This month's social housing special focuses on products that will make your scheme safe, secure, attractive and easy to build – plus there's a look at how an Islington housing association got out of a tight spot, and prefab goes underground
Sliding window and door range
Technal's GXi sliding window and balcony door is now available in the UK. The system was first specified in the UK on the Yorkon Sixth Avenue housing scheme in York, completed last year, and is now being rolled out across the country. Technal says that 41 mm sight lines maximise light penetration and a 9 mm polyamide thermal break ensures the system performs in line with Part L of the Building Regulations. Profiles can either be flat-faced for a crisp appearance or curved, and there is the option of single or dual colours. Configurations range from a simple two-leaf system to a multi-panel sliding patio door or window or two tracks.
Technal 900

Prefab units for Tower Hamlets flats
East Thames Housing Group is currently craning Yorkon's steel modular units into position at a 30-home development at Aberfeldy Estate in Tower Hamlets. The factory-built modules come complete with bathrooms, kitchens, tiling, heating, electrics and balconies, hoped to result in better quality and a shorter build time. The Stanford Eatwell & Associates-designed development will be six storeys high and will feature steel cross-bracing, rainscreen cladding and terracotta rendering.
Yorkon 901

Soundproofing for ventilation
Rytons has launched a background ventilator called the Acoustic Airliner, which has added acoustic soundproofing for noise reduction. The ventilator contains Ryton's Multifix Air Brick, Acoustic Airliner and adjustable Hit & Miss Ventilator with Flyscreen. Acoustic panels provide the Acoustic Airliner with the acoustic performance. Three or four acoustic panels can be inserted into the Acoustic airliner, which the company says will provide a performance of 35 dB and 36 dB respectively.
Rytons 902

Battery-powered thermostats
Danfoss has introduced a range of programmable room thermostats. The TP7000 series replaces the existing TP75 range. Danfoss says the new thermostats are slimmer and have a larger LCD display. The battery-powered TP7000 is a seven-day programmable room thermostat with a weekday and weekend programming option that allows up to six time and temperature changes a day. There is also a mains-powered version, the TP7000M, which is designed for the commercial market.
Danfoss 903

London housing gets wire-free heating
The London borough of Newham is fitting Honeywell's wireless programmable heating controllers in its housing stock. The council is replacing electrical heating with gas-fired systems consisting of combination boilers and a control system made up of the CM67 RF programmable thermostat, Honeywell VT200 radiator thermostats and a Honeywell DU145 automatic bypass valve. The CM67 RF uses a radio link, which Honeywell says cuts down on cost and installation time.
Honeywell 904

Connector for I-beam flooring
Cullen Building Products and engineers TimberSolve have together developed the Universal I-Joist hanger, designed for I-beam floor installation. The UI connector is able to transfer loads without the need to first fit backer blocks or web stiffeners to the joists. Cullen says that the UI hanger makes I-beam floor installation quicker, simpler and more robust. The UI only requires one size of nail and has been independently load-tested and approved.
Cullen Building Products 905

Water-flow control taps
Pegler Hattersley has launched a new range of taps with water-saving flow controls. The Visio-Tek 877V basin mixer saves up to 75% in water and fuel costs. Movement sensors activate the flow of water from the new 855V Electronic Basin and 866V Electronic wall-mounted basins. The flow stops when movement is no longer detected. Both basins are designed for use with pre-mixed water. Pegler Hattersley says the mixer tap has a robust design that will deter vandals.
Pegler Hattersley 906

Door-frame mouldings
British-based BLP has started manufacturing internal door-frame mouldings from profile-cut MDF sections wrapped with veneer or PVC foils. The MDF moulded sections are produced to customers' specifications, wrapped with a choice of wood veneer or PVC and supplied as 3 m lengths or cut to size and drilled for installation on site. The doorsets are moulded into architrave sections, doorstops and door casings, and can be produced to a range of profiles. Standard veneer wraps include white oak, seamed beech, cherry, maple, ash and sapele, pre-sanded and laquered if required.
BLP 913

Newport housing fits Aico alarms
Aico is supplying mains-powered Ei261 Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms for Newport-based Charter Housing Association. The association is initially fitting alarms in 1100 properties, which have conventional or open flue gas appliances. Aico says Charter HA specified the alarm because it had two sources of power supply: from the mains and a back-up rechargeable Lithium cell.
Aico 914

Super-secure door range
Fibreglass door manufacturer Therma-Tru has developed Secur-Tru, which is designed to meet the PAS 23 and 24 performance and security standards for single-leaf, external door assemblies. Based on the Fibre Classic range of doors Secur-Tru is manufactured with a robust carbon steel expanded mesh within its CFC, HCFC and HFC-free polyurethane foam core. The door features extra thick stiles and top and bottom rails to enhance rigidity, and the 70 mm outer frame is steel-reinforced.
Therma-Tru 915

Combi-boilers for Lowestoft housing
Waveney District Council has specified 83 Vaillant turboMAX pro 28E combination boilers as part of the refurbishment of St Peters Court, a 15-storey apartment block in Lowestoft. Waveney DC says it installed the pro 28E boilers because of their efficient performance and ease of installation. The pro 28E features plug-in timers, simple electrical connections, and a built-in fixed system bypass. There are also a range of flue components including telescopic options, accessories and a push-fit system.
Vaillant 916

Smoke alarm prolongs life
BRK Electronics claims its latest smoke detector is its most cost-effective ever product. The company claims the SA10YRUKN provides 10 years of continuous life and says it is designed for easy installation and low maintenance. The battery features ionisation sensing technology and an integral lithium cell, which cannot be removed. It will emit a 28-day low battery warning sound to indicate that the unit must be replaced.
BRK Electronics 917

Steel frames for social housing
Metek is targeting the social housing sector with its light steel-frame technology. The Metek Building System uses steel roll-forming machinery that converts steel coils into cold-rolled steel frame components ready for assembly. Metek says its advanced CAD-CAM software, Frame-Cad, allows the frame lengths to be altered minutes before manufacture, and helps speed up construction and make design flexible. The system can be used on site using a portable manufacturing unit. Metek says this reduces transport costs and gives registered social landlords the opportunity to provide local people with employment opportunities. Metek has teamed up with Weber SBD, a maker of construction mortars, to develop a single-skin construction for buildings up to four storeys, with insurance backed guarantees and building accreditation. The system is undergoing certification and Metek says it expects it to be fully approved in six months.
Metek 918

Weber-sbd 919

Insulating panels for East Midlands homes
The first social housing development to be built using TEK Haus structural insulated panels from Kingspan is nearing completion. The Longhurst Housing Association development of four semi-detached houses and two apartments at Langold in the East Midlands includes 1166 m2 of wall and roof panels. Kingspan says the SIPs system achieve U-values of 0.20 W/m2°K and air leakage rates as low as 0.08 air changes per hour. Architect Cullen, Carter and Hill also specified combination heat and hot water boilers, which helped the homes to achieve a carbon index rating of 8.8 out of 10.
Kingspan TEK Haus 920

Plumbing converter
IBP is introducing a new plumbing fitting called >B< Oyster Converter, which joins termination fittings to tubes for heating and portable water systems. It connects threaded fittings, radiators and valves, with the converter being retained on the tube by dimpling the tube end with >B< Oyster pliers. The system is free of flame, sealants, flux or solder and IBP says this makes it easier and cleaner to use. IBP says that tests carried out by BSRIA saves on average 40% of the time required to make a traditional joint. The converter is available in 10 mm to 54 mm sizes and is made from yellow brass, DZR brass, gunmetal or stainless steel.
IBP 921

Lightweight aggregate used on Wigan refurbs
Wigan and Leigh Housing has specified Optiroc LWA lightweight aggregate for the renovation of its housing stock. Optiroc says that the housing association has reduced the time required for the installation of insulated solid floors from a day to an hour. Time is saved because Optiroc LWA acts as both fill and insulation, meaning there is no need for a separate layer of insulation and is six times lighter than conventional aggregate. Optiroc says that because the material is delivered in bags, contractor Hughes Brown was also able to virtually eliminate the need for heavy delivery lorries.
Optiroc 911

Three-in-one plumbing system
Hunter has introduced a combined bath waste, trap and overflow to their Plumber's Bits range. The P5040F combines a low-level bath trap, designed to provide a full 50 mm water seal, and a stainless steel waste outlet and overflow set.

The product's new design allows the plug to be stored in the overflow rose, which has the same surface finish as the bath waste outlet.
Hunter Plastics 912

Three-in-one plumbing system
Hunter has introduced a combined bath waste, trap and overflow to their Plumber's Bits range. The P5040F combines a low-level bath trap, designed to provide a full 50 mm water seal, and a stainless steel waste outlet and overflow set.

The product's new design allows the plug to be stored in the overflow rose, which has the same surface finish as the bath waste outlet.
Hunter Plastics 912

What lies beneath

Darren Richards, managing director of off-site manufacture consultant Mtech Group, digs up the dirt on the latest advances in foundations …

Innovation in foundations are often ignored but recent developments by Van Elle and Roger Bullivant have enabled accurate and speedy foundation systems to be created that require very little ground removal. The technology uses pre-cast post-tensioned beam solutions that have been combined with beam and block. In most instances, the foundation uses load-bearing piles with spanning beams between them. These techniques are particularly useful on brownfield sites where land contamination is a factor and land disturbance is to be minimised. Where modular technology is used for the superstructure, piles alone may suffice as a foundation solution, as the modules have an integral ring-beam and ground floor. There are a number of issues to consider when specifying any innovative off-site construction solutions including foundations:

  • Third-party certification
  • Durability performance
  • Capabilities of the supply chain
  • Compliance with Building Regulations – sometimes a reinterpretation is required
  • More focus on an early design freeze for this project – this is essential due to longer lead-in times for pre-manufactured products
  • A detailed analysis of tolerances and dimensional co-ordination issues – essential to ensure that off-site manufactured products fit with on-site construction processes
  • Requirements of maintenance strategies – this should take into account whole-life performance issues, although it may be a difficult as some of this technology is relatively new
  • Interchangeability of components.

Van Elle
Roger Bullivant

What’s the spec?

Circle 33: Roman Way, Islington
This Circle 33 Housing Association scheme in Islington, north London has been constructed on a typically awkward brownfield site. The unpromising land was surrounded by a 5.8 m high wall and overlooked by a terrace of residential property. The design goal of architect Stock Woolstencroft was to open up the site and maximise housing density. The building consists of seven single-aspect two-storey mews houses, which sit behind the perimeter wall, and a terrace of one, two and three-bed apartments fronting Roman Way. The proportion, mass and materials used reflect the characteristics of the existing terrace while the interiors are have a lighter contemporary tone. The fourth floor is set back and allows the scheme to sit comfortably with the adjacent three-storey buildings. There are also spacious balconies, providing residents with impressive views over London. The scheme’s space constraints meant that houses didn’t have private gardens but the occupants have their own private space accessed by French patio doors, and the use of the shared central landscaped courtyard. Stock Woolstencroft produced the initial design feasibility and then worked up the scheme in consultation with the local authority, incorporating Islington council’s planning policy particularly with regard to disabled accommodation and zero parking for sites with good public transport links. Project team 
Client Circle 33
Architect Stock Woolstencroft Engineer Ellis and Moore
Main contractor Higgins Construction

Cemrend, Rugby Cement 907

Composite roofing system
Kingspan 908

Aluminium polyester powder-coated windows and doors
South East Glass (Windows) 909

Ibstock Cattybrook Cheddar Reds 910