Vent-Axia has launched Air Minder, a home ventilation system that the maker claims can recover 90% of the heat wasted by using ordinary extractor fans. It also has efficient motors that are said to cut energy consumption by up to 40%. The unit is fitted into the loft and connected to flexible ductwork. Two capacities are available, handling up to 290 m3/h or up to 400 m3/h. Both units have changeable filters and a range of additional features can be specified, including variable speed control and fully programmable operation.
Leakproof shower tray
Bathroom products maker Kaldewei has launched a frame to simplify the installation of low-depth shower trays. Called the ESR installation frame, it is fitted before the shower tray and installed straight onto the subfloor. It has adjustable legs to compensate for uneven floors. Tiling is carried out before the tray is fitted, and if the seal around the tray leaks after fitting, a special drainage feature collects the water and directs it into the waste pipe. The company says that replacing the shower tray is simple, as the tiles can be left in place. Nine sizes are available, from 800 × 750 mm to 1200 × 1200 mm.
New bricks for old
Brick maker thebrickbusiness has brought out a range of antiqued bricks named Harmony. The bricks are tumbled to soften their appearance and make them look like reclaimed bricks. The company say this offers specifiers greater certainty about the bricks' long-term performance compared with reclaimed bricks of unknown origin. The range consists of the company's Latimer Red, Chalfont Multi and Regency Yellow. A range of sootened and limewashed bricks is also available, known as Manor Blend, Grange Blend and Hampstead Blend.
Fire and acoustic sealant
Idenden has launched a fire and acoustic sealant under its Evo-Stik brand. The product swells in the event of a fire to prevent the passage of flames and smoke for up to four hours. It is suitable for filling joints, holes, and gaps around service penetrations and is also said to be suitable for preventing sound transmission when sealing plasterboard and insulating boards.
Keep the noise down
Ventilation products maker Greenwood Air Management has introduced the MA3051 wall ventilator, which is intended cut down on noise transmission from outdoors to indoors. It fits into external walls more than 140 mm thick, or internal walls between 100 mm and 150 mm, with air passing through sound absorbent material. The company says it offers ventilation rates of 30 m3/h and excellent noise insulation.
Greenwood Air Management
Lighting dark corners
Lighting maker Coughtrie's Mini-Linea range of low-level, vandal-resistant lights is now available. There are four luminaries in the range: the Vennelux, Epilux and Rotolux linear fluorescent lights are suitable for ceiling mounting, and the Epilux and Rotolux are suitable for cornice and angle mounting above doorways. The fourth product is Supremo, which the maker says is suitable for archways, alleyways and walkways; it takes metal halide or tubular sodium lamps.
Sika and minerals processing group Francis Flower have jointly launched a non-cement self-levelling floor screed called Sika Sureflow.
It is based on synthetic anhydrite that the company says is 10 times faster to lay, and can be thinner than traditional screeds. It is delivered to site by a Francis Flower volumetric mixer that blends Sika's calcium sulphate binder and aggregate with water just before it is pumped. Sika says the product can be laid without construction joints and can be walked on after 24 hours.
A concrete interlocking slate called Duo Edgemere has been launched by Marley Roofing. It has a mock bond line running down the middle of the product to make it look like two smaller sized slates. It is the same size as the company's existing Edgemere product – 420 mm long and 330 mm wide – and is available in two colours, smooth grey and old English dark red.
Marley Roofing Products
Rising damp treatment
Triton Chemicals has brought out a liquid rising damp treatment, Tri-Gel, which does not need to be applied using electric pumps. Holes are drilled into damp masonry and the product is injected from a cartridge gun or hand-operated pressure pump. The product then reacts to form a water-repellent silicone resin within the masonry, but is permeable to water vapour, allowing walls to breathe.
Information pointReport on fuel cell technology
The British Council of Offices has produced a research-based report, Fuel Cells for Offices? It has been complied by services engineer Roberts & Partners and concludes that the operational savings of fuel cells – devices that produce heat and power from hydrogen – cannot offset their capital and replacement costs. It also says this means the technology could take decades to introduce unless government grants are available. The report explains the technology, and how fuel cells could be used within the building industry.
British Council for Offices
Environmental management aid
Construction research organisation CIRIA has published a package of guidance and template documents called Easy Access Environmental Management, designed to help construction companies understand and implement an environmental management system. These help reduce the risk of environmental problems, and can also save companies money. The publication also is intended to help gain certification for the new British Standard 8555 on environmental management systems. The package is available on paper, CD and over the internet.
Waterproof membrane brochure
Waterproof membrane specialist Olroyd has published a brochure on below-ground exterior walls. It deals principally with waterproofing new-build basements and also shows how to protect exterior walls from driving rain. The brochure explains the product, a plastic membrane with a reinforcing mesh to prevent it rucking during installation, and gives technical specifications as well as installation details.
Sound advice on Part E
Aircrete blocks maker Thermalite has published a guide on how to comply with the requirements of the new Part E of the Building Regulations, which deals with sound transmission. The guide explains how the requirements can be met using Thermalite blocks, with illustrations of the alternative types of separating walls between dwellings. The guide also contains details on the precompletion testing of buildings and information on the House Builders Federation robust standard details programme.
Fire alarm guide
ADT Fire and Security has produced a guide to help specifiers understand the changes to the code of practice BS 5839-1:2002 on fire detection and alarm systems for buildings. The code has been rewritten for the first time in 14 years to take account of technologies including carbon monoxide, video smoke and multisensor fire detection. The first part of the guide explains the changes and the second part contains a sample specification for an analogue addressable fire system.
ADT Fire and Security
Movers and makers
- The British Woodworking Federation has toughened up the requirements of its BWF-CERTIFIRE testing regime for fire doors and doorsets. Products to be tested will be sourced randomly from a normal stockist rather than supplied direct to the test house by the maker. A new test will be held after two-and-a-half years rather than five, or after the production of 125,000 doors. This will involve taking the products apart to check that their construction matches the original specification. Finally, makers will be subject to a random annual visit to check the quality of their goods.
- International Decorative Services has signed an exclusive distribution deal with hardwood floor manufacturer Bruce . Until now, Bruce has handled its own distribution, but found that demand for its products has outstripped its delivery capacity. IDS said it would reduce delivery times from four working days to 24-48 hours, and would also handle sales enquires. Bruce said the deal with IDS was a strategic one as it had a first-class distribution structure.
- Timber products company Finnforest has condemned Greenpeace’s call to boycott all timber from Indonesia, arguing that responsible trading and market pressure is the best way to guarantee a sustainable forestry industry. The company said it was addressing illegal logging with its own measures, including campaigning with suppliers for change, boycotting mills that have no prospects of change and sourcing more hardwood plywood from FSC-certified sources in Brazil and Malaysia in preference to Indonesia. The company said it supported Greenpeace’s ambition to eradicate illegal logging, but believed that trade bodies and other non-governmental organisations should helping to develop sustainable forestry in Indonesia.
- Tarmac Precast Concrete is investing £2.5m in a factory to build Speediwall, a new type of partition walling system for residential, industrial and commercial buildings. The factory is to be built in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and will produce a system that is popular in Europe. Tarmac says the wall offers speedy installation and excellent acoustic insulation. The factory will be completed at the end of the summer and in operation by January 2004.
- Plumbing products company Pegler Hattersley has joined forces with nine other manufacturers to offer a one-stop service called Home-Choice to housing developers. It will manage the whole specification and supply service for heating, sanitaryware and plumbing products from design to aftercare from one point of contact. Other members include Honeywell, Fernox, Twyford, Ideal Stelrad and Royal Doulton.
- Asite Tender, an electronic tendering package, has been chosen by Birse Rail to help deliver its Structures Framework Contract for Network Rail. Birse Rail has had its contract extended for another two years and will use the package to improve communication and reduce costs in delivering the planning, design and implementation of repairs and renewals to structures including bridges and tunnels, and embankment strengthening work.