The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has partnered with Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to develop a fusion energy plant.

Fusion energy harnesses the same processes that power the sun and stars.

The collaboration aims to demonstrate the production of safe, virtually limitless energy through UKAEA’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme.

Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the UKAEA plans to create a concept design of a spherical tokamak by 2024, paving the way for a prototype fusion energy plant capable of supplying electricity to the national grid.

The platform will provide a centralised source of information, enabling improved connection and management of the plant’s entire life cycle.

The platform is designed to help mitigate bottlenecks, risks and delays, ultimately enhancing confidence in project delivery.

Chris Waldon, Delivery Director of the STEP programme, highlighted the challenge of managing vast amounts of engineering design data and expressed enthusiasm for working with Dassault Systèmes to develop the virtual twin of the fusion plant’s design.


Source: Energy Live News

Trawsfynydd Lake, Snwdonia


Companies including TerraPower, founded by the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Rolls-Royce have declared an interest in building small modular reactors (SMRs) in North Wales, according to reports.

Development company Cwmni Egino – established by the Welsh government – recently completed the first phase of its viability study on the site of the decommissioned nuclear plant at Trawsfynydd.

It now says the location could viably host SMRs generating up to 1GW of electricity.

The UK government has said there will be a competitive tendering process for the development of SMRs, which it plans to roll out before the end of the decade.

If the Trawsfynydd project gets the green light, it could become the UK’s first SMR, with construction expected to start before 2030.

The plant could potentially generate 400 long-term jobs, as well as thousands more direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

A credible opportunity

Cwmni Egino believes it could also generate around €1.5 billion in gross value added for Wales, over the plant’s estimated 60-year lifespan.

Cwmni Egino CEO Alan Raymant said, “In addition to meeting our energy needs and net zero targets, deploying SMRs at Trawsfynydd offers a huge inward investment opportunity for Wales. This is aligned with key policies and priorities of both the UK and Welsh Governments.

“We believe that Trawsfynydd presents the first, most credible opportunity to kick start a long-term programme of SMR projects in the UK, and catalyse significant economic growth locally, regionally and nationally. Cwmni Egino provides a development vehicle to drive this forward.”

Raymant added, “Our plans are more advanced than other sites suited to small scale nuclear, and the work we’ve done over the past 12 months gives us added confidence that we can successfully deliver a project at Traws. We have already put in place a five year development programme which means our project can be ready for approval by the latter part of this decade – in line with the UK Government’s energy security ambitions.”

Source: Construction Europe

A programme of testing being carried out by one of the country’s leading research universities is expected to verify the team’s early findings around the WikiHouse offsite building system – indicating that West Fraser’s SterlingOSB Zero panels offer superior performance benefits for the production of their large format blocks, beams and other components. The material’s compressive and shear strength have proved key to the successful outcomes.


WikiHouse has been developed to provide an economic and sustainable means of constructing low-rise housing and other accommodation which is straightforward to manufacture and erect.  A switch from imported plywood to UK-produced SterlingOSB Zero, which uses only renewable energy and has no added formaldehyde, is seen as increasing the successful housebuilding system’s environmental credentials.


Originally prototyped in 2011, WikiHouse is a zero-carbon building system, maintained in the UK by Open System Lab, and offers a comprehensive selection of key components which can be shared as code and produced in small local workshops, rather than a large factory.  Crucially, the WikiHouse blocks are produced to an accuracy of 0.1mm and can be rapidly assembled by a small site team, requiring none of the traditional trade skills.


WikiHouse’s Engineering Lead, Gabriele Granello, explains:


“The main idea of the system is that we are proposing these blocks – fabricated for beams, columns and other elements – that, when you join them, characterise the structural system of your house.  Up until now, we have been working with plywood but there is no UK-produced plywood, so the question for us was, could we switch and still span six or seven metres as we are now?


“We suspect it can as the way the system works is that it relies much more on the compressive and shear strength of the material, rather than its tensile strength.  We have done analytical modelling for the SterlingOSB Zero and because it is made up of myriad of non-directional strands, instead of alternately orientated plys, at a microscopic level, there is no single shear plane along which the OSB will fail.  We have already carried out some preliminary testing of the joints in isolation, where the OSB actually performed better than plywood, so now we are engaging with Imperial College in London for one of their final year Masters students to conduct a programme of full-scale experiments.”


The work at Imperial College’s laboratories is expected to continue for three months, with London-based Hub Workshop being the supply chain partner responsible for supplying the actual WikiBlocks.




Climate change is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in the construction industry as buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions1. This has led to demands to use more timber, and the release of new resources addressing concerns over fire safety in timber construction. For example, in March, the timber industry launched a new fire safety website Fire Safety – Wood in Construction, which is designed to give all construction professionals free access to information and guidance all in once place. So what can aide fire safety in timber buildings for MMC?


Flame retardant panels
For applications where enhanced fire protection is needed, flame retardant panels should be specified. The right flame retardant panels will help improve fire safety when timber is the main building material. Flame retardant wood panels have been developed specifically for the use in fire-rated applications where a Euroclass B or Euroclass C material is required. As wood is combustible, the highest rating a wood panel can achieve with added flame retardance is Euroclass B.  Wood panels are treated with flame retardant solution to enhance its reaction to fire to limit the spread of flame and slow the development of a fire, especially in the very early stages of a fire when evacuation is vital.
What’s even more crucial, is that flame retardant wood panels also have a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and a slower char rate. This means that the panels burn far more predictably and allows occupants more time to evacuate from a building.

Making the smart choice
When it comes to specifying flame retardant panels for a MMC project, SMARTPLY MAX FR B from MEDITE SMARTPLY is the ideal product. It is a structural, moisture resistant OSB/3 panel with outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties and is ideal for use where strength, moisture resistance and improved flame retardance are paramount.
A water-based, non-toxic flame retardant solution is applied to the wood chips during manufacture, and the panel achieves a Reaction to Fire Classification of B-s2, d0, and Bfl-s1 (flooring) in accordance with EN13501-1. It is the maximum rating for reaction to fire that an engineered wood panel can achieve – offering great peace of mind to contractors, architects and specifiers.  Since the wood chips are treated during manufacture, no additional flame retardant edge treatments are required when the panel is cut. In addition, light sanding of the surface of the panel will not affect its reaction to fire performance because the flame retardant treatment is consistent through the panel thickness. However, excessive sanding of wood panels is not recommended as it may affect other essential characteristics in use.  SMARTPLY MAX FR B has no structural defects such as knotholes and core voids, making it easier to work with. It cuts easily, will not delaminate and gives consistent results.

Suitable for both dry and humid interior applications. SMARTPLY MAX FR B is suitable for structural use in both Service Class 1 (dry interior) and Service Class 2 (humid interior) applications.

These innovative panels are independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent constructions (wall sheathing, flooring and roofing), as well as general free-standing applications where enhanced reaction to fire performance is required. Applications include: timber frame construction, furniture, shop fitting, general joinery, exhibition stands, and stage construction.  Environmentally conscious products


With the growing demands to make timber buildings safer, there are also calls to use more sustainable timber. MEDITE SMARTPLY meets both of these demands.  MEDITE SMARTPLY is renowned for adapting products and services to suit end users’ needs whilst maintaining a consistent stance on sustainability and creating environmentally conscious products that add value throughout the supply chain.

SMARTPLY OSB is made using only newly grown pine and spruce, including the tops which are not used to make any other wood-based product. It’s manufactured by compressing precisely engineered strands of woods with resins at high temperature to create an incredibly strong and versatile panel suitable for onsite and offsite construction.  MEDITE SMARTPLY’s environmentally conscious products ensure a sustainable building material, storing carbon throughout the lifespan of the product and the building they are used within. Sourced from our sustainably managed FSC certified forests in Ireland2, MEDITE SMARTPLY’s engineered wood panels are proof of the company’s commitment to creating products that contribute to sustainable and healthier environments.  The MDF and OSB ranges also provide some of the most environmentally efficient building materials on the market, with product-specific Type 3 Environmental Product Declaration3 to support this.

CLICK HERE to find out more about SMARTPLY MAX FR B and how it can help in MMC applications


1 Embodied Carbon – World Green Building Council (
2 MEDITE SMARTPLY is part of Coillte, an innovative, FSC certified Irish forestry and forest products manufacturer


In short/abstract
The sound insulation of a timber house must be designed on paper and integrated during the construction of the building.  “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” is the new Rothoblaas catalogue, 150 pages of in-depth information on sound propagation and products adapted to different types of building materials (timber, steel, masonry), loads and heights.  New additions to the ETA-certified range.

Timber is an excellent sound conductor
All musicians know this, especially those playing wooden instruments.
Often, however, builders commissioning a timber house neglect sound insulation because they consider it unnecessary and perhaps expensive. Becoming aware of the issue of acoustics always comes too late. When the client realises that noise from the street, from upstairs neighbours and from the stairwell is a constant accompaniment, the damage is done.
Just because acoustic comfort is one of the most neglected details, but in the end also one of the most relevant, Rothoblaas decided to put a new thematic catalogue on the market. “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” is a 150-page in-depth look at sound propagation, types of noise and the right products to drastically reduce it. The solutions presented are different depending on the type of construction material (timber, steel, masonry), load and height.

Soundproofing: a multidisciplinary and certified approach
Sound insulation in timber constructions is complex. This is the reason why Rothoblaas has invested significantly in research and development. The products in the new “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” catalogue have undergone hundreds of tests and studies in cooperation with prestigious institutions (ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering & Swiss Timber Solutions AG, Universities of Bologna, Graz and Innsbruck).
The result? A selection of products that provide different acoustic performance depending on the context and have also been tested for fire and moisture resistance.
Laboratory measurements, static tests, durability tests, moisture checks and fire behaviour studies provide designers with consistent data that corresponds to actual site conditions. The material is available in the catalogue, technical manuals and MyProject design software. The programme automatically calculates natural frequency, sound transmission and damping.

XYLOFON 20: the new addition to the ETA-certified range
XYLOFON 20 is the top-of-the-range innovation in the XYLOFON family from Rothoblaas. The resilient profile is suitable for acoustic insulation of lightweight, low-load structures or for use in the highest floors of multi-storey buildings.   The profile decouples flanking transmission paths and reduces impact and structure-borne sound transmission by up to 15 dB. The product was tested as part of the FLANKSOUND PROJEKT according to ISO 10848 by the University of Bologna and consequently certified.  The profile thickness of only 6 mm allows sound insulation, but also static safety under pressure (up to 6 N/mm2). The polyurethane monolithic structure also guarantees very long functional stability and water resistance with absorption values after 48h of less than 1%.

About Rothoblaas
Rothoblaas is an international company committed to the technological innovation of products and solutions for timber construction and safety systems. With its wide range of products and a well-established and technically competent distribution network, Rothoblaas is able to offer its customers the most advanced know-how in the field of timber construction. All these aspects contribute to a new culture of sustainable building, designed to increase living comfort and reduce CO2 emissions. With more than 500 employees and the foresight of its CEO, the company has generated a turnover of more than 130 million Euro to date. Rothoblaas has 25 subsidiaries all over the world and is active in 50 countries with its own sales network.









Leakage and domestic consumption are the two primary strands of water conservation in the UK.

Reduce leaks, Design out joints on pipes and prepare for smarter meters

It has been calculated that 25% of water leakage is on the customer side1, i.e. service pipe leakage.  Whilst this can be due to old and corroded lead supply, the majority of leaks originate from joints in the supply pipe.  The House Building Federation (HBF) and Water UK have since 2014 issued best practice guidelines.  Of the 5 prinicples, 4 relate to minimising use and leakage.

Meter Location Best Practice Guidelines2
1. Preferably water companies should use the Water UK/HBF Amended Contaminated Land Assessment Guidance Document for new sites and connections.
2. The use of a continuous and uninterrupted length of service pipe from the water main to the dwelling. The service pipe should be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimize the risk of leakage.
3. The Stop tap should be located above ground.
4. Water meters should be located above ground.
5. Water Companies should consider the use of technology such as ‘smart’ metering to enhance the accessibility of water consumption data for both homeowners and themselves.

An early adopter of the surface mounted meter housing is Portsmouth Water. For over 15 years they have applied a no joint policy to water supply pipes coupled with an above ground meter enclosure which probably explains their primary place at the top of the leakage charts and contributes to their high placing in the D-MeX  and C-MeX league tables since 2019.

Bob Taylor, CEO Portsmouth Water explained their philosophy,

‘In the context of the Water UK Public Interest Commitment on leakage, our recent industry level reviews and our desire to build ‘leak free’ new networks have highlighted further evidence of the need to improve quality standards at the point of installation of new networks, with poor quality pipe joints often the source of future leakage.’  ‘Portsmouth Water’s policy of having a single joint free service pipe from mains connection right the way through to the wall mounted boundary box has certainly improved confidence around the longer-term quality of these new assets from a leakage perspective.  This policy is also helpful in the context of reducing customer side leakage and emerging knowledge in this area is showing that this is a bigger challenge than our previous understanding indicated.’


Steve Leigh, Managing Director Groundbreaker, and developer of the wall mounted boundary box has over 40 years’ experience in the Water Industry.

‘We’ve been putting pipes in holes in the ground to protect them from frost for decades’, he explained.  ‘Although it works, today’s new materials allow for a much better solution.  Keeping pipes on the surface reduces the risk of leaks developing and allows for easy repair and maintenance.  It’s just a must better method of working.’   Steve continued, ‘The advent of new smart metering options has also highlighted the problems of burying meters in a hole in the ground.  Groundbreaker allows for a stronger communications signal strength relative to underground meter installation.  Such systems have been proven to be able to be read from over 2 miles away from a single pick-up point and worldwide if linked to the internet.’


Replacing supply pipes, the quick and easy solution

Surface mounting and joint free supply does not need to be restricted to new build.  Traditionally, any supply replacement program requires major excavations outside a property and causes huge disruption within.  Resulting in mess and disturbance to householders over several days.  This disruption has often been the cause of users’ reluctance to have the work undertaken, hence allowing leaks to persist.

Using insulated supply pipes and surface mounted boundary boxes, a new water service can be routed up the external face of the building and connected to the internal plumbing above ground level, whether this is the ground floor or upper storey. INSUduct® only requires one simple core drilled hole through the wall, at an appropriate point to connect with the internal plumbing.  This enables most water supply replacements to be completed within a couple of hours, without the traditional mess and disruption to the householders or occupiers.   Just as in a new supply, a no joint method of installation is used.


Reduce usage, a fit and forget solution

Water conservation is the key to reducing energy bills.  Heating water accounts for nearly 1/5th of energy use in UK homes.  Approximately 40% of domestic water usage is from bathroom and kitchen taps and showers. ‘Eco’ or water saving shower heads are designed to restrict the water flow to a single outlet are highly effective but retrofits like these come at a price, especially larger properties with multiple bathrooms.   For households on an increasingly tight budget, or developers trying to minimise costs, multiple fittings for each tap or shower might not be an investment they are able to make.  The alternative is whole site flow reduction.  Fitting a device such as Groundbreaker’s NRv2 LoFlo®, at the meter regulates the level of flow entering customer premises – regardless of network pressure.  As the flow of water into the premises is limited, then the amount used in ‘time controlled’ activities is also limited – but without providing a degradation of service.  More importantly not requiring any intervention or behavioural change on the part of the customer, so leading to ‘natural’ reduction in consumption.



CLICK HERE for further information on the full range of Groundbreaker products

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Clive Feeney, managing director of not-for-profit construction framework provider LHC Procurement Group (LHC), discusses key things for construction leaders to be aware of in advance of the Procurement Bill.

Each year, the public sector spends in the region of £300bn through public procurement – accounting for around one third of all public expenditure and making it the largest area of public spending.

Regulations that govern how that money is spent are set to change in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The four existing sets of regulations – Public Contracts Regulations 2015, Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, and Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 – will all be replaced by a single, new regulatory framework.

The Procurement Bill will introduce the most significant changes to the way public sector organisations buy goods and services for a generation.

It followed the Government’s Transforming Public Procurement (TPP) Green Paper consultation response, published at the end of 2021, which demonstrated determination to put alternative assessment scoring front-and-centre over price, to drive both equity and economic improvement.

Headlines and next steps


Designed to introduce simpler rules following Brexit, the Bill also aims to strengthen contracting authorities’ ability to exclude suppliers who may have previously underperformed when delivering services to the public sector.

Following lengthy debate in the House of Commons, The Procurement Bill will also now include some key procurement principles and objectives:

  • Providing more opportunities for SMEs and local businesses through procurement
  • Including utilities procurement
  • The significance of social value
  • Offering rewards for suppliers who demonstrated potential for innovation and offered climate-positive and nature-positive sustainable products.

At committee stage, a total of 161 of 205 proposed amendments were agreed to. And now, at the time of writing, the Procurement Bill is nearing the end of its time in the House of Commons before amendments will be considered in the final stages and the Bill achieves Royal Assent.

While the new regulations won’t come into force until spring 2024 at the earliest, they will bring a step change in how public goods and services are bought and commissioned. There will therefore be a six-month advance preparation period in which buyers and suppliers can ready themselves for the impending changes.

There is no time like the present, and contracting authorities can start planning now to ensure they are ready to take advantage of the new regime.

An overview of the Transforming Public Procurement checklist

To help contracting authorities and framework suppliers prepare for the upcoming Bill, the Transforming Public Procurement checklist suggests initial actions in four key areas as follows:

1. Processes and policies

Make sure your current processes and procedures are robust in areas such as early market engagement and supplier evaluation/assessment, with governance documents that record key decisions.

2. Systems

Familiarise yourself with the document ‘Transforming Public Procurement – Our Transparency Ambition’ which outlines the government’s proposals to improve transparency of UK public contracts and spending.
Consider the readiness of your organisation to meet the new data requirements, including where data currently resides in your existing e-procurement systems.

3. People

The Cabinet Office will be providing a comprehensive learning and development programme to support everyone operating within the new regime and help you to understand what is changing from the current system.  Funded public sector places on the learning and development courses are being made available, so they are free at the point of delivery. There will be other training available for supply chain, too.
Think about who in your organisation should attend the training. If you would like to become an L&D super-user, contact your departmental or sectoral lead for Transforming Public Procurement or email

4. Transition

Ensure contract registers and details are up to date and conduct a review of pipelines to identify planned procurement activity over the next 18 months.

Engage with your key supply chain about the new regime. Direct them to the Transforming Public Procurement landing page at for further information.

The complete overhauling of public procurement in the UK may seem daunting at first, but the four steps outlined above should provide clear direction on how your organisation can prepare now so that you are ready when the changes come into effect.

What the Bill demonstrates is the need for well-run, not-for-profit frameworks such as LHC. As a contracting authority, LHC develops and operates frameworks across England, Scotland and Wales through its five business units: London and South East (LSE) – across the capital and the south east as well as Home Counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex; Consortium Procurement Construction (CPC) – covering the Midlands, Suffolk, Norfolk and North of England; South West Procurement Alliance (SWPA) – covering the South West of England; Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA); and Welsh Procurement Alliance (WPA).

Procurement expertise and experience will be vital in the coming months to help unravel the complexities of a new regulatory regime, while ensuring consistent, social value-led framework development and management.

CLICK HERE for more information on LHC Procurement Group


As one of the largest independent flooring distributors in the UK, TradeChoice Carpet & Flooring have all your flooring needs covered with a comprehensive range of solutions when it comes to installing flooring in domestic, commercial and industrial settings. With 11 branches Nationwide, TradeChoice Carpet & Flooring are always on hand to offer the complete flooring package, so you can rely on us to make your job easier.  Further to this, we are delighted to launch our new transactional website –*

It’s loaded with features designed to help make your job easier including:

Check stock availability 27/7. You can plan your next job by checking stock availability at your local TradeChoice Carpet & Flooring branch.

Discover thousands of product lines online. Our new website features floor coverings, screeds, adhesives and accessories for a wide range of sectors: domestic, commercial and industrial.

Check out prices on your terms. If you are a trade customer, once you’ve registered and signed in, you will be able to view personalised pricing.

From our site to on-site. Arrange deliveries and collections online.

Stay on top of your paperwork. To help manage your account, you can view and pay invoices online.

Now we’re open even when your local branch is closed. Providing the convenience of being able to work with us outside of regular branch opening hours.  To find out more about TradeChoice Carpet & Flooring’s extensive product portfolio or to request a free sample, contact us by the following methods.



Phone: 01527 511 860

*A TradeChoice Carpet & Flooring account is required. Terms and conditions apply.

A recycling trial by PVC drainage manufacturer Polypipe Building Services with the UK’s largest specialist trade distributor has proved so successful that it’s now being rolled out across 11 of their branches within the UK.

The trial with Wolseley UK, the country’s largest plumbing, heating, and cooling trade merchant, began in three of their branches in Brimsdown, Trafford and West Bromwich, and has proved so successful that since January 2022 Polypipe Building Services has collected more than 2,700 kilos of recycled waste.


The scheme means Polypipe Building Services drivers will drop off dedicated empty collapsible pallets to merchants they supply which can be filled with PVC piping offcuts, obsolete products, plastic packaging, and bulk bags, and will pick the full ones up on their next delivery to the branch.


Alex Ashton, Environmental & Sustainability Manager at Polypipe Building Services, said the service was just one of a number of ways the Kent based manufacturer is working to improve the sustainability of the business and minimise the impact to the environment.

He said:

“We had been looking at ways we could help customers with their waste reduction as part of our own measures on site at Aylesford to stop anything going to landfill, and when we approached Wolseley with the idea they jumped at the chance.

“This scheme ties into our strategy of using more recycled materials in our processes following the release of our Terrain PVC sustainable pipe last year which is manufactured from up to 65% recycled PVC-u and is helping us to hit our targets as part of the Genuit group, which is committed to using more than 60% of recycled materials in our products.

“Plastic often gets a bad name when it comes to the environment, but when it’s used responsibly it can be recycled again and again helping us to limit the resources we take out of the earth.”



Cardboard, wooden pallets and plastic bottles are already recycled at Polypipe Building Services headquarters in Aylesford, and recycling bags are also supplied by Polypipe to building sites they supply so any offcuts can be collected and recycled instead of going to landfill. 

He added: “We’ve already had interest in the trial from several of our other distributors as it really is a win-win for them, their customers and our environment, and we have employed two dedicated recycling staff to sort all the different recycling streams.”

The trial led Wolseley to present Polypipe Building Services their Initiative of the Year award for going the extra mile for their customers.

Luchiana Laza, Category Manager at Wolseley, said: “When Polypipe Building Services told us about their trial scheme we were delighted, as internally we had been looking at different recycling schemes to support our customers.

“Polypipe Building Services are one of our preferred suppliers so it’s great to see them taking the initiative like this. 

“We have weekly deliveries from Polypipe so the volume of waste which we can now recycle means this scheme also makes good financial sense due to the cost saving on skips.”



A NEW flood defence wall is just one of the projects being worked on at the Salisbury River Park currently.

The wall will go behind the recreation ground allotments once completed and is being built offsite and cast in units at a factory due to limited space onsite.

The wet weather may have caused some delays but many aspects of the project go ahead as planned.

Environmental agency, project lead, Andy Wallis said: “Although wet weather has delayed some of the work in the river channel, the Salisbury River Park project remains on schedule.”

The focus has been on the construction work which is designed to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 350 homes and businesses. This will be completed by the end of the year.

A new bridge for vehicles in the Central Car Park is also being built, and work on flood walls at Summerlock Stream and Fisherton Recreational Ground is underway.

The riverside habitat work for wildlife which will go alongside high-quality public spaces is due to be completed next spring.

Andy said:

The wet weather has encouraged some Salisbury residents to take up residence in the river park ahead of schedule.

“Tadpoles were found in shallow pools of water onsite. A school of tadpoles have now been moved to a pond at Sarum St Paul’s Primary School and the remaining tadpoles to other safer locations.”


Source: Salisbury Journal