© Luleå University of Technology and the Application of FRCM: © University of Nottingham


Researchers from the University of Nottingham are collaborating with Luleå University of Technology in Sweden for the first time, on a project that aims to improve the resilience of the world’s bridges – making them safer and more sustainable as traffic levels rise.

The recent 26-month closure of Hammersmith Bridge due to concerns about cracking in the infrastructure, as well as the ongoing RAAC concrete crisis demonstrate that much of the UK’s current infrastructure is nearing, or has exceeded, its expected design life. With temperatures soaring due to climate change, and traffic levels gradually rising again post-pandemic, the speed of this deterioration is only increasing.

When it comes to bridges, it’s not economically or environmentally possible to simply replace them, meaning the only viable solution is to repair and strengthen them. In the UK alone, the cost of repairing bridges due to corrosion damage is estimated to cost millions of pounds.

Non-corrosive Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites are excellent strengthening systems for corrosion-damaged concrete structures, but they come with their own drawbacks, such as high price, high environmental impact due to resin use, and poor fire resistance. As a result, a new generation of composites has been developed – Fibre-Reinforced Cementitious Mortar (FRCM). FRCMs are compatible with concrete, breathable, resistant to fire, applicable on wet surfaces, sustainable, reversible, low carbon, and cost-effective – being at least 30% cheaper than FRPs.

The main goal of the Climate Adaptation for REsilient Bridges (CARE) project is to find durable and sustainable solutions by investigating how different temperatures and accumulated damage caused by repeated load cycles affect the performance of FRCM composites when used in bridge strengthening.

Dr Georgia Thermou, Assistant Professor in Structural Engineering at the University of Nottingham, said:

“Although experimental evidence has demonstrated the efficiency of FRCMs when it comes to improving undamaged structures, it has not been tested on more complex structural systems with accumulated damage or that have been subject to seasonal temperature changes.

“Our experiments and simulations will generate new knowledge, which will benefit the construction and composites industries by providing a sustainable solution for strengthening bridges and creating a new market for composites respectively. Additionally, it will greatly benefit society by providing safe and sustainable infrastructure that will contribute towards a greener economy and, crucially, minimise bridge closures or even failures.”

The CARE project has been funded by the Royal Society as part of its International Exchanges scheme, which allows scientists across the UK to collaborate with leading institutions overseas.

Professor Gabriel Sas, Head of Subject at Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering at Luleå University of Technology, said:

“Collaboration across borders is essential for tackling the global challenges we face in infrastructure and sustainability. This partnership with the University of Nottingham allows us to combine our expertise in structural engineering and material science to develop innovative solutions for bridge resilience.”

Dr Jaime Gonzalez-Libreros, Associate Senior Lecturer at Luleå University of Technology, who will be collaborating closely with Prof. Sas and Dr. Thermou in the project, added:

“Our aim is not just to extend the lifespan of existing structures but to do so in a way that is economically viable and environmentally responsible. This project is a step forward in creating a sustainable future for our communities.”

Dr Thermou added:

“Being able to establish connections and collaborate with other leading universities across the world is crucial when it comes to sharing knowledge and finding solutions that multiple countries can benefit from, so I’m looking forward to working with Professor Sas and his research group to see what we can learn together over the next two years. I would also like to acknowledge Royal Society for supporting this effort and enabling the project to take place.”

Bespoke Fibrelite GRP composite trench covering solution, 82% lighter than cast iron

Once in a while, a product will come along whose performance will drive a change in standards across entire industries. Like stainless steel. Or concrete. Or a trench cover which is over 80% lighter than the cast iron traditionally used, eliminating the need for costly specialised lifting equipment and the accompanying health and safety hazards. And, unlike metal and concrete infill covers, it’s engineered from a GRP composite material which is inert and impervious to corrosion from water and salt, as well as many other corrosive constituents.


Changing The Standard For Health & Safety

Heavy metal trench covers come with inherent H&S hazards & often require specialised lifting equipment lightweight Fibrelite GRP trench covers eliminate manual handling risks

Fibrelite’s GRP composite trench and manhole covers are fast usurping metal and concrete covers to become the standard for high-performance industries like airports, commercial ports, leisure cruise terminals, military and defence, power generation (both traditional and renewables), and data centres, with companies like Magnox, The National Grid, all branches of the UK armed forces, and the world’s largest technology brands specifying Fibrelite covers for new build and retrofit projects.

Recent Installation: Port Cruise Terminal Upgrade, UK

As part of this Southern English Port’s cruise terminal upgrade project, Fibrelite was approached by the end-user, who was providing the Onshore Power Supply (OPS) systems. The port had previously considered installing cast iron trench covers to cover the 500 metres of trench housing the high-voltage power cables, but due to their weight (approximately 350 kg) and the additional associated overheads, they approached Fibrelite for a lighter alternative.

Fibrelite developed a bespoke covering solution made up of dozens of custom-sized F900 (90-tonne) load-rated GRP composite trench covers in varying dimensions to suit the specified trench rebate dimensions, which were 65 kg, 82% (285 kg) lighter than the cast iron alternative. The Fibrelite covers are light enough for safe removal with the site dolly, complying with the load rating requirement of the site.

Recent Installation: Major Southern UK Airport Off-Apron Lighting Pit Upgrade

At one of the UK’s busiest airports, Fibrelite designed and manufactured a retrofit replacement for manhole covers over off-apron runway lighting pits where onsite staff have a window of approximately two minutes to effect maintenance and/or repair works between take-offs and landings, including removing and replacing the F900 load rated access cover. The new lightweight GRP composite Fibrelite covers now allow safe, fast access to the lighting pits, maximising time for maintenance and minimising the risk of injury.


A Bright Future For Fibrelite

I’ve been a part of the Fibrelite journey since 2011, and it’s been exciting to play a part in driving the upgrade from traditional concrete and metal trench and manhole covers to GRP composites in myriad industries, especially those where manual handling is critical, and seeing how we’ve helped increase health and safety and performance in those industries. We expect to see more and more industries make the upgrade to Fibrelite composite covers, especially in mission-critical areas.

Jo Stott, Marketing Director, Fibrelite

CLICK HERE TO Explore Fibrelite’s technical case study library




The demand for affordable accommodations in Jasper National Park, located on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, is sky-high, so to speak.

A little over two million visitors come to Jasper every year in both summer and winter.

When Hostelling International (HI) Canada decided to increase the size of its Jasper hostel it opted to go modular.

To do so, it hired NRB Modular Solutions Inc., which built and installed 66 modules in a three-storey lodge 25,000-square-feet in area.

The modular rooms have several different configurations: 25 four-bed shared rooms, 17 private rooms and five family rooms.

Amenities include guest laundry, an onsite café, kitchen, patio with barbecue and a fire pit.

In addition, NRB built two staff accommodation buildings and a maintenance facility.

Shelbey Sy, director of marketing for HI Canada, says the organization chose modular over traditional construction for two reasons.

“Two key factors led to our decision to opt for modules over conventional construction,” says Sy. “Due to Jasper’s short construction season, it was much more practical to have the bulk of the building construction take place off-site (at NRB’s Kelowna, B.C. facility).

“By building in a climate-controlled interior environment, we were able to construct the hostel in a shorter period of time and under a more predictable cost and building timeline. This allowed us to plan the project and the date of its opening with greater confidence.”

Sy says HI Canada supports sustainability in its operations.

“The lower environmental impact of modular construction – because it requires fewer deliveries into the park, produces less waste and takes less time to construct – was also a key factor in our decision,” she says. “When combined with the uncertainties around Jasper’s weather conditions, modules over traditional construction was a clear choice for us.”

Sy says the new HI Jasper hostel “could not be more different” from the older facility.

“The former hostel was originally built as a day lodge for the Whistler Ski area before HI Canada transformed it to a hostel in 1979,” Sy says. “Reflecting the times, it was a wood-framed chalet, with large rooms and limited washroom facilities.

“The new hostel has nearly doubled our previous capacity and dramatically improves the hostel experience with space for 157 guests a night in private rooms and four-person shared rooms. It also has an onsite café as well as spacious and modern common areas.”

Sy says HI Jasper is the organization’s first experience with modular construction.

In addition to the Jasper hostel, NRB has built “a few” modular hotels, including a Hyatt Place in Prince George, says Craig Mitchell, a modular and off-site construction consultant with Blackbox Offsite Solutions in Vancouver.

“Before COVID, Marriott, Hilton and IHG (IHG Hotels and Resorts, which owns Holiday Inn) all had modular programs in the works,” says Mitchell.

“COVID caused the hospitality industry some pain and they are just restarting their build programs again and dusting off their modular prototypes.

citizenM (boutique hotels) is using steel modules from Europe and China.”

Mitchell says there are many examples of modular construction in the U.S. hospital industry.

“There are fewer in Canada, however, because the market here is smaller and less mature,” he says. “There are definitely good opportunities for the Canadian hospitality industry, because the uniformity in design works well with certain brands of hotels.”

Mitchell says two benefits of modular construction to the hospitality industry are low cost and speed of construction and installation.

“In addition, modular means quality and consistency across all brands, no matter where the hotel is located,” he says. “For major brands this is important, because many hospitality guests want to know what to expect when they visit. For example, a Fairfield Inn (franchised economy to mid-scale hotel brand of Marriott International) in Kamloops or Winnipeg or somewhere else. It’s the Starbucks or McDonald’s approach.”

Mitchell says modular hospitality industry properties are typically built with a podium or slab as the first floor, because of the requirement for high ceilings, with modular rooms installed above the podium.

“When done well, modular rooms are quiet, because of the built-up assemblies of the structure,” he says.

Mitchell says modular construction has a rosy future in the Canadian hospitality industry.

“But first we need more factories building better examples of modular hotel and hostel rooms and showing success,” he says. “There haven’t been enough success stories yet.”

Source: Daily Commercial News

Legal & General has been forced to dismantle modular homes on a site in Bristol after it found issues relating to the foundations.

The award-winning Bonnington Walk scheme comprised 185 homes built on land owned by Bristol City Council in Lockleazen and received a Masterplanning Award for Projects at Housing Design Awards 2021.

Those who had bought houses on the site are facing a lengthy delay of up to a year before moving in, and are now being offered compensation or can choose to cancel their purchase completely.

It was reported earlier this year that L&G would wind down the modular arm of its company after several years of consecutive losses. L&G Modular opened in 206 but a lack of demand led to the company reportedly accumulating losses of around £170million by 2021. The closure of the manufacturing site in Selby, Yorkshire was believed to put around 450 jobs at risk, with chief executive of L&G Modular, Rosie Toogood, also leaving the business.

A spokesperson for L&G said:

“Through our quality-assurance checks, we identified problems with the foundations of the site at Bristol that need to be rectified. We are working closely with our consultants and the warranty provider, National House Building Council (NHBC), to rectify these issues as quickly as possible.”

“In order to do this, we are removing existing modules, with new homes to be replaced on-site after the foundations have been rectified. No homes will be handed over to customers which do not meet the NHBC’s quality checks.”

“We have informed customers that it could take six to 12 months to resolve these issues and are committed to treating our customers fairly. Where there have been delays, we have offered them compensation, as well as the option of cancellation.”

Source: ShowHouse

TopHat, a company that builds factory-made modular houses, has completed a deal with France’s largest house builder as it seeks to expand into Europe.

The Goldman Sachs-backed firm said it had made an exclusive partnership with Nexity on Wednesday 14 June to “accelerate the development of offsite construction in France”.

TopHat will contribute its modular expertise to the partnership, it said, while Nexity will provide its experience with French construction and development programmes.

Nexity developed 18,000 homes last year, similar to the output of the UK’s largest house builder Barratt. The developer aims to have 10% of its houses built in factories by 2028, citing the reduced delivery times, higher environmental standards and energy efficiency of modular production.

The announcement comes as TopHat’s UK modular competitor Ilke Homes was fighting to secure its future. Ilke revealed last week it had paused factory operations and put itself up for sale. The company blamed issues with the planning system for its financial woes.

Unlike Ilke, which uses a land-led delivery model – in which the company buys land, secures planning permission and develops the site – TopHat only sells houses to third parties. About a third of its output is bought by housing associations, another third by developers, and the final third by build-to-rent providers.

Last month, Legal & General announced that it would stop production at its giant modular factory due to weak demand, leaving Ilke as TopHat’s last remaining major competitor in the UK modular sector.


Source: Inside Housing

James Morris, Technology Journalist

UK Power Grid Could Have First Commercial Fusion Reactor By 2030s

Science fiction writers have been touting fusion as the utopian future energy production technology for decades. After all, it is how the sun works, and that has been outputting energy for 4.6 billion years already, with about 5 billion more to go before it burns out. But while research has been going on apace to make nuclear fusion energy production a reality, so far nobody has achieved “net energy”, where more power is produced than is used to create the reaction. Now TAE Technologies reckons it will get there soon – and the first commercial installation could be in the UK.

“We are the longest standing pure play fusion power company,” says R. David Edelman, Chief Policy & Global Affairs Officer, TAE Technologies. “We were founded in 1998 with one goal in mind – to develop the cleanest, most commercially viable form of fusion energy.” TAE Technologies’ approach is to use boron-11 and hydrogen instead of deuterium-tritium (two isotopes of hydrogen), which is the more common fuel for current fusion reactors, because it is the easiest to fuse.

“One of the challenges that our founders identified was how you turn a reaction like that into a commercially viable power source,” says Edelman. “There are a number of advantages associated with boron-11 that don’t exist with some of the other fuels, specifically that the primary fusion reaction doesn’t produce a load of neutrons.” Although fusion in general doesn’t produce as many neutrons as nuclear fission, these are still very dangerous particles for the human body. “When you deal with neutrons, you deal with a device that is harder to manage, that might have to be replaced, that might need to be scrubbed out, that is harder to have people operate.”

This was why TAE Technologies chose hydrogen and boron-11 as fuel. “You’d have a machine that would be expensive to build in the first instance, but much cheaper to operate and could have a much longer life,” says Edelman. However, this kind of fusion reactor requires much higher temperatures than deuterium-tritium. To solve this problem, TAE Technologies was spun out of the University of California in Irvine, founded by Dr Norman Rostoker, with the help of Michl Binderbauer, who is now CEO.

Their insight was to marry traditional plasma physics with particle physics. Particle accelerators are used to drive and sustain the fusion reaction. This also generates a magnetic field, which contains the reaction, in a process called Field Reverse Configuration (FRC). The temperature of fusion means you can’t use any metal as a container – it would melt. Instead, a magnetic bottle is employed. Most fusion reactors employ external magnets. “Getting atoms to fuse is not the hard part,” says Edelman. “We’ve been doing that for decades. The hard part is keeping that reaction efficient enough to produce more energy out than it takes in. When you have a system like ours that produces its own magnetic field, suddenly you have a shortcut to reducing the amount of power you must put into the device to get exceptional output results.”

So far, TAE Technologies has built five experimental reactors, all based in California. The company is currently building an experimental machine that can exceed 100 million degrees, which is what is required for “net energy”. This is where the reactor outputs more energy than is being put in. “Our last device, called Norman after our founder, was able to get to 70 million degrees, so we are 70% of the way towards meeting that milestone,” says Edelman. “It was only built to get to 50 million degrees, but we were able to keep pushing, so we’re very optimistic. We’ve proven many of the core conditions that will allow us to reach that net energy milestone in a few years with our next device, which is called Copernicus.”

A key factor in TAE Technologies’ reactor is that its boron-11 fuel is both abundant and cheap. “It is in sand, it is in seawater,” says Edelman. “It can be extracted with great ease, and you need comparatively little of it for a fusion reaction. In fact, to power a fusion power plant at a typical scale – 350 to 500 megawatts output – you would only need a few hundred grams of boron for a year of operation.” Checking with science suppliers, at the time of writing Sigma-Aldrich will sell you 5g of Boron-11B oxide for $218, so the fusion fuel costs will be insignificant.

“That’s one of the core advantages because other fuels for fusion, like helium-3 and tritium, are hard to get,” says Edelman. “They involve very complex mining in places that are very hard to mine. Hydrogen, the other element in our reactor, is wildly abundant as well. There is no national monopoly on boron. Many countries have abundant supplies of it.” This contrasts with the radioactive uranium material used by nuclear fission reactors, which is concentrated in certain countries, such as Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Russia. It’s also expensive and dangerous. “We’ve estimated that if the whole world were running on boron fusion power plants, we’d have 100,000-plus years of terrestrial supply before we would even begin to look elsewhere.”

This brings us to the role of the UK. Although TAE Technologies has so far built its reactors in California, the company has developed a strong presence in Britain. “We are one of the largest private fusion employers in the UK,” says Edelman. “We have over 200 people based in the West Midlands that are working on what we call our Power Solutions business. These are both the power supplies that help run our fusion machine, but also our efficient power drive trains and other power efficient power storage solutions that are usable right now for electric vehicles, to make them go further on the same battery chemistry and to make them charge faster.”

These are not necessarily direct fusion technologies, but what Edelman calls “fusion adjacent” – production skills that will smooth integration into a commercial ecosystem. The UK expertise TAE Technologies focuses on includes areas like batteries that can be used for utility scale grid storage for intermittent sources such as wind and solar. However, the UK does have strong fusion expertise as well, such as through the Joint European Taurus (JET) in Culham, Oxfordshire and the Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production (STEP) planned for West Burton on Nottinghamshire.

“The professionals in the British system identified early that there was a need for a distinct regime for fusion power plants and that the UK should be the first country in the world to advance it,” says Edelman. “The UK has exceptional talent in this that can lead to cutting edge and world leading fusion commercial work. The United Kingdom has positioned itself at the front of the pack for the world’s first commercial fusion plant.” This includes STEP, which aims for net energy by the 2040s.

The readily available supply chain in the UK drives costs down for companies developing fusion in the country and has intellectual property benefits as well. “There’s a lot of expensive intellectual property that goes into these devices,” says Edelman. “That means that companies like ours aren’t terribly interested in building them in places like China, and instead we’re interested in building them in places where we know there’s not just the necessary expertise, but also the clear rule of law to protect the core intellectual property that we have.”

This has led TAE Technologies to consider the UK for its first commercial “net energy” fusion reactor, supplying electricity to the grid. “We are looking very seriously to the UK for the first fusion power plant because all the factors we need are there to build at a price that it can start to move the needle for energy independence and net zero,” says Edelman. There are implications that this will be in the West Midlands, where TAE’s other UK interests are. But Edelman remains uncommitted about the location. “Our power supply team is in the West Midlands, but there are a lot of factors that would go into the specific siting of a fusion power plant.”

However, Edelman is more bullish about timeframe – and it will be well ahead of STEP. “We expect to have a first-of-its-kind fusion power plant on the grid early next decade,” he says. “We’re not talking 2040, we’re talking 2030, which means we must start building that plant in the latter part of this decade, so we need to have a location decided sometime mid this decade. We can then start to scale that towards mass production power plants that can be put into operation at full scale and start to bring down the cost of energy from fusion in the middle of the 2030s. That would be just in time to make a significant impact on climate because if your first fusion power plant isn’t in operation till 2045, 2050 is just around the corner.”

“Fusion can offer low impact, zero carbon, effectively limitless energy produced through a triumph of science,” concludes Edelman. “It can do this without the drawbacks of most other sources of energy. You can put fusion power plants where the power is consumed. You don’t need to put a fusion power plant offshore, or where it’s sunny all the time, or on top of a deposit of minerals. It can be put safely inside population centers, which can save the 20% of generated electricity that is lost in long distance transmission. Our kind of fusion power plant can be very compact – just a few hectares. It doesn’t need a large exclusion zone and the risks associated with it are no different than those of any industrial facility. Fusion can make up the yawning gap between the energy we know we need by 2050 and the energy that we know can be produced in low and no carbon ways by 2050.” And that gap could start to narrow in the UK sometime next decade.

Source: Forbes

Swegon takes its first step towards using fossil-free steel

This week, Swegon presented its first product made from carbon dioxide-reduced steel – a GOLD RX – at the ISH trade fair in Frankfurt. The manufacture of steel consumes large amounts of both resources and energy. As ventilation units are primarily made of steel, there is considerable potential to reduce the carbon footprint of embodied carbon in production, by replacing traditional steel with steel that has a lower climate footprint.

In January, the first delivery of XCarb® RRP (recycled and renewably produced) Magnelis from thesteel manufacturer ArcelorMittal was received at Swegon’s Kvänum factory, where the companymanufactures ventilation units. According to ArcelorMittal, XCarb® RRP Magnelis has anapproximately 70% lower CO2 footprint than traditionally manufactured steel. XCarb® RRP ismainly produced from recycled steel and uses 100% renewable energy in the manufacturing process.

The first concept air handling unit has now been produced, and the plan is to gradually introducecarbon dioxide-reduced steel into ongoing production, starting during the second quarter of this year.

“We are delighted to now be phasing in carbon dioxide-reduced steel in our large ventilation units.We all have to contribute and reduce our climate footprint, and this transition is enabling us toreduce not only our own, but also our customers’ footprint,” says Robert Siverby, Supply ChainDirector at Swegon Group.

Swegon has, for a long time, focused on sustainability and on reducing the climate footprint in theproduction as well as the use phase of its products. Swegon was among the first in the industry todevelop EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration) for its products, and has a significant amount ofEPDs in its portfolio.

Based on the existing EPD for GOLD RX, size 12, the total Global Warming Potential (GWP) isexpected to be reduced by approximately 20% with the transition to XCarb® RRP Magnelis steel,given that all the steel is replaced. The introduction of XCarb® RRP is a first step in the company’sjourney towards fossil-free steel.



An innovative range of heavy-duty anchors from EJOT UK can deliver important cost and time savings onsite in a wide variety of MMC projects without compromising performance. Paul Papworth, structural anchoring specialist at EJOT UK, explains why.

Foundation design and the method adopted for securely fixing structures or volumetric buildings to them is fundamental to any MMC project. And where the design requires anchoring into concrete or other hard base materials, any Google search will reveal numerous options capable of meeting the performance requirements.  But which factors matter most in the design and specification process and how can best value be achieved?

MMC’s key advantages of installation speed and rapid project delivery, coupled with high quality construction, can be leveraged further with the right anchoring choice. And the one range which has the potential to tick all the boxes, while also enabling significant cost savings, is the LIEBIG Superplus BLS.  One of the world’s most used heavy duty anchors of its kind, Superplus BLS is approved for use in cracked and non-cracked concrete, offering assured high capacity anchoring in a wide variety of applications and conditions. These range from nuclear power plants and industrial sites to facades, structural steelwork, base plates and – of course – offsite construction and MMC.

There are four key reasons why the Superplus BLS represents amongst the best choices for anchoring in MMC.


1. Cost savings – more “kN per £”


The Superplus BLS is the only self-undercutting anchor that, without special tools, creates its own undercut. It works in a slightly different way to all other types of concrete attachment products to deliver game-changing results.  This means the Superplus BLS will provide more ‘kN per £’, with the assurance of ETA and UKTA certified performance but without the price tag usually associated. The product is capable of offering significantly improved tensile performance at 200% that of other heavy duty type anchors, 300% of the performance possible with throughbolts and 250% that of the largest concrete screws.
The is because the anchor comprises several core components or modules that can be sized and assembled to meet the specific needs of an application. This is an immediate cost efficiency benefit, driven by EJOT’s ability to manufacture non-standard sizes in short lead times at a fraction of what it would cost for bespoke sized anchors.

2. Flexibility to adapt to onsite challenges


Superplus BLS is suitable for shallow concrete depths and can be used at closer spacings or closer to the edge of the concrete than is typically possible. Such factors have previously been major hurdles to cost effective anchoring because they usually result in the need for custom-made anchors with lengthy lead times and a cost premium.
These challenges are overcome thanks to the anchor’s relatively small diameter and a design that enables two embedment depths per anchor diameter. This gives far greater flexibility to the designer to enable the embedment depth necessary to satisfy the design criteria, without a need to change baseplate design.

3. Installation simplicity


The role ‘simple installation’ plays in ensuring the project outcomes match the design intent, specification goals and budget is often undervalued.  For example, specifying a highly engineered, premium quality component or system where installation is specialist  in itself, could result in a solution failing to deliver on its promise. And there could be the need for costly remedial work unless it is fitted by a team with specialist knowledge.

Design innovation, therefore, is not only about a product’s performance capability – it should also seek ways to make installation as simple as possible to reduce risk. That is the thinking behind the Superplus BLS.  Its modular design and self-undercutting cone means no special tooling is needed to install it. Costly and complex installation processes have effectively been ‘engineered-out’. The self-undercutting mechanism is also not hole depth dependent, which eliminates the need for another special tool – setting equipment.

4. Application versatility


Whilst there is no one size fits all approach to concrete anchoring, the modular approach of the BLS means it is possible to use a single product for multiple different purposes on the same project.
The key to its versatility is the ability to choose different variants of the core parts of the anchor. The length and diameter of the threaded bolt and the distance sleeve can be sized within a wide range and the head styles can be chosen to suit the specific application requirements.
It all adds up to an application-specific anchoring solution that can be configured in a way that is normally associated only with 100% bespoke anchors, which are notoriously costly in small volumes and incur long lead times.

These four major benefits make the LIEBIG Superplus BLS an ideal choice for MMC as its innovative design mirrors the advances that many offsite and prefabricated products are making in transforming construction. 



To learn more about the range or discuss its use in a future project, please contact EJOT UK on 01977 687040

or CLICK HERE to email EJOT




Ofwat’s Innovation Fund launches £4m open competition to reward innovators working in the construction industry with bold solutions for the water sector

  • Ofwat today launches the Water Discovery Challenge, a new £4m competition for innovators outside of the water sector with bold ideas that can help solve some of its biggest challenges.
  • Ofwat is calling on innovators working in the construction industry to apply their ingenuity and skills to deliver breakthrough solutions to be used by the water sector.
  • Water companies provide drinking water and sewage services to over 50 million households in England and Wales, with a sewage network that could wrap around the world 13 times – yet the sector faces significant challenges due to increasing demand and climate change.
  • The Water Discovery Challenge, the latest competition from Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund, will fund innovation from sectors meeting similar challenges.

Today, England and Wales’ water regulator Ofwat launches the Water Discovery Challenge, a £4m competition for innovators working in the construction industry with bold and ingenious ideas that can solve the biggest challenges facing the water sector today and in the future.

The competition is the latest from Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund, which seeks to generate new ideas to tackle issues including managing leaks, preventing pollution, improving water efficiency, reducing emissions, boosting flood and drought resilience, prioritising sustainable practices, and supporting vulnerable customers.

Where previous Ofwat Innovation Fund competitions have focused on innovations from, and led by, those within the sector, the new Water Discovery Challenge is incentivising ideas from, and led by, those outside of the water sector – including in construction.

It is seeking solutions from industries dealing with similar challenges to those faced by the water sector, or implementing solutions that could benefit water and wastewater services in England and Wales – with no requirement for entrants to partner with a water company. The goal is to open the sector to new ground-breaking insights and thinking that benefit consumers and the environment.

Up to 20 teams of the most promising innovators will be awarded up to £50,000 to develop their ideas, with expert support and mentoring from water companies. Up to 10 will go on to win up to £450,000 to turn ideas into pilots.


David Black, Chief Executive of Ofwat said: “It’s no secret that the water sector has faced challenges in the last year. As a regulator we’re constantly pushing the sector to overcome these. Water affects everyone, and it’s time we see what the water sector can learn from astronauts, farmers, data specialists, architects and planners. This is about preparing the water sector for the future, and I look forward to the ideas that come out of it.”


John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat, said: “Our £200m Innovation Fund has already supported projects that detect and fix leaks, capture carbon emissions from water processing plants to convert them into fuel, and remove fertilisers from waterways to be re-used in our food system. Now, we’re broadening the opportunity to innovators in any industry that can make a difference to improving the water system for all of us.”


Ofwat is looking for bold and innovative entrants from outside the water sector. It has identified five sectors where it believes there is particularly high potential for innovative crossovers: construction, energy, cities and transport, agriculture and farming, and digital, data and internet of things.

To deliver the competition, Ofwat is working with innovation prize experts Challenge Works, alongside global engineering, sustainability and water sector experts Arup, and Isle Utilities. In addition to financial incentives, successful teams will benefit from expert mentoring and capacity-building support, including access to insights and mentoring from water companies and support for scaling solutions for the extensive water network in England and Wales.


Holly Jamieson, Director at Challenge Works, said: “Our experience of nurturing and rewarding innovators across multiple challenge prizes has shown us that it is often the least likely suspects that can provide the solution with the greatest impact. And with the support of Arup and Isle Utilities, we can work closely with innovators from outside the water sector to turn great ideas into real-world solutions.”


Previous examples of Ofwat Innovation Fund winners that showcase the value of cross-sector collaboration with the construction sector include:

  • Enabling Water Smart Communities Designing new housing and urban environments to absorb excess water like a sponge during heavy rain events and cope with sustained drought by recycling “greywater”.
  • Designer Liner – Aiming to line older pipes from the inside to prevent leaks and increase the lifespan of mains pipes.
  • Community-Centric Rainwater Management Asking communities to test new water butts called Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that will help manage the flow of rainwater and reduce risk of flooding in paved urban areas.

The Water Discovery Challenge is open to entries from today at 1200 (GMT)

and closes on 5 April 2023.

To find out more about the competition and enter,

visit waterinnovation.challenges.org


In just one day, timber frame and modular construction specialist, SO Modular, has installed the first block of apartments on phase two of Tai Tarian’s state-of-the-art project to build 55 new homes, and refurbish 72 existing flats, in Sandfields, Aberavon.

The scheme will eventually provide 127 carbon-neutral homes for social housing provider, Tai Tarian, delivered across three phases, over three years.

SO Modular is working alongside J.G. Hale Construction to deliver the project on behalf of Tai Tarian, utilising modern methods of construction (MMC), including construction of the homes off-site at SO Modular’s factory in Neath.

The development, which began in October 2021, has just commenced phase two. This phase started with the installation of the site’s only panelised block, consisting of 20 homes in a fully insulated closed panelised system, with windows and doors fitted offsite. It will also include the retrofitting of two blocks of flats and six new volumetric homes.

The use of SO Modular’s timber volumetric construction system has enabled the three-story block to be erected in just one day. In total, the scheme will eventually see 44 homes made from 90 modular pods.

The project is funded by the Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) – a Welsh Government programme to encourage and test innovative approaches to constructing social and affordable housing in Wales.

It will achieve carbon neutrality via a range of in-house green and sustainable initiatives, as well as the low-carbon manufacture of the homes and the fuel-saving speed with which the buildings are being completed.


Andrew Carey, Director of Assets, Tai Tarian, said: “The modular approach taken is innovative and the first of its kind for a social housing provider in this area. It will make use of natural, eco-friendly forms of insulation that includes Welsh sheep’s wool from a local farm, mycelium – the vegetative filament root structure of mushrooms, and a wood-fibre insulation developed in-house at SO Modular’s manufacturing facility. We’re very proud to have partnered with them on this landmark project helping us realise our sustainability ambitions.”


The pioneering construction methods, developed by SO Modular on the scheme, are providing a pilot study for the viability of their use in the wider construction industry.

As well as reducing the building project’s overall carbon footprint, the use of green materials and technologies also aims to reduce fuel poverty for the development’s tenants, by ensuring all homes are built with the top EPC rating of A.

SO Modular is recognised for being dedicated to innovative, eco-friendly design, quality materials and finishes, and sustainable building practices. The company is committed to using local sub-contractors and suppliers, with all suppliers and sub-contractors for the Sandfields project sourced from within Wales, with 95% residing within the Neath and Swansea areas.


Charlotte Hale, Operations Director, SO Modular, said: “We’re very proud to be working on this project for social housing provider Tai Tarian in Sandfields, Aberavon. As can be seen from the start of the project, the use of our modular and panelised construction techniques is highly efficient. This means that the entire frame for the dwellings can be erected very quickly – leading to far less fuel usage on-site and reducing the project’s overall carbon footprint. Along with the ground-breaking, eco-friendly insulation materials we are using, this will hopefully set the standard for similar, future developments across the UK and around the globe.”

“As a company, SO Modular has a firm commitment to using local sub-contractors and training local people. This will, undoubtedly, improve the skills, knowledge, and opportunities for those in the Swansea and Neath areas, ultimately making the region the go-to place for expertise on these new sustainable materials and methods.”

Source: Swansea Bay News