Simpson Strong-Tie are all set to provide the steel frame construction industry with performance tested connectors and fixings with the release of our brand new 2021 Connectors for Light Gauge Steel catalogue.

Created for suppliers, architects, engineers, erectors, and contractors alike, the new catalogue makes it easy to specify project-appropriate LGS connector solutions, with robust product pages including detailed features and benefits, technical data and installation advice, as well as associated fasteners and tools.
Light gauge steel (LGS) enables quick construction without the need for heavy tools or equipment. LGS systems offer a range of construction related benefits, with speed of construction, cost effectiveness and safety being the most notable.
Whether you are a manufacturer of LGS load-bearing structures or a manufacturer of light gauge steel facades, Simpson Strong-Tie can provide a suitable connection solution. From steel joist connectors to oversail movement connectors, bridge connectors and ties, to chemical and mechanical anchor systems, our comprehensive range of products will ensure you make the right connection, when you need it.


The new catalogue features the ever popular TJC Jack Truss and Rafter Connector, an on-site adjustable angle bracket for connecting angled LGS sections, and the HTT5 Tension Ties, as well as the heavy-duty Quik Drive collated fastening system. Also showcased are some brand new product innovations, including:
•  The LGSSC Splicing Clip, designed to connect the over–sail LGS studs to the primary structure in continuous walling installations.
•  The RCKW Parapet Wall Bracket, designed to resist an over-turning moment at the base of exterior knee-walls and parapets as well as interior partial height walls.
•  X1214 screws have a #3 drill point capable of drilling through 5mm steel and suitable for 450 grade hardened steel.
•  X1224 screws have #5 drill point capable of drilling through 12.5mm steel and suitable for fixing to hot rolled steel sections.
“Our range of ergonomically designed connectors can assist on-site installation and ensure projects are completed on time and to your specification. Whether you need products or design, solving your structural problems is our passion, and the 2021 LGS connectors catalogue makes it easy to find information and project solutions quickly.” Explains Sales Manager @MartinKeithLister.
“You also have the reassurance of knowing that you are specifying a tested product, whether it be a hold down, anchored to the foundation, or an adjustable angle bracket connecting to the light gauge steel, our dedicated technical support team are available daily to help you select your connector and the fixing solution.”
As the market grows for steel framing solutions and buildings built in an offsite environment, our research continues at head office into our upcoming range of Ready products that will revolutionise the future of light gauge steel.
To learn more about how Simpson Strong-Tie can help you develop your light gauge steel project call us on 01827 255 600.
The new catalogue is available now, or you can download the catalogue from the Literature Library on the website.

ETA-approved EJOT Iso-Corner provides assured fixing solution for externally insulated walls

EJOT has secured ETA (European Technical Assessment) approval for its Iso-Corner load-bearing bracket, an engineered fastening element for medium to heavy weight building elements – planned or unplanned – in ETICS and other external wall insulation applications.

The newly awarded ETA confirms the engineered value of EJOT Iso-Corner which is moulded from high density polyurethane foam and can be easily cut on site with an electric saw to sit flush with the external insulation face. This combination of structural strength and adaptability provides a dependable supporting bracket option offering a cantilever arm to length of between 80mm and 300mm.
It is ideally suited to specifiers and installers who need to attach building elements to a façade that is to be treated with an ETICS – external thermal insulation composite systems – or other external wall insulation solution. These could include elements such as railings and Juliet balconies, which require a secure attachment to the load-bearing external wall, the substrate.
Consider the make-up of an external wall insulation system. The insulation is typically attached to the wall structure, treated with coatings and mesh, and finished in the chosen render, brick-slips or other external treatment. The main depth of the system is the insulation board, and whilst this should generally be very securely fixed to the building substrate, it will not have the necessary structural strength to allow for load bearing attachments.
Any attempt to achieve a secure fix by driving through to the original building substrate could compromise the thermal insulation level. Unless a fixing is used that incorporates insulating materials as part of its design, the thermal barrier will be broken, and cold bridging will result. This is one of the criteria of PAS 2035, where it needs to be demonstrated that any cold bridging effects have been designed out of the chosen energy efficiency measure.
Iso-Corner is part of a range of ETICS mounting elements from EJOT designed to achieve safe, secure and long-term fastening solutions in refurbishment projects, including:

•  Iso-Spiral Anchor, a spiral-shaped plastic assembly anchor complete with sealing washer and integrated threaded sleeve which provides a fastening solution for lightweight elements in ETICS facades, such as house numbers and external lights.
•  Iso-Dart – a fastening system comprising of a façade anchor with plastic installation bush, complete with sealing washer, which accepts common coarse threaded screws for securely attaching light to medium loads.
•  Iso-Bloc – an easy-to-cut block moulded from high density EPS, which is particularly suitable as a backing to allow for thermal bridge-free attachments in ETICS applications.


As a global leader in construction fastening solutions, the EJOT UK team offers a wealth of technical support and specialist guidance to specifiers and installers to ensure they achieve the right result when mounting to ETICS facades.
For technical support and to find out more about the range of innovative EJOT fastener solutions visit the website, call 01977 687040 – or contact Mark Newell, Sales Engineer for ETICS fastening products at EJOT UK:

The landscape of the UK’s offsite sector has become increasingly populated over the last few years with many new entrants – mostly concentrated on residential development – joining a host of longer-established players. These new entrants are embracing business models based on the manufacture of volumetric modular residential product, rather than other forms of offsite solution such as panellised product. The investment profile of these new entrants suggests that the success or otherwise of their business models directly relates to an ability to operate at scale and achieve high levels of productivity. A recent report1 has highlighted that investment in technology as well as facilities and equipment is key to securing such lofty ambition, particularly emphasising the importance of digitalisation of both product and process.

Building Information Modelling or Digital Engineering

Digitalisation and the power of data-centricity across the wider construction industry is somewhat misunderstood. Most often, parties tend to think that the creation of 3-D models using common software platforms in order that information can be easily shared and the likes of clash detection carried out constitutes all that is required for the building of an information model. Indeed, over the last 10-15 years, new roles such as BIM Manager and BIM Coordinator have emerged across the industry which tend to reflect this limited understanding. Yet the creation of a geometric digital twin in a virtual modelling environment does not really constitute the building of an information model that digitally captures both the product and the process needed to be executed to create the physical entity.
The newer entrants to offsite who are focused on the manufacture of volumetric modular product for the residential sector appear to lack understanding of digitalisation and the power of data-centricity. For such manufacturing-based enterprises, it is not to say that their utilisation of sophisticated software to foster collaborative working to help the efficient development of a geometric digital twin is not beneficial, rather that in itself it is not adequate for the purpose of facilitating scalability and high levels of productivity.
So, returning to the report1 referred to previously, the digitalisation (or digital engineering) of product and process implies a more wide ranging set of activities than just the collaborative development of a geometric digital twin. Whether these enterprises have implemented rigid manufacturing workflow to support the production of a limited range of standard product, or a more flexible manufacturing workflow to support production of mass-customised products, a data-centric logic which facilitates control of the value chain and supports data-driven decision making is a pre-requisite to success. Plainly, an expansive notion of digitalisation and the power of data-centricity reflects something more than the simple idea of building information modelling, and whilst not widely appreciated it really does hold the key to an enterprise realising scale and high levels of productivity.

Data as the New Oil
In order to comprehend the power of data-centricity, enterprises must secure a deep understanding of what data it needs and how it must flow to efficiently operate, and also how data should be authored, configured, manipulated and managed. Most enterprises do not invest the time and effort to secure the necessary insight regarding data creation and flow. Without this understanding, they are unable to determine the nature of the technology platform needed to support the effective digital engineering of product and process. As a result, they typically default to a technology strategy incorporating a set of software packages which cannot be fully integrated, and so ultimately thwart the enterprise’s ability to exploit the power of data. Furthermore, these enterprises tend to recruit resource into their businesses which reflect the conventional skill sets mentioned earlier, which further limits the enterprise’s potential digital engineering and data-centricity prowess.
Of course, for those construction and offsite enterprises who have made relatively low levels of investment to help harness data, such a technology strategy might not be overly constraining because their direct competition might operate in a similar way realising similar mediocre levels of performance. However, for those newer enterprises that will be manufacturing volumetric modular product for the residential sector and who possess an appetite to operate at scale and leverage productivity, it is likely these will encounter serious challenges and such a technology strategy will ultimately prove to represent a weak link.
As was the case when oil was first discovered, the true power of data is still largely unknown. This is not necessarily a criticism, rather just a statement of reality; and if something does not appear to be a problem then resource is not usually allocated to resolving it. And yet, for a manufacturing-based enterprise that wants to operate at scale and with high levels of productivity, a data-centric focus is imperative.
Accordingly, whilst there is additional investment involved in acquiring the necessary talent into a business and affording the same the time to evolve the appropriate process logic and identify the associated technology platform to fully secure control of the value chain and facilitate data-driven decision making, the long-term benefits are enormous. This requirement for investment can be perceived as a leap of faith compared to capital expenditure on machinery, because the power of data-centricity is not readily understood, and often technology projects fail to get delivered. Nonetheless, the infographic on the left contains some examples of the sort of automated data capture / flow that are required in an enterprise that aspires to be a profitable, high-volume manufacturer of volumetric modular product for the residential sector.

The Need for Discretisation of Data
The power of data-centricity can only be realised if an enterprise has a true, granular understanding of what data is important, what format it needs to be presented in, which resource needs what portions, and what point in time it requires to be created. An enterprise must seek to understand what data it needs and how it must flow to efficiently operate, and crucially how the same should be authored, configured, manipulated and managed. It is only when an enterprise develops a profound insight that it can also start to consider how the authoring, configuring, manipulating and managing of data can be automated. Indeed, for those newer entrants to the offsite sector who want to operate at scale and achieve high levels of productivity, one option often used to compensate for not comprehending the power of data-centricity is to simply employ more resource. Given the fragmented, skills-scarce climate that such businesses might currently be operating in, this sort of compensatory mechanism ultimately remains a limiting factor to achieving scale and high levels of productivity. The rationale behind this is straightforward enough: the skill sets of many of the sorts of people operating across the construction and offsite sectors are not sufficiently broad to properly understand the full idea that lies behind digitalisation. Whilst some of these enterprises might have a fairly advanced understanding of what to build, they are characteristically lacking in terms of their understanding of how something should be built.
The true power of data-centricity can only be realised if data is discretised, that is the packets  of data that are shared between two actors (e.g., from person-to-person, or person-to-machine) only contain information that is relevant to that particular transaction. Any exchange of data which involves surplus, superfluous, imprecise or erroneous information only gives rise to inefficient working because process time is wasted stripping out the unnecessary components of the communication and validating that the remainder is adequate and accurate to facilitate processing. Furthermore, it is crucial to comprehend the importance of data purity and data integrity, so it is essential to create process logic that affords management and maintenance of data sets to avert risk of data pollution. Where data is discretised, such process logic is easier to identify and implement because the size of data packets can be configured to be easier to handle.  So, any offsite providers that can secure control of the value chain and facilitate data-driven decisions is likely to become a sector lead. To summarise, the value to any enterprise of acquiring a granular understanding of the power of data-centricity, including what data is important and how it must flow, is the essence of digitalisation and it is this knowledge that will enable scale and realisation of high levels of productivity.


1McKinsey & Company “The next normal In construction – How disruption is reshaping the world’s Largest ecosystem” June 2020

After declaring the UK government’s intention to deliver ‘Project Speed’, including a £3billion capital investment into the NHS, healthcare construction company MTX, welcomed the Prime Minister to their latest £12million, 72 bed, fast-track ward project at Hereford County Hospital.

The Prime Minister visited the construction site, keen to see for himself the, now close to completion, ward project aimed to deliver the NHS a total of 72 extra beds across 3 state-of-the-art wards, all in just 11 months.
All part of the government initiative to ‘to build better, to build greener, to build faster’ the new ward extension is being delivered using MTX’s fast-track construction methods that reduce the build time by up to 50%.
Talking on the PM’s twitter feed whilst on site, Boris described the project as “the beginnings of a new series of wards for Hereford County Hospital…. The first of the 20 new hospital upgrades that this government has embarked on….The beginning of a record programme of investment in our NHS’.


David Hartley, Managing Director of MTX – “The site team were excited to welcome the PM to our latest project and talk him through the clear benefits of these rapid construction methods. For this project, the building is largely built off-site in a factory, then transported and craned into position. This not only means we can deliver buildings much faster, but we can produce 60% less waste, ensure safer construction sites and all to the same standard and quality as a traditionally built hospital’.
With the Government’s ‘Project Speed’ well underway, described as “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the second world war”, there is also attempts to offset the economic impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the MTX offsite method of construction is leading the way to delivering on Boris’s promises.
MTX are a privately owned, Cheshire based, Healthcare Construction company specialising in the use of innovative, modern methods of construction to deliver fast-track building projects, throughout the UK. With more than 30 years healthcare experience, MTX believe using fast-track methods of construction is the best way to minimise the time spent on site, causing less noise and disruption, whilst still delivering a high quality, energy efficient solution.

Last year saw a bleak report from the Children’s Commissioner reveal that thousands of children in England are living in homeless families, trapped in unsuitable temporary accommodation, with little to no chance of enjoying security and finding something permanent to call home… and they are the lucky ones. Homelessness is increasing amongst young people and the housing crisis, which can be alleviated with more offsite adoption, is being felt by our children. MMC Magazine Editor Joe Bradbury discusses:


The Children’s Commissioner for England is Anne Longfield OBE. She speaks up for children and young people so that policymakers and the people who have an impact on their lives take their views and interests into account when making decisions about them. Her most recent findings reveal that:


  • 120,000 children currently live in temporary accommodation
  • 90,000 kids are “sofa-surfing”
  • 375,000 children are in families at financial risk of becoming homeless
  • 585,000 in total are homeless or at immediate risk of becoming so


Alongside this alarming data, another stark study has been undertaken by the National Housing Federation and ComRes, indicating that the severe shortage of homes is forcing 130,000 families in England to squeeze into one-bedroom flats.

The research from the National Housing Federation – which represents housing associations in England, not-for-profit landlords to more than six million people – reveals that more than one in ten children in England are living in overcrowded homes. This comes to a total of around 1.3m children from more than 600,000 families, who are stuck in overcrowded conditions because there is nowhere else for them to live. Overcrowding in England has now reached record levels, as around 96,000 more children are living in overcrowded homes compared to a decade ago.

  • Just under half of children in overcrowded homes are forced to share a bedroom with their parents – this could affect as many as 627,000 children.
  • In more than a quarter of overcrowded homes, children even have to share a bed with a parent or sibling – this could affect as many as 368,000 children.
  • More than a quarter of parents in overcrowded homes are often forced to sleep in kitchens, bathrooms or hallways because of the lack of space – this could affect as many as 380,000 people.
  • More than half of parents in overcrowded homes worry that their children aren’t coming home because of how overcrowded it is – this could affect as many as 695,000 children.
  • Around half of children in overcrowded homes struggle to do their homework because of the lack of space – this could affect as many as 750,000 children. This includes 14% (as many as 190,000 children) who find it totally impossible.


We need more homes


At the root of homelessness, temporary accommodation and overcrowding lies the same cause – a chronic lack of social housing.


England alone needs around 145,000 new social homes every year, including 90,000 for social rent. This isn’t happening. Last year saw just 6,000 social-rented homes built; a direct result a result of Government cuts to funding for new social housing in 2010.

The housing crisis is becoming frightening; rough sleeping has increased by 165% since 2010, something that is decreasing in many other countries worldwide. The total of people living in temporary accommodation is at a ten-year high. Vast swathes of people are being forced into expensive and insecure private renting, including 1.3m children currently growing up in poverty in privately rented homes. Young adults are stuck on pause at home with their parents, unable to start their independent lives. Something must be done.


In summary


Prior to the Covid outbreak I was lucky enough to attend an event where just shy of 200 specifiers, architects, Housing Associations, housebuilders and heating engineers gathered to hear a passionate presentation from architect and TV presenter, George Clarke where he called on the housing sector to radically transform the way we build homes.


During his speech, Clarke called for an end to wet build. He said “you wouldn’t build a car out in the backyard, you’d build it in a factory and then you can ensure precision engineering in a way that is simply not possible outdoors. Why can’t the same be true of building houses, where we can ensure the highest quality of materials and construction and then ship individual modules to site? This removes the timely wet processes such as bricklaying and plastering and means homes can be put together in days, rather than months.”


The time for change is now. As George said “It has taken us a long time to change our mindset with regards to cars, fossil fuels and emissions and we are getting there but we all still see dirty, polluting cars on our roads everyday. When it comes to our homes, we have hardly started and we need to now!”


…couldn’t have put it better myself.