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Megan Hewitt Personal Training, Wirral

Megan Hewitt Personal Training, Wirral

Knauf Insulation Ltd

When the government instructed people to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, the gym where Wirral-based personal trainer Megan Hewitt worked closed down. So, Megan and partner Dan decided to build a fitness studio in their garden to allow her to conduct video personal training sessions during lockdown. To ensure the 6m x 3m timber frame building would be suitable for use all year round, it was essential to insulate the roof and walls.The couple researched various types of insulation online and narrowed it down to Mineral Wool because of its thermal performance and fire safety. They had three other considerations: it had to be good at blocking noise, have excellent sustainability credentials, and be easy to install, as they planned to fit it themselves.Just one product for all applicationsTheir research showed that Knauf Insulation 50mm and 70mm OmniFit Slab ticked all the boxes. It is a multi-application slab, meaning the couple didn’t need to purchase separate products for the roof and walls. What’s more, it offers a higher level of thermal performance than alternative versatile slabs on the market.It is manufactured from Glass Mineral Wool and is non-combustible with a Euroclass A1 Reaction to Fire Classification, meaning it will not add to the development or spread of a fire should it occur.Keeping quietAs any exercise fanatic knows, a good workout needs a strong soundtrack and Megan wanted to motivate clients without becoming a noisy neighbour. OmniFit Slab provides excellent levels of acoustic performance thanks to its open fibre structure that absorbs sound waves.Insulation that doesn’t cost the earthSustainability was another important factor for the couple. Like all of Knauf Insulation’s Glass Mineral Wool insulation, it is manufactured from up to 80% recycled content, mostly used glass bottles and jars that would otherwise go to landfill.It is also manufactured with ECOSE® Technology, Knauf Insulation’s unique bio-based binder, which contains no added formaldehyde or phenol. ECOSE® Technology is made from natural raw materials that are rapidly renewable and is 70% less energy-intensive to manufacture than traditional binders, so it is more environmentally-friendly.Products made with ECOSE® Technology are soft to touch and easy to handle. They generate low levels of dust and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and have been awarded the Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold Standard.Its softness was a benefit that Megan noticed during installation. She said: “I remember helping my Dad with our ‘old-school’ Mineral Wool loft insulation when I was younger and it was horrible, it irritated my skin for 24 hours after. But the OmniFit was fine – there was no irritation whatsoever.”Installation was no sweatA tight fit between joints is essential to eliminate gaps that can reduce thermal and acoustic performance, but with some types of insulation it can be difficult to achieve the high quality installation required. OmniFit Slab is manufactured to provide friction fitting to ensure all joints are sealed correctly. Despite having no previous experience, Megan, Dan and a friend fitted the 40m2 OmniFit Slab themselves over the course of a day.“Before fitting the insulation, we watched an installation video on YouTube,” said Megan. “We followed the techniques shown and it was really easy to install. We had no problems at all.”“I’m delighted with the finished result. When the fitness studio was finished, we kept turning up the stereo to see whether the insulation really was soundproof – even at full blast, you couldn’t hear the music outside. It’s amazing.”“Before we put the insulation in, I was exercising in winter gear with the radiator on full – now the studio is lovely and warm. I’m back in vests and I haven’t had to put the heating on at all.”Thanks to Knauf Insulation OmniFit Slab, Megan and her clients can enjoy a high energy workout in a warm, safe environment – without disturbing her neighbours. What’s more, the insulation is sustainable and will ensure the studio’s energy consumption and carbon emissions are low over its lifetime. Note: Megan, Dan and her friend maintained social distancing guidelines during the insulation install. Megan continues to follow government guidelines for the operation of gyms and exercise facilities, conducting her sessions online when in-person training is not possible.
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A sprinkle of Care Home Luxury for Person Centered Care

A sprinkle of Care Home Luxury for Person Centered Care

Astor Bannerman

Many Care Homes are now focusing on offering their residents an indulgent experience – and why not. Living in a Care Home should be able to mean wonderful food, lovely surroundings, company and care on hand and little pampers such as hairdressing, cinema rooms and spa-like bathrooms. 
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Pär's personal record cabinet

Pär's personal record cabinet

Blum UK

Bespoke storage solutions - Vinyl records. "The storage of vinyls is a big challenge to all music lovers. I’ve come up with a solution that meets my needs perfectly."
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Sadolin Superdec champions the personality of colour at Manchester International Festival

Sadolin Superdec champions the personality of colour at Manchester International Festival

Sadolin, product of Crown Paints Ltd

Sadolin Superdec helped set the tone for a major arts event in Manchester, which featured a vibrant display of colour. The product was used to create the perfect platform for Festival Square, the ‘home in the heart of the city’ for the Manchester International Festival (MIF). Picnic benches, bars and DJ booths which popped up in the vicinity were coated with a range of colours from the Sadolin Superdec range, creating an on-trend backdrop, supporting MIF’s position as one of the world’s most dynamic and respected arts festivals.
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ICE Kraków Congress Centre

ICE Kraków Congress Centre

Jotun A/S

The ICE Kraków Congress Centre is the business and cultural hub of Kraków. Located in the heart of the city, it is home to a wide range of diverse events, from international congressional events, business conferences and symposiums to cultural events such as opera, theatre, concerts, ballet and social gatherings. The ICE Kraków Congress Centre covers 36,000m2 across three main halls: The auditorium Hall (1,915 persons), The Theatre Hall (600 persons) and Chamber Hall (300 persons). Hard-wearing coatings were of paramount importance, so Jotun products were the ideal choice.
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Castlehill Private Housing Development, Belfast

Castlehill Private Housing Development, Belfast

AG

AG was delighted to continue our partnership with Braidwater Homes at one of the house builder’s most prestigious private housing development, Castlehill, located just off the Ballygowan Road in Belfast.Braidwater Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Ryan Boyle said:“AG’s paving and walling products which are aesthetically pleasing, tie in totally with Braidwater’s ‘living the dream’ aspirations. For the Castlehill development we had a number of requirements, which included ensuring that the landscaping tied in with the modern feel of this high-end development.” To this end, we utilised AG’s Vertica® and Diamond® retaining walls, where appropriate, together with AG’s River Stone 3’s set pavers in contrasting tones.”AG’s Regional Sales Manager, Barry Scott commented:“We have a really good relationship with the Braidwater Group and are currently involved in a number of their sites across Northern Ireland. The Castlehill contract was an important one for us and we have worked hard to ensure we live up to their high standards. As part of our commitment to Braidwater I personally make visits to their sites to ensure their team always have the products they need. Our personal service supported by speed and ease of delivery is something they appreciate. They also like the fact that by utilising our Anchor® Diamond® mortarless/pin-less segmental retaining wall system their team can work on in wet weather with no breaks in construction.”
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The Challenges of Soundproofing in a Power Station Environment

The Challenges of Soundproofing in a Power Station Environment

CMS Danskin Acoustics

The fact that power stations produce high levels of noise won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has spent more than a few minutes inside one. Quite how dangerous these levels of noise can be, however, might.How Loud is ‘Too Loud’?To give you an idea of the sensitivity of the human ear, the average person can hear sounds down to about 0 decibels (dB), the equivalent of a whisper or rustling leaves, and people with exceptional hearing can detect sounds as low as -15dB.It is at the other end of the scale, however, that serious problems can occur. At around 85dB, you are likely to experience discomfort. As little as eight hours of continuous exposure to this level of noise can result in permanent damage to the inner ear, which is why 85dB is the maximum allowed under the Noise at Work Regulations. At 100dB, just fifteen minutes of exposure can cause permanent damage. And at 110dB the exposure time drops to around a minute before harm is inflicted. Pain is experienced at 125dB and hearing loss can be permanent. At 140dB or above not only is the damage permanent, it is also immediate.The Noise at Work Regulations stipulate that an ‘employer shall ensure that risk from the exposure to noise is either eliminated at source or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.” And that “if any employee is likely to be exposed to noise at or above an upper exposure action value, the employer shall reduce exposure to as low a level as is reasonably practicable by establishing and implementing a programme of organisational and technical measures, excluding the provision of personal hearing protectors, which is appropriate to the activity.” In other words, an employer is expected to do everything they can, within reason, to protect their employees from the harmful effects of noise. And, no, it isn’t enough to simply supply a pair of ear-defenders.Noise-Induced Hearing LossThe damage caused by these dangerous levels of noise is referred to as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL. NIHL can be caused by a single exposure to a very loud sound or by repeated exposure to even relatively low levels of noise over a long time span. In fact, according to research carried out by Xiaoming Zhou from the East China Normal University in Shanghai, even seemingly innocuous sounds, such as the whirr of a desk fan, can cause damage if exposure is consistent and long-term.To understand how NIHL occurs, it’s necessary to understand how hearing works.The generally accepted view is that sound waves strike the eardrum and these vibrations are translated into coherent information by the brain. It is slightly more complex than that. Sound waves do, indeed, strike the eardrum, causing the eardrum to vibrate. These vibrations are then transmitted through the ossicles (the small bones of the middle ear) to the cochlea, a spiral-shaped chamber filled with fluid and lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia. The vibrations cause the fluid to move which, in turn, causes the stereocilia to move. The stereocilia’s movements generate neural signals with are picked up by the auditory nerve which ‘forwards’ these signals onto the brain where they are interpreted as intelligible sounds human speech, music, the beep of car horn etc.Exposure to the harmful levels of noise mentioned above can damage the stereocilia, breaking them or flattening them so they no longer vibrate as effectively or so they no longer vibrate at all. The result: impaired hearing or, in extreme cases, total hearing loss.The noise recorded coming from the dry cooling system at the Severn Power CCGT Power Station at Uskmouth B was between 130dB(A) and 135dB(A), a full 50dB above Noise at Work Regulations’ acceptable levels. Regarding dB(A), the human ear does not hear all frequencies with the same intensity. It is most sensitive to sounds in the 500Hz-8kHz range. Above and below this range the ear becomes progressively less sensitive. To compensate for this, sound level meters incorporate electronic filtering to correspond to the varying sensitivities of the ear. This filtering is called A-weighting and readings obtained with this weighting are referred to as A-weighted and signified as dB(A).The Wrong Kind of NoiseAlthough it was identified that the dry cooling system from SPX Cooling Technologies was generating these dangerous and unacceptable levels of noise, it wasn’t the cooling system that was creating the noise. In fact, it was the turbines that were the source of the noise. The steam roaring from the turbines at incredibly high speeds enters the main 5.5m steam ducts, passes up five risers and is channeled into the steam distribution manifolds. Not only does the steam enter the dry cooling system, the accompanying noise does, too. You might think that the 8mm thick steel from which the ducts are constructed would go some way to containing the din. Unfortunately, steel is extremely adept at transmitting noise and is, in many respects, the acoustician’s worst enemy.To make matters worse, when acoustics and soundproofing specialists, CMS Danskin Acoustics, were brought in by SPX and Uskmouth’s main contractors, Siemens, they discovered not only high levels of noise but also that the noise generated had a very low-frequency bias. Low-frequency noise is the most difficult to treat from a soundproofing perspective due to the excessive length of the wave cycle. This is one of the reasons people in apartments, terraced houses and semi-detached homes will often complain of the problems of bass noises intruding from neighbouring properties, as the walls and floors filter out the higher frequencies whilst the lower frequencies manage to penetrate. This can seem a little counterintuitive, as we imagine higher frequency noise to be more piercing. Their short wave-cycle, however, means they can be blocked out with relatively thin soundproofing materials.The low-frequency nature of the noise also meant that this wasn’t just a Noise at Work Regulations problem. Low-frequency noise can be particularly problematic to the population in the vicinity of the source of that noise. Low frequency noise is often not even ‘heard’ in the traditional sense. Complainants often won’t even realise that noise is the problem at all; instead they will describe ‘pressure sensations’ and ‘physical discomfort’, experiencing the incursion as vibrations. Areas of the human body can resonate when exposed to low frequencies. The chest, for example, can resonate at frequencies between 50Hz and 100Hz, and the head at frequencies between 20Hz and 30Hz. It isn’t unusual, therefore, for sufferers of low frequency noise to complain of anxiety, nausea and headaches. Often, they won’t even be aware of the root cause of their symptoms, instead attributing them to a virus or some mystery illness.A New Approach and a Sound SolutionSolutions for low-frequency noise issues typically involve wrapping the problem in significant quantities of acoustic insulation, with many standard solutions being as deep as 500mm to 700mm. The sheer volume of lagging required for an insulation-based approach to a project like Uskmouth, with a daunting 8,000m2 of ducting to be covered, would be expensive, time-consuming to install and prohibitively disruptive. What’s more, there were areas around the ducting at Uskmouth which simply wouldn’t have been able to accommodate such an excessive construction height of soundproofing material.Paul Absolon, CMS Danskin Acoustics’ Technical Director, responded to the challenge of creating a ‘thinner’ soundproofing system that would meet the necessary Noise at Work Regulations requirements but would be cost-effective and efficient to install. In order to minimise disruption to Uskmouth, an off-site simulation was created near Burton on Trent, using a large section of identical ducting with a ‘door’ sealing up either end. Within the duct were several very powerful speakers. For testing, highly sensitive microphones were placed in strategic positions along the outside of the duct to measure any ‘leakage’. Acoustic insulation solutions were conceived, implemented and assessed in this controlled environment with the assistance of Acoustic Consultants Muller-BBM and the installation company Western Thermal Insulations.Exploring a wide range of acoustic materials from CMS Danskin Acoustics’ industrial acoustics range, it was clear that a single product was not going to be able to solve the problem on its own, so Paul opted for a combination of products working in concert, layer upon layer.The first layer consisted of CMS HT1B elastomeric isolation pads, constructed from a polyurethane-bound rubber granulate specifically formulated to dampen and/or isolate noise and vibrations at source and independently tested by the Institute of Structural Dynamics at the Technical University of Dresden. The 50mm thick pads were bonded to the surface of the duct at a rate of nine per square meter, creating 300mm spacings; so, as well as the dampening effects of the material itself, the construction benefited from large, evenly distributed airspaces in its foundations. Sound waves move less effectively through dead air.The second layer consisted of 50mm-thick QuietSlab SVX3, a high-performance, mineral-fibre acoustic lagging. MIMA (the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association) describe the acoustic insulation properties of mineral wool (and mineral fibres more generally): “Porous materials such as mineral wool work to control and reduce noise by allowing air movement into the fabric of the material. The fluctuations of air molecules – which form sound waves – move into the body of the mineral wool, where friction between the air particles and the material’s narrow airways cause sound energy to be dissipated as heat.”
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Hornsby House School

Hornsby House School

Dart Valley Systems Ltd

Hornsby House School, London, have recently had a full washroom refurbishment. Franke Water Systems provided a total of 67 washrooms products for the revamp, including a range of Dart Valley branded taps, WCs, flush valves, and a range of Miranit composite washtroughs for the nursery, boys, girls and staff washrooms.The full range of products provided were:17 x AT03-011 Aquarius DM A45 tap 2 x AT00-002 single station mains kit standard pressure 4 x AT00-003 two station mains kit standard pressure 6 x AT00-004 three station mains kit standard pressure2 x SOLX1800T 3 person Miranit washtrough with three tap holes2 x SOLX2400T 4 person Miranit washtrough with four tap holes16 x WC02-011 concealed plastic cistern kit16 x WC03-002 WC Flushvalve 
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Commercial lockers at McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd

Commercial lockers at McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd

Helmsman

Here at Helmsman, our team manufactured and installed 25 three-compartment Laminate Lockers, in our wet spec which helps the material not to rust, peel, or crack under humidity. The specifications of the laminate lockers were 1800mm high, 278mm wide, and 450mm deep. The body of the lockers was powder coated in the shade of ice’ whereas the laminate doors and end panels were in the beautiful ‘English Oak’ by BioCarbon Laminates. BioCarbon is a company that provides laminates that focus on reducing carbon. Laminate lockers are an excellent choice when it comes to commercial office lockers as they allow employees to store personal belongings in a secure area.The Solid-grade Laminate lockers were completed with vinyl numbers above the locks which were the Diamond Hasp locks, for users to use their own padlocks. It is a great choice as the users will be assured that their personal belongings are safe within the locker.
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Easy installation of goods lift making transport more comfortable for German Wholesaler

Easy installation of goods lift making transport more comfortable for German Wholesaler

Lödige Industries

Lödige installed ESCORTA goods lift in Bad Hersfeld, GermanyAt the end of 2015 a passenger and goods lift was installed for Libri. The customer needed a lift which would enable the transportation of goods and passengers up to 9.5 m with 4 stops. Furthermore, it was required to find a solution to easily install within an existing warehouse. ESCORTA from Lödige was the perfect answer for the customer’s needs and structural requirements. The lift is delivered as a free-standing structure and does not require any pit. Therefore the installation was quick and easy. Additionally thanks to its new certification (European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EG und DIN EN 81-41) multiple persons can now simply ride in the lift with their goods to the desired floor. This increases the level of comfort, making transporting goods between levels much easier and more pleasant.ChallengesA solution was searched to transport goods and passengers at once.A compact solution was needed which did not require a lot of space and could be easily integrated into the existing warehouse.The lift had to meet individual needs of customers referring to the structural conditions in the warehouse.Solution and benefitsESCORTA goods only lift from Lödige does not require any pit and is delivered as a free-standing lift structure, thus it was easily installed into the already existing warehouse.The lift was offered as a tailored made product – exactly meeting the requirements of the customer.In the ESCORTA goods lift multiple persons can ride with their goods to the desired floor level.
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A MODERN BATHROOM RENOVATION WITH ORIENTAL INFLUENCES

A MODERN BATHROOM RENOVATION WITH ORIENTAL INFLUENCES

KEUCO

A spacious bathroom with floor-level shower and bathtub, a bedroom flooded with light and a practical working space: the Belfqihs have achieved their own very personal dream residence through a large-scale conversion of their home. After their children had left home, Kordula and Mohammed Belfqih decided to renovate the upper storey of their home in Krefeld, restructuring it completely at the same time. It all started with the desire for a modern and comfortable bathroom. One perfectly tuned to the needs of the new two-person household: the married couple imagined light, spacious rooms on their newly designed floor. Planner Bettina Bickert from Plankreis, Krefeld (www.plankreis.com) was given the exciting task of creating a new living atmosphere. Here, modern elements, alongside oriental influences, were to contribute to the planning: for the Belfqihs unite a Westphalian way of life with Moroccan traditions.
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Hornsby house school washroom refurbishment, London

Hornsby house school washroom refurbishment, London

KWC DVS Limited

Hornsby House School have recently refurbished their washrooms and chose Franke Water Systems to provide over 60 products for their pupil and staff toilets.Franke Water Systems provided a total of 67 washrooms products for the revamp, including a range of Dart Valley branded taps, WCs, flush valves, and a range of Miranit composite washtroughs for the nursery, boys, girls and staff washrooms. The full range of products provided were:17 x AT03-011 Aquarius DM A45 tap 2 x AT00-002 single station mains kit standard pressure 4 x AT00-003 two station mains kit standard pressure 6 x AT00-004 three station mains kit standard pressure2 x SOLX1800T 3 person Miranit washtrough with three tap holes2 x SOLX2400T 4 person Miranit washtrough with four tap holes16 x WC02-011 concealed plastic cistern kit16 x WC03-002 WC Flushvalve
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Malicious false fire alarm hits record high

Malicious false fire alarm hits record high

Safety Technology International Ltd

A record number of manual call points were maliciously activated across England for the year ending March 2022.The highest annual number of malicious false fire alarms on record came as people returned to public buildings en masse in a period markedly unaffected by COVID-19 lockdowns.The latest Home Office figures reveal there was a total of 3,212 false fire alarms caused by the “malicious activation of [a] fire call point/alarm” in England for the year ending March 2022, surpassing challenged hoax calls as the largest reason for malicious fire alarms.Accidental activations also increased over the period; 14,452 false fire alarms were recorded due to the accidental and careless activation of life safety equipment, including manual call points.Every false alarm is costly, disrupting schools and businesses, placing unnecessary strain on our emergency services and reducing public confidence in fire alarms.Despite online learning, working from home and limits on social contact, false fire alarm numbers, although down, persisted during the pandemic.As schools, offices and shops saw reduced attendance and footfall, malicious false fire alarms survived; now in a post-COVID world, there has been a boom in the number of false alarms plaguing the country.Continuing to be the largest incident type, false fire alarms accounted for 40 per cent of the incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England for the period – fires accounted for just 26 per cent.Repeated false alarms reduce the public’s confidence in fire alarms, contributing to alarm fatigue and a complacent attitude toward evacuations. Alarm fatigue occurs when a person becomes desensitised to an alarm due to repeated false alarms and as a result, fails to react appropriately in an emergency.Safety Technology International manufacture a range of protective covers, specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.The STI story began in 1980 with a challenge by a school headteacher who wanted to stop their false fire alarms. Founder, Jack Taylor, used his expertise in security systems to invent the first and original Stopper® polycarbonate protective cover. From integral covers to outdoor and sounder models, there are now variations to suit all applications.The tamper-proof polycarbonate covers ensure call points are protected without restricting legitimate use in a real emergency, a combination of optional warning alarm, flashing beacon and break seal acts as a deterrent against malicious activation.In Wales, malicious false fire alarms rose by 33% to 426 during 2021-22, the highest figure for half a decade. And with similar figures reflected across the UK, over £1 billion is lost every year due to false alarms.To recoup this cost the London Fire Brigade became the first fire service in the country to recover costs from buildings like hospitals, airports and student halls with a poor false alarm record.Firefighters respond to fire signals as if they are real, this exposes the public and fire crew to unnecessary risk in their swift response to false alarms, directing them away from real emergencies.Under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order Act 2005, it is the responsibility of the building owner or the “responsible person” to ensure effective fire precautions are in place to protect staff, customers or visitors.Several precautionary steps can be implemented to prevent false fire alarms before they occur; routine testing and maintenance of call points is a must to ensure proper operation, but it is not the only proactive approach.As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017, manual call points can be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms. The British Standard Institute recommends in section 20.2b), that: “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible element.“It is now recommended that a protective cover is fitted to a Type A manual call point to help prevent false alarms.”
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False fire alarms in leisure, retail, and hospitality premises

False fire alarms in leisure, retail, and hospitality premises

Safety Technology International Ltd

Every false fire alarm is costly, but in a post-COVID world, there is now even more pressure on the leisure, retail, and hospitality industries to prevent false alarms in their premises.The leisure, retail, and hospitality industries were hit hard by COVID-19; as we begin to emerge from the pandemic businesses will be keen to make up for lost time, avoiding the loss in revenue caused by false fire alarms.Home Office figuresDespite two years of restrictions and lockdowns, false fire alarms continue to cost the UK, Home Office figures reveal that there were a total of 2,497 false fire alarms caused by the “malicious activation of [a] fire call point/alarm” in England for the year ending September 2021 – surpassing challenged hoax calls as the largest reason for malicious fire alarms.Accidental activations too remained a significant cause of false alarms; 12,732 false fire alarms were recorded due to the accidental and careless activation of fire alarm and fire-fighting equipment, including manual call points.With the restrictions, closures, and reduced footfall faced by businesses, we might have expected to see the number of false fire alarms fall significantly during the pandemic. This serves as a timely reminder of the persistence of unwanted fire alarm signals, and the need for leisure, retail, and hospitality premises to seek a solution to avoid further disruptions post-COVID.Although necessary once a fire alarm sounds, a preventable evacuation ultimately means unhappy customers, disruption for businesses, and unnecessary strain for our stretched emergency services.At a time where it is prudent to avoid the crowded corridors and large gatherings at assembly points that follow a needless false alarm evacuation, it has become even more important to prevent false alarms.Continuing to be the largest incident type, false fire alarms accounted for 41 per cent of the incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England for the period – fires accounted for just 27 per cent.Over £1 billionWith similar figures reflected across the UK, over £1 billion is lost every year due to false alarms. To recoup this cost the London Fire Brigade became the first fire service in the country to recover costs from buildings including leisure, retail, and hospitality premises, with a poor false alarm record.A false alarm is defined as a fire alarm signal caused by means other than a genuine fire, which has activated a fire detection and alarm system, these can include: equipment false alarm, environmental influences, accidental damage, and inappropriate human action, including the malicious activation of a manual call point.Under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order Act 2005, it is the responsibility of the building owner or the ‘responsible person’ to ensure effective fire precautions are in place to protect staff, customers, or visitors.Several precautionary steps can be implemented to prevent false fire alarms before they occur; routine testing and maintenance to call points is a must to assure proper operation, but it is not the only proactive approach.BS 5839-1:2017As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017 manual call points should be fitted with a protective cover to prevent false fire alarms. The British Standard Institute recommends in section 20.2b, that: “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover, which is moved to gain access to the frangible element.“It is now recommended that a protective cover is fitted to a Type A manual call point to help prevent false alarms.”Following the introduction of the new recommendations in 2017 malicious false fire alarms have fallen by 18%, an indication of the effectiveness of protective covers, however, every false alarm is still costly.Firefighters respond to fire signals as if they are real, this exposes the public and fire crew to unnecessary risk in their swift response to false alarms, directing them away from real emergencies.LeisureLeisure premises are particularly susceptible to false fire alarms, whether it be wayward sports equipment in sports hall and gymnasiums, or high-traffic areas in music venues, cinemas, and theatres.Concerts, football matches, and even pantomimes have all been interrupted mid-performance in the UK, and in some cases even cut short by false fire alarms – resulting in disgruntled fans and calls for refunds.Government fire safety guidance for theatres, cinemas, and similar premises, highlights the need for protective covers to combat both accidental and malicious activations: “To reduce the risk of malicious or accidental operation which may promote panic you should consider as part of your management plan alternative arrangements such as the guarding of manual call points (e.g. with a simple, easily removed, cover).”A hinged cover around a call point is also likely to solve the problem of accidental activation or damage in storage areas where there is a continual movement of equipment.Whilst guidance for open air events and venues draws attention to the high risk of malicious activations in certain public areas, such as large beer tents – in this instance, alarmed call point covers might be more effective.RetailFor retail premises, trollies and shopping bags threaten the accidental activation of manual call points and the evacuations that follow threaten both a loss of customers and profit. However, robust polycarbonate covers can be fitted to protect sensitive break glass units and deflect heavy blows.This is reinforced by the Government’s fire safety risk assessment for shops: “False alarms from electrical fire warning systems are a major problem (e.g. malicious activation of manual call points) and result in many unwanted calls to the fire and rescue service every year.”Shopping centres and supermarkets are regularly forced to evacuate hundreds of shoppers due to unwanted fire alarm signals; abandoning their shopping on conveyor belts, baskets, and trollies. Owing to the disruption many choose not to return to complete their purchases.HospitalityThis phenomenon can be particularly detrimental for the hospitality industry, where evacuations following false fire alarms leave restaurants and bars vulnerable to incidents of “dine and dash.” Some hospitality premises have lost out on upwards of £1,000 when customers walked off without paying after a false alarm.Fire safety guidance for licensed premises reinforces the need to put a stop to false fire alarms within the industry: “Fire alarm systems should normally conform to the current edition of BS 5839, with consideration made for prevention of false alarms.”Alarm fatigueRepeated false alarms reduce the public’s confidence in fire alarms, contributing to alarm fatigue and a complacent attitude towards evacuations. Alarm fatigue occurs when a person becomes desensitised to an alarm due to repeated false alarms and as a result, fails to react appropriately in an emergency – having potentially fatal effects.The Manchester Woolworths fire in 1979 is a devastating example of alarm fatigue, as the fire alarm sounded customers were reluctant to leave the store. By the time they realised they were in danger, it was too late, ten people died in the blaze.Alarm fatigue also poses a serious threat to the hospitality industry, with Government fire safety guidance for sleeping accommodation, such as hotels, stating: “If there are excessive false alarms in your premises, people may become complacent and not respond correctly to a warning of a real fire. In such circumstances, you may be failing to comply with fire safety law. All false alarms should be investigated to identify the cause of the problem and remedial action taken.”In some areas of hospitality premises, such as function rooms in a hotel, call points can be vulnerable to malicious and accidental activations – to reduce this risk, protection for manual call points is advised.Some hotel guests react casually to fire alarms, often wrongfully believing them to be a “hoax” or “prank”, reducing response time and delaying evacuation. As recommended in BS 5839-1:2017 manual call points can be fitted with a protective cover preventing false alarms whether accidental or malicious, halting alarm fatigue.Call point protectorsSafety Technology International manufacture a range of protective covers, specifically designed to prevent false alarms whether accidental or malicious.The STI story began in 1980 with a challenge by a school headteacher who wanted to stop their false fire alarms. Founder, Jack Taylor, used his expertise in security systems to invent the first and original Stopper® polycarbonate protective cover. From integral covers to outdoor and sounder models; there are now variations to suit all applications.The tamper-proof polycarbonate covers ensure call points are protected without restricting legitimate use in a real emergency, a combination of optional warning alarm, flashing beacon, and break seal acts as a deterrent against malicious activation.As we enter transition to the “new normal” it is imperative the leisure, retail, and hospitality industries prevent false fire alarms in their premises. Conforming to BS 5839-1:2017 to protect manual call points from false activation, whether accidental or malicious. Not only to aid economic recovery post-pandemic but to keep fire safety at the forefront of customers’ minds. Failure to address false fire alarms allows alarm fatigue to manifest, and this can prove to be costly – in every sense of the word.
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Sotech City, A virtual World for Architects and Designers

Sotech City, A virtual World for Architects and Designers

Sotech Ltd

WHAT IS SOTECH CITY?Sotech City is a fully immersive virtual world, developed to help architects and designers to make informed decisions when selecting a rainscreen system suitable for their scheme. We wanted the experience to be as close to real life as possible and have replicated our offices and manufacturing facility. You emerge into the city from Sotech’s front doors.We have built a low-level building with horizontal panels and a high rise building with vertical panels to give architects and designers an idea of what their project may look like in their chosen Optima system, material and finish.We’ve developed it to allow the user to visualise how each system would look on a full-scale building. But rather than seeing this as a 3D render on a page, they can experience Sotech City ‘in first person’ on their computer screen, or in VR, but putting on a VR headset, diving into our virtual world and walking right up to a building to view the systems like never before.People can see how the shadows fall on the panels, how the building looks in the morning vs. in the evening. Architects care about those details, and so do we. The invention of Sotech City puts the love of design front and centre. HOW IS SOTECH CITY DIFFERENT FROM SOTECH’S VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM?Sotech’s virtual reality showroom is a fully immersive environment where architects can view the full range of Optima rainscreen systems. The panels are designed to be small enough to pick up and examine closely as though you are in our actual showroom.The user can change the material and finish on a given rainscreen system, choosing from our supply partners wide range of colour pallets. Architects can view project case studies of the selected system and read the full specifications. By interacting with the showroom avatars you can learn more about who we are and what we offer.What you can’t do in the showroom is see how that selection looks on large panels on a full-scale building in a virtual environment. Sotech City is the answer to that.There is something uniquely special about putting on a VR head set, shutting out the outside world and really engaging with this unique experience. There is nothing like this currently and we’re excited for architects to experience this more deeply.CAN ARCHITECTS SEE THEIR CURRENT PROJECTS IN SOTECH CITY?Not yet but watch this space! Right now, in Sotech City, architects can see their rainscreen cladding selection on two types of buildings: A high rise tower with portrait panels, and a school-type building with landscape panels.This is a huge development in the way architects can visualise, manipulate and inspect buildings in real time. It’s so much more than a sketch on a page, an artist impression or even a 3D mock up on a screen. This gives architects the opportunity to turn off the noise, immerse themselves in a real time virtual environment and truly consider the possibilities. The user can view it from afar or walk right up to the building to inspect the finish at close range. It gives architects and designers total immersion.It is our intention in time that user would be able to upload a 3D model of their unique building into our virtual city. For now, our hope is that this really helps with the process of creation and the user can now make even more informed decisions, with a much clearer idea of how that finish will look in a real-world environment. WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT SOTECH CITY?There has been a lot of excitement around Sotech City and our supply partners have been keen to collaborate. When you select a finish or a colour, you’re not just selecting ‘an idea’ or a theme. You’re selecting one of many real-life options available through our incredible partners. This means the selection is available in real life and can be specified immediately. We don’t have to search it out. We can supply it.We have made it possible to change the time of day and even the weather conditions to give a full appreciation of how the system will look in different environments. Depending on the time of day shadows will fall on the panels differently in the morning to the evening allowing the user to visualise how the buildings will appear in real time.As with the showroom, we put together a testing team and called ourselves the ‘Guinea Pigs’. The team was made up of people from different departments to gain perspective from different personalities and understand their expectations of what the user might enjoy and value. We did this to ensure the final outcome is useful and practical for everyone. It is too easy to focus on your own ideas but with our team of ‘Guinea Pigs’ we had a lot of interaction, enthusiastic input and ideas.And lastly, we wanted this to be fun and surprising. We’ve hidden a few quirks in Sotech City for users to spot and enjoy as they walk around. Hint hint: brum, brum, swoosh, swooshWHEN WILL SOTECH CITY BE AVAILABLE TO ACCESS?Sotech City is live now.Please download the update to your showroom experience or, if this is your first experience of the Sotech VR solution, download the experience here: https://sotech-optima.co.uk/vr/ or contact us to arrange a demonstration. WHICH VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT IS BEST FOR WHOM?Installers/designers will very likely get the most benefit from Sotech’s virtual reality showroom. They can pick up the panels, inspect the substructure and see how the panels mount to the wall.Architects will get a lot of benefit from the showroom too, as they can visit our learning zone where they can book RIBA approved CPDs, download full system details and learn more about CWCT and BS8414-2 fire testing, which have been carried out on all our Optima rainscreen systems.But there is something special about seeing your design at scale on a building in a city environment. I’d suggest everyone would benefit from exploring the showroom to make their panel selection, and then walk out into Sotech City to see it rendered full scale on a Sotech City building.WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY FOR SOTECH?We are putting a lot of time and investment into virtual reality. The lockdowns showed us how much can be done remotely and there is a clear move to virtual working.With all of the current hype around the Metaverse, Sotech wants to get in there early. There is nothing stopping us from being able to hold virtual meetings in the future and for users to upload their own 3D building models or participate in virtual system training.Sotech were having conversations about virtual reality 5-6 years ago. The world wasn’t ready then but one thing that has come out of Covid is that technology has progressed quickly bringing our ideas of a virtual world to reality in 2022. HOW DO I ACCESS THE SHOWROOM AND SOTECH CITY?Both the Showroom and Sotech City can be accessed using a virtual reality headset or via most desktop computers with adjustable settings to allow the most optimised experience.The best and most immersive way to enjoy these virtual environments is through a virtual reality headset. If you’d like to experience this but don’t have access to a headset, you’re welcome to visit our offices in London or County Durham in the North East of England to enter the VR world through our dedicated in-house VR spaces.If you’d like to experience the Showroom or Sotech City without a headset, you can experience it on most laptops and PCs. The programme will automatically detect if a headset is present and start up accordingly. 
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myRENZbox Parcel Management System - BUGA German Horticultural Show

myRENZbox Parcel Management System - BUGA German Horticultural Show

The Safety Letterbox Company

THE PROJECTBundesgartenschau is a German national horticultural festival which happens every year, it is also know as BUGA. The theme for this show was innovation, this is where RENZ stepped in as a supporting partner.A SHOWCASE OF INTELLIGENCEThe show runs from April to October and the festival showcased the host town for the first time in 70 years. They built a suburb town called Neckarbogen simply to house 700 people during the event. In support of the innovative theme, RENZ added a clever touch or innovation to the show by supplying secure locker facilities to the event and introducing a ground-breaking driverless delivery solution.The collaboration between RENZ, the festival and the local university created these incredible delivery pods that are deigned to move to where the residents need them. Fully customised and designed in line with the right colours of the festival theme! They are secure, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.PARCEL EXCHANGE PLATFORMThe great thing about the RENZ platform, is It can be used by all couriers and delivery services, meaning compete ease of access and efficiency – you can also coordinate the parcel solution to be used by local suppliers for an all-around complete turnkey parcel box solution.The parcelbox solution provided was an intelligent parcel delivery system meaning the items can be deposited and stored securely without the addressee being there in person. They can also be collected at the convivence of the recipient. You can access the box with a choice of an electronic tag, entering a unique PIN or using the myRENZbox mobile app. All options are user friendly and designed for a quick and easy retrieval of goods.MOBILE PHONE STORAGE & CHARGINGAn additional service that was supplied by RENZ were parcelbox lockers for the festival goers, these lockers came in a range of sixes so anything from mobile phones to pushchairs could be stored away in a secure location. This ensure that the residents and festival goers were all catered for.There were charging ports placed in the parcelbox lockers so visitors could ‘charge up’, securely while visiting the festival. You were given a unique pin to access the locker meaning it was completely secure to leave your personal belonging there to charge.
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The Green Quarter, Southall London

The Green Quarter, Southall London

Tobermore

Paving with character required for one of UK’s most biodiverse developmentsWorking in conjunction with London Wildlife Trust, Berkeley Group’s design objective was strongly influenced by the environment surrounding the scheme. The overall aim of the multi-functional location was to encourage users to socialise and enjoy the open space and facilities available. Residents can enjoy 13 acres of parkland across 2 new parks in addition to outdoor leisure spaces including an amphitheatre, play areas, and fitness trails. The Green Quarter hard landscaping design needed to tie in with the vibrant nature of the area. A functional yet aesthetically pleasing solution was required, ensuring commuter-friendly paving options. Due to the scale of the location, creative laying patterns were required to add character and break up the space.   Tobermore’s Artro adds vibrancy and personality to transformed development Tobermore worked closely with the project team throughout the design process offering complimentary paving visualisations and bespoke sample panels for the extensive hard landscaping on the scheme. The visualisation and sample service provided confidence in the final product selection.  Outdoor leisure spaces including an amphitheatre, play areas, and fitness trails provide a place for residents to unwind. Community events including outdoor cinema screenings and food markets will create a thriving new community. There will also be a new primary school, health centre and community facility. With creativity at its core, Artro block paving was laid in an interesting five-way colour mix of Heather, Bracken, Autumn, Slate and Carbon in a trendy herringbone pattern. Other pedestrianised zones feature Artro in warm clay-like tones of Heather and Autumn in a stretcher bond laying pattern. Artro’s ability to create unique design patterns by seamlessly blending various colour tones adds originality and personality to the scheme.  Thanks to Tobermore’s PrimeTop hard-wearing surface layer, Berkeley Group can be confident that Artro will retain its original appearance for many years to come.     
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Vario by VELUX - Country Kitchen Extension Transformed with Natural Light

Vario by VELUX - Country Kitchen Extension Transformed with Natural Light

VELUX Company Ltd

We met digital content creator and charity ambassador Sally, in her gorgeous detached house in the English countryside in Surrey. Sally, her husband Gav, their three sons, dog and cat live in a beautiful cottage with lots of outdoor space for football, dens and four chickens (all named Barbara). They’re an active, outdoorsy family who love embracing nature, from scuba diving to surfing Cornwall’s finest beaches.Over the years they have built two extensions to their house. In the most recent extension project, Sally chose to illuminate the end of her gorgeous country kitchen/diner with a Vario by VELUX bespoke rectangular rooflight, so we went to visit her for a cuppa and a lovely chat about her impressions and experience on the importance of daylight. Sally, what a bright and stunning space you have in here. Could you please tell us more about your extension project?"We love this house; it has plenty of space and we absolutely love the country lifestyle. We bought a house 12 years ago and that time it was much smaller. The first big extension we did was 9 years ago, but we didn't quite get what we wanted as the building restrictions at the time were very strict.The key thing for us was to bring the light in. A wall of glass made perfect sense, but as the extension has a flat roof, we also started to think about what was above. In a room like this, I think the roof should be seen as the fifth wall.”Your original plan was to put a glass lantern in the extension. What made you change your mind and choose a flat glass rooflight instead?“Initially we thought we would put a glass lantern in like everybody else and it didn’t even occur to me that I could have anything else until I was invited to a rooflight launch event by Vario by VELUX. At the event, I completely fell in love with the idea of having a rooflight in my house. I got all the information and, after I realised that even a modern flat rooflight comes with an upstand and you also get the height of the roof built in, which would also give the room the height we wanted, and that the cost would be less than having a lantern of the same size and with no breaks in the glass, choosing a flat glass rooflight was a no-brainer! What do you love most about owning a bespoke rooflight?“It’s so cool and yet functional. Rooflights brings so much more light in than you would get from a normal side window and the fact is that daylight does make you feel better, especially in winter. On top of that, the customer service was excellent, there is always a backup call from Vario by VELUX to make sure you are ordering the right window, they hold your hand through the whole thing and the whole process of designing and ordering was made fun and easy. They helped me with things like setting the window at a slight angle, so the rain just runs off and we don’t end up with a swimming pool situation on the roof! It’s a really hands on, personal service from a small team, but backed by a big name like VELUX so you know you can really trust them. It’s like the gold standard of roof windows.”How did you perceive the installation process of the rooflight?“The process was really simple, easy and quick. Our constructor was provided with all the information they needed to know, in order to put the rooflight in. Our bespoke rooflight was delivered in 6 weeks and we rented a small crane for a day to lift it in. The crane was literally tiny, it fitted through our side gate. Then it was simply a matter of dropping it into the opening and letting the builders do their thing to seal it in. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous on the installation day as the dog insisted on sitting under the opening and it was very windy, but it all went very well. That moment when the hardboard comes off and you get your first glimpse of the sky above, it’s just magic.”Do you think changing your house has improved your everyday life?“Extending the house, and how we use it, has changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we relax. Having an extension, an extra room, the flow and the light we wanted has definitely increased the value of the house but also the saleability of the house. How many older properties have flat roof extensions and haven’t put in a rooflight? There must be loads and they’re definitely missing a trick. We wanted to build personality and I believe that with the extension and bespoke rooflight we got exactly what we wanted. With more daylight and space, I feel more active, I feel more awake, I feel fresher, I get things done. It has definitely changed the way we live.”
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Hotel Café Royal

Hotel Café Royal

CDM Stravitec

Hotel Café Royal has just undergone a complete refurbishment and internal re-build. Part of the new complex is a state-of-the-art Spa and Gym which is located in the basement. Directly next to the hotel is Regent Street, below which runs the Bakerloo underground train line.Structure-borne noise levels from the trains were far too high to create the relaxing environment required for a top class Spa. The acoustic consultants therefore specified that all of the noise sensitive spaces must be isolated on a Stravifloor Deck concrete floating floor system.Café Royal’s 1,200 sqm Wellbeing Centre provides a personal and intimate holistic experience. It has a large lap pool and four different areas, corresponding to the four natural elements: spa/water, gym/fire, yoga/air and organic bar/earth.The spa offers a variety of Watsu hydro-experiences, a private and communal Hammam and signature Akasha treatments. Moods are enhanced by restorative music, aromas and gentle lighting. The gym has the most advanced fitness equipment, including Kinesis machines. There is a spacious aerobics studio and a private training room. Yoga, Tai-Chi and Pilates are offered in the calming area, with bespoke classes.
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Piperdam Golf & Leisure Resorts

Piperdam Golf & Leisure Resorts

Bushboard Limited

ObjectiveSaving Graces Interiors, an interior design company based in Dundee, Scotland, offer a truly bespoke interior design service with a focus on creating beautiful spaces that reflect the personalities and lives of their clients.Working with Piperdam Golf & Leisure to refurbish 8 lodges for luxury getaways, Saving Graces Interior Designer, Antonia Burnett, chose the Bushboard Nuance range for the shower enclosure areas.Observation‘When I started working with Piperdam I needed to find a bathroom wall panel that was not only robust but also attractive. I spent a lot of time researching and when I landed on the Bushboard website I could see that the designs were miles ahead of the competition.’Nuance is a unique, 100% waterproof, extrusion-free panelling system that can installed in a matter of hours. Whether the project look is traditional or contemporary, the designs and textures have been carefully selected to include plain décor, as well as stunning marble and stone designs, and on trend woods.OutcomeAntonia decided to use Silver Travertine, a beautiful timeless design to suit any style of bathroom and work with a variety of paint colours. ‘As an interior designer I need a supplier that is reliable, affordable and who provides good quality products, Bushboard ticks all the boxes.’‘Rebecca Checketts, Business Specification Coordinator was extremely helpful in explaining the benefits of using Nuance and arranging next day samples.’‘Installation was quick and very straight forward and Bushboard have been on hand from start to finish. I am absolutely delighted with the end result and we will certainly specify Nuance again.’For more information about the Nuance range and other Bushboard products, to request a RIBA CPD, download an NBS specification or to order samples visit www.bushboard.co.uk
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New hygiene room for primary academy

New hygiene room for primary academy

Care Spaces by Wealden Rehab

The SEN Code of Practice mandates that schools must take reasonable steps to identify and support children with special educational needs, facilitating their progress toward personal potential. Recently, Care Spaces collaborated with Kent County Council for a Primary Academy in Gravesend, tasked with creating a hygiene room for a new pupil with additional needs. Despite challenges such as a small initial space, asbestos removal, and a tight timeline, the team reconfigured walls, installed essential features, and completed the project, providing the school with a compliant, safe, and inclusive space.
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Auriens, Chelsea

Auriens, Chelsea

Cellecta Ltd

Auriens is a luxury retirement home for people over the age of 65 that provides 56 high-end one and two-bedroom apartments alongside health and leisure facilities. Echoing the classical Georgian architecture of the area, the build is subtly future proofed with on-site private healthcare and high-spec wellness amenities. These include a pool, spa, personal trainer, salon, speakeasy bar, cinema, top restaurant, sunken garden, and a library.Cellecta’s HiDECK Overlay 18 was specified by Studio PDP as the overlay flooring solution. It’s ideal for flooring applications incorporating an underflooring heating system due to its high thermal conductivity which provides rapid reaction times, saving on running costs. In addition, its high density makes it perfect for a variety of acoustic applications.Multiplex was awarded this 10,000m² contract to construct this retirement home on Dovehouse Street, Chelsea.
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JACKOBOARD® A sustainable backerboard system for tiling

JACKOBOARD® A sustainable backerboard system for tiling

BEWI UK (JACKOBOARD®)

Manufactured with an extruded polystyrene foam core and a special coating on both sides, Jackoboard construction boards from Jackon by Bewi can be used as part of a system approach for tiling.With a range of shower trays and drain kits, Jackon says Jackoboard can help create a perfect wetroom or bathroom environment.Jackoboard construction systems provide the flexibility to meet modern requirements in bathroom design. “What was once considered a mere washroom has now been elevated to a private wellness oasis,” Jackon says. “In recent years, the demands placed on bathroom finishes have changed dramatically to allow refurbished bathrooms to shine like new with flexible and high-quality renovations.”The current British Standard for tiling, BS 5385-1:2018, requires the wider use of more appropriate materials for construction, and for receiving tiles in water sensitive and wet areas. This has reportedly increased the demand for the Jackoboard range in new build applications as well as in renovation works.The products are manufactured sustainably and, being superb insulators, they can be used in the design of energy-efficient homes, the company says. The protection of the environment is key to parent company Jackon by Bewi. The company says that plastics, when used as long-term construction materials can greatly reduce the need for heating energy and can therefore make a positive contribution to tackling the climate crisis. In fact, Jackon has been running a campaign in recent years to supply beehives made from the company’s polystyrene bead to the Bee Centre in Chorley. Like Jackoboard, the company says, these beehives will last a lifetime and provide better insulation than the alternatives, enabling the Bee Centre to continue its outreach work in support of honeybees and beekeeping.The surfaces of the Jackoboard system are said to provide an extremely strong bond for the tile adhesive and can be used on virtually any substrate. The boards are waterproof, thermally insulating, very lightweight and strong.The range can form the basis for a tiled finish, but it can also provide a substrate for wallpaper, paint or plaster. “So the possibilities for personal expression are virtually unlimited, allowing every bathroom to benefit from its own individual style,” Jackon says.Due to their core made of extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), Jackoboard construction boards and the wider product range are all lightweight and waterproof – a key benefit for bathroom new build and renovation.Jackoboard also makes installation “simple and easy”. The construction boards, bath panels and angle elements can be trimmed to the desired dimensions with standard tools, while their insulation values reportedly enable them to maximise the benefits of underfloor heating.The range is available in sizes and board thicknesses from 4-80mm to suit all building requirements. A suite of ancillary items are also available, from installation and sealing kits through to washers, fixing dowels and BoardFIX.J-Drain Linear and J-Drain Wall are recent additions to the family of wetroom products from Jackoboard. These products provide what the company calls a high-tech design solution to enable the creation of a totally minimalist walk-in shower.Both products are designed be used in combination with Jackoboard Sloping Boards for the floor and Plano Boards for the walls, to provide everything needed for a “highly fashionable and innovative walk-in shower solution”.“From a design point of view, these products are completely on-trend, given that the minimalist look for walk-in showers is very popular at the moment,” Jackon says. “Achieving this with a highly effective drain solution, which also showcases the tiling to maximum effect, is a key selling point for these new products, used together with Jackoboard backerboards.”
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The new health economy is changing the pharma industry

The new health economy is changing the pharma industry

BROEN-LAB

The pharma industry is being turned upside-down these years. Personalized medicine, access to vast amounts of data and aggressive new players are some of the forces that challenge old business models. The consequence? Pharma labs need to work faster, cheaper and more flexibly! Our Laboratory Solutions and Emergency Shower Systems are built for this.
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Downer Framing Helps Brent Cross Rise & Shine

Downer Framing Helps Brent Cross Rise & Shine

Architectural Panel Solutions

BRENT CROSS SUBSTATIONIf there was ever an image to uphold our notion that Downer rainscreen framing isn’t ‘just metal’, it’s this one.Brent Cross Town, which is being delivered by Related Argent and Barnet Council – has recently unveiled this powerful and vibrant piece of art. One of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe, Brent Cross Town has ‘wrapped’ this eye-catching substation in a 21-metre-high permanent public artwork – all of which sits on our robust, sustainably-friendly Downer HELPING HAND framing.Here we come, here we rise’, created by celebrated artist Lakwena in collaboration with architects IF_DO, consists of four undulating bands and triangular-shaped lenticular panels that create a kaleidoscopic visual effect to emphasise the idea of movement as viewers move around the structure. IF_DOThe project has also brought back to life a piece of brownfield, ex-industrial land with the creation of a newly landscaped embankment designed by Gillespies.Brent Cross Town is the neighbourhood at the heart of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration programme. It is a joint venture between Related Argent and Barnet Council to develop a large-scale mixed-use development including new homes, retail and office space, as well as improved schools and green spaces in the area.We’re so proud to have been involved in this striking project, courtesy of our client, installers FIFTH ELEVATION LIMITED and are pleased to see that we’re living and breathing our brand message. Downer. It’s never ‘just metal.WE’RE EQUALLY THRILLED TO HAVE RECEIVED THIS EXCELLENT QUOTE FROM FIFTH ELEVATION'THANKS ANDY AND THANK YOU AND JUAN FOR YOUR EXCELLENT SERVICE (THE BESPOKE ENGINEERING PACK FOR THE DOWNER SYSTEM WAS EXCELLENT) AND EXCELLENT PRODUCTS – WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU AGAIN SOON.' LUKE, FIFTH ELEVATIONQUOTE FROM TEAM LEAD – ANDY CREEDY'SUCH AN IMPRESSIVE PROJECT. WE WERE THRILLED TO WORK IN DEPTH WITH FIFTH ELEVATION WHO DESIGNED THIS PROJECT. JUAN CID BARATO HAD TO INVEST SO MUCH TIME AND PROVIDED SO MUCH MORE THAN OUR STANDARD ENGINEERING OFFERING. WE ALSO ENLISTED A 3RD PARTY ENGINEER TO HELP WITH DESIGN. THANK YOU LEE SHEPHERD AND LUKE FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WORK WITH US ON THIS AS IT WAS QUITE A LENGTHY PROCESS WITH LOTS OF IN PERSON AND TEAMS MEETINGS TO MAKE THIS WORK. BUT CLEARLY THE RESULT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. TRULY STUNNING. EVERYONE SHOULD BE SO PROUD. GREAT PROJECT.'OUR ORIGINAL HELPING HAND SYSTEMAs the original HELPING HAND framing system, it seems fitting that our Downer aluminium rainscreen framing system has been used here to support such a vivid and unique public piece of art.Come rain, or shine, regardless of the cold, frost or rain; Downer can be installed all year round, and offers ultimate weather resistance.Find out more about our DCS031 system here: https://downerframing.com/dcs031-helping-handIf you would like to find out more about our Downer Framing systems, please get in touch here: https://downerframing.com/#contact-usFind out more about how you can optimise your next rainscreen framing project here. Images thanks to John Sturrock Related Argent.
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GEC Anderson Products Feature At The Hold, Suffolk

GEC Anderson Products Feature At The Hold, Suffolk

Anderson, GEC Ltd

The Hold, Ipswich, contains important historical archives, records and artefacts, pertaining to the Suffolk area and is operated by Suffolk County Council.An impressive new archive centre, sited on the Ipswich waterfront, has recently been added. Architects, Pringle Richards Sharratt were responsible for the project and the contstruction was completed by RG Carter. The new facility includes an auditorium, learning spaces, archive and restoration rooms, gallery, shop, café and significant circulatory spaces.GEC Anderson stainless steel sinks, worktops and cabinets were specified within the conservation areas. The units were supplied and installed by GEC Anderson during the first lockdown phase of the Covid pandemic of 2020. Despite the obvious difficulties presented by the restrictions associated with the outbreak, work was able to progress as planned, under the special safety arrangements imposed by the main contractor.Managing Director of GEC Anderson, Martin Tye, comments “We do feel fortunate to be included within so many interesting and imaginative projects, such as The Hold. It is always inspiring to visit site, personally. In this instance, the special challenges of the times did not make our work easier but, under the expert guidance of RG Carter, we felt safe at all times whilst on site.”
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Bridle Works, Cathedral Street, Glasgow

Bridle Works, Cathedral Street, Glasgow

Aluprof UK

The Bridle Works building is situated on Cathedral Street in Glasgow and is a 19 storey 414 bed high rise student accommodation building.The building is packed full of amazing features & facilities under Novel Student operations. The facility includes a cinema, a private dining area, gaming room, 'glam' room and on-site fully equipped gym and access to personal trainers.The external façade has been finished with a number of Aluprof products including MB-SR50N EI curtain walling, MB-86 windows and MB-78 EI fire rated glazing systems.Architect: Manson ArchitectsMain Contractor: Watkin Jones Group
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Altro floors create home from home look for care home extension

Altro floors create home from home look for care home extension

Altro

Willowbrook Care Home in Birmingham provides specialist support for people with dementia and mental health problems who need personal care or nursing care on a long term basis. The care home recently extended the premises and Altro floors were used throughout the over 2000m² new build extension. Paul Willis, Care Home Owner said: “We chose Altro Wood Safety, Altro Pisces and Altro Walkway 20 to help provide a homely appearance with excellent sustained slip resistance, durability and ease of maintenance. The end result is superb and we have had many wonderful, positive comments from residents, families and numerous healthcare professionals.”
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Award-winning Petrarch clad Ealing Filmworks

Award-winning Petrarch clad Ealing Filmworks

Architectural Panel Solutions

Capturing all the glamour and splendour of the roaring twentiesthis latest scheme takes to the spotlight. For the restoration of this magnificent building, St. George and TP Bennett turned to a rainscreen which would not only project the right image, yet stand up to the most demanding requirements.For a building with such status and heritage, bothSt. George and TP Bennett opted for a rainscreen solution which would not only project exactly the right image, yet stand up to the most demanding requirements. As a mixed-use development, comprising 209 new homes overlooking a central square, lined with bars and restaurants, and an impressive double-height entrance foyer to the eight-screen Picturehouse Cinema, 'the biggest outside London’s West End,' it was vital that the chosen rainscreen could withstand numerous vying challenges. Thanks to a comprehensive list of intrinsic qualities; including extreme weather resistance, durability, longevity, impact and graffiti resistance, as well as BBA, CWCT and NHBC 2021 certification, Petrarch ticked all the right boxes and exudes pure elegance with its smooth Alabaster finish.Petrarch enrobed Filmworks wins Best Refurbishment project at this year’s Facade AwardsWe’re extremely proud to share that The Filmworks has won the Best Refurbishment project at this year’s Facade Awards. This is the first year that Architectural Panel Solutions has personally entered the awards and we’re thrilled to have debuted as award-winners. We cannot, of course, take all the credit for this project; it is the result of a highly successful collaboration with Richardson Roofing, and talented architect tp bennett for our client Berkeley Group, St George.The Ealing Filmworks by Berkeley Group, St. GeorgeFor a building with such status and heritage, both Berkeley Group, St. George and tp bennett turned to a rainscreen and framing solution which would not only project exactly the right image and retain the splendour of a bygone age, yet also stand up to the most demanding requirements. Blending elegant aesthetics and exacting technical standards; our Petrarch engineered stone rainscreen facade offered the perfect balance.As a £100m mixed-use regeneration scheme comprising: 209 new homes, a central square, lined with bars, restaurants, and featuring a double-height eight-screen Picture-house Cinema (the biggest outside London’s West End) the demands and rigour demanded of the chosen building materials were to be immense.About The Filmworks, in the words of the architect tp bennettGiven the delicate restoration and the fact that this was a conservation area, it was important that the chosen facade retained an elegant and natural aesthetic.’A careful infill within an existing urban block, the scheme has been designed by tp bennett as a contextual response to the surrounding buildings in the conservation areas. Each perimeter facade is designed in a subtly different language, depending on the character of the particular street it is facing. The architectural language changes towards the interior, where the contextual red brick and stone have been complemented with a more contemporary materials palette, including dark blue brick with contrasting green-glazed brick inserts and bronze-coloured cladding laser cut with a distinctive, three-dimensional geometric pattern.‘tp bennett are dedicated to ’creative reuse‘ as a practice – ’our ethos is to re-animate and adapt redundant historic buildings to reinforce a unique sense of place within each project. With our in-house skills and experience to draw from – as well as access to a strong network of conservation specialists – the practice is in a prime position to animate the past and inform the future.‘Here’s what our esteemed installer, Richardson Roofing had to say about Petrarch panels and our level of customer service:‘APS were very easy to deal with during the purchase and logistics process, of getting the Petrarch engineered stone to site. They are very responsive to queries, helpful and went out of their way to assist in any way they could. The team really do know their products well and were very helpful. Despite this being a somewhat difficult site with delivery booking requirements, APS worked with us to optimise logistics for just-in-time deliveries.’Krissy Dawson (Contracts Coordinator)
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Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

CAT (Carpet Accessory Trims) Limited

Overview The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is located in the City of Westminster and is the oldest theatre in London still in use. There have been four different theatres built on the site, the first of which opened its doors in 1663. The current theatre was designed by Benjamin Dean Wyatt and opened in its current format in 1812. The theatre, now owned and operated by Andrew Lloyd Webber's company LW Theatres, has just gone through an astonishing £60 million refurbishment, designed by architects Haworth Tompkins, which includes new bars, dressing rooms and even a new 16 person lift to grant easy access to upper levels! Installation Over the past 2 years, C.A.T. has worked closely with the client, the architects and the flooring contractors - to supply a range of solid brass flooring profiles and stair nosings throughout this iconic building. Hand-finished here in the UK, these Brass Nosings adorn the staircases within the theatre's auditorium and many of the original cantilevered staircases in the foyers and Royal Boxes. Alongside Loughton Contracts, C.A.T conducted multiple site visits, to measure and template the hundreds of steps across the theatre. These measurements were conveyed to our fabrication team, who worked extremely hard to bring the nosing’s to life and replicate the detail of the treads, to ensure the overall finish was first class. Last but by no means least, as you walk into the newly refurbished theatre foyer, you will be greeted by the stunning bespoke carpet by Alarwool, expertly finished by Loughton Contracts, with our 16mm solid brass rods, hand-turned by our factory and hand finished in antique brass, to match the nosings and trims throughout. Be sure to look up too, the atrium roof is simply stunning!
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Red and yellow steel door frames chosen for this exceptional London home

Red and yellow steel door frames chosen for this exceptional London home

Clement Windows Group

Hannah Cecil-Harden is a director at de Gournay, a family business which was founded by her father, Claud Cecil Gurney. De Gournay makes the most beautiful hand-painted wallpapers and fabrics and the company’s work is found in some of the finest buildings around the world. As you would expect, every room of Hannah’s London home has been exquisitely decorated. The property has undergone many transformations in the time that Hannah has lived there, but the most recent changes were needed to accommodate her expanding family. Hannah and her husband wanted their house to work better for life with their four young children.All the floors of the house have been updated, but perhaps the biggest change was turning the existing basement into a playroom with adjoining utility and bathroom. Having worked with Hannah and the team at de Gournay on a previous project, Clement was delighted to be asked to manufacture the new steel doors that were included within the designs. We were excited that the new steel doors were to be painted in unique vibrant colours to match the stunning wallpapers that adorn the new space and we worked closely with Hannah and her team to find just the right match. We always say that our bespoke steel products can be painted in specialist hues from across the entire colour spectrum – these doors demonstrate what is possible!Hannah said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Clement Windows on this exciting project which was for a children’s playroom. I wanted to go with bold and bright colours and they were so accommodating about this, everything about the project was handled professionally and with utmost care from conception down to a flawless install. It was an absolute pleasure to work on such a personal project with a business I have collaborated with before and I look forward to hopefully crossing paths again in the future!”
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The Belmont stunning state of the art senior living

The Belmont stunning state of the art senior living

danfloor UK Ltd

Sanders Senior Living’s The Belmont is a stunning, state-of-the-art seniors’ community in the cathedral city of Worcester. Beautifully designed to promote independence and wellbeing.Sanders Senior Living is renowned in the luxury care sector and has created a desirable new place to live. Focusing on person-centred care, residents will be treated with the utmost dignity, respect and compassion and will be encouraged to maintain their independence and pursue active, meaningful lives amongst friends.Sanders Senior Living aims to help residents live happy, fulfilled lives in an environment that encourages connectivity and an independent lifestyle whilst also offering residential care for residents that require additional support.With the assistance and project management from furniture manufacturer Edison & Day the interior design scheme aims to create a home-away-from-home feeling that ensures residents have a gracious and fulfilled life
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Lambwood Heights offering five-star accommodation, personalised residential, nursing, dementia and respite care

Lambwood Heights offering five-star accommodation, personalised residential, nursing, dementia and respite care

danfloor UK Ltd

Oakland Care have the philosophy ‘Live, Love and Be Loved’, which not only applies to their bespoke personal care plans but to the state-of-the-art environment in which their residents live. Whilst keeping the development homely Oakland wanted to create a real sense of community spirit throughout Lambwood Heights and nurture resident’s independence. See how danfloor's carpets enhanced the development.
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French Protestant Church, Soho

French Protestant Church, Soho

Anderson, GEC Ltd

The responsive service and high standard of craftsmanship offered by stainless steel specialist, GEC Anderson has led to the manufacturer repeating the success of a previous collaboration with a design practice renowned for its expertise in historic buildings: creating a commercial style kitchen within a very confined space in the undercroft to London’s French Protestant Church.  Although it was established in London by Royal Charter five centuries ago in 1550, the French Protestant Church’s current home in Soho Square was designed by Sir Aston Webb and was completed in 1893. The current contract came about partly as the result of an aspiration for improved facilities, able to cater for larger numbers of people and a pressing need to replace the sub-structure’s failing tanking system. Caroe Architecture Ltd. was duly appointed as the lead consultant while Coniston Ltd. was the main contractor for the work.Having worked with GEC Anderson on previous projects such as The Old Deanery in the City of London, Caroe Architecture was confident in seeking the company’s advice on the possibilities for the refit in the very confined space of the barrel-vaulted crypt. GEC responded by conducting a detailed site survey, followed by a ‘templating’, supply and installation contract.  The Project Architect, Alanah Honey, commented: “Not only was the existing, domestic scale kitchen beneath the French Protestant Church not meeting its full needs, but the failure of the old waterproofing measures required the walls to be taken right back to bare brickwork for repair.From previously just providing tea and coffee, the client wanted to move to more of a commercial scale installation, but unfortunately there wasn’t the space or the extract capacity for a full commercial facility, we therefore went for the highest specification we could, calling on the services of GEC Anderson on the basis of our past experience of working with the company.”  “The fit-out has gone very well with GEC installing all of its stainless steel drawer units, shelves and work-surfaces as well as providing a detailed specification for the church to purchase all the appliances direct, to help keep within budget. We are delighted to have been appointed to York Minster this year, having been nominated as Inspecting Architects to a number of other Cathedrals and major churches over the last 10 years. So our work is expanding significantly beyond London and Cambridge – also involving National Trust properties as well as the Oxbridge Colleges – so there is the likelihood for further cooperation with GEC.”   Benedicte Fougier, the President of the Consistory stated, “On the advice of our architects, Caroe Architecture Ltd., we contracted GEC Anderson to design and build a kitchen in our quirky, grade 2* historical building which was no small feat given the many architectural constraints. GEC Anderson has been terrific, coming up with creative ideas and delivering exactly what we needed and more. They have been extremely professional and personable throughout, very engaged with us through constant communication and adjusting their design until the last minute to take into account our needs”. Since its formation in 1962, GEC Anderson has built its reputation for the supply of top end stainless steel sinks and sanitaryware on a combination of innovative design, top quality materials and expert craftsmanship. In addition to the company’s Decimetric system of cabinets, sinks, drainers and other equipment - widely specified for sectors including health and catering - the company’s custom engineered solutions have been selected for some of the country’s top sports, entertainment and leisure destinations. 
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Downer Framing Launches a new free framing tool

Downer Framing Launches a new free framing tool

Architectural Panel Solutions

Downer Designer helps contractors and specifiers design and cost rainscreen framing systems.A next-generation, dedicated, free-to-use platform for the real-time development, creation and costing of rainscreen cladding framing designs has been launched by leading UK manufacturer Downer Framing.Downer the original Helping Hand framing solution was one of the first rainscreen cladding framing systems on the UK market. BBA approved, tested to the extreme and officially Made in Britain, in its factory near Hastings, it set the benchmark in 1988.Now the company has launched Downer Designer – a free-to-use online tool which enables contractors, installers and specifiers to outline their project-specific rainscreen requirements to generate optimised framing designs. All of which is stored and managed in their own personal online account.Users simply enter the information they know, along with any detail-specific needs for new build or refurbishment projects in the commercial, education, healthcare, retail, leisure and transportation sectors. The technical team at Downer Framing will then provide: static and thermal calculations (up to 10 static calculations per project element), relevant costs, optimised component and fixing configurations, and NBS specification. All of which can be printed off or saved as a pdf. The user process can take as little as 10 minutes, and the Downer Technical team aim to have a Project Pack ready within just 24 hours.The interfacing software which Downer Designer connects with is created by a team of specialist structural engineers. The user-friendly platform enables contractors, installers and specifiers to optimise even the most complex rainscreen framing projects from the very first instance, saving the design team not only money, but time and inconvenience.Information required ranges from building height, cladding area, wind load references and construction type, through static calculations such as product type, panel thickness and weight, horizontal fix centres, and facade/soffit, to cavity depth, rail lengths and cantilevers, substrate, stud grade and centres, wall build up and target U-values.Juan Barato, Downer Framing’s Technical Manager (part of Architectural Panel Solutions - a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of rainscreen systems and solutions) reflected: “While we focused on building our framing systems portfolio, we also realised we needed to help our customers design and price those systems, so Downer Designer was developed to do just that in the quickest and easiest way possible. Trials have proved we have got the balance just right.”Downer Designer enables framing specifiers to access a dedicated space to cost their framing projects quickly and easily. Downer Designer brings everything a customer could potentially want into one place. All new Downer Framing systems can be selected and costed in real-time, with optimised quotes aimed to be returned by our technical team within just 48 hours!
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Wakefields' "wow" factor

Wakefields' "wow" factor

Armourcoat Ltd

Armourcoat’s Perlata architectural coating brings a pearlescent quality to Wakefields in Horsham, enhancing the fine gemstones, jewellery and watches on display in the Sussex store.Wakefields has a family heritage spanning more than 100 years and four generations, focussed on delivering personalised service to match its fine jewellery and iconic watch brands.To coincide with expansion of its Rolex showroom, Wakefields invested in a full store redesign. The objective was to elevate the customer experience and create a luxury boutique feel whilst retaining the warmth and charm of the store. Retail design consultant Innovare Design blended high-end design details to deliver a theatrical space, balanced with creation of a series of discreet personal consultation rooms.The choice of Armourcoat’s Perlata architectural coating in neutral shades has helped to deliver the ambience demanded. The subtle shimmer of the coating, achieved through inclusion of pearlescent pigments, highlights the contemporary, luxury feel without overpowering accent features, transforming light within and enhancing the pieces on display.Explained Innovare Creative Director Lloyd Blakey:“We explored different finishes that would exude a contemporary, luxury feel that would sit comfortably alongside the Wakefields offer. It needed to enhance, and add to, the layering of details of the scheme rather than overpower them."“Quite simply, Perlata was the right finish for the project. Its beautiful iridescent quality transforms the light as you move through and around the store. The finished scheme looks stunning and Perlata is one of the finishes that helps deliver the ‘wow’ factor the client was looking for."“Armourcoat was very helpful and supportive, especially bearing in mind much of the shop-fitting took place during and in-between lockdowns.”Added Wakefields Managing Director Dominic Wakefield:“Perlata was the perfect system to achieve a luxury wall finish to compliment the rest of the store. We like to create theatre and stories when our customers come in; Perlata gives us a chance to talk about the application and sparkle, which customers have loved.”Armourcoat Perlata is an architectural coating system available in 96 colours. Created from a matte basecoat and multiple pearlescent topcoat layers, Perlata is formulated to prevent mould, mildew and bacterial growth making it suitable for use in most internal environments, including bathrooms and swimming pools. It has a low VOC and is stain resistant and can be scrubbed/wiped clean.Project: Wakefields Jewellers, HorshamInterior Design: Innovare DesignPhotography: TobyPhillipsPhotography.co.uk

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