Insulate Magazine - April Issue 17

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition


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The only independent

insulation industry

trade magazine

Issue 17 | April 2018

New forms of insulation

Ecobuild 2018 Review

AI Insulation

Energy Efficiency

Infrastructure Priority

The only independent

insulation industry

trade magazine

The only independent

insulation industry

trade magazine


Outlook 2018

The only independent

insulation industry

trade magazine

Published on a monthly basis by Versanta ltd

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Issue 14 | January 2018

Website: www.insulatenetwork.com

Standing Out From the Crowd

Email: sales@insulatenetwork.com

NIA Conference Review

Keeping Everything Moving

Review, Reflect and Reset


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Outlook 2018


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The only independent

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Outlook 2018


Issue 17 | April 2018

New forms of insulation

Ecobuild 2018 Review

Free Lunch....

Energy Efficiency

Infranstructure Priority

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Issue 14 | January 2018

Standing Out From the Crowd

NIA Conference Review

Keeping Everything Moving

Standing Out From the Crowd

Review, Reflect and Reset

Issue 14 | January 2018

NIA Conference Review

Keeping Everything M

Review, Reflec




It’s been an extremely busy month here at HQ, it seems

that coming into spring has brought the industry into

overdrive, projects and initiatives from across the globe

are being submitted to us as future articles and features for

Insulate magazine.

New forms of Insulation: Something to Reflect on

Tallest Piece of Street Art

Efficeint Cambridge Virido Development




We’ve had the consultation for ECO3 opened by BEIS in

preparation for it’s implementation, with much discussion

on social media still centring around “deemed scores” - the

team at Insulate Network would love to hear your views for a

feature next month, simply send an email to

news@insulatenetwork.com and share your thoughts.

This month we hear from our Technical Editor, Paul Forrester

on “The Language of Insulation” “Continued Professional

Development in Insulation” and a review of the final Ecobuild,

ahead of its transformation to Futurebuild in 2019.

All of your usual Insulate Columnists deliver their thoughts for

the industry from the view of their respective trade bodies and

the BBA chart the rise of reflective insulation in the U.K.


Tests Even Tougher 13

Energy Efficiency is Infrastructure Priority


The Language of Insulation 16

Free Lunch 19

Speciers of Insulation Projects 21

Ecobuild is Evolving (Ecobuild Review)


Heat or Eat


Insulation and Artificial Intelligence


Embracing Ecommerce


Colin Heath

Managing Editor





Jamie Street

Head of Creative



6 14

Paul Forrester

Technical Editor


Congratulations to Tim Potter

from CMS Danksin, who won

the tickets to Anthony Joshua

vs Parker thanks to Mauer in

Insulate Magazine issue 15.

The UK's only dedicated

trade journal for the insulation industry


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

instant insulate

A quick look at what is in store in this months issue of Insulate Magazine.

Head over to page 27 for Embacing Ecommerce in Insulation

Europe is currently developing a

harmonised European Product Standard

for reflective insulation which is due

to be published shortly. Once officially

issued, manufacturers will then be able

to CE-mark their product to encourage

increased sales across Europe.

Read More: Page 6

Under new ownership, ecobuild

2018 represented a confident

transition to what will become

futurebuild in 2019

Ecobuild Review: Page 22

The walls of the Virido properties allow

approximately 20% less heat loss than a

typical building, without having to

compromise on room sizes.

Read More: Page 12

No: insulation is a technical, logical

language, born of the laws of physics.

Read More: Page 16

Energy efficiency measures provide a

public service: they insulate

consumers—literally—against the volatility

of energy markets. Likewise, they provide

health and wellbeing benefits,

Read More: Page 14

There are still millions of households

and commercial and public

buildings that are yet to be properly

insulated and yet insulation is

still the single most effective method

of saving energy and money.

Read More: Page 21

With government-backed delivery of home

energy efficiency improvements stalling,

we inevitably end up playing political football

with the issue whilst the poorest and

most vulnerable in society suffer.

Read More: Page 26

no such thing as a free lunch, but

when a construction product

manufacturer wants to present to an

office full of professionals then

making sure they are well fed is

virtually a prerequisite

Read More: Page 18

For the UK’s Tallest Piece of Street Art Turn to page 10




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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

Insulate Insight

New forms of Insulation

Something to Reflect on

Marin Oxley Charts the rise of reflective insulation


fter running 26.2 miles and receiving your

well-earned finisher’s medal, you usually

receive a goody bag after completing

your marathon. Along with the T-shirt, snack

bar and muscle-relieving pain gel, you will find

a shiny, highly reflective space blanket. This

helps to keep you warm after you have stopped

running – so why not use the sametechnology

to keep your house warm as well?

Testing the Performance

When the first reflective insulation products hit the

shelves of builder’s merchants many years ago, there

was limited certified testing, so some of their original

performance claims might have been a little optimistic.

Testing houses in both the UK and Europe also

achieved varying results after analysing the products

in the same way as they normally would traditional


So while the test houses and manufacturers agreed

on a standard testing methodology for thermal

performance, a process which took a few years,

some companies opted for in-situ evaluation.

It soon became apparent that it was extremely difficult

to build ‘standard houses’ repeatedly and ensure

that thermal performance and weathering conditions

remained absolutely identical, so as to evaluate the

true performance of these new reflective insulants

with 100% accuracy. This caused market confusion

and ultimately led to many architects, specifiers and

contractors not selecting reflective insulation for their


Thermal Performance Standard

After several rounds of evaluation with some of the

best testing houses for insulation’s thermal performance,

in 2012 Europe agreed on a standard thermal

Europe is currently

developing a harmonised

European Product

Standard for reflective

insulation which is due to

be published shortly. Once officially

issued, manufacturers will then be able

to CE-mark their product to encourage

increased sales across Europe.

performance testing standard, BS EN 16012: 2012

+A1: 2015 Thermal insulation for buildings – Reflective

insulation products – Determination of the declared

thermal performance. (http://bit.ly/2bramb2).

There was now a defined methodology for direct

thermal comparison of reflective insulants. This, together

with the emergence of the first reflective insulation

certificates from the British Board of Agrément

(BBA) over 17 years ago, increased the credibility of

the industry and provided consumers with the reassurance

they required, and sales started to increase

significantly during this period.

Radiation of Heat

All insulation products work by reducing heat flow, in

one or more of three ways: conduction, convection or

radiation. Heat always flows from the hot side to the

cold side.

Reflective insulation’s key feature is, of course, to limit

heat flow by radiation. The radiated energy is invisible

and causes no rise in temperature until it hits a

surface, where it is absorbed and causes the object

to get warmer. For instance, radiative energy from the

sun will pass through double-glazing and once it hits

an object inside the conservatory it starts to heat it




When comparing the performance of reflective insulations,

a key technical characteristic is the emittance

of the product, more usually described as emissivity,

specifically a surface measurement of the product’s

ability to emit radiant energy.

Emissivity is a ratio and is given a value between zero

and one. A value of zero indicates that all the energy

is reflected and none is absorbed, as for example,

with a highly polished silver surface. Conversely, a

value of one denotes that none of the energy is reflected

and all is absorbed, as by a totally black body

such as a black hole in space.

For a typical reflective insulation product, the aluminium

foil outer surface would have a declared aged

emissivity of around 0.05, meaning that the significant

majority of energy is not absorbed. Conversely, for a

typical brown house brick, you would usually expect

an emissivity value of around 0.90 – that is, most of

the energy is absorbed.

As emissivity is a ratio of energy, the temperature and

direction of measurement is an important function, so

you need to measure the emissivity accurately. The

texture of the sample can also affect the true result by

scattering the light.

BS EN 16012: 2012 + A1: 2015 refers to BS EN

15976: 2011 Flexible sheets for waterproofing –

Determination of emissivity, which details testing and

reporting methodology (http://bit.ly/2bCJq5p). With

most reflective insulations, you are determining very

low emissivity values and are working at the very

limits of the instrumentation, so using an experienced

independent testing laboratory such as the BBA is

vital to obtain accurate, precise and credible results.

The results supplied should be ‘aged’ results to take

into effect the material’s ability to resist oxidation

/ corrosion, i.e. how the product will perform after

many years as opposed to just initially.

Europe is currently developing a harmonised European

Product Standard for reflective insulation which

is due to be published shortly. Once officially issued,

manufacturers will then be able to CE-mark their

product to encourage increased sales across Europe.

BBA History

The BBA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016,

which means we have been evaluating numerous

insulation types from novel to traditional, in many

different applications for over half a century. Each

certificate has a scope of that the lists.




what the product is, its technical performance, how it

complies with Building Regulations and where it can

be used.

Insulation manufacturers work hard to produce the

best product for each specific application, to ensure

that all the necessary requirements are met. Obviously,

for an insulation the key element is thermal

performance, so the correct installation of any

insulation is absolutely essential. If it is installed poorly

or incorrectly, there will be a loss of thermal performance

and, with the majority of insulation ending up

covered once it is installed, this reduced performance

will continue throughout its life, and may even cause

issues at a later date.

Correct installation of insulation was one of the

many parameters picked up in the Zero Carbon Hub

Performance Gap report as an area to improve (see

Building Control Journal February/March, pp.14–15).

Architects, designers and specifiers are required to

take CPD to keep abreast of developments. However,

an installer may often only attend a one-day

training course and become approved with typically

very little follow-up or auditing, even though he/she

may then be considered the company expert.

So the focus for manufacturers to increase market

share must be in preparing comprehensive technical

literature to complement the sales material, as well

as detailed installation guidance to demonstrate the

ease of fitting all the key features and benefits.

This guidance can range from images of the installation

process right through to on-site training

schemes. Companies are keen to ensure that their

product is installed correctly, does what it should do

and stands the test of time.

So, if reflective insulation uses the standard principles

of physics for thermal performance and has been

around for the past 60 years or so, used as it was

during the great space race of the 1950’s and 60’s,

being both thin and lightweight, then you could ask

the question – why is it not used in more applications?

The lack of a current European Product Standard

may be one of the reasons why architects, specifiers

and contractors continue to use their normal insulant,

given that this has worked in the past and they do

not have time to investigate all the possibilities.

This is where a BBA Certificate gives the manufacturer

the ability to go out into the market place to support

and solve many of the questions that industry

has regarding product performance.

With regulated building requirements for U-values

getting lower and lower, the use of reflective insulation

in conjunction with other traditional insulants can

help achieve these increasingly stringent targets. To

achieve maximum performance, products must be

used in conjunction with an air cavity in front of, and

in some cases behind, the insulation.

Some products are also classed as a vapour control

layer because they offer a high degree of moisture

resistance and, of course, must be used on the warm

side of any proposed system to reduce the risk of

any interstitial condensation. Others are classed as

breathable because they are perforated through all

layers to allow any moisture build-up to pass through

the material and dissipate on the other side, typically

in the form of a ventilated cavity in a warm pitched


Although it may not have been a smooth or easy

ride to get here, reflective insulation is now definitely

making significant inroads into the European insulant


The BBA’s auditing and inspection team has a huge

wealth of knowledge and experience of the whole

spectrum of on-site insulation installations, from the

very best to the very worst, so it can offer a valuable

resource for those looking to ensure that the product

is installed correctly.

Market Share






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Insulate News

Sto Helps Bring Tallest

Piece of Street Art Alive in Leeds


Wall insulation system supplied by Sto Ltd has helped bring to life a 137ft high mural called

“Athena Rising” in what is considered to be the tallest piece of street art in the UK. The office

development in Leeds has been clad with StoTherm Vario external wall insulation and finished

with StoColor X-black facade paint.

Created by articles Cbloxx and

AYLO (Joy Gilleard and Hayley

Garner from the Nomad Clan

Muralists Collective) the artwork

depicts an owl in flight alongside

a moon and a crown. The artwork

took four weeks to complete and

covers the east elevation of the

building. To complete the ‘Athena

Rising” street art Joy and Hayley

were required to suspend from a

cradle, hand-painting the artwork

using emulsion and spray paint.

Sto’s Account Manager, Jim

Allan said:

“This project is an excellent

example of the way that Sto can

provide a fully integrated solution

for an unusual project such as


“StoTherm Vario is a high performance

and cost-effective

insulation system which features

a mineralic reinforcing coat which

is designed to meet stringent fire

safety requirements. It provides

excellent thermal performance

and protects the external wall

from weathering. No additional

expansion joints are required and

this was an important feature for

the Platform building, as it gave

Joy and Hayley a smooth canvas

on which to work.”

Dark finishes on render applied

over external wall insulation have

traditionally suffered from heat

build-up due to solar gain. This

can subject the render and insulation

to temperatures of up to

80°C, which causes dimensional

instability, cracking and damage

to the insulation.

However, the StoColor X-black

paint uses special near-infrared

black pigments that cause much

of the solar energy in the invisible

near-infrared spectrum to be

reflected. Despite the render surface

being dark in colour, it stays

considerably cooler, protecting

both the render itself and the

insulation material beneath it from

the extremes of thermal stress.

The Nomad Clan’s work is part of

the city-wide street art project in

Leeds, called ‘A City Less Grey’.

Joy and Hayley are experienced

giant muralists, having painted

some of the largest artworks in

the North of England, and they

have been called ‘one of street

art’s finest female duos.’

Craig Burrow of the building’s

owner, Bruntwood said:

“We’re very excited to be part

of this project and pleased that

Platform can provide the canvas

for this mural,.”

“Bruntwood firmly believes that

the strength of our cities is directly

impacted by social and cultural

vibrancy, so it’s great to see citywide

projects like ‘A City Less

Grey’ bringing organisations from

across the region together to

create powerful art.

“Bruntwood firmly believes that

the strength of our cities is directly

impacted by social and cultural

vibrancy, so it’s great to see citywide

projects like ‘A City Less

Grey’ bringing organisations from

across the region together to

create powerful art.”



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Insulate News

Kingspan Tek Insulation

Underpins Efficient Cambridge Virido Development

irido, the new high energy efficiency housing development in Cambridge features Kingspan’s TEK

V Building System of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).

Located in the rural suburbs of the University City,

Virido was developed and constructed by Hill. The

development features 208 apartments and townhouses

in a grid of quads around a central courtyard.

A high performance fabric specification, was achievable

thanks to the Kingspan TEK Building System and

was designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards.

The Kingspan TEK Building System comprises a

high-performance insulation core sandwiched between

two layers of OSB/3. The lightweight panels

were designed and factory cut to the project’s unique

requirements by Kingspan Timber Solutions. This ensured

a fast-track erection programme with minimal

onsite adjustments and waste.

To maximise the energy performance of the dwellings,

the envelopes of all properties on the development

have been designed to be extremely airtight.

This was a key consideration in the specification of

the Kingspan TEK Building System as its unique jointing

system and OSB/3 facing supports highly airtight

constructions. On completion, each property was

individually assessed and achieved recorded air leakage

rates of below 1.5 air change per hour @ 50 pa.

The highly airtight design necessitated the use of mechanical

ventilation heat recovery systems (MVHR).

These systems use the heat from the outgoing stale

air to heat incoming fresh air, further reducing heating

demand and maintaining comfortable internal living


The Kingspan TEK Building System also

contributed towards the excellent fabric performance

of the properties as Heike Messler from Pollard

Thomas Edwards explained:

“The walls of the Virido properties allow approximately

20% less heat loss than a typical building, without

having to compromise on room sizes. This high level

of thermal performance means that the homes don’t

really need radiators, but we have included them for

personal comfort.”

Both the Kingspan TEK Cladding Panel and Kingspan

TEK Building System panels are also available

in a 172 mm thickness, offering enhanced insulation

performance with U-values of 0.17 W/m2.K or better.

The manufacturing facility where the panels are

produced carries both FSC® (FSC®-C109304) and

PEFC Chain of Custody certification. As standard,

the OSB/3 facing of all Kingspan TEK panels is PEFC




BBA Tests Even Tougher

with Heavyweight Instron Testing Machine

OTest experts at the British Board of

Agrément (BBA) are making full use of

their new Instron universal testing machine

to pull, squeeze, twist, bend and tension

building products under assessment, including

those for the roofing, cladding, highways/car

parking, house-building and civil engineering


The new load frame equipment is an upgrade to the

BBA’s previous machine, offering an additional test

space, a widened scope of products to be tested

thanks to an increased load capacity from 100kN to

250kN, greater levels of accuracy and stability and

the latest Bluehill Universal software.

Mike Beale, BBA Test Contracts Manager, said:

“The new Instron machine can test more

than 30 product types, from insulation to

membranes, resins, moulded plastics including

pipes and window frames to waterproofing

systems. It’s a crucial piece of

equipment that is in virtually constant use

tensioning, flexing, compressing, peeling

and shearing products. It is a great asset

that is perfect for supporting our clients’

needs. We will continue to invest in new

test fixtures to maximize the possibilities

of this state-of-the-art equipment.”




Insulate insulate Columnist columnist

EE as Infrastructure Priority

Secures Cross Party Consensus

Sarah Kostense-Winterton Executive Director, MIMA

“It is all very well giving assistance with bills,

but a long-term solution - insulating houses

- is surely the way forward” said Conservative

sponsoring MP and EEIG supporter,

Antoinette Sandbach opening the recent debate

in Parliament on Energy Efficiency and the Clean

Growth Strategy.

Sandbach continued by setting out a range of potential

policy levers, and highlighting that bills are £500

lower today than they would have been without energy

efficiency improvements, yet “there is still more to do”.

She did not fail to point out that there has been an 80

per cent reduction in energy efficiency improvement

measures between 2012 and 2015. Never a truer

word spoken.

This two and a half hour debate was a long time in

the waiting – with debates on energy efficiency being

few and far between - also providing the first actual

chance to debate the Clean Growth Strategy launched

in October last year. This was a valuable opportunity to

put on the public record the cross-party commitment

to coordinated action on boosting the energy

efficiency of our homes to deliver social, economic and

environment opportunities for all.

The policy wish list – the cross-party MP’s central ask

“to designate energy efficiency measures as

infrastructure spending” – with the clear economic and

social benefits, not surprisingly reflected the EEIG’s

messages, with all of those speaking at the debate

supportive of the coalition’s campaign. As Sandbach

stated energy efficiency spending is closer to capital

than revenue

Sarah Kostense-Winterton is Executive Director

of MIMA, the Mineral Wool Insulation

Manufacturers Association and founder of the

Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group.

For further details of the EEIG and if you would

like to join, please contact EEIG’s political

advocacy and support, Alasdair MacEwen at


expenditure, and such investments free-up energy

capacity, delivering multiple economic, environmental,

and energy security benefits for the UK.

“Why invest in the big plant if we can roll out energy

efficiency measures across the country, as part of

an infrastructure project?” Sandbach boldly proclaimed.

“Energy efficiency measures provide a public

service: they insulate consumers—literally—against

the volatility of energy markets. Likewise, they provide

health and wellbeing benefits, by enabling consumers

to heat buildings more effectively, and they have

the knock-on consequences of reducing our carbon

emissions and contributing towards our overall aim of

clean, green growth.”

Minister, Claire Perry did not disappoint with her enthusiastic

response saying, “the case that was made

for demand-side as well as supply-side infrastructure

investments is powerful” also committing to meet with

the National Infrastructure Commission in the

coming months.



The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

“There is a huge amount more to do,” inferred Perry.

“We have heard lots of sensible ideas today, many

of which are extremely attractive and that we want to

take away. All of us want ​to get the costs and consumption

of energy down, reduce carbon emissions,

make our homes warmer, and make the transition to

low-carbon energy less risky. This is not an either/

or question; in order to meet our carbon targets, and

to create a housing stock that is fit for the future, we

absolutely need to do this.”

However, the Minister’s one word of caution that making

energy efficiency an infrastructure priority “does

not automatically turn on a new funding tap” must be

ignored at our peril.

“There is no packet of money under the Chancellor’s

desk marked ‘Infrastructure’, so this all has to be put

through a similar hopper,” Perry warned.

“Nevertheless, the point about energy efficiency is excellent;

energy efficiency is not only a strategic imperative,

but an economic imperative. If we improve energy

efficiency, we reduce people’s bills, create value, and

create opportunities and investment for new forms of


What was clear during this debate – or dare I say discussion

given the MPs support across the political divide

- is that the politicians agree with one another and

there is immense (and very welcome) support from the

government minister too. We have challenges ahead

but the Clean Growth Strategy represents one of the

most significant milestones – the path ahead – to support

the reset and transformation of energy efficiency

policy, of how it is approached. This, supported by

the recommendations, amongst others, of this week’s

Green Finance Taskforce report, the Climate Change

Committee and, with fingers firmly crossed, of the National

Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations

due in the spring/early summer.

It is imperative that EEIG and its members focus on

supporting Perry and the Government on how to

deliver the jigsaw of potential policy measures and to

ensure HM Treasury becomes sold on the new way

of framing energy efficiency. The momentum we have

achieved throughout 2017 must be maintained lest we

let this important issue slip back into the traffic jam of

the new policy queue. As Perry rightly said

“This is not an either/or question; in order to meet our

carbon targets, and to create a housing stock that is

fit for the future, we absolutely need to do this.”

With this in mind, the EEIG has a packed strategy for

2018 with focus on doing exactly this. The EEIG remains

a broad church which represents those who are

committed to achieving change and delivering good

energy efficiency policy and quality housing “fit for the

future”. We are not about specific products, businesses

or organisations but committed to

achieving the EEIG’s goals. We are widening and

growing the membership so come and join us at the

next meeting on 11 April!



Exclusive Insulate Column

The Language of


Paul Forrester Technical Editor, Insulate Magazine

The ‘language of insulation’ is not what you

would call romantic. It’s unlikely to inspire

a book of sonnets any time soon; budding

Blakes, Chaucers and Shakespeares tend

to have weightier things on their minds! by Paul


No: insulation is a technical, logical language, born

of the laws of physics. Much of it is black and white,

but there remains room for nuance. Used well, it is a

powerful tool for communicating ideas about building

design and performance. The words themselves may

not be beautiful, but they can help create great spaces

that inspire great work from the people who use them.

Thermal Properties

A fundamental measure of a thermal insulation material

is its thermal conductivity (lambda value, units: W/

mK), the amount of heat energy it conducts. Generally,

thermal conductivity doesn’t change with thickness,

so thermal resistance (R-value, units: m2K/W) is

a more accurate measure of a material’s ability, at a

specific thickness, to resist heat transfer.

The resistances of the materials in a wall or roof are

combined with internal and external surface resistances,

then the reciprocal taken, to give the thermal

transmittance (U-value, units: W/m2K) of the

element. Additional calculation procedures apply to

floors, basements and steel framed structures.

Conduction through materials is one mechanism

for heat transfer; another, via the movement of air, is

convection. The third principle mechanism occurs

due to bodies emitting and absorbing electromagnetic

radiation at different rates, depending on temperature

and emissivity.


Thermal insulation is most effective when installed

as a continuous layer, forming a thermal envelope.

Interruptions to the insulation layer are

thermal bridges (or cold bridges), and should be

avoided as far as possible. They can be the result of

structural requirements, poor design, or poor


Thermal bridges can be repeating, occurring at

consistent intervals (like timber rafters, a structural

frame, or mechanical fixings), or linear, where the

geometry of a construction element changes or at the

junction between elements (the floor/wall junction, the

wall/roof junction, or around door and window openings).

Gaps in insulation layers can result in warm and cold

air mixing, and circulating around the insulation layer.

This is one type of thermal bypass, a collective term

for different types of air movement (also including air

infiltration and wind washing) that result in significantly

increased heat loss.

Taking a fabric first approach to construction centres

on reducing heating demand and energy use through

efficient building fabric (i.e. insulation and well-detailed

thermal bridges) and passive heating techniques.

Maximising solar gains through good design maintains

comfort in winter, with solar shading to limit the

risk of summer overheating.

Condensation Risk

A fabric first approach also relies on airtightness, to

stop warm air leaking from the building, and controlled

ventilation, to make sure occupants have

fresh air to breathe. Design for low energy construction

typically features a continuous airtightness line

within the thermal envelope; the level of airtightness

dictates the ventilation measures that should be


16 16


Air holds moisture vapour. The warmer the air, the

more moisture vapour it can hold. When air comes into

contact with colder surfaces it drops in temperature.

The temperature at which the air is saturated by its current

moisture load (100% RH) is the dew point; when

the air drops below the dew point it can no longer hold

the excess moisture vapour and deposits it as


Surface condensation occurs on surfaces that are

colder than the surrounding construction, such as windows

or badly detailed thermal bridges, while

interstitial condensation typically occurs unseen within

the layers of a construction.

In terms of general moisture management, materials

should be selected appropriately. Closed cell products

absorb limited quantities of moisture and do not

allow the passage of moisture vapour, unlike vapour

permeable materials. Older buildings, especially with

solid walls, often rely on moisture transport through

the building fabric, so any retrofit measures must be


Acoustics and more

As well as thermal insulation, fibrous materials also

provide sound insulation. They can reduce airborne

sound or act as a resilient layer to deaden vibrations.

At their heaviest, they can add mass to a building and

reduce impact sound, including deadening rain noise

on a roof.

Other performance characteristics influence a material’s

suitability for certain applications. Compressive

strength is the ability to bear imposed loads; some

products also declare compressive creep to demonstrate

their behaviour under load for an extended period.

Specific heat capacity is used to calculate the

contribution to an element’s thermal mass. Thermal

insulation products resist the transfer of heat rather than

storing it, so effective use of thermal mass - also part of

a fabric

No: insulation is a technical,

logical language, born of the laws of

physics. Much of it is black and white,

but there remains room for nuance. Used

well, it is a powerful tool for communicating

ideas about building design and


first approach - depends on the types of structures into

which the insulation is installed.

The introduction of Construction Product Regulations,

including requiring products to be CE marked to

harmonised European standards, has raised quality

and improved the consistency of insulation products.

An overview like this can never exhaustively cover ‘the

language of insulation’ but we hope it has proved a

useful summary of insulation properties and some of

the issues associated with its use. Did we miss anything

from the topics covered? Are there other insulation-related

topics we could do a follow-up on? Get in touch

and let us know!






insulate network puts

you in touch via every device



The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

Exclusive Insulate Column

There is no such thing as a

Free Lunch

Paul Forrester Technical Editor, Insulate Magazine

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but when a construction product manufacturer wants to

present to an office full of professionals then making sure they are well fed is virtually a

prerequisite. It’s a well established system designed to suit both parties - but is it meeting the

needs of either? by Paul Forrester

Most professional institutes in the construction

industry require members to undertake continuing

professional development (CPD).

Recognising that any qualification, no matter how

prestigious, becomes outdated in a shifting landscape

of legislation changes and ‘innovative’ product

development, the theory behind CPD is to keep

knowledge relevant and up to date, readying professionals

to face new challenges. Different institutes

guide members in different ways with regard to how

they should meet their CPD needs.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for example,

has a ‘core curriculum’, from which a certain

number of members’ CPD hours should come each

year. Others give complete freedom, allowing each

professional to personalise their learning in accordance

with their individual requirements.

Structured Learning

With the rise of different platforms for delivering information,

so the number of ways it is possible to undertake

CPD has increased. Podcasts and online learning

are just as valid as traditional books and magazines;

delivering training to colleagues or mentoring students

are legitimate development activities too.

Construction product manufacturers - insulation

producers among them - have long been happy to

support the provision of education. The key is that a

chosen activity should be planned, and of a level appropriate

to supporting the identified learning needs.

If a manufacturer is prepared to offer it, the recipient

is prepared to travel, and the content has been approved,

even a factory tour is a possibility.

Presentations remain the favoured option, however,

and a CPD coordinator may book a manufacturer to

attend their office because the topic of a presentation

is useful to the aims of the organisation as a whole.

But that doesn’t stop some people from attending

purely out of convenience, or to boost their CPD hours

for the current year.

In a similar vein, while CPD material is expected to not

be overtly promotional - and is assessed accordingly

in order to be included in some CPD provider directories

- it rarely takes a huge logical leap to get from the

general topic of a seminar to a particular product the

manufacturer is keen to promote.

Mixed Feelings

As a result, it’s not uncommon to come across conflicting

evidence about the success of in-office lunchtime

CPD seminars. Feedback forms give recipients

the chance to express their opinions. A presentation

might be judged as unbiased by the majority, but one

or two will always feel it could have been less promotional.

Where 90% or more of responses are favourable

though, and where a majority of attendees

suggest a willingness to specify a company’s products

in future, the actual rate of conversion into

specifications can be surprisingly - and disappointingly

- low.




From the other side, I’ve heard comments from new

and experienced presenters expressing surprise that

an audience was less engaged, or had a lower level

of base knowledge on the subject, than they expected.

From personal experience, I’ve been willing

to discuss live projects in relation to a presentation’s

topics - and had nobody take up the offer.

Never having been a full-time CPD presenter, I

recognise isolated examples aren’t necessarily

representative of a majority of audiences. Anecdotal

as all this evidence may be, however, it can’t help but

raise questions - not least whether conventional CPD

seminars are delivering their intended benefit to

specifier or manufacturer.

they might have. If presentation slots fail to fill generous

seating areas reserved for them, where’s the

harm in experimenting with more exclusive sessions,

held away from the noise and distraction of the main


An often-overlooked aspect of CPD is reflection.

Professionals are expected to consider whether an

item of CPD met their needs, and adjust their other

planned activities in response. Whether they do or

not is a matter for debate, but consider this: manufacturers

like describing themselves as innovative,

and show organisers want their event to be the most

important of its kind. So shouldn’t there be reflection

on their parts too, about why they keep doing the

same things?

A New Approach

Is it time for trade shows and exhibitions to work

with manufacturers to develop alternative formats?

Classroom or workshop arrangements could offer a

greater level of freedom and interaction, delivering a

higher quality experience, of greater value, that might

even generate increased interest from the intended

target audience.

Better to address questions the audience on the day

actually have, rather than ones assumed in advance




Insulate Columnist

Support Available

To Specifiers of Insulation Projects

Insulate Magazine columnist Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association


here are still millions of households and

commercial and public buildings that are

yet to be properly insulated and yet

insulation is still the single most effective

method of saving energy and money. For

example a detached home fitted with Solid Wall

Insulation could save just over £400 per year.

The National Insulation Association and its members

offer a comprehensive range of services to specifiers

looking for support in the design and delivery of their

upcoming refurbishment and new build projects on

domestic, commercial and public sector buildings

and these include:

• Information, advice and guidance on funding


• Assistance with the design, specification and delivery

of multi property, multi measure upgrades.

• Access to a national network of accredited

installers that meet the NIA’s strict membership

criteria and sign up to its code of professional

practice. Provides specifiers and project managers

with assurance and peace of mind when

choosing an NIA member.

• Issuing expressions of interest and requests to

tender for work on behalf of specifiers to NIA


• An online member directory www.nia-uk.org

NIA registered members have significant experience

of working with energy suppliers, private and social

housing managers, funders, builders, architects and

other specifiers in delivering high quality energy efficiency

schemes. The NIA’s membership includes the

leading manufacturers/system suppliers and installers

of all insulation measures so it’s able to offer a one

stop shop.

For more information about all the work above

and membership of the NIA please email






Ecobuild is Evolving

Paul Forrester Technical Editor, Insulate Magazine

Under new ownership, ecobuild 2018 represented a confident transition to what will become

futurebuild in 2019. By giving more of the construction industry space to shine, it not only

showcased how buildings are built now but the methods and materials we can expect to see

in coming months and years by Paul Forrester

With several full scale houses on display around

the exhibition hall, the effect of ecobuild highlighting

more system-based approaches to construction was

arguably to dilute the impact of traditional product

manufacturing. Enough manufacturers - including from

the insulation sector - were present with impressive,

inviting stands, but the mix across the show was noticeably


Insulation will always be an integral part of

construction projects as occupant comfort, energy

use and emissions targets remain high on the agenda.

Overall, however, representation from the sector was

lower key than in previous years - due, perhaps, to

both ecobuild’s change in focus, and challenges faced

by the sector throughout 2017.

Who was there?

Insulation companies were, unsurprisingly, to be found

in the Building Performance hub. Bauder had a large

presence, but concentrated on their complete roof

systems; as such they were in the Green & Blue Infrastructure


Rockwool’s stand featured their complete product

range, as well as interesting case studies to catch

the eye and a display about the distinction between

non-combustibility and Class 0 to help answer fire

performance questions.

Kingspan promoted their phenolic and polyisocyanurate

(PIR) rigid foam products, and their ‘Insight’

educational platform. Meanwhile, Recticel introduced

a new PIR range featuring a thermal conductivity of

0.019 W/mK, alongside their more established offerings.

Both Kingspan and Recticel included a vacuum

insulated panel (VIP) on their stands, while Radmat

focused on the thermal performance benefits and

insulation thickness savings of VIPs. For now, these

products continue to be offered predominantly for flat

roofs, but in coming years it will be interesting to see

how widely their use extends as the market develops

its confidence using them.

Insulation Further Afield

Many of ecobuild’s international trade pavilions

included companies offering insulation products.

Unfortunately, the level of detail available was variable

and it was rarely clear whether products were available

from a UK distributor to be able to specify.

A mineral wool product from Portugal, for example,

proudly claimed to be derived from sand thanks to

an unspecified “innovative process”. There were no

performance claims, but if nothing else it showed the

potential even for traditional insulation materials to


Meanwhile, a Polish manufacturer

displayed an insulation board

made from cellulose - a material


commonly used in blown applications

- which they marketed as

ideal for the sympathetic internal

upgrade of historic buildings.

Offsite Takes Off?

Back in issue 15 of Insulate we

took a look at offsite manufacturing

(OSM) and it was certainly

out in force at ecobuild. Did the

refreshed thinking behind the

show encourage more offsite

companies to attend, or has the

sector simply come of age and

ecobuild was the perfect place to

show it?

Perhaps it was a combination of

both, but either way the Offsite

hub was a buoyant place to be.

In a show with a well-attended

seminar programme, the offsite

talks and discussions seemed

particularly popular.

Among the many modular

building systems and wholehouse

concepts, Marley were

prominent in launching their own

version of a structural insulated

panel system (SIPS) featuring a

PIR foam sandwiched between

two layers of oriented strand

board (OSB). Most notably,

perhaps, the foam was green in


Passivhaus Prominence

Unfortunately, the floor space

earmarked for the Building

Research in Architecture group’s

Passive Pod House did not feature

what was advertised.

It is pretty hard to miss a complete

house, so unfortunately it

seems the concept did not reach

the show - but if it had been

there I would have enjoyed seeing

an example of their demountable

Passivhaus-standard home,

fabricated off site using just five

main components.

The UK’s Passivhaus Trust were

in attendance, and enough build

systems advertised Passivhaus

levels of performance to suggest

that awareness of the standard

- and highly efficient building

fabric generally - is growing. One

system offered by a group of

Polish companies took a novel

approach, offering performance

levels from ‘basic’ to ‘sub-arctic’.


The plethora of housing solutions

going beyond building

regulations and advocating

future-proofed building fabric

was encouraging. A number of

stands, however, risked undermining

the trend thanks to confusing

displays and terminology.

Several mixed up thermal conductivity

(W/mK) and U-values

(W/m2K), making it difficult for

a trained eye to discern what

performance was actually being

claimed. It almost certainly made

life hard for anyone who was

less familiar with the terminology

but interested in doing the right


Large student groups remained

a noticeable part of ecobuild’s

visitors, and it is particularly

worrying to think they’re being

exposed to inaccurate and

potentially misleading messaging

at what is supposed to be one

of the major exhibitions of the

construction industry’s year.

insulate at ecobuild

For our part, Insulate was

pleased to have a stand in the

Building Performance hub. We

spent the show’s three days

distributing free copies of the

magazine and providing a

showcase for Mauer UK’s

external wall insulation (EWI)

system, featured in last month’s

issue, which deservedly proved

popular with visitors.






Insulate Columnist

Heat or Eat

the Need to Tackle Fuel Poverty Crisis

Simon Storer, Chief Executive of Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)

With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession this month and the threat

of Storm Toby over Easter, this March has certainly been one of the coldest I can recall for

a long time. This of course means that people need to heat their homes for longer periods

than they would normally and for those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can

sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.

The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented

and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and

debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter

mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with

cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a

study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy

(ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than

road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse.

But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who

become a statistic. A cold home can mean lower

educational attainment and lead to social exclusion

for young children. There are also links to rising costs

within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened

by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart

and respiratory diseases.

We all know that energy efficiency improvements

should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty

to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed

delivery of home energy efficiency

improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing

political football with the issue whilst the poorest and

most vulnerable in society suffer.

The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which

introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many

fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a

minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030,

will only be reached if we can upscale installation of

high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s

housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process,

ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent

standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge

we face.

Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront

assessment of the existing building by a competent

assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe

appropriate energy improvement measures.

There will be various measures required to refurbish

a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved

there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities.

Getting the fabric of the building well insulated

should always be the starting point.

With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the

increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of

standards: the assessment, installation and

commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the

consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional

co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation,

will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the

key objectives of the Each Home Counts 1 review

which recommends that there be a quality mark for

all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures

to ensure that the consumer receives excellent

levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to

a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy

efficiency arena and that products are installed to

approved codes of practice.



Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host

of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon

and being good for our health. Whether

it is an internal or external insulation application,

it is vitally important we bring the nation’s

homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard

by getting the fabric of the building as

energy efficient as possible. Using the highest

performing products, such as PIR insulation,

will go a long way to achieve this. Only then

will we be able to provide a long-term asset

that can be passed onto future generations.

For more information about the Insulation


Association please visit:


We all know that energy

efficiency improvements

should play their part

in helping those in fuel

poverty to keep up with

rising energy costs, but

with government-backed

delivery of home energy

efficiency improvements

stalling, we inevitably end

up playing political football

with the issue whilst the

poorest and most

vulnerable in society suffer.

Simon Storer



Artifical Intelligence

and the Insulation industry

Jamie Street Lead Creative at Insulate Network

What impact will Artificial Intelligence have on the Insulation Industry? From

insulation products and manufacturing processes to installation and performance

it’s exciting to speculate how Insulation will be affected by Artificial

Intelligence. By Jamie Street

Everyday Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has always been a fascination

for me and for many I’m sure. From Terminator and

Robocop to i-Robot and Westworld, the prospect of

a world populated by robots is common in Hollywood

and all forms of visual entertainment.

In the UK we have already had the pleasure of

self-service checkouts for almost a decade. Amazon’s

Go 1 has seen the first introduction of “no lines, no

checkouts”, giving customers in the U.S unprecedented

shopping freedom. In Dubai they have recently

launched their first “robotic cop” to handle smaller

workforce duties. Whilst In Japan and China we are

already seeing the rapid replacement of humans on

the factory production line, with the long term goal of

replacing human labour altogether 3 .

Whilst Artificial Intelligenceis often seen as the “future”,

there is no denying the future is upon us.

Vision for the Future

A recent article from construction enquirer 4

discusses Balfour Beatty’s vision for construction

sites in 2050. Balfour believe the majority of work will

be done off-site, work will be completed by robotic

cranes and diggers overseen by drones. Construction

materials will be dynamic and capable of self-assembly,

on-site humans would wear exoskeletons to

improve performance whilst others would be deployed

off-site to monitor drones and cameras from afar.

Terms like “offsite”, “drones” and even “exoskeletons”

are more than familiar in todays vocabulary, so this

picture for 2050 is already materialising.

Paul Forrester’s 5 “offsite” feature in issue

15 of insulate magazine and the

signifiant presence of offsite at

ecobuild this year is

just the tip of the




Insulation Technology

Furthermore, an announcement from Caterpiller

provides some insight into the Artificial Intelligence

we can expect to see on construction sites in the

not too distant future. The article details Caterpillar’s

recent investment into a brick-laying robot capable

of laying 1,000 bricks an hour

A Complex Concept

So is Artificial Intelligence unavoidable and we

should all fear for our jobs? Well there appears to

be a bit of ironing out to be done when it comes to

more intricate detailed tasks

A recent article from TRIB live 7 highlights BMW’s

requirement for human skills over AI for intricate and

complex tasks at their largest factory. In the same

article, Cisco Systems notes the complications

Unsurpising Evolution

It probably doesn’t seem a shock to many that

Artificial Intelligence will be a dominant feature of

the construction industry work force in years to

come. Factories and building sites have used machines

for years, off-site construction continues to

grow in popularity and newer technologies such as

BIM are now common phrases in the construction


However, as with all industries it does raise

questions over the role of humans and the

investment required to adopt the

new technologies.

with extracting data

from highly automated

manufacturing processes.

Issues of trust are also a

significant factor. The issue of

speed seems to be a stumbling

block when it comes to more

intricate tasks. The BBC 8 reported

that burger flipping robot had to be

taken offline because it was too slow.

Despite these teething problems, it’s a matter of

time before issues of speed, efficiency and even

trust are overcome and robots of a common fixture.

But What About Insulation?

At this stage you are probably wondering, “But

What about Insulation?”. Well here goes.

As a key component within the construction

process, the forecasts from Balfour Beatty will

undoubtedly play a significant role. Robotic

installation, self-assembly, off-site construction

and more.

We are already seeing leading manufacturers

utilising virtual reality at exhibitions to showcase

their products, which points towards a similar

embrace when it comes to more advanced

Artificial intelligence.




Insulation Technology

Insulation Products and Artificial Intelligence

Will the capabilities of Artificially Intelligent life forms

be so advanced that they are able to identify insulation

products that offer better performance in specific

environments and locations? Perform scientific

calculations that allow for the development of insulation

solutions that haven’t previously been considered?

Or the lower risk to human error by making it

possible to use materials that were previously overlooked?

It’s exciting to consider how insulation products will

evolve as a consequence of Artificial Intelligence. In

the short-term Insulation products will undoubtedly be

thinner, lighter and better performing than ever before.

A big question to ask is whether insulation materials

and products will be a standalone product category

at all? Is Structural Insulation Panels (SIPS) a sign of

things to come as insulation becomes integral to other

elements of construction?

Will construction materials become like the modern

mobile phone, becoming “smart” materials that

integrate thermal and acoustic benefits into one single

high performance kitchen top?

Insulation Manufacturing

The visions for on-site construction will be ten-fold

when it comes to Artificial Intelligence’s impact on

insulation manufacturing. Insulation factories will be

populated with even more robotic machines than they

are today, monitored by drones and watched over by

human inspection.

Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly reduce the

margin of error, improve efficiency and increase output

when it comes to Insulation manufacturing process.

The potential for enhanced output of insulation products

as a result of Artificial Intelligence will be most

apparent with 24 hour, 365 day operation becoming

normality. No staff breaks, no holidays, no errors, less

health and safety implications. The cost of AI will be

significant, but the yield benefits appear to justify its

early adoption.

Insulation Distribution

With Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) predicted to move

from one location to another without a human driver

becoming more of a reality, it’s fascinating to consider

how insulation distribution will be affected. If much

of the construction is completed off-site will the days

of insulation panels and boards being shipped from

factory to construction site be a thing of the past?

Advances are likely to have positive implications in

the reduction of energy consumption and carbon foot

print, but more importantly what role will insulation

distributors play in the future?

With construction taking place off-site will their

services be as essential as they are today and how

will their role need to change to accommodate such

changes in the industry?

Insulation Installation

The degree of accuracy and speed achievable by

future robots suggests humans will have a limited role

in insulation installlation. Insulation materials will likely

be installed off-site and any on-site installation will be

conducted by robots, significantly reducing build times

and human error.

The influence on installation will be effected by the

form insulation products will take in years to come.

Will insulation products be primarily sprayed to exact

depths, without any significant human involvment?

28 www.insulatenetwork.com


The implications of Artificial

Intelligence on the Insulation industry as

with all industry’s will undoubtedly be

significant, effecting every process along

the path towards a buildings completion

That answer would appear to be yes, at least for

some applications. As featured in the Decemeber

issue of Insulate Magazine, the Q-Bot 9 robot delivers

sprayfoam underfloors to precise depths, whilst saving

money and time. It can’t be long until Insulation panels

and rolls can be installed at unimaginable speeds and

incredible accuracy. AI may even help overcome the

cocerns over human error frequently associated with

insulation installation.

It’s realistic to envisage that AI developments will

speed up build times in all areas of construction,

with projects being completed in weeks if not days.

24 hour operation is a possibility with modern methods

potentially reducing the noise, disturbances and

delays caused by all stages of construction. These

factors would be also be vastly reduced if the majority

of the work is completed offsite. It’s overwhelming to

consider how rapidly existing landscapes and skylines

will develop in short periods of time.

Space for Debate

The implications of Artificial Intelligence on the

Insulation industry as with all industry’s will

undoubtedly be significant, effecting every process

along the path to a buildings completion. I have only

scratched the surface of its potential impact and

it would be interesting to hear from experts in the

insulation industry on how they envisage the future will

unfold. Maybe you already know?

Share your thoughts on the impact of

Artificial Intelligence on the Insulation Industry,

send your comments to news@insulatenetwork.

com or @insulatenetwork on twitter.


1. Amazon Go

2. Robotic Cop in Dubai

3. The Robot Revolution : The New Age of Manufacturing

4. Construction Enquirers: Balfour Beatty’s Artificial Intelligance vision

5. The Spotlight is on Offsite Construction, Paul Forrester

6. Caterpillar, 1,000 bricks per hour

7. Burger Flipping robot taken offline after one day, BBC

8. TRIB Live, Why the Robot takeover is proceeding slowly

9. Q-Bot The Robot for Insulating Under Floors

Jamie Street,

Creative at Insulate Network




A site for

sore eyes

Looking at the advantages of BBA Certification

As you well know, major construction work on building sites

involves a huge amount of product and materials checking, not

least to make sure everything meets the exacting requirements

of building regulations. This can be stressful at the best of times

and a helping hand is always welcome.

That’s why more and more people are coming to the BBA for

off-site certification of their products. For many years now, our

work in the offsite construction sector has brought peace of mind

to hundreds of architects and manufacturers alike.

BBA Agrément Certificates are widely read and respected by

industry decision-makers who want to select innovative products

that have been thoroughly assessed by the BBA. Our assessors

have decades of experience in evaluating Offsite Construction,

and we are currently assessing many new systems, adding to the

many already approved including insulated concrete formwork,

SIPs and framed systems.

Of course, our main focus is on the requirements of Building

Regulations — not just in England and Wales, but also in Scotland

and Northern Ireland. But we go much further than that. We

want to ensure that a system is not only waterproof, warm and

structurally sound; it has to be durable, too. No-one wants to buy

a system with a short life expectancy, so we seek to ensure that it

will last for an appropriate period of time.

Neither are our assessments simply desk exercises. As well as

testing, we go out to the factory to check system documentation

and control, making sure that the specification we approve is

capable of being produced consistently.

We also go out on site to see units being offloaded and installed.

That’s because we know that what may seem simple when

explained in a dry office or factory can turn out to be very

different on a building site.

Once we have gathered data from testing, factory inspections

and site surveillance, we consider how we can use it to establish

that the requirements of Building Regulations and other statutory

or non-statutory documents have been met.

BBA Agrément Certificates are regarded as quite simply the best

assurances you can get for your off-site products. With BBA’s 50

years of unrivalled expertise in building and construction

certification, it’s easy to see why.



01923 665300

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

Insulate Columnist

Embracing Ecommerce

Time to take Advantage of Online Opportunities

Andrian Sanders, Director of Ecommerce, Construction Materials Online


drian Saunders, Director of eCommerce, Construction Materials Online, analyses the benefits

of eCommerce for the construction industry, and looks at why it is becoming the first choice

for professionals looking to source materials.

The construction industry has firmly entered an era of

connection, with technology radically transforming the

supply chain. eCommerce is now a trusted alternative

to traditional building merchants, not just offering

opportunities for significant cost savings, but also

improved productivity, a greater choice of products

and access to expert support

Construction professionals want fair pricing and a

varied product range, alongside the convenience of

an online retail experience, and a recent survey we

conducted of over 200 professionals from across all

construction trades, to analyse this shift in behaviour,

revealed that 94% now find that online.

Whilst traditional high street builders’ merchants favour

the bricks and mortar approach, product choice is

limited, and employees often lack the expert knowledge

required to make informed recommendations

based on a specific project. With 44% of professionals

now opting for online sourcing in comparison to just

24% favouring high street and commercial merchants,

it’s clear that eCommerce is becoming the preferred


Construction eCommerce is built on the fundamentals

of modern online customer behaviour, offering a more

collaborative and innovative approach to sourcing

materials, unrestricted by store opening times. Made

to order and bespoke products can also be sourced

quickly, whilst expert online support teams can advise

on how best a project can meet budgets and exceed

building requirements and regulations.

Usually offering far greater product selections and

competitive pricing, it’s little wonder that buying online

is now the favoured option. More than half of survey

respondents agreed, revealing that visits to builders’

merchant chains in the past year have been marred by

product stock shortages - with 55% also witnessing

product price rises.

With the quality and variety of materials continuing to

advance at a rapid pace, it can be difficult for

traditional merchants to keep up. Combined with the

time taken to source materials from the high street,

eCommerce is a viable solution which can significantly

improve productivity, saving valuable time in an industry

focused on meeting tight build deadlines.

Our own company growth is evidence of this, with

over 50,000 products available across our three

eCommerce brands, Roofing Superstore, Drainage

Superstore and Insulation Superstore. Roofing Superstore

is also now the largest online supplier of roofing

materials in the UK, and with strong relationships with

some of the world’s leading manufacturers, it is the

‘one stop shop’ for roofing materials.

We are focused on providing a bespoke, human approach

to eCommerce and are a trusted online source

of building materials - with over 8,000 independent

customer reviews on Trust Pilot, over 90% of which

are positive.

With demand only set to increase for easier and more

efficient methods of purchasing, the industry now

needs to embrace eCommerce, understanding the

value and benefits it brings.



The only independent insulation industry trade magazine

Content Partners

National Insulation Association (NIA)

The NIA represents the insulation industry in the UK and our members include manufacturers and

installers of a number of insulation solutions for your home or business. Both the NIA and its members

are fully committed to maintaining and raising standards within the insulation industry.

Contact Name: Neil Marshall Email: neil.marshall@nia-uk.org Website: http://www.nia-uk.org/ Social:


Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA)

Established in 1962 (originally as ‘Eurisol’), the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association

(MIMA) provides an authoritative source of independent information and advice

on glass and stone wool. MIMA actively promotes the benefits of mineral wool insulation

and the contribution it makes to the energy efficiency of buildings and the comfort and

wellbeing of their occupants.

Contact Name: Sarah Kostense-Winterton Email: sarah@mima.info Website: www.mima.info/ Social:


Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)

Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA) is the representative body for the PIR and PUR

insulation industry in the UK. Known for 40 years as BRUFMA, IMA will continue to speak

out on behalf of its members and seek to ensure it is the principal point of contact for all

audiences relevant to the sector.

Contact Name: Mel Price Email: mel.price@insulationmanufacturers.org.uk

Website: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk Social:






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No one knows

Insulation like SIG

SIG Insulation started out 60 years ago. Since then we’ve grown to become the UK’s

leading specialist distributor of insulation, dry lining and related products to the

construction sector.

It’s not just our vast product range and major brands that sets us apart from the

competition. The unrivalled technical expertise and impartial advice of our staff – who

each have on average 10 years experience within SIG – help you source the products

you need, and guide you through what the legislation means to your project.

And when getting the job done relies on having the right products at the right time, you

need a fast, reliable supplier with UK-wide branches, a huge delivery network and stock

always available.

Contact your local branch via www.siginsulation.co.uk

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