6 months ago

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 insulation industry trade magazine Insulation News A Call to Action By Adrian Pargeter Head of Technical and Product Development, Kingspan Insulation Limited For quite some time industry professionals have been calling for a Building Regulations review, believing that the current regulations are inadequate and confusing. Unfortunately, it took the Grenfell tragedy to drive home their shortcomings to the government, and they have now commissioned an urgent assessment. Dame Judith Hackitt is heading this ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’ to look at the issues around efficacy, compliance, and enforcement. The initial findings were published in December with a complete report due this spring. The Hackitt Review has included a consultation with various industry bodies, government departments, and the public to look at recommended changes for the future including a more robust regulatory system, not just facades but for all areas of construction. The interim report states clearly that the current regulatory system in England is “unfit for purpose”. As a result, the construction industry is preparing itself for immediate action following the full report being published. It is crucial that we insist on stricter requirements with clearer guidance, to do all we can to protect building occupants in addition to helping to rebuild public confidence on matters of fire safety and building regulation. With this in mind, and focussing on facades, there are five key changes that will bring better regulation of this crucial aspect of construction: 1 2 Large-scale system testing of all of cladding systems regardless of insulation material Standardisation and regulation of Desktop Studies Façade fire safety is a complicated issue, with many different factors coming into play, such as cavity barriers, fixings used and cavity width, which all have an impact on how the building will react in a real-life fire situation. A major concern is that, under the current Building Regulations, ‘non-combustible’ façade insulation products are not required to undergo large-scale testing as part of a system for use over 18 m. If there is one thing we should understand by now, it is that full system testing is essential to better understand the building materials we use, how they are affected by products installed alongside them and, as a result, help to improve the data we have on how all these products behave when installed as part of a specified system. BS 8414 is the large-scale test that is undertaken to see whether a façade system meets the requirements of BR 135 – it is one of the routes to regulatory compliance. BRE Global now has a register of BR 135 classified external systems that have been tested in accordance with BS 8414 part 1 or 2 on its website: Note that more recent tests will not yet appear on this register. There are compliant solutions available that are not limited to non-combustible insulation materials, and that provide significant benefits in other aspects of the performance that we need from our buildings. A responsible manufacturer will commit to an ongoing programme of severe testing for its products, to innovation, and to the promotion of best practice to ensure that buildings offer fire safety, energy efficiency and longevity in equal measure. 3 4 5 Mandatory training for installers Enforcement of fire safety throughout design and construction More research into smoke from buildings and contents A copy of Kingspan’s plan for positive change is available to download from: Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384 e.mail: website: 20

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine Insulate Columnist Improve and Respond to the Challenges Simon Storer, Chief Executive of Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA) The end of any year is always a time both of reflection and renewal; a time for remembering what has been and what we hope or expect is to come over the coming 12 months. By tradition, New Year’s resolutions are usually about aiming to do things differently, changing behaviour, learning from the past and improving for the future. After the tragedy of 2017, there will be few of us, if any, who don’t recognise the need for change and improvement across the construction sector. The launch just before Christmas of the interim report from the Hackett Review into Building Regulations, is a hugely important step in addressing the failings of construction and examining the responsibilities and methodology in the way in which we build and it should therefore be welcomed by everyone who wishes to see better and safer buildings. A series of New Year’s resolutions for an industry that are way overdue. We will of course need to wait for the full report and its recommendations, which are due in the spring, to fully understand what is being proposed. But importantly this interim report already gives us an indication of the direction of travel and identifies key weaknesses and failings that will be of little surprise to those employed or connected to this sector. Not least is the impressiveness of the reach and depth of the report, its thorough grasp of the task in hand and its willingness and determination to identify and call out those broad subject areas that need root and branch improvement. And all of this turned around in what was a very short timescale of just a couple of months. With more than 200 submissions from an array of interested parties and groups, one can assume there were quite a few consistent themes and messages, but I suspect there were plenty of conflicting views as well. The report identifies categorically that there is no quick fix or easy solution and this must be true, despite plenty of commentators giving the impression over the past few months that they have the answers and know what needs to be done. The construction industry is immensely complex and diverse, but it has been allowed, for many reasons, to drift away from a culture of competence and compliance. For everyone’s sake we need to reverse this trend and as the interim review states re-introduce a level of professionalism and quality assurance to deliver the performance we know we can and must achieve, across a range of criteria. Greater clarity of responsibility, less confusion, less ambiguity and increased coherence, which is output driven. The political desire over the past years to move away from regulation to a much more laissez-faire approach, needs to be seriously challenged. Good regulation, properly implemented is essential for good business and as manufacturers in the construction sector we want and need the regulation to help keep standards up and reduce product substitution, which so often leads to the wrong outcomes. There is a need to reignite confidence in the industry; the Hackett report has the opportunity of doing this. As I come to the end of my first year in this role of Chief Executive for Insulation Manufacturers Association there is a great deal I can reflect upon, both good and bad and we will continue to face the challenges of the coming year. 2018 will be different, there is no doubt about that, but the construction industry must improve and respond positively to the challenges in front of it. I intend that Insulation Manufacturers Association and our members will play a full and crucial role in doing just that. For more information about Insulation Manufacturers Association please visit: 21