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Insulate Magazine Issue 14 - January 2018

Featuring exclusive articles, standing out from the crowd, NIA conference review, keeping everything moving and Review, Reflect and Reset the new year edition of insulation provides a kick start to 2018...

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The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

Insulation<br />

Outlook <strong>2018</strong><br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>14</strong> | <strong>January</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

NIA Conference Review<br />

Keeping Everything Moving<br />

Review, Reflect and Reset


NOW AVAILABLE<br />

WWW.INSULATENETWORK.COM | SALES@INSULATENETWORK.COM | 01948 759 351


Published on a monthly basis by Versanta ltd<br />

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Call 01948 759 351<br />

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Insulation Outlook <strong>2018</strong><br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Contents<br />

6-8<br />

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must receive your classified advert at least two weeks prior to the<br />

publication date.<br />

NIA Conference Review 2017 10-13<br />

BBA Leads the Way<br />

<strong>14</strong>-15<br />

Standing Out from the Crowd 16-19<br />

A Call to Action 20<br />

WE DO NOT ACCEPT PHONE IN CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING<br />

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CIRCULATION<br />

The magazine is sent to 17,000 digitial subscribers per month<br />

Improve and Respond to the Challenges 21<br />

Hearing Protection : Communication 22-23<br />

Review Reflect and Reset<br />

24-25<br />

Keeping Everything Moving 26-29<br />

ASFP Endorses Independent Review<br />

31<br />

Decarbonisation and Building Regulations 32<br />

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The UK's only dedicated<br />

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3


Happy New Year! As we begin <strong>2018</strong>, having reflected on what<br />

has been a turbulent 12 months for the Insulation Industry, the<br />

focus here at <strong>Insulate</strong> Network has become one of unity and<br />

communication.<br />

Interviews with key industry leaders have revealed a common theme of<br />

continued focus on customer needs and assurances through testing and<br />

products being “fit for purpose” along with continued Brexit uncertainty.<br />

Colin Heath<br />

Managing Editor<br />

colin@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@colinversanta<br />

Also in this issue, our newly appointed Technical Editor, Paul Forrester looks<br />

at the specification and design of insulation systems and the industry supply<br />

chain in his feature “keeping Everything moving”<br />

As always, pages are full to the brim with information – perfect for keeping<br />

up to date with the latest news from across the industry, contributions from<br />

MIMA and a full round up of last months National Insulation Association conference<br />

where a fresh approach to collaboration was a key theme.<br />

I hope you enjoy this issue.<br />

Colin<br />

Jamie Street<br />

Head of Creative<br />

jamie@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@jamieversanta<br />

4<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


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Presenting the futurebuild districts<br />

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Cover Feature Exclusive<br />

Insulation<br />

Outlook <strong>2018</strong><br />

As we enter <strong>2018</strong>, what better time to sit down<br />

and speak to some of the insulation industry<br />

leading voices to get their view on the events<br />

of 2017 and to take a look at what challenges and<br />

opportunities they expect from the year ahead?<br />

Colin Heath, Managing Editor at <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

exclusively spoke to Ann Fisher, Brand Director at SIG,<br />

David Travill, Managing Director at Saint-Gobain Isover and<br />

Trevor Horsely, the Chief Executive Office of Western<br />

Thermal Ltd. Keep Reading...<br />

6


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

An Inside Look<br />

at Insulation in <strong>2018</strong><br />

In a few words, how do you see the outlook for the insulation industry in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

The insulation market will be resilient in <strong>2018</strong> as a sector influenced by current building<br />

regulations yet to be fully implemented by housebuilders, demand for acoustic solutions<br />

remaining high in the commercial interiors market, and increased RMI work on facades<br />

and cladding projects. However there will be challenges as manufacturing capacity,<br />

continental European market demands and upstream supply pressures will continue to<br />

impact in <strong>2018</strong> as we have experienced over the last few months.<br />

Do you see any<br />

changes occurring in<br />

the next 12 months, if<br />

so, what might they<br />

be?<br />

There will be increased demands<br />

from customers for specified tested products and<br />

evidence on compliance of supply and traceability, as an<br />

industry we need to ensure we can support customers<br />

with that assurance.<br />

And what excites you?<br />

Taking the market information, supplier and<br />

customer feedback and bringing that together to deliver<br />

an SIG Distribution Brand and Sales strategy to ensure<br />

the Insulation range of products, suppliers and solutions<br />

we offer is what the customers and market requires<br />

therefore enabling SIG Distribution to continue to lead the<br />

market.<br />

What areas will you be focussing on as a<br />

business in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

SIG will be focussing on listening to the customers and<br />

suppliers to ensure we get the best offer of systems, products<br />

and service into the market.<br />

What was your company’s high point for 2017<br />

The SIG Distribution Diamond Ball was one of the year’s highlights<br />

with 200 customers and suppliers attending the 60th<br />

Anniversary event in London, as part of the event one lucky<br />

customer won a fabulous pair of Diamond earrings his wife<br />

was delighted!!!<br />

What worries you about the year ahead?<br />

There is uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, skills shortages<br />

and some softness in the market forecasts over construction<br />

in the commercial sectors.<br />

Ann Fisher – Brand Director<br />

Insulation & Drylining SIG Distribution<br />

Responsible for the Insulation Sales strategy for<br />

SIG Distribution, experienced in both Insulation<br />

Manufacturing and Distribution, Ann has worked<br />

in the UK and Europe building extensive knowledge<br />

of the requirements of being a valued route<br />

to market for suppliers and customers.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

7


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

In a few words, how do<br />

you see the outlook for<br />

the insulation industry<br />

in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

The outlook is positive in<br />

the H&V sector. Engineering<br />

sector will struggle until<br />

some of the big nuclear<br />

contracts get under way.<br />

Do you see any changes<br />

occurring in the next<br />

12 months, if so, what<br />

might they be?<br />

Changes may occur within the infrastructure sector. I believe<br />

new builds will slow down, and the refurb sector will<br />

gather momentum.<br />

What areas will you be focussing on<br />

as a business in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

Globally on the H&V sector and<br />

following the recent acquisition of Henderson Site Services<br />

we will be expanding further into the<br />

pharmaceutical and food sectors.<br />

What was your company’s high point for 2017<br />

The IGL acquisition and HSS acquisition.<br />

What worries you about the year ahead?<br />

No worries for <strong>2018</strong>. Western Thermal have a strong forward<br />

order book. The sector will look for some changes<br />

in 2019 which could be affected by Brexit.<br />

And what excites you?<br />

I get excitement from securing orders, satisfaction, by<br />

supply chain agreements with the clients and the suppliers<br />

and the ongoing development of the company<br />

branches and staff development.<br />

Trevor Horsley founded Western Thermal in 1985<br />

and has guided the company to its current, well<br />

established and profitable position. Has extensive<br />

experience knowledge of the sector and wide contact<br />

base within it. Former President of the Thermal Insulators<br />

Contractors Association (TICA).<br />

In a few words, how do<br />

you see the outlook for<br />

the insulation industry<br />

in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

The underlying drivers remain<br />

strong, especially in<br />

new housing. Hopefully<br />

consumer confidence will<br />

hold up whilst we negotiate<br />

Brexit<br />

Do you see any changes<br />

occurring in the next<br />

12 months, if so, what<br />

might they be?<br />

There will inevitably be a major revision to the building<br />

regulations post Grenfell, and I believe the need to address<br />

the performance gap between theoretic<br />

performance and actual on-site performance may, at<br />

last, gain some momentum.<br />

What areas will you be focussing on as a business<br />

in <strong>2018</strong>?<br />

Continue to drive customer engagement and we will<br />

enter some new application/product segments<br />

What was your company’s high point for 2017<br />

Further market share gains, building on progress<br />

delivered in 2015-16.<br />

What worries you about the year ahead?<br />

Losing good people in what is becoming a very competitive<br />

jobs market, input cost inflation, meeting an increased<br />

demand without any compromise in service levels<br />

And what excites you?<br />

Continued focus on customer engagement, further<br />

progress in building a team that has a can-do attitude,<br />

launching some exciting new products, meeting increased<br />

demand without any compromise in service levels<br />

David Travill joined Isover as managing director in<br />

June 2013. With a professional background in the<br />

sales and commercial areas, he has worked in<br />

the construction/building materials sector for almost 30<br />

years. Before joining Isover he held the position of Sales<br />

Director at British Gypsum for 5 years.<br />

8 www.insulatenetwork.com


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<strong>Insulate</strong> Exclusive Feature<br />

NIA Annual Conference 2017<br />

Held at the Jurys Inn, Hinckley Island Hotel the Annual Conference of the National<br />

Insulation Association (NIA) convened on 7th December 2017. The key themes of the<br />

conference focussed on collaboration and future planning and <strong>Insulate</strong> Network, Media<br />

Partners for 2017 were there to take part.<br />

10


11


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Exclusive<br />

Industry Collaboration and<br />

Future Planning Lead Discussions<br />

Derek Horrocks, Chairman of Sustainable Energy UK<br />

and Permarock Products who was recently appointed<br />

Chair of the NIA opened the conference with a fantastic<br />

address to members, giving a review of 2017, the work<br />

carried out by the Association to support its members<br />

and key achievements and his and the Boards vision for<br />

the future.<br />

The tone for the day was set through commitments<br />

to industry wide collaboration to gain best outcomes,<br />

greater engagement of members, supporting members<br />

and Government by growing the market, tackling climate<br />

change and fuel poverty through insulation. Priority work<br />

streams for the Association included collaborating on<br />

key policy developments, helping its members’ access<br />

business opportunities, improving quality & standards<br />

and confidence in the industry.<br />

potential and win critical bids. The presentation focused<br />

on three key points – the attributes of consistently successful<br />

bids, how your team can recover from a lost bid<br />

and golden rules to deliver repeatable bid success. The<br />

presentation was well received by members.<br />

Malcolm Hanna of the National Energy Foundation gave<br />

a presentation on Internal Wall Insulation opportunities<br />

and a new installation process known as WHISCERS<br />

(Whole House In-Situ Carbon and Energy Reduction<br />

Following on from a members Q&A with the NIA strategic<br />

board the mornings speakers took to the podium,<br />

Denise O’Leary of Purpol Marketing delivered an informative<br />

presentation on bid writing – ‘the winning bid’ she<br />

shared knowledge on how businesses can realise their<br />

Solution) stating that it’s an ideal way of retrofitting internal<br />

wall insulation in hard-to-treat housing.<br />

After lunch NIA Chief Executive, Neil Marshall paid fitting<br />

tribute to outgoing chair, Tony Hardiman MBE, speaking<br />

of Tony’s stewardship of the role, Neil commented<br />

“Tony has committed 16 years to the NIA and was<br />

instrumental in the forming of the organisation and key<br />

achievements; we cannot express enough thanks for his<br />

contribution”.<br />

12<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Richard Mellish of the Department for Business, Energy<br />

and Industrial Strategy then delivered a presentation on<br />

future Government policies for energy efficiency and fuel<br />

poverty and said that he looked forward to further input<br />

from the NIA to help shape future policies and programmes.<br />

Colin Timmins of trade association BEAMA delivered a<br />

Summing up Derek Horrocks explained that the aims of<br />

the day were to provide delegates with details of future<br />

opportunities and key information on items that would<br />

impact the industry in <strong>2018</strong>. He also urged NIA members<br />

to engage with the NIA team to bring about future<br />

changes that would benefit householders, Government<br />

and the industry. He also thanked the exhibitors and the<br />

sponsors; British Board of Agrement, Kiwa, Energy Store<br />

and AlivaUK for their support in helping fund a successful<br />

event.<br />

presentation on the new industry guidelines for ventilating<br />

a property when insulation is installed which have<br />

been developed jointly by BEAMA and NIA.<br />

The day’s events were concluded with an informative<br />

presentation by Andy Chesterman \Co-Founder and<br />

Data & Compliance Director at DAMM Solutions on the<br />

new General Data Protection Regulations being introduced<br />

in May <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

For more information contact Duncan Murray at<br />

the NIA press office on 01604588111 or<br />

email Duncan@provencepr.co.uk<br />

13<br />

13


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

BBA<br />

Leads<br />

the Way<br />

The UK’s leading certification body provides<br />

comprehensive Audit & Inspection services to<br />

leading companies in the construction industry.<br />

<strong>14</strong><br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

As a recognised mark synonymous with quality products & installations, working with an institution<br />

like the BBA offers considerable benefits to manufacturers. Opportunities to improve business<br />

profiles are particularly sought after in an increasingly competitive market place, where new products<br />

and systems are cropping up all the time.And it’s not just about Increasing sales opportunities. It’s<br />

also about greater efficiency, with a reduction in costs that can lead to more rewards for hard-working staff<br />

and Improved staff motivation. Moreover, working with a USP partner that is a recognised brand is a sign<br />

that manufacturers are committed to raising and maintaining standards for their customers, resulting in an<br />

improved profile among both existing and potential clients.<br />

UKAS accredited and fully independent, BBA Audit &<br />

Inspection has over 50 years’ experience providing first<br />

class inspection & auditing services to organisations<br />

who are committed to maintaining the quality of<br />

products and installations to meet industry<br />

standards. The BBA business unit works in two main<br />

areas: construction products (factory and installation)<br />

carries out over 6000 inspections per year within the<br />

UK, while quality management systems carryies out over<br />

2000 visits per year in over 50 countries worldwide. On<br />

the construction side, inspections cover the BBA’s own<br />

Competent Installer Scheme to supporting client<br />

initiatives and regulation schemes such as PAS<br />

2030:2017. Products covered range from energy<br />

technical monitoring and insulation to high friction<br />

services. On the management systems side, the<br />

BBA offers the main three standards: ISO9001:2015,<br />

<strong>14</strong>001:2015, 18001:2017 with EN1090 being high in<br />

number.<br />

Given the constant changes in regulations, BBA Audit &<br />

Inspection clearly plays a significant part in raising and<br />

maintaining standards across a variety of industries, to<br />

the benefit of clients, the industries they work in and ultimately<br />

the consumer.<br />

Moreover, at a time when a number of issues are coming<br />

to light as a result of badly performed or ill-advised insulation<br />

retrofits, these services are even more welcomed,<br />

not only by home dwellers and property owners, but in\<br />

particular social housing organisations whose responsibilities<br />

are to look after housing stock, usually with limited<br />

budget constraints.<br />

It has perhaps never been more appropriate for organisations<br />

like the BBA to continue to dedicate time and<br />

resource to drive up standards, ensuring the quality<br />

and safety of products and workmanship in the construction<br />

industry, for the ultimate benefit of all our built<br />

surroundings, at work and at home, and all who inhabit<br />

them.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

15


Exclusive <strong>Insulate</strong> Column<br />

16


Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

the design and specification of insulation systems<br />

The construction industry is often bemoaned for being set in its ways, but product manufacturers can’t<br />

afford to stand still. How does the development of new ideas straddle competing schools of thought<br />

and appeal to specifiers and contractors alike? by Paul Forrester<br />

17


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Exclusive <strong>Insulate</strong> Column<br />

Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

the design and specification of insulation systems<br />

Undertaking building projects efficiently<br />

typically relies on using familiar details and<br />

materials that can be repeated from project<br />

to project. At a domestic level the refrain of, “We’ve<br />

always done it this way” is far from uncommon - and<br />

is perfectly acceptable, as long as ‘this way’ doesn’t<br />

involve a lack of familiarity with good practice.<br />

For domestic projects on a larger scale, volume house<br />

builders are widely recognised for their resistance to<br />

anything that might deviate them from their highly optimised,<br />

highly profitable, existing house-type designs.<br />

Invention and Innovation<br />

If necessity is the mother of invention then it’s hard to<br />

see where demand from the end user requires<br />

innovation from manufacturers of insulation - or any<br />

other construction product, for that matter.<br />

Designing new insulation products and systems is,<br />

inevitably, a costly process as well - costs that many<br />

users and installers are unwilling to accept when a<br />

familiar solution at a familiar price still exists. More often<br />

than not, necessity is regulation-driven - but changes in<br />

regulations might only occur every three to five years and<br />

be incremental in nature.<br />

Given such a level of inertia, it’s perhaps surprising how<br />

many insulation manufacturers employ the word ‘innovative’<br />

in their branding. Does ‘innovative’ mean anything,<br />

or is it one of those buzzwords that companies have to<br />

be seen using?<br />

In any category of insulation material, take the products<br />

of different manufacturers and compare them side-byside.<br />

Based on the declared performance specification<br />

alone, it’s often difficult to discern significant differences.<br />

The development of manufacturing technology; the<br />

safeguards placed on raw material selection and usage;<br />

and the levelling of the playing field brought about by<br />

harmonised standards and product certification - all have<br />

made it harder for individual products to truly stand out<br />

from the crowd. It’s either extremely difficult or extremely<br />

expensive to make big leaps in product performance.<br />

For the manufacturer, the most exciting innovation might<br />

be unseen by the end user, such as refining their factory<br />

processes to deliver the same standard of product<br />

while reducing waste and improving the efficiency of raw<br />

material use. That’s not as easy to shout about as an<br />

interesting new product, however.<br />

With limited advancements to be made in the performance<br />

and physical dimensions of insulation products,<br />

it makes sense to look at how products can benefit the<br />

installer. After all, for as many people who ask how to<br />

install a product before they start work, nearly as many<br />

wait until the project is half built before they think to<br />

check.<br />

People might be impressed by a radical new product<br />

design, but that almost always relegates it to a niche<br />

where uptake is slow. And if people do take a chance on<br />

it, there’s a risk they’ll try to use like the products they’re<br />

familiar with. For installers, innovation isn’t necessarily<br />

the big leap - it’s addressing a shortcoming of an<br />

existing product or installation technique.<br />

Making a Differennce<br />

18<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Specifying Systems and Products<br />

3<br />

Checking<br />

You may be surprised to read this, but there is an insulation<br />

product out there that is the answer to everybody’s<br />

needs.<br />

From time to time, it surfaces in written specifications. It<br />

disguises itself by sharing the name of an existing product<br />

that was probably on the mind of the person writing<br />

the specification. The product has market-leading thermal<br />

performance, the best Green Guide rating available, a superior<br />

compressive strength … and no manufacturer can<br />

actually develop it.<br />

Okay, so this tongue in cheek observation is risking veering<br />

into outright sarcasm, but it is an observation based in<br />

truth. Too many specifications feature a clause that starts<br />

describing one type of insulation, only to then require<br />

performance characteristics found in others.<br />

All of which begs the question as to whether the original<br />

insulation material was actually intended or not. In the<br />

book Architectural Technology, author Stephen Emmitt<br />

lists six rules of specification writing. All are important;<br />

three have particular pertinence to this discussion:<br />

1. 1 Accuracy<br />

In particular the precise use of words and symbols. For<br />

example, the ease with which a thermal conductivity of<br />

0.022 W/mK can be confused with a U-value of 0.22 W/<br />

m2K is as alarming as it is frequent.<br />

“Check and double check for compliance with … manufacturer’s<br />

recommendations … and compatibility with<br />

the overall design philosophy.” When a manufacturer<br />

receives a specification clause describing a product that<br />

can’t exist, it’s difficult to trust that a design philosophy is<br />

in place.<br />

Education, education, education<br />

Is that lack of trust fair? Producing full NBS documents<br />

for a contract is a daunting undertaking, and time and<br />

cost pressures rarely afford the freedom to research to a<br />

desirable extent. Sometimes the references and standards<br />

quoted for a single clause are so unfamiliar that it’s<br />

impossible to know what question to ask to start making<br />

sense of it!<br />

Designing and developing insulation products, then, is<br />

balancing the desire to appeal to specifiers by setting the<br />

product apart from closely matched competitors, with<br />

retaining familiarity for contractors so as to make sure<br />

the product is installed correctly.<br />

Perhaps the real innovation needs to come in developing<br />

educational tools to accompany new products and<br />

systems, written to make sure all parties feel suitably<br />

informed about which insulation materials are best-suited<br />

for what applications. That way, we might all be able<br />

to enjoy the benefits of realising their full performance<br />

potential in finished buildings.<br />

2<br />

Redundancy<br />

Most commonly, when using a previous specification<br />

as the basis for the current project and not pruning it<br />

accordingly.<br />

19


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

A Call to Action<br />

By Adrian Pargeter Head of Technical and Product Development, Kingspan Insulation Limited<br />

For quite some time industry professionals have<br />

been calling for a Building Regulations<br />

review, believing that the current regulations<br />

are inadequate and confusing. Unfortunately, it took<br />

the Grenfell tragedy to drive home their<br />

shortcomings to the government, and they have<br />

now commissioned an urgent assessment. Dame<br />

Judith Hackitt is heading this ‘Independent Review<br />

of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’ to look at<br />

the issues around efficacy, compliance, and<br />

enforcement. The initial findings were published in<br />

December with a complete report due this spring.<br />

The Hackitt Review has included a consultation with various<br />

industry bodies, government departments, and the<br />

public to look at recommended changes for the future including<br />

a more robust regulatory system, not just facades<br />

but for all areas of construction. The interim report states<br />

clearly that the current regulatory system in England is<br />

“unfit for purpose”. As a result, the construction industry<br />

is preparing itself for immediate action following the<br />

full report being published. It is crucial that we insist on<br />

stricter requirements with clearer guidance, to do all we<br />

can to protect building occupants in addition to helping<br />

to rebuild public confidence on matters of fire safety and<br />

building regulation. With this in mind, and focussing on<br />

facades, there are five key changes that will bring better<br />

regulation of this crucial aspect of construction:<br />

1<br />

2<br />

Large-scale system testing of all of cladding<br />

systems regardless of insulation material<br />

Standardisation and regulation of Desktop<br />

Studies<br />

Façade fire safety is a complicated issue, with many<br />

different factors coming into play, such as cavity barriers,<br />

fixings used and cavity width, which all have an impact on<br />

how the building will react in a real-life fire situation.<br />

A major concern is that, under the current Building Regulations,<br />

‘non-combustible’ façade insulation products are<br />

not required to undergo large-scale testing as part of a<br />

system for use over 18 m. If there is one thing we should<br />

understand by now, it is that full system testing is essential<br />

to better understand the building materials we use,<br />

how they are affected by products installed alongside<br />

them and, as a result, help to improve the data we have<br />

on how all these products behave when installed as part<br />

of a specified system.<br />

BS 84<strong>14</strong> is the large-scale test that is undertaken to see<br />

whether a façade system meets the requirements of BR<br />

135 – it is one of the routes to regulatory compliance.<br />

BRE Global now has a register of BR 135 classified external<br />

systems that have been tested in accordance with BS<br />

84<strong>14</strong> part 1 or 2 on its website: www.bre.co.uk/regulatory-testing.<br />

Note that more recent tests will not yet appear<br />

on this register.<br />

There are compliant solutions available that are not limited<br />

to non-combustible insulation materials, and that provide<br />

significant benefits in other aspects of the performance<br />

that we need from our buildings. A responsible<br />

manufacturer will commit to an ongoing programme of<br />

severe testing for its products, to innovation, and to the<br />

promotion of best practice to ensure that buildings offer<br />

fire safety, energy efficiency and longevity in equal<br />

measure.<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

Mandatory training for installers<br />

Enforcement of fire safety throughout design<br />

and construction<br />

More research into smoke from buildings and<br />

contents<br />

A copy of Kingspan’s plan for positive change is available<br />

to download from:<br />

www.kingspaninsulation.co.uk/risinghigh<br />

Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384<br />

e.mail: info@kingspaninsulation.co.uk<br />

website: www.kingspaninsulation.co.uk<br />

20<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Improve and Respond<br />

to the Challenges<br />

Simon Storer, Chief Executive of Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)<br />

The end of any year is always a time both of reflection and renewal; a time for remembering what has<br />

been and what we hope or expect is to come over the coming 12 months. By tradition, New Year’s<br />

resolutions are usually about aiming to do things differently, changing behaviour, learning from the<br />

past and improving for the future.<br />

After the tragedy of 2017, there will<br />

be few of us, if any, who don’t recognise<br />

the need for change and<br />

improvement across the construction<br />

sector. The launch just before<br />

Christmas of the interim report from<br />

the Hackett Review into Building<br />

Regulations, is a hugely important<br />

step in addressing the failings of<br />

construction and examining the responsibilities<br />

and methodology in the<br />

way in which we build and it should<br />

therefore be welcomed by everyone<br />

who wishes to see better and safer<br />

buildings. A series of New Year’s<br />

resolutions for an industry that are<br />

way overdue.<br />

We will of course need to wait for the<br />

full report and its recommendations,<br />

which are due in the spring, to fully<br />

understand what is being proposed.<br />

But importantly this interim report<br />

already gives us an indication of the<br />

direction of travel and identifies key<br />

weaknesses and failings that will be<br />

of little surprise to those employed or<br />

connected to this sector.<br />

Not least is the impressiveness of<br />

the reach and depth of the report, its<br />

thorough grasp of the task in hand<br />

and its willingness and determination<br />

to identify and call out those broad<br />

subject areas that need root and<br />

branch improvement. And all of this<br />

turned around in what was a very<br />

short timescale of just a couple of<br />

months.<br />

With more than 200 submissions<br />

from an array of interested parties<br />

and groups, one can assume there<br />

were quite a few consistent themes<br />

and messages, but I suspect there<br />

were plenty of conflicting views as<br />

well.<br />

The report identifies categorically that<br />

there is no quick fix or easy solution<br />

and this must be true, despite<br />

plenty of commentators giving the<br />

impression over the past few months<br />

that they have the answers and<br />

know what needs to be done. The<br />

construction industry is immensely<br />

complex and diverse, but it has been<br />

allowed, for many reasons, to drift<br />

away from a culture of competence<br />

and compliance. For everyone’s sake<br />

we need to reverse this trend and as<br />

the interim review states re-introduce<br />

a level of professionalism and quality<br />

assurance to deliver the performance<br />

we know we can and must achieve,<br />

across a range of criteria. Greater<br />

clarity of responsibility, less confusion,<br />

less ambiguity and increased<br />

coherence, which is output driven.<br />

The political desire over the past<br />

years to move away from regulation<br />

to a much more laissez-faire<br />

approach, needs to be seriously<br />

challenged. Good regulation,<br />

properly implemented is essential for<br />

good business and as manufacturers<br />

in the construction sector we want<br />

and need the regulation to help keep<br />

standards up and reduce product<br />

substitution, which so often leads<br />

to the wrong outcomes. There is a<br />

need to reignite confidence in the<br />

industry; the Hackett report has the<br />

opportunity of doing this.<br />

As I come to the end of my first year<br />

in this role of Chief Executive for<br />

Insulation Manufacturers Association<br />

there is a great deal I can reflect<br />

upon, both good and bad and we<br />

will continue to face the challenges<br />

of the coming year. <strong>2018</strong> will be different,<br />

there is no doubt about that,<br />

but the construction industry must<br />

improve and respond positively to<br />

the challenges in front of it. I intend<br />

that Insulation Manufacturers Association<br />

and our members will play a full<br />

and crucial role in doing just that.<br />

For more information about<br />

Insulation Manufacturers Association please visit:<br />

www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

21


Being unable to communicate effectively<br />

on a building site because you are protecting<br />

yourself from detrimental noise<br />

hazards is not just a problem for workers, it<br />

also costs businesses significant amounts<br />

of money through inefficiency. Individually,<br />

small issues such as mishearing an instruction<br />

might seem like a petty annoyance, but<br />

collectively these minor errors can waste<br />

countless hours, sending productivity<br />

plummeting.<br />

The importance of<br />

Hearing Protection Equipment (HPE)<br />

While working in a noisy environment - such as<br />

in the midst of a busy construction project or on<br />

a workshop floor - workers may have to wear<br />

ear protection at all times. The Control of Noise<br />

at Work Regulations (2005) require employers to<br />

prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from<br />

exposure to noise at work[i].<br />

Such protection can however limit communication<br />

which can often lead to another major problem<br />

– reduced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)<br />

compliance. For example, using a walkie-talkie<br />

while wearing standard ear defenders is impossible,<br />

so workers are often forced to remove them.<br />

In environments where workers are in close proximity,<br />

they may be tempted to remove their ear<br />

protection if it prevents them from<br />

communicating with one another. This can expose<br />

them to dangerously loud noises, which can<br />

cause complications such as tinnitus or Noise<br />

Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).<br />

NIHL is one of the most common health problems<br />

in loud working environments because the damage<br />

from this sort of exposure is usually gradual;<br />

a worker might not notice it, or might ignore the<br />

signs of irreversible hearing loss until they become<br />

more pronounced.<br />

22


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Hearing Protection<br />

and the Need for Communication<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> columnist George Elliott, a technical specialist at science-based technology company 3M, explains the importance of<br />

choosing equipment that allows effective communication, while protecting hearing - and your bottom line<br />

Prolonged or repeated exposure to noise that is constant,<br />

but still above safe levels, can seriously impact<br />

workers’ hearing safety. Research shows that the level<br />

of effective protection offered by hearing conservation<br />

equipment is exponentially – as opposed to linearly -<br />

proportional to the total time for which the equipment is<br />

worn (see graph), highlighting the crucial importance of<br />

100% compliance.<br />

A study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE),<br />

considering the effectiveness of hearing protectors in an<br />

everyday work situation, found that reduced audibility<br />

was a common reason given by users for not wearing<br />

hearing protection[ii].<br />

Being unable to hear instruction and communicate<br />

properly presents other dangers too. Consider a worker<br />

whose equipment blocks out the sound of a forklift truck<br />

approaching from behind, or that of colleagues shouting<br />

at him or her to get out of the way of danger, particularly<br />

when working at height on an insulation project, for<br />

example.<br />

How to maximise efficiency while protecting your<br />

workers’ hearing<br />

The solution to maximising productivity, maintaining<br />

excellent situational awareness for the user and an<br />

increased level of compliance lies in choosing the right<br />

equipment for your workplace.<br />

The first step is to select the correct level of protection –<br />

a product that protects the wearer from workplace noise<br />

but does not leave them isolated or exposed to unnecessary<br />

and avoidable hazards.<br />

Employers can also consider investing in hearing protection<br />

that allows for easy and safe communication, using<br />

built-in electronic systems. To be of any significant use,<br />

hearing protection needs to be suitable to wear at all<br />

times whilst exposed to unsafe levels of noise.<br />

For example, ear defenders with a level-dependent function<br />

can allow the wearer to hear ambient sounds, such<br />

as conversations and warning signals, without compromising<br />

protection.<br />

Noise-cancelling microphones attached to a headset<br />

can reduce disturbance when speaking in noisy environments.<br />

Some tasks require the use of flags and hand<br />

signals, which have limitations, while products with radio<br />

connectivity also enable workers to communicate over<br />

long distances.<br />

Other options to consider include ear defenders that<br />

incorporate Bluetooth technology, linking the headset to<br />

the user’s mobile phone or communication radio. Many<br />

variations exist. The key is to pick what is right for the<br />

situation at hand.<br />

A Swedish study, by Lund University, highlighted the<br />

benefits of using such solutions. Researchers monitored<br />

two teams as they went about their daily duties, including<br />

earth excavation, laying pipes and tube-welding. One<br />

team used normal work practices and equipment, while<br />

the other wore PELTOR Brand WS LiteCom Headsets<br />

from 3M, incorporating some of the features discussed.<br />

The team using the 3M solution reduced their critical<br />

downtime by half, saving them 17 minutes in an eighthour<br />

day[iii].<br />

By improving employee communication and collaboration,<br />

you can have a direct effect on productivity, which<br />

will help to improve your bottom line.<br />

It is also important to consider the secondary benefits;<br />

motivating staff and reducing feelings of isolation.<br />

Motivated and connected workers are happy workers<br />

- and happy workers are generally more productive and<br />

compliant.<br />

For more information about 3M and available HPE,<br />

please visit www.3M.co.uk/safety<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com 23


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> insulate Columnist columnist<br />

Review, Reflect and Reset<br />

<strong>2018</strong> is about Quality and Safety<br />

Sarah Kostense-Winterton Executive Director, MIMA<br />

As we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in <strong>2018</strong> it is sobering and timely to review and reflect on the<br />

events of 2017 and firmly focus our attention on positive constructive change moving forward.<br />

As government acknowledges in its Clean Growth Strategy “higher quality, more energy efficient<br />

buildings are healthier places to live and work.” Healthy, comfortable and safe homes are just as important<br />

as energy performance and critical to our general happiness, health, wellbeing and education. We must<br />

grasp this positive message in <strong>2018</strong> and deliver on the opportunity for the development of a robust and<br />

detailed Buildings Energy Infrastructure Programme (BEIP), to improve the energy performance of the UK’s<br />

buildings going forward with quality and consumer safety at its heart.<br />

Buildings Energy Infrastructure Programme<br />

MIMA, with the EEIG, will be working hard with Government<br />

in <strong>2018</strong> on the overall programme plan for meeting<br />

the 2035 EPC C Band C target. Raising the Energy Performance,<br />

quality and safety of the UK’s building stock is<br />

no small challenge, but it is achievable when viewed as<br />

a long-term programme of infrastructure investment as<br />

set out in the EEIG-commissioned, Frontier Economics<br />

“Affordable Warmth, Clean Growth” report (https://www.<br />

theeeig.co.uk/news).<br />

This report highlights that cost-effective investments to<br />

raise the energy performance of UK housing to EPC Band<br />

C by 2035 could save around a further 25% of the energy<br />

currently used, an average saving of £270 per household<br />

per year at current energy prices. Using Treasury guidance<br />

for policy appraisal, this investment has an estimated<br />

net present value of £7.5 billion. Surely attractive to a<br />

Government keen to deliver on its Clean Growth Strategy<br />

commitments – aspirational or not!<br />

Greater assurance of fire safety performance<br />

<strong>2018</strong> provides an opportunity to ensure that world-leading<br />

safety standards, including fire safety standards, are<br />

adopted and applied at the heart of the new BEIP. Fire<br />

safety must be a paramount consideration in the design<br />

of new and the retrofit of existing buildings.<br />

A building is neither resilient overall, nor provides an adequate<br />

level of safety for its occupants if it is not fire resilient.<br />

A clear way to help improve fire resilience is to increase<br />

the use of building materials that are non-combustible.<br />

Specifying non-combustible products only, offers certainty<br />

to developers and future occupants that the building<br />

façade will offer the maximum protection against fire.<br />

Overall, building regulations must offer greater assurance<br />

of fire safe performance for occupants of both residential<br />

and non-residential buildings over 18 metres. The current<br />

regulations and guidance need to be made clearer, more<br />

stringent to avoid interpretations that can compromise<br />

public safety. Closer integration of the separate parts<br />

of the Building Regulations will also help build consumer<br />

confidence.<br />

Tackling cold homes<br />

Fuel poverty remains a serious problem. Improving the<br />

energy efficiency of buildings is one of the most effective<br />

ways to tackle fuel poverty, as the measures installed create<br />

a lasting impact.<br />

Only a very small percentage of the country’s 8 million<br />

solid walls have been insulated, and around 5 million party<br />

walls are, as yet, un-insulated. Overall, solid wall properties<br />

make up less than a third of the housing stock yet<br />

half of all fuel poor households live in an un-insulated solid<br />

walled home. This situation needs to change.<br />

24<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

In addition, from MIMA’s research the total estimated fuel<br />

bill cost to consumers from heat loss through party walls<br />

alone is around £465 million a year. Although a greater<br />

amount of progress has been made on insulating cavity<br />

walls and lofts, there are still millions which have not<br />

been treated or could benefit from being topped up.<br />

Government should be trialing Ireland’s “insulation on<br />

prescription” pilot to improve the living conditions of<br />

people living with chronic respiratory conditions, reduce<br />

the need for people to attend hospital and improve the<br />

overall living environment and ensure homeowners experience<br />

additional comfort levels in their homes.<br />

Raising standards in the private rented<br />

and social housing sector<br />

The Government aims to have as many private rented<br />

homes as possible being upgraded to EPC Band C by<br />

2030, where “practical, cost-effective and affordable”,<br />

publishing the supporting consultation just before Christmas.<br />

This is a no brainer and raising existing mandatory minimum<br />

energy performance standards in the private rented<br />

sector from EPC Band E to Band D from 2025, with a<br />

view to reaching the EPC C target by 2035 is achievable<br />

by providing some financial support and/or tax relief to<br />

support landlords in making the necessary improvements.<br />

Driving real performance<br />

Measures installed to make buildings more energy efficient<br />

and comfortable, should work as intended. By doing so<br />

consumers see the energy performance they expect, and<br />

the UK saves the energy and carbon it needs to meet carbon<br />

budgets.<br />

We must minimise the “as-built” versus “as-designed” performance<br />

gap by driving higher standards of on-site installation<br />

through the introduction of a mandatory quality assurance<br />

standard covering design, on-site monitoring and<br />

installation. This must be combined with effective surveillance,<br />

policing and enforcement by the regulatory authorities<br />

with penalties for non-compliance.<br />

Technology advances should mean it should now be perfectly<br />

possible for products to be tracked from manufacture<br />

right through to installation, improving transparency for consumers<br />

and better enable the verification of performance.<br />

Lets start off <strong>2018</strong> with a strong start<br />

There is a challenging job ahead, but if you only commit<br />

to one New Year resolution then make that to work with<br />

the EEIG - “the key to the industry approach and success”<br />

according to a government official.<br />

We must ensure that progress secured in 2017 continues<br />

with momentum in <strong>2018</strong> - to drive and deliver positive<br />

change through a Buildings Energy Infrastructure<br />

Programme – alongside a greater focus on the quality and<br />

safety across the industry.<br />

Happy New Year all!<br />

Sarah Kostense-Winterton is Executive Director of MIMA,<br />

the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association and provides<br />

the secretariat to the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group<br />

(EEIG). For further details of the EEIG or if you would like to<br />

join, please contact Sarah at sarah@mima.info<br />

From 2020 the sector should be able to demonstrate that<br />

90% of new homes meet or perform better than the designed<br />

energy/carbon performance. A commercially viable,<br />

and simple way to demonstrate a building’s as-built performance<br />

is urgently required, but we also believe there are<br />

companies working to develop such tests and methods.<br />

Having such tests could eventually allow Government to<br />

introduce post-completion thermal testing in a proportion<br />

of UK buildings.<br />

Overall, building regulations must offer<br />

greater assurance of fire safe performance<br />

for occupants of both residential and<br />

non-residential buildings over 18 metres.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

25


Exclusive <strong>Insulate</strong> Column<br />

26


Keeping Everything Moving<br />

Supply and Demand<br />

The last few years have seen the construction<br />

industry supply chain adapting to the avail<br />

bility - or lack of it - of certain materials. Now<br />

similar upheaval has hit insulation, are manufacturers,<br />

suppliers and installers stepping up to the<br />

plate? Is there a good enough understanding about<br />

product substitutions? by Paul Forrester.<br />

The construction industry is a restless beast, unable to<br />

remain still and which responds badly to restraint. After<br />

all, building projects are living, breathing things; perpetually<br />

animated, gears grinding, cogs whirring, keeping the<br />

wheels of productivity turning.<br />

Except for when they stop.<br />

And building projects do stop. However much people<br />

don’t want them to, and however much people dislike it<br />

when they do, the restless beast ends up caged. Time,<br />

money, weather, accidents, site issues, supply issues,<br />

force majeure … you name it, it can bring things to a halt<br />

and cause delays.<br />

No Quick Fixes<br />

When it comes to shortages of building materials, sites<br />

have had to get used to long lead times on bricks and roof<br />

tiles in the last couple of years. Both are fundamental to the<br />

appearance of the building for which they’re intended; any<br />

combination of local vernacular, planning conditions and<br />

design intent mean swapping them is not necessarily the<br />

work of a moment.<br />

Even if a change can be made, the lead times on an alternative<br />

may be no better, and project planning has had to<br />

adapt accordingly.<br />

Aerated/lightweight blocks have suffered shortages too<br />

but, since they’re not a facing material, changing to another<br />

block type is not an aesthetic issue. The difference<br />

in thermal performance between a lightweight block and a<br />

dense block, however, is a whole other hurdle.<br />

No Room for the Future<br />

Specifications, for cavity wall constructions in particular,<br />

have been carefully engineered around the contribution<br />

a thermally efficient block on the inner leaf makes. That<br />

leaves only a narrow window for an alternative product to<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

27


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Keeping Everything Moving<br />

Supply and Demand<br />

No Room for the Future<br />

Specifications, for cavity wall constructions in particular,<br />

have been carefully engineered around the contribution<br />

a thermally efficient block on the inner leaf makes. That<br />

leaves only a narrow window for an alternative product to<br />

help achieve the same, which simply isn’t realistic given<br />

the shortages experienced.<br />

The implications of bringing a site to a halt are potentially<br />

severe: extra costs, setbacks to the schedule, and the<br />

possibility of losing a workforce if they move to another<br />

site. The restless beast, therefore, demands an answer -<br />

and it is usually demanded sooner rather than later.<br />

Unfortunately, the specifications are so carefully<br />

engineered that there is no contingency in the design<br />

for product substitution. There’s often a limited<br />

understanding of the likely implications of using something<br />

different, and what on paper looks like a small change is<br />

magnified and exaggerated when it comes to making it<br />

work in reality.<br />

For example, changing a lightweight block to a medium<br />

density block might only worsen the U-value of the whole<br />

wall by 0.01 W/m2K - let’s say, from 0.21 W/m2K to 0.22<br />

W/m2K. Not the end of the world, it might seem - but<br />

increasing the cavity insulation thickness by 5mm to claw<br />

back that difference is easier said than done. Does the<br />

insulation manufacturer make their product 5mm thicker<br />

as a stock item?<br />

Is there tolerance in the design to accommodate it if they<br />

do? If there isn’t and they don’t then there certainly won’t<br />

be the tolerance for a product 10mm or 25mm thicker.<br />

How likely or practical is it that the design can be altered<br />

to include a wider cavity, a wider inner leaf block, or a<br />

layer of internal insulation?<br />

Insulation Upheaval<br />

Over the last twelve months it hasn’t just been the supply<br />

of lightweight blocks that has exerted pressure - supply<br />

issues in the insulation industry have caused their own<br />

challenges.<br />

The limited availability of rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam<br />

boards due to a shortage of one of the chemicals usedin<br />

production has left contractors and installers looking for<br />

alternatives. Which is fine … up until the point that products<br />

are offered for the wrong reasons or applications.<br />

And cavity walls remain one of the biggest areas of concern.<br />

Approved Document C of the building regulations in<br />

England and Wales advises that rigid insulating materials<br />

for cavity walls should possess current certification, and<br />

the products be installed in accordance with the contents<br />

of that certificate.<br />

(With the levels of exposure experienced in Scotland,<br />

Section 3 of the Technical Handbooks contains its own<br />

guidance on cavity insulation. Consultation with Local Authority<br />

Building Standards is advised when considering<br />

appropriate solutions.)<br />

The shortages in PIR have resulted in many and varied<br />

questions about alternative solutions. Where those solutions<br />

are based on other insulation types of proven performance,<br />

and the design can be adapted accordingly to<br />

utilise them, then all should be fine.<br />

But seeking alternative rigid products from within the<br />

same range and thinking they are ‘basically the same<br />

thing’, even though they don’t benefit from certification<br />

for cavity applications, is a recipe for quality issues - and<br />

possible non-compliance with regulations.<br />

28<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com


Unfortunately, the specifications are so<br />

carefully engineered that there is no<br />

contingency in the design for product<br />

substitution.<br />

Nipping it in the bud<br />

Blindly accepting unsuitable solutions means questions<br />

are likely to only come later, when there is even less<br />

willingness to address the problems.<br />

The Building Control system in England and Wales<br />

came under a lot of scrutiny in 2017; for myriad reasons,<br />

and often justifiably so.<br />

On this occasion, however, answers need to be found<br />

in the supply chain before products even get to site.<br />

The distribution partners of insulation manufacturers<br />

have a role to play, asking questions, or encouraging<br />

their customers to ask questions, as early as possible.<br />

Looking for a quick sale and getting products on site<br />

by guessing what an appropriate alternative solution<br />

might be, and only then asking questions, is NOT how<br />

business should be done.<br />

Manufacturers of the different insulation types - whether<br />

faced with taking advantage of openings in the market<br />

or minimising the disruption caused by raw material<br />

shortages - have a part to play in that process<br />

by keeping their distributors as informed as possible.<br />

It only emphasises, rather than diminishes, the<br />

importance and collective responsibility needed if our<br />

buildings are going to be the best they can be.<br />

Pacifying the restless beast is not enough; keeping it in<br />

good health is to the benefit of everybody.<br />

29


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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

ASFP Endorses Independent Review<br />

of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Findings<br />

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection<br />

(ASFP) endorses the interim findings of the<br />

Independent Review of Building Regulations<br />

and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, which<br />

recommend a change in culture within the UK construction<br />

industry and significant reform of the UK<br />

fire safety regulatory system.<br />

The Interim report identifies a lack of clarity in the roles<br />

and responsibilities throughout a building’s lifecycle; from<br />

design and construction to maintenance during occupation.<br />

It notes widespread deviation from what is originally<br />

designed to what is actually built and highlights inadequate<br />

means of assessing and ensuring adequate levels<br />

of competency throughout the process. In addition, the<br />

report recognises the vital role of installers, noting that<br />

“the integrity and efficacy of products and systems is<br />

highly dependent on correct installation by competent<br />

and knowledgeable persons’.<br />

The ASFP has long been campaigning for formal competency<br />

requirements for fire professionals, mandatory<br />

third party certification of products and installers and a<br />

system that more clearly sets out the requirements and<br />

responsibilities at each stage of construction.<br />

ASFP COO Niall Rowan states:<br />

“The ASFP welcomes the findings of the review which<br />

highlight many of the inconsistencies within the design<br />

and build process and we support the general direction<br />

of travel outlined in the report.<br />

“I am pleased to see that Dame Judith has recognised<br />

the poor practices surrounding ‘value engineering’, the<br />

lack of proper procedures for handover of fire safety<br />

information on completion, and the need to tighten up<br />

controls on ‘desktop studies’. She also highlights a need<br />

for fire risk assessors to be qualified, and the confusion<br />

surrounding the testing, assessment and certification of<br />

fire protection products. All issues of great concern for<br />

the ASFP.”<br />

“To address the competency issue, the ASFP is working<br />

with the Institution of Fire Engineers to provide training<br />

and competency evaluation for all stakeholders involved<br />

in the design, specification, installation and maintenance<br />

of passive fire protection. The programme in development<br />

will enable trainees to obtain an IFE qualification in<br />

passive fire protection.<br />

“Furthermore, working together with the Royal Institute of<br />

British Architects (RIBA), the ASFP has been developing<br />

a Plan of Works for Fire. This aims to ensure that there<br />

is a detailed specification for fire protection at the design<br />

stage and a schedule for fire throughout the construction<br />

process. The process being developed will include<br />

mandatory sign offs as construction progresses, with all<br />

information reaching the end-user to support adequate<br />

fire risk management.”<br />

“We hope these initiatives will form useful input to phase<br />

two of the review and look forward to working with<br />

Dame Judith and all industry stakeholders to a develop a<br />

regulatory system that more clearly sets out the requirements,<br />

responsibilities and competencies required at<br />

each stage throughout the building lifecycle, including<br />

changes and refurbishments later in the building’s life.”<br />

For further information on the ASFP and advice on<br />

passive fire protection, visit www.asfp.org.uk<br />

31


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Decarbonisation and<br />

Building Regulations Compliance<br />

By Anthony Dale, Energy Assessor, Darren Evans Assessments<br />

This year saw Britain have its first ever day without coal power since the industrial revolution; a significant<br />

milestone in our march towards ambitious climate change targets and reducing greenhouse<br />

gas emissions. As we decommission coal-fired power stations and remove coal from our energy<br />

mix - in favour of renewables - the emissions associated with electricity generation are decreasing. This<br />

has a knock-on effect when assessing compliance with building regulations as fixed values are used for<br />

electrical emissions. The growing disparity between the real world and this fixed value will lead to a greater<br />

disparity between effective design for real world conditions and design for building regulation compliance.<br />

The higher proportion of renewables on the grid and a<br />

lower proportion of carbon intensive coal generation will<br />

bring down the amount of CO2 produced per kWh of<br />

electricity generation (emission factor). This will have an<br />

effect on the emissions associated with our built environment.<br />

All new buildings in the UK have to comply with<br />

Part L of Building Regulations and the estimated emissions<br />

of these buildings are a key aspect of compliance.<br />

If a building uses grid electricity then its’ emissions will,<br />

in part, depend on the energy mix of the UK’s national<br />

grid. Any benefits from offsetting electricity use (eg. Solar<br />

photovoltaics) will also be determined against this grid<br />

electricity emission factor.<br />

The current compliance tools for both residential and<br />

commercial buildings use the same emission factor of<br />

0.519 kgCO2/kWh, taken from SAP 2012, to determine<br />

the CO2 produced from grid electricity. This is a fixed value<br />

used to determine compliance with Part L. As the grid<br />

moves towards a higher proportion of renewable energy<br />

the actual emission factor will move away from this value<br />

used in compliance tools to a lower figure. A building that<br />

uses, for instance, an Air Source Heat Pump, which utilises<br />

grid electricity, will therefore have lower emissions in<br />

reality than the compliance tool will suggest. A combined<br />

Heat and Power unit will have the reverse affect as it generates<br />

its own electricity, normally from gas, instead of<br />

importing grid electricity. The emissions from gas will be<br />

constant, but as the grid becomes ‘greener’ there will be<br />

less-and-less benefit, in terms of emissions, from on-site<br />

generation as the emission factors of both forms of generation<br />

move closer to each other. This would increase<br />

the emissions of buildings using CHP in the future relative<br />

to those built today. There is also the topic of regional<br />

emission factors. An area such as North West Scotland,<br />

with large amounts of renewables on the grid, but<br />

a relatively low demand, will have a very different regional<br />

emission factor than some of the large urban centres of<br />

southern England where demand is high and renewables<br />

comparatively low. This difference between emissions estimated<br />

in compliance tools and emissions in reality pose<br />

difficulties for stakeholders, specifiers, energy assessors<br />

and end clients.<br />

The current emission factor used in compliance software<br />

is due to be updated for the newest version of the methodology<br />

next year. However, compliance tools need to<br />

use a fixed value to ensure comparable assessments, but<br />

the energy mix is changing so fast and the uptake of renewables<br />

is becoming so rapid that the emission factor<br />

for grid electricity is going to continuously fall year-on-year<br />

for the foreseeable future. A greater emphasis therefore<br />

needs to be placed within, and outside, the industry to<br />

highlight the difference between an effective assessment<br />

for compliance with building regulations and the sustainable<br />

design for the lifecycle of a building.<br />

32<br />

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