BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

April 25, 2021

Fire Door Frame Inspection regime change

The NHBC has announced a U-turn on its decision to insist all fire frames must be installed and sealed at the pre-plaster inspection stage. The amended guidance was published in a new technical update and comes after The British Woodworking Federation, representing the concerns of its members and their clients, responded to a

Read More »

Plans revealed for new mixed-use regeneration development in Brighton

Following the recent planning approval of a new mixed-use student accommodation development in central Brighton, developer McLaren Property reveals what the local community can expect from the scheme. Located on London Road, within Brighton’s regeneration area, the development will see an outdated building being replaced with new sustainable retail units

Read More »

Fire Safety Bill – Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments

The Government introduced the Fire Safety Bill in March 2020 as a first step to deliver the Government’s commitment to implement the Grenfell Tower Phase One Report recommendations. The Fire Safety Bill clarifies under that the Fire Safety Order, owners and/or managers of multi-occupied residential buildings (the “responsible person”) must

Read More »

Mobile Mini installs life-saving defibrillators across 16 UK sites

Mobile Mini, one of the leading worldwide providers of portable accommodation and secure storage containers, has recently installed defibrillators at every one of its sites across the UK. This includes all branches, support centres and the company headquarters located in Stockton-on-Tees. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device

Read More »

How the UK construction industry is bouncing back

When the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown came into force in March 2020, every sector in the UK was caught off-guard, and non-more so than the construction industry. However, as the months progressed and construction was allowed to resume – albeit in a more streamlined way, the construction industry was able to

Read More »

Should You Get a Whole House Humidifier?

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, from cheap, cartoon-shaped styles to expensive, massive machines. Did you know that you can actually have a humidifying component installed into your HVAC system? There are pros and cons to every type of humidifier. Find out which choice is right for you and

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

April 25, 2021

Fire Door Frame Inspection regime change

The NHBC has announced a U-turn on its decision to insist all fire frames must be installed and sealed at the pre-plaster inspection stage. The amended guidance was published in a new technical update and comes after The British Woodworking Federation, representing the concerns of its members and their clients, responded to a directive issued by the NHBC in November, and which came into effect in January, which was a requirement to install and seal all fire door frames at the pre-plaster inspection stage. We considered this a backward step for the industry. Within this, NHBC introduced the rule that all fire frames should be installed, have the fire stopping materials put in place between the frame and the wall, and be sealed at the pre-plaster inspection stage to demonstrate the product had been affixed to the partition correctly. Up until then, NHBC inspectors had visited properties at the pre-plaster stage. The next time they inspected was when the house was almost complete, with all doors fully installed and painted. This meant that the second inspection was too late to verify the correct installation of fire frames, but the first was too early. Unfortunately, the NHBC was not willing to add an additional visit to inspect the doors after the plaster but before the architraves were fitted. The change caused house builders and door set suppliers to raise concerns as it was impossible to supply door sets, which offer greater control over the production of the assembly and potentially the performance of the completed fire door assembly. This was despite fire safety being in the spotlight more than ever and door sets widely being seen as the way forward to ensure compliance and improve safety. Door leaf manufacturers insist that doors are not on-site during wet trades and high levels of moisture. Having door leaves on site at the pre-plaster stage, was required by this new rule, but this could have influenced any product warranty and, potentially, their effectiveness at withstanding fire. The updated advice now offers three options for installers and contractors, which help maintain both the high levels of safety offered by door sets and testing for integrity: Option 1: Fire door frames installed at pre-plaster stage: This was the original requirement from the update in October 2020 and is still a valid option. Option 2: Fire door linings installed at pre-plaster stage Fire door linings could be plywood or part of the fire door set provided by the manufacturer or supplier. The lining would be installed at pre-plaster to allow the fitting of the frame at a later stage of the build process. The fire door frame should fit tightly within the plywood lining.* Option 3: Fire door frames installed after pre-plaster Fire door frames can be installed post-plaster and architraves not fitted until satisfactory inspection by NHBC has been completed. Once installed, the site manager would notify their Building Inspector that the door set is ready for inspection. The Building Inspector would then inspect the door frame installation on their next visit to site, thus negating the need for a separate inspection. The NHBC is also conducting a trial to assess the viability of accepting UKAS-accredited installers (third-party certificated) as an additional option. This would be in line with the BWF Fire Door Alliance Mission statement, which is; To ensure that only third-party certified fire doors, installed by third-party certified installers, should be used in the UK. Kevin Underwood, Technical Director for the BWF, who worked closely with British Woodworking Federation Fire Door Manufacturer members and some of their clients, said: “We are very grateful that the NHBC has taken our concerns and comments on board and have looked again at its guidance.” “The three options now give much more flexibility and allow for fire secure door sets to be fitted and inspected at the appropriate time, rather than making it all-but impossible to use them.” “It demonstrates that consultation with industry on these types of decisions, intended to further improve quality and safety, is essential.” *Installers must ensure that the certification for the door/door set allows this type of installation. If you are unsure please check with the door manufacturer/supplier.

Read More »

Plans revealed for new mixed-use regeneration development in Brighton

Following the recent planning approval of a new mixed-use student accommodation development in central Brighton, developer McLaren Property reveals what the local community can expect from the scheme. Located on London Road, within Brighton’s regeneration area, the development will see an outdated building being replaced with new sustainable retail units and student apartments. McLaren Property is working alongside Morgan Carn Architects and engineering consultancy Howard Ward Associates (HWA) to deliver the five-storey build, which will feature 156 student bedrooms with a reception area and communal interior and exterior spaces. New retail units will make up the ground floor of the development, presenting an entirely refreshed shop frontage which holds a prominent position among London Road’s high street stores. Part of the New England Quarter and London Road Development Area, where regeneration is actively encouraged by Brighton & Hove City Council, the new scheme will see the former Marks and Spencer site completely transformed – complete with a 24/7 security presence to manage the building. As part of the environmentally friendly design, the building will achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Excellent’ and will feature solar panels on a green roof. Further sustainable features include air source heat pumps as its primary heat source and planted outdoor spaces – including trees – which will be maintained using recycled rainwater. The development will also be car-free and have cycle route access and storage spaces. The demand for quality, affordable student accommodation in Brighton continues to be a pertinent issue, with only 25% of the city’s student community living in purpose-built student housing. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, students have a preference towards living in dedicated accommodation with larger living spaces, premium Wi-Fi, 24-hour security and communal areas, rather than living in HMOs (housing of multiple occupancy), McLaren Property says. The new purpose-built London Road development could also free up some of the many former family homes that have been converted into HMOs to house students, potentially allowing local residents to stay in Brighton and attracting new house hunters to the area. Midlands-based HWA has been appointed to provide structural engineering to the project, with construction due to begin in Mid 2022. Dan Bailey, director at HWA, said: “We are really pleased to be working with McLaren on the London Road development following planning approval – transforming what is currently an inefficient and underutilised site into much-needed student accommodation and fresh new retail units. “The site presents a great opportunity to enhance the local area and contribute dramatically to the ongoing regeneration efforts on both sides of the site. We have been involved with the planning and design for this build since the beginning, working with McLaren Property, to provide our civil and structural engineering expertise to this scheme through the pre purchase and pre planning project stages.” David Atherton, development director at McLaren Property, said: “We are very excited about the potential for this development – to contribute positively towards the regeneration of this important area within the city. “Removal of the existing building means Providence Place Square can finally become a welcoming and successful inner city green space to be used by local residents. Students contribute vitally to the local economy and by occupying purpose-built student accommodation rather than HMOs, there is an opportunity to free up those local houses to local families. “High quality design is at the heart of every project that we undertake and McLaren Property, together with our consultant team, is committed to delivering buildings that help drive positive change.” Brighton’s student population sits at almost 34,000, with the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex proving to be popular choices for studying. The new city centre London Road development lies just one mile away from the University of Brighton’s main city campus.

Read More »

Fire Safety Bill – Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments

The Government introduced the Fire Safety Bill in March 2020 as a first step to deliver the Government’s commitment to implement the Grenfell Tower Phase One Report recommendations. The Fire Safety Bill clarifies under that the Fire Safety Order, owners and/or managers of multi-occupied residential buildings (the “responsible person”) must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the external walls of the building and the entrance doors to individual flats. The House of Commons considered the following amendments on Wednesday, 24 February: Risk-based guidance about the discharge of duties under the Fire Safety Order (two amendments tabled by the Government) Duties of an owner and manager (tabled by Labour) Public register of fire risk assessments (tabled by the Liberal Democrats) Prohibiting the costs of remediation being passed on to leaseholders (tabled by the Liberal Democrats) Risk-based guidance about the discharge of duties under the fire safety order This amendment has been made by Government and it delivers advice from fire safety operational experts to bring the Fire Safety Bill  into force on a single date for all buildings. This amendment also ensures that risk-based guidance, which will be issued by the Secretary of State, supports an all at once commencement of the Bill. By taking this approach, the Bill will commence as early as possible after Royal Assent, which means building owners or managers for the highest-risk buildings should take urgent action to update their fire risk assessments. Proof of compliance or a lack of compliance with the risk-based guidance can be used in legal proceedings. Duties of owner and manager This amendment seeks to include, in primary legislation, four new duties on building owners and/or managers. The fire at Grenfell Tower was a tragedy and we are working to ensure that it does not happen again. The Government is, and always has been, committed to delivering the recommendations made in the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report. This was a manifesto commitment. However, this amendment is unnecessary as the Government is already putting in place the building blocks to enshrine the Inquiry’s recommendations in law. Between July-October 2020, the Government undertook a three-month consultation exercise where views were sought on how to deliver the Inquiry’s recommendations and to strengthen the Fire Safety Order. Over 200 responses were received to the consultation. The Government is concerned that this amendment ignores over 200 responses received to our Fire Safety Consultation. Our approach has been supported by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council, among others, and it is crucial that we consult with experts to make sure the right changes are made and can be delivered. It is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that: The Government is going back on its commitment to deliver the Inquiry’s recommendations This amendment alone ensures that the Government acts on its commitment to deliver the Inquiry’s recommendations This amendment accelerates the timetable to deliver the Inquiry’s recommendations Public register of fire and risk assessments This amendment will mean that members of the general public will be able to access fire risk assessments for all buildings that the Fire Safety Order applies to. This includes residential buildings, schools, hospitals and prisons. The Government is concerned with the security issue this poses, particularly if this information is accessed by anyone with malicious intent, such as criminals and terrorists. The Government’s position is that information contained in a fire risk assessment should only be accessed by the residents who occupy that building or by others with a legitimate reason to view it, such as fire and rescue services. That is why our Fire Safety Consultation included proposals for building owners and/or managers (the “responsible person”) to provide vital fire safety information to residents, including the fire risk assessments on request. Prohibiting the costs of remediation being passed on to leaseholders  The Government supports the intention to protect leaseholders from remediation costs but disagree that the Fire Safety Bill is the right vehicle to address this issue. On 10th February, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a five-point plan to help protect hundreds of thousands of leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes. With an unprecedented £5 billion investment in building safety, (including £3.5 billion announced today (10 February),) the Housing Secretary has already confirmed to the House of Commons that the Government will fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres (six storeys) and over in England. This will ensure funding is targeted at the highest risk buildings in line with longstanding independent expert advice and evidence, with Home Office analysis of fire and rescue service statistics showing buildings between 18 and 30 metres are four times as likely to suffer a fire with fatalities or serious casualties than apartment buildings in general. Lower-rise buildings, with a lower risk to safety, will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal with a generous new scheme offered to buildings between 11 and 18 metres. This will pay for cladding removal – where it is needed – through a long-term, low interest, Government-backed financing arrangement. Under the scheme, no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding. This will provide reassurance and security to leaseholders, and mortgage providers can be confident that where cladding removal is needed, properties will be worth lending against. Further details on the Housing Secretary’s announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-bring-an-end-to-unsafe-cladding-with-multi-billion-pound-intervention 

Read More »

Mobile Mini installs life-saving defibrillators across 16 UK sites

Mobile Mini, one of the leading worldwide providers of portable accommodation and secure storage containers, has recently installed defibrillators at every one of its sites across the UK. This includes all branches, support centres and the company headquarters located in Stockton-on-Tees. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm of someone suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) who is unconscious, unresponsive or not breathing properly.  If required, it can send electric shocks to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm and is used in conjunction with CPR to treat cardiac arrest.  Mobile Mini employs approximately 370 members of staff in a variety of roles all over the UK. The business has built an incredible reputation for the quality of its solutions and products but never forgets that its people are the most valuable asset. The defibrillators that are now installed on the Mobile Mini sites are the Heartsine 360P models and are designed to provide fully automatic shocks as required. This model utilises a defibrillation method of biphasic waveform with impendence compensating and escalating energy. The pads are contained within a removable carry case and there is no need to plug into an external power supply. The equipment has mostly been installed in supervised areas and is kept on a secure hanger at an accessible height, so they are reachable by the disabled. Instructional steps are needed for an AED to be used effectively, but this is made easy with full-automation capability. Operation involves just two steps, turning the device on and sticking pads to the patient’s chest. The advanced technology within the AED monitors heart rhythm and then decides if to shock, when to shock and at what power to shock at. The equipment is capable of instructing users when it is required to deliver a shock, indicated by a green readiness light, and also talks through the entire process as it undertakes each step.  Staff training on using this equipment effectively is also set to be conducted soon, removing any confusion or stressful decision making in a potential emergency. The British Heart Foundation advises, that for every minute it takes a defibrillator to reach someone and deliver a shock, their chances of survival reduce by up to 10%. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest jumps from just 6% to 74% if a defibrillator is deployed within 3 minutes. Chris Watcham, Health and Safety Director at Mobile Mini UK says “We are very proud to say that life-saving equipment is now on-hand for every staff member at our branches all over the UK. Whilst purchasing a large quantity of defibrillators requires a significant investment, we understand how important this is. The well-being and safety of our employees, clients and customers remains our number one priority and we have begun exploring the procurement requirements for some clients who have expressed interest in following our lead.” The defibrillators have been provided to Mobile Mini by AADEFIB, a Lincolnshire based operation that has provided over 1000 of these life-saving machines to businesses and communities throughout the UK. Andrew Deptford who owns AADEFIB, says, “Emergencies can happen when least expected, so every company needs to take preventative steps seriously. These defibrillators are rugged, reliable and I consider them to be amongst the best value and most user-friendly machines available. They are built by the company that supplies around 70% of the UK’s Ambulance and First Responder crews. It is fantastic that Mobile Mini has rolled these out across all of their UK locations as this shows a genuine desire to provide the safest workplace imaginable.  It has been a pleasure dealing with the professionals at Mobile Mini.” In addition to ensuring the best possible environment is provided for its employees, Mobile Mini applies the same mindset towards supporting its suppliers, ensuring payments are made quickly and fairly, even throughout the recent unprecedented health crisis. The business has gone above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure all suppliers are paid faster than the industry average, with the majority receiving funds within 17 days over the last 12 months.

Read More »

How the UK construction industry is bouncing back

When the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown came into force in March 2020, every sector in the UK was caught off-guard, and non-more so than the construction industry. However, as the months progressed and construction was allowed to resume – albeit in a more streamlined way, the construction industry was able to if not bounce back, at least claw back some lost ground. The pandemic also revealed the need to accelerate initiatives and highlighted shortfalls within the sector. Most notably, the repatriation of migrant workers demonstrated the sector’s vulnerability to labour shortages and supply chain disruption. Supply chains The sudden imposition of lockdown measures highlighted how little stock construction sites and suppliers hold in the UK. From cement and paint shortages to timber holdups and multi use silicone sealant products such as caulk. While there have been calls to address the issue of precarious inventories, this is a difficult challenge to solve because much of the manufacturing capacity for construction materials has moved offshore, and given the ongoing complications with Brexit this will be a long-term issue. Repatriating elements of the supply chain will come at a cost and the industry need to be prepared to pay the additional expense of having local sourcing options if it wants a secure supply chain, which will of course impact the sectors overall growth. Commercial and residential projects The stripping back of project teams as a result of the pandemic revealed the potentially inefficient nature of many construction workforces. This realisation meant that rather than cutting construction jobs, it’s time to deploy them in a more efficient way, especially in large-scale commercial projects. Prior to the pandemic commercial construction centred heavily around office sector building, however, given that new figures suggest that fewer than one in five employees want to return to the office full-time, we could see a greater shift towards residential projects. As more people continue to work from home, new build sites could focus their attention on work from home set-ups as commuter villages become more popular. Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:  “The residential sector had been relatively immune to the effects of lockdowns and pandemic disruptions, but it too was beginning to show signs of weakness for the first time in over six months.” Growth forecasts In early 2021, the construction industry saw a 14.0% rise following an estimated contraction of 14.3% overall in 2020 caused by the sharp fall in the first half of last year. It’s also estimated that the output is only expected to recover to pre-Covid level in 2022. There is also a risk that one the furlough and self-employed support schemes end, there may be a sharp rise in unemployment that could potentially dampen this recovery. It’s not just potential unemployment and knock-on Covid pandemic that could affect growth, but delays in the supply chain.

Read More »

Should You Get a Whole House Humidifier?

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, from cheap, cartoon-shaped styles to expensive, massive machines. Did you know that you can actually have a humidifying component installed into your HVAC system? There are pros and cons to every type of humidifier. Find out which choice is right for you and your home. Adverse Effects of Dry Air There are many perks of whole house humidifiers. Firstly, you need to figure out if a humidifier is necessary for your environment. An easy way to test the humidity in your home is by purchasing a small detection device. These are usually inexpensive and can tell you the percentage of humidity in your space. Generally, you want the percentage to be around 30 to 50. After you exceed 50, the chances of mold growth greatly increase.  If you’re dealing with dry air under 30 percent humidity, you should look into upping the moisture in the air around you. Dry air can cause physical and structural effects, including:  Dry skin Irritated nasal passages Scratchy throat Chapped lips Respiratory issues Increased static Peeling wallpaper and paint Increased heat usage If you’re in a dry environment, the air will feel colder, prompting you to crank up the heat. This not only wastes more money and energy, but it also adds to the dryness in the air. If you’re feeling or noticing any of the above issues, it may be time to look into a humidifier.  Portable Vs. Whole House Humidifiers There are several different types of humidifiers, each with positive and negative attributes. Some of the most common include:  Central (or whole home) Cool mist (ultrasonic) Warm mist (evaporators or steam vaporizers) Combination (with air purification) With so many options on the market, it may be difficult to choose. You may have heard that portable humidifiers are prone to mold growth. This is one of the drawbacks of a separate machine. According to Stanford researchers, portable humidifiers need to be cleaned every three days. Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good.  Bacteria thrives in moist areas, and if your humidifier isn’t cleaned, it can turn into a breeding ground. If you choose a portable version, you must keep on top of maintenance. Otherwise, harmful mold spores can be released into the air. Mold can damage your health and property, sometimes more than dry air. Humidifier systems that are integrated into your HVAC system mitigate this risk. They often come with automatic regulated systems that detect the moisture in the air and adjust accordingly. While the whole house system still needs to be cleaned, you can do so annually rather than every three days.  Additional Humidifier Uses Dry air can affect many unexpected areas of your life. Along with the aforementioned negative effects, low humidity can lead to other issues. For instance, if you have musical instruments made of wood, wood flooring, or other valuable wood furniture, it can crack due to a lack of moisture. Furthermore, if you have trouble sleeping, white noise of a humidifier can help. Many people sleep with a white noise machine or fan. Why not use a central humidifier and work on alleviating other troublesome issues at the same time? There are many surprising benefits of adding moisture to the air. Just make sure you do so knowledgeably and maintain the integrity of your home and body.

Read More »