Multi-million pound funding to transform the UK’s coastal communities through investment in jobs, skills and local businesses opened for bids this week announced Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry.

500 new businesses supporting 5,500+ plus jobs have been created thanks to the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The opening of the next £40 million round of applications was announced by Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry, while visiting Barrow-in-Furness to see first hand how the fund has delivered major economic benefits for the Cumbrian town and wider coastal area.

Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry, said “I’m delighted to announce that applications are now open for the next round of the Coastal Communities Fund.

“Coastal Communities up and down the country from Barrow-in-Furness to Brighton have been boosted by this funding which has spurred inward investment, sustainable growth, new jobs and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses.

“By 2020, we’ll have invested nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in our seaside areas, providing thousands of jobs, training places and opportunities along the Great British Coast.”

The Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) supports the economic transformation of UK coastal communities by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs.

Since 2012, the government’s CCF has awarded grants to 295 projects across the UK, totalling over £174 million. Analysis shows this has been money well spent, with every £1 invested having the potential to create an up to £8 boost to our coastal economies. Successful projects have included:

  • Cornwall council receiving a £1.95 million grant in 2014 to repair and re-launch the Grade II Listed Art Deco ‘Jubilee Pool’ in Penzance to create an all year round visitor attraction sustaining existing jobs and creating new positions (including much needed apprenticeships in an area with higher than average youth unemployment).
  • In January 2015, Blackpool city council received a £2 million CCF grant towards the “Lightpool” project to deliver a radical transformation of the iconic Blackpool Illuminations, creating a compelling new visitor experience and a major boost to the local economy. The project is forecast to have increased visitor numbers by 2.6 million.
  • The Tate St Ives was awarded a £3.87 million grant in 2015 to refurbish and extend the Tate Gallery in St Ives. The new facilities include a new apse gallery connecting the existing gallery to the new extension; a new suite of learning and event spaces; increased capacity for visitors in the reception, cloakrooms, café, new exhibition space, staff accommodation and training space.
  • Amble – the seafood town – Northumberland. Northumberland county council was awarded a £1.8 million CCF grant in 2014 to improve the economy of Amble through infrastructure works to transform the town into a visitor destination promoting seafood, attracting new visitors and creating jobs. The project has provided two new restaurants, improved facilities incorporating a Harbour Village with retail space, and enhanced access along the shore.

Barrow-in-Furness has also benefitted from multiple rounds of coastal communities funding which has completely revolutionised business support in the coastal area from north of Millom across the Furness peninsula to Grange.

This has included:

  • £900,000 in CCF round 1 (2012) being granted to Furness Enterprise Limited to create an innovation network which seamlessly connects local businesses with each other to streamline their supply chains. The funds also supported marketing of key sites, formation of 70 new start-up businesses and help to SMEs in providing training opportunities for unemployed residents to gain the skills they need to find a permanent job.
  • £865,000 in CCF round 3 (2015) to Furness Enterprise Limited to accelerate regeneration in Barrow and the surrounding areas by strengthening supply chains and transforming skills as well as attracting inward investment and helping to provide specialist businesses support to local companies to up-skill and grow.
  • A pilot scale internship scheme placing young people in high tech firms. This led to the OGDEN Trust agreeing to fund 60 placements from 2018 to 2020.
  • Participation in the Manufacturing Forum and revolutionary proposals for a pan-Northern supply chain initiative connecting Northern businesses with manufacturers and service providers
  • A new Furness Energy Forum bringing local businesses together to capitalise on energy supplier opportunities
  • £444,000 in CCF round 4 (2017) to Barrow and Furness Coastal Communities Team to transform visitor facilities on Walney Island and covert an old, derelict built into a community run visitor hub.

Battersea Power Station’s four iconic chimneys have now been completely rebuilt, as part of the restoration programme that will see the Grade II* listed building brought back into use after more than 30 years.

Since the rebuilding began on May 14th 2015, nearly 25,000 wheelbarrow loads of concrete have been hand-poured into special “jump form” shutters to recreate the chimneys which each stand 51 metres above the building. Rather than use hoses to pour the concrete, it was decided to replicate the original construction methods: some 680 tonnes of concrete have been lifted in hoists, transferred into wheelbarrows and then poured into the structures.

The rings that can be seen around the new chimneys, and could also be seen around the originals, are a result of the “jump form” method in which shutters are erected at the top of the growing chimney. They are then filled with concrete which is allowed to dry before the shutters move up again to create the next layer. In modern buildings the shutters would typically move up continuously to create a smooth exterior, but this technique was not in use when the Power Station was built. Overall, the hoists have travelled the equivalent of 21 miles, lifting concrete to the workers waiting on boards high above the ground.

The original chimneys – two were built in the 1930s and the second pair in the 1950s – had to be taken down: they had become dangerously unstable as a result of their many years of funnelling corrosive gases, and in part because salty Thames water was used to mix their concrete.

The dismantling and rebuilding of the chimneys, which was especially difficult due to the need to preserve the building beneath and the special methods which had to be used, won a prestigious award at the London Civil Engineering Awards last month.

The northeast and southwest chimneys will return to service as exhaust stacks, albeit much cleaner ones than in the old days: they will release the water vapour generated by the new clean, green Energy Centres which will provide heat, cooling and electricity to the new Battersea Power Station and potentially other buildings in the neighbourhood as well.

The northwest chimney is the last to be finished.

Rob Tincknell, CEO of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, said “Battersea Power Station’s chimneys have been the backdrop for films, music videos and album covers and really are world famous. On behalf of our shareholders, I would like to say it has been an honour to restore this iconic symbol to the London skyline so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The Malaysian shareholders of the Battersea Power Station project are committed to giving back to the communities in which they operate. They recognise the importance of creating shared value and this is embedded in all their undertakings to ensure that they contribute towards a harmonious and considerate community.

Britain’s beloved historic buildings are at risk, due to a restoration skills crisis that threatens the future of some of our best-known national treasures, warns a RICS and YouGov survey.

  • 9 in 10 British people identify historic buildings, like those featured in Channel 4’s Great British Buildings – Restoration of the Year* as important symbols of national heritage.
  • 89% of the British public believe it’s important to preserve these national treasures and 42% said the responsibility to invest and maintain these structures lies with the government.
  • However, despite the public’s passion for historic buildings, the majority don’t understand the specialist skills needed to preserve them, at a time when the entire construction industry is facing a skills shortage.

Restoration of the Year

Despite over a million people tuning in to Channel 4’s latest series Great British Buildings – Restoration of the Year, and a new YouGov survey commissioned by RICS finding that 91% of the British public believe historic buildings are symbolic of Britain’s heritage, young people have little awareness of the specialist professions and trades essential to their preservation, suggesting that as people retire, the current skills base could be all but wiped out.

Preserving iconic treasures

According to the survey, 9 in 10 people (91%) agreed that buildings such as Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace are symbols of the country’s heritage. This sentiment is strong across all age groups, including millennials, with 89% of 18-24 year-olds appreciating the importance of historic buildings.

The vast majority of the population (89%) also believe that that these iconic treasures should be preserved for future generations and place the responsibility for maintaining them firmly at the door of the government (42%), followed by industry organisations (16%) and the general public (14%).

Appreciation for historic buildings is particularly strong in West Midlands, with almost two thirds (65%) saying that it’s ‘very important’ such buildings are preserved, while around 2 in 5 respondents (42%) from Scotland say the same.

Skills shortage

However, despite the public’s love for these buildings, the majority don’t understand the specialist skills needed to restore and preserve them. For example, 83% are not knowledgeable about what a historic building surveyor does, and 80% do not know what a roof thatcher’s job entails. Awareness of age-old building professions is fading away amongst the younger generation, with only 1 in 10 18-24 year-olds able to describe the job of a stonemason, and only 16% know what a glass blower does.

This lack of awareness comes at a time when the industry as a whole is facing a skills shortage in the built environment, with the latest figures from the RICS Construction Market Survey showing that the skills gap reported by professionals across the construction sector increased from 2% in 2012 to 43% in 2016.

A pipeline of talent

To ensure that these crucial skills are not lost and cherished historic buildings don’t fall into disrepair, a stronger pipeline of talent is needed. It’s important that craft skills are developed in addition to the continual promotion of professional skills, as the two skillsets are intrinsically linked to create any successful construction project.

RICS is calling on the government and industry bodies to continue to concentrate their efforts on inspiring young people to pursue a career in the sector and educate them on the importance of mastering and maintaining the skills needed to preserve our historic buildings.

Kevin McCloud, British designer and presenter said “Historically listed buildings form part of the fabric of our rich cultural heritage and today’s findings from RICS highlight that so many Brits are genuinely passionate about protecting the physical legacy that these buildings represent. I’m very pleased to be hosting Channel 4’s Restoration of the Year programme, which shines a spotlight on the care and craftsmanship behind preserving these national treasures.”

Matthew Howell, RICS Managing Director for UK & Ireland added “It’s fantastic to see that so many people care about our historic buildings, especially young people. However, without a pipeline of talent developing expertise in these specialist areas, these landmarks could be left in ruin. We need the next generation to understand the role of a historic building surveyor, and the craft of a stonemason or glassblower to preserve this heritage for the future.

“The government and industry bodies must continue to work together and raise awareness of the wide-range of opportunities available in the industry and create more routes into the sector for young people, including investing in quality apprenticeships that lead to roles such as qualified building surveyors who specialise in conservation projects.”

Leading window, door and curtain walling designer, fabricator and installer CMS Window Systems has been appointed to work on a £30 million project to redevelop the prestigious Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Working for main contractor McLaughlin & Harvey, CMS is tasked with providing curtain walling as part of the two year project designed by Hoskins Architects which will transform the city’s Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Memorial Hall. This will create new educational facilities, upgrade performance and reflection spaces and provide 21 new galleries in what was previously unused space.

A significant part of the project will be to alter the building envelope and create a new rooftop extension by removal of the existing pitched roofs and skylights, together with a new build extension to the rear. CMS will provide the solutions for this part of the project.

The company, which is based at Castlecary near Glasgow, will fabricate and install nearly 150 sq. m of curtain walling using Metal Technology’s System 17 SP (Silicon Pointed). This structural glazing system’s classic visual appearance provides a continuous and expansive external glass face to the façade in order to meet the contemporary design of the new building elements.

The curtain walling features 32mm insulating glass units (IGUs) which incorporate a 6mm SECURIT glass outer skin, a 6mm PLANITHERM low e glass inner pane and a 20mm cavity with warm edge spacer bar, silicon sealed with toggle glazing insert. The façade on the west elevation offers additional solar control with the inner pane on these IGUs being 6mm COOL‐LITE SKN 174 to manage solar gain in peak sunshine. The façade also features spandrel glazing created with a 6mm EMALIT ceramic painted inner skin insulated with 75mm foil faced rigid PIR.

Aberdeen Art Gallery was handed over to the main contractor in July and CMS is scheduled to begin installing the windows, doors and curtain walling in September. This comes as the gallery continues to raise the remaining one third of funds required for the project, which is already backed by The Heritage Lottery Fund and Aberdeen City Council who have each granted the project £10m.

A public fundraising campaign is helping to bridge the gap, which will see donors digitally acknowledged and anyone wishing to donate can visit: or call 01224 523670. Donations can also be made by texting AAGM001 to 70970 to donate £5, and AAGM001 to 70191 to donate £10.

Find out more about CMS at

Giacomini UK is on a mission to create homes out of underused office spaces around the country!

In recent months Giacomini has been involved in many projects that transform commercial office units into residential areas. The latest project is on a site in Crawley, called Babcock House, where 185 apartments are being created in a disused eight storey office block.

The Babcock House site will create 185 units comprising of studio accommodation as well as one and two bedroom flats – all designed to a very high specification, along with having excellent communal facilities.

The work will involve re-roofing the building, renovating the external façade and installing 185 of Giacomini’s twin plated heat interface units to allow each apartment independently controlled, efficient heating and hot water in the multi-dwelling building.

Since regulations surrounding planning permission were altered, meaning that Class B1 offices could be converted to Class C3 residential dwellings without the need for specific planning and development permission, there has been a noticeable growth in projects of this nature.

Matt Lowe, Giacomini UK’s managing director, commented “The planning permission policy change for projects like this aims to support an increase in housing supply, bring empty properties into productive use and encourage regeneration of office space. The Crawley development is the latest project we have been involved in where we are utilising disused space to bring revenue and housing to the local economy whilst complementing the buildings’ existing features.”

The project, estimated to cost £16.5 million, is due to be completed by September 2016.

For more information on Giacomini, and its heat interface units, please visit

Balfour Beatty, working with Populous, Buro Happold and the London Legacy Development Corporation, have repurposed the iconic London 2012 Olympic stadium, originally built to host London’s 2012 games. Their latest video (see below) talks us through the redesign, highlighting how they are championing sustainable practices throughout the project.

According to the video, the stadium, which is now home to West Ham United FC, will have a capacity of 54,000 people for football matches and 80,000 for athletics events and music concerts.

Sustainability and skills building

Sustainability has been at the very heart of the redesign. So far the work undertaken has included the reuse of 19,000 tonnes of recycled demolition materials, 6,000 m of cable, 3,800 lights and 1,000 mechanical and electrical components. This will undoubtedly help send a message out to the refurb and retrofit industry of what can be done to try and push the industry towards reducing the volume of waste to landfill. (According to a report by the Wates Group, the UK construction industry sends 36 million tons of waste to landfill sites each year.)

The regeneration project has also been doing its bit to tackle the skills shortage, with Balfour Beatty creating 50 local apprenticeships and over 300 training opportunities across the site.

Continuing a legacy

Stephen Tarr, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business said, “From the very beginning we were focused on continuing the legacy of this historic venue, transforming it from its original use of a single-purpose venue to a multi-functional world class venue providing numerous opportunities and uses for generations to come.

“We have utilised some of the most complex engineering techniques on this project, capitalising on our in-house capabilities and expertise to ensure the project was delivered safely to a high specification whilst boosting the local economy through employment opportunities; it’s a project we are all immensely proud of.”

Watch the video below:

Mapei’s products were specified to help represent the epitome of sophisticated city living in an apartment redevelopment. Mapei products were distributed by Boyden Tiles, Croydon with the project being led by WB Simpsons.

Keraquick and Latex Plus were used on approx. 340m2 of flooring to lay the Domus porcelain 600 x 600 tiles in all the main and ensuite bathrooms plus all of the balconies within the apartment block.

800m2 of wall tiling were fixed using Mapei’s Ultralite S2 – a high performance, lightweight cementitious adhesive with very low emissions of volatile organic compounds. The adhesive, specifically developed for large size tiles to be laid on large surfaces without back buttering, was used to bond Domus Tiles 3m x 1m ‘Kerlite Slim’ porcelain tiles to the walls of the apartments luxury bathrooms and ensuites.

Mapei’s Topcem, was specified as a screed for an area of 120m2 onto external balconies. The quick setting screed allowed the installation of Domus Tiles 200 x 800mm ‘Wood Sense’ porcelain tiles just 24 hours after application.

For more information on Mapei resilient products, other products or training days, please visit, email or tel. +44 (0)121 508 6970.

An external wall insulation system is a thermally insulated, protective, decorative cladding procedure involving the use of an insulating material and a render finish. The most common insulating material is polystyrene, others such as mineral wool, polyurethane foam of phenolic foam may be used. The render finish usually consists of a reinforced base coat followed by a decorative mineral or synthetic finish.

The K Rend Silicone Thin Coat range is particularly suitable where lightweight render systems are required, such as an external wall insulation system (illustrated right).

K Rend Silicone Thin Coat products are available in an extensive colour range using the NCS System which helps customers visualise special colours for their project. NCS – Natural Colour System is a logical colour notation system which builds on how humans see colour.

K Rend Silicone TC 15 render holds the prestigious BBA certification, assuring you that vital product safety and performance requirements are met.

Benefits of Using External Wall Insulation:

  • Reduces heating bills by reducing heat loss through walls
  • Thermal efficiency of walls can be increased by up to 85%
  • Help to save the environment by reducing carbon emissions (as you burn less fossil fuel)
  • Reduce condensation (EWI raises temperature of internal walls)
  • Prevent damp & mould: EWI seals buildings from the elements
  • Improve acoustics: hi-density insulation reduces sound transfer
Contact our Technical Support Centre on 028 2826 0766 or email

Will you see the light?

Since the late 1950’s GRP has been a feature of many commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings across the UK, bringing the free resource of natural daylight into the workplace.
GRP is a strong thermoset material with good impact resistance and consists of, among other components, polyester resin which is reinforced by a glass strand mat.

The success of Filon rooflights resulted in several UK based manufacturers continuously producing GRP. Eventually, this involved the use of alternative plastic materials such as PVC. As a brittle material, this was at times subject to damage due to storms, foot traffic on the roof and UV degradation.

This didn’t stop the efforts of thermoplastic manufacturers to try to compete with ‘Filons’ and other GRP rooflights though and polycarbonate in-plane rooflights were born and have since steadily encroached on the GRP rooflight market. There are many positive attributes to polycarbonate such as it providing high levels of light transmission, being very strong and having a good fire rating. There are however, many aspects that should be considered in rooflight material choice for profiled roof applications and we shall discuss them now.

Thermal movement

A thermoplastic material such as polycarbonate has much greater thermal movement than GRP and over 5 times more than the surrounding steel sheets.

If no allowance has been made for this movement such as oversized fixing holes, it could create some problems particularly around the fasteners such as the sheet cracking and at the end laps with seals potentially failing. It is also possible for rooflights with an insulating box detail, such as those used in composite panel roofs, for the rooflight to expand but find resistance. The material will have no room to move as it will be constrained by the surrounding metal roof panels and so could belly out – bulge out of shape between the purlins.

Light Distribution

Another significant consideration is the type of illumination required in the building. GRP has high levels of light transmission and is also a naturally diffusing product. It will provide an even distribution of natural daylight across the area to create a balanced illumination reducing bright spots, shadows and hot spots.

Thermoplastics like polycarbonate, when used as in-plane rooflights however, tend to be clear or colour tinted. They are much less diffusing and allow more light to pass directly through the rooflight. This can create localised bright spots with solar glare and also hotspots due to the nature of direct sunlight.

The first images show two very similarly constructed equestrian centres but one is fitted with polycarbonate rooflights and the other with Filon GRP rooflights. The images clearly show a very different lighting pattern: the polycarbonate rooflights allow light to pass directly through so that their position is clearly replicated on the floor – even the purlins are casting shadows on the ground; the GRP rooflights in comparison provide a very even light distribution, so much so that there are not even any shadows visible around the horse and rider – the perfect conditions for easily spooked horses.

The second pair of photographs show a supermarket distribution centre, firstly with polycarbonate rooflights and secondly after the rooflights have been replaced with Filon GRP. Again, in the first picture, the position of the rooflights is clearly visible by the bright spots on the floor. The picture with new GRP rooflights has eliminated all of the bright spots and reduced localised internal temperatures without compromising lux levels – much more suitable conditions for storing some supermarket goods and foodstuffs.

The example projects highlight the importance of selecting the appropriate rooflight material. For your next industrial, commercial or agricultural building, please give careful consideration about the type of light distribution required. If an even spread of diffused light, without shafts of light, hotspots or dark corners is preferred, then GRP is likely to be the most appropriate choice.

Written by Mark Wilcox, Sales Director, Filon Products Ltd

When Fife Council consulted its residents at Broomhead flats in Dunfermline about the future of their homes, the options were pretty clear cut. The three 50-year old blocks of flats had reached the point where they either needed significant investment to bring them up to the current Scottish Housing Quality Standard, or needed to be demolished and replaced with new build properties.

The result of the residents’ consultation favoured refurbishment and, in May 2014, Fife Council’s Housing and Communities Committee gave the go-ahead for this project to begin. A key requirement was to deliver refurbished homes which offer a higher level of protection against fuel poverty.

The multimillion pound project has transformed 216 properties, housed within the three 12-storey blocks. The building fabric has been brought up to a higher thermal standard, utilising product technology which was simply not available in the 1960s. And that primarily involved the £5.1m contract with CMS Window Systems for the replacement of windows, doors and curtain walling, application of external wall insulation (EWI) and replacing balconies.

CMS was appointed as the main envelope contractor after winning the competitive cost and quality based tender. For Fife Council, this helped simplify the procurement process and supply chain from the outset. CMS was able to help develop a specification for the windows, and their appointment ensured consistent quality, trouble free interface integration and clear communication channels – all proving important to the success of this extensive refurbishment project.

Every flat benefits from A-rated, highly insulating windows which are manufactured with Sheerframe lead-free PVCu profiles and feature thermally superior low-e softcoat double glazed sealed units. With a low U-value, the energy rating (WER) of these fully UK-made windows represents a huge improvement in thermal performance.

CMS also manufactured and installed aluminium curtain walling which spans up to eleven floors on each block, enclosing all communal walkways – equating to more than 2,000m2 of curtain walling. This replaced existing steel balustrades and steel screens in communal areas to raise the quality and visual appeal, internally and externally.

A third component to the structural elements was the replacement of balcony enclosures. CMS installed more than 1,700m2 of enclosures created using Windoor System 1000 featuring ‘Light’ glazing systems. Their design gives tenants the freedom to use their balconies all year round.

Completing the transformation of the building fabric, CMS also over-clad the external walls with a mix of insulated render and render only, as required, using mast climbers for safe access and to ensure speedy delivery with minimum disruption. With total wall coverage of more than 11,000m2, this extensive over-cladding work has improved the insulation level of all walls to complement the performance of the windows, doors and curtain walling.

John Rodigan, Senior Manager of Building Services at Fife Council said: “The Housing and Neighbourhood Service of the Council demonstrated great foresight in their decision to invest in the energy efficient measures at Broomhead.

“It’s also no coincidence that one of our most environmentally committed companies won the contract, it’s been the perfect partnership with all stakeholders sharing the same objectives. The result for the Broomhead tenants will be significant in terms of reduced energy costs and increased comfort. These works have made a substantial contribution to Fife’s green agenda as well as supporting local employment and trade apprenticeships – the delivery of this project has been a real triumph for the Council.”

Find out more at