Latest innovations and products in the external works section of the construction industry.

Gatic Civil Drainage, a global leader in engineered surface water drainage and access covers, has rewarded two members of staff with role promotions to recognise their continuing success with the company.

James Haddon has been promoted from ‘Technical Assistant’ to ‘Regional Sales Engineer’, while Ian Leadbeter moves from the role of ‘Regional Engineer’ to ‘National Account Manager’.

James has been with Gatic for over four years. Over this time his focus was on project drawings, technical layout and calculating channel sizes using dedicated software. His new role puts James on the road visiting consultants, architects and customers in the South and South East. He is also involved in CPD presentations to increase specifications. James says: “I’m very excited with this new opportunity, and the chance to develop my career within the business. My technical background and knowledge is a big advantage when visiting key contacts and building relationships with customers. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”

Ian joined Gatic 2½ years ago. His previous role involved visiting specifiers, carrying out CPD seminars and co-ordinating the Regional Sales Managers. Ian’s promotion to ‘National Account Manager’ involves working more closely with specifiers and end clients in Gatic’s key target sector of ports and airports. This includes major airports, Associated British Ports and the Ministry of Defence. Ian comments: “Starting a new role can be a bit daunting, but I’m working with a great team of people and it’s a privilege to be part of a successful and growing business.”

Gatic Civil Drainage is part of Alumasc Water Management Solutions, a leading brand in integrated water management, from rain to drain.

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It was local council concerns of the perceived risks from SARS and other airborne viruses that resulted in an innovative, new drainage solution at the iconic O2 arena. Once Greenwich Council dismissed the option to use open stacks within the tented area of this iconic London landmark, it was down to the UK’s best plumbing engineers to resolve the issue.

Studor, with their deep knowledge of drainage ventilation systems, worked together with ME Engineers and a team at Heriot-Watt University. The Studor System solution incorporated Studor Air Admittance Valves (AAVs) coupled with P.A.P.A. (Positive Air Pressure Attenuator) units. The P.A.P.A. acts like a shock absorber, dissipating pressure waves and stopping them bouncing around the plumbing system, thereby eliminating the need for roof penetrations at the O2.

“The O2 was a difficult project because it was breaking new ground and no typical model existed,” explained Studor expert Steve White. “The data we produced included flow calculations, flow rates and pipe sizing to deal with air and transient pressures.”

The university team which worked alongside Studor, determined that any gas build-up would follow the water flow. By placing all urinals on a twelve-hour flush cycle they greatly alleviated the potential of any gas build-up problem.

“This resulted in the world’s first sealed drainage system, totally without the need for any open vents,” said White from Studor. “It not only maintained the clean lines of the iconic roof but also minimised the environmental impact and kept costs down by reducing materials and labour.”

The O2 has an overall diameter of 365m, a circumference of 1km and is 50m high at its central point. When at full capacity, the building can hold 60,000 people and has 548 toilets.

While inside the O2 the full drainage and ventilation system is sealed, the outside pump stations are on pillars with open vents that are spaced 300 metres apart to dispense any odours are generated within the complex.

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Charcon, the commercial hard landscaping division of Aggregate Industries, has enhanced its successful Infilta permeable block paving range by incorporating a new design element.

The new Infilta range now features nibs that end 13mm short of the face of the block. The result is a totally unique block paving solution that does not compromise interlocking performance and offers enhanced aesthetic appeal with the unsightly nibs being hidden from view when laid.

Not only is Infilta more appealing from a design perspective, it is a totally unique permeable paving solution that does not compromise on water drainage performance, enabling water to drain away through the gaps. Incredibly hardwearing, it offers excellent durability and grip which makes it perfectly equipped for all trafficked applications including car parks, retail areas and other heavy-use commercial locations such as HGV loading areas.

This new stylish offering is available in four different variations: Ecopave Textured, Andover Washed, Andover Textured and StoneMaster. Designers can also choose from a range of textures and colour options to complement their project, such as Grey Fleck, Pink Granite, Sandy Buff and Rustic.

Mike Davies, Category Manager for Charcon, comments: “Not only do the new straight edges provide a much cleaner and contemporary finish, they significantly enhance the design options available as architects and specifiers can now opt to have have Infilta laid alongside and in combination with a vast range of standard paving. Not only that, Infilta is part of our Life® range of products which makes it the ideal choice for sustainable specification.”

For further information, please visit or call 01335 372222.

A new look in glass-walled balconies is coming this Spring, with the release of a leading-edge system designed by Surrey balustrade specialists Balconette.

The new system is called HYBRID®. It creates a new category of balustrade, to sit in between the traditional alternatives of post-supported and structural frameless glass. HYBRID® balustrades offer the open views of frameless glass at the cost and convenience of the older post-supported styles.

The HYBRID® category enables wide runs of glass with no, or few, vertical posts. Its ease of installation and lower cost bring the very high-end look into range for many projects for the first time.

“People buy a glass balcony to enjoy the view, not look at a row of metal posts. Fully frameless glass gives great views, but is expensive and requires complex structural fittings” says Balconette’s CEO Effi Wolff. “The HYBRID® category offers the uninterrupted views of structural glass but at around half the cost”.

The innovative engineering design at the heart of HYBRID® uses invisible bracing within an elegant self-supporting handrail, which achieves excellent structural integrity. The design of the rail means few vertical supports are required – often none at all.

Up to 4-metre glass runs are now possible without vertical supports – and where the balcony turns a corner or is curved the postless spans can be even longer. A three-sided balustrade square can have 12 metres without posts. In place of the extensive footings usually required for structural glass, HYBRID® balustrades use slim surface-mounting which is easy for builders and even DIYers to install.

“We went back to the drawing-board to solve some long-standing problems with balustrade design” continued Balconette’s CEO and designer Effi Wolff. “The HYBRID® category makes wide, open glass balustrades possible at a cost similar to old systems requiring a metal post every metre.

“Builders & developers tell us they love the ease of installation, and architects say it gives them a practical alternative to structural glass, with the same clean lines. Homeowners are effectively getting the most expensive style at half price.

Handrails for the HYBRID® system come in two styles: Orbit and Aerofoil. The Orbit handrail has a circular profile and allows for up to 3.3m runs without posts when attached either side to a wall or structural element. The Aerofoil handrail provides the longest post-free spans of up to 4m without posts. Both systems include panels of 10mm toughened glass, which can be produced in a variety of tint options including the standard clear, and customised blue, grey, bronze, green, and satinised (opaque).

For more information and downloadable images, go to

Marley Eternit has launched a ground-breaking new Dry Verge system that will make it quicker and easier for contractors and housebuilders to fit to NHBC and British Standards, whilst offering outstanding performance and durability.

Unlike anything else on the market, the new Universal Dry Verge is compatible with all three major interlocking tile types – large standard, medium format (15” by 9”) and large format thin leading edge, as well as Marley Eternit’s own Lincoln clay interlocking pantile.

This means contractors only need to buy and carry one type of dry verge for use with the majority of manufacturers’ interlocking tiles and merchants can consolidate their stock holding with just one system instead of multiple versions.

Marley Eternit’s new system has also been designed to be much easier to fit than existing dry verge products. Developed in conjunction with roofing contractors, it includes a quick starter-verge fixing that can be installed even if the gutter is already in place. This provides an easy-to-install, robust method of securing the first verge unit – providing subtle, yet visible evidence to housebuilders and the NHBC of a correct and secure fix.

Gavin White, technical product manager from Marley Eternit, explains: “The decline in mortar use means the dry verge market is huge, with many products to choose from. Some of these are limited in compatibility and also value engineered to make them more affordable, which inevitably has implications on the performance and durability of the systems. At the same time, the correct and secure fixing of dry verge systems is coming under greater scrutiny, particularly by warranty providers such as the NHBC.

“We were the first manufacturer to launch an interlocking dry verge system back in the 1980s and our original Dry Verge was a revolutionary product. As such, we wanted to use our expertise to design a brand new Universal Dry Verge system that takes the best from the original version, with its renowned aesthetics and quality, and builds on it to make it even easier to fit to BS 5534 and NHBC standards, with the greatest compatibility of anything currently on the market.”

While many dry verge products are sold as being universal, to date, none have been compatible with all three main interlocking tile types. Marley Eternit’s new Universal Dry Verge has been designed with a unique internal rail system and leading edge hinge, so it can be used with the majority of popular interlocking tile types from most manufacturers. This saves roofers the hassle of buying and carrying different verges and enables merchants to keep just one verge unit in stock that is compatible with many tiles, saving cost and space.

In addition, the new Universal Dry Verge is made from an extremely durable form of polypropylene, which has outstanding weather resistance – particularly to freeze/thaw cycles and UV degradation. It includes unique drainage features which help correctly channel rain water to prevent gable end staining – a common problem for some verge systems that do not incorporate this functionality. This means specifiers and installers get a product that gives peace of mind in terms of product longevity and no call backs.

For more information about the new Universal Dry Verge, go to

Holiday-makers visiting luxurious log cabins set deep in Scottish woodlands, are able to enjoy the great outdoors more safely after JB Antislip Plus from Marley Eternit was specified to provide the external antislip surface for the cabins’ outdoor decking areas.

The 11 woodland cabins, which are located in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Strathyre, on the edge of Loch Lubnaig, offer guests a secluded escape in a variety of cabin options, many with a hot tub on the decking area.

It was this unique combination of solid timber cabins against a picturesque mountainous background, which saw project owners Forest Holidays, need to specify a robust decking solution, which not only provided a natural extension to the cabins’ timber exteriors, but also delivered effective antislip properties.

With the hot tubs located on the decking area outside, Forest Holidays needed a product which would ensure holiday-makers remained safe while enjoying the outdoor area. As a result, the company specified JB Antislip Plus, which features grey resin based aggregate inserts injected into the deck board grooves, delivering a durable and effective external antislip surface to minimise the risk of slipping.

Mark Sheppard, procurement manager at Forest Holidays explains why the company is confident in its decision to specifiy JB Antislip Plus. He says: “Having worked with Marley Eternit on a number of previous projects, we already knew its products were capable of meeting our exact requirements.

“So, when we were developing our Strathyre location, it was really important we specified a product which complemented the surrounding forest environment. Yet, our requirements also meant we needed a solution which not only held the antislip credentials to ensure holiday-makers stayed safe, but one which could also cope with the unpredictable Scottish weather! JB Antislip Plus delivers the best of both worlds and also ensured we used the highest quality specialised materials throughout the project.”

JB Antislip Plus timber decking boards are specifically designed to provide a durable and effective external antislip surface, designed to perform even in the most adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, the decking can be treated for extra protection to either Use Class 3 (MicroPro®) or Use Class 4 (Naturewood®) to further suit the project requirements.

Charlotte Hughes, Product Marketing Manager at Marley Eternit, concludes: “JB Antislip Plus is an ideal decking solution for a project of this nature where people are moving in and out of a hot tub, and the risk of trips and slips can be high. In addition, it was also important to take into account the natural surrounding area, and as such, we needed to deliver a solution which really complemented the forest and mountainous backdrop. JB Antislip Plus not only seamlessly blends with the cabins’ exterior, but its antislip properties also exceed HSL slip testing guidelines, ensuring the highest level of protection for visitors.”

For further information on our range of products and services please visit

Gatic Civil Drainage, a global leader in engineered surface water drainage and access covers, introduces a new range of high-performance access covers for paved areas. Suitable for up to D400 weight loading, the new Pave range is ideal for urban public places and parking areas.

Gatic® Pave is a comprehensive system of single, duct and multi span access covers and frames for use in paved areas where an aesthetic finish with a paviour infill is required. The components of Pave covers are manufactured from ductile iron to BS EN 1563 and structural steel sections (removable beams) to BS 4-1 which are supplied with a galvanised finish.

The benefits of Pave include non-rocking under slow moving traffic, a watertight joint under normal rainwater conditions, and closed keyways fitted with plastic plugs to prevent ingress of dirt. Pave is also extremely secure and vandal resistant – the covers cannot be removed without the correct lifting key, making unauthorised removal virtually impossible. Locking bolts can be fitted as an additional security feature.

Gatic Managing Director Peter Burnap comments: “With a history of installations dating back more than eighty years, Gatic is without doubt the proven international standard for engineered, heavy duty access covers and drainage gratings. Our access covers are subject to continuous development to meet the ever increasing and diverse demands of our roads and infrastructure. Our wide range of ductile iron and machined access covers in a variety of surface finishes and load ratings ensure we have a solution for every size and specification of project.”

For more information, download our new Gatic Pave brochure at

External Wall Insulation by Saint-Gobain Weber has been specified for the thermal upgrade of social housing properties in Bangor and Y Bala, North Wales. They have been transformed with the application of the innovative webertherm XP External Wall Insulation (EWI) with u-values that have been dramatically reduced while the aesthetics of the properties have been changed completely. Residents are praising these improvements, one reporting that their heating thermostat has been turned down to half its normal setting.

The properties, a combination of houses, bungalows and apartment buildings, are owned by Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd, the largest housing association in North Wales. CCG was set up in 2010 to provide good quality, affordable homes and services, as an independent not-for-profit organisation which is registered and regulated by the Welsh Government. CCG has around 6,300 homes and is responsible for their maintenance and management.

Achieving Welsh Housing Quality Standard, in which social landlords are required to improve, meet and maintain their housing stock to an acceptable level before, or no later than, 2020 is an important part of CCG’s work. A total of £136million has been committed to improving homes to meet the needs of existing and future residents since the organisation’s inception.

The houses in Britannia Square, Bangor, are post-war, system-built, non-traditional Unity Structures designed with storey-level precast reinforced panels, metal braced from within the cavity, and poorly insulated offering little thermal performance. In Y Bala the homes are of 1960s non-trad Trusteel frame construction with similar thermal deficiencies. While upgrading properties, Weber’s EWI extends the life of existing buildings, particularly hard-to-treat properties, by keeping the old structure warm and stable.

CCG awarded the main contract to Willmott Dixon’s Conway office who in turn appointed specialist EWI contractor R W Hough & Sons of Flintshire to apply the BBA certificated webertherm XP EWI system with webertherm M1 render. Martin Hough rates the Weber system highly: “The webertherm XP system is a very good product. We have experienced no problems at all with these materials that offer speed and simplicity while protecting tired facades and minimising heat loss.”

Challenging u-value improvements for Britannia and Bala homes were calculated by Weber: properties at Britannia Square, Bangor were slashed from 1.42W/m²K down to 0.28W/m²K whilst an even more dramatic result at Y Bala saw the poor 1.60W/m²K pre-installation U-value reduced to 0.29W/m²K.

To achieve these tough target U-values the webertherm XP EWI system required 90mm of EPS insulation which was mechanically fixed to the external wall surfaces prior to the render application. The Britannia Square properties had an angled corner coin feature and the client required this to be altered to a normal square edge corner profile for a more modern look. R W Hough masked this original feature with an extension of the EPS insulation prior to render application.

The revolutionary webertherm M1 render is a through-coloured, factory-batched, lightweight mineral render formulated for one-coat application. The system was applied with a combination of pump delivery and skilled hand application. The first pass of render is applied at 6mm and the meshcloth laid-in and, as the render takes up, a second 6mm application is made to deliver a total of 12mm of render for durable, low maintenance protection. CCG specified a dash finish to match other properties in the region and Ashton Cream was selected from an extensive colour palette. Over 4336m² of EWI have been applied at these two locations.

Geraint Jones, project manager for R W Hough during the six month program, reports on the success of the project: “Everyone is really pleased with the results here. We had good weather right through the program. The webertherm XP system requires such a straight forward application process and my team are always pleased to be using Weber high quality products.

“The properties now look clean, modern and rejuvenated and already the residents are commenting on the radical change in warmth. I’m sure they will also notice that the internal noise level is also reduced. One resident has told me that their thermostat is now set at half the usual level and they have plenty of heat and are very comfortable. This will mean considerable savings in energy costs.” Gary O’Brien, Assets and Contracts manager, CCG, said: “We are very pleased with the product and the assistance with specification and supervision provided by Saint-Gobain Weber. We look forward to continuing our good working relationship with the company.”

For more information about this project, or for technical support, please contact Saint-Gobain Weber on 08703 330 070, or visit Customers in Ireland should call 028 9335 2999 or visit
A free download of the new for iPhone and iPad users is also available from iTunes and from Google Play for Android smartphones and tablet users. Follow Saint-Gobain Weber on Twitter @SGWeberUK for the latest company news and updates.

Extensive James Hardie colour research has noted an emerging trend towards monochrome and muted design styles over the last five years, with architects opting to create elegant design statements in black, grey, white and off-white hues, in line with changing tastes of homeowners.

Monochrome might be leading the way in terms of volume, but it’s not an entirely black and white picture when it comes to UK house design:

  • In the last year, monochrome shades have accounted for over 70% of all cladding sales. Five years ago, the same palette would have accounted for just under 50%.
  • From the Hardie colour palette, Arctic White – a pure white – Soft Green and Light Mist (off-whites with hints of pastel blue and green) make up more than a third of all the company’s UK sales today.
  • Blue is becoming increasingly popular with sales of lighter and darker shades doubling over the past three years.
  • Sales of reds and greens are down by 20% while browns, previously integral to achieving an authentic wood effect, now account for less than 10% of all Hardie sales.
  • The James Hardie colour research is showing distinctiveness in palette choices across the UK, with remarkable differences in preference separated only by a few miles.
  • After white, one of the biggest sellers in Essex is Midnight Black, accounting for nearly a quarter of all James Hardie sales there. Yet in neighbouring Kent, it is one of the least used Hardie shades.
  • Elegant light blue weatherboard Light Mist has doubled its sales in Essex, but in Devon it is rarely used. These differences can to some extent be explained by environment, not just fashion trends.
  • No matter which county, in coastal areas, the consistent desire for pastels. Creams, pale blues and greens still dominate coastal sales, reinforcing how classic British seaside chic doesn’t look set to go out of style any time soon.

Rob Windle, James Hardie’s European commercial director explained: “As a leading materials manufacturer, we believe in developing products that will give architects the maximum design flexibility, not just in following the current design trends but in paving the way for future innovation.

“For us, colour choice in facade design is a key part of this. Colour palettes are changing and we aim to provide the right tools to design homes that will last for generations to come.

“Over the past decade, we have seen a real design shift taking place in the UK residential sector. The muted brick and block-style housing of the 1990s has been replaced with mixed-use building products and accents in next-generation smart materials such as fibre cement. The use of colour is also an increasingly important design consideration.”

The new Hardie research is showing homeowners are increasingly seeing the exterior of their home as an opportunity to make a personal design statement, much like the interior of their house. This is resulting in more flexible briefs for architects, lending the freedom to design with more colour creativity in mind.

And this shift is producing some stunningly bold results, with mixing colours, materials and installation techniques including horizontal, vertical and even diagonal cladding.

Popular material blends comprise red and yellow brick with render, cladding or hanging tiles; render and cladding; wood and fibre cement or metallic cladding together – mixing of natural materials and advanced technology is now another emerging trend James Hardie is observing.

Housebuilders are being braver too – top developers are paving the way with design statements. Berkeley Homes’ 750 house village development at Green Park in Reading boasts seven different coloured facades currently under construction, with more colours to come.

According to James Miller, buyer at Bellway Homes Kent office, “There are local differences in the colours we choose for facade cladding. This is mostly connected to environmental characteristics. For instance, in the South East, where we have many leafy suburbs, we would tend to avoid green shades as this would cause housing to ‘blend in’ too much to the surroundings, rather than providing a contrast. Ultimately we aim for the best colours to complement the natural environment”.

For more information please visit

Sika has the solution to eliminate an ever-present public nuisance and prevent expensive and regular clean-up bills – currently in excess of £1 billion in the UK each year – in the process. The global building product manufacturer has developed a product which not only removes recurrent graffiti with a simple jet wash; it acts as an effective deterrent to illegal fly-posting.

The removal process couldn’t be simpler. Sikagard®-850 AG Anti-Graffiti and Anti-Poster provides a permanent, transparent coating to mineral and coated substrates, as well as wood and metal. Brush, roller or spray-applied, all that’s required to ensure this superb system repairs a defaced structure is water jetting or a cold water hose and rubbing the graffiti with a clean cloth.

This negates the need for detergents, aggressive cleansers, hot water or high-pressure cleaning. Unlike alternative sacrificial systems, the substrate does not require recoating following graffiti removal using Sikagard®-850.

Following application, Sikagard®-850 leaves a glossy film. This enhances the colour of the substance it’s applied to and means posters, which have been pasted illegally, will fall off in a matter of days. As well as its excellent gloss retention, the system supports dirt pick-up resistance and displays high levels of resilience to UV and heat. It is also water vapor breathable.

Bob Orishaguna, Buildings Manager – TM Refurbishment at Sika, said: “Graffiti has become an extensive problem, spreading from the largest cities to highway bridges and trains. The availability of Sikagard®-850 could significantly reduce the clean-up bill for private and public bodies nationwide, significantly reducing the £1 billion sum spent in the UK each year on graffiti removal costs.”

For more information please call 01707 394444, or visit