Whether you love or loath IKEA, there is no denying the thrill of picking out furniture and seeing it in your home on the same day. More and more house builders are now taking a leaf out of Ikea’s book with housing estates being constructed using modular build practices. Editor of buildingspecifier.com and MMC Magazine, Joe Bradbury hears the top three benefits of modular builds according to premium coil coated aluminium supplier Euromax:

While modular builds won’t mean new housing estates springing up in a matter of hours, it will considerably reduce the wait. However, that is just one of the benefits of a pre-fabricated approach, as Nick Cowley, managing director of uPVC windows and doors expert, Euramax, explains.

The flatpack phenomenon is still changing the way we live and work. In the last three decades, machinery and technology developments have meant that bigger, stronger and more efficient modular structures, including schools, business parks and medical facilities, are being built across the globe.

Modular buildings and homes are prefabricated away from the final building site in sections, or modules. These are then delivered to the intended site where installation occurs.

The need for speed

As modular buildings are able to be constructed in highly controlled environments, it means that the build process can be completed up to 50 per cent faster than by using traditional construction methods.

This ability to be built and installed quicker, means that the return on investment (ROI) is potentially far greater than traditional building projects, as the construction phase is significantly shortened.

Show me the money

The overall cost of the build can be reduced by up to 30 per cent by using modular practices. Shorter build time saves money on reduced labour costs and on-site equipment hire costs.

The overall cost of construction materials will also be reduced as it means that the pre-fabricator can buy materials required in larger quantities for multiple projects, rather than just on an ad-hoc basis. These materials will all be delivered to one location, rather than multiple construction sites, so transportation and delivery costs are lower too.

Modular construction also means that any installed elements, like windows and doors, or practical elements such as kitchens or light fixtures, can be delivered and installed all at once. Expert suppliers, like uPVC window and door manufacturer, Euramax, can deliver equipment and materials either to the pre-fabrication facility, or directly on site.

The process of constructing a modular build off site means that any errors or issues with construction can be eliminated before arriving on site. This means that staff are less likely to need to spend large amounts of time and effort fixing things once installation is complete.

Customisable options

Modular builds open up huge potential in terms of design aesthetic and innovation. Traditional building designs are often restricted by the amount of space and planning regulations of how much work can be done to the local area and land. However, modular builds can be designed to a set of specifications that adapt to any restrictions that may be in place.

Nick Cowley - Managing Director

Nick Cowley – Managing Director

As each modular build is tailored to the individual users needs, the construction can be designed and made to the exact space, budget and design requirements. Modular buildings are also commonly constructed out of more durable and environmentally sustainable materials, making the properties a better investment for both the construction company and the buyer.

So, while the cheap and cheerful, cookie-cutter style furniture you buy and build from IKEA can be cost effective and an instantaneous moment of gratification, modular builds open up a much wider range of opportunity to reduce costs, speed up projects and create a unique look.

The Abbey Hill Academy in Stockton-on-Tees is an educational establishment for students aged 11-16 with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The learning environment is never more critical for such students and since the Horizons Specialist Academy Trust became custodians of the school in 2013 refurbishments have been taking place to restore the 1970’s building.

In addition, to heating and hot water upgrades and a new roof, the striking walkway that had a rooflight canopy was replaced and upgraded to enhance the exterior aesthetics of the building. The unusual shape of the building meant that the upgraded rooflights allowed a greater degree of light into the body of the school enhancing both the practical elements and also pupil and staff wellbeing due to the increased availability of natural light.

“The rooflight canopy had definitely seen better days and was no longer fit for purpose having been exposed to the elements for so many years,” said Jim Lowther Sales Director Xtralite. “We were able to specify the latest rooflight technologies to replace the existing ones to ensure a quality restoration was undertaken.”

Four 20m x 2.2m, one 9 x 2.2m and other elements were all fitted from the X-Span range of products, a thermally enhanced self-supporting rooflight. All were double glazed with a toughened outer and laminated internal glass.

“Glass is a good choice for atria, canopies and walkways and in this situation allowed the almost exact replacement of product albeit by those that are far superior,” said Jim. “Furthermore X-Span complies with BS6399 system Part 1 (Code of Practice for dead and imposed loads), Part 2 (Code of Practice for wind loads) and Part 3 (Code of Practice for imposed/snow loads) delivering a premium solution of aesthetics and practicality.”

Further information can be found by visiting www.xtralite.co.uk or by calling 01670 354 157.

An inspiring new sports facility, featuring a striking Sika Sarnafil single ply membrane roof, has just been completed at St. George’s Weybridge, a Roman Catholic co-educational nursery, private day school and 6th form college in Surrey.

The exciting new architectural development has been built as part of the establishment’s 150th anniversary celebrations and includes a premiership level hockey pitch and six-court sports hall, as well as a strength and conditioning suite, dance studio and flexible multi-use areas.

Transforming the existing, functionally simple sports hall, this now beautifully designed facility has a tree canopy-like roof structure draping over the building’s internal spaces.

Designed by global architectural practice Scott Brownrigg, the roof needed to achieve 30m clear spans across the main hall and the design needed to be clever and sensitive to the fact that the site’s location sits within the green belt. It also required a flexible and durable waterproofing solution to ensure the building leaves a lasting legacy for future generations of Georgians.

Felicity Meares, Architect at Scott Brownrigg, comments on how they approached the design and specification: “We designed a bespoke freeform glulam roof that curves in multiple directions. Computer modelling software allowed us to create and control this complex roof form in virtual reality, pushing and pulling it to blend into the landscape.

“In need of a roofing product elegant and pliable enough to accommodate the complex design, lightweight enough to minimise the impact on the roof’s structure and cost effective enough to cover such a large area, Sarnafil G410-ELF lead grey single ply membrane was specified, along with Sarnavap 5000, 120m SarnaTherm G insultation board and Sika SolarMount-1. Sarnafil adhered décor profiles were also built, allowing rainfall to be interrupted and guided across the roof.”

Sarnafil worked closely with the architects and contractors to develop a specification that not only had the correct U-value, but was also compatible with the Cross Laminated Timber roof build-up and ancillary roof mounted systems used, such as Photovoltaics, Latchways, a built-in gutter and upstands for roof openings.

Roofing contractor Malone Roofing was tasked with realising the architect’s roof design. With both Malone and Scott Brownrigg having specified Sarnafil in the past, the entire team were confident that Sarnafil single ply was the right fit for this unique roof form.

Paul Hughes, Managing Director at Malone Roofing, oversaw the project. He comments on the project: “We started work on the roof in October 2018 and spent a combined total of 12 weeks on the project. Despite being faced with a particularly rainy period and a challenging design, with curves sloping up to 30 degrees in some areas, we were able to complete the roof on time and to budget.”

The architect’s vision was to create a contemporary building that would inspire students to achieve their very best. Thanks to an exceptional design, impeccable installation and Sika Sarnafil’s robust guarantees, the team have been able to achieve just that, while also ensuring this timeless design will be protected and enjoyed for years to come.

For more information on Sika’s products and services call 01707 394444, email sarnafilroofing@uk.sika.com or visit gbr.sika.com

Now available is the Rinnai HDC 1200i continuous flow hot water unit with the capacity to deliver in excess of 1500 litres of temperature accurate hot water per hour, with an overall gross efficiency of more than 95%. These levels of performance, with unbeatable efficiency levels, mean the Rinnai 1200i is more than capable of meeting and exceeding the hot water demands of all applications.

This precision engineered unit can also be combined as multiple units into one single, easy to handle module incorporating cascade frames and common flue. Both the HDC 1200 internal and external models turn in a market leading energy performance of 107% net efficiency and offer superlative ranges of modulation. The systems internal analytical system can modulate the burner from 54kw to 2.4kw. The Rinnai HDC 1200i is engineered for minimal energy wastage and maximum energy performance.

It is worth remembering that Part L of the Building Regulations 2013 has set minimum thermal efficiency levels of 90% for natural and 92% for LPG, consequently outlawing non-condensing gas fired water heaters for use in new build projects.

Rinnai is the only manufacturer that can supply a complete range of internal and external ultra-high efficiency condensing continuous flow water heaters, aligned not only to comply but surpass changes on the regulatory horizon.

Rinnai units and systems are now the number one choice for any size of site or large building or business with a heavy demand for constant hot water or where high peaks of demand occur at certain times. Any number of modules can be manifolded, so the water handling capacity is truly infinite and there is no risk of the ‘cascade’ of hot water ever running out.

The manifolded 1200i units can be delivered direct to site in one complete, easy to manage package and at a very competitive price. For the end user this guarantees considerable cost savings over other forms of hot water generation. The relatively compact footprint of all Rinnai units and systems means it can optimise plant room space and safeguard accessibility for maintenance and servicing.

There is huge potential for on-demand style water heaters such as the Rinnai HDC 1200i units to play their part in new build and in refurbishments projects alike, where in the latter there are still many old systems that need replacing. By replacing this older technology with new condensing appliances will help support the UK drive towards greener industry.

The Rinnai Infinity HDC 1200i water heater uses heat exchanger technology to allow the largest capacity flow rates, thereby guaranteeing all the hot water needed, when it is needed. As well as increasing capacity, the Rinnai Infinity water heater has lower greenhouse emissions because of the new reduced NOx burner technology and as there is no storage, this scores well with BREEAM.

Available in both internal and external versions, HDC 1200i gives end users 107% net efficiency as the condensing process delivers up to 95% thermal efficiency, translating into significant energy savings when compared to standard tankless water heaters.

With a continuous flow water heating unit, it will deliver limitless amounts of useable hot water, whatever the site – school, hospital, hotel, office blocks, leisure club etc with no fluctuations in water delivery temperature.

The only time the site uses energy to heat water is when there is a demand, in other words, it is only burning gas when a tap or shower is being run.

For more information on the RINNAI product range visit www.rinnaiuk.com

James Hardie has today launched the latest in a series of planned product innovations; the HardieWindbreaker™ sheathing board.

Adam Botterill, country manager for James Hardie UK, comments: “As a world leading materials manufacturer, we believe in developing products that will give specifiers and contractors maximum design flexibility.”

“Reducing site time is a key innovation driver in the industry at present, and consequently, we have seen a sharp increase in the application of lightweight steel framing systems, together with a steady decrease in the use of blockwork. For us, offering an engineered sheathing board is a key part of our product offering to accommodate emerging market trends.”

“Both commercial and residential design styles are changing; architects want flexibility to design using mixed materials and oblique angles, and developers want a quicker, easier installation that will achieve the end result on time, to budget, and with minimal disruption to surrounding communities.”

“The use of lightweight construction with complementary sheathing boards allows for the development of lighter, more sustainable buildings that can be delivered at speed, without the need for wet trades or specialised labour that is in short supply.”

HardieWindbreaker™ sheathing boards can be used to quickly weather-proof a building during the construction phase, allowing interior trades to commence work faster and boost productivity on site. With an engineered fibre cement core encapsulated in a robust, water repellent sealer, the boards will not warp or shrink when exposed to adverse climates, and offer a guaranteed 12 months exposure during construction. The boards are lightweight, easy to cut flexible to handle and can be fixed using either screws, staples or nails.

HardieWindbreaker boards are A2 non-combustible, offering 60 minutes fire protection in compliance with current Building Regulations Approved Document B (fire safety).

Designed and tested across both the US and European research and development facilities at James Hardie, materials scientists have ensured the final product delivers superior weather tightness and enhanced performance in extra high wind zones, offering wind resistance up to 5800 UFL (approx. 350 miles per hour)*. The product comes with a 15 year manufacturers’ warranty.

*Mechanical fixing to SFS frames

For further information please visit www.jameshardie.co.uk

With government legislating for net-zero by 2050, what does this mean for UK energy markets and business models?

Getting to net-zero will require economy-wide changes that extend well beyond the energy system, leading to rapid and unprecedented change in all aspects of society.

Research published today by the UK Energy Research Centre shines a light on the level of disruption that could be required by some sectors to meet net-zero targets.

With many businesses making strong commitments to a net-zero carbon future, the report highlights the stark future facing specific sectors. Some will need to make fundamental change to their business models and operating practices, whilst others could be required to phase out core assets. Government may need to play a role in purposefully disrupting specific sectors to ensure the move away from high carbon business models, facilitating the transition a zero-carbon economy.

Sector specific impacts

The in-depth analysis presented in ‘Disrupting the UK energy systems: causes, impacts and policy implications’ focuses on four key areas of the economy, highlighting how they may need to change to remain competitive and meet future carbon targets.

Heat: All approaches for heat decarbonisation are potentially disruptive, with policymakers favouring those that are less disruptive to consumers. Since it is unlikely that rapid deployment of low carbon heating will be driven by consumers or the energy industry, significant policy and governance interventions will be needed to drive the sustainable heat transformation.

Transport: Following the ‘Road to Zero’ pathway for road transport is unlikely to be disruptive, but it is not enough to meet our climate change targets. The stricter targets for phasing out conventional vehicles that will be required will lead to some disruption. Vehicle manufacturers, the maintenance and repair sector and the Treasury may all feel the strain.

Electricity: Strategies of the Big 6 energy companies have changed considerably in recent years, with varying degrees of disruption to their traditional business model. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to continue to adapt to rapid change – or be overtaken by new entrants.

Construction: To deliver low-carbon building performance will require disruptive changes to the way the construction sector operates. With new-build accounting for less than 1% of the total stock, major reductions in energy demand will need to come through retrofit of existing buildings.

The report identifies how policy makers plan for disruptions to existing systems. With the right tools and with a flexible and adaptive approach to policy implementation, decision makers can better respond to unexpected consequences and ensure delivery of key policy objectives.

Prof Jim Watson, UKERC Director and Professor of Energy Policy, UCL said “The move to legislate for net-zero is welcome progress, but we need economy-wide action to make this a reality.
This includes policies that deliberately disrupt established markets and business models in some sectors – and address any negative impacts.”

Prof Jillian Anable, UKERC Co-Director and Professor of Transport and Energy, University of Leeds added “The UK transport sector is nearly 100% fuelled by fossil fuels, with only tiny niches of electrified and bio-fuelled vehicles.

Whilst politically challenging, the sector can only hope to reach ‘net-zero’ through whole-scale change that involves reducing hyper-mobility and fuel switching. This will lead to disruption to actors, global networks, governance and lifestyles.”

The government is inviting views on a new building safety regime, as it seeks to bring forward new legislation to keep residents safe.

The Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 resulted in the greatest loss of life in a residential fire in a century. It shattered the lives of many people and shook the trust of countless more in a system that was intended to ensure the most basic human need of having a safe place to live.

Following research into building safety culture across the industry, it became apparent that too many in the building industry were taking short cuts that could endanger residents in the very place they were supposed to feel safest – their own home. That’s why the government commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt, an engineer and former chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive, to review the system and find out how it can be improved.

Dame Judith’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety made it clear that there needs to be a culture change in the industry, underpinned by changing how homes are designed, built, maintained and managed in the future.

Following the review, the government began analysing Dame Judith’s recommendations to understand what needed to be done to overhaul the system. To make sure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes, it became evident that the government needed to take forward all of Dame Judith’s recommendations and go further.

Having your say

In December 2018, the government published its plan to make building regulations stronger and more effective. The plan, Building a Safer Future, committed the government to ensuring that high-rise residential buildings are safe to live in.

The government intends to bring forward new laws to improve building safety. Before doing this, it has launched a consultation (see the quick read) on the details and invites your views over the next 8 weeks.

What the government is doing

The consultation proposes a stronger voice for residents of high-rise buildings to ensure their concerns are never ignored. This includes better information regarding their buildings so that they can participate in decisions about safety, as well as clear and quick routes of escalation for their concerns if things do go wrong.

Clearer accountability for building safety

Dame Judith recommended the creation of a system of ‘dutyholders’, people who will have responsibility for keeping residents of these buildings safe, and making sure building regulations are followed. Dutyholders will be responsible for keeping vital safety information about how the building was designed and built and is managed. This is known as the ‘golden thread’ of information and will be kept electronically for the entire life of a building, from its design to its place as a home for residents. The people responsible for this information will have to make sure it is up to date and that the right people can access it, including residents.

Powers and sanctions

If the people responsible for a building ignore their responsibilities, a new building safety regulator will have the authority to take enforcement action against them. This could include criminal and civil sanctions, like fines or imprisonment.

The building safety regulator will be responsible for overseeing the safety of new and existing buildings. Their strong focus will be on checking that safety is being properly considered and necessary safety measures are put in place when new high rise residential buildings are being designed and built, and that robust safety measures are in place for existing buildings.

The intention is that, as a result, the regulator and people responsible for a building’s safety will be working towards the common goal at the heart of the new regime – the safety of residents.

The government is also consulting on new ways of ensuring that construction products are safe and used properly.

Implementing clearer standards and guidance

For the building safety regulator to work effectively, clearer standards and guidance need to be produced. For construction products and systems standards, the government proposes creating a new standards committee to provide it with impartial advice on the new standards and guidance.

The government has also consulted on a full-scale technical review of the building regulations guidance on fire safety, known as Approved Document B. The intention is to improve accessibility and usability of the guidance by publishing a single, online searchable document of all the approved documents and guide to the building regulations so everyone in the industry is clear on how to use them.

Taking action

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government committed to reforming the building industry to make sure a tragedy like this does not happen again. The aim is for these building safety reforms to work together to improve safety by creating a culture change in the building industry.

The safety of residents is of the greatest importance and steps are already being taken to strengthen the power residents hold and ensure their views and concerns are listened to by those responsible for managing their buildings. This includes through the Social Housing Green Paper, New Homes Ombudsman and the recent call for evidence on how residents and landlords can work together to keep their building safe, and the Social Landlords Best Practice Group, capturing and sharing effective ways for residents and landlords to work together on building safety.

The government is funding the replacement of unsafe aluminium composite material cladding, like the type used on Grenfell Tower, from high-rise residential homes and has introduced a ban on combustible materials on the external walls of new high-rise buildings.

Residents, building owners, the construction industry and the fire safety sector are all encouraged to make their voices heard by participating in the consultation and helping shape the future of building and fire safety to make sure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes.

The Home Office has also launched a call for evidence on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England. The call for evidence is the first part of a process to ensure that the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose for all buildings it regulates.

Market-leading single ply roofing manufacturer Sika Sarnafil and leading South West roofing contractor Progressive Systems Ltd are celebrating following a win at the Roofing Awards 2019.

The roof of the Dunes – a stunning new beachfront development in Perranporth, Cornwall – came out on top in the Single Ply Roofing category, which was sponsored by EJOT UK.

Hosted by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), TV host Sarah Beeny announced winners at a ceremony on 10 May 2019 at the InterContinental London – The O2.

Sika Sarnafil

The awards celebrate the very best in the industry across all roofing disciplines, recognising outstanding workmanship, problem solving, environmental qualities and contribution to the built environment.

Progressive’s impressive work on The Dunes, which was completed in August 2018, secured their place as one of 13 category winners.

The Dunes project also triumphed at the annual RICS Awards 2019: South West, supported by headline sponsor Sika. Coming out top in the Residential Property category, winners were announced at a ceremony on 22 May 2019 at Bristol Marriott Hotel. The development was labelled exceptional by judges, who were impressed by the project’s innovative design, high quality construction and consideration for sustainability.

Working on a site just 10 short metres from the beach, Progressive was tasked with installing a long-lasting roofing system robust enough to withstand the South coast’s often extreme wind and rain, while matching the luxury aesthetic of the build.

Having suggested Sika Sarnafil’s single ply membrane to the architect Stride Treglown, the team worked closely with Sika Sarnafil and the main contractor Acorn Blue to ensure a high-quality and cost-effective finish.

Wind uplift calculations were provided by Sika Sarnafil to the contractors, which suggested the product be mechanically fixed to ensure the roof was able to resist the formidable weather. With a combination of Sarnafil’s S327 18 EL Lead Grey single ply membrane, plus Sarnavap vapour control and SarnaTherm insulation, the outcome was a robust roof that met the requirements of the project.

The skilled workmanship and clever design saw the roof secure a 20-year guarantee, which covered all Sika Sarnafil products used in the installation.

Progressive’s Levi Stephens, dedicated contracts manager for the project, comments on the Roofing Awards win: “One of the most prominent design features on the roof were Sarnafil Decor Profiles, which were used on the steeper pitched roofs and the beach houses in order to mimic a standing seam roof. These were a challenge to execute both in terms of the roof being pitched and the windy coastal conditions. However, having used Sika Sarnafil single ply many times before, we were confident in the product specified and are over the moon to see the end result recognised with such a prestigious award.”

Alistair Speirs, Area Technical Manager at Sika, added: “We’re thrilled to see this build excel in the Roofing Awards’ Single Ply Roofing category. The Dunes was a 14-month project challenged with unforgiving coastal weather and high expectations in terms of quality workmanship. However, the combination of Sika products along with the expertise of both the contractors and our technicians involved in the installation resulted in a stunning finish that will keep the residents of The Dunes warm and dry for many years to come.”

For more information on Sika’s products and services call 01707 394444, email sarnafilroofing@uk.sika.com or visit gbr.sika.com

Tony Gittings of Rinnai looks at the changes that have now become a permanent and developing part of the domestic heating and hot water marketplace – selling direct to the consumer, bypassing the traditional supply route.

There is a 15 second iPhone video clip on Twitter at the moment of a big lad, full of muscles, destroying a door inside a building. It takes him two punches, one kick and both his hands to wrench the door right off its hinges. Accompanying this is some very stark copy which talks about how he’d had a job booked in to install a boiler, but he had lost out on price to one of the big, direct-to-consumer online brand names. His fury carries over from the film to the text with some very explicit language.

The change in the domestic heating and hot water marketplace is that online buying is now taking over the supply chain. The boiler manufacturers, some of them, want to sell more and more direct to the consumer. It is as simple as that. The traditional route to market of: manufacturer -merchant/distributor – installer-end user/consumer is getting to be less and less and may well soon be gone. The new route to market may well have some casualties – the merchants/ distributors and installers. It may well hit installers hardest in terms of prices being driven down.

Boiler producers have traditionally made their margin at the factory gate. – The merchant/distributor may never of made the size of margins, on boilers, anywhere near as much as the manufacturers. Traditionally the merchants/distributors relied on the branded boilers to bring the installer into their sales arena and buy all the materials for an installation and make up the margins on fittings, piping and ancillaries.

The fact that life is online now, and that almost all household expenditure goes through the web, is now cast in stone, for time being anyway. The change in consumer spending can be summed up by the following reports>

The BBC News website and the Retail Gazette recently extensive articles and reports on the dramatic demise of shopping centres and malls. Dead or dying High Streets, zombie retailing – the clichés were wonderfully employed.

Retail Gazette quoted some very heavyweight financiers – APAM Asset Management. They reckoned that there were as many as 200 – yes, two hundred – shopping centres that were financially on the edge of business existence.

Asset management firm APAM estimates that hundreds of shopping centres worth around £7 billion are in danger of breaching debt covenants. This number has reportedly increased by 75 per cent since last year, as falling market values and increasing numbers of CVAs butcher the sector.

Retail Gazette reported that APAM’s executive director Simon Cooke said this was in part due to lack of reinvestment by private equity owners, with the average shopping centre in the UK having changed hands or been refinanced three-and-a-half years ago. The BBC News report quoted Retail Gazette and also added in its own experts.

Mr Nelson Blackley, from the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, said the growth of online retail in the UK – on sites such as Amazon – had been faster than in almost any other retail market in the world. The demise of “major anchor stores” like BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping has caused a “downward spiral”, said Mr Nelson Blackley.

“If the major anchor store moves out, that has a halo effect on other stores in that centre. It’s a downward spiral and you can’t fill shopping centres with nail bars and vape shops.” Mr Blackley, who is based at Nottingham Trent University’s Nottingham Business School, pointed to research in the Financial Times that suggested about £2.5bn worth of shopping centres and retail parks are up for sale in towns and cities across the UK.

Some of this marketing is unofficial and not in the public domain,” he said.

“It’s a trend that’s moving very quickly. You don’t necessarily want to be in the business of owning shopping centres at the moment.” No kidding Mr Blackley…….

A prominent and nationally operating installer friend of mine put it this way in nicely earthy language, “I am not that old, but I remember Woolworths going out of business in the late 90s and look recently at BHS and the House of Fraser going down the plughole – massive names in retailing. As an installer I am so alive to the change in my customers buying habits. You don’t a PhD in ‘The Blindingly Obvious’ to realise the game has changed. I think it is a matter of concentrating on the ‘new’ and not wasting time on the old ways. They are gone.”

We made our own decisions several years ago. Then, about 30% of our total sales were through the distribution route to market. That is now around 15% and that is with distributors which are geographically and strategically placed to deliver – direct to the installer.

It is not difficult to envisage that with just a few years that the big brand names will be aiming everything they’ve got direct to the end-user/consumer. But it may well be at the expense of the installer, who may well have to work on an iron-clad fixed price basis which may not be the true value of the job.

We have chosen our route many years ago and have continued during all those years to fully and total commit to the installer as our partner – we have stayed connected. Others may try to ‘re-connect.’

But it is the installer that is our future and we see nothing on the horizon likely to change that – after all, all gas fired products must, by law, be installed by a fully qualified Gas Safe person. And that means that the individual must have a high level of expertise and ‘Yes’, we deal with specification and consultants, but that is inevitable on commercial sites which require design and engineering services. engineering savvy…. which is what installers have….

And one final thought – maybe there are even more changes on their way, this time in the manufacturing arena?

For more details on RINNAI products visit www.rinnaiuk.com

New fully-concealed edge to Ultima+ mineral tile range combines form with function.

To meet the growing trend for monolithic ceilings as well as sustainable interior solutions, Armstrong Ceilings has enhanced its popular Ultima+ range with a new fully-concealed ceiling system solution.

Called Finesse, the fully-concealed, fully-painted edge detail combines the uniform visual popular in contemporary design with the key benefits of suspended ceilings.

Its sleek monolithic visual has been designed to appeal to architects and interior designers while its ease of accessibility for maintenance will be equally attractive to building managers. This is complemented by ease of installation for contractors who can pre-define accessible tiles when planning the installation.

Available in 600mm x 600mm and 1200mm x 600mm modules, the tiles can be installed in standard and staggered layouts. Ultima+ Finesse ceilings feature all the advantages of the Ultima+ system but with no visible grid.

The Ultima+ range offers acoustic and aesthetic advantages such as its Class C sound absorption performance, ISO 5 Clean Room Classification, and a bright-white finely-textured surface. This surface finish not only provides high light-reflectance but also excellent cleanability, scratch-resistance and a longer life.

Manufactured with up to 36% recycled content, it is also 95% humidity resistant and the tiles’ 87% light reflectance helps achieve 16% cost savings compared with indirect lighting. These factors help to make the Ultima+ Finesse edge detail particularly suitable for open and closed-plan spaces such as lobbies, reception areas and corridors in offices, healthcare and education establishments, and retail outlets.

With Ultima+ Finesse, specifiers can now choose healthy materials for their next interior project as both the tile and grid are Cradle to Cradle™ certified. The Ultima+ range is also fully recyclable and can be re-used continuously, helping architects and interior designers meet sustainable targets.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website https://www.armstrongceilings.com/commercial/en-gb/