BDA Founder Professor Nico Hendriks spoke at one of two lunches held for the Structural Timber Association during the week of the Ecobuild exhibition. BDA Technical Manager Paul Oakley spoke at the second event.

The STA comprises companies who make, supply or install structural timber products or systems and also companies supplying services to the sector.

A key role of the organisation is the maintenance of high standards and to that end it has introduced its STA Assured schemes covering different parts of the sector. The highest level, STA Assured Gold, is for products and systems supplied to construction sites. These include Structural Insulated Panel (SIPS) and framing systems as well as trussed rafters and roof systems.

We are delighted that the STA accepts Kiwa BDA Agrément® as meeting the requirements of its’ Gold scheme and Nico and Paul were pleased to be able to explain the way BDA goes about its’ assessments to those attending the events, including manufacturers, distributors, architects and building control personnel, as well as STA members and senior management. Key elements of our assessments include consideration of the requirements of Building Regulations for the products or systems concerned as well as NHBC or other non-statutory requirements. Arrangements are also made with the manufacturer to ensure maintenance of the agreed and approved specification for the product or system every time it is made or assembled.

The availability of approval by Kiwa BDA has been welcomed by manufacturers across the industry and we have many assessments underway, including timber and timber-related products.

Other speakers at the lunches included new RIBA President Ben Derbyshire, QS Ian Dacre, whose practice, Rider Levett Bucknall has worked with the STA on an estimating guide and costing exercise, as well as senior figures from the Construction Products Association and the House Builders Federation who addressed the issues facing our industry as it rises to meet the challenge of delivering 300,000 homes a year.

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Image: Courtyard House Photography Tom Gildon & David Butler

Ibstock, the UK’s largest brickmaker, has further cemented its position as the industry-leader by winning three awards at the 40th annual Brick Developers Association’s (BDA) Awards, which celebrate excellence in design and construction using brick.

This latest success takes Ibstock’s total award wins since 2005 to 77 – more than any other brickmaker. The stunning builds feature bricks from Ibstock’s wide-ranging portfolio of colours, textures, sizes and finishes to achieve a huge variety of aesthetic effects.

Projects using Ibstock bricks picked up the top accolade in three categories, including: Best Individual Housing Development, from Dallas Pierce Quintero for Courtyard House, which showcased a creative application of Staffordshire Blue Umbra Sawtooth and Standard; and Best Large House Builder for Linden Homes by Stride Treglown, which used Audley Red Mixture and Commercial Red to achieve a striking impact.

The distinctive arched pavilion of the Brentwood School Learning Resource Centre in Essex, designed by Cottrell & Vermeulen, won Best Education Building, using brick façades to harmonise with existing buildings using the distinctive Heritage Red Blend.

In addition, Ibstock-Kevington products were also used in Newport Street Gallery, which picked up the Supreme Award. The innovative project used precast lintels and beams, together with CNC cut brickwork, all of which were manufactured by Ibstock-Kevington.

Andrew Halstead-Smith, group marketing manager at Ibstock, commented: “As brick continues to retain its position as the number one construction material of choice, what we are seeing is more innovative and creative applications of brick, which really showcase its tremendous design capabilities.

“Architects, specifiers and contractors are pushing the boundaries when it comes to application to create breath taking designs, which these award-winning projects really demonstrate. We congratulate all those involved.

“The calibre of builds shortlisted at this year’s awards was incredibly high; so to have three projects where Ibstock bricks were used receiving awards, in addition to playing a part in the Supreme Award winning entry, really is testament to the versatility of Ibstock’s wide-range of options.”

A further project which also used Ibstock bricks received the judges’ commendation in the category of Best Education Building, for Merchant Taylors’ School Design Centre designed by Architecture PLB.

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Following the Brick Development Association’s (BDA) Awards which took place last month, the latest edition of ‘Design’ (the inspirational magazine from Ibstock) is showcasing a number of cutting-edge projects using Ibstock bricks, which were shortlisted for the prestigious accolades.

The latest issue, which is available now, also offers a multitude of technical advice and recommendations for creating curved brickwork, and features a number of recent building projects where such techniques have been applied to maximum effect.

The latest issue offers an in-depth look at Incurvo, a private house in Oxfordshire, where the use of radial brickwork has been used to create striking aesthetics. In addition, further projects showcased in the latest edition, include: Cottrell & Vermeulen’s The Bean Learning Resource Centre at the independent Brentwood School in Essex, and Domino houses in North London.

Andrew Halstead-Smith, Group Marketing Manager at Ibstock, comments: “This edition of Design highlights that the construction industry is still incredibly forward-thinking, and is continuing to push the boundaries of modern design, embracing changing trends and styles, and that brick, as the number one construction material, is helping it to do so.

“The projects featured are from both private and public sectors and showcase the ways in which buildings can be set apart by eye-catching aesthetics. We are delighted to have been able to play a part in the creation of such inspirational buildings and to have all the projects featured in this latest edition also recognised at the BDA Awards, only serves as further testament to the powerful results achievable with brick.”

To obtain the latest issue of Design or find out more about the range of bricks available, visit