterloo’s active chilled beams and devices were selected and fitted by CMB Fylde Engineering into every room to supply cooling and heating.

Active chilled beams provide a compact, energy efficient and aesthetic system for the delivery of heating and cooling and provide an excellent air pattern with good throw characteristics. Chilled beam technology offers an opportunity to save energy, reduce mechanical noise and improve indoor air quality in retrofit, renovation and new construction projects.

The potential energy reduction of using chilled beams instead of a traditional air-conditioning system can be as much as 50%, depending on the type of system, climate and building. The move towards more sustainable building designs combined with concerns about assuring a proper indoor environment for the building occupants increasingly sees chilled beams being specified over traditional air handling units.

Going green

Using sustainable architecture principles and its own materials and technologies, Dow Corning has completed construction of two innovative, energy-efficient, high-performance facilities that will significantly improve the company’s ability to meet customer needs, as well as enhance its environmental, health and safety performance.

The first is a 32,000m2 distribution center in Feluy, Belgium, that will allow Dow Corning to support future growth in the region, Belgium and Europe. The facility doubles the size of the current warehouse and was constructed in only 15 months.

The second is the Solar Energy Exploration & Development (SEED) center located in Seneffe, Belgium. The 9 million Euro addition to Dow Corning’s global innovation capacity includes a Synthesis Technology Center and Solar Application Center and aims to advance fundamental research in new silicon-based materials and solar cell development.

“In the construction of those facilities, we have used and prototyped many of Dow Corning’s innovations and novel applications, pushing the limits of technical possibilities in optimising energy use for a laboratory and distribution facility, and answering the sustainability demands of new construction standards,” said Massimo Rebolini, Europe Middle-East and Africa construction industry commercial manager.

The main entrance of the distribution center, a surface of 240m2, is glazed with Dow Corning transparent structural silicone adhesive (TSSA). This adhesive, developed for point-fixing in glazing, combines high transparency, strong adhesion, thermal stability and excellent weatherability – all characteristics key to improving a building's lifespan and efficiency. Furthermore, Dow Corning’s structural glazed facade technology allows the creation of modern construction with larger, more efficient windows that enables both providing better thermal insulation and letting in more daylight.

Also, more than 2km of concrete floor and wall joints inside the building have been sealed with Dow Corning silicones. Silicone sealants perform well under the stress of UV radiation, extreme heat and cold, and acid rain.

Dow Corning’s European Distribution Center incorporates more efficient windows that enables both providing better thermal insulation and letting in more daylight. Dow Corning also invested in special features to enhance energy efficiency. To reduce energy consumption the company further increased the levels of roof insulation and installed heat recovery facilities on the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. To save artificial lighting, the use of natural lighting was maximised via the use of roof lights and where possible motion lighting controls were installed. The structure of the distribution center is also equipped to support solar panels on the roof.

Dow Corning’s SEED research center was designed and built with sustainability in mind, using novel Dow Corning technologies, as well as clean energy sources to achieve some of the highest energy efficiency standards.

The center is entirely covered with Dow Corning’s new Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIP), which provide high insulating value in materials up to five times thinner than conventional insulation products, enabling maximal use of internal space. The center also uses building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), a set of PV modules mounted as sun screens in front of the windows, which reduce the need for cooling in the office area and simultaneously serve as power generators.

As a result, the SEED building heating costs are anticipated to be 75 % lower and electricity costs 70 % lower than an equivalent conventional construction.


Condensation solution

Harvest Housing Group inherited over 120 homes built almost 40 years ago on the Newlands Gardens estate in Workington as part of a stock transfer; the mix of flats and terraced houses all had a poor SAP rating, and were suffering from condensation issues, especially in the roofs.

The housing provider called in roof ventilation specialist Glidevale, which worked closely with Harvest to design a strategy which would resolve the roofspace condensation problems as easily and effectively as possible, enabling subsequent upgrading of loft insulation and installation of cavity wall insulation.

The solution has been to install Glidevale’s G5 tile ventilators at low level, at 2.0m intervals, supplied through Jewson to contractor Mossam & Sydney. The ventilators have the smallest cowl available on the market, enhancing the overall roofline aesthetics, but still deliver up to 20,000mm2 net free ventilation per ventilator.

To make the vents even more discreet, they were colour matched to blend with the existing roof covering. The G5 vents are suitable for use on pitches from 20° to 60° making them even more appropriate for the Newlands Gardens properties’ roofs, which have a shallow pitch.

Each ventilator is fitted with Glidevale’s Universal Extension Sleeve, to ensure direct air penetration through the existing roof covering into the roofspace, providing a continuous weatherproof path for the moisture-laden internal air from roofspace to the outside in accordance with both BS5534 and BS5250.

Harvest Housing Group’s Jeff Hunt said: “The roofs had no ventilation at all; levels of condensation in the roof void meant we could not practically upgrade the loft insulation of cavity wall insulation until it was resolved. Glidevale are widely known as the experts in ventilation products, and gave me a very positive and rapid response on both the specification and supply of the ventilation.”

Glidevale’s sales director Nick Beswick said: “Preventing harmful condensation with roofspace ventilation has historically been a major consideration in housing specification, but one somewhat forgotten as our climate has been more temperate for a few years. The severity of 2009 and 2010 winters has seen a significant increase in incidence of roofspace condensation, as the warmer, moisture laden air in the roofspace comes into contact with very cold surfaces.

“By installing proper tile ventilators, Harvest is ensuring not only can it bring the homes up to modern standards, but is taking a long-term view to property maintenance, eliminating the risk of harmful condensation which – undetected and unaddressed – can cause major structural damage to a building.”

Efficiency without fuss

The SmartSash window developed by Halo has enabled a new build development in Cwmbran, Gwent, to meet Level 3+ of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CFSH Wales) without the need for bolt-on technologies.

When Melin Homes, a registered social landlord, commissioned the first phase of the Woodland Street development it specified SmartSash because it could cost effectively achieve the 0.7W/m2K U-value it required.

“SmartSash enabled us to construct dwellings where the fabric itself has a good U-value so that we could achieve Level 3 without resorting to renewable technologies such as photovoltaic cells and heat pumps that may fail and also reduces the problems associated with complicated controls,” explained Lee Pickett, head of construction at Melin Homes. The result, he says, is that there is no danger of the homes later falling to Level 2 or Level 1 through any technical failure of renewables in 10 or 15 years and heating bills are kept low from the start.

All white triple-glazed SmartSash casement windows were fitted with Roto TSH30 gearing to so the windows would meet both BS7412, the standard covering the performance of PVC-U windows, and BS7950, the standard specified under the Secured By Design initiative overseen by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

“Getting triple glazing at a reasonable price together with security systems that were SBD-approved would have been difficult to achieve,” Lee said.

Midas Mi-Space, based in Cardiff, built the development of four two-bedroom apartments, four two-bedroom house and four three-bedroom houses while the SmartSash windows were fabricated by Remploy, a supported workshop.

The Woodland Street development will give local residents the chance to buy their own homes through the Melin low-cost home ownership schemes. Melin Homes is a major provider of affordable homes in South East Wales and is committed to green and energy efficient housing. It also manages more than 3,400 properties in Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Newport and Powys.

Melin Homes opted for the highest performing version of SmartSash, but the ‘modularity’ of the system enables PVC-U doors and windows to be fitted now to comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Levels 3, 4 or 5 as required – and then be simply, easily and inexpensively upgraded to Level 6 standard at a later date. It also allows for much larger sash sizes, while maintaining thermal performance. This is achieved through glazing elements, which can be changed and enhanced as budgets provide.

Textbook retrofit

A sixth form college at Reepham High School in Norfolk has retrofitted a series of Alwitra Evalon Solar roof panels across its extensive roof, helping to achieve the architect’s aim of high thermal performance levels, lowest possible energy demand and the highest levels of comfort.

Specified by Teather + Walls Architects, Alwitra Evalon solar photovoltaic panels were chosen to accompany the Alwitra Evalon V single ply polymeric membrane that was installed a year before. Applied at an angle of 10°, this would allow for a simple and efficient solar upgrade when funding became available, as well as ensuring the cells would be self-cleaning.

For the original roofing application, Total Roofing Services applied Evalon V in dark grey, which is a compatible substrate for the integration of solar PV panels.

This flexible photovoltaic roof is capable of producing up to 20% more output than other more common crystalline cell types. Generating power from direct and diffused light, the advanced PV cells can provide 3704kWh of energy per year.

The thin film triple junction technology used in Evalon Solar PV cells allows effective harvesting of solar energy on any roof with a pitch of above 3°.

Supplied with a 20-year performance guarantee, Alwitra EVALON Solar is one of the most innovative solutions on the market.

Following the successful completion of the project, the new Reepham Sixth Form College received a number of construction industry awards for its innovative design and build elements, including the New Commercial Building Award at the 2011 Norfolk Association of Architects Craftsmanship Awards.

Timber choice

Keywood, Arch TImber Protection’s new modified timber product, has been chosen by Alistair Baldwin Associates for the design of a decking area within a client's 'zero carbon' garden landscaping project.

The homeowner in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, wanted to personally approve all materials chosen by Alistair Baldwin to meet his strict environmental credentials for his home development.

Alistair Baldwin said: “We chose Keywood due to it being a very workable and sustainable material, and also its uniqueness as a pine with the look of a more exotic hardwood. As a designer, I am very attracted to its pale colouring – it takes on the wonderful patina of oak when dry, and then rich warm tones when wet.

“The flexibility to specify the boards at the width we needed was also a plus, as we were running the boards up to stone slabs which came at a fixed width, with the aim of creating the staggered junctions. The site is in the open countryside, so it was important that the deck took on a good weathered look from day one, and Keywood was perfect for that.”

Community project

Recticel Insulation Products has donated more than £7,000 of its Eurothane GP insulation board to a major community refurbishment project organised by an award-winning architect. The board has been provided to help transform a derelict building into a new multi-purpose Community Centre in Dunoon, Scotland.

The building was previously used as a Town Hall, but had fallen into disuse. A project was then launched by the John McAslan Family Trust to refurbish the building and create a new resource for the local community. Led by architect John McAslan – who received the accolade of World Architect of the Year in 2009 – the Trust provides assistance to a wide variety of community-based social, education, environmental, arts and sports projects around the world.

Recticel’s Paul Simpson said: “This is a multi-purpose board which has a foam core, faced on both sides with a multi-layer, coated aluminum foil. This makes it well suited to the many different types of pitched roofing, flooring and framed wall applications that are often found on this type of project.

“It can be used either between studs or as an insulated sheathing and its rigid, PIR foam core has a closed cell construction which enables it to add high levels of reliable insulation, especially to older buildings which are being renovated, as in this case. We were happy to provide the Eurothane GP for Dunoon as it's the type of project that will bring considerable benefit to many people in the area.”

The John McAslan + Partners architectural practice has offices throughout the UK, and has a long list of impressive international projects to its credit, including the King’s Cross Station Redevelopment, the Stanislavsky Factory in Moscow and the Iron Market in Haiti.

CESP Success

CMS Enviro Systems has been appointed as a Scottish Gas registered vendor to a second CESP (Community Energy Saving Programme) refurbishment scheme in Scotland.

The contract for Cadder Housing Association in the north of Glasgow is worth in the region of £2million and follows the successful appointment to the £2million Thistle Housing Association CESP refurbishment earlier this year.

CESP targets households across the UK in areas of low income to improve energy efficiency standards and reduce fuel bills. CESP promotes a ‘whole house’ approach and is delivered through the development of community-based partnerships between housing providers, community groups and energy companies.

As a registered vendor to Scottish Gas, the contract sees CMS supply and install ‘A’ rated energy efficient PVCU windows and doors to Cadder Housing Association housing stock. The energy efficiency and carbon reduction renovation to properties also includes central heating upgrades and external wall insulation. As well as the window and door replacement part of the programme, the CMS scope of work also includes the recycling of all extracted windows and doors at their recycling facilities.

On the appointments Scottish Gas Regional CESP Manager for Scotland, Derek Gray, said: “CMS Enviro Systems were awarded these contracts due to their ability and technical experience relating to the supply and installation of superior energy saving PVCU window and door products. They are able to deliver on time, to specification and within budget while retaining the ability to innovate on the contract both commercially and technically, for example recycling all the old windows and doors from the contract.

”CESP schemes are vital in the fight against fuel poverty, helping us to lower fuel bills and give people warmer homes. It is also very important that wherever possible local businesses can benefit from these contracts and so we are very pleased to be working with thriving and successful Scottish company like CMS.”


Rugby heat pumps

The owner of a seven-bedroomed, nine-bathroom family home in the Midlands has opted for a ground source heat pump system from Danfoss Heat Pumps UK to provide space and hot water heating.

The 20kW DHP-S heat pump was installed by renewable energy specialists Be Green of Uxbridge, which also fitted underfloor heating on both the ground and first floors to ensure an effective method of space heating. The heat pump is designed to maintain a constant comfortable temperature throughout the spacious house.

Nick Marsden, who owns the 110-year-old property set in seven acres near Rugby, said: “The house is off the gas grid, so we were using oil. I knew that a ground source heat pump would be a much more convenient and sustainable way to heat the house so I made the decision to choose a Danfoss unit because I was aware of the company’s reputation as a high quality manufacturer.”

The Danfoss DHP-S is a high-capacity heat pump designed for use in large homes and light commercial buildings. It has a built-in de-super heater to provide higher hot water temperatures and an easy to operate ‘set and forget’ control system, which can be monitored and operated from anywhere in the world via an internet connection. The heat pump supplies all the hot water requirements for the home, which is fitted with a 1,000 litre domestic hot water storage tank in a dedicated plant room.

Four 120m vertical energy wells for the heat pump were drilled in land close to the house. Energy wells were chosen rather than a horizontal ground loop because of the geological make-up of the ground, with a hard limestone layer close to the surface which meant it was unsuitable for this installation method.

Ground source heat pumps work by circulating a refrigerant fluid around a circuit containing four elements: evaporator heat exchanger, compressor, condenser heat exchanger and expansion valve. Heat absorbed from the ground is transferred to the liquid refrigerant which evaporates to form a gas. This gas is then compressed which causes its temperature to rise. The hot gas passes into the condenser where it starts to change back to a liquid as heat is transferred into the building. After passing through the expansion valve, the liquid refrigerant returns to the evaporator and the cycle begins again.

At the Marsden’s home, a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery system (MHVR) was also installed at the same time and this has further optimised the efficiency of the ground source heat pump. This works in two ways – during winter the system recovers over 85% of the heat from the stale outgoing air. This heat is then fed back into the property as clean, warmed air, thus reducing the amount of heat which the heat pump needs to produce. The MVHR system is also linked to the heat pump’s energy wells, which it uses to create an energy efficient passive cooling system during the summer months.

Garry Woods, sales manager for Be Green, said: “By combining both systems, it means we can ‘recycle’ both the heat and cold resulting in a reduction in the amount of energy required to run both the MVHR and heat pump – a further saving on two already energy efficient technologies.”

The project was carried out as part of a major renovation of the house, which has included upgrading the insulation to the walls, roof space and under the floors, as well as installing double glazing.