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RCI JULY 2014

INDUSTRY NEWS BRE asks for input from housing delivery chain to help develop a voluntary sustainability standard for new homes The BRE (British Research Establishment) has unveiled plans to develop a voluntary sustainability standard for new homes which it says will allow developers to differentiate their product in the marketplace by recognising performance beyond minimum regulation and provide increased choice for the consumer. It is inviting all those involved with the delivery of housing as well as consumers to have their say on what should be included in the standard. The announcement comes in the wake of the recent Department for Communities & Local Government Housing Standards Review (HSR) and subsequent proposed changes to the regulatory landscape. These include the dissolution of the Code for Sustainable Homes and the incorporation of some of its elements into the Building Regulations. Gavin Dunn, director of BREEAM said: “We have our own ideas on the critical issues we need to address in future housing delivery – things like resilience to adverse and extreme weather: flooding, wind, overheating – mental and physical health & wellbeing of occupants, resource efficiency, increased biodiversity, low energy, water and maintenance costs and improved connectivity. It is essential that the industry and homeowners engage with us so we can develop a tool that people and the industry want to use because it provides increased quality and choice for the consumer, and drives innovation and improvements across the housing supply chain.” The BRE says the standard will be developed for the UK and can be adapted for specific local circumstances. It will use an easy to understand, consumer focused rating system. Significantly the standard aims to tackle the performance gap issue, ensuring that MGMA moves to “clarify the situation” around CE Marking and specification 08 JULY 2014 RCIMAG.COM the home is performing as designed and if not to recommend a course of action the home-owner can take. Mr. Dunn added: “Our remit at BRE has always been to catalyse positive change in the built environment for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy. In the UK we spend a large proportion of our lives in buildings – we must continue to push for better sustainability and quality in our homes. Look at any other sector – automotive, IT, communications – these sectors are continuously improving their products – why should housing be any different?” The consultation process is open until 25th July 2014. The standard will be ready for roll-out next spring. To get engaged with the consultation visit: www.bre.co.uk Growth predicted for single ply sector The single ply roofing sector is set to experience similar growth to the rest of the construction industry, with the sales turnover for single ply membrane systems (SPMs) expected to increase annually. According to a survey carried out by the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) on all of its manufacturing members, an estimated year-end sales turnover of £73m was recorded in 2013, adding up to approximately 5.4 million m² of SPMs and a rise of 7.3% from 2012’s figures. The survey forecasts that 2014 will see a 7% increase in sales turnover of SPM alongside an 8.1% increase in the volume sold. SPRA’s research also found that almost half (46%) of SPM business can be found in the commercial sector, followed by 22% in housebuilding. The majority of this work (66%) was carried out in the new build sector, with the remaining 34% in refurbishment. James Talman, chief executive of SPRA, said: “Our survey shows the outlook is positive for our industry with turnover anticipated at 7% year-on-year. And, with two-thirds of SPM business coming from the new build sector – and continued growth predicted in construction – it’s a great time to be involved in single ply roofing.” The survey also investigated employment and opportunity within the sector. Price was determined as the leading factor in growing each supplier’s business according to 21% of respondents, with only 8% suggesting training and sustainability. Mr. Talman added: “With increasing demand and a shortage of skilled labour across the construction industry, there is a real need for suppliers and contractors to embrace training, assessment and accreditation to ensure high standards of product and installation are maintained.” In terms of growing the UK sector as a whole, price was relegated to almost last place, with quality of product and service deemed the most important issue. It was also found that like price, environmental impact received only 9% in this area. Perhaps surprisingly, the needs of clients were also thought of as one of the lesser important ways to create growth in the industry. www.spra.co.uk The Metal Gutter Manufacturers Association (MGMA) has taken steps to address a perceived lack of awareness in the marketplace regarding CE Marking for metal gutters and associated products, and has strongly reiterated that CE Marking is not a requirement for such products. The Association has restated that under the Construction Products Regulations (CPR) metal gutters and their associated products are not required to carry a CE Mark or indeed, under the current regulation, they are not permitted to carry a CE Mark to show conformity with a harmonised European (hEN) or a Common Understanding and Assessment Procedure (CUAP). Mr.Geraint Jones, MGMA chairman told RCI magazine: “Whilst CE Marking has been mandatory across many construction products for almost 12 months, there are a number of products, notably metal gutters, which are not required to display the recognised mark. “The MGMA felt that it was important to clarify the situation to overcome any confusion and to ensure that products are correctly specified within the marketplace. This is particularly important since the introduction of BS EN 1090 for structural steelwork on 1st July 2014, which again does not make it necessary for gutters to carry a CE Mark.” Mr. Jones went on to point out that MGMA members manufacture high quality products that in most cases exceed the minimum BS / and EN Standards requirements, and in 2010 the MGMA worked with BSI to publish BS 8530, a new Standard for traditional cast aluminium guttering. Mr. Jones concluded: “The UK is unique in its use of metal rainwater systems in cast iron, aluminium and steel, and the MGMA is continually working to ensure that these traditions continue.” Dear Editor Following a comment made in the Forticrete article ‘Enhancing the built environment’ (RCI June, p.38) that natural stone’s “…expense to quarry, cut and transport means it is rarely used today”, Stone Federation Great Britain are pleased to report that the opposite is the case. As the official trade association for the natural stone industry we are ideally positioned to observe the industry trends, and, in particular the rising popularity for natural stone in both cladding and a range of other applications. Recent articles in leading architecture and design titles highlight the ever increasing attraction the industry is having to this durable, versatile and sustainable natural material. Furthermore, our own Natural Stone Awards have seen an increase in entry numbers year on year, with a large number being new build projects utilising natural stone across its range of applications. In short, the use of natural stone in both cladding and other applications is in no way the rarity that the article suggests and the Federation are pleased to find that when it comes to promoting the use of natural stone within the wider construction industry, we are often ‘preaching to the converted’. Jane Buxey Chief executive, Stone Federation Great Britain Geraint Jones, MGMA chairman


RCI JULY 2014
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