DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ advanced breather membranes fitted in the world’s first two-storey, open source WikiHouse

Forward-thinking construction techniques require pioneering solutions. That’s why DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ Housewrap – an innovative breather membrane designed with both safety and sustainability in mind – was chosen for an exciting collaborative project. Built to coincide with the London Design Festival 2014, WikiHouse4.0 became the world’s first open source two-storey house, the basics of which can be accessed and assembled within days – for under £50,000.

The installation, led by Arup, The Building Centre and 00 design, was intended to raise awareness about housing issues and the potential application and intervention of ingenious new solutions. Designs will be free to download and can be adapted before being ‘digitally’ manufactured.

Alastair Parvin, WikiHouse 4.0 co-designer at 00 design studio says, “We are trying to spark people’s imagination as to how technology can now enable almost anyone to afford their own custom-built house without the need for conventional construction. We don’t believe that WikiHouse is the only solution to the current housing crisis, but we do want to host a disruptive debate and to challenge landowners, urban planners and policy makers to think differently about the barriers – such as land or building costs.”

The WikiHouse 4.0 frame is a modular construction system made from SmartPly OSB boards that have been CNC machined into numbered parts. It is assembled with wedge and peg connections rather than bolts and with the final panels held into place using ordinary screws. The 70 square metre structure beautifully demonstrates how a simple, easily assembled wooden frame becomes air-tight, waterproof and secure.

DuPont Building Innovations was keen to support the project with an appropriate membrane solution, fitted behind the fibre cement board façade to seal the timber ‘chassis’ and protect the structure from fire, climate and interstitial condensation. The main part of the build was undertaken in six days – and the DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ membrane was easily and correctly installed in under 3 hours, with prior technical advice from DuPont and clear instruction guidelines.

DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ is a key development that adds superior flame retardant performance to the highly valued properties of the renowned breather membrane – such as reliable long-term weather protection, effective vapour diffusion and greater energy efficiency. Using innovative technology to reduce the flammability of polymer based substrates, DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ potentially limits or stops the spread of fire through the external envelope.

DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™

Rather than use halogens, the technology employs a phosphorous containing agent that forms a ‘char’ layer at the surface when it is in contact with an ignition source. This thin layer of carbonized polymer is highly flame retardant and forms a barrier, slowing the release of flammable materials. Starved of fuel, the flame spreads over the membrane more slowly or not at all – and if the membrane does ultimately catch fire, it produces less smoke – another vital advantage for human safety. Rigorously tested, DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ Housewrap has a fire rating of class B-s1,d0 according to EN13501-1.

Energy-efficiency was also crucial to the WikiHouse 4.0 concept, thus a weather-tight seal that would enhance both thermal performance and interior comfort was the optimal system – qualities embodied in DuPont™ Tyvek® membranes and tapes, which are offered in range of formats to suit every type of build. Durability is also a key consideration for the project, for even though it can be assembled very quickly, a WikiHouse is intended to last.

Nina Tabink, Arup, Senior Structural Engineer commented, “A digital world is emerging where people can connect with anyone around the globe through a simple click. Arup believes in the potential of digital fabrication and open source technology and how this will provide an alternative collaborative way of working, bringing increased efficiencies. WikiHouse has proven to be a perfect partner to explore these new technologies.”

DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™

Jenny Watt, PR & Marketing Manager, The Building Centre said “WikiHouse 4.0 opens up the potential of digital technology to change how we might design, make and construct buildings. The added value of building technology such as DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ breather membranes was most welcome to the project.”

The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT, London

To learn more about DuPont™ Tyvek® FireCurb™ technology, please visit

For more commercial and technical information about DuPont™ Tyvek® in the UK please visit: www.
or call 01275 337 660 (087 922 2740 in ROI)

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The new urban style quartz worksurface from COMPAC

COMPAC, inspired by America’s New York loft culture, have been able to create a fusion between architecture, design and functionality to offer the New York Collection. A totally new quartz worksurface that has its own unique urban style combined with a minimalistic open approach to modern living.

Silky, soft and sensuous to the touch, the New York Collection will excite and stimulate the senses and offers the discerning client an opportunity to create a contemporary kitchen that reflects the style and thrill of loft living in the ‘Big Apple’.

The New York Collection features three urban concept colours – White Zement, Ice Zement and Grey Zement. Each colour has an innovative perfect glacé finish, unique to COMPAC, which highlights the colour, depth and definition of grain and offers less reflection than other quartz worksurfaces. It’s easy to clean and maintain too.

The New York Collection from COMPAC –the beginning of a great story.

For further information, please visit:

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Alutec to exhibit at the northern homebuilding and renovating show

At this year’s Northern Homebuilding and Renovating Show, taking place at the Harrogate International Centre from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th November, Alutec will be showcasing its full range of attractive and sustainable rainwater and eaves solutions on stand 140.

Those visiting on Saturday 8th November will also have the opportunity to listen to Michael Pritchett, Area Sales Manager at Alutec, explain the benefits that an aluminium system brings in his seminar ‘5 Reasons to use aluminium eaves systems’, starting at 11:30am.

Taking centre stage on the stand will be Alutec’s Tudor downpipe system, which is the ideal replacement for cast iron systems on listed and period style buildings. Available in 21 standard colours, including the uniquely textured Heritage Black polyester powder coating, the Tudor downpipe delivers a classic look without the associated extensive maintenance and installation costs.

Visitors will also be able to cast their eye over the popular Evoke fascia and soffit range has been manufactured to the highest standards of durability and reliability. Designed as the perfect alternative to PVC or sheet aluminium solutions, the Evoke fascia and soffit system comprises of a recycled polyethylene core with an aluminium outer skin, which offers a life expectancy of 50 years or more.

Also on display will be Alutec’s Evolve, Traditional and Aligator rainwater systems, which will be presented on the stand.

Tony Wereszczynski, Technical Director at Alutec, commented: “I’m confident that with our full range of rainwater and eaves solutions on show, every visitor to our stand will be able to find what they are looking for and will be inspired by the extensive product range.”

Manufactured from marine grade aluminium, all of Alutec’s rainwater systems offer particularly impressive whole life costing, as the material is so impervious to corrosion that very little maintenance is required. Aluminium is also extremely flexible, being 65 per cent lighter than cast iron, and has a life expectancy of 50 years or more. In addition to all this, aluminium is infinitely recyclable – making it a highly sustainable choice.

For more information please visit

Further reading

Sanctuary Housing installs Aico smoke alarms in new development

Sanctuary Housing, one of the largest social housing providers in the country, has installed Aico’s 160RC series mains-powered RadioLINK alarm systems into all of the 96 flats in its latest £10.4 million development in Newlands Place, Cumbernauld.

Sanctuary Housing manages homes across England and Scotland, providing general rented, sheltered and home ownership accommodation. Sanctuary Cumbernauld, one of its regional operations in Scotland, is in the midst of a £70 million regeneration programme to remove the town’s 12 high rises and rehouse the tenants. The new development in Newlands Place, which features four blocks of 24 two-bedroom flats, will rehome 96 families in modern, comfortable homes.

As a key safety measure the development is being fitted with Aico’s 160RC series mains powered, rechargeable lithium battery back-up smoke alarms. David Robertson, Director at FLN Consulting Engineers, specified the alarms for this new development: “We have specified Aico on all our projects for a number of years having been impressed with the overall quality and reliability of the product.”

Each flat has its own stand-alone system. Additional alarms have been installed in the communal hallways, which are interlinked using Aico’s RadioLINK technology to those in the individual flats. An alarm activated in the communal area will cause the alarms in all flats to be activated for maximum safety. Alarms in flats, however, will not cause the communal alarms to activate, thus avoiding issues of alarms causing unnecessary disruption to other residents.

RadioLINK lets you interconnect Aico alarms and accessories together using Radio Frequency (RF) signals rather than cabling. New properties, such as the Newlands Place development, are seeing the benefits of wire free alarm interconnection as it provides far greater flexibility in alarm installation and adaptation.

Aico’s mains-powered 160RC series smoke and heat alarms are a popular choice for specifiers and social housing providers as they contain tamper proof rechargeable lithium back-up cells, which last the life of the alarm. These can provide over six months back-up in the event of a mains power failure and the batteries can’t be removed by tenants for use in other household devices.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Ei Electronics, Aico is a market leader in residential fire protection in the UK. All alarms are designed and built in Europe specifically to meet the UK standards and regulations. For more information, please go to

Further reading

ROCKFON launches a better grid installation in just one click

The Chicago Metallic T15 Click 2790 and T24 Click 2890 are two new, easy to install ceiling grids from ROCKFON.

Made from galvanised steel, these 15mm and 24mm grids are very strong and stable. They are accurate to install thanks to a helpful audible ‘click’ which sounds when the components connect into position, enabling faster installation times on site. The universal main runner is versatile, accepting both click and hook cross tees. The longer, joggled-end cross tee provides easy installation from a distance.

They can be demounted and remounted time and time again without the need for special tools, and more importantly, without causing damage to the grid. Both grids can be cut on site, if required. Designed to fit with A, E and X edge ceiling tiles; concealed, semi-concealed or fully exposed ceiling designs can be achieved, which are suitable for every application area.

These innovative grid solutions offer the quality and characteristics you would expect from ROCKFON. The new Chicago Metallic T15 Click 2790 and T24 Click 2890 are attractive, high performance products with the highest classification for Reaction to Fire: A1, and Class B for Corrosion. They are backed with a 15 year guarantee and are fully recyclable. The grid systems are available from all major UK distributors.

ROCKFON acquired grid manufacturer Chicago Metallic Company in 2013; together they offer their customers the complete ceiling and grid solution. The ROCKFON and Chicago Metallic businesses share many characteristics and values including: a focus on high quality manufacturing and innovation, allied to strong technical support, product development and customer service.

ROCKFON is a leading supplier of stone wool acoustic ceiling and wall solutions that are affordable, simple to install, durable and protect people from noise and the spread of fire. The Rockfon commodity product range of affordable ceiling tiles is available in 2-3 days, making it even quicker and easier to create beautiful, comfortable and safe spaces. To watch and hear how easy it is to install the Chicago Metallic T15 Click 2790 and T24 Click 2890 grids, watch the installation video at Or try it for yourself by ordering a sample today, call 0800 389 0314.

Further reading

Structural Concrete Alliance sponsors new award

The Structural Concrete Alliance is sponsoring a new Concrete Society award to find the structural concrete project of the year.

Entries were received from members of the three trade associations which make up the Structural Concrete Alliance, with the winner to be announced by Janet Street-Porter at the Concrete Society Awards Dinner to be held at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, London on 29th October.

Members of the Concrete Repair Association (CRA), Corrosion Prevention Association (CPA) and the Sprayed Concrete Association (SCA) supplied details of the solutions they had delivered to overcome difficulties encountered in a range of demanding projects.

The entries were reviewed by a panel of members from each of the Associations and three projects were shortlisted to go on to the next stage of the competition.

Ken Dykes, spokesman for the Structural Concrete Alliance declared:

“The judging panel was impressed by the high standards of the entries, which served to highlight the professionalism of CRA, CPA and SCA members. Each entry demonstrated the depth of knowledge and skills our members possess and their ability to provide innovative solutions to even the most demanding of engineering challenges.

“Although it was a difficult choice, the judging panel felt that the shortlisted projects best represented the expertise of the asset protection and repair industry.”

The shortlisted entries included Balvac’s repair and refurbishment of the Silver Jubilee Bridge complex in Widnes, Cheshire; BAM Ritchies’ stabilisation of the Hooley Cutting in Surrey; and Mott Macdonald’s refurbishment of Ryde Pier in the Isle of Wight.

The Structural Concrete Alliance is an umbrella organisation which brings together the Concrete Repair Association (CRA), Corrosion Prevention Association (CPA) and Sprayed Concrete Association (SCA) to provide a single co-ordinated voice for the structural concrete refurbishment and repair industry. It offers a single point of contact for major clients and a definitive source of information and advice for all involved in the repair, refurbishment and management of concrete infrastructure and the protection from corrosion of a wide range of structures.

The Alliance offers a series of free regional CPD seminars which aim to provide delegates with an introduction to Structural Asset Protection and Repair. Events are scheduled to take place in Exeter, London and Leeds this Autumn. For further information on Structural Concrete Alliance activities and events visit

For details of the Concrete Society Awards or to book a place at the event visit

Further reading

Rinnai + renewables = boosted efficiencies on hot water

Chris Goggin of Rinnai UK, manufacturer of market leading Infinity HE gas fired continuous flow water heaters, believes there is a responsibility for the industry to monitor and control energy usage but warns that prevaricating until the perfect solution is developed is not helping to push things forward.

“It is time to focus on what we can do to decarbonise the UK building stock to support energy and emission target reductions by using the best available technologies today and not waiting for a ‘magic box’ solution tomorrow.”

He says there is no one, single method to achieve energy efficiencies and advocates using a mix of existing renewables and traditional technologies tied in with smart control systems as the practical way forward to a greener future. He urges the industry to act now considering multiple solutions and not one size fits all.

“Experts have warned that energy blackouts are forecast by 2017, so a smart and well engineered method of dealing with the increasing pressures on the Energy Network without over engineering and over pricing is to find ways of using current renewables technology, be it solar thermal, solar PV or heat pump, in a practical manner maximised by traditional fuel sources” says Goggin.

Rinnai award winning renewables water heating solutions are designed to offer a perfect blend of eco-friendly technologies, guaranteed to provide a constant flow of hot water, no matter how many outlets are in use at the same time. The HE Rinnai condensing continuous flow water heater can be utilised as a secondary heat source for a solar or ASHP-boosted hot water delivery system and is one of the most energy efficient. Smart internal and external controls ensures that the Rinnai system is only using the optimum amount of gas, harnessing and maximising renewable gains and not acting as a constant or wasteful secondary heat source.

For all-year round hot water, Rinnai Infinity HDC1500 and HDC 1200 gas fired condensing continuous flow water heaters are renewables-ready or easily ‘retrofitable’ with current renewable technology.

Rinnai’s Infinity condensing products incorporate two heat exchangers to achieve optimum water heating generated from every cubic metre of Natural Gas or LPG, producing efficiencies of 95-97 per cent, easily surpassing the 90-92 per cent thermal efficiency thresholds set by the new legislation in the new build arena. They are extremely low NoX, less than 50mg, with hot water supply volumes of up to 740 litres per hour at 50° Delta from a single appliance. The addition of smart controls to the commercial condensing range cuts emissions further and aid frugality in gas consumption.

Rinnai’s award-winning renewable water heating solutions are designed to offer a perfect blend of eco-friendly technologies, guaranteed to provide a constant flow of hot water 365 days of the year.

For more information on the RINNAI product range visit

Further reading

Quality Driven by Remmers

Established in 2004 and formally known as Blackhorse Car Sales, Lex Autolease Car Select in Oldbury has over 500 cars displayed in their showroom. The 2000㎡ showroom space along with the 600㎡ workshop space required a high gloss smooth finish flooring to upgrade the executive used car sales operation.

The existing old liquid polymer screed floor surfaces were badly cracked and damaged and needed refreshing and upgrading to better withstand the frequent and abrasive movements of the cars.

Capeland Industrial Flooring took on the challenge, which involved repairing, levelling and finishing the existing flooring with a slightly flexible floor topping that complemented the high end motor car sales. Remmers Epoxyflex PH SL was chosen for its ability to provide additional protection from reflective cracking. Three different shades of grey were employed throughout the buildings for demarcation and to highlight safe pedestrian routes.

The works were completed within a stringent timescale and budget much to the clients satisfaction.

For further information, please visit

Further reading

Striking new single ply school roof makes its mark

Oughterard National School is a new single-storey primary school situated in the Connemara district of west Ireland. The architectural vision for this new building, which boasts 16 state-of-the art classrooms, was to create a modern and aesthetically pleasing learning environment that would add real value to the local community. Another priority to the design team was using sustainable technologies and construction techniques to help reduce the building’s environmental impact.

The school building consists of eight roof areas on a variety of different pitches totalling over 3,400㎡ in all. Aesthetics were important to the client as most of the roof areas are pitched at a 20° slope making them highly visible, particularly from the central courtyard area. Bauder’s Thermofol single ply membrane was specified for the new roof because it is lightweight, long lasting, and visually appealing – with welded roof profiles incorporated to give the appearance of a standing seam metal roof. The system build-up also included Bauder’s 120mm Thermotech Glass Insulation for superior thermal performance, ensuring the roof achieved the required 0.19 U-Value.

Due to the visibility of the roof, all aspects of the job were under high scrutiny. The roof profiles had to be lined up perfectly along all the hips and valleys of the roof, requiring a high degree of skill and workmanship from approved contractor Noel Deane Roofing & Cladding, which they well and truly delivered on much to the delight of project specifier Martin Keaveney of JJ Rhatigan who stated, “Bauder were able to provide all the roofing materials needed, which enabled them to deliver a comprehensive solution and guarantee. They satisfied all delivery commitments and the new single ply roof looks and performs just as we expected.”

Since opening in September 2013 this contemporary school building has been recognised for its innovative design and architectural excellence by many award-giving bodies, including being shortlisted for the Best Educational Building at the RIAI 2014 Irish Architecture Awards. The school has also been commended for its environmental efforts, an example of this being how they collect and store rainwater in a reclamation tank so that it can be reused throughout the building.

For further information, please visit

Further reading

Altro triumphs at National Manufacturing Awards

Altro has won a coveted award at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Awards 2014 in the ‘Innovation in Products and Processes’ category.

Christopher Simpson, Chairman of the Manufacturing Excellence Awards Executive, said: “The judges were hugely impressed by how much Altro values its customer voice in the creation of new products and by the company’s ability to create products that break new ground and allow Altro to stay ahead of the competition.

“Altro’s safety flooring for areas where both bare feet and shoes are used, called Altro Aquarius, is one of the company’s most successful product launches. The company also has a range of flooring derived purely from renewable sources.

“Altro is a hugely exciting company and demonstrates that innovation and originality is very much alive in UK manufacturing.”

John Patsavellas, Altro’s Manufacturing & Technical director said: “It is truly a huge honour for Altro to receive this prestigious award. It recognises our core innovation competency that enables us to make a positive difference in safety, hygiene and sustainability, with our customers and our colleagues at the heart of all our innovation systems. We are delighted with this honour and determined to continue leading in this field and sharing our innovation success story with British Industry.”

The Manufacturing Excellence Awards was established in 1982 and is widely recognised in the business world for promoting the very best of UK manufacturing.

The 2014 Manufacturing Excellence Awards is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers with AESSEAL®, The ERA Foundation, Grant Thornton, Lombard, NatWest, Renishaw and WMG and supported by the Department for Business and Innovation, MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service), the MTC, Hexagon Metrology and Power Panels.

For further information about Altro, please visit

Further reading