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RCI May 2017

INSULATION time penalties on projects, and with the work taking place on busy sites with multiple trades operating at the same time, this can create a much greater margin for error. As Ian Fenn of Gradient explains: “For obvious reasons, bonding on site is becoming more and more difficult and as we know, if it’s not bonded properly, you don’t want it on a fully bonded roof.” Single layer, which Gradient specialises in, takes the strain of bonding on site away from the contractor as the components are bonded together in factory conditions to form a bespoke solution. These are then delivered to site, installed and secured to the roof-deck. Ian feels his team at Gradient have “a unique knowledge of bonding” which enables them to manufacture thermal insulation boards that are suitable across a wide range of warm flat roof applications including torch-on, built-up felt, mastic asphalt, single ply membrane and liquid waterproofing systems with either concrete, steel or timber decks. As Ian explained, this expertise has been built over a number of years, through developing relationships with suppliers and focusing on the details – for example knowing what type of glue works with which material – as well as significant investment from parent company Recticel in recent years. As Ian explained: “If you don’t put the investment in, you will have problems. We’ve been working with our adhesive company for 20 years – they know what we need and they can adapt to our demands at short notice.” After spending the early part of his career on the tools, Ian feels this puts him and his team in a great position to be able to produce solutions for contractors and understand the problems they 056 MAY 2017 RCIMAG.COM might encounter: “My background is roofing and this means I like the challenge and can sympathise with what contractors are faced with on site and in many cases know what they want.” This has seen Ian and the team produce a number of bespoke solutions: the introduction of precut mitres, insulated stop battens, rooflight deflectors and other solutions for guiding the flow of water on flat roofs. As Ian explained, there’s a lot more to consider than you might think when it comes to flat roof insulation and tapered solutions: “Working with the contractors is where you find out what the problems are: we offer solutions to problems, we’re not just a standard supplier. It’s important we are involved in a project as early as possible – that is key; we can advise right throughout a project.” Flexible on every job With this in mind it’s important to note that Gradient employs a national team of surveyors who are on call to visit sites, and an in-house design team who use customer briefs and site survey information to create bespoke designs which can be amended and adapted as projects progress to create a more effective solution. As Ian pointed out, this approach and set-up enables Gradient to be “flexible on every job”. Ian feels the interaction between the design teams and the factory floor is crucial to meeting the needs of the customer, but as he pointed out: “What you can create on the computer isn’t always achievable on the machines (in the factory) but we get there in the end!” And this is where Ian feels the team at Gradient excels: problem solving, trying ideas, going back to the drawing board, working with the team and ultimately coming up with a solution for the customer. It’s the interaction between the technical and design departments and the factory floor that really makes it work, there’s a real ‘family feel’ at Gradient, and they’re working to meet the customer’s needs. On top of the investment at Recticel Insulation, the decision has also been taken to invest in new warehousing and training facilities for customers at Gradient, which will double the capacity and enable faster turnaround times. The investment again highlights the optimism the Group has for the UK market. The PIR sector had its supply issues towards the end of 2016, however it is on the mend and the sector looks like it’s going from strength to strength. With all the talk of uncertainty, it’s great to see a European business like Recticel investing so heavily in its UK businesses. That’s great news for the UK construction sector and future pipeline of work, and puts both Gradient and Recticel in a strong position to make the most of the opportunities. www.recticelinsulation.co.uk www.gradientuk.com “It’s important we are involved in a project as early as possible – that is key; we can advise right throughout a project” Recticel’s Eurowall+ “Following the successful growth of the UK business, it became clear we needed further investment in this country to match the expectation and growth in demand”


RCI May 2017
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