Some of the latest products to hit the market include an innovative range of steel cable gear, blastproof prefabs that protect against terrorist attack and the radiator valve that silences noisy heating pipes
Steel cable accessories
German steel cable specialist Carl Stahl has added several products to its I-SYS range of architectural hardware. These include the F50, a threaded stud attached to a stainless steel cable. This is designed to make attaching steel cable to load-bearing members easier. A ball-and-socket joint has been launched to simplify constructing stair balustrades; the joint accommodates any stair pitch up to 60º without the need for purpose-made cable terminals. Carl Stahl has also introduced its "green facade" system, a stainless steel cable trellis structure for climbing plants, available as a kit.
Carl Stahl 301

Impact-resistant doorset
Glass-reinforced, plastic door specialist Therma-Tru has introduced a secure doorset called Secur-Tru for public sector and housing association projects. The company says the doors conform to the requirements of PAS 23 and 24 exterior door specifications, a police and local authority standard for burglary resistance, and has an impact resistance 10 times greater than steel, and five times that of wood. The doors incorporate a carbon steel mesh within the polyurethane core; the outer parts of the door have extra-thick sections, and the frame features steel reinforcement.
Therma-Tru 302

Wire-free CCTV
A colour wireless CCTV camera has been developed by home security specialist Micromark. The company says the system is easy to install as there are no wires, and the user can view the image on their television set. The camera's transmission has a range of 100 m if the television is in sight of the camera, or 20 m if the signal has to pass through two brick walls.
Micromark 303

Nail-free building adhesive
Laybond has added a nail-free fixing to its Gripfill range of building adhesives. It is a solvent-free, gap-filling adhesive available as a 250 ml squeezable tube and a 310 ml cartridge. The company says it has excellent initial grab, forming a high strength bond between materials including wood, plasterboard, ceramic, most plastics and brick. Its gap-filling properties also mean uneven surfaces can be bonded. 304

One-piece shower for fewer leaks
Douglas James has launched what it claims is a leak-free, one-piece shower pod. The shower unit is cast from a polymer-bound stone material and comes complete with glass doors and screens. Several models are available, including the Vision Plus, a 1100 mm wide pod featuring a large sliding door and soap shelf, and the Vision Quad that has a curved glass screen and sliding door. The company says the showers are suitable for the domestic, leisure and hotel markets.
Douglas James 305

Colour blinds
Opening rooflight specialist Velux has launched a range of blinds to go with its products. More than 160 colours are available in pleated, venetian, roller and blackout versions. The blackout, or siesta, blind is also available as a battery-powered motorised version, operated by remote control.
Velux 306

Fire protection for downlighters
A protection cover called Firecap to prevent fire from breaching fire-rated ceilings through downlighters has been launched by Aico. The company says unless fire-rated downlighters are fitted, the integrity of a ceiling is compromised. Aico says the Firecap is easily fitted over a downlighter without the need for screws, drilling or sealants. Holes for cables and ventilation slots to enable heat to escape from the lamp are provided. In the event of a fire, the intumescent product swells up and blocks the holes. It is claimed to offer 60 minutes of fire resistance.
Aico 307

No-glare luminaire
Zumtobel Staff Lighting has collaborated with Sottsass Associati to develop a luminaire called Light Fields. It features a "micro-pyramidal optic" that is claimed to eliminate direct lamp glare without any loss of luminance. The company says this means desks can be positioned anywhere in a room without glare affecting computer screens. The luminaire is available in surface-mounted, recessed and pendant versions.
Zumtobel Staff Lighting 309

Compact condensing boiler
Atmos Heating Systems has added 15 kW output condensing boiler called the N15 to its Compact range. The company says the launch is in response to better insulated homes. The boiler offers an output between 3.9 kW and 15.3 kW and is available in two versions, a system boiler suitable for central heating and heating an indirect hot water tank, and central heating only. The boiler has an efficiency rating of A, can accept an external weather compensation sensor and a flue of up to 100 m long.
Atmos Heating Systems 310

Valve to stop pipes banging
Danfoss Randall has developed a new type of thermostatic radiator valve called Revolver that is designed to eliminate the problem of "water hammer" in bi-directional valves. Bi-directional valves allow plumbers to fit TRVs without having to determine the direction water flows through the valve. The company says in a small number of cases "water hammer", or loud banging in the central heating pipes, is a problem with this type of valve. The Revolver is fitted with a plastic collar within the valve body that, when turned, reverses the flow of water within the valve, which is said to eliminate the problem.
Danfoss Randall 308

Blastproof prefabs

Current world events will almost certainly ensure steel giant Corus’ new blastproof modular construction system will be a roaring success. The company says it has successfully tested the system, called Surefast, against most types of attack including shells, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and even truck bombs. It is suitable for military and government buildings and offices for companies that are concerned about the safety of their staff. The system might even find a niche market for private individuals’ homes. Surefast is based on prefabricated panels that are fixed together on site to form the outer walls of a building. Each panel consists of two sheets of steel held apart by steel bar connectors. The gap between these steel faceplates is filled with concrete after the walls are constructed. The panels are delivered with openings for windows and doors already formed, and can be specified up to a maximum of 2 m wide × 18 m high. Typically each panel is 216 mm deep, and each steel faceplate 8 mm thick with a 200 mm gap in the middle, although thicker sections are available. Construction starts by erecting special corner sections on a conventional foundation. Then panels are joined to the corner sections, and to each other using a quick fixing method – the company claims it takes less than five minutes to join two panels. Pre-fitted bolts are tightened to bend the two outer edges of the steel faceplates together. This enables the edge of each panel to slot inside its neighbour. The bolt is loosened so the edges of the panel flex and lock the panels together by friction. Panels can also be joined on top of each other to create high-rise buildings. When the middle of the panels have been filled by concrete the structure achieves its full strength. Once the walls are built, either steel or concrete floors are attached to fixing points on the inner surface of the panel. The outside of the panels can be insulated and clad conventionally, and the interior just painted or lined with plaster or plasterboard.

Movers and makers

  • Plumbing products manufacturer Geberit has rebranded its drainage products as Geberit Terrain and launched a new pricing strategy. The aim is to simplify the complex pricing of most construction products, whereby builders merchants sell the products at a discount from the recommended price then claim a rebate back from the manufacturer. The company will now sell its products with a lower recommended price, without a discount or rebate.
  • The Construction Products Association’s latest trade survey shows its members are optimistic about the prospects for 2003. The survey shows manufacturers and suppliers saw estimated sales growth in 2002 of between 3% and 4%, with many members expecting further growth in 2003 of more than 5%. The CPA warns further growth is dependant on the government fulfilling its promises on investment in infrastructure and buildings.
  • Security and access control products manufacturer Ring-Gard has launched an operation dedicated to loading bay and industrial door applications. This will combine a range of products with a design service and a nationwide installation and service network.
  • Construction industry software provider Computer Systems for Business, author of COINS software, is looking for teams to enter the COINS Three Peaks Challenge on 31 May-1 June. Entrants are challenged to climb the three highest mountains in the UK and raise £5000 for international humanitarian charity CARE. Each entry will consist of five to seven people plus a two-person support crew. The CARE challenge team is offering help and advice on training, equipment and fundraising.
  • Timber frame manufacturer Robertson Timber Products has started work on building a £5m manufacturing plant to supplement its existing facility. The company say the 32,000 m2 plant will increase its production capacity by 400% and enable it to cover the whole UK market. The factory is scheduled for completion in July.
  • European heating manufacturer Wolf is set to expand its product range in the UK following a deal with Shropshire-based Wolf-Flow. The products will be tailored to the UK market and include boilers, hot water cylinders, solar panels, unit heaters and control systems.