An Insulation Evolution is upon us in Insulate Magazine Issue 13. Q-bot a Robot that applies sprayfoam insulation under floors is set to take the insulation world by storm. Also features compelling articles from regular columnists and insulation experts.

An Insulation Evolution is upon us in Insulate Magazine Issue 13. Q-bot a Robot that applies sprayfoam insulation under floors is set to take the insulation world by storm. Also features compelling articles from regular columnists and insulation experts.


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The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

Q-Bot<br />

Insulation Evolution<br />

Issue 13 | <strong>Dec</strong>ember 2017<br />

Getting the Message Across<br />

Question of Energy Performance<br />

Fire Safety Now is the Time<br />

Public Safety First and Foremost

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

Corser House, 17 Geen End, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 1AD<br />

Call 01948 759 351<br />

Outside of the UK +44 1948 759351<br />

Monday - Friday 9am - 5.30pm<br />

Website: www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Email: sales@insulatenetwork.com<br />

Q-Bot Insulation Evolution<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Contents<br />

6-9<br />

SUBSCRIPTION <strong>IN</strong>FORMATION<br />

Anyone can subscribe for free online at https://insulatenetwork.<br />

com/insulate-magazine-free-subscription<br />

Subscriptions are available around the world free in digital format.<br />

Print subscriptions are available around the world, please call us for<br />

a quote or email us on sales@insulatenetwork.com<br />

Our subscriber list is occasionally made available to very carefully<br />

selected companies whose products or services may be of interest<br />

to you. Your privacy is of paramount importance to us and should<br />

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CLASSIFIED ADVERTIS<strong>IN</strong>G<br />

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costs £1. All classified advertising must be paid in advance. We<br />

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

publication date.<br />

Getting the Message Across 10-13<br />

Ensuring Insulation Fits<br />

14-16<br />

New Acoustic Stud System <strong>18</strong><br />

The Effects of Hand Arm Vibration 20-22<br />

WE DO NOT ACCEPT PHONE <strong>IN</strong> CLASSIFIED ADVERTIS<strong>IN</strong>G<br />

In the first instance, email your advert to sales@insulatenetwork.<br />

com and await your invoice, once payment is received our design<br />

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ADVERTIS<strong>IN</strong>G APPEARS <strong>IN</strong> PR<strong>IN</strong>T AND ONL<strong>IN</strong>E. WE ARE NOT<br />

RE<strong>SP</strong>ONSIBLE FOR ERRORS AFTER PROOF<strong>IN</strong>G AND <strong>IN</strong>SER-<br />

TION.<br />

DI<strong>SP</strong>LAY ADVERTIS<strong>IN</strong>G.<br />

Contact one of our sales staff to discuss your requirements on<br />

01948 759 351. Publisher reserves the right to reject any<br />

advertising that in its opinion is misleading, unfair or incompatible<br />

with the character of the magazine.<br />

We adhere to the IPSO code of practice for editors. Further information<br />

can be found at www.ipso.org.uk<br />

BACK ISSUES OR REPR<strong>IN</strong>TS<br />

Digital back issues can be foud online at www.insulatenetworkazine.com<br />

For printed editions please email contact@insulatenetwork.com<br />

, there will be a postage charge and handling fee of<br />

£5+VAT for each copy requested.<br />


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

Public Safety First and Foremost 23-25<br />

A Question of Energy Performance 28-31<br />

Fire Protection Specialists<br />

33<br />

Broken Housing Market Been Fixed? 34<br />

Fire Safety Now is the Time<br />

36-37<br />

Insulating our Nation's Homes 38<br />


No part can be reproduced without the express<br />

permission of the publisher<br />

www.instagram.com/insulatenetwork<br />

www.twitter.com/insulatenetwork<br />

www.youtube.com/channel/insulatenetwork<br />

The Vase Enters <strong>Final</strong> Phase 39-40<br />

Ecobuild 20<strong>18</strong> Preview 42-43<br />

The UK's only dedicated<br />

trade journal for the insulation industry<br />


It has been a turbulent month for us here at Insulate Magazine.<br />

Despite exhausting every opportunity and resource to deliver the<br />

Insulation Awards in year one, our plans were thwarted.<br />

We apologise to all for the inconvenience caused. It was the hardest<br />

decision for us to make, given the relentless preparations and the<br />

support from the industry.<br />

Colin Heath<br />

Managing Editor<br />

colin@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@colinversanta<br />

We will deal with all of the outstanding issues regarding the awards, learn<br />

from the experience and continue to provide the platform to promote the<br />

Insulation Industry<br />

On a positive note, we are proud to bring you another edition of Insulate<br />

Magazine. Including a great feature on Q-Bot with the BBA, Two articles<br />

written by our new Technical Editor, Paul Forrester and excellent contributions<br />

from our regular insulate columnists. With continued industry support<br />

we are looking forward to taking the publication from strength to strength in<br />

20<strong>18</strong>.<br />

We wish you and your families a pleasant and rewarding festive period, and<br />

look forward to you joining us in the New Year.<br />

Enjoy<br />

Jamie Street<br />

Creative Director<br />

jamie@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@jamieversanta<br />

4<br />


SIG360 work with us<br />

on site, to ensure we<br />

not only meet our<br />

client’s needs but<br />

exceed them.<br />





Providing impartial<br />

product advice<br />

The SIG360 Technical Centre is a service offering from SIG, that focuses on helping customers<br />

deliver energy efficient buildings.<br />

Through an intimate knowledge of building regulations and product performance, brought<br />

about through more than 50 years specialising in the energy efficiency of the fabric of a<br />

building, the SIG360 Technical Centre is able to make cost effective and impartial product<br />

selection to ensure the best energy performance can be achieved.<br />

The service provided includes energy statements, U value calculations , condensation risk<br />

analysis, thermal modelling and SAP assessments leading to EPC certification.<br />

If you are seeking impartial advice on the fabric energy efficiency of your building contact<br />

SIG360 Technical Centre.<br />

For guidance you can trust call 0844 443 0059<br />

email 360enquiries@sigplc.com or visit www.sig360.co.uk<br />

Talk to the SIG360 Technical<br />

Centre at the start of your project<br />

for a 360 o view of cost effective<br />

and energy efficient home building

Cover Story Exclusive<br />

Q-bot<br />

insulation<br />

evolution<br />

Mathew Holloway from innovators Q-Bot talks about their robot for<br />

insulating under floors - and how BBA Certification will help them gain<br />

prominence in the market place.

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Q-Bot Insulation Evolution<br />

Mathew Holloway from innovators Q-Bot talks about their robot for insulating under floors<br />

- and how BBA Certification will help them gain prominence in the market place.<br />

Introducing an impressive new product that considerably reduces the cost outlay when people are considering<br />

underfloor insulation. Such an operation traditionally necessitates the complete removal of the<br />

flooring so that insulation materials can be installed and then the floor re- laid afterwards. This can be a<br />

nightmare for Housing Associations commissioning this kind of work as residents often need to be<br />

temporarily rehoused, which amounts to another not inconsiderable cost implication.<br />

Q-Bot Chief Executive Mathew Holloway explains:<br />

“To insulate underfloor space in the UK you need to remove<br />

all carpets and flooring to access the void, then cut<br />

insulation panels by hand between the joists and roll mats<br />

of insulation in between, working to a degree of accuracy<br />

of 1mm, which is really quite difficult. If there are any gaps<br />

left between the insulation and the joists the insulation is<br />

not effective.<br />

“The method is very disruptive and difficult to do well.<br />

And of course, once it’s done you have to put your<br />

home back together and redecorate. It’s usually enough<br />

of a barrier to stop anyone wanting to do it.”<br />

The new procedure takes one or two days at a fraction of<br />

the cost and performs just as well as traditional methods.<br />

This is a particularly welcome innovation for Housing Associations<br />

as it minimises disruption to residents who also<br />

benefit from lower heating bills.<br />

“Specifically, costs are typically half the alternatives and<br />

£150 per year is saved on heating bills. It also reduces the<br />

temperature stratification – the difference from your feet to<br />

your head, creating warm feet, which is a significant factor<br />

in keeping warm.<br />

“An independent case study with the Leeds Beckett University<br />

showed that the heat loss in the building was reduced<br />

by 25% - that’s a huge amount – meaning more<br />

than a quarter of heat loss was from the<br />

floor.”<br />

Another feature of the robot is that it records<br />

the whole process and provides<br />

real time feedback of the thickness of<br />

the insulation, so that the operator can<br />

make sure the job is completed correctly<br />

and the required depth of insulation is<br />

applied. The fact that the process can be<br />

monitored and recorded also incentivises<br />

installers to take pride in their work and<br />

removes the temptation to cut corners.<br />

“Generally, the built environment has got<br />

a problem with accountability and quality<br />

control. The BBA is trying to address this,<br />

and Q-Bot is bringing smarter tools that<br />

8<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

have quality control built in. Our robot records what<br />

happens using cameras and sensors to build a 3D<br />

map of the void before and after the install. We monitor<br />

the area and depth of insulation, take measurements<br />

during the process, and the installers know<br />

that what they do is being monitored and recorded.<br />

That gives them the motivation to do a better job.<br />

“People can be very negative when it comes to new<br />

technology at first, but eventually they see that this<br />

means they can take pride when working in the built environment.<br />

It allows installers to differentiate themselves<br />

from others and demonstrate they can do a good job.<br />

That philosophy also helped assure the BBA that we<br />

were minimising risk.”<br />

The BBA’s specific focus was to test the polyurethane<br />

foam insulation materials and the spraying process for<br />

efficiency and safety.<br />

“We set up an area in BBA Test Services at Watford to<br />

demonstrate the application process. This was watched<br />

and monitored, with readings taken to see how deep<br />

the insulation was.<br />

“Then the BBA came and visited us to check what<br />

happened onsite. They also came to see our training<br />

and even went and talked to our customers. We went<br />

through a really stringent set of tests.”<br />

BBA Certification is well-known for sealing a new product’s<br />

reputation in the market place, leveraging brands<br />

and providing specifier and consumer confidence.<br />

Mathew explained why the UK’s leading construction<br />

certification body was so important for Q-Bot.<br />

“When you’re a small organisation but one that is rapidly<br />

growing with the potential to change the world and<br />

have a really big impact, you have to make sure you do<br />

everything properly in order to be taken seriously. You<br />

need to punch above your weight. The BBA is a very<br />

well-respected mark and organisation. Audits improve<br />

your control system which gives you a lot of credibility<br />

and helps show customers that there are processes<br />

in place that ensure the quality and scalability of the<br />

service.<br />

“Because this is a relatively new product and solution,<br />

we were unsure as to whether the BBA would even<br />

consider approving something like this as it’s simply<br />

not been done like this before. We are obviously very<br />

pleased that the BBA took it seriously.<br />

“It’s a great relief to finally get our certificate because it<br />

shows the outside world that what we’ve been saying is<br />

true. An independent party is happy to say yes, this is a<br />

process that has quality control built in.”<br />

Q-Bot has been busy all over the south coast, from<br />

Hastings all the way up to the north of Scotland,<br />

through England, Wales and Scotland.<br />

Trials have also been done overseas, in the US and<br />

France. With the blessing of the British Board of Agrément,<br />

this smart little newcomer to the insulation industry<br />

looks set to make its mark in the built environment,<br />

throughout the UK and beyond.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


Exclusive Insulate Column<br />

Getting the<br />

Message Across<br />

In construction marketing, and the marketing of insulation in particular, there’s a popular type of<br />

phrase used in trade press and journal articles. It’s often worded, “ever-increasing building<br />

regulations”, or a close variant on it. But is it the right message to keep shouting? By Paul Forrester.

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Exclusive Insulate Column<br />

Getting the Message Across<br />

It’s easy to understand the appeal: the wording highlights<br />

the importance of insulation and encourages the reader<br />

to accept manufacturers as the authority on the subject.<br />

There’s an imperative: the reader isn’t as up to date as<br />

they should be, so they should consult the authors to<br />

find out which products can help their current projects<br />

comply.<br />

Looking to the Future<br />

All of which is fine … except that things are fairly static<br />

from a building regulations point of view.<br />

In England and Wales, for example, the U-value targets<br />

for extensions and alterations to existing buildings have<br />

been the same for SEVEN years. Revised standards for<br />

compliance in new-builds were introduced in 2013 and<br />

2014 respectively, but were still based on a system in<br />

place since 2006.<br />

The biggest change - the introduction of a fabric energy<br />

efficiency standard (FEES) in England - only brought<br />

the country into line with the sort of lower fabric backstops<br />

that had been a hallmark of the Scottish Technical<br />

Handbooks for years.<br />

Updated standards will be introduced across the UK<br />

eventually, but there’s no definitive timetable for revision<br />

- and no reason to make people worry they’re in danger<br />

of not keeping up with something that isn’t here yet.<br />

Known Unknowns<br />

Articles published in the last few editions of Insulate have<br />

shown customers already see insulation manufacturers<br />

as the authority. The issue lies in people knowing they<br />

need advice, and understanding the right time to call on<br />

the available expertise. From personal experience in the<br />

last few months, a couple of examples:<br />

- A property developer wanted to know how best to position<br />

insulation in a flat roof extension, and was surprised<br />

to discover his proposed specification was inadequate -<br />

“Oh, is it 0.<strong>18</strong> for a roof now?”<br />

- A conversation with a college brickwork lecturer yielded<br />

its own surprises. He thought the U-value currently required<br />

in walls was 0.35 W/m2K, which is the figure given<br />

in Approved Document L 2002.<br />

Fortunately, it was possible to advise on a better flat roof<br />

specification - but how many other developments are under-insulated<br />

despite the static thermal targets for existing<br />

buildings? And what understanding of insulation are<br />

brickwork students gaining if they’re not familiar with the<br />

solutions they should see on site?<br />

The here and now<br />

It’s not preparing for the future that’s the problem, then,<br />

but getting everybody up to speed on the present!<br />

Communicating via traditional construction media will always<br />

have its place but, arguably, its readers generally<br />

know what they need to do to make a project succeed.<br />

On big contracts, workflows are in place to maximise efficiency<br />

and help things flow as smoothly as possible on<br />

the way to completion.<br />

A roofing contractor, for example, knows the specification<br />

and asks their preferred supplier for a price on insulation<br />

to achieve the required U-value. The distributor prepares<br />

a quote and contacts the manufacturer for a calculation<br />

to back it up. Straightforward, job done, several thousand<br />

square metres of roof ready to go.<br />

Of course, the relative simplicity of larger projects pays<br />

for the advice offered to smaller projects. When a client<br />

or builder needs guiding step-by-step, insulation manufacturers<br />

are almost the front line of defence, identifying<br />

issues in design, specification or installation and steering<br />

them in the right direction.<br />

Another example...<br />

If a chain of correspondence between a housing developer<br />

and an Approved Inspector includes a comment from<br />

the latter - “Not much of a link between wall and floor<br />

insulation, so whoever provides the Energy Performance.<br />

12<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

So how much should manufacturers police the projects<br />

that cross the desks of their technical teams?<br />

Acknowledgement of the issue was a start, but the<br />

words implied no intent to do anything other than have<br />

an Energy Assessor address it via paperwork. There was<br />

no suggestion of attempting to educate the contractor<br />

or have the work rectified, or of helping the developer<br />

understand why the new properties would benefit from<br />

greater attention to detail.<br />

It’s possible the as-built energy performance calculations<br />

showed a detriment to the predicted performance but,<br />

ultimately, the work was likely signed off and the properties<br />

sold, leaving the buyers to suffer cold draughts and<br />

excessive heat loss - something that was almost certainly<br />

not acknowledged during the purchase.<br />

Fighting the Good Fight...<br />

Reading this, there’s a good chance you have examples<br />

of occasions where you’ve witnessed sub-optimal<br />

building work being the rule rather than the exception.<br />

Skills and training in the construction industry are not<br />

up to scratch, but the magic bullet remains elusive.<br />

The Passivhaus Trust recently released a ‘Good Practice<br />

Guide to Insulation’, and the ‘Builder’s Book’<br />

remains available on the Zero Carbon Hub website, but<br />

these are relatively niche outlets for information, that<br />

most people won’t easily stumble upon.<br />

Insulation manufacturers and their trade associations<br />

do genuinely good work lobbying government and<br />

campaigning for better standards in the built environment.<br />

It’s a long term project though, and people need<br />

advice and guidance now.<br />

Start the Debate<br />

If a chain of correspondence between a housing developer and an Approved Inspector includes a comment from the<br />

latter - “Not much of a link between wall and floor insulation, so whoever provides the Energy Performance Certificate<br />

needs to be aware” - is there anything the manufacturer reading it can do?<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

If traditional media isn’t doing the job, does the answer lie in finding ways to better use social media<br />

to reach people?<br />

Perhaps photographic records of projects, even the smallest extension, need to become part of the<br />

evidence base for compliance so there’s no hiding bad workmanship.<br />

Indeed, more examples of both good and bad work should be put in the public domain as a source<br />

of reference.<br />

Rather than rolling out smart meters, maybe energy companies should be obliged to undertake<br />

thermographic surveys so homeowners can see for themselves where their money is going?<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

Ensuring Insulation Fits<br />

for Improved Thermal Performance<br />

Buildings are responsible for nearly 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.<br />

Well-insulated existing and new-build properties will help improve that figure, but only if the insulation<br />

is correctly fitted in the first place. global leaders in PIR manufacture, Recticel Insulation,<br />

provides a guideline to installation practices and techniques in respect of one of the more innovative insulation<br />

products on the market.<br />

A Green Building Council report released earlier this year<br />

revealed 25 million homes need to be refurbished by<br />

2050 in order to meet insulation standards, and achieve<br />

the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80%, by<br />

then in line with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Excess<br />

energy used to heat draughty buildings is a major<br />

contributor to the country’s carbon footprint, hence the<br />

need for quality insulation that is fitted to a high<br />

standard. The onus on providing buildings which deliver<br />

in terms of thermal performance will largely fall on<br />

architects, developers and the building industry as a<br />

whole. However, manufacturers can also play their part<br />

by continuing to refine the properties and performance<br />

of ‘fabric first’ materials which are so vital in putting a<br />

thermal seal on the building envelope.<br />

Innovative Solution<br />

Dedicated to raising the standards of insulation<br />

products in the UK, Eurowall + represents Recticel Insulation’s<br />

commitment to PIR innovation to improve a building’s<br />

thermal performance and enhance the comfort and<br />

wellbeing of its occupants. Eurowall + was the first rigid<br />

insulation board to feature a tongue and groove joint on<br />

all four sides. This interlocking feature ensures boards slot<br />

together easily to provide insulation that is solid and airtight<br />

and minimises heat loss caused by thermal bridging,<br />

as well as offering effective protection against elements<br />

such as wind-driven rain.<br />

In the quest for improved energy efficiency, designers can<br />

be left with little option but to increase the thickness of<br />

insulation in a dwelling’s external walls. This additional<br />

insulation can be added internally, externally or within<br />

the cavity, all of which mean that floorplans need to be<br />

enlarged, which for housebuilders can mean smaller<br />

rooms or fewer houses per plot.<br />

Eurowall +, a premium, full-fill cavity insulation board<br />

manufactured from high performance closed cell polyisocyanurate<br />

(PIR) foam, has been developed to allow<br />

designers and housebuilders to maintain traditional build<br />

techniques, without compromise to thermal performance.<br />

It’s resulted in a board that achieves a U-value of 0.<strong>18</strong>W/<br />

m2K to enable compliance with Part L1A of the Building<br />

Regulations 2013 in England and Part L1A of the Building<br />

Regulations 2014 in Wales.<br />

Installation Made Easy<br />

Installing Eurowall + couldn’t be easier. To help the<br />

installer fit the boards the right way, there is a different<br />

gas-tight foil-faced finish on each side: one is distinctive<br />

grey alkali-resistant facing for placing against the inner<br />

leaf; where wet cement can affect the foil facing. The<br />

other is a low emissivity multi-layer aluminum facing<br />

which enhances the thermal resistance of the cavity.<br />

In terms of reveals, wall ties continue to be installed at<br />

every second course of blockwork, rather than every<br />

course, as is common practice. Two ties are positioned<br />

within 225mm of the reveal. Corner details are formed<br />

by cutting the boards squarely and closely butt-jointing.<br />

A vertical 300mm wide DPC covers the corner and runs<br />

the full length of the junction. Cavity trays are fitted by<br />

either cutting the insulation at an angle and running a<br />

DPC over the top of it, or using a partial-fill board behind<br />

the section where the DPC is due to be fitted.<br />

14<br />


Case study: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire<br />

Eurowall + was used by Mentmore<br />

Homes in the construction of two energy-efficient,<br />

detached five-bedroom<br />

homes in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire,<br />

valued at £2.5 million each.<br />

The high-quality, traditionally-constructed<br />

homes feature external walls built<br />

using brick/block cavity construction.<br />

Cavity wall is the UK’s most common<br />

method of wall construction for residential<br />

dwellings. For Mentmore Homes,<br />

a significant challenge was to retain a<br />

standard-sized cavity while complying<br />

with the latest Building Regulations.<br />

To maximise the thermal performance<br />

of the external walls without increasing<br />

the width of the 100mm wide cavity,<br />

Mentmore Homes specified Eurowall<br />

+ full-fill insulation. Using this high-performance<br />

PIR insulation board enabled<br />

the developer to meet the thermal performance<br />

required to achieve Building<br />

Regulation compliance.<br />

A total 500m2 of Eurowall + boards<br />

were used in the wall construction<br />

of the two houses. Nicholas Peck,<br />

contracts manager at Mentmore<br />

Homes was impressed with the performance<br />

of Eurowall +: “We wanted to<br />

make the properties as energy efficient<br />

as possible; to make this happen the<br />

best place to start is the insulation,” he<br />

said. “Specifying Eurowall + meant we<br />

didn’t have to increase the size of the<br />

wall cavity and lose space inside the<br />

properties“.<br />

The panel’s interlocking feature was<br />

another element of the product that<br />

Peck says was beneficial: “Eurowall +,<br />

because it slots together so easily will<br />

remain solid and airtight,” he said. “We<br />

required a high-performance product<br />

for this extremely high-profile project<br />

and Eurowall + didn’t disappoint”.<br />


Case study: Hedge End, Southampton;<br />

Ludgershall, Andover<br />

Ease of handling and simplicity of installation were just<br />

two of the reasons Foreman Homes selected Eurowall +<br />

to insulate the walls of the homes on two large housing<br />

developments in the south of England. The schemes at<br />

Hedge End, Southampton, and Ludgershall, Andover, together<br />

contain a mix of over 300 plots of social and private<br />

housing; homes vary in size from two- to five-bedrooms.<br />

Mark Kew, a bricklayer with Foreman Homes, applauded<br />

the benefits of using Eurowall +: “In 35 years’<br />

experience in construction, the insulation developed by<br />

Recticel is easy to cut accurately due to the grid printed<br />

on the foil-facing side which makes it easy to install with<br />

minimal waste. I can honestly say our quality and speed<br />

have excelled as a result of its use.“<br />

In total over 15,000m 2 of Eurowall + insulation was installed.<br />

For Foreman Homes, using Eurowall + meant the<br />

homes’ external walls could be built quicker and easier<br />

resulting in a corresponding saving in construction costs.<br />

And, the full-fill insulation’s excellent thermal performance<br />

will mean that residents on both developments will be able<br />

to enjoy their comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings.<br />

As these case studies demonstrate, innovative PIR<br />

products such as Eurowall + contain a host of benefits to<br />

fit the 21st century need for insulation which improves a<br />

property’s thermal performance and speeds-up the overall<br />

construction process. However, for the performance to<br />

match the quality of the product, its installation has to be<br />

correct – hopefully first time.<br />

16<br />


ecobuild<br />

The future of the built environment is here<br />

06-08 March 20<strong>18</strong> / ExCeL, London<br />

Timber<br />

Concrete<br />

Infrastructure<br />

Green & Blue<br />

Infrastructure<br />

Offsite<br />

Energy & HVAC<br />

Building<br />

Performance<br />

District Energy<br />

Presenting the futurebuild districts<br />

The ‘must go’ event<br />

in the construction<br />

industry calendar<br />

for forward thinking<br />

professionals and<br />

influencers.<br />

ecobuild 20<strong>18</strong> will<br />

present the latest<br />

technology, the freshest<br />

thinking and materials<br />

to keep you at the<br />

forefront of the industry.<br />

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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

Siniat Targets High Rise Multi-Occupancy<br />

with New Acoustic Stud System<br />

An innovative thin partition system from<br />

leading drywall products manufacturer Siniat<br />

is set to help multi-residential developments<br />

increase floorspace while providing high-specification<br />

acoustic insulation.<br />

Resilient Acoustic Stud (RAS) 90 is the newest addition<br />

to Siniat’s specialist stud range, allowing specifiers and<br />

installers to maximise saleable floorspace for both new<br />

builds and refurbishments without compromising<br />

performance.<br />

RAS 90 is capable of exceeding Part E of Building Regulations<br />

for acoustic performance in residential buildings<br />

at a partition width of only 150mm – up to 50mm thinner<br />

than traditional partitions. It is the first product in the RAS<br />

range to be designed specifically for use in the residential<br />

sector, as well as hotels, student accommodation and<br />

change of use projects.<br />

With value in every square metre of living space, RAS<br />

90 increases net internal areas to have a demonstrable<br />

impact on development value. Most recently, Galliard<br />

Homes’ Great Scotland Yard development – a 95,000 sq<br />

ft hotel refurbishment – gained an additional one square<br />

metre per room by switching from a traditional party wall<br />

and external corridor partition to a RAS system.<br />

The stud’s simple design means that frame installation<br />

can be up to 50 per cent quicker than standard systems.<br />

Unlike traditional metal studs, RAS 90 features an inbuilt<br />

visco-elastic acoustic material which prevents airborne<br />

and impact sound from passing through dividing walls,<br />

removing the need for cavities or an acoustic brace.<br />

Lee Hamilton, product manager for Resilient Acoustic<br />

Stud at Siniat, commented:<br />

“RAS 90 is a simple but game-changing innovation for<br />

creating high-performance acoustic partitions. Its unique<br />

design provides a minimum 45 DnTw +Ctr while only<br />

using half the amount of metal needed for a standard<br />

partition, making it thinner, lighter and faster to install than<br />

traditional equivalents.<br />

“In the context of the housing shortage, the design and<br />

construction sectors need to find new ways to speed up<br />

project delivery and maximise space. RAS 90 reduces<br />

installation time while delivering the high acoustic<br />

performance required for modern homes to ensure quality<br />

of life for residents.”<br />

Reflecting Siniat’s commitment to driving technological<br />

innovation in drywall products, RAS 90 has been developed<br />

by the business’ own acoustic engineering team at<br />

its Innovation and Technology Centre in France, which is<br />

managed by parent company Etex Building Performance.<br />


insulatenetwork 19<br />

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insulate columnist<br />

The effects of Hand-Arm<br />

Vibration (HAV) in the Workplace<br />

Insulate Magazine columnist George Elliott, a technical specialist at<br />

science-based technology company 3M, explains ways of controlling<br />

HAV exposure levels in the workplace<br />

The repetitive use of power tools when placing insulation into walls, ceilings and thermal<br />

controlled areas exposes personnel to significant levels of Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV), a<br />

health hazard that almost two million people in the UK are exposed to in the<br />

workplace, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).<br />

HAV is the transmission of vibration from a piece of equipment or a tool into the body,<br />

resulting in potential injury and serious health conditions, if used for too long. The most<br />

commonly-associated health risk is hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), commonly<br />

manifested in Vibration White Finger, a painful and permanent condition that can<br />

lead to finger numbness, hand tingling and bone cysts.<br />

Users also often complain of a sore sensation and limited movement in the<br />

hands, commonly diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. This<br />

musculoskeletal problem reduces the sufferer’s ability to manipulate<br />

objects.<br />

HAV damage is detrimental and irreversible, yet entirely preventable.<br />

Employers have a duty of care to their workforce, to ensure that<br />

they have adequate protective measures in place to control<br />

excessive HAV exposure.<br />

For this reason, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations<br />

states a need for HAV-related risk assessments and requires<br />

consequential measures to be put in place to control such exposure.<br />

Continues page 20...<br />



www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

The importance of risk assessment<br />

According to the HSE, a good power tool supplier<br />

should recommend a range of appropriate tools and<br />

include vibration design information. In addition,<br />

they should provide a clear description of the vibration<br />

risk of each tool and instructions on how to safely use it.<br />

Although all vibrating tool manufacturers are required to<br />

provide figures quantifying each tool’s vibration HAVS<br />

level, a full assessment is still crucial. This is because a<br />

manufacturers’ figures are typically generated using a<br />

standard test carried out on a flat panel with new<br />

machines.<br />

The only way to realistically conclude values for each<br />

working condition is to measure vibration in<br />

the environment that the tool will be used, using the<br />

actual tool, substrate and abrasive.<br />

A competent person within the company should<br />

measure each tool’s vibration level using the HSE’s<br />

purpose-built calculator, available from:<br />

http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/information.htm.<br />

However, the testing equipment can be expensive, so<br />

smaller businesses may wish to use an independent<br />

company. Even for larger organisations, this can provide<br />

extra peace of mind. Because the effects of HAV are<br />

cumulative, the calculator gives the total length of time<br />

that a vibrating tool can be safely used for by any single<br />

person over the course of a day, even with breaks.<br />

How much action is required?<br />

The level of activity that employers need to take is<br />

determined by the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations.<br />

This depends on two different values – the<br />

exposure action value (EAV) and the exposure limit value<br />

(ELV). The EAV is 2.5m/s2 (equal to 100 points on the<br />

HSE calculator). The ELV is 5m/s2 (or 400 points).<br />

These figures relate to an eight-hour period during a<br />

single working day. If a tool’s vibration level is less than<br />

the EAV over an eight-hour period, it can theoretically be<br />

used for eight hours a day.<br />

vibration to the lowest level reasonably practicable,<br />

doing likewise for the exposure level if it is above the<br />

EAV. In any workplace where employees are exposed<br />

to HAV, employers must provide access to a competent<br />

occupational physician to receive detailed feedback<br />

about each individual, regularly monitoring and<br />

reporting any confirmed cases HAVS or carpal tunnel<br />

syndrome through the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases<br />

and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013<br />

(RIDDOR).<br />

Taking Action to Reduce HAV Exposure<br />

Employers can place stickers on tools explaining how<br />

long they can be used for or use tool timers, which<br />

measure how long the tool has been used for and sound<br />

an alert when the limit is reached.<br />

A company can also use alternative, non-vibrating<br />

methods where possible; automating tasks; using jigs,<br />

clamps or rotating work involving vibrating tools between<br />

several workers. Using a tool with a lower vibration<br />

measurement or a smart sensor can also help.<br />

Personnel should be trained to not hold vibrating tools<br />

too tightly; use lower<br />

speed settings; ensure<br />

tools are properly<br />

stored and maintained;<br />

and check<br />

them before use.<br />

HAV exposure is not<br />

limited to the workplace<br />

- DIY tools<br />

used outside of work<br />

can also contribute.<br />

Although out of the<br />

employer’s control,<br />

HAV risk should be<br />

communicated to<br />

employees, nonetheless.<br />

For more information, visit www.3M.co.uk/safety.<br />

Once the EAV is exceeded, employers must demonstrate<br />

that significant health surveillance is being undertaken,<br />

along with measures aimed at reducing exposure<br />

to the lowest possible level.<br />

If the exposure level surpasses the ELV, the operator<br />

must immediately stop using tools likely to cause vibration.<br />

The employer must then reduce the risk from<br />

22 www.insulatenetwork.com

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulate insulate Columnist columnist<br />

Hackitt Review Must Put Maximum<br />

Public Safety First and Foremost<br />

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

With the Hackitt interim report expected before Christmas, we all have high hopes for<br />

Dame Judith’s independent review. What is clear is that we simply cannot and must not<br />

compromise on public safety.<br />

As the organisation representing the non-combustible insulation manufacturers, MIMA is firmly supportive<br />

of the scope of the Building Regulations review but believes we need to be more stringent, albeit<br />

prescriptive with particular attention being given to all mid- and high-rise, sensitive and high occupancy<br />

buildings such as schools, hospitals and care homes.<br />

Fit for purpose?<br />

We need to go wider with a review that fully considers<br />

the implications for fire safety in technology advances.<br />

Current developments in technology mean it is perfectly<br />

practical to track a product from factory to installation<br />

while keeping a digital record of what the product characteristics<br />

are. A record for current and future building<br />

occupants.<br />

We should consider whether wider testing methodologies<br />

are fit for purpose. Specifically focusing on whether the<br />

testing regimes applying in all buildings are only testing a<br />

perfect installation rather than a ‘real world’ one.<br />

Current regulations are ambitious<br />

Currently ‘guidance’ for facades in buildings over <strong>18</strong>m<br />

high sits in multiple documents with Approved Document<br />

B referencing a variety of supporting documents which<br />

don’t lead to clear guidance on what is or isn’t permitted.<br />

To offer maximum public safety, the approved document<br />

should offer the only point of reference and the only permissible<br />

routes to compliance should be the use of Euroclass<br />

A1 or A2 rated products on facades which should<br />

be clearly set out in a redrafted Approved Document B.<br />

That redrafting should also clearly set out that Approved<br />

Document B is the only acceptable route to compliance<br />

Routes to compliance<br />

Approved Document B is not the only means to<br />

compliance with the Building Regulations – other bodies<br />

are permitted to publish their own guidance on how the<br />

regulations can be met. This has led to industry bodies<br />

publishing their own guidance on BR135 – these guides<br />

both contained four routes to compliance including<br />

desktop studies, which allow for combustible materials to<br />

be used without even being tested.<br />

There is substantial confusion within the industry and even<br />

amongst fire experts about what the official regulations do<br />

and do not state – many are under the false impression<br />

that the oft-quoted ‘four routes to compliance’ are in ADB<br />

or BR135, when they are not.<br />

Only specifying either A1 or A2 Euroclass products / systems<br />

can ever offer certainty to occupants that the façade<br />

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

routes permit human error or judgement in to the system.<br />

Classification<br />

References in Approved Document B to national fire<br />

classifications such as “Class O” alongside Euroclasses<br />

than is actually the case. Similarly, marketing terms such<br />

as “fire retarded”, “fire safe” and “non-flammable” are<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

frequently used to describe the reaction to fire properties<br />

of materials which are classified as combustible.<br />

The difference between combustible and non-combustible<br />

materials is an extremely significant distinction which<br />

must not be blurred. Combustible materials contain considerable<br />

fuel loads which contribute to the spread of fire.<br />

Non-combustible products cannot contain significant<br />

quantities of combustible materials, including any glues<br />

and binders, as this would prevent them from achieving a<br />

non-combustible classification. Fact.<br />

Building regulations must offer greater assurance of fire<br />

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

non-residential buildings over <strong>18</strong>m. With the health of<br />

building occupants, a priority, the smoke toxicity of construction<br />

products must be tested, classified and labelled<br />

to provide important information to consumers and made<br />

a key component within Approved Document B.<br />

The Euroclass system should be the only classification<br />

system referenced in a redrafted Approved Document B.<br />

All reference to the British Standard (BS) ‘Class O’ should<br />

be removed as this adds ambiguity and uncertainty of interpretation.<br />

Testing Methods<br />

No modelling available can ever genuinely replicate the<br />

behaviour of a fire in a complex building in the real world<br />

while no fire test on a perfect installation can ever replicate<br />

fire behaviour in buildings that have received real world<br />

installation practices.<br />

Desktop Studies<br />

There are serious concerns about the validity and accuracy<br />

of probability-based calculations for both desktop<br />

studies and fire safety engineering and little to no experience<br />

is available today to show that buildings assessed<br />

using Fire Safety Engineering have performed as predicted<br />

during a fire.<br />

Desktop studies do not produce a reliable indication of fire<br />

performance. These generalised assessments can do little<br />

more than guess at how combustible materials might behave<br />

in a fire on an unspecified building. The acceptance<br />

of these studies has promoted a light-touch approach.<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

BS8414 Test<br />

Even passing a full BS8414 test does not necessarily indicate<br />

that a system would provide adequate resistance<br />

to a real-life fire and do not reflect common installation<br />

issues in the market, as recognised in the Each Home<br />

Counts Review.<br />

Testing regimes must be continually reviewed to keep<br />

pace with construction practices as well as to ensure the<br />

process is sufficiently robust. The BS8414 test should be<br />

updated to reflect real life construction features such as<br />

windows and vents and the communication of test results<br />

based on perfect laboratory conditions must highlight<br />

the limitations of these tests in terms of predicting<br />

real life performance as highlighted by the Fire Protection<br />

Association.<br />

Given the fatal danger of toxic smoke, material testing<br />

and classification should be introduced for toxicity. These<br />

products must then be labelled and regulated accordingly.<br />

new guidance will tackle policing and sanction should<br />

also be clearly set out. No one can disagree that sanctions<br />

must be meaningful, tough and properly enforced.<br />

MIMA believes that public safety is paramount and we<br />

can be instrumental in developing a comprehensive fire<br />

risk analysis for both existing and new buildings. However<br />

Dame Judith must recommend the right framework<br />

to ensure we can deliver maximum safety for the general<br />

public across the UK.<br />

MIMA’s submission to the Hackitt Review can be found<br />

here at http://mima.info<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 />

Enforcement<br />

<strong>Final</strong>ly, compliance clearly needs to be policed while sanctions<br />

for non-compliance robust. Approaches on how any<br />



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Exclusive Insulate Column<br />

A Question<br />

of Energy Performance<br />

Insulation manufacturers sell quality products designed to make people more comfortable in<br />

their homes and reduce their energy bills - but is the message getting through? And what will<br />

it take for home buyers and tenants to ask different questions? by Paul Forrester.

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

A Question of<br />

Energy Performance<br />

A friend and I recently went walking<br />

in the Peak District. It was bright and<br />

sunny - a perfect November day for<br />

exploring the Pennine Way - albeit<br />

cold, particularly in the wind. Our<br />

route took us through the village of<br />

Edale, passing picture-perfect stone<br />

cottages. Outside one home, a man<br />

in overalls was attacking a<br />

rigid insulation board with a saw.<br />

Not in a frenzied sort of way, I should<br />

make clear! In fact, he was being very<br />

precise about it. He’d already cut a<br />

couple of letterbox-sized holes right<br />

through the board, and was setting<br />

about removing further sections of<br />

insulation to around half the depth of<br />

the board.<br />

“I want to know how that insulation’s<br />

going to be used!” I muttered, fighting<br />

the temptation to go over and<br />

make a polite enquiry.<br />

Most likely, it needed to accommodate<br />

some service penetrations and<br />

a few lumps and bumps in whatever<br />

bit of the structure it was going to be<br />

fixed to. Trouble is, the holes would<br />

introduce significant cold bridges,<br />

and the half-cut sections would<br />

worsen the insulation’s thermal conductivity.<br />

Other software will display it<br />

differently, but the important thing is<br />

knowing what to look for.<br />

The Heating’s On<br />

I reconciled my lack of investigative skills with an awareness<br />

that I might have started ‘preaching’ to the guy<br />

about how he was ruining the product’s performance,<br />

and so we continued walking.<br />

Inspired by this turn of events, a new topic of conversation<br />

arose: “These last few weeks, I’ve had to have the<br />

heating on,” my friend bemoaned. He’d only been in his<br />

new flat for a couple of months - his first taste of home<br />

ownership - and was encountering low temperatures for<br />

the first time. “I can’t not have the heating on.”<br />

“To feel comfortable?” I added, to confirm my<br />

understanding that he isn’t a Dickensian miser who’d<br />

huddle around a single candle if it was an option.<br />

At which point he asked a question that too few<br />

people consider when looking at property: “Why don’t<br />

they give more information about the energy efficiency of<br />

properties?”<br />

“Who’s ‘they’? Who do you wish you’d had more<br />

information from?” I asked with genuine interest.<br />

“The sellers? The estate agents?” he suggested,<br />

launching us into a wide-ranging conversation about the<br />

cost of energy and fuel poverty, among other topics.<br />

Property performing properly<br />

It brought to mind the fact that, since early 2013,<br />

advertisements for property being sold or let have been<br />

required to include the energy rating of the property. It<br />

also brought to mind the time I was told, anecdotally, that<br />

many estate agents advise customers, “nobody takes<br />

any notice of EPCs anyway”.<br />

Encountering apathy on that scale is dispiriting, but what’s<br />

even more dispiriting is accepting there might be logic<br />

behind it. For existing properties, an EPC is based on a<br />

visual survey and records of work carried out to improve<br />

the property. It doesn’t allow for the quality of the work<br />

being undertaken.<br />

If the cottage we walked past is put up for sale or rent,<br />

an Energy Assessor will compile the specification and<br />

include for insulation of a particular thickness and<br />

performance, installed to an assumed standard.<br />

30<br />


The assessment isn’t sophisticated enough to reflect the<br />

impact of insulation boards being modified to accommodate<br />

services or irregular building fabric.<br />

Where improvements are suggested, they’re not always<br />

feasible, leading the authority of EPCs to be questioned.<br />

An ex-colleague was once advised to consider ground<br />

floor insulation to improve the energy rating of his home.<br />

He’d have had to dig up the floor of every room, since<br />

there wasn’t enough height to accommodate insulation<br />

over the existing structure.<br />

Hardly a practical suggestion, and indicative of the issues<br />

many properties will face when trying to improve<br />

occupant comfort.<br />

Short-term thinking<br />

SAP calculations, for example.<br />

On a more optimistic note,<br />

if the new requirement is<br />

communicated well then<br />

it might encourage more<br />

tenants to ask the same<br />

question my friend did. If that<br />

gives television producers reason<br />

to change what they put on our<br />

screens, or estate agents to offer<br />

more informative advertisements, then<br />

we could start to find ourselves on<br />

the righttrack.<br />

As property prices have ballooned and escaped the<br />

grasp of more and more first-time buyers, estate agent<br />

adverts seem increasingly targeted at those who can<br />

afford to add to an existing property portfolio. Seeing<br />

property as an investment is nothing new, of course,<br />

but the effective retrofit of properties is becoming an<br />

urgent consideration - and one that is not effectively<br />

communicated to buyers or renters.<br />

Television programmes like Homes Under the Hammer<br />

only encourage this trend, focussing on quick turnarounds,<br />

rental yields, and aesthetics and surface sheen.<br />

On one episode, the person renovating a house decided<br />

to keep it for their daughter to live in. “We’ve taken a<br />

bit more time over it than normal,” he said, admitting he<br />

only aimed for a better standard of work after deciding<br />

his family would enjoy the benefit of it.<br />

While it might be idealistic to expect everybody to buy<br />

in to relatively distant aims like carbon reduction targets<br />

in 2050, the casual acceptance of such complacency<br />

on a popular daytime programme only makes the<br />

retrofit challenge harder, not easier.<br />

A New Direction?<br />

Between now and 2020, new legislation will make<br />

landlords more responsible for better comfort and lower<br />

energy bills for tenants. Rental properties will have to<br />

meet a minimum EPC rating of E, and it will be interesting<br />

to see what impact such a requirement has.<br />

demonstrate compliance, or risk losing work to those<br />

who will - especially when other anecdotal evidence<br />

suggests this has been known to happen with as-built<br />


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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

SIG Fire Protection Specialists Increase<br />

Client Service Capabilities Across UK<br />

SIG Fire Protection Specialists attain FSIDip<br />

status to increase client service capabilities across UK<br />

The specialist SIG fire protection service has<br />

been developed; with six members of the<br />

national team receiving an industry<br />

accredited Fire Stopping Inspection Diploma. The<br />

SIG team receiving the qualification is the largest<br />

and most experienced dedicated Fire Protection<br />

team working across the UK.<br />

The SIG Fire Protection Specialists offer expert advice to<br />

customers installing fire protection materials, in what is<br />

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SIG’s dedicated team of Fire Protection Specialists provides<br />

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Due to the complexity of fire protection, detailed<br />

information such as scope of application, fire tests and<br />

assessment reports are needed, as they allow robust<br />

product selection to complement all the other<br />

construction systems and interfaces in each application.<br />

This diploma provides each member of the SIG Fire<br />

Protection Specialist team with knowledge of material<br />

technical documents, and the latest methods of best<br />

practice.<br />

Nigel Gillingham, National Manager, comments:<br />

“SIG is committed to investing in our people to raise<br />

knowledge and consistently improve skills and available<br />

expertise. This has given us a proven level of competency,<br />

and we are the go-to people for all fire stopping and<br />

protection, with representation in every region of the UK.<br />

“This diploma applies a different perspective for the Fire<br />

Stopping activities we undertake; on our responsibilities;<br />

the responsibilities others have for Fire Stopping; our responsibilities<br />

to be accurate in our understanding and our<br />

knowledge, and our communication in the high risk, high<br />

liability Fire Stopping arena.<br />

“I am extremely proud of the team’s enthusiasm whilst<br />

undertaking this course, and proud that each member of<br />

the team passed with flying colours.”<br />

L-R: Nigel Gillingham, Shaun Hugill, Jon Scott,<br />

Aaron Gardiner, Dave Steel and Lee Bentley<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulate Columnist<br />

Has the Broken Housing<br />

Market Been Fixed?<br />

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

The announcement in the budget last week of a package of housing measures totalling around £44bn<br />

was welcome news for everyone in the construction industry. But will this really deliver on the<br />

Government’s promise to fix our broken housing market?<br />

Certainly scrapping stamp duty for properties under the £300,000 threshold for first time buyers is good news for the<br />

consumer but we need to be sure that when they invest in their new home that they are getting a property that is fit<br />

for purpose. This means being able to buy a home with confidence that has been properly built by a skilled workforce<br />

and that lives up to current energy efficiency regulations, otherwise any cost savings on stamp duty will be negated by<br />

higher running costs for the building over its lifetime.<br />

It is also good to see that there will be a review on the<br />

controversial topic of ‘land banking’. With claims from<br />

large builders on the one hand that planning issues are<br />

the real cause of the problem and claims from others that<br />

speed of build is being deliberately slowed down to push<br />

up house prices, it will be good to get some clarity from<br />

Oliver Letwin on this so that building can proceed at the<br />

ambitious rate demanded. The announcement that<br />

support to unlock smaller sites and identify brownfield sites<br />

to allow SME builders to build 40,000 new homes is great<br />

news for the construction industry but again we need a<br />

skilled workforce to deliver on this.<br />

With around £34 million promised to develop construction<br />

skills across the country, we need to be sure that we get<br />

the skills training in place ahead delivery of the ambitious<br />

target of 300,000 new homes a year, otherwise the<br />

construction industry is setting itself up for failure and<br />

consumers will lose confidence.<br />

Building 300,000 new homes a year is certainly an<br />

ambitious target and a pledge that we have heard numerous<br />

times before but we need to ensure that all new<br />

homes can live up to the expectations of those living in<br />

them or aspiring to live in them. Will that happen? Let’s<br />

wait and see.<br />

For more information about<br />

Insulation Manufacturers Association please visit:<br />

www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk<br />

34<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulate Columnist<br />

Fire Safety: Now is the Time<br />

for Architects to Take Back Ownership<br />

Duncan Voice, Store Manager, Insulation Superstore, outlines why architects need to learn a valuable lesson from<br />

the Grenfell Tower tragedy and take back control of specification.<br />

In the wake of the Grenfell tower tragedy, there has been a dramatic shift in attitudes towards the role<br />

of architects within construction. The avoidable disaster has forced the industry to take design quality<br />

more seriously, whilst also demonstrating how high-quality build specifications can not only protect<br />

occupants, but save lives.<br />

A post-Grenfell review is currently underway, spearheaded<br />

by the Department for Communities and Local Government<br />

(DCLG), with RIBA also calling for a comprehensive<br />

reappraisal of Approved Document B and related fire<br />

standards. Although the official outcome is still yet to be<br />

determined, there will undoubtedly be a focus on the fact<br />

that components such as cladding, insulation and fixing<br />

methods must be considered holistically as part of a robust<br />

fire safety build strategy.<br />

Traditionally, architects have always played a significant<br />

role in the specification of materials; however, the rise of<br />

complex ‘design build’ contracts is increasingly leaving<br />

them powerless within the construction supply chain -<br />

with no say or input on budget cuts or the substitution of<br />

cheaper alternative products.<br />

Following Grenfell, it is crucial that architects become<br />

leaders on fire safety, as well as taking responsibility for<br />

their specifications, considering the impact of individual<br />

components across an entire build while future proofing<br />

their designs by using non-combustible materials. This is<br />

an issue focused on care, protection and long-term build<br />

performance, working to ensure tragedies like Grenfell do<br />

not happen again.<br />

Vital Lesson<br />

A critical factor in the failure of Grenfell was the cost saving<br />

substitution of an FR grade aluminium composite material<br />

cladding for an unrated grade with a polyethylene<br />

core, which has since proved combustible in Government<br />

tests. In addition, the synthetic insulation used on<br />

the building was made from polyisocyanurate, which is<br />

known to burn when exposed to heat. Initial reports from<br />

the disaster also revealed that the insulation chosen for<br />

the £10m tower refit was acceptable for use on tall buildings,<br />

but only when combined with incombustible cement<br />

panels.<br />

Individually, both the cladding and insulation materials can<br />

prove problematic, but when used together, they can be,<br />

and were, catastrophic. Detailed analysis of public documents<br />

has also revealed a complex chain of contractors<br />

and sub-contractors, which has raised the question of<br />

who was ultimately responsible for fire safety during the<br />

refurbishment.<br />

95% of buildings screened and covered by the recent<br />

Government BS8414 testing program failed to meet current<br />

fire safety standards, indicating that ambiguity and<br />

confusion is still prominent across the industry. There are<br />

two major fire components of fire safety to consider; stopping<br />

fire ignition and intensity, as well as preventing it from<br />

spreading. These are essential factors when focusing on<br />

a building’s exterior envelope, with all components of a<br />

wall contributing to its fire performance.<br />

A New way Forward<br />

In the past, architects have been able to ensure that<br />

specified materials were used as part of a unified design<br />

strategy. However, facing increasing industry pressure<br />

to cut costs, this isn’t the reality with performance<br />

specifications enabling alternative materials to be used -<br />

often selected by the developer, contractor or sub-contractors.<br />

This shift in build processes has meant that<br />

during construction there is no longer a single appointed<br />

36<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

professional who is responsible for ensuring that the<br />

specified materials perform when placed under pressure<br />

from potential risks such as fire, heat and smoke.<br />

Designers now need to take responsibility for any<br />

non-standard build slip ups. This includes understanding<br />

how materials work together in a more holistic way, as well<br />

as their influence on key build factors such as fire safety,<br />

attention to detail, environmental impact and workmanship.<br />

Informed specification decisions should be based<br />

on not just budget requirements or their performance in<br />

isolation, but on how components interact across the entire<br />

build and with each other.<br />

Getting Serious<br />

Architects play a vital role in ensuring tragedies like Grenfell<br />

do not happen again, making fire safety not just an<br />

extra consideration but instead a vital component in the<br />

early design stages. This is essential when protecting<br />

a building’s exterior, evaluating and selecting products<br />

based on their behaviour with other structural elements,<br />

the surrounding environment and its occupants.<br />

For example, if a non-combustible insulation product cannot<br />

be applied uniformly across a façade, it is the architect’s<br />

responsibility to ensure the implementation of cavity<br />

barriers to stop, or at least slow fire spreading. Non-combustible<br />

insulation can also provide an element of building<br />

preservation during fires, offering an extra opportunity to<br />

protect its inhabitants.<br />

This is supported by recommendations from RIBA, which<br />

has advised that architects should act as a single point<br />

of responsibility from project conception to completion,<br />

as this would prevent key specification decisions (such<br />

as the use of fire-retardant cladding) being transferred to<br />

contractors during the build process. It would also mean<br />

that the materials specified not only work together cohesively<br />

as part of a wider fire safety strategy, but that they<br />

are also correctly installed and maintained to regulatory<br />

standards.<br />

Whilst reviews and investigations are still ongoing, there<br />

is no doubt that fire safety regulations and standards will<br />

become more stringent, and undoubtedly architects will<br />

be expected to play a greater role within not just design,<br />

but also construction. Designers now have the opportunity<br />

to educate developers and contractors on the importance<br />

of incorporating high quality specifications and<br />

fire protection measures into building design at an early<br />

stage. Whilst budget cuts are unlikely to be eradicated<br />

overnight, Grenfell serves as a lesson to all those within<br />

the industry on how cost cutting can potentially cost lives.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulate Columnist<br />

Insulating Our Nation's Homes<br />

Neil Marshall, Chief Executive, National Insulation Association (NIA)<br />

Household Energy Efficiency Statistics published by Government last week identified that whilst there<br />

has been considerable progress in insulating homes across Great Britain there is<br />

still allot more to be done.<br />

The figures identified that nearly 16 million homes in the<br />

UK have only 125mm or less of existing loft insulation<br />

compared to the current standard of 270mm. These<br />

properties would certainly benefit from topping up.<br />

There are still over 5 million homes with cavity walls that<br />

are not insulated andvonly 7<strong>18</strong>,000 which equates to just<br />

8% of the 8.5 million homes with solid walls have been<br />

insulatedvto date.<br />

It is important therefore that Government continues to focus<br />

efforts on building fabric insulation measures in the<br />

new Energy Company Obligation which is due in 20<strong>18</strong>.<br />

They need to continue towork with industry and<br />

consumers in identifying ways to increase the uptake of<br />

insulation among householders. To this end, the Department<br />

for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently<br />

issued a call for evidence “Building a Market for Energy<br />

Efficiency” and the NIA will be responding to this with<br />

our thoughts on a number of important areas including;<br />

raising consumer awareness of the benefits of insulation,<br />

targeted consumer incentives, standards and regulations<br />

and attractive payment options.<br />

For more information about the National Insulation<br />

Association (NIA) contact<br />

Meava.robson@nia-uk.org<br />

38<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Insulation News<br />

London's The Vase Building Enters<br />

<strong>Final</strong> Phase for Western Thermal<br />

Western Thermal, leading specialist engineers<br />

in thermal & acoustic insulation,<br />

ventilation ductwork, trace heating, and<br />

fire stopping, with over thirty years’ experience,<br />

has entered into its final phase of thermal insulation<br />

and trace heating work for Number One Blackfriars,<br />

known colloquially as “The Vase”.<br />

Thermal insulation and trace heating work is being<br />

completed by the Company on a wide range of mechanical<br />

and public health systems throughout the<br />

54-storey building and its basements.<br />

Western Thermal is working on the former Sainsbury’s<br />

Group Head Quarters and other core elements of the<br />

£140 million project that spans 74,925 sq m and includes<br />

274 homes, including commercial space at<br />

ground level. The Company has also been working on<br />

the building’s new four star hotel, which is located on<br />

the lower three levels.<br />

Michael Slater, Executive Operations Director of<br />

Western Thermal, said: “The Vase skyscraper is a rich<br />

addition to London’s skyline and adds to our fast-growing<br />

residential project portfolio. We have enjoyed our role<br />

in this iconic project.<br />

“Our clients are asking increasingly for our Thermal<br />

Insulation offering in conjunction with our Trace Heating<br />

specialism. This trend toward a multi-disciplined approach<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

to thermal engineering solutions in the construction industry<br />

is growing, and Western Thermal’s complementary<br />

nature between the different divisions is what makes the<br />

Company stand out.”<br />

Western Thermal’s client for Number One Blackfriars is<br />

The division has contributed to numerous landmark<br />

projects including Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, Wembley<br />

Stadium, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.<br />

More recently, it has installed thermal insulation at<br />

Victoria Station, completed major works at the<br />

Battersea Power Station residential, retail and leisure development,<br />

and worked on the redevelopment of Bond Street<br />

Underground Station, along with a number of University<br />

of Leeds projects including the Worsley building and the<br />

Edward Boyle Library.<br />

Western Thermal’s Trace Heating division specialises<br />

in providing water at a constant temperature through<br />

a building’s pipes and also protection from frost, which<br />

is now a commonplace function for thermal insulation<br />

solutions. It is an important and complex part of any given<br />

project and key to overall insulation packages. The<br />

Company’s trace heating systems include self-limiting<br />

Designer Group, with Brookfield Multiplex Construction<br />

Europe Ltd being the main contractor.<br />

Western Thermal’s Thermal division is one of the<br />

country’s leading heating and ventilation insulation<br />

contractors. Its services meet the ever-increasing<br />

demands for both economic and environmental<br />

efficiency while meeting client specification and<br />

manufacturers’ recommendations, for both internal and<br />

external applications. The Company has also pioneered<br />

specialist insulation jackets using the latest thermal<br />

materials, which are both removable and reusable. These<br />

include valve and flange jackets, bespoke Plate heat<br />

exchanger jackets, which are used in international<br />

weather stations, and bespoke trace heated jackets,<br />

which are predominantly used within the food processing<br />

industry.<br />

heating cables, flexible resistant series heating cables,<br />

and metal-sheathed resistant series heating cables.<br />

The division has contributed to numerous landmark<br />

projects including 8.5 kilometres of trace heating and<br />

frost protection at One Hyde Park, one of London’s most<br />

prestigious residential developments. More recently,<br />

the Company has delivered its trace heating and frost<br />

protection services at Royal Liverpool University<br />

Hospital, the Battersea Power Station development, and<br />

C610 Crossrail.<br />

For more information, please visit:<br />

http://www.western-thermal.co.uk/<br />

40<br />




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41<br />

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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Industry Event<br />

Ecobuild 20<strong>18</strong><br />

The Event Shaped by The Industry<br />

Ecobuild is returning to the ExCeL London in March 20<strong>18</strong> and under the new ownership of Futurebuild<br />

Events Ltd, things are set to be very different. The event is being designed and built around the industry,<br />

bringing to life the latest technology, freshest thinking and most innovative materials.<br />

The event is not only being shaped through comprehensive<br />

industry feedback, but also with direct input from<br />

leading industry influencers. These include Lynne Sullivan,<br />

Nathan Baker, Julie Hirigoyen, Darren Richards and Peter<br />

Murray, who are all members of the ecobuild Steering<br />

Group which is helping to set the agenda for the event.<br />

Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Futurebuild<br />

Events, explains: “New, independent ownership offers a<br />

unique opportunity to completely overhaul the event. We<br />

believe that to be as relevant and valuable as possible,<br />

we need to understand and act on what built environment<br />

professionals want to see at ecobuild. We see our role as<br />

to facilitate the agenda, rather than dictate it, and we also<br />

believe that it is more important to bring future trends to<br />

life, rather than just thinking and talking about them.”<br />

The CPD Accredited Conference Programme<br />

Sustainability will be a key focus at ecobuild 20<strong>18</strong>, giving<br />

built environment professionals the opportunity to highlight,<br />

debate and present issues that matter now and<br />

will still matter in the future. Central to the event is the<br />

comprehensive conference programme, curated by top<br />

industry figures. The programme will provide an interactive<br />

platform for examining the big issues facing the built<br />

environment and creating an action plan for change, focused<br />

on real solutions.<br />

Day One begins with some of the most pressing global issues,<br />

delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals,<br />

the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda. The<br />

keynote speaker is Paula Caballero, Global Director of<br />

the Climate Programme at the World Resources Institute.<br />

Paula is one of the driving forces behind the development<br />

of the SDGs.<br />

The conference programme also includes a panel discussion<br />

on the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. There<br />

will also be focuses on solving the housing crisis and how<br />

to achieve the aim of making all buildings net zero carbon<br />

by 2050.<br />

Sue James, Content Producer for ecobuild,<br />

commented: “We plan to develop three key recommendations<br />

from each conference session, with audience<br />

support in shaping the outputs. This will ensure that each<br />

topic covered in the ecobuild conference programme<br />

concludes with actions that can be understood and implemented<br />

by the wider built environment.”<br />

ecobuild Sustainability Showcases<br />

Surrounding the conference arena will be the ecobuild<br />

sustainability showcases, home to the some of the most<br />

innovative solutions to the issues facing the built environment.<br />

The showcases will truly put sustainability at the<br />

heart of the event.<br />

They will feature two full-scale builds. One of these properties<br />

is the zero net carbon home from Zedfactory which<br />

is designed to minimise fossil fuels and annual energy<br />

bills. It offers a complete response to the housing crisis<br />

with build times reduced to two weeks.<br />

They are also home to The Hive from The Edible Bus Stop,<br />

a multifunctional, engaging social space. The sustainability<br />

showcases don’t stop there, more details about the<br />

confirmed exhibits will be released in the coming weeks.<br />

42<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

The Futurebuild Districts<br />

The conference arena and sustainability showcases are<br />

surrounded by the futurebuild districts, each of which will<br />

act as an immersive and stimulating area where people,<br />

brands and companies will be able to network and develop<br />

profitable relationships.<br />

The Building Performance district is where architects can<br />

look far beyond the construction and design of buildings,<br />

instead considering the wellbeing agenda across new<br />

and HVAC will be presented through a series of seminars<br />

and workshops. The Green and Blue Infrastructure<br />

district will offer solutions in water management, external<br />

landscaping, biophilic design and biodiversity.<br />

New for 20<strong>18</strong> is the Timber district, in association with the<br />

Structural Timber Association and supported by Wood<br />

for Good and TRADA. This will be a showcase for the<br />

latest technological innovations and systems, alongside<br />

the Timber Talks seminar programme.<br />

Another new addition is the Concrete district, delivered in<br />

association with The Concrete Centre and This Is Concrete.<br />

Here, information and inspiration will be shared to<br />

realise the potential of concrete as a sustainable material,<br />

as well as its range of solutions for housing, buildings and<br />

infrastructure.<br />

Following its success last year, offsite technology will return<br />

for the second year in partnership with Explore Offsite.<br />

The district will feature a ground-breaking exhibition<br />

of offsite construction solutions and masterclasses.<br />

build, refurb and retrofit projects too. Leading brands<br />

responsible for providing the envelope of a building will<br />

showcase the latest construction materials, products and<br />

technologies.<br />

This district will also be home to the RIBA bookshop and<br />

lounge, a vibrant architect designed space next to the<br />

seminar area. It will be used to promote the RIBA brand,<br />

the benefits of membership and to sell relevant architecture<br />

publications. The design of this area will be decided<br />

through a competition in association with Rockpanel and<br />


In the Energy and HVAC district, the latest innovations<br />

and best practices across renewables, smart buildings<br />

This year will again see District Energy taken to the next<br />

level. The district will be hosted by the ukDEA and is in association<br />

with the Danish and Swedish Embassies. It’s set<br />

to include a programme full of key speakers and debates,<br />

a networking lounge and a product launch pad.<br />

Key Partnerships<br />

ecobuild is working with a number of strategic partners<br />

who are contributing to the overall strategy and shape<br />

of the event to ensure it is wholly reflective of the industry’s<br />

needs. Notable partners include the Considerate<br />

Constructors Scheme, CIAT, NLA, Bioregional, CIBSE,<br />

The Edible Bus Stop and the Edge. The event will also<br />

host the BREEAM Awards and the Offsite Construction<br />

Awards.<br />

You can register for a free ticket at www.ecobuild.co.uk/<br />

register. Alternatively, share your thoughts and feedback<br />

about the event by emailing martin.hurn@ecobuild.co.uk.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


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