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RCI July 2017

CLADDING & SHEETING “Solutions today for the buildings of tomorrow” RCI’s Holly Miles was invited to Etex Building Performance’s Research and Development facility in Avignon to see how three of its brands are working together to develop new innovations for the Etex Building Performance is a division of the Etex Group which brings together the products and solutions of three dry construction materials companies: Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades. This new organisation combines drywall, external sheathing, passive fire protection and steel framing systems design under one roof. On Tuesday, June 20, along with other press RCI was invited to Avignon in France for a tour around the Etex Building Performance Research & Development (R&D) Facility. The company wanted to show us how three brands: Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades are combining their collective technical expertise to develop new material innovations for the construction industry with a strong focus on boosting productivity. Etex Building Performance is striving to be the leading expert in dry construction and operates in 35 countries with 63 factories and employs more than 5,500 people around the world. Etex’s mission, according to Eric Bertrand, head of innovation, R&D and marketing, is to develop “solutions today for the buildings of tomorrow.” Three major trends According to Bertrand, Etex has identified three major trends developing in today’s construction industry: 042 JULY 2017 RCIMAG.COM • An increasing use of modular and prefabricated building methods. • A growing demand for energy savings and sustainable products. • A rising use of digital technology to help customers (BIM). These trends have driven Etex Building Performance’s innovation strategy and the Etex Group has invested more than €30m annually in R&D. It has three innovation and technology centres globally, where it looks to strike the balance between aesthetic, mechanical and technical qualities. In her presentation to the group, Nicola Chapman, marketing and business development director at Etex Building Performance UK, said that jobsite productivity is a major issue in the construction industry. According to a graph produced by the OECD, productivity in the European construction industry has remained flat for 30 years. Chapman does not think that this is acceptable and said that: “where there is technology and innovation this should not be the case. This – coupled with an aging workforce – is a ticking time-bomb. We want to create solutions which are faster and easier to install, with less waste.” She went on to explain that Etex had commissioned a study with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to understand where time is lost in installing drywall systems. A generic project with a standardised solution and high levels of repetition was chosen. The results showed that 19% of the time on site was ‘waste’ and only 58% was ‘value added’ production – i.e. something was being built. This was then compared to a project where a new ceiling board manufactured by Siniat was installed, the results of which showed a 27% increase in installation speeds, a total saving of 193.8 man-hours on a scheme of 200 apartments and a reduction of £78.75 per apartment. Another comparison study was carried out to identify the benefit in using tape and jointing finishing over skim plaster. The results showed a 25% increase in finishing speeds despite a site perception that skim plaster finishing is most efficient. Jobsite productivity In December 2016, Etex launched an initiative to work with drywall contractors in improving jobsite productivity and the first meeting was held at the Jaguar car factory. The company says construction industry The Universal Furnace testing facility at the Etex Building Performance R&D facility in Avignon, France Etex says that it wants to go beyond ISO tests


RCI July 2017
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