Government plans to increase the construction industry’s productivity will flounder unless businesses across the total supply chain are engaged, according to Peter Johnson, chairman of Vivalda, the UK’s largest distributor of rainscreen cladding systems.

Reacting to the Construction Sector Deal, which was finally published last month (July 2018), Johnson said: “While it’s good to see the government recognising the huge potential we have in the building industry, I worry that the confirmed £170m meant to increase productivity and efficiency of the housebuilding process, will not percolate to every part of the industry.

Magical Transformation of building by Renowned British Artist, Alex Chinneck

British artist, Alex Chinneck, returns with a new outdoor artwork in Ashford, Kent. ‘Open to the public’ appeared overnight with Chinneck secretly transforming an unused building into a surreal sculpture.

The artwork, commissioned by U+I, a specialist regeneration and property developer recognised for creative vision and entrepreneurial flair, creates the illusion that the walls of a 1960s office building have been unzipped to reveal its interior. In doing so, Chinneck elevates the everyday structure to the status of an artwork, bending its walls and windows as if by magic. 

Nearly two thirds of UK consumers have not heard of the ‘halogen lamp ban’

With the sixth stage of the ErP Regulation (EC) 244/2009 coming into force on 1st September 2018, prohibiting certain inefficient non-directional Halogen lamps on the market, LEDVANCE conducted a consumer study that has revealed a lack of knowledge about the ban in Europe.

UK, 1 August 2018, an international consumer survey commissioned by LEDVANCE has highlighted a significant lack of knowledge about the imminent “ban” on halogen lamps (1). Sixty four per cent of UK consumers are unaware that, among others, the popular halogen light bulb can no longer be put into circulation anywhere in the EU from September 2018. And that figure is a further 10 percent higher if the consumers who have heard about the “ban” but are unclear about the consequences are included. A truly remarkable finding is that many of the people, who have not heard of the “ban”, consider themselves to be knowledgeable about lighting.

Understanding the challenges Esh Group faced when building cutting-edge STEM centres

Setting up well-equipped environments that can accommodate hands-on teaching techniques, but being able to do so on small budgets is a challenge in STEM provision that Further Education institutions throughout the UK must address.

One potential solution to this challenge could be intelligent construction. Take Esh Group, for example. A leading construction company in the North of England, Central and Southern Scotland, they use value engineering to assess the materials, systems and design of a building project so that they can find where efficiencies can be realised. The firm may be able to use this methodology to find specialist glazing materials that can retain heat and save on energy costs in the long-term, for instance, or establish where an alternative wall finishing can be applied in a manner that will save a project thousands of pounds.

Peel Energy announces plans to install district energy at Liverpool Waters @PeelLivWaters

Peel Energy, the low carbon energy arm of Peel Land and Property, has announced plans to develop a district heat network at its ambitious Liverpool Waters development, under the name of Mersey Heat.

The first phase of the network is centred on existing buildings around Princes Dock along with planned new developments along the waterfront. The heat network will deliver low carbon hot water for the use of space heating and hot water provision within the buildings.

Peel Energy will operate the network through an energy services company called Mersey Heat, which will be responsible for system design, construction of the generation plant and operation of the network, providing low cost, low carbon reliable heat to the building owners and occupiers.


Manufacturer Bull Products has enhanced health and safety on a student accommodation site with its life-saving fire protection equipment.

Set to open this September 2018, Bull has been protecting Chaucer House in Portsmouth over the last two years with its Cygnus Fire Call Points and First Aid Alarms, Cygnus Heat Detectors and Fire, First Aid and Spill Responder Stations.

The team has been working with construction specialist, RG Group, to ensure workers’ safety remained a top priority during the development of Chaucer House which will comprise of over 800 bedrooms.

Design trends to make your garden pop this summer

Whether you are looking to do a complete garden re-design or simply want to update the look of your garden, Oeco Garden Rooms has compiled some of the must have trends to look out for this summer.

Bold colours will remain popular

Although the use of natural colours and finishes has been a staple of garden design for many years, many people are now choosing bright and vibrant colours to make their gardens stand out from the crowd.


Havwoods Specified for Suzanne Brewer Architect’s Blackheath Project in Greenwhich

As Britain’s oldest conservation area, Blackheath in the Royal Borough of Greenwich is a historical site of significant architectural importance, with buildings dating back to 1790. Situated alongside the open space of the heath and RIBA Awards-nominated Mews House, Dartmouth Annex is a new-build speculative property designed by Suzanne Brewer Architects.


Engineering software developer, Envenio, has launched an online BIM (Building Information Modeling) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) Survey.

The 5-6 minute survey has been designed to collect baseline data directly from industry, and aims to find out more about BIM and the role for CFD in building design and HVAC system optimization.

“The results will enable us to better understand how BIM and CFD tools are being used, and identify new areas where they could be used” says Scott Walton, VP of Envenio.

Pura Facades appointed sole UK distributor of VetaBric brick slip panels

Architectural cladding specialist Pura Facades has been appointed as the sole UK distributor of VetaBric, the latest entrant to the fast-growing brick slip panel market. The lightweight panel alternative to traditional bricks can accurately reproduce the aesthetic of the majority of brick brands. It is also available in a new, ultra-thin, pre- mortared joint, which gives a distinctive, sleek and modern look to the facade.

Weighing just 12.5kg per m2, VetaBric panels offer a lightweight alternative to brickwork and can be erected safely by trained construction site workers. While architects love the creative possibilities that VetaBric can bring to projects, contractors appreciate the speed at which the panels are hung – up to a third quicker than traditional bricklaying according to Pura’s commercial director James Butler.


The Prisma collection from Roca has been a favourite since its launch in 2014. Its contemporary design combined with its easy functionality make Prisma the perfect addition to any modern bathroom. Now Roca has added fresh designs to the collection including new basin and furniture sizes to create a complete bathroom collection.

“Prisma has continued to grow in popularity over the last three years and we are delighted to be able to offer our customers even more choice within the range,” comments Claire Gay, Marketing Manager at Roca. “Its elegant yet simple design as well as its versatility appeals to everyone and with a variety of colours and sizes available, customers can create the exact look they want in the bathroom.”

Ultimate Finance reaches lending milestone

SME funding partner making more money available ‘than ever’

 Leading SME funding partner, Ultimate Finance has announced it has reached a new lending milestone, as it makes available almost £200 million to small and medium-sized businesses across the UK.

The figures from the first half of 2018 show a 42.3% increase in cash to customers for the alternative finance specialist, which has recorded growth of 150% since it was acquired by independent investment firm Tavistock Group, in July 2015.

Wrightstyle remembers the Summerland tragedy

Wrightstyle Limited is an international steel and aluminium glazing company, designing, manufacturing and installing systems to mitigate against fire, bomb/blast and ballistic attack.  Jane Embury, the company’s marketing director, looks back at one of the worst fire tragedies in the British Isles.

Last year saw the appalling catastrophe of Grenfell Tower, which will no doubt see the introduction of new fire regulations for the manufacture and installation of external cladding.

Tragically, codifying by catastrophe is nothing new, so it’s worth remembering another fire that happened 45 years ago this August.  Until Grenfell, it was the worst peacetime fire in the British Isles since 1929, and the worst disaster in the history of the Isle of Man.

Armstrong Ceilings launches new education brochure

It focusses on ceiling systems that make a difference in education facilities.

Armstrong Ceilings is marking the start of a new school year with the launch of a new education brochure which focuses on helping architects and specifiers design cost-effective well-being measures into education buildings for the benefit of students as well as staff.

The new education brochure, which is available to download from [url], highlights the ceiling systems that make a difference in education facilities by focussing on three key areas – enhancing learning environments through acoustics, creating visual impact through upscale and inspiring solutions, and protecting students and the environment through sustainable building design.

One Channel to Rule Them All….

Barrier Components popular SABCO frameless balustrade system has passed the rigorous 3kN test with flying colours, confirming it offers the quality and performance for ANY commercial or residential installation. What’s more, this system didn’t need any adaption to pass only requiring additional clamps, proving that this is a market leading design.  SABCO can now therefore be specified with confidence for all installations from stadia, airports and railway stations to commercial, residential and domestic developments.