The firm has formed a strategic partnership with AFC Energy, a hydrogen power generation technology specialist, to trial and scale hydrogen in hard-to-abate activities across the sector.

As a first step, the Mace Group will begin testing hydrogen generators on selected construction sites in the UK and internationally in early 2022. Mace Group had notably already committed to remove diesel generators from all sites globally by 2026 – a commitment that will help deliver its aim of reducing absolute emissions from operations by 10% year-on-year from 2021.

Mace and AFC Energy will, simultaneously, work with plant hire firms and engage with policymakers to help promote a shift from diesel to hydrogen across the wider sector.

A statement from the two firms on this work reads: “The provision of temporary power to construction sites is currently provided through the hiring of on-site diesel gensets through plant hire businesses rather than constructors purchasing generators directly.  To drive the decarbonisation of the construction industry, it is essential that a market-based demand for alternative, sustainable on-site generation is signalled to plant hire businesses through partnerships like this one to support investment in deployable clean energy technologies including hydrogen fuel cells.”

In January, Mace announced that it has achieved net-zero emissions across operations and developments. However, it is hoping to reduce its direct emissions further in future, thus reducing its reliance on offsetting. The business is planning to publish a more detailed decarbonisation roadmap later this year.



Hydrogen policy

The announcement from Mace Group comes in the same week that the vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hydrogen, Alexander Stafford MP, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urge more support for hydrogen as a transport fuel.

Stafford’s letter stipulates that the UK will not meet the Hydrogen Taskforce’s recommended target of 100 hydrogen refuelling stations for road transport by 2025 – let alone ensuring that most hydrogen is green – unless costs are reduced.

While reducing costs will, ultimately, depend on the scaling up of green hydrogen generation globally, Stafford’s letter urges Johnson to also consider reforms to the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO).

It states: “Under the current RTFO rules, hydrogen electrolysers can only be issued a certificate by connecting to new wind farms. There is approximately a three-year wait to synchronise the build of an electrolyser to the development timescales of new wind farms, which in effect delays the scaling of the UK’s hydrogen economy by three years.“

The letter stipulates that reform of RTFO rules would be timely, given that the Department for Transport is working with BEIS on both the Hydrogen Strategy and the Transport Decarbonisation Plan – both of which have faced Covid-19-related delays but are now due ahead of COP26.

The contents of the letter reflect discussions at a recent industry roundtable. Organisations represented at that meeting include Østed, Shell, Scottish Power and WrightBus.

“I am pleased by the cooperation of all major players across the hydrogen sector and look forward to working with the industry to achieve the necessary reforms to our existing legislature, which will unlock investment and help us on our way to reaching our net-zero ambitions,” Stafford summarised.


Source: Eddie

India has the world’s worst air pollution. Home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, its toxic air kills more than one million people each year.

That’s partly because the South Asian nation is the world’s second largest brick producer. Brick kilns — which account for 20% of black carbon emissions globally — make a significant contribution to its terrible air.

Indian architect Tejas Sidnal was shocked to discover the construction industry’s role in the pollution crisis. “That was a crazy eye opener,” he says. “As architects, we are responsible for so much air pollution. We can do better.”

Determined to make construction more sustainable and tackle India’s air pollution, Sidnal launched Carbon Craft Design in 2019. The startup takes black carbon extracted from polluted air and upcycles it to make stylish, handcrafted building tiles.

The air shrouding India’s cities often contains dangerously high levels of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, which has been linked to lung and heart disease and can impair cognitive and immune functions. In 2019, New Delhi declared a public health emergency after suffering record levels of smog.

PM2.5 includes black carbon, a substance which can absorb one million times more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide in the days or weeks it stays in the atmosphere.

Reducing pollutants such as black carbon could help slow global warming and improve air quality, experts say. Many companies are exploring the commercial potential of capturing carbon dioxide emissions, but few are focused on black carbon, according to Sidnal.

“We found a way to add value to this recovered carbon by using it as a pigment in carbon tiles,” he says.

Building with pollution

To create the carbon tiles, Carbon Craft Design partnered with Graviky Labs, an Indian company that previously created “Air Ink,” a technology that captures carbon soot from cars and factories, and converts it into ink and paint.

This mural in Hong Kong was painted by the artist Caratoes, using Graviky Lab’s “Air Ink.” Credit: courtesy caratoes

Carbon Craft Design’s floor tiles, made with black carbon extracted from dirty air, could help to combat India’s air pollution crisis. Scroll through to see other technologies that could transform the construction sector: Carbon Craft Design

Graviky Labs uses a filter device to capture carbon soot from diesel exhaust and fossil fuel generators, removes contaminants such as heavy metals and dust from the soot, and gives the purified carbon to Carbon Craft Design in powder form.






“Graviky Labs views pollution as a resource,” company founder Anirudh Sharma tells CNN. “We are one of only a few companies in the world to capture these carbon emissions and turn them into new materials.”

Carbon Craft Design mixes the captured carbon with cement and marble waste from quarries to produce monochromatic tiles. Sidnal says the company aims to ensure each tile contains at least 70% waste material. It sells the tiles to architects and retailers for $29 per square meter — a high price compared to regular ceramic tiles.


As the company scales up production, Sidnal hopes to lower prices and produce a cheaper range of carbon tiles. “We want to hit the affordable sector,” he says. “Sustainability is not only for the elite.”

Carbon Craft Design uses a hydraulic press to mold carbon, marble and cement into a monochromatic tile. Credit: Carbon Craft Design

Since launching its first tiles a year ago, Carbon Craft Design’s customers have included global fashion brands and architecture firms in India. In November 2020, the company retrofitted an Adidas store in Mumbai, covering the walls and the floor with its carbon tiles.

Architect Manan Gala, whose firm Bombay Contractors designed the Adidas store, describes the carbon tile as a “winner” for the construction industry. As well as being sustainable, “the product has better strength than conventional cement tiles due to the carbon content, and the raw and rustic feel adds to the overall charm,” he says.

Carbon Craft Design is currently raising investment and hopes to start distribution in Europe this year, says Sidnal, adding that “we are swamped with inquiries from in and out of India.”


Source: CNN


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


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


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


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

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

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


We need more homes


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


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

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


In summary


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


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


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


…couldn’t have put it better myself.

To explore the possibilities of mud architecture, Rael San Fratello has created 3D-printed prototypes that take cues from historical earthen construction built along the Rio Grande river.

Led by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, Rael San Fratello created four mud structures as part of its Emerging Objects investigative series into 3D printing.

The project called Mud Frontiers resulted in 3D-printed designs – Hearth, Beacon, Lookout and Kiln – that the studio believes could help to provide solutions for more affordable construction.


The structures take cues from the origins of the Rio Grande watershed in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, formerly the edge of the US-Mexico before 1848. Here, traditions from Ancestral Pueblo cultures date back to 700 CE and the Indo-Hispano cultures of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado date back to 1598.

The Emerging Objects team began by researching processes typical to the area, such as hand-modelled earthen structures, and mud and pottery that harvest clay from Sangre de Christo and San Juan mountains. They then worked with 3D ceramic print company 3D Potter to make a small portable robot called Potterbot XLS-1 to print designs on the sites they sourced soils.

“What we learned was really how accessible, robust, and powerful it was to print large scale structures so quickly using the soil just beneath our feet” Rael told Dezeen.

“We discovered work flows for printing, material mixture processes, structural applications, and theories about new and old ways of living and designing for the future using humankind’s most humble material.”

Hearth comprises a thin mud-wall reinforced with rot-resistant juniper wood.

The sticks are used to join two walls together and protrude on the outside of the structure but are hidden inside – a relationship the architect likens to the “cultural differences between the architectural traditions of pueblo and Indo-Hispano buildings”. A curling mud bench wraps the inside of the tiny enclosure to meet a fireplace in the middle where juniper wood is burned.

Beacon was created to find a way to use a coiling mudwork to make the wall as thin as possible. Lights illuminate the indentations along wall at night time to give the structure its name.

Lookout, meanwhile, uses coils to create a staircase. “A dense network of undulating mud coils is laid out to create a structure that can be walked upon,” Rael added. The design also lays mud piping inside the walls into cross-shapes that can be used to create pockets of air that bolster the insulative properties of the designs.

“This also demonstrates how wide, yet, airy walls, can create interior enclosures that represent possibilities for insulation, especially in the harsh climate of the San Luis Valley that can drop below -20 degrees fahrenheit in the winter,” Rael said.

Kiln forms a culmination of a number of findings, including the coiling and criss-crossing mudwork, and adds a kiln for firing the 3D-printed vessels. The locally sourced juniper wood is are fired with juniper wood that give it a range of textures and hues.

“The products of the kiln, fired micaceous clay learning from the traditions of Taos and Picuris Pueblos, are hybrids of technology and technique,” said Rael.

“Emerging Objects explores these frontiers of technology and material using traditional materials (clay, water, and wheat straw), to push the boundaries of sustainable and ecological construction in a two phase project that explores traditional clay craft at the scale of architecture and pottery,” Rael said.

“The end goal of this endeavour is to demonstrate low-cost and low-labour construction that is accessible, economical and safe is possible.”

A particular highlight of the history is coil pottery, which uses layers of clay ribbons to form pieces.

Playing with this technique, the team made 170 vessels featuring varying bulges and markings – using the Potterbot to print the vessels with a ceramic 3D-printing software. It then developed the process to create a larger, 3D-printed adobe construction resembling series of bulging, rope-like threads from local clay.

“Excavated pit houses and above ground adobe structures defined the architecture of the Mogollon and by AD 400 this region witnessed the development of a distinctive, indigenous coil-and-scrape pottery tradition known as EI Paso Brownware,” said Rael.

Mud Frontiers by Emerging Objects was initiated in response to an article in the Smithsonian magazine called “40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years”. Number one in the list stated that “Sophisticated buildings will be made of mud”.

As part of the project, Rael San Fratello were testing a portable robot that they had created,

It was used to print the mud walls in varying patterns that related to traditional techniques


Other projects that have similarly experimented with mud construction include a biodegradable house created by 3D-printing technology developer WASP from soil and agricultural waste. French architect Stephanie Chaltiel, meanwhile, developed a prototype for emergency homes that is formed from a domed lattice sprayed with a mixture of clay and fibre using a drone.

Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and San Fratello, who is also an associate professor of design at San José State University,  established Rael San Fratello as an architectural research studio.

The studio gained international media attention earlier this year when it installed three pink seesaws in between the metal slats of the US-Mexico border wall, so that children on either side can play together.

Photography is by Rael San Fratello.


The worldwide 3D Printing Materials Market is expected to reach $4.03 billion by 2025,

at a CAGR of 20.7% during the forecast period of 2019 to 2025.

3D printing is one of the fastest growing technologies and is being rapidly adopted for manufacturing and other applications by various industries. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures organization, five important industries that have the greatest potential to be transformed by 3D printing in the next 5 to 10 years from 2017 include Heavy Industry, Automotive, Consumer Products, Healthcare and Medical, and Aerospace.

3D printing technology has been evolving faster than other manufacturing technologies as it can influence manufacturing processes and help businesses perform to a higher level. Further, 3D printing manufacturing line is easier to alter than the production line for traditional manufacturing. This makes it preferable for the bulk equipment manufacturing processes. Due to this advantage, industries such as aerospace, construction, and automotive have started adopting this technology aggressively.

The key players operating in the global 3D printing materials market are Stratasys, Ltd. (Israel), Proto Labs, Inc. (U.S), 3D Systems, Inc. (U.S), Materialise NV (Belgium), The ExOne Company (U.S), The Hewlett Packard Company (U.S), EnvisionTEC Inc., (U.S), Evonik Industries AG (Germany), EOS GmbH (Germany), Zortrax (Poland), Markforged Inc., (U.S), Sculpteo- a BASF Company (France), Tethon 3D (U.S), and Arkema S.A. (France) among others.

Sources: Dezeen  –  Meticulous Research

The Covid 19 pandemic presents unique challenges to all business sectors including construction. One of the most pressing difficulties is keeping up productivity on site while practising the social distancing measures as per government guidelines.


Utilising off-site construction as much as possible can be key to achieving project schedules while observing best health and safety practice. This has always been a benefit of modular construction and is now more significant than ever before.

Eurobrick have supplied brick and stone slip cladding to the Modular Building sector for nearly 30 years. Director Richard Haines talks here about the advantages of using brick cladding to maintain a brick finish with off-site construction, particularly in the current climate.


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“Eurobrick systems are lightweight and easy to install. In a controlled factory environment, an installer should be able to install at least 1m² per hour but an experienced installer may do a lot more. Brick cladding only requires semi-skilled labour to install too, so with the increasing skills shortage in the construction industry, reducing dependency on traditional skilled labour is advantageous.

Where installed in a factory environment, our systems are robust enough to withstand the stresses of being transported to site and craned into position. A modular building that can be delivered to site and which does not require substantial finishing works or large teams to implement installation is a major benefit, as speed of delivery is a critical factor for most projects alongside meeting important new health and safety measures.

Even in projects where it is not possible to fit Eurobrick brick slip cladding to a module before it reaches site, the cladding work can be taken off the critical path which means contact between different teams on-site can be managed more effectively.

A brick finish remains popular and is sometimes required to fit in with existing buildings. Our wide range of brick slips allows you to match the finish of existing structures and as our systems are flexible, they can be used in conjunction with other exterior finishes such as timber and render. This means a mixed palette of finishes, popular for creating a contemporary look, is achievable. And you can be assured that our kiln fired clay brick slips weather and age in the same way as conventional brickwork, requiring little to no maintenance.

Eurobrick have supplied a wide range of projects including residential and leisure developments, schools, colleges and universities throughout the country. Not only are our systems tried and tested, but they have certification from the British Board of Agrément (BBA), are LABC registered and we also provide our own 25 years guarantee.

Not all systems are created equally and while Eurobrick’s products have been tested extensively in laboratories they have also been tested and proven out in the real world during our 30 years in business. Other suppliers offer alternative systems however few, if any, have the wealth of experience and knowledge accumulated by Eurobrick and our dedicated team will be pleased to provide expert advice and practical solutions.

Furthermore, there is a network of independent Eurobrick Approved Installers who can provide experienced labour to projects of all sizes all over the UK.”

Eurobrick’s brick slip cladding offers numerous benefits in many situations. For modular/off-site construction the ease of installation, low weight, product consistency and a means to provide a real clay brick finish are key. While the construction industry is forced to adapt to the current circumstances, modules constructed off-site but with traditional appearance finishes will enable projects to proceed while maintaining the safety of the workforce.


For more information visit

It’s a double celebration for SevenCapital this week as the developer, alongside construction partners Colmore Tang and Creagh Concrete, marks the topping out of its St Martin’s Place development – and announces it is now sold out one year ahead of expected completion.

Construction on the development, which sits adjacent to SevenCapital’s Park Regis Hotel – also constructed by Colmore Tang, on the site of the former Five Ways Shopping Centre, began in June 2018 and is expected to complete by Q2 2021.

With 228 new one, two and three- bedroom apartments across four blocks of between six and 17 storeys, the development will feature exclusive private residents’ amenities, including cinema room, WiFi lounge and a gym. It also promises to be a first of its kind in Birmingham, by offering hotel services to residents, provided by the neighbouring Park Regis.


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The building envelope is now complete, with floors laid across the development and windows fitted to all levels. M&E has been integrated into panels off-site. The build utlised a total of 3000 precast pieces, manufactured by Creagh at their head office facilities in County Antrim (NI), benefitting the project with six months build betterment against traditional construction methods.

The work has provided significant employment opportunities for the local workforce, with contractors for both Colmore Tang and Creagh Concrete coming from the region.

Damien Siviter, group managing director for SevenCapital said: “St Martin’s Place is a flagship development for SevenCapital, so we’re pleased to see such fantastic on-site progress from our construction teams. This is an important milestone for the project, which having sold out of all but one unit has already exceeded expectations, and everyone is working hard to ensure delivery is on time and to the highest standards.”

Steve Underwood, CEO of Colmore Tang Construction commented: “We have worked with Creagh on developing an innovative solution, which has accelerated our programme and offered significant benefits in terms of quality, safety and construction. This project is now our 16th in the region, having delivered 3500 apartments, demonstrating our expertise and making us the contractor of choice for delivering high density residential schemes in the Midlands area.”

Seamus McKeague Chief Executive of Creagh Concrete added: “This is a proud moment for Creagh. In recent years we have moved from being just a concrete and materials supplier to a specialist subcontractor, which has opened up new opportunities. We are seeing strong interest in our Rapidres Fastrack Build System because developers now understand the true value of slashing programme times. Investors not only benefit from revenue gained by the early occupation of units but, also, from the mobility of their capital resource. Quite simply, shorter build times mean developers can complete more projects with the same pot of finance.”


See inside St Martin’s Place in the most recent development update.

Altro has been appointed as a recommended supplier of vinyl and resin floors and floor accessories on the Department of Health’s ProCure22 Framework for NHS and social care construction schemes in England. Altro floor systems, including Altro Orchestra, Altro Aquarius and Altro Wood Safety, are recommended for use throughout healthcare environments. This follows Altro’s appointment in 2018 as a recommended supplier of wall and door systems, including the Altro Whiterock and Altro Fortis systems.

The ProCure22 (P22) process is designed to achieve improved value for money and reduce exposure to risk through a simplified capital procurement procedure.

With up to 20-year product guarantees, Altro can ensure healthcare environments provide an impervious, hygienic and durable environment, meeting the stringent requirements in critical hygiene areas. With a vast array of colours, including wood-look designs, a warm and welcoming environment can be created to reduce stress and improve patient and staff wellbeing, without compromising on hygiene standards.

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Altro provides a wide selection of floor solutions that can be used in all areas of health and care environments, including specialist safety solutions for areas with a high slip risk, including bathrooms and kitchens.

Altro has also been awarded DSDC accreditation, and is the only manufacturer to have HACCP approval for both floor and wall products.

Mark Johnstone, Head of Commercial, UK, Middle East and Ireland says: “Altro pioneered hygienic wall sheets and safety flooring, and we have over 60 years of experience providing solutions in health and care environments, including many projects within the NHS and social care. We are proud to have our floor and wall solutions included on the Procure22 Framework. Our floor, wall and door systems are recognised as cost-effective and durable solutions for health and care, and work together to create a hygienic environment that is designed to support the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.”

The following products are included in the P22 standard components list:

  • Altro Aquarius™
  • Altro Pisces™
  • Altro Suprema™
  • Altro Walkway™ 20
  • Altro XpressLay™
  • Altro Wood™ Safety
  • Altro Wood™ Safety Comfort
  • Altro Reliance™ 25
  • Altro Stronghold™ 30
  • Altro Zodiac™
  • Altro Cantata™
  • Altro Orchestra™
  • Altro Operetta™
  • Altro Serenade™
  • Altro Proof™
  • AltroFix™ 19 Plus
  • AltroFix™ 365
  • Altro adhesive-free flooring approved installation tape
  • Altro Acoustic Underlay 101
  • Altro Flexiflow™ 2mm classic standard variant
  • Altro Flexiflow™ 8mm acoustic standard variant
  • Altro Screed™ 3mm standard variant
  • Altro Crete™ 8mm standard variant
  • Altro Tect™ standard variant

This award is valid until October 2021.

The following products were included in the P22 standard components list in 2018:

  • Altro Whiterock White
  • Altro Whiterock Satins
  • Altro Whiterock Chameleon
  • Altro Whiterock wall designs
  • Altro Whiterock Splashbacks
  • Altro Fortis Titanium
  • Altro Fortis corner protection
  • Altro Basis
  • Altro Whiterock Digiclad
  • Altro Whiterock hygienic doorsets

This award is valid until October 2020.

When Performance Technology Group was formed at the beginning of 2018, it was envisioned as a means of bringing together a varied and industry-leading product portfolio, interdisciplinary expertise and nationwide fabrication and distribution capabilities into a single-point-of-access, customer-focused offering


The emphasis was on offering economies of scale and reducing complexity for the customer. Why spread your personnel across multiple meetings and multiple locations to discuss the fire, thermal and acoustic requirements of your project when PTG can address your needs over the course of a single engagement, with all the right people brought to the table? Before a single product has been delivered to site, this unified approach is saving you time, money and reducing the likelihood of error by removing unnecessary complexity.

Whilst offsite construction was very much on the PTG radar, it was only in the sense that the entire construction industry was on the PTG radar: commercial, residential, industrial, health, education hospitality, retail; from site protection, right at the outset of a project, through foundation work, from building envelope development to final fit-out.

Nationwide Fabrication Facilities

As PTG began to catalogue its business assets, it soon became apparent it possessed phenomenal fabrication facilities penetrating all areas of the UK, from Scotland, down through the North of England, through the Midlands to London, the South East and the South West.

All of these facilities were positioned in prime locations to serve their regions, but more impressive was the sheer breadth of technology and machinery available.

This is just a selection of what PTG have to offer: band saws, beams saws, CNC machines, cold-wire saws, guillotines, horizontal saws, hot-wire cutters, lamella cutters, multisaws, panel saws, pillar drills, profilers, routers, slitting machines, slotting machines and spindle moulders. This comprehensive suite of equipment enables PTG to cut materials to any size and thickness, provide intricate edge and joint detailing, face grooving, pre-drilled holes, duct cut-outs and a wide range of bonding and laminating solutions. And it’s all operated and lovingly maintained by a crew of skilled and experienced personnel, and augmented by a raft of hand-finishing tools and techniques.


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Materials and Supply

The fabrication facilities are set up to work with almost any material the modular construction industry can throw at it, from cement particle board to stone wool, from high-performance cladding panels to glass-fibre board, to produce bespoke flooring, ceiling and internal and external wall solutions.

A 2003 academic paper by A.G.F. Gibb and F. Isack – Re-engineering through pre-assembly: client expectations and drivers – was the result of interviews with major construction clients and identified, amongst many other things, that a “limited and disjointed supply chain” was a negative factor in relation to their projects.

PTG have supplied to some of the largest, logistically demanding construction projects in the UK, priding themselves on their reputation for uninterrupted supply, via strategically designated regional and local hubs and depots, and by creating and maintaining effective long-term relationships with a carefully selected group of manufacturers and suppliers.

Running in tandem with PTG’s product acquisition and the development of robust supply chains is a strong commitment to product testing, across fire, thermal and acoustic performance standards, with several senior members of our team involved with key industry bodies such as the Institute of Acoustics.

Mark Fyfe, Group Sales and Business Development Director for Performance Technology Group, said, “PTG can ‘plug-in’ to any modular contractor’s manufacturing and fabricating processes, effectively becoming a seamless part of their production line. Not only can we supply made-to-measure materials, we can supply a sequenced kit of parts or pre-assembled system components, potentially allowing a modular builder to rationalise their own asset base and reduce capital expenditure.”

Kara Windsor, PTG’s primary contact for all modular enquiries, said, “Modular construction is driven by an enthusiasm for efficiency, attention-to-detail, cost-effectiveness and, most importantly, innovation. PTG share all these values, making us the perfect fit for modular businesses.”

Modular buildings are gaining popularity as an affordable and sustainable solution. This design and delivery method has been adopted by Netherlands-based hotel operator citizenM, who have brought their steel-framed modular hotels to New York and Los Angeles.

Polcom Group, specialist off-site modular manufacturers, were appointed to build 228 modular units for the hotel. They identified that they would need to modify their normal production and assembly process to meet US building practices and standards.

Due to time constraints the traditional method of connecting units together on-site by drilling and bolting was not chosen, whilst hot welding risked damaging the critical waterproof membrane that protects each module.

Design Solution – Special steel structural shear plates were designed and added to the steel enclosures of the modules during production so that they could be connected to each other with Lindapter Hollo-Bolts during on-site assembly.


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Hollo-Bolt was specified for its high strength capacity and ability to be installed from one side of the Structural Hollow Section (SHS). Each module was wrapped in a protective air and water barrier, pressurised to keep windows in place and shipped on a private vessel from Poland to Seattle in the US.

Installation – Mortenson Construction were the appointed main contractor for the construction of this seven-storey, 264-room hotel. Each 18,144kg modular unit was lifted by crane and carefully stacked on top of each other.

Hexagonal head and countersunk Hollo-Bolts were then used to connect through the structural shear plates to the SHS of each module.

Installation was quick and easy. Each bolt was inserted into pre-drilled holes and tightened with a torque wrench to the recommended tightening torque to provide the necessary clamping force.

Result – Hollo-Bolts provided a weld free connection that was quick and easy to install without damaging the waterproof membranes.

This allowed the client to improve their modular construction method, which provided many advantages over traditional methods, including shorter constructions schedules, consistent quality control and reduced disruption on-site.


Over recent years, the use of cleanrooms has spread from highly specialised fields, to an increasingly diverse range of sectors including vitamins and e-liquids.

A key challenge when creating these spaces is limiting energy usage particularly within HVAC systems which must be operated at a much higher rate than in a standard room. Pre-insulated ductwork systems offer a specialist solution, reducing air-leakage throughout the system and consequently cutting fan energy demand.

ISO Definitions

ISO 14644-1:20151 separates cleanrooms into 9 classes based on the size and number of particles within a cubic metre. This allows designers to quickly identify a specification appropriate for each rooms intended purpose.

These requirements are typically met by installing High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) or Ultra-low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters within HVAC systems and operating these systems at extremely high flow rates. CIBSE recommends a ventilation rate of 10-120 air changes per hour (ACH) for non-laminar-flow rooms and 500-600 ACH for laminar-flow rooms2 . This compares with just 2 or 3 ACH for a normal building.

At these rates, it is essential that ductwork is carefully designed and installed to minimise air-leakage. Whilst this is possible to achieve with conventional sheet metal ductwork, the added detailing will often add considerably to the installation programme length and cost. Pre-insulated ductwork systems offer a simpler solution.


Pre-insulated ductwork is typically formed from panels with an insulated core faced on both sides with aluminium foil. This eliminates the lagging stage and can significantly reduce weight when compared with galvanised metal ductwork, allowing long sections to be fabricated on or offsite and installed in a single operation.

The sealing methods and jointing systems featured on some pre-insulated ductwork can significantly cut air-leakage. In a comparative study of two identical buildings, the air-leakage from pre-insulated ductwork was shown to be 79% lower than for a sheet metal system lagged with glass mineral fibre. This means air-flow rates can be met with smaller, more efficient fans.

This enhanced airtightness is particularly beneficial for cleanrooms kept at positive pressurisation. Pre-insulated ductwork systems have been shown to support positive pressurisation of up to 1000 Pascal and their design reduces pressure fluctuations within the ductwork.

In addition, some pre-insulated systems use rigid insulation materials which are both highly thermally efficient and fibre-free. This reduces the risk of loose fibres entering the ductwork and can considerably lower energy demand in cleanrooms where air temperature must be carefully controlled as around 95% of the air is usually recirculated.

Case Study

Pre-insulated ductwork was recently used in the construction of an ISO 8 cleanroom for E-liquid manufacturer, Zeus Juice UK.

Cleanroom specialists — Monmouth Scientific Ltd — oversaw the design and construction of the rooms and specified the pre-insulated Kingspan KoolDuct System.

Monmouth Scientific operations director, David Court, discussed the installation: “We chose Kingspan KoolDuct for the air-distribution ductwork, which we designed to the pressure value of 500 Pa as. In addition to its high performance, we are able to produce a wide variety of shapes and sizes using our computer numerical control (CNC) router. This allowed us to construct complex shaped sections off-site to tight tolerances.”

Contamination Controlled

With technology developers continuing to seek smaller form factors and regulations to prevent contamination in food, supplements and other products tightening, the need for cleanroom spaces will continue to grow. Offsite construction methods offer clear benefits for these self-enclosed, high specification spaces and by utilising technologies such as pre-insulated ductwork it should be possible to create clean rooms which can be erected quickly and provide enhanced energy performance.