Adactus Housing, which owns and manages over 13,000 properties across the North West of England, has announced it will be fitting Aico Ei208 Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms featuring new AudioLINK data retrieval technology.

A long standing Aico customer, Adactus Housing has been protecting tenants with Aico smoke and CO alarms for eight years and was keen to take advantage of the new AudioLINK technology to help them with their investigations into CO alarm activation investigations.

AudioLINK allows for invaluable real time data to be extracted via the alarm’s sounder – all you need is an AudioLINK enabled CO alarm, a tablet or smartphone and the free AudioLINK App. This data is converted into an Alarm Status Report, which is simple to review and store. The Report displays useful information about the alarm and detection levels of CO, and can be emailed or stored in a key location for future reference.

Ivan Meredith, Group Gas Compliance Manager at Adactus Housing, explains why he considers AudioLINK to be invaluable: “The added ability to provide us with historic data regarding the presence of CO is a fantastic benefit, helping us to take the right action when ensuring the safety of our tenants. Investigations into CO alarm activations can be lengthy and therefore costly. The ability to extract this data straight from the alarm will give us guidance that we can rely on. It should point us in the right direction right from the offset of every investigation.”

Aico has incorporated AudioLINK technology in to all of its CO alarms, with no additional cost, including the highly popular Ei208 Lithium battery powered CO alarms which is the model Adactus Housing will be installing. These alarms will be fitted in to all Adactus Housing properties with fossil fuel appliances on a phased approach. This approach will be a risk based assessment ultimately giving vulnerable tenants first priority. The aim is to install one CO alarm per property but, once the initial programme is completed, this may evolve to adding a second or even third alarm to properties that would benefit from the extra protection.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Ei Electronics, Aico are market leaders in residential fire and CO protection in the UK. All alarms are designed and built in Ireland specifically to meet the UK standards and regulations. 2015 sees Aico’s 25th anniversary. With more mains powered domestic smoke alarms installed in the UK’s social housing than any other manufacturer, Aico are tried, tested and trusted. Aico have a dedicated team of Regional Managers to support specifications and supply of products. Aico also offer technical support over the phone and an internal sales team to help with any enquiries.

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Since it’s conception in 1588 Keymer has supplied quintessentially English, handmade clay roof tiles to specifiers, architects and roofers across the UK. Now in its 427th year, Keymer’s heritage and traditional attitude towards roof tiles and ornaments is now under the protection of Wienerberger – the leading supplier of wall, roof and landscape innovations. Whilst Wienerberger continues in its mission to develop new and innovative ways to manufacture construction materials, Keymer’s identity, and reputation for traditional manufacturing techniques is being robustly maintained. To explain more Richard Bishop, Category Marketing Manager for Roof at Wienerberger, told us more about Keymer’s past, present, future and why Keymer is perfect for restoration projects.

Keymer’s enduring success has been the quality of its tiles, and the beauty it has afforded projects across the country and the world.”

Keymer as it stands today

“The actual process of creating a handmade tile has hardly changed in the 400 years since Keymer’s birth. For example, all the tiles are still made out of Wealdon clay, which is native to the area and is a material employed by generations of roof tile artisans. Once the clay has been extracted, and allowed to weather naturally for a year, the clay is wire cut and is supplied to the tile makers that still apply sand by hand to give the tiles their distinct colour. Different amounts of Manganese Oxide in the sand give the different tones for Red, Antique and Elizabethan tiles – a process which a maker from 400 years ago would recognise.

“Even today the clay is then manually inserted into the mould, the excess is cut away with wire – in the same way cheese is cut – and the punch is finally brought down to insert the nibs, holes and maker’s mark. These tiles can be found on a huge range of both new and old properties and buildings and are identifiable by the handprints left on the underneath of the tile from the clay being slapped into the mould. Because the process of manufacture has remained almost unchanged for the past 400 years, Keymer tiles continue to be specified for restoration projects and new builds as they bring class and individuality to any roof.”

Brand protection and innovation

“The key to Keymer’s achievements has been its ability to evolve and innovate as times change – as one can imagine, in a lifespan covering six centuries, there has been ample room to adapt and improve. For instance, following the Clean Air Act the tall brick chimneys at the site were demolished meaning the company had to alter its manufacturing process. This was altered but without compromising on the quality of the finished product.

“At its core, the Keymer philosophy has always been to create, by hand, high quality roof tiles that stand the test of time alongside bespoke finials – the final furnishing to heritage roofs. For only the fourth time in its history, Keymer moved once again in 2015 to its new home at Wienerberger’s Ewhurst factory – a site that houses two of the original four clay phoenixes that stood guard at the four corners of each of Keymer’s previous homes – where its philosophy continues.”

The restoration

“The process behind the manufacture of Keymer roof tiles affords a vital advantage for restoration projects – flexibility. If a particular project has a distinct roof that needs new tiles to replace its unique cladding, without detracting from the overall aesthetic feel of the roof, Keymer can recreate tiles that match those that need replacing. This can be achieved through its time-tested techniques including the application of varying levels of Manganese Oxide, which make available a wide range of colours, alongside the hand made nature of tiles allowing for interesting and unique shapes to also be recreated. In short, the heritage nurtured by Keymer allows designers to rest sound in the knowledge that almost any roof – regardless of age, or design – can be renovated to an extremely high standard.

The products in practice

“Keymer tiles have been specified for a whole host of projects of different scales and budgets. Bewley Homes for example, in South Warnborough, specified Keymer’s Shire Tiles to ensure it was in keeping with the local, quaint village feel. Although the properties are not as old some projects using Keymer tiles – the Shire roof tiles link the homes with the local surroundings by adding a sense of heritage and timeless class. That said, Keymer tiles have also been specified for the regeneration of particularly prestigious projects including the birthplace of Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon and Leeds Castle in Kent. These incredibly important heritage sites specified Keymer tiles to protect their individual histories without compromising on the aesthetics of the buildings. Such is the beauty of Keymer tiles that the Aston Martin Owners Club selected Traditional Antique tiles to roof its headquarters whilst the Anglo-Catholic Church specified tiles in Antique / Elizabethan mix to roof the awe-inspiring Tewkesbury Abbey, a building that was close to destruction only 48 years before the creation of Keymer during the dissolution of the monasteries.

“These case studies prove that the specification of Keymer tiles is in no way limited to properties of a particular age, or architectural school, as they sit upon the roofs of buildings built from before 1588 to 2015. They have been involved in church regenerations, the refurbishment of ancestral homes to the aristocracy and private new build homes.

“We are really excited for the future of Keymer. We have recently launched the latest Keymer Specification Guide, which includes a wealth of design and technical information and will, I hope, inspire future generations of architects and home builders.”

Tristan Cooke Business Manager for Mila Window and Door Maintenance explain why introducing a new transparent measure into their operation is good for clients and their residents, and themselves.
The repairs and maintenance specialist has been working in the social sector for nearly 30 years carrying out more than 1.1 million repairs; they operate to a resident satisfaction rate of over 98% – but it is the introduction of a new measurement ‘First Time Fix’ which Tristan is especially excited about.
“The success of our repairs and maintenance business is based on offering specific technical expertise and outstanding service which is focussed entirely around care for the residents into whose homes we go. Resident satisfaction levels across our whole client base are consistently high, and they are there for everybody to see on our website; we don’t hide anything”.
“But the extension to that is that we now measure our First Time Fix percentages. What does this mean? It is the measure we use to ensure that whenever and wherever we can we only enter a resident’s property once – we want to cause them the least disturbance that we can, and we try really hard to ensure that this is what happens”.
“Where we do have to make more than one visit it is where we have to measure something specific such as a glass unit which needs replacing or where we react to an emergency call out to enable access in the first instance before repair. But generally we work with the landlord to understand the specification of the products they originally installed so that our engineers are prepared and have the right materials and tools with them to do the job right first time”.
“It might seem like an obvious thing to measure, but the right processes, procedures, and supply chains need to be in place first to enable you to do it and we have introduced this as the next step in the development of our client relationships and our business. It is another measure of our performance which is transparent and there for everyone to see on the homepage of our website”.

Driven by us

“It is designed first and foremost as a customer care measure – any resident will tell you, having repairs and maintenance carried out in their home is great, it solves a problem for them and makes the quality of their life better – but they don’t want to see you two and three times. They want the job done there and then”.
“This is the essence of what First Time Fix is, delivering an even better level of customer care – and it is driven by us. It is not something we have been asked to do or tasked to do, it is our initiative and we are keen to offer it to all our clients. By working with them to understand the products they have installed enables our technical team to source suitable parts – many of which are obsolete for windows and doors installed over 20 years ago – to complete the job first time. We ensure we have stocks in place and work with our robust supply chain to ensure that we can call off everything we need when we need it– then we start the job”.
“The response has been terrific. Residents and clients are clearly very happy with what we are doing, it makes the whole process and delivery of the service so much smoother and customer satisfaction levels are even higher”.
“First Time Fix is a great measure for any repairs and maintenance business, for ours where we deal with so many varied specifications it is especially important, and our ability to introduce it and already be recording figures in excess of 92% is a great start point”.
“But we won’t rest at that, we want to see our First Time Fix percentage as high as our resident satisfaction levels at over 98%. Then we know as a specialist repairs and maintenance contractor we are delivering not only a truly cost effective service for our clients but an outstandingly supportive service for their residents”.

For more information please visit

Spectus Systems is inviting everyone to take a look at its brand new website after it has undergone a complete redesign with three core priorities: functionality, aesthetics and ease-of-use across a range of devices.

The aim from the outset was to provide a better experience for professional, trade and homeowner visitors whilst encouraging greater engagement and delivering a mix of product information, industry news and useful features.

Easy navigation is vital with users now demanding a great experience when accessing any website and dismissive of any that do not perform. Basics such as drop-down menus on the new Spectus site are therefore well researched and designed to be clear, simple and tailored to different users’ needs. The site also includes a search facility with results listed in a scroll-through format. The overall appearance is clean, fresh and uncluttered.

Developed for the connected world in which mobile Internet users now outnumber those accessing via static devices, the site is fully responsive and works with all iOS and Android operating systems. Users can therefore access the information they need on tablets or using smartphones whilst on the go, without compromising their experience. Fabricators and installers especially will benefit from the comprehensive information and excellent imagery included in the site’s Technical Hub and architects and specifiers will find a wealth of useful features, including NBS access and BIM objects.

The Media Centre provides industry news, opinion pieces, Spectus case studies and video content with regular updates addressing topical and emerging issues. Links to social media sites are included for a broader visitor experience and to promote engagement, all within a single source.

Commenting on the new site, Carmen Velilla, Spectus Brand Manager said “We are delighted with the new website. It’s achieved our aim of providing a simple, relevant and practical source of information and interaction. It looks great, too, and we believe visitors will love the change.”

Please visit to take a look!

SmartPly is set to revolutionise the way timber frame structures are designed and built with its latest technological innovation – the SmartPly VapAirTight structural OSB panel. With integrated vapour control properties and airtightness engineered into each panel, SmartPly VapAirTight has performed six times better than PassivHaus standard for air leakage, making it the ideal panel system for ultra-low energy buildings.

The result of three years of rigorous development by SmartPly and extensive testing at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, SmartPly VapAirTight is recommended by the Passive House Institute as a product for providing airtightness. Each panel features alternating layers of wood strands coated with a high quality formaldehyde-free resin and wax to deliver outstanding levels of airtightness. A specialist coating is then applied to add vapour resistance and provide a premium performance OSB solution for super-insulated and passive buildings.

“OSB is assumed to be airtight, but tests prove a huge variation in performance, between manufacturers and even between different production cycles,” explains David Murray, Innovation Manager at SmartPly. “Developed from our OSB3 system, SmartPly VapAirTight has integrated vapour control and unrivalled air barrier properties and will help to close the gap between design and as-built performance.”

Available in a standard 2397mm x 1197mm size, the panel uses a newly developed high performance coating to ensure consistently high vapour resistance across its entire surface. The smooth and durable surface has also been developed to provide superior bonding of airtight tape at panel joints. Where air and vapour control layer (AVCL) membranes are notoriously difficult to seal, SmartPly VapAirTight offers excellent seal adherence to prevent air leaks, condensation and structural damage.

Manufactured from FSC-certified timber to the specification detailed in BS EN 300:2006, the rigid panel is a sustainable, robust and cost-effective alternative to specialist AVCL membranes. With minimal risk of damage during assembly, transport and installation, airtightness should not be compromised thereby ensuring the panel performs as well on the construction site as in factory controlled conditions.

By the very nature of the product, SmartPly VapAirTight can also reduce waste and man hours, as site applied, or factory applied, air and vapour control layers are not required. The panels can be readily cut and fixed using standard timber frame fixings, removing the need for additional membranes, sealants and foams.

Suitable for both new build and renovation projects, SmartPly VapAirTight is a versatile, strong and cost-effective OSB panel system. If the UK is to meet its target of an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 with all new homes built to be ‘zero carbon’, SmartPly’s latest innovation could play a vital role as part of a highly sustainable and fabric first approach.

For more information on the new SmartPly VapAirTight panel system, go to

Rinnai, the Japanese manufacturer of the award winning Infinity range of continuous flow gas fired water heaters, is encouraging installers and end users to purchase units only from reputable manufacturers with a proven pedigree in the UK. The company is adamantly defensive of product quality on behalf of the market place for end-users, contractors and consultants.

Rinnai has a reputation for innovation through design and quality focussed engineering, all built with the highest quality components and standards of exacting manufacture that guarantees a long and efficient working life.

According to Rinnai’s Yuji Omoto: ‘Installers should choose a unit from a proven manufacturer that has the confidence to offer warranties for a product that is built to last – and never buy on a price-only basis.

“Rinnai water heaters are engineered with innovative, electronic and mechanical components that have a statistically insignificant failure rate. It should be noted that Rinnai manufacturer all their own components ignoring global sourcing and keeping quality in house. It is because of this superior engineering that Rinnai units can modulate down to 2.4kw whilst boasting 107% efficiency making them the most efficient water heaters on the market today.”
The guarantee of energy efficiencies and long term reliability gives peace of mind to the domestic and commercial users, to whom water heating is an integral part of the building envelope, while additionally in commercial settings there are ever increasing regulatory constraints such as eco-labelling and building regulations.

Yuji Omoto says “In recent years it may seem that attention has been focused on renewables, but it has become apparent this technology, on its own, really isn’t delivering ¬ – at least, not in its current form.

“Now, widespread consultation has decreed that a vast array of technologies and existing energy supplies is key to achieving reduction targets. An energy efficient continuous flow gas fired hot water system, whether teamed with renewables technology (solar thermal or a heat pump) or used on own, actually has a lot to offer as we move towards the Government’s carbon neutral goals. Rinnai Infinity units have been developed to exceed all current demands and lead the field in this respect.

“The downside to this recognition is that inferior water heaters are beginning to appear on the market and they appear to have varying standards of quality in their manufacture. This is where the end user needs to take on board that a quality-built system which uses only the best components available and is precision engineered, is technically advanced and fit for purpose should be the defining criteria at time of purchase and any thought of buying on price alone should be challenged. After all, you get what you pay for…..”

Rinnai’s motto ‘Quality is our Destiny’ epitomises its healthy corporate obsession with quality. The basis for manufacturing and all aspects of the process at Rinnai is to think and act from a scientific perspective and the result is a market-oriented production system that combines policy management, quality control, and continuous improvement.

The process starts at Rinnai’s Japanese factories where stringent quality control protocols have been put in place that apply to the selection of the raw material from the smallest components through manufacture and assembly to delivery and after sales.

Rinnai applies Monozukuri technology and work methodology to its environmentally-friendly manufacturing activities. ‘Monozukuri’ applied to manufacturing and production means the ‘art, science and craft of making things’ and can be compared with the English word ‘craftmanship’. With this philosophy entrenched throughout the company Rinnai strives to add quality to its products from the design stage, mainly through simulations and applies verification methods to identify points for improvement and to prevent potential problems from ever happening.

Quality, innovative infinity heavy duty condensing water heaters* designed to be fit for purpose use two heat exchangers to capture residual heat from flue gases to pre-heat incoming water, and can deliver up to 107% net efficiency. Installers should also beware of appliances that even though they may claim HE technology in their publicity this is exemplified by burners that only modulate down to 6-7 KW. Burners on superior units using pre-mix technology can self-modulate down to an unbeatable 2.4 kW.

The design of the water heater, components and the engineering itself must be of the best quality available. It pays to research key specification and country of origin.

A technologically advanced PCB system ensures intelligent functionality, including temperature accurate hot water delivery, gas modulation guaranteeing efficient gas usage, numerous safety features for user comfort and control as well as error messaging and BMS interfacing. On a quality unit, the circuit board itself will be cased in silicone as a fail safe in the unlikely event of a leak the ‘brains’ of the unit are protected.

If installers and end users stick to the ‘quality is best’ rule they should be safeguarded in their choice. “The Rinnai system is obviously working as we have so few defects occur in product output. The company produced 6 million continuous flow water heaters in 2014 – a massive achievement,” concludes Yuji Omoto.

For more details on RINNAI products visit

With its expansive range of added value services, Marflow Hydronics is able to provide customers with far more than just a complete product portfolio.
The company’s highly skilled team of engineers has combined experience in a multitude of areas, including design, installation and commissioning, and Marflow Hydronics’ added value service promise means that customers are able to utilise this experience to help them throughout their projects.
Whether the customer is facing challenging water distribution problems, needs advice about various pipe layouts and configurations, requires technical support or help with design input, Marflow Hydronics’ range of products and services have been put together so that the company can offer the ideal solution for any HVAC application.
Chris Forbes, Managing Director, says, ‘Anyone can just sell a product, what makes us stand apart is the dedicated service that we offer to all customers. We want their projects to be as good as they can be, and we will happily support our customers in whatever way they need us to. There isn’t a member of the team at Marflow Hydronics that doesn’t believe in the added value we offer.’
To find out more about Marflow Hydronics go to and be in with a chance of winning a major games console.

Are your structural waterproofing designs based on a waterproofing risk assessment that has been produced by a suitably qualified specialist? Have you appointed a waterproofing specialist at an early stage of the system design to ensure it is suitably integrated with the overall design of the building? Is your waterproofing expert qualified to CSSW structural waterproofing surveyor standard? If the answer is no to any of these questions then a building insurance company is unlikely to issue you with a warranty.

The increase in the provision of residential basements, the development of new types of waterproofing system and the growing number of claims being made following the failure of structural waterproofing systems were all key drivers for recent changes in industry and insurance company standards – and the reluctance of insurance companies to issue warranties if these new recommendations are not followed.

BS 8102: 2009 (Code of practice for protection of below ground structures against water from the ground) and NHBC waterproofing standards both now include recommendations that any waterproofing system designs are based upon a risk assessment that is appropriate for the property and its intended use, and that the risk assessment is produced by someone who is suitably qualified.

INK Technical Services was established to help housebuilders, architects and other specifiers meet the standards’ requirements so insurance companies are satisfied that a robust waterproofing system is in place. The INK team represents nearly 100 years of structural waterproofing experience and includes CSSW qualified structural waterproofing surveyors. In addition to the production of waterproofing risk assessments, INK Technical Services offers a waterproofing design service; site inspections; reports on failed systems and proposals for remedial measures and approved contractor referrals.

For further information visit

Randolph Hotel, Oxford

SPV have recently undertaken the reactive works to reopen the 5* Randolph hotel in Oxford following the recent fire which broke out at the property.

 The fire at the 150-year-old building in Beaumont Street was sparked by a flambéed beef stroganoff in its kitchen, ripping through three floors.
At the height of the fire on 17 April, 14 fire engines were on the scene as crews battled the blaze while thick black smoke spread across the city.
More than 80 people were evacuated, though there were no reported injuries.
Thanks to the hard work of the fire brigade and SPV reactive works, the Gothic building reopened its doors to hotel guests and customers within only 5 weeks.
Jonathan Dawson, regional management director for Macdonald Hotels, said he was “delighted”.
SPV are now continuing work on site carrying out the fire reinstatement project to both internal and external areas of the Hotel.

Cathedral Court, Birmingham

Working on behalf of our Client Bluu, SPV are currently undertaking the scaffolding, roofing, stone repair cleaning and glazing works at Cathedral Court, Birmingham. 

The scaffold is a full design scaffold with each lift being fully boarded complete with bird netting.

On completion of the scaffolding, SPV then commenced stone cleaning and stone repairs to the building, roof repairs and window repair works.

The stone repairs are being undertaken by means of a Torik stone cleaning system and the results are exceptional.


Ivor Good site Hoarding Competition

SPV are delighted to report that our fantastic artwork has been chosen as an Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition Runner-up for 2015!

Once completed, the hoarding was sited at our ongoing project at Albany House, Birmingham. Even Ivor himself lent a helping hand, much to the delight of the children!
The Office building which is owned and operated by RVB Investments is currently being refurbished by SPV Group with a new external facade system and new glazing to all elevations.
Owen Jones, one of the children who took part from St Michaels Church of England Primary School commented; ‘I have had a brilliant time decorating the hoarding and I really enjoyed visiting a real building site to learn more about the construction trade. When I am older I want to work for SPV Group!’

The new SPV Group website is now online


SPV Group are delighted to announce that our new website is now online. The new site has a brand new look and feel as well as having a range of new features.

Take a look at

As students across the country get stuck into the new academic year, UK Construction Week is celebrating education and training of all kinds – highlighting that there is more than one way to build a successful and rewarding career in construction.

Key to this is the UK Construction Week Career Centre, a dedicated area within the Build Show where house builders, construction firms and other industry experts will be on hand to offer construction specific careers advice to visitors. Covering apprenticeships, on-going training and professional development, the centre will cater for all levels – from seasoned professionals scoping out their next move, to new starters looking for their first break into the construction sector.

Supported by a host of industry bodies, the Career Centre will give visitors a useful insight into a variety of career paths in building, civil engineering, integrated technology installation and other crucial construction trades. Key partners include the Home Builders Federation, the Institute of Civil Engineering and the Women’s Engineering Society, as well as construction skills and apprentices network K10 and major UK house builder Cala Homes.

Visitors will also be able to gain inspiration by hearing the stories of other people who have built a career for themselves in the industry. For example, Heidi Perry, a generator engineer at building machinery supplier Finning, will be sharing her experiences as a female apprenticeship in a male-dominated industry.

Heidi, who took up an apprenticeship after sixth form college, commented: “Finding an apprenticeship wasn’t easy so I applied to Finning to work in the parts department. It wasn’t my ideal job but it was a foot in the door. Luckily, at my interview they asked if I’d prefer to work on the machines and I landed an apprenticeship working on diesel standby generators.

“Now I travel across the country fault-finding, servicing, working on the electrical control systems or fixing broken parts. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn. If you’re thinking of making the move into construction, do it. It’s brilliant fun and you won’t regret it.”

Nathan Garnett, show director commented: “Employing more than 2.2 million people, the construction industry has been the major force behind the UK’s economic recovery – and with £125 billion of public sector and infrastructure projects in the pipeline, the demand for skilled workforce is set to create even more employment opportunities in the years to come. The Career Centre at UK Construction Week will be a really useful source of information for visitors looking to take advantage of this booming work market.”

Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors.

Visitors will be able to attend the Build Show (incorporating Civils Expo), Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015, Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.