Don’t let the cold catch you out this winter.

Burst pipes are the most common cause of home insurance claims in the UK1 and cost an average of £3,500 in damage to property and contents.  The expense is not the worst of it, months of disruption follows as the property is dried out and repaired.
Frost is the greatest threat to water services throughout the winter.  UK Water Regulations require any fitting or apparatus to be correctly insulated to prevent frost, unless in a location that is heated for more than 12 hours a day2. It seems obvious when you are scraping the ice from the car on a frosty morning. However, the insurance claims show that many homeowners, landlords and occupiers seem to be unaware of this requirement.

Groundbreaker products are designed to offer frost protection for 3 days or more with temperatures as low as -15°C, temperatures we rarely reach in the UK – even with today’s erratic climate!  Carefully fabricated to provide long lasting and effective thermal protection to water pipes and fittings in external situations, our products exceed British Standard 5422 and all relevant Water Regulations.

Recognised by the HBF (Home Builders Federation) as the Utility Company of the Year in 2018 and a contributor to the recently launched BPEC (British Plumbing Employers Council) training course3, our products are recognised as meeting the highest standards in both product specification and leak free installation design.
Our range includes, INSUduct which provides a cost-effective solution to the replacement of leaking and lead pipes without the trauma and disruption of having to dig up floors.  Typically reducing the time needed to complete the work from several days to a few hours.

For situations where water pipes cannot be laid at the recommended depth of 750mm – e.g. over rock, concrete, tree roots etc., our SHalloduct product offers a viable alternative to expensive excavations or damage to the local environment. Fabricated to the same high thermal resistivity as INSUduct, SHalloduct offers a practical solution to awkward situations.
Products are available through most builders’ merchants and online, details available on the “where to buy” pages of our website.
For more information or advice, please visit the below website, call 01379 741993 or email   

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Premier Modular has been awarded multi-million pound contracts to provide project offices and welfare facilities for 15 sites that form part of the first phase of HS2 – the high-speed line which will deliver much needed rail capacity across the UK.

 Awarded by Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture (SCS JV), the contracts are for sites along the final 26.4km of HS2 to the southern terminus at London Euston.

Premier is delivering more than 15,000sqm of buildings made up of over 500 modules configured to SCS’s precise requirements and specification. The facilities will accommodate open plan offices, meeting rooms, break-out spaces, showers, drying room, toilets, first aid room, and canteen. Each building is being installed complete with lighting, air conditioning, fire and security alarms, toilets, partitions, and doors.

The buildings will be in use for at least five years and have a number of sustainability features to minimise impact on the environment, including rainwater harvesting to provide water for site operations such as dust suppression, low energy lighting, PIR lighting sensors, low water consumption showers, dual flush toilets, and effluent tanks to minimise discharge into local drainage systems.

Some of the sites are in close proximity to existing railway lines requiring liaison with teams at Network Rail and careful logistical planning particularly for the building installation phases.

Commenting on the contract awards, John Harrison, Section Lead Construction Manager at SCS JV, said, “Premier has developed the most cost-effective building solutions that met our requirements and budget. Their team has been very flexible, adapting the designs to our changing needs, and with a strong emphasis on customer care.”

David Harris, Managing Director of Premier Modular said, “We are delighted to be contributing to this important infrastructure project. As a Yorkshire business we know just how critical HS2 is to rail projects in the North and how it will help to rebalance the UK economy.”

“Our aim is to provide the best quality office and welfare facilities in the construction sector. We were able to offer building solutions to SCS to suit a wide range of sites, in compliance with Building Regulations Part L and to stringent fire ratings because the facilities will be in use for at least five years. On each project we are working to short programmes and on some highly constrained sites near to live railway lines.”

“We have invested £12m in our hire fleet in the last 12 months and have expanded our workforce with an additional 100 people in the same period to meet the rising demand for our building services. The scale of the HS2 projects for Premier is a significant factor in that investment.”

HS2 is a new high-speed railway linking up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland, serving over 25 stations, including eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities, and connecting around 30 million people. The construction of the new railway is split into three phases, with Phase One linking London and the West Midlands.

SCS JV’s contract will involve the construction of a variety of structures and 21km of the line will be in a tunnel created using six tunnel boring machines.


For further information, visit, call 0800 316 0888 or email


A MAJOR Sellafield construction project has taken a huge step forward two months ahead of schedule.

The Sellafield Product and Residue Store Retreatment Plant has received full business case approval from the government.

This will allow work on the project to begin to accelerate over the coming months, leveraging investment from Sellafield Ltd and its delivery partners and creating long-term construction and manufacturing opportunities which will benefit the economy both locally and nationally.

The building, when completed will store historic nuclear waste, playing play a key role in delivering Sellafield’s mission to create a safe environment for future generations.

Construction of the plant began in February 2020 with the laying of its vast base slab through 18 separate concrete pours.

However, like many other things, the project was halted when the pandemic hit the UK last year.

As soon as construction began, Covid-19 intervened and work had to be suspended when the UK went into lockdown last March .

Management at Sellafield Ltd. are now happy to be able to announce the ‘major’ new milestone for work on the site.

Steve Harnwell, head of the project for Sellafield Ltd, said: “This is a major step forward for the project.

“It allows us to give certainty to our partners and be able to start making the large commitments for construction and manufacture required to progress and deliver this mission critical project within the wider UK supply chain.

“The PPP approach to project delivery has provided confidence to the Government that our cost and schedule predictions are realistic. All this has helped deliver the business case early and allow this project to contribute to the first steps of improving project delivery at Sellafield.”

The project is being delivered by Sellafield’s Programme and Project Partners (PPP).

Source: News & Star


James Jones’s new visitor building has won two awards in the Scottish Design Awards 2021, winning both the Architecture award for a ‘Commercial / Office / Hotel Building or Project’ and the overall ‘Architecture Grand Prix for Architecture’.

The Scottish Design Awards are open to all architects, engineers, graphic, interior and digital designers to celebrate class leading work, best practice, sustainability and innovation in all its forms.

The Judges said “As a business, they’re putting their stamp on the building. Simple, elegant, sustainable and a showcase for its owner”.

The Lockerbie site is the largest single site sawmill complex in the UK and the most technically advanced. As such, pre-pandemic, Lockerbie received a high number of visitors – including small groups of customer visits, customer training courses, academic institutions, and industry events.

The idea for the building recognised the need to provide increased office accommodation, better visitor facilities, and the opportunity to host on-site training courses and industry meetings, which previously had to be conducted offsite. James Jones & Sons held a design competition between two architectural firms and the winning team was Konishi Gaffney from Edinburgh, led by Kieran Gaffney.

Kieran Gaffney said “We are really pleased and proud to have been recognised in these awards. Both in the commercial category, which had some very strong work, and the Grand Prix for Architecture which is a very exciting achievement. Working with James Jones & Sons on their visitor building was a brilliant opportunity to showcase their materials and explore the possibilities of timber construction. We’d like to thank them for their trust in us; our consultant team for their expertise and the builder for their hard work and patience. Lastly thanks to the Scottish Design Awards for this huge honour.”

Speaking about the awards, Rob MacKenna, General Manager at James Jones Lockerbie site said “We are delighted the new building received two architectural awards in last week’s virtual ceremony. The striking design and innovative use of solid and engineered timber products are a great example of how timber can be used to deliver high quality office and meeting areas. Konishi Gaffney architects were able to articulate this in the building’s design and its fantastic their efforts have been recognised by the Scottish Design Awards. Congratulations to all of the evening’s winners, thanks to Scottish Design Awards as virtual hosts, and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to our Lockerbie site very soon”.




Mammoet successfully lifts Wellsburg Bridge in West Virginia
Bridging the gap for multiple first-time achievements all in a single bridge move

Mammoet and Flatiron Construction are proud to have successfully completed the main span float and lift of the Wellsburg Bridge which connects Wellsburg, West Virginia and Brilliant, Ohio. History was made on the Ohio River during the Wellsburg Bridge project as floating a bridge had never been done before in West Virginia.

In addition, it is the heaviest floating bridge lift ever executed in the USA. Upon completion, the tied-arch bridge will significantly reduce travel time between the two communities, aiding in improved local commerce.

Mammoet’s proposed technical solution utilized its Mega Jack system to jack-up and install the Wellsburg Bridge, weighing 3,870t (8540 kips or 8.5 million lbs.). The overall length of the bridge spanned more than 252 meters (830 ft.) the length of more than two American Football fields.

Mammoet was the chosen contractor based on its expertise and experience jacking and floating bridges. Mammoet’s Mega Jack solution provided the least disturbance for ships on the river as the work could be completed in a maximum of two days. An alternative strand jacking method would have the bridge hanging on strand jacks for at least two weeks.

Flatiron Construction opted for using Mega Jacks due to increased efficiency, reduced disturbance, and a more controlled method which offered a higher level of safety. This was the first time the Mega Jack 5200 system was used on a barge, and the first time the system of this type and capacity was used in the USA.


Mammoet mobilized eight Mega Jack 5200 towers and eight 500-ton strand jacks and installed the equipment onto four prepared barges in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began function testing of the system. Flatiron Construction floated the barges to Wellsburg, West Virginia where Mammoet then took over the load of the bridge on its Mega Jack system.

Mammoet jacked-up the bridge with a total of six jacking beam layers and their client executed the float in operation. Once positioned next to the bridge piers, Mammoet jacked up the bridge again in order for the bridge to be floated between the piers and over the bridge bearings and the approach girder.

Mammoet’s tool kit consisted of a total of 18 jacking beam layers to cover all possible water levels during execution. In the end, the load was jacked up a total of 15 jacking beam layers on six towers and 16 jacking beam layers on the other two towers to account for variances in the interface beams which were provided by others.

Next, the jack-down operation began to precisely position the bridge on its bearings and to allow the barges to be floated away. Mammoet’s technical solution provided advantages, such as allowing the bridge to be built at ground level and allowing it to be safely jacked-up while loaded on the barge – bringing the bridge to the elevation required for installation. Therefore, all jacking works could be executed at a lower level and reduce working at height.

Forecasted windy weather conditions prompted a decision to expedite the schedule and complete the full float in and jacking operation in one day instead of two as originally scheduled. With safety as highest priority, Mammoet skillfully executed the scope of work ahead of schedule in one day without incident. Mammoet used its global engineering resources and the world’s largest heavy lift equipment fleet to make sure it could deliver the right expertise, in the right place, at the right time.


Mammoet helps clients with Smarter, Safer and Stronger solutions to any heavy lifting or transport challenge. We aim to develop long term relationships in order to understand their businesses and challenges best, so we can realize the most efficient and cost-effective approaches. We have a unique global network and an unparalleled fleet of equipment. Through deep and longstanding engineering expertise and the highest quality and safety standards in execution we bring an intelligent and flexible approach to projects across a wide breadth of industry sectors. Clients trust us to help them achieve feats that were once considered impossible, and we have often broken records in doing so. For more information, visit

Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director | Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association

British homeowners hold the key to decarbonising our homes. We must motivate them to take action now.

“It is fact that homes and buildings in the UK account for over 22% of carbon emissions. Homeowners comprise the largest housing tenure at around 64% of the UK’s 28 million households and therefore the largest potential market for financing home decarbonisation. This sector is crying out for significant new investment from the Government and the scale of this investment will determine whether we eventually cross the Net Zero finish line or not.”

Supporting a Sustainable Supply Chain

Firstly, there are no silver bullets. However, it is clear that a long-term policy and investment approach is needed to provide certainty for industry. Only such an approach will provide businesses with the confidence to make substantial, sustained investments in skills and supply chains, driving innovation and lowering the costs of technologies and installations in key markets.

In this context, Government should consider the full suite of financial support, incentives and levers to trigger behavioural change and give homeowners the full support they need to upgrade their homes and get the UK on track for 2030 carbon targets and beyond. While support has been pledged for fuel poor and low-income households, many homes will slip through the net. Millions of households are classed as “able to pay”, but the reality is that many are not in a position to afford deep home retrofits, nor incentivised to do so.

Levelling Up and Job Creation

The most recent English Housing Survey found that 33% of homeowners have no savings and those with the lowest levels of savings and wealth – and least energy efficient homes – live disproportionately in the North of England and the Midlands. These are the regions which most benefit from grant funding, supporting the levelling-up agenda. Overall, an energy efficiency investment programme to 2030 can create 190,000 jobs nationally, drive billions of pounds of private investment, and deliver energy bill savings worth £7.5 billion.

Policy and Funding Gap

The abrupt closure of the Green Homes Grant, has left a gaping funding and policy void in the so called ‘able-to-pay’ market, and there is now a clear need for support including well-known structural incentives, such as Green Stamp Duty and 0% VAT for green home retrofits.

As shown in the UKGBC’s new report “A housing market catalyst to drive carbon emission reductions Low energy adjustment to Stamp Duty Land Tax even a modest adjustment to Stamp Duty Land Tax would build a thriving retrofit market, supporting green jobs, boosting household spending and bringing down fuel bills. Embedding building energy performance into the homebuying decision-making process, it could catalyse and drive the market to deliver both energy efficiency improvements and low carbon heat and power. The policy has the potential to be both revenue neutral and drive demand for energy efficiency and low-carbon heating measures, improving Energy Performance Certificate ratings as a result.

it will not be possible for the Government to meet its long-term net zero target without substantially scaling action and investment for British homeowners

Government’s Next Steps

The forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy provides the policy opportunity and must set out the Government’s vision and roadmap for the UK to rapidly decarbonise homes across the country, through new targets, regulation and strategies for each tenure. To achieve widespread uptake of low carbon heating technologies and energy efficiency measures combined, financial institutions, the construction industry, local government, owner-occupiers, landlords and tenants must be motivated to take coordinated action.

The 2021 Spending Review and Budget provides the funding opportunity to get us back on track. Treasury must back a long-term package that spurs action and investment from homeowners – many of whom will not have the disposal income or savings to pay for the upgrades their homes need. Also, as new regulations are expected to come into place, such as a phase out of fossil gas boilers and minimum energy efficiency standards for owner-occupier homes, it is vital that there is support in place for all households through this transition.

Major Benefits

Finally, an energy efficiency infrastructure investment programme to 2030 would deliver major benefits across Britain, boosting productivity and supporting the levelling-up agenda. A sustained drive to boost home energy efficiency can reduce household energy expenditure by £7.5 billion per year, support hundreds of thousands of jobs across a range of trades, and reduce pressure on the NHS created by fuel poverty and cold, unhealthy homes – potentially preventing 10,000 excess winter deaths every year and saving the NHS £1.4 to £2 billion annually.

A public investment, fiscal and financial package to 2030 will unlock billions in existing capital and private investment, supported by innovation and the growth of new markets for green financial products and services. Few infrastructure projects can do so much for economic growth: with £2 put back in economy for every £1 spent on a national retrofit strategy.

However, one thing we are sure of right now – at present, policies and investment plans fall far short of what is needed to decarbonise homes to the levels required by carbon budgets and the Government’s own energy performance targets. As stressed by the Climate Change Committee, it will not be possible for the Government to meet its long-term net zero target without substantially scaling action and investment for British homeowners.

Sarah Kostense-Winterton is Executive Director at the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA) the UK’s industry trade body

for non-combustible, breathable glass and stone wool insulation, representing the leading mineral wool insulation companies in the UK.

She is also Co-Founder and Chairman of the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG) – a broad-based coalition of over 25 industry groups,

NGOs, charities and businesses asking for rapid improvement in energy efficiency policy for UK homes and buildings. 


Scotland’s push to become a net-zero country within the next few decades is an ambitious target that requires some ambitious thinking – and that is what one Scottish college is looking to provide.

Borders College is already working to provide building companies, small businesses and individuals in communities the skills they need to help transform their homes, shops and offices so they are no longer adding to the climate crisis, but helping to prevent it.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, sets targets to reduce Scotland s emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040.

Meeting those targets will require a major shift in the way homes are built and the way heating and power are provided – and these are the reas that Borders College is helping to provide expert training.

The Borders College Renewable and Energy Efficiency Training Centre was officially launched recently, one of six new training centres created around Scotland to ensure developers and students could learn the latest skills to create energy efficient net zero homes.

The training centres have been supported by ESP and funded by SP Energy Networks’ £20 million Green Economy Fund, which supports the delivery of the Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to meet climate change targets, boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for local communities.

On site they have an eco-room, showcasing the kind of net-zero technology that will become the standard for all homes.

From the use of insulating materials to create more energy-efficient buildings to learning about the installation of electric vehicle charging points at homes, and the use of solar thermal energy and air source ground source heat pumps, the college offers a huge range of courses.

The launch of the new centres comes as Scotland prepares to host the United Nations COP26 climate change conference

Their fully equipped training centre allows them to provide a learning hub for students and the local workforce and community to learn about the methods already available to help reduce energy use and bring down emissions.

There are also courses in thermal imaging, which can help to find any faults in an existing home or a new construction, while the equipment can also be attached to a drone to carry out aerial surveys.

The college can also provide accredited training in mechanical ventilation systems with heat receivers, the latest smart tech which can be used to help control the environment of a home and reduce waste.

The launch of the new centres is also particularly significant in a year when the world’s attention will be on Scotland for the United Nations COP26 climate change conference to be held in Glasgow later this year, with these skills certain to be in demand worldwide over the coming decades.

Greg Steel, curriculum manager for sustainable construction at Borders College, is in no doubt about the importance of helping engineer a complete revolution in the way homes and offices are built and maintained.

“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis, and we have strict targets to try and meet,” he says.

“The construction industry can play a huge part in helping Scotland meet those targets, and that requires training on new construction methods, particularly around low-carbon heating.

“We want to be a national leader in helping Scotland become net zero by 2045 and that will mean to investing in the circular economy and educate people around construction

“These are really exciting times in the construction industry, it is a real sea change in the way things are done, and this will help business expand into these growth areas and drive forward the green recovery.

“This is a new area for us as well and we’re really excited to be forging ahead with this.

“We’d encourage anyone out there that’s interested to get in touch with the college and we can use the funding available such as flexible workforce development fund to put together bespoke packages for companies and tailor the training to their needs.”

To learn more about the courses on offer, visit the website here or contact Greg Steel:


Source: The Scotsman