A pioneering cleantech company is set to unveil its prototype flatpack home built using sustainable and advanced materials after undergoing testing at a ground-breaking research facility in Greater Manchester.

Vector Homes is working with Energy House 2.0, part of the University of Salford, to develop its new rapid-build housing system.

The prototype is a low-carbon, one-bedroom bungalow measuring 40sq metres which has been constructed using recycled materials, including steel and plastics, as well as advanced materials such as graphene.

Vector is designing affordable, energy efficient homes with features including low-embodied carbon materials, infra-red heating, solar cells, breathable mould-resistant plaster and render, as well as embedded technology to provide smart environmental controls that efficiently measure and control the temperature, humidity and air quality in each room.

Its homes are designed for rapid production and assembly. Vector is looking to mass manufacture homes in a range of shapes and sizes which are sold as flatpacks to be built by a small team of people.

By incorporating graphene into the structures, the panels used in the construction of a Vector home have improved tensile strength, a greatly-reduced flame spread and increased UV resistance. Vector has worked with the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre to develop ways of incorporating the material into its housing systems.

Vector is using the unique features of Energy House 2.0 to test the prototype’s thermal properties and its efficiency in different climates.

Energy House 2.0 can recreate temperatures from -20C to 40C, representing 95 per cent the inhabited earth, as well as recreating snow, wind, rain and solar energy to put the Vector home through its paces.

Launched earlier this year, the £16m Energy House 2.0, at the heart of the University of Salford’s Peel Park Campus, is globally unique and is helping to drive innovation in the housing sector already, through work with housebuilders Barratt and Bellway, and manufacturer Saint-Gobain.

Vector, which is led by chief executive Nathan Feddy and chief technical officer Dr Liam Britnell, has so far received backing from SFC Capital, GC Angels, the Greater Manchester Investment Fund which is the investment arm of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Innovate UK, the European Regional Development Fund and social housing investment firm HSPG.

Liam said: “Our mission is to cut carbon and costs in construction and our homes are designed to have 80 per cent fewer carbon emissions in the building process compared to a standard brick house.

“They are also designed to be dismantled rather than demolished at the end of life, with the components finding a second or even third life elsewhere.

From the microstructure to the superstructure of a Vector home, everything links back to efficiency and sustainability. Our homes will be super standardised to ensure the rapid production of components and assembly.

“The opportunity to work with Energy House 2.0 has been a dream come true. It’s a one-of-a-kind facility which enables testing for new types of construction methods.

“The Energy House 2.0 team have been incredible to work with, and in a few months’ time our housing system will have more empirical data than any other in the world. This will enable us to continue our iteration cycles to take Vector to the next level.”

The Vector Homes prototype will be officially unveiled at an open day and housewarming event on Thursday, September 21, which is being hosted in conjunction with specialist finance firm Together, for housing associations, local authorities, private developers, housebuilders and investors.

As well as showcasing the Vector Homes prototype, other digital technologies such as AI-assisted site planning, smart home and digital tools and other new materials will be exhibited.

Also exhibiting will be F&T Terrix, Ambion Heating and HAHN Plastics, which have provided mould-resistant plaster and render, infra-red heating and outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic respectively for the prototype.

Prof Will Swan, director of Energy House Labs, said: “This type of project is exactly what our unique Energy House 2.0 facility was built for. Vector Homes is an ambitious, innovative north west company and if we can help them to develop a new product which can provide cheap, safe and, most importantly, warm housing, then there will be huge benefits.”


Elliot Vure, director of corporate sales at Together, said: “We’ve been incredibly impressed with Vector’s vision to provide quality, sustainable and affordable housing, made from innovative materials.

“The prototype building that Vector has produced is a fantastic example of researchers and the private sector working in partnership, and we believe that Vector’s low-carbon, rapid-build homes can go some way to providing a solution to some of the UK’s future housing challenges.”

Housing is likely to be a key policy battleground for the next general election. The original 300,000 new homes target has never been hit and has been missed by at least a third year-on-year.

Some of the consistent solutions given to the UK’s housing crisis feature a combination of refurbishment and retrofit of existing homes, and new properties built using modern methods of construction (MMC).  However, big names in MMC have recently dropped away from the market, such as Legal & General, following a decision to close its modular housing factory, as well as Caledonian Modular and Urban Splash House.  Has this confidence in the ability of MMC to deliver considerable social and affordable housing been shaken?

There are positive stories to tell. These include the £70m investment raised by leading modular housebuilder TopHat to construct a new UK factory, and British Offsite’s move to a new £45m factory. Both companies plan to manufacture up to 4,000 new homes a year.

A dedicated framework solution
Underlining this confidence in the marketplace is LHC Procurement Group’s (LHC) recently announced £1.2bn Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) of New Homes (NH3) Framework. This construction framework for local authorities, social housing providers and other public bodies indicates a considerable level of confidence in MMC.

As the only framework provider with a dedicated MMC framework, LHC wants to help social housing providers in every part of the UK to deliver more homes much faster and with a lower environmental impact. Together with its MB2 framework, the NH3 framework covers the full range MMC categories.

Addressing a UK-wide need
Though the scale and speed in the increase of homes delivered by MMC are under question, when done well it has the power to reduce construction time by up to 50% – and the need for affordable and social housing shows no signs of slowing.  In England, statistics show there were 59,356 affordable homes delivered in 2021-22, compared to 7,644 for social rent. This is against a predicted need of 1.6 million households for social rented housing, according to National Housing Federation (NHF) statistics.  At the time of writing, the social housing stock in Wales stands at 237,395, and the latest statistics from Shelter Cymru show there are 67,000 households on housing waiting lists in the country.  Meanwhile, the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) in Scotland commits to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 to help meet the need.

How NH3 facilitates MMC
NH3 is a vital addition to support more programmes to build low-carbon, modern homes from housing associations and local authorities across the country. It will adopt MMC and offsite techniques to produce energy efficient homes for the communities they serve.

It replaces the previous NH2 framework, which has so far enabled £93.5m-worth of offsite homes projects with a total forecast value of £277m.
Shaped by extensive engagement with housing contractors and manufacturers, NH3 has been developed to be a market-leading framework providing a wide range of systems and project delivery models to give public sector organisations the flexibility to deliver MMC projects the way they want.

Through NH3, LHC is looking to support the public sector to increase the use of modern methods of construction and deliver low and net zero-carbon homes with high levels of pre-manufactured value (PMV).






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


Modular and portable building specialist Wernick’s significant growth includes estate and factory investment, fleet expansion, and strategic acquisitions.

Fleet expansion
Investment in hire fleet exceeded £142m over the period which enabled the company to add more than 14,000 buildings and 4,000 generators across the three hire companies, Wernick Hire, Wernick Events, and Wernick Power Solutions. A significant proportion of these new products are industry leading in terms of energy performance, such as EPC A-rated cabins and modular, hybrid solar welfare units, Stage V generators, and battery storage units.

Estate investment
The Wernick Group owns all but one of the 34 sites which it operates from, providing the opportunity to create industry leading facilities through investment. Approximately £30m has been invested across the Group’s estate including freehold purchases and development works of existing and new sites. Key projects included the construction of a new head office, new depots in Hull and Ampthill, major redevelopment of depots in Bury St. Edmunds, Cheltenham, Dartford, Eggborough, Mansfield, Leeds, Lochgelly and Wickford, and additional production space at the factories in South Wales and York.

The company also made strategic acquisitions, investing £33m to acquire several companies and asset purchases including:

Interserve – asset purchase of portable building fleet
Adlington Welding Supplies Ltd – asset purchase of welfare fleet generators
Power-Rite (UK) Ltd – company acquisition
Robert Purvis Plant Hire Ltd – asset purchase of portable building fleet
AV Danzer Ltd – company acquisition
Portable Building Sales Ltd – company acquisition

These acquisitions added a total of 4,500 portable buildings and 1,500 generators to the company’s fleet, along with a manufacturing facility for anti-vandal buildings, an additional hire depot in Manchester, and a strengthened position in the refurbished modular sector.
Jonathan Wernick, Chief Executive Officer commented, “We firmly believe that investment is a core value, not just a business strategy. We understand that continuous investment in our products and business infrastructure is the key to securing a prosperous future, both for our company and for our customers. That’s why we’ve made significant investments in these areas, and we’ll continue to do so to fulfil our commitment to delivering the very best products and services to our customers”.

Net Zero by 2040
In 2022, a commitment was made to be net zero by 2040 and a carbon management plan was produced setting out a clear roadmap on how this would be achieved. The journey has already begun with investment in energy-saving initiatives such as the installation of solar panels at the factory in York, upgrading lighting to LED at various locations, installation of EV car chargers across the estate, replacement of various plant to full-electric alternatives, voltage optimisers for factories, and smart sockets for offices.

Future investment
Wernick Hire will continue to invest £2m per month in its hire fleet adding around 2,500 buildings. Wernick Power Solutions have £5m in capex available for the year, which will be invested in battery storage units, Stage V generators, fuel tanks, distribution panels, and load banks. The Group will also continue estate investment, including new depots in Dundee and Inverness, with major development works planned for Dunston, Aldridge, Cornwall, Manchester, and its factory in Langley Mill.



In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the impact of embodied carbon in all areas of construction, with the Environment Audit Committee calling for the Government to introduce mandatory whole life carbon assessments for all buildings¹.

Whilst addressing this area will be key to achieving the country’s Net Zero ambitions, it is important that project teams understand the relationship between embodied and operational carbon emissions. In some cases, changes to specifications designed to reduce embodied carbon emissions, can notably increase operational emissions. This is especially true when it comes to insulation for building fabric and services. New calculation tools are now available which can help specifiers to balance these objectives and achieve an optimal outcome.

Understanding Insulation Emissions

Phenolic pipe insulation products are a popular solution for both on- and offsite building services specifications. A key reason for this is their thermal conductivity, which can be as low as 0.025 W/mK. The lower this value is, the more effective the insulation is at preventing heat transfer. This means building services are able to perform more efficiently (with lower operational carbon emissions) at a given thickness of insulation when compared with insulation materials with higher thermal conductivities, such as mineral fibre.  As with all insulation materials, when specifying phenolic pipe insulation, it is possible to further reduce heat transfer by using greater thicknesses of insulation. However, this will also raise the embodied impact of the product as greater quantities of raw materials must be used, produced and transported to insulate a given length of pipework.
It is important to have a clear understanding of this trade off in order to minimise a building’s overall carbon emissions. In the case of pipe insulation, properly installed measures will deliver operational carbon savings across a building’s lifespan. This means that whilst increases in insulation thickness will marginally raise embodied carbon emissions, the savings in operational carbon emissions will typically be much greater.

Carbon Calculator

To support project teams, the Kingspan Kooltherm Pipe Insulation Carbon Calculator tool has now been launched.  The tool is designed to be quick and easy to use, helping
specifiers to gain a better understanding of operational and embodied carbon emissions, along with the payback period for the specified insulation.
Users need to enter a few project conditions, such as energy price and operational hours, along with factors specific to the system design including pipe lengths, diameters and materials, and system operational temperatures. The calculator will then generate results for different pipe insulation thicknesses based on the following key industry standards:

BS 5422 – this sets out minimum insulation thicknesses for a range of systems and scenarios;
Energy Technology List (ETL) – this provides enhanced pipe insulation specifications designed to raise system performance;
CIBSE CP1 Heat Networks – Code of Practice  – this includes recommended thicknesses for internal building pipework used as part of heat networks.


There is also an option to input your own custom thicknesses of Kingspan Kooltherm Pipe Insulation to see how these may impact results.
The tool provides a range of outputs in clear graphs. The embodied carbon of the relevant size and thickness of insulation will be calculated, and this will be combined with the carbon associated with the lost heat over a specified period of time.
You will also receive the results for system heat loss on an annual basis, the costs associated with these losses along with the expected capital cost of the insulation product (not including installation, pipework or other fittings).
As shown below, the graphs are designed to allow different specifications based on the three industry standards, or those from custom pipe insulation thicknesses, to be easily compared. This can help to understand the time it will take for the additional capital cost and embodied carbon from enhanced specifications to be offset by the reduction in the carbon from lost heat and associated costs. These results can then be generated into a project specific report.


If you would like more information on our new tool and how it can help your project,


Kingspan Technical Insulation’s team





Arcadis, the leading design and consultancy organization for natural and built assets, welcomes proposals set out in “The 2023-24 Budget”, to support people in need and sustain the impetus to economic recovery through high-quality development.

Responding, Francis Au, Greater China Growth Director said:


“Arcadis welcomes the Government budget measures, with clear direction and specific goals for the development of Northern Metropolis and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands. We are pleased the HKSAR Government is supporting the extensive application of advanced technologies in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to improve certainty on budget, quality and delivery time of projects.”


Develop Northern Metropolis and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands

The Northern Metropolis is an important base for promoting the development of livable spaces and supporting the Innovation and Technology industries, thereby facilitating high-quality economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. In parallel, the Budget also outlined preliminary proposals on the scope of reclamation, land use, transport infrastructure networks and financial arrangements regarding the Kau Yi Chau artificial islands. Arcadis embraces the multi-pronged approach by HKSAR Government, which will compress major projects time by half, from more than 10 years in the previous plan. Hence, more land resources will be released for public and private developments to improve quality of life for Hong Kong citizens.

Application of Innovation and Technology in the Construction Industry

Arcadis has developed an advanced forecasting model to predict Hong Kong construction manpower in the coming five years. The model suggests there will be a shortage of around 40,000 skilled workers and 15,000 professionals, supervisors, and technicians. Enhancing training and recruitment while driving the adoption of advanced construction methods and new technologies should be prioritized to increase capacity. We are delighted the Government addressed these issues and planned HKD $75 million for conducting studies on establishing the Building Testing and Research Institute, constructing an advanced construction industry building, and strengthening the supply chain for Modular Integrated Construction (MiC).

Francis Au added:


“By capitalizing on both our local and global expertise, we see opportunities to devise new standards, conduct testing and provide accreditation and related products to align with those in the international and China markets.

“In addition, innovative ideas for implementing large-scale infrastructure projects can deliver benefits on time and on budget. We should consider partnerships between customers, consultants, contractors and suppliers, such as early contractor and supplier involvement, as well as revenue sharing mechanisms in procurement strategies.”

Source: Cision

Luxury bespoke homes are those that stand out from the crowd – a place that is truly unique and the team behind Agilitee have made their name in providing impressive houses on the market.

However, from the outside you would not be aware that the buildings all have something in common – they were built using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF).

Unlike many firms, project management-led construction company Agilitee specialises in using insulated concrete formwork, which uses a polystyrene formwork system to create highly insulated concrete houses.

“The decision to focus on this way of working was made because it is likely to form the beating heart of the construction industry in years to come,” said managing director Chum Narayan.

The company, which has a large portfolio of builds from residential to commercial, is keen to hear from architects, building designers, developers and builders who are interested in working with them and using this product.

“If you want your next project to be built to the highest standard with sustainability and energy efficiencies in mind then reach out to the team today.”

Working across the South of England, the Agilitee team specialises in a project-led approach, involved throughout the development ensuring the client gets what they want.

The company was named Homebuilder of the Year 2022 – South England in BUILD’s Homebuilder Awards 2022 – which highlights the best of the best within the homebuilding industry.

What makes ICF so special?

Widely used in Europe and North America, the modern construction method – integrating insulation materials like polystyrene, into the concrete formwork – is relatively new to the UK.


Energy efficient

Constructing using ICF ensures an airtight envelope and reduces the amount of energy required by up to 70 per cent compared to traditional methods creating much more sustainable longer-lasting buildings.

They are more energy efficient, thereby reducing ongoing costs of heating and cooling. It also helps reduce moisture and mould because of the airtightness of the system.

Those working or living in the properties will also have a more comfortable experience as it increases acoustic insulation, keeping out unwanted noise.

Agilitee has experience with many brands of ICF but prefers to use JACKON by BEWI. Mr Narayan said it was due to its strength, insulation quality, cost and cost-effectiveness. “We are finding that ICF has become the future of construction due to its many advantages,” he said.


Quicker builds

It is easier and quicker to build using ICF, as it saves steps in both the exterior and interior construction process. This could cut several months off construction time.

Rather than framing walls with studs, they are created using insulated concrete blocks that go together more like Lego. Being light and flexible it also lends itself to most styles of property design.

“Building regulations are on a path of improvement with the main goal of becoming ‘Future Homes Ready 2025’,” said Mr Narayan. “Building using ‘Jackon ICF’ enables Agilitee to reach and surpass these targets today.”


About Agilitee

Established in 2013 by Mr Narayan, the company has been involved in traditional, modern and luxury homes and is a member of the Federation of Master Builders – the UK’s largest trade association.

Its approach to business focuses on continuous improvement and innovation and it works hard to ensure the latest construction techniques, products and materials are applied to its projects in the most practical, efficient and commercial manner.

The team’s other specialism is in basements, with the firm providing the perfect solutions to ensure that these valuable spaces are as safe and secure as possible.

The team has become certified installers of waterproofing systems such as Triton, Delta and Sika as well as an experienced installer of cast concrete flooring systems.

“This commitment to growth in terms of what the team offers has been vital to securing success over the last few years,” said Mr Narayan.

“It’s a unique combination of skill, experience and commitment that forms the heart of what the Agilitee team is able to offer their clients.”


CLICK HERE To find out more about Agilitee and to get in contact with the team


Source: Kent Live

Rothoblaas solutions for prefabrication

In the world of timber construction, the ability to preassemble part of the construction elements facilitates construction site work both in terms of speed and in terms of waste management; as a result, it improves the operators’ quality of life.
The choice of a supplier, therefore, will be based primarily on the availability of materials suitable for pre-fitting.
Rothoblaas membranes, along with other sealing and insulating products, are not specifically designed to be preassembled, but being useful in a prefabrication context is their inherent characteristic.

Rothoblaas self-adhesive membranes

The advantages of high-performance adhesives and application contexts Installing a self-adhesive membrane is simple and intuitive, but the application context and the adhesive’s performance, can make all the difference. Consider the need to waterproof Mass Timber panels that will form the framework of a timber building. The application context of the membrane makes all the difference.

Application in a manufacturing plant

Having a horizontal panel available within a manufacturing plant offers a range of advantages that the construction site does not have:

  • The panels are clean and free of “construction site” dust
  • Consequently, membrane adhesion will be better and stable
  • “Horizontal” application is much faster than vertical application where the panel is already positioned to be part of the building structure
  • The application space will be significantly clearer of obstructions than on the building site
  • The panel is delivered ready to use and protected from weathering
  • Operators doing the pre-fitting have greater comfort
  • They are protected from dust, rain and wind

Why a self-adhesive product

In addition to speeding up the application and adhesion of the membrane to the panel, the high-performance adhesive will avoid the typical problems of transportation to the construction site.
Pre-fitted non-self-adhesive products do not guarantee the same performance as products that are so. Consider a non-adhesive membrane that is fitted to a CLT panel before it arrives at the construction site: mechanical fastening with staples is not as fast as adhesive fastening and will result in numerous micro-slits that must be repaired with sealant tape.
A mechanically fastened membrane may have problems detaching from the staple due to air friction both during transport and while on the construction site.
A further competitive advantage of adhesive products is that they maintain a certain degree of waterproofing despite accidental tears or in cases where it is necessary to puncture them.
Let’s consider a membrane pre-fitted on a CLT panel. To transport the building element to the construction site, it is necessary to insert lifting hooks and then drill at least two holes.
For a self-adhesive membrane, infiltrations of water or moisture will not affect the performance of the CLT because the problem will remain confined to the perforated surface. In contrast, the risk of damage for a panel with a non-adhesive membrane is higher.

The steps of installing a Rothoblaas self-adhesive membrane

Unrolling, gluing edges toward the centre, adhering by roller pressure.  Their ease of application gives a huge advantage to these types of products already designed to be high-performing.
Rothoblaas’ main self-adhesive membranes are: TRASPIR ADHESIVE 260, BARRIER NET ADHESIVE 200, VAPOR ADHESIVE 260. Using high-performance adhesives, they are all suitable for application to rough surfaces while maintaining the functions for which they were designed.
Specifically, BARRIER NET ADHESIVE vapour barrier features a reinforcing grid that provides very high mechanical strength and reduces the risk of slipping. Since it is transparent, it is especially ideal for protecting buildings with exposed timber façades.

Learn more

Rothoblaas membranes consist of several layers. They are always comprised of a functional film that ensures perfect waterproofing and airtightness and one or more reinforcing layers that provide protection for the functional film. This structured composition increases the mechanical performance and abrasion resistance of all our membranes. With the aim of supporting modular and prefabricated construction, Rothoblaas is expanding its range of membranes, sealants and self-adhesive tapes.

CLICK HERE for further information and contexts of use for Rothoblaas’ self-adhesive membranes



British start-up’s ‘Peak XV’ tunnel demonstrates the potential of a radical new construction method to transform urban planning – by building underground infrastructure faster, more affordably and more sustainably than current techniques.

hyperTunnel, the British technology company innovating underground construction, has revealed the world’s first entirely robot-constructed underground structure, built at its R&D facility in the North Hampshire Downs.

hyperTunnel’s completely new automated construction method is designed to build tunnels more than 10 times faster and at half the cost of conventional methods. The approach is significantly friendlier to the environment and will use sustainable materials such as low-carbon concrete. Without any human needing to enter the structure during construction, the hyperTunnel method could transform safety in the tunnelling industry.

Using swarm construction methods according to a digital twin of the tunnel, a fleet of ‘hyperBot’ robots enters the ground via an arch of HDPE pipes. Once inside, the robots 3D-print the tunnel shell by deploying construction material directly into the ground. The 6 metre-long, 2 metre-high and 2 metre-wide Peak XV ‘pedestrian-scale’ tunnel has been delivered as part of a project for Network Rail and revealed at the British Tunnelling Society Conference & Exhibition in London (October 11th & 12th).

The Network Rail project has been demonstrating the hyperTunnel process, investigating the technologies that are key to low-disruption tunnel repairs for the UK’s regional railway infrastructure, which includes approximately 650 Victorian age tunnels.

David Castlo, Network Technical Head (Mining and Tunnels) at Network Rail, said: “Our large portfolio of Victorian tunnels requires increasing levels of work to meet the needs of the railway network. However, we want to reduce the level of disruption to our passengers so we are constantly searching for new approaches to enlarging or repairing tunnels that reduce the length of time a tunnel will be closed to trains. Peak XV moves us a step closer to that goal and, crucially, with a method that reduces workforce safety risk.”

Steve Jordan, co-CEO and co-Founder of hyperTunnel, said: “To unveil our first large scale demonstration tunnel is a big step, not only for hyperTunnel, but for the tunnelling and construction industries which are eagerly anticipating the readiness of our approach to use, as appropriate, in their global projects. While using robots exclusively to build underground structures is dramatically different, the contributing technologies, such as digital twins, robotics, 3D printing and digital underground surveying, supported by AI and VR, are all well-proven in other industries. In fact, the hyperTunnel in-situ method is all about de-risking construction projects.”

Earlier this year, hyperTunnel received funding of 1.88 million Euros from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator scheme, Europe’s flagship innovation programme. The company also received a financial investment from VINCI, a global leader in concessions, energy and construction businesses.

National Highways becomes first to use Aggregate Industries’ new biogenic asphalt on A590 Cross-A-Moor scheme



The UK’s first commercially available biogenic asphalt has been contracted on a National Highways scheme in Ulverston, Cumbria, as the national road network body seeks to reduce carbon on its projects.


To date more than 1,170 tonnes of Aggregate Industries’ SuperLow-Carbon asphalt has already been used in the base and binder elements of the A590 project, which includes the construction of a new roundabout, as well as brand new link roads, to connect into the existing local road network.


Ensuring its road scheme demonstrates sustainable credentials to support National Highways’ plan to achieve net zero by 2030, SuperLow-Carbon was selected for both its innovative carbon-saving technology, as well as its speed of construction – a vital aspect to ensure minimal disruption to local traffic.


SuperLow uses Shell’s Low Carbon Bitumen in a unique formula that utilises improved production processes and alternative energy sources to lower its embodied carbon footprint. It includes a biogenic material that effectively locks CO2 within the asphalt rather than releasing it back into the atmosphere.


The low-carbon product is a warm-mix asphalt, which means it requires lower energy to produce than its hot-mix equivalent without compromising on performance, whilst also reducing nuisance fuming, odour and steam providing better working conditions for operatives.


In addition, lower asphalt temperatures during production reduces binder ageing, while the product remains highly compactable for longer – allowing more time for full compaction, delivering enhanced performance and durability, and ultimately life-expectancy. It also reaches trafficking temperatures much quicker than hot mix products, allowing for earlier reopening of carriageways to the travelling public, resulting in less disruption and reduced build costs.


Neil Leake, National Technical Manager at Aggregate Industries, said: “We were delighted that National Highways selected SuperLow-Carbon for its A590 Cross-A-Moor project – marking the first installation of this product since it launched earlier this year.

“National Highways has a clear agenda to reduce carbon on all its schemes, and Aggregate Industries consistently provides new low-carbon solutions, enabling us to reduce carbon for our clients and the industry. SuperLow really is the next generation of asphalt and sustainable paving products, and we can’t wait to see it contracted on many more projects in the future.”


Stephan Mason at National Highways adds: “Having worked with Aggregate Industries on several projects in the past, we know they are always able to deliver on innovative, sustainable products and unrivalled customer service. This project in Ulverston is in a stunning, green part of the country, and thus a low-carbon asphalt solution was obvious for the scheme.

“SuperLow-Carbon demonstrates great innovation, with a low-carbon binder successfully delivering a CO2 reduction in the base elements of the scheme. We look forward to working with Aggregate Industries again in the future, as they continue to lead the way in sustainable applications and supporting National Highways as it accelerates towards its net zero target.”


For more information on SuperLow-Carbon and on Aggregate Industries, visit