Congratulations to Mick Dixon for receiving Inland Homes Tradesman of the month award!
Congratulations to Mick Dixon for receiving Inland Homes Tradesman of the month award!
Passive fire protection (PFP) is an essential component of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. PFP attempts to contain a fire or prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the building by the use of fire-resistant walls, floors and doors. A fire protection system for any building will have the following:
Any surface that is used for fire resistance is required to have a fire rating. Surfaces are rated by being fire tested where surfaces are exposed to temperatures upwards of 1100°C. Many of these tests are undertaken to test the survivability of the surfaces under realistic conditions.
A lot of Passive Fire Protection systems use many different materials in the design and construction of their systems. Most common endothermic building materials include calcium silicate board, concrete and gypsum wallboard. During fire testing, concrete slabs have been known to emit water as they boil and gypsum commonly loses all its strength when exposed to fire. The use of endothermic materials is established and proven to be sound engineering practice. The chemically bound water inside these materials sublimes. During this process, the unexposed side cannot exceed the boiling point of water. Once the hydrates are spent, the temperature on the unexposed side of an endothermic fire barrier tends to rise rapidly. Too much water can be a problem, however. Concrete slabs that are too wet, will literally explode in a fire, which is why test laboratories insist on measuring water content of concrete and mortar in fire test specimens, before running any fire tests.
PFP measures also include the use of intumescent (a substance that swells under heat exposure) or ablative materials. Any of these surfaces on their own would not be effective against exposure to fire and so need to be organised into a highly effective system that is subject to rigorous testing at multiple times.
Passive Fire Protection is designed to contain the fire in its place of origin, preventing the spread of fire and smoke for a limited amount of time. Firestops, fire walls and fire doors undergo the above-mentioned fire testing and fire resistance is usually determined in how many hours these particularly materials can contain the fire for. Their certification will provide the limitations that are present with these materials.
Unlike Active Fire Protection, Passive Fire Protection does not usually involve any form of activation or degree of motion with the exception of fire dampers and fire door closers which must move, open and shut in order to function as well as all intumescent products which rely on swelling to operate effectively.
There are mainly two types of Passive Fire Protection; intumescent and vermiculite. With vermiculite protection, the structural steel members are covered in a thick layer of hydrous phyllosilicate mineral that undergoes significant expansion when heated. This is a cheaper option to the intumescent materials but is not aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, if the environment is corrosive, then the vermiculite is not advisable as there is a possibility of water seeping into it and will make it difficult to monitor corrosion. Intumescent fire protection is a layer of paint with a coating system along the structural steel members. The thickness of this coating depends on the steel section used. Intumescent coating is relatively low in thickness which makes it more pleasing to the eye and produces a nice finish with an anti-corrosive nature.
In the event of a fire in a building, the steel structure will eventually collapse once the steel hits its critical core temperature of around 550°C. Passive fire protection will delay this by creating a layer between the steel and the fire. This can potentially add another 2 hours to the integrity of the structure saving lives and damage to property inside the building.
If you require a competent fully accredited fire protection company, you have just found it! Broadsword Fire Protection LTD welcomes your enquiries.
NICE has published guidance, ‘Indoor air quality at home’, arguing that since we spend 90 per cent of our lives inside, poor air quality within our structures is an imminent risk to everyone’s health. The document issues recommendations to a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, healthcare professionals, and ventilation specialists.
Mr Macklin, group technical director at Elta Group, commented: “There has been significant research into the impact of bad air quality in our buildings, especially as the insulation of structures reduces levels of natural ventilation. Sick building syndrome has made an unwelcome return and the link between CO2 and concentration levels in schools is alarming.
“However, it is in homes that we spend most of our time – about 60 per cent according to NICE’s guidelines – and it is crucial that we raise awareness of the problems associated with bad domestic air quality. We are at a critical juncture and as emerging technologies equip us with means to make our homes healthier, we have a responsibility to do so.”
The guidelines emphasise the full range of this culpability, identifying opportunities for local authorities to understand the sources and symptoms of poor indoor air quality and what actions to take should they encounter it. It also contains advice for healthcare professionals, highlighting those who are most at risk and suggesting practical steps to overcome the adverse effects of pollutants.
However, it is in the building, renovating and refurbishing of homes that there is the greatest opportunity to action change.
Mr Macklin concluded: “Ventilation manufacturers must work closely with architects, designers, builders and developers to ensure homes are provided with the best solutions. From product design through to installation, the focus must be on adopting a whole-house approach to heating and ventilation, taking energy efficiency into account while striving for optimum air quality.
“As we strive to eliminate the major sources of pollutants in the outside world, we must do everything we can to make our homes a healthy sanctuary, and take an intelligent approach to implementing effective ventilation.”
Air sealing is the process of restricting air movement through tiny cracks and gaps in your business or residential property. When you run heating or ventilation in your home this builds pressure. If leaks and gaps are present it can transfer conditioned air to the outside reducing efficiency. Air leakage can account for around 30% of heating costs. Air sealing prevents the loss of this conditioned air by filling in the tiny cracks and gaps.
A massive amount of energy is wasted due to the air leaking from cracks, holes and gaps at your property. This can cause several issues including increased risk of condensation and cause health risks caused by damp and drafts. Broadsword can work with you to inspect and plan the repair of these cracks and gaps to ensure your property is airtight. Doing so can also have a monetary savings on your heating bills as air sealing is proven to reduce energy costs.
How Air Leakage Affects your business or residential property?
Air leakage not only affects energy loss but also contributes to property deterioration. Obvious air leakages will be easy to spot and easily resolved; however, hidden air leakages are the root problem and can be harder to find and treat. Air that leaks must be replaced and is usually drawn in from the ground. If you don’t have an effective vapour barrier, moisture can be absorbed causing mould development, water damage or animal infestations. Moisture can enter your property using the tiniest gaps. This can aid in the damage of your properties foundations.
How to Air Seal your Home?
Here is a brief breakdown of how a home is air sealed:
What are the Benefits of Air Sealing?
To book an inspection with our fully qualified and insured team contact Broadsword on 02380 675 888. The team will be able to talk through your concerns and arrange an inspection at your commercial or residential property.
We are proud to announce that we have launched a new Fire Protection Arm of the Company.
Broadsword are experts in fire protection and are FIRAS accredited.
Most companies do not realise that they need fire protection and if they do, they don’t know where they can get it.
Broadsword Fire Protection LTD can make sure that your building is protected from fire, we can also retrospectively assist with existing buildings.
Building regulations outline the need for large buildings to be divided into compartments and specifies the level of fire performance the compartment walls and floors need to achieve in order to preserve both building structure and life through fire and smoke containment.
In most buildings, mechanical and electrical services by necessity breach compartment walls and floors allowing failure of integrity and insulation to occur where gaps around services have not been adequately fire stopped. The use of correctly installed certified fire stopping systems will contain a fire at its source and limit the risk of the destruction caused by the spread of fire and the release of toxic gasses.
If you require a competent fully accredited fire protection company, you have just found it!
Broadsword Fire Protection LTD welcomes your enquiries.
The government has published a consultation paper with proposals setting a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Band B by 2030 for privately rented buildings.
Alongside this, the government promises to consult in 2020 on introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for business buildings.
The move come in response to recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) earlier this year and extensive lobbying by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).
UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said: “Today’s announcement is most encouraging, as we have long called for more ambitious policies to improve the energy performance of our commercial buildings. It is also a welcome complement to the government’s recently announced plans to strengthen energy efficiency standards for new homes – and shows that they are finally understanding the importance of tackling buildings emissions as we strive to meet our climate targets.
“By signalling a long-term Band B target for rented commercial buildings, the government is providing welcome certainty, which will help underpin businesses’ energy improvement plans and the supporting investment decisions. As the market has already shown, minimum standards for rented buildings can have a transformative effect on their performance.
“We are also pleased to see the government at last acknowledging the importance of mandatory operational energy ratings for commercial buildings. There is strong evidence from the Australian NABERS scheme, amongst others, that mandatory operational ratings can radically drive down energy use and reduce emissions. The best-performing business buildings in Melbourne use between five and six times less energy than their London equivalents.”
Source: The Construction Index
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report calls for the proposed one-year visa for ‘low-skilled’ workers to be extended to two years.
It also recommends that non-UK born workers entering the UK on a ‘low skilled’ visa be allowed to transition to a ‘high-skilled’ visa while working in the UK – train to remain.
And it proposes an ‘umbrella sponsorship’ scheme to allow self-employed non-UK workers to obtain the necessary employment sponsorship.
The CITB’s research found that 61% of migrants say they would choose to move from a ‘low’ to a ‘high’ skilled visa while continuing to work in the UK, and that 70% of employers of non-UK born construction workers see the ‘low skilled’ visa for people with level 2 qualifications as unsuitable for their businesses
The research report, Migration and Construction, finds that just 3% of construction employers have the necessary experience in handling visa applications, with two-thirds saying that the process is difficult.
Under the new post-Brexit immigration system – due to be introduced in January 2021 – employers will have to learn how to navigate the bureaucracy of visa applications for all foreign workers.
CITB policy director Steve Radley said: “Migrant workers have long played a key role in the UK’s construction sector. They make up 14% of the construction workforce, a percentage that rises to 54% in London. They give employers the flexibility to respond quickly to skills needs.
“Employers are raising real concerns about the future 12 month visa scheme. They want to see it extended to 24 months, and for workers to be given the opportunity to ‘train to remain’. A new scheme must additionally be put in place to enable self-employed migrants to work in the sector.
“It’s important that construction has the breathing space to adjust to new changes. CITB will work closely with Government to see that a simple, flexible migration system is put in place to support employers’ skills requirements, while industry grows its domestic workforce.”
Contractors have backed the recommendations
Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), said: “The construction and infrastructure sectors have been facing a looming skills gap for some years, and it is deeply concerning that after the UK has left the European Union restrictions may be put in place to prevent non-UK born workers contributing to our industry.
“Currently, non-UK born workers account for 14% of UK construction’s workforce, rising to 54% in London.
“Industry is in the process of moving towards recruiting an extra 44,000 British-based people in construction by 2025 to meet projected demand.
“However for UK construction to achieve this goal while delivering the significant pipeline of projects the UK government has planned, those who currently contribute to our industry and the economic and social wellbeing of us all must be given the opportunity to continue to do so. That’s why we are calling on the government to take steps to ensure industry is ready for the post-Brexit migration landscape, by extending the period in which existing non-UK born workers are able to ‘train to remain.’
“Employers in the construction sector are actively working to grow the domestic workforce, but it will take time to do so. Unless the UK government changes its position, industry will be hamstrung in the immediate post-Brexit period, to the detriment of its ability to drive growth and deliver for the UK economy.”
Souce: The Construction Index
In the second quarter of 2019 new build dwelling starts in England are estimated at 37,220 units (seasonally adjusted), which is a 2% decrease compared to the first quarter and 8% down year-on-year.
New house-building starts are 24% below their peak in Q1 2007 but 117% per cent above the trough Q1 of 2009.
According to the numbers released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, annual new build dwelling starts totalled 160,640 in the year to 30th June 2019, a 1% decrease on the previous.
During the same period, completions reached 173,660 in the year to June, an increase of 8% on the previous year.
Secretary of state for housing Robert Jenrick preferred to focus on the rise in completions rather than the fall in starts. “The data released today is hugely welcome, with the number of new homes built reaching an 11-year high,” he said. “We are moving in the right direction, but there is still much more to do if we are going to deliver the numbers needed by communities up and down the country.”
Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consultant McBains, said: “Today’s figures show the amount of new homes being started or completed are still nowhere near the number required to meet the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.
“Brexit uncertainty continues to bite, with many housebuilding projects on hold until the picture on the UK withdrawal from the EU becomes clearer, while the weak pound means the high cost of imported materials is holding back construction.
“Demand for housing is far outstripping supply, but today’s figures prove there is still no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of solving the housing crisis.”
Source: The Construction Index
The Future Homes Standard will see polluting fossil fuel heating systems such as gas boilers banned from new homes from 2025 and replaced with clean technology such as air source heat pumps and solar panels.
Views are being sought on how changes to building regulations can drive down the carbon footprint of homes built after 2025 – including changes to the ventilation and efficiency requirements, as well as the role of councils in getting the best energy standards from developers. The consultation1 runs until January 2020.
A further consultation on the Future Homes Standard will follow in the coming months, proposing changes to the energy efficiency standards for non-domestic buildings and for building work to existing homes and non-domestic buildings; and on preventing overheating in buildings.
Ministers will also consult on an overhaul of the planning system, with a green paper to be published next month.
The government has also announced plans for a new national design code – every local authority will be expected to produce its own design guide specifying the local architectural vernacular within the framework of the new national standard.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Building new homes isn’t just about bricks and mortar, I want to ensure everyone – including developers – do their bit to protect the environment and give the next generation beautiful, environmentally friendly homes that local communities can support.
“That’s why I am requiring carbon emissions are cut by up to 80% from 2025 for all new homes and have published a National Design Guide, setting out simply what we expect from new development.
“We are also reforming the planning system making it faster and more efficient for everyone, from households to large developers, alongside giving families greater freedom to extend their homes to meet their changing needs.”
John Alker, director of policy at the UK Green Building Council, said: “With the UK now legally bound to deliver net zero carbon emissions across the economy by 2050, as a nation we can no longer avoid the crucial role that new homes play in helping to meet this target. This announcement sets out a new and extremely welcome level of ambition from the government, which should see a significant improvement in carbon reductions from new homes in 2020, and important clarity on further improvement in 2025.
“It is also encouraging to see a recognition from government of the importance of clarity for businesses in the construction sector. By setting out a ‘roadmap’ towards the Future Homes Standard in 2025, this should provide confidence in the direction of travel. Many in the industry are still scarred by the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes and Zero Carbon Homes policy in 2015, so government must learn lessons from that, and be absolutely rock solid in its commitment to this agenda.
“There is much work still to do on the detail of these announcements, and there are further challenges ahead associated with addressing the performance gap, unregulated energy and the embodied carbon of new developments. But at long last it appears as though we are heading in the right direction.”
Source: The Construction Index
Care homes, where some of the most vulnerable people in society live, are believed to be at an increased risk of fire, with three in five care home workers admitting to serious concerns.
The new research released today marks the launch of Fire Door Safety Week (23-29th September).
The study, which was conducted among 1,000 current and former care-home employees, found three quarters believe more could be done to prevent or manage a fire, with three in five workers having reported fire safety concerns.
Over half of those surveyed say that unsatisfactory action was taken as a result of reporting their concerns.
A “worrying lack of clarity” is also identified, with nearly half (47%) saying they did not understand the role a fire door plays in keeping a fire contained for a specified time, while over eight in 10 (82%) admitted to deliberately keeping a fire door open.
Almost three quarters (72%) said they had witnessed or were aware of fire doors being tampered with, including removing the door closer to make doors easier to open.
According to the report, not only does this make the door closer redundant, when combined with other adjustments it could leave the fire door not fit for purpose in the event of a fire.
Fire doors placed on the market should withstand fire for 30 minutes and have test evidence to validate this.
However, respondents said that on average it would take 25 minutes to evacuate the care home where they worked, with a quarter saying it would take longer than 30 minutes.
Today’s research marks the start of Fire Door Safety Week, which this year focusses on the role that fire doors play in protecting people while asleep and at their most vulnerable – principally in specialised housing such as care homes, children’s homes and sheltered housing as well as houses in multiple occupation and communal properties.
Numerous events and campaign activities are being held throughout to help landlords, tenants, and anyone with an interest in or responsibility for fire safety at a property.
Helen Hewitt, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation, which organises Fire Door Safety Week, said: “These highly concerning findings underline how crucial fire safety is, and the fundamental role that fire doors play – especially so in light of recent instances of damaging care home fires which have threatened the lives of residents.
“Evacuation strategies in care homes are very specialised, accounting for the fact that many residents will need assistance.
“These strategies rely on the ability of fire doors to perform their function in holding back fire and smoke to allow adequate time for rescue.”
She added: “We all need to feel protected inside buildings, and especially so when we are asleep. Care homes and other specialised housing provide a living place for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“The companies and other operators that run and maintain them have a responsibility to ensure their residents’ safety – and as an industry we need to continue to provide our expert support to ensure the correct specification, installation, and ongoing maintenance of fire doors.
“We hope that through raising awareness during Fire Door Safety Week, lives will be saved through a reappraisal of fire doors and safety arrangements in multiple occupancy buildings.”
Source: 24 housing