In this month’s regulatory special, we have gadgets to help keep your building ventilated, insulated, protected from fire and safe from hazards. Plus, all the latest industry news
Power-free circular ventilation grille
Natural ventilation specialist Passivent has added two products to its portfolio. Its Passive Stack Ventilation humidity sensitive extract is now available as a circular grille as well as the existing rectangular version. It doesn’t need any power as it circulates air using natural air movement and humidity. The company says it is 25% smaller than the previous product, yet offers 25% more free ventilation area when open. Passivent has also introduced circular extracts to its range of assisted ventilation systems.
Radon gas-proof cavity tray
Cavity tray manufacturer Z-Led has introduced a tray that protects against radon gas and damp, and can be used over most proprietary lintels. Called Multi-Crease, the polypropylene cavity tray is supplied with integral creases that can be folded to suit the particular application and then mortared into position. It can also be used as a continuous cavity tray at ground or parapet level, or as a radon barrier. It is suitable for cavities between 50 and 100 mm wide and is supplied on 25 m rolls in widths of up to 680 mm, with a maximum of six creases.
Steel fire wall system
Composite panel specialist Eurobond has launched a system called Performa intended for creating fire compartments. The panel consists of two metal faces, developed by steel giant Corus, and a Rockwool mineral fibre core. The company says the system offers up to two hours’ fire resistance and meets all the requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations, which relates to fire safety.
LED fire alarm
Sound and visual alarms specialist Klaxon has added an LED beacon to its Sonus range of multipurpose fire alarm sounders. Klaxon says the product, called DC Sonus, uses significantly less electricity than traditional xenon illuminated beacons. Two versions are available – deep or shallow base. Both versions have a choice of 32 tones and are available in red or white.
Fire-retardant timber staircase
Joinery specialist Jeld-Wen has launched what it claims is the UK's first fire retardant timber staircase to be generally available. The company says it has perfected a special factory treatment that allows staircases to retain their integrity for either 30 or 60 minutes depending on the type and use of the staircase. The fire-retardant coating used on the staircases is described as “environmentally friendly” and is available in a choice of colours.
Double-height air brick
Rytons has added a larger version of its Multifix air brick to its range of ventilation products.
The air brick is 215 mm long and 150 mm high – twice the height of the company’s existing product. The air bricks can be fitted together to create larger ventilation openings in cavity walls. The product is compatible with the company's other products and is available in buff, terracotta, white and dark blue.
Snakeskin safety flooring
Flooring and walling specialist Altro has brought out a new version of its Imprint range of safety flooring. It includes new design elements, such as a snakeskin-effect finish, and is intended for public areas including receptions, corridors and cafes where appearance is as important as non-slip properties. The product has a raised pattern and a choice of three finishes.
Fastening system for membrane roofs
SFS Intec has developed a fastening system for use with roofing company Sarnafil’s insulated membrane roofing system. SFS Intec says the product, called Sarnafast Tube System, offers an effective thermal break and 30% greater resistance to wind uplift than the current system. This means that installers can comply with Part L of the Building Regulations using fewer fasteners. The system consists of SFS Intec’s screws pre-attached to a low heat conductivity nylon telescopic tube.
G Fire-rated insulation
Kingspan Insulation has launched two insulated dry-lining boards with rigid phenolic foam insulation. Kooltherm K17 bonds to walls using adhesive plaster and Kooltherm K18 is intended for mechanical fixing. The products replace Kooltherm TW52 and TW56 insulating boards, which used rigid urethane insulation. The company says the insulating core of the new products offers a Class 0 fire rating and a smoke obscuration rating of less than 5%.
Movers and makers
- British Standards Institution has launched a standard: BS 9251:2005 Sprinkler systems for residential and domestic occupancies. Code of practice. It provides recommendations for the design, installation, components, water supplies and backflow protection of residential sprinkler systems. It also contains information on commissioning and maintenance. BSI has also published a publicly available specification called PAS 79 Fire risk assessment. Guidance and a recommended methodology. It is intended to help building occupiers to carry out fire risk assessments as required by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations.
- Block manufacturer Topblock has announced that independent tests show its Topcrete RPW slimline party wall block achieves airborne sound reduction of 49 dB, well above the 43 dB required by Part E of the Building Regulations. The block is 190 mm thick, whereas conventional cavity party walls are typically 275 mm thick.
- A discrepancy between BS8300:2001 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people and Approved Document M, the Building Regulation dealing with access has been resolved, according to handrail specialist Handrail Design. Confusion has arisen because Part M stipulates handrails should be between 40 and 45 mm, BS8300 stipulates between 40 and 50 mm and the industry standard for non-domestic handrails is 50 mm. Handrail Design says it has seen a document from the ODPM confirming Part M will be changed to read “a circular handrail should have a diameter of at least 40 mm but not greater than 50 mm”.
- Independent sound testing company Robust Details has added four Robust Standard Details to the existing 14. The use of the approved details is an alternative to post-completion acoustic testing of new homes. The details are: E-WM-7 masonry separating wall – aircrete thin joint blockwork (render and gypsum–based board finish); E-WS-3 steel frame separating wall – modular steel frame housing; E-FC-3 precast concrete plank separating floor with floating screed; and E-FC-4 precast concrete plank separating floor with Thermal Economics IsoRubber system and floating screed.
- The Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre has published a free step-by-step guide to implementing hand-arm vibration management under the new Hand-Arm Vibration Regulations. It includes advice on risk assessment strategy, risk reduction techniques, the purchase or hire of low vibration plant and an explanation of why there is no effective personal protective equipment.