Short of ideas for Christmas presents? Join Building on a tour of the year's best products for inspiration.
And the best of the bunch …
a refreshing innovation from ventalu
On 5 May, the same issue that construction shots of the innovative Millennium Bridge adorned the cover of Building, one of the year's most innovative products found its way into Hansom. Ventalu launched a ventilated toilet seat to extract foul air direct from the toilet bowl. The product features a specially designed seat and hinge mechanism connected to a 12 V fan that can suck away "foul air" from inside the bowl, giving it no chance to escape into the atmosphere.

One-piece roof fastener
The March product pages featured Fixing Point's clip-fixing fastener for aluminium standing seam roofs. Called the Marutex Innox, the fastener is manufactured from heat-treated stainless steel. Its one-piece construction is said to eliminate stress corrosion, thread collapse and drill point separation.
Fixing Point

Insulated steel door
PC Henderson's steel-faced, insulated entrance door graced the product pages in January. The door features 23-gauge steel inner and outer skins and a CFC-free polyurethane foam core. It has an aluminium lock edge profile, said to give a high level of resistance to forced entry, is fitted with a three-point locking system and is said to have up to four times the thermal performance of timber.
PC Henderson

Light dimming system
February's new products included the launch of Ex-Or's dimming system, designed to generate a range of lighting effects that can be programmed at the touch of a button. The manufacturer claims that the SceneSelect can be installed in existing lighting circuits without the addition of extra wiring.

Electric log fire
In April, an inset electric log fire, the Limoges, found its way on to the product pages. The fire was designed by Berry for hotels and country pubs and comes with a case. It is finished in black with a brass-effect ash pan handle, while the fire effect of flickering flames can be run independently of the 2 kW fan heater.

Fluorescent tube disposal unit
May saw the products pages turn green. Readers were introduced to the Tubeater, an electrically powered unit that will dispose of a defunct fluorescent tube in about two seconds. Manufactured by Unic International, the product is powered by electricity and separates the tube into glass and metal in a replaceable bag, which will hold the remains of up to 80 tubes. A filtration system absorbs the mercury vapour from the tubes.
Unic International

Fixed fabric panels
In June, Levolux introduced a range of fixed fabric panels to control glare and provide protection against solar gain. The panels are made from a fibreglass-based fabric with a PVC coating, which comes in a variety of colours, for durability and ease of maintenance. The manufacturer claims that, by providing shade, the blinds can help reduce air-conditioning costs.

Ozone generator
Anticipating a hot and sultry summer, July's product pages set out to ensure that conditions in the washroom, at least, would be pleasant. Warner Howard Hygiene Division's O-Zone World is an ozone generator that produces activated oxygen by passing a high-voltage electrical discharge through the air, to create the same effect as an electrical storm. The manufacturer claims that the generator will act as both a deodoriser and disinfectant by killing 99.9% of all bacteria.
Warner Howard Hygiene Division

Fleece-backed roof membrane
August saw a seaside montage on the cover of Building. Cutting through the illusion of lazy summer days relaxing on the beach, the product pages featured a fleece-backed roofing system "suitable for windy environments". The membrane, which Stevens Roofing Systems claims as a world first, can be installed directly on to concrete, fibreboard or polyurethane.
Stevens Roofing Systems

Colourful tiles
With "Red Ken" on the cover in September, the product pages continued the colour theme with Pilkington's Tiles' collection of 45 plain coloured tiles in gloss and satin finishes. The tiles are available in bright green and yellow, among other colours, in a number of sizes, including 200 × 200 mm, 200 × 100 mm and 152 × 152 mm. The tiles are also available in red.
Pilkington's Tiles

Exterior luminaires
In October, the product pages featured a range of exterior luminaires from Abacus Lighting. The street lighting is claimed to be suitable for both modern and traditional settings and includes a wall-mounted version as well as a post-mounted option.
Abacus Lighting

Modular chimney
November's products included Kedddy-Poujoulat's modular factory-made chimney. The chimney can be installed in locations where the weight of a traditional chimney would be too great, or where space is restricted. It provides a decorative finish for a steel flue or an outlet for a ducted extract system. The unit is manufactured from stainless steel and zinc-coated steel and can be finished in smooth or textured render or with a brick finish in a choice of colours. The manufacturer claims that the chimney top can be installed in one day by two men.

WAP weather forecast
And finally … will it be a white Christmas? The Met Office has launched a new mobile phone weather forecast service called Time&Place, which means that contractors can find out what the weather will be like on site at the press of a button. The system can be used to plan around the weather up to five days in advance. For more up-to-date information, contractors can have an hourly update on their WAP handset or via text messages.
Met Office