In the UK water conservation has been almost treated with derision.  Excepting the summer of 1976, water restrictions are limited to occasional hose pipe bans.  However, the wider impact of excessive water usage is now becoming recognised.

“Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change.”1
United Nations, Water Facts

Even in our ‘green and pleasant land’ the change in weather patterns due to global climate change have resulted erratic rainfall patterns, leading to (mostly) short term supply issues, which can impact on our green spaces and countryside.  In addition to these ‘direct impacts’, the process of cleaning, processing, and heating water accounts for 6% of CO2 emissions in the UK.2

To date few people have made the link between the water coming out the tap to local environment.  However, the connections between water, the environment and energy costs are being highlighted by organisations as diverse as the United Nations through to local conservation groups.

‘The energy used to heat water for devices and appliances emits an average of 875kg of CO2 per household per year. This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from driving more than 1,700 miles in an average family car.’ 3, 4
Energy Saving Trust

At the 2022 Waterwise conference, Prof Liz Sharp, University of Sheffield, explained that research had shown that the water efficiency message in itself had little impact on behaviour.  The relative cost of water is low, so monetary savings in not a good incentive.  Conversely, links with wider issues of interest to a particular community could.

To many, the more immediate issue is energy prices, approximately 17% of energy used in the home is to heat water.5 Whilst water efficient appliances, i.e. dishwashers and washing machines, can reduce domestic water and energy usage, much of this hot water used in ‘time critical’ usage e.g. taking a shower or running the tap to rinse dishes.

Future proof properties

Water Metering is the future.  Utility companies have not been slow in recognising the benefits of a ‘Smart Buildings’.  The ability to interrogate and manage energy usage at any given time of day or night has been recognised as an effective way for organisations to reduce usage and manage costs.

Gas and electricity meters located on external building walls has enabled easy upgrades and introduction of countrywide ‘Smart Meter’ programme.  However, the traditional location of a water meter in a metal-covered hole in the public highway is not conducive to this new way of thinking. A ‘Smart Water Meter’ located in such a situation is exceedingly poor in transmitting a signal even to a local pick up.


The best location for a ‘Smart Water Meter’ is on an external property wall – co-located with other utility meters. With Groundbreaker water management system, properties are future proofed to allow for easy installation of ‘Smart Water Meter’ technology as it is introduced across the UK.

Recent field trials of Groundbreaker have proven that the range of such meters can be over 3Km (2 miles).  The impact on data collection is massive.  The improved data transmission range could allow for single point data capture in towns the size of Norwich or Coventry.

This ability to link into ‘Smart’ Building Management systems also allows for organisations to monitor for exceptional usage and potential identify maintenance issues or leaks.



Design out leak paths:

Comply with Water & Construction Industry Guidelines comply with “Water Safe” initiatives
Another benefit of the unique location of the Groundbreaker water management system is that it allows for an unjointed water supply, minimising the risk of developing future leaks.  Installation of Groundbreaker meets the best recommendations of Water UK and the Home Builders Federation6 and in some water company areas, such as Portsmouth Water, are now the standard required for all new properties.

Bringing Water Supply into the 21st century

If you are looking for a way to bring water services into the 21st century, Groundbreaker’s range of water supply management products can be the way forward for time and cost-efficient installation and replacement of water supply and allow for future site redevelopment with minimal environmental cost.

Steve Leigh FIWater, Managing Director Groundbreaker Systems

Groundbreaker Systems won the HBF’s ‘Utility of the Year’ in 2018.

1.  LINK

2.  Environment Agency (2008): Greenhouse gas emissions of water supply and demand management options, Science Report – SC070010

3.  Ref: An average passenger car (any fuel) emits 0.311 kgCO2 per mile. Source: 2012 Guidelines to Defra/ DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting.

4.  LINK

5.  LINK

6.  For further information, check the Home Builders Federation Guidance. LINK


Offsite construction is a continually growing sector with manufacturing technologies such as PODs being used to help minimise the wastage inefficiencies and delays that are known to affect the more traditionally used methods of construction. It enables production to be undertaken at the same time as site preparation, therefore speeding up the construction process and reducing disruption.

The bathroom and kitchen PODs industry, which, like many others that fell in value and output during 2020 managed to bounce back in 2021 with around 11% value growth. Going forward this market continues to offer significant growth potential as an offsite building solution.

Abdul Tantouch, Head of Content at AMA Research, and Editor of the Kitchen & Bathroom Pods report surmises that: “It is now recognised that offsite building methods and the use of PODs is key to accelerating the development of new housing in the UK, specifically the construction of build-to-rent and build-to-sale apartments. Bathroom and kitchen PODs are also commonly used in student accommodation and in hotel projects. Factors that are driving POD market growth include the urgent need to increase affordable housing supply, the considerable shortage of skilled construction trades, a rise in UK POD manufacturing capacity and an increase in the number of practical POD solutions to suit many end-use sectors and price-points.”

As most student accommodation, hotels and high-rise apartments are built in urban areas where space is tight and access restricted, there is often very little room for storing building materials and for large numbers of workers onsite. The use of offsite building methods has been one of the main approaches to overcoming these barriers.

Looking into the market breakdown for this sector, residential new housing accounts for around 34% of the PODs market in 2021. Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) has a further 32% share by volume. Other notable end-use applications include hotels and care homes.

The largest share at present within the bathroom & kitchen pods market is shower room pods, taking an astonishing 48% by volume of this market. This sub-sector is influenced by the contractors and developers increased and ongoing demand for wetroom solutions for the consumers end use application.

Suppliers for this sector have undergone a large amount of consolidation in recent years. As it stands now, the top 5 suppliers account for a combined value share of over 70%. Bathroom and kitchen PODs are largely supplied direct to the building contractor or housebuilder from the bathroom and kitchen POD manufacturer. For example, leading suppliers will often have their own fleet of vehicles for the transportation of PODs, so that they remain in control of the whole process.



Following on from his article about the energy crisis in the previous edition, Technical Journalist Bruce Meechan explains how a more reliable energy infrastructure might look.

When the Hindenburg crashed in May 1937 while trying to dock at its US base in New Jersey, the disaster claimed three dozen lives and effectively ended the travelling public’s love affair with the great airships of the era. What is more, not only did the eruption of fire from the hydrogen tanks – caught on newsreel footage – destroy the skeletal steel-frame structure in moments, it also branded the lighter-than-air gas for ever after as inherently dangerous.

As the RAF was soon to discover, the setback for air passenger travel did not deter German scientists’ developments in other branches of aviation, though the country’s politicians have at times shown a tendency to be risk averse regarding technology: most notably when Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted to the 2011 Fukushima tsunami by slamming the brakes on their nuclear power industry.

The outcome we’re witnessing is Europe’s industrial powerhouse being reliant on Russian gas supplies as well as demonised dirty coal. And while all the apocalyptic prophesies of the world’s elites at COP 26 were still reverberating around the media channels, a global supply crisis saw exponential rises in wholesale energy costs.

As I described in my previous article for this publication, wind and solar proved pitifully inadequate at meeting our needs during much of last year (2021) and can only ever be a bit-part player in satisfying the UK’s long term energy requirements. Hydrogen, ironically, is now moving from being dismissed as a “Fuel of the Future” to becoming a mainstream answer to keeping the lights on and traffic flowing.

In fact, it could be a crucial answer to the problem of storing the power produced by wind turbines, solar farms and even the off peak production of nuclear reactors.

As highlighted previously in Building Specifier, large scale battery storage of electricity has proved fraught with problems – including battery fires which are very difficult to extinguish – while creating more ‘pumped hydro’ water storage involves major civil and mechanical engineering projects which will inevitably suffer years of planning delays.

Hydrogen, while volatile, is already being successfully introduced into the UK’s mains gas supplies, with studies underway to determine whether the percentage concentration can be safely increased; and without the need to modify existing gas boilers. New generation boilers and dedicated distribution mains could allow natural gas to be phased out for domestic and other customers, while fuel cells present a technology which could transform the commercial transport industry.

Two of the Footsie’s biggest companies – Shell and BP – are permanently in the dross-hairs of environmental activists like Extinction Rebellion, when they can realistically claim to be doing proportionately more about decarbonising their activities than most nations and their politicians sermonising on the subject.

In fact BP recently announced plans to build a second major hydrogen focused production plant on Teeside, with the combined facility projected to account for some 30% of the UK’s total commitment by 2030.

HyGreen will be created alongside the already proposed H2Teeside and be capable of adding 60 MW/e of green hydrogen to the ‘blue’ output. The oil major is working closely with regional as well as national government and believes it is going to see the region become a key part of the UK’s hydrogen supply chain creating highly skilled jobs.

Shell, for its part, has recently begun to produce hydrogen at one of its plants in Germany using what is termed an ‘electrolyser’ supplied by ITM Power: a company that is also involved in a genuinely ground-breaking trial here in the UK, which promises to have a very real impact on cleaning up our domestic and industrial heat generation.

The pilot to replace 20% of natural gas consumed with green hydrogen is being carried out in conjunction with Keele University, which owns and operates its own gas grid supplying 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings.

Key to the sustainable credentials of the demonstration project is the use of ITM’s Proton Exchange Membrane technology to separate hydrogen from tap water with the use of renewable electricity from wind turbines and solar farms. Crucially the technology has the ability to respond rapidly when excess or off-peak power is available from such sources. And the hydrogen is produced at pressure and at a purity where a 20% blend can be used without adversely affecting any components in the distribution network or adapting existing gas boilers.

The £6.8 million trial titled HyDeploy is being funded by Ofgem and is led by Cadent and Northern Gas Networks; becoming operational early last year. The research required special permission from the HSE to vastly increase the proportion of hydrogen mixed with mains gas from the miniscule 0.01% currently circulated in our grid. If rolled out across the country the displacement would cut CO2 emissions by six million tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power said: “I am delighted that this important pilot project is now operational. The increased use of hydrogen to decarbonise heat via the gas grid will perform a critical role in helping the UK to fulfil its ambitious climate change obligations. Indeed, the Committee for Climate Change has indicated that the UK will need between 6GW and 17GW of electrolysis in the next 30 years to store renewable power and provide renewable heat. Today’s announcement is a very significant step.”

Mark Horsley, Chief Executive, Northern Gas Networks, added: “Hydrogen is a key piece of the decarbonisation jigsaw, and this milestone allows us to take a huge leap forwards in terms of its use in meeting climate change targets.

“Customers are ready to embrace cleaner, greener solutions in their homes, and projects like HyDeploy give us the opportunity to start making a difference to emissions today. We’re very excited to be a part of it.”

While hydrogen also has great potential for fuelling motor vehicles, sales of electric cars are currently growing at a far faster rate and appear to have caught the public’s imagination as the way ahead. Where battery power falls down of course is on the critical issues of range, and the time it takes to recharge.

Far more likely then that we will see a growing number of hydrogen powered buses and lorries taking to our roads in the years ahead; not just keeping freight and public transport on the move, but ridding our urban areas of diesel fumes with their highly dangerous micro-particulates.

Another factor which is certain to boost hydrogen’s fortunes as a green means of storing electricity, is the recent realisation by the UK Government that nuclear power must play a part in our future energy strategy if we are to decarbonise the National Grid. While several new nuclear solutions have gained taxpayer backing, you simply cannot crank nuclear reactors up and down like a gas turbine; though the latest projects will be cheaper and more flexible than the late-running Hinkley Point, being built by our least reliable friends, the French.

In November UK engineering and aerospace giant, Rolls Royce, formally established its Small Modular Reactor business having raised £195 m funding in conjunction with BNF Resources UK and Exelon Generation Ltd; giving the group access to an additional £210 m UK Research & Innovation backing. Design assessment can now progress along with identification of suitable manufacturing sites.

Like BP’s hydrogen plant, the SMR programme is expected to be focused on the North of the country with some 80% of each reactor – capable of supplying power to a million homes – being prefabricated and coming from the UK supply chain. And as well as green hydrogen, the SMRs are expected to support the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and district heating.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence. Small Modular Reactors offer exciting opportunities to cut costs and build more quickly, ensuring we can bring clean electricity to people’s homes and cut our already-dwindling use of volatile fossil fuels even further.”

Already proving to be a true advocate for British businesses, rather than another apologist for foreign takeovers, the Business Secretary was also patriotically flying the flag for a home grown fusion power project, which promises to be the first commercially viable manifestation of the elusive Holy Grail of clean generation.

The prototype Tokomak reactor in Oxfordshire has been built with Government funding and private investment, to bombard a cloud of superheated hydrogen particles – plasma – with a beam of subatomic particles; turning the innards of the six foot diameter metal sphere into the hottest place in the solar system. Crucially though, this is contained using unique low energy electromagnets requiring only a fraction of the power consumed by rival experiments.

Tokomak’s backers are talking about success within a decade, which would mean virtually limitless, safe clean energy that could be used for distribution or transport. And of course fusion power could be used to produce ever more hydrogen to fuel UK manufactured fuel cells whose only waste output is water vapour.


Now that really would be a virtuous circle.  

Authored by Mark Dowdeswell, Senior Category Manager – Domestic, at Uponor.

New homes will have to produce around 30% less carbon emissions as part of a major update to the Building Regulations this year. Under Part L1A, there will be a maximum flow temperature requirement of 55°C for new and replacement heating systems, meaning that more low energy heating systems must be used in today’s modular builds.

Underfloor heating systems (UFH) have a larger area heat emitter than traditional radiators, meaning they require a lower heat input in order to heat a room effectively. This allows them to work efficiently alongside renewable heating technologies, such as air source heat pumps (ASHP), which help to reduce a home’s operational carbon footprint.


With technology constantly advancing, both ASHPs and UFH now lend themselves perfectly to modular builds with limited space and high-quality design demands. Innovative low profile UFH systems, such as Uponor’s Minitec which stands at just 15mm build height, enable design teams to optimise available space, giving maximum design freedom. To ensure consistent quality of UFH installations in modular assemblies, Uponor also works closely with its partners to provide design support, continuous training and installation reviews, whilst simultaneously providing the largest product range of radiant heating and cooling systems of any manufacturer from under one roof, meaning that design teams do not have to compromise on their aspirations.

This vast product range also enables contractors, architects and specifiers to work alongside one manufacturer, rather than multiple suppliers, allowing them to rest assured that the systems used will not only meet building regulations and hit new performance goals, but that they will be fully-warranted and long-lasting, meaning that the homes built for today, will perform well tomorrow, too.

Boho 8, the most recent phase of Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone, is the commercial quarter for the town’s digital media, digital technology and creative sectors located in Tees Valley.

Previously a car park, the £2.5million project, supported by the Local Growth Fund from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, provides additional space for companies that are rapidly expanding elsewhere on the campus, and is intended to attract new digital and creative businesses to the area.
The award-winning concept by Seymour Architecture outlined high-quality facilities and a unique cantilevered design, with buildings ranging from 1,000 to 3,000ft². The buildings are complemented by a modern external communal space, with the aim of making it feel like a high street.

From concept to completion in just eight weeks
CPC worked closely with Middlesbrough Council and its partner Faithful+Gould through the  Modular Buildings (MB1) framework, resulting in modular specialists M-AR being appointed to deliver the project.
The ambitious modular offices project began in August 2020, with construction of the buildings being manufactured at M-AR’s site on the banks of the River Humber in East Yorkshire while the groundworks were being carried out.
Just eight weeks later, four office blocks consisting of 18 individual 49m² modules had been completed and quality checked. They were erected over a five-day period.
Amanda Grimbleby, partnerships and business development director at M-AR, said:
“This just demonstrates the speed in which off-site construction can accelerate the delivery of such projects, and this has all been able to happen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The innovative design created by Seymour Architecture will provide light, bright and inspiring office spaces for ambitious and creative digital businesses in the region, and being part of making this happen is inspiring in itself.”

Collaboration is key
The working relationship between Middlesbrough Council, Faithful+Gould, M-AR and CPC contributed to the success of the project.
“It’s all about collaborative working and early engagement with the client and appointed company, to show what our Modular Buildings solution can achieve,” said Tony Maw, technical support manager at CPC.
“Our relationship provided a solid foundation in understanding how each other work, helping us to work in an effective manner to achieve the best quality results. I think Boho 8 is a great example what can be achieved by working side-by-side.”

Utilising procurement frameworks
Using frameworks for offsite projects allows relationships between clients and suppliers to develop and flourish over a longer-term period and sets out an integrated supply chain without any legal problems for procurement teams. Early engagement between suppliers and clients through the framework also ensures the risk load is shared more widely.
Mark Chicken, quantity surveyor at Faithful+Gould, said:
“CPC are very interactive, which is something you don’t get from most framework providers. This interaction gives you confidence in using their services, and you know there is always someone there to talk to for advice.”
The latest iteration of the framework, Modular Buildings (MB2), was launched in June 2021 and allows local authorities, social landlords and other public bodies to source preapproved specialist suppliers who can design, supply and install permanent, temporary, and refurbished modular buildings.
The MB2 framework can be used by local authorities across the UK through LHC’s regional hubs – LHC London and South East, SPA, WPA, SWPA and CPC – and will run until May 2025.

Offsite procurement frameworks
LHC has two additional frameworks that can support local authorities as they plan and implement offsite projects.
The Offsite Project Integrator (OPI1) framework can help to deliver an experienced and integrated supply chain. Launched last year to help authorities to find the technical support that can help with the planning and implementation of offsite housing schemes, the framework covers the preliminary stages prior to RIBA Stage 0 and then implementation to stage 7.
This framework sits alongside the Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH2) framework to offer solutions at every stage from design right through to occupation. It allows relationships between clients and suppliers to develop and flourish from the very early stages onwards and sets out an integrated supply chain without any legal problems for procurement teams. Early engagement between suppliers and clients through the framework will also ensure the risk load is shared more widely.
The Prior Information Notice for the third iteration of the Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH3) framework is live as of early February 2022. Companies can register interest in the NH3 framework and receive further updates by visiting LHC’s eTendering portal Proactis.

The new tenants of nine highly energy-efficient, sustainable modular houses in Roath have described their new council homes as ‘big and spacious’ with bathrooms like the Hilton hotel!

Residents of the two-bedroom, terraced properties, that have been developed as part of the Cardiff Living house-building partnership between Cardiff Council and Wates Residential, collected their keys last weekend and have been busy settling in and turning their new houses into their new homes.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, visited the residents to find out what they think of the net carbon-zero properties, which are part of the Council’s ambitious development programme to build more affordable housing in the city.

Cllr Thorne said: “I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day tenants could move into these beautiful, new homes. I was here when the first units were craned into position before Christmas and it has been amazing to see this small plot of derelict land transformed into a row of nine modern houses that will help us tackle housing need in the city.”

Tenant, Krzysztof Kaniewski, who has moved to Crofts St with his partner and two daughters, said: “They are big and spacious, and just round the corner from my daughter’s school, a short walk. They have a nice garden, the bathroom is like in the Hilton hotel – we are over the moon!

“There are solar panels on the roof, everything is electric which is great because gas prices are going through the roof so we don’t know what it’s going to be like in the future. With all the technology in the house, I can adjust the temperature in every room so it doesn’t have to be the same in every room.”

Edward Rees, Wates Residential Regional Director, said: “We hope the new residents moving in will be very happy in these new state of the art homes. Being modular, they have been created offsite, which has enabled Wates to build them faster and with less disruption for people living around the site.

“They also use the latest technologies to cut carbon, like on our other sites within the Cardiff Living development programme. Along the road in Rumney, at Aspen Grove, we have just started to sell new energy efficient homes, which will help future proof them against further fuel price rises too.”

The new Crofts St homes were built offsite using modern methods of construction (MMC) and were lowered onto their final position on-site at the end of last year, with all the groundworks and external hard and soft landscaping completed.

Designed by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, engineered by AECOM and delivered by @HOME and Wates Residential, this is the first time this method of offsite construction has been used by the Council to deliver permanent homes for families living in the city.

Ivan Harbour, Senior Design Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners says: “Public housing has a rich history and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to add to that. These townhouses are of exceptional spatial quality, they are both affordable and climate positive. In the current environment their energy efficiency is particularly pertinent. This terrace of houses was very quick to build, with little disturbance to neighbours. Hopefully it can make a small change to the way we think about house building in the future.”

John Lewis, Director, AECOM, said: “It’s fantastic to see tenants move into these new high-performance townhouses following their rapid installation at Crofts Street. Their speedy offsite construction has minimised waste and site activity, including vastly reduced levels of construction traffic. Our design with RSHP demonstrates how a design for manufacture modular approach can deliver high-quality, durable, and low carbon homes both quickly and efficiently.”

Andrew Partridge, Associate Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) says: “It has been a great opportunity to work with Cardiff Council, with the support of the Welsh Government through their Innovative Housing programme and facilitated by Wates, in setting a new benchmark for Council housing in the UK. This project is particularly special to me as I grew up in the area.”

The construction method not only enables the units to be built and installed in record time, but also uses the latest technology and construction materials to create net-zero carbon buildings that are 90% more energy efficient than standard homes built to current Building Regulations. The homes are extremely airtight, meaning they are well insulated, and residents will see huge savings on their bills.

The homes have achieved Grade A in Predicted Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact (CO2) ratings, have solar panels on their roofs and MEV Heat Recovery with electric heating elements, so that they will not be required to connect to the mains gas service and will emit significantly less CO2 than a standard homes.

Cllr Thorne added: “We’ve come full circle on Crofts St as back in the 1940s, there was a terrace of 9 houses on this spot before they were bombed in World War II and had to be demolished.

“All the new tenants I’ve met have told me they are very happy with their homes and are looking forward to settling in with their families here.”

Source: Wales 247

The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.


Glenn Howells Architects has unveiled plans for a 5,000-home masterplan around the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull, east Birmingham

The new ‘urban village’ will be built on more than 27ha of surface-level car parking and surplus land, and will include a new hotel, restaurants and cafés, a primary school, 35,000m² of commercial space and 14,000m² of event space.

The scheme is being developed by the NEC Group, which is owned by Blackstone, a New York-based asset manager that looks after $650 billion (£482 billion) of funds. It is being built on the NEC Campus, on land owned by Birmingham City Council.

NEC Group said the plans will ‘establish an inclusive, diverse and prosperous community for over 11,000 people,’ adding that the new settlement will work ‘in harmony with the existing mature woodland and hedgerow landscape’ and ‘promote nature-focused and active lifestyles’.

The plans also include a new ‘grand plaza’ for the NEC Campus, to improve the visitor offer. This will be surrounded by restaurants as well as the new hotel and will provide a ‘dynamic outdoor event space’.

NEC Group said the plans would create a total of 3,500 new jobs.

There will also be a new ‘urban boulevard’ which will connect the site with the HS2 Interchange station and the Arden Cross development around it. The boulevard will be lined with commercial buildings with ground-floor retail space.

The masterplan will be subject to a six-week consultation running from 10 November to 24 December. After this it will be updated before a developer for the first phase of the scheme is procured.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: ‘This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

‘Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

‘I believe that we are at the beginning of a golden decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs, and building thousands of homes.’

Architect’s view

Our approach to the NEC Masterplan in the UK Central Solihull Hub Area is an ambitious vision for what will be a new urban village within an established blue and green infrastructure on the edge of the Forest of Arden.

The existing infrastructure that serves the NEC Campus and the excellent transport links, including Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International train station and the new HS2 interchange, provides the ideal opportunity for the regeneration of this brownfield site to help meet the housing needs of the region.

We believe the matured landscaping, lakeside setting, and nearby woodlands will help to create a healthy and active environment for residents and visitors alike.

The masterplan will provide amenities, a range of communal uses and a primary school to meet community needs and build on the principles of the 15-minute neighbourhood.

What’s also exciting is the range of typologies on offer that will deliver homes to a wider demographic of society from young families to professionals and those in later life. The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.’

Dav Bansal, partner, Glenn Howells Architects


Source: Architects Journal

The 1.4 GW Phu Cuong Soc Trang offshore wind project, being developed as a joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and the Phu Cuong Group, is located off the southern coast of Vietnam and will be the largest offshore wind farm in South-East Asia

In a vital step for the Phu Cuong Soc Trang Offshore Wind Farm, Mainstream Renewable Power (“Mainstream”) today announces its receipt of a Decision on Investment and an Investment Registration Certification (IRC) from the provincial government of Soc Trang for the first 200 MW of the offshore wind farm. The project, once fully complete, will have a capacity of up to 1.4 GW and will generate enough electricity to power over 1.6 million homes (around 6% of Vietnam’s 268 million homes), as well as mitigating 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

The project is anticipated to reach financial close in 2022, enabling first power to commence as early as 2023.

The wind farm is a joint venture between Mainstream and its Vietnamese partner the Phu Cuong Group, with Mainstream owning 70% of the asset and the Phu Cuong Group owning the remaining 30%.

The project follows a multi-stage development approach, with 200 MW of capacity set to be delivered in phase 1 and the remaining 1,200MW to be developed thereafter. Today’s announcement represents a significant milestone for Mainstream’s presence in Vietnam. The project has already completed its wind measurement campaign and other site studies, and the procurement process to secure a wind turbine supplier and balance of plant contractor is well advanced.

Moving forward, Mainstream will work closely with EVN, Vietnam’s national electricity company, to finalise the grid connection agreement, as well as the project’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Mainstream has been present in Vietnam since 2016 where it is developing 2.3 GW of solar and offshore wind assets.

Cameron Smith, Mainstream’s General Manager for APAC, said:

“We are excited to be a part of Vietnam’s energy transition with the Phu Cuong Soc Trang project, which is being developed to the highest international standards, drawing on Mainstream’s extensive experience. Being leaders in renewable development in many countries, we understand the importance of community engagement, and we are pleased to have had such positive support from the Soc Trang community.

“We commend the government for the progress made in encouraging the development of renewable energy in Vietnam to date. The Phu Cuong Soc Trang project promises to be a catalyst for the development of a true offshore wind industry of a scale that will promote the achievement of net zero by 2050.”

Mr Nguyen Viet Cuong, Chairman of the Phu Cuong Group, said:

“The Phu Cuong Soc Trang offshore wind farm is an essential investment in Vietnam’s clean energy infrastructure and will make a major contribution towards the country’s carbon neutrality roadmap. This wind farm, which will be the largest in the region, will play a key role in accelerating the development of Vietnam’s economy by promoting the growth of industrialization. The government’s supportive policies to promote renewable energy are important for promoting foreign direct investment in co-operation with Vietnamese partners.”

About Mainstream Renewable Power 

Mainstream is one of the most successful pure-play developers of offshore wind at scale globally.  It has successfully consented Hornsea One (1.2 GW), the largest operational offshore wind plant in the world today; and developed the Hornsea 2 project (1.4 GW) before selling these projects and the entire Zone in 2015. Overall, it has developed and consented 20% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity either in operation or under construction.  Mainstream fully consented the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind project in Scotland, 450 MW, currently under construction. The company’s Soc Trang 1.4 GW offshore wind development in Vietnam is one of South-East Asia’s largest renewable energy developments.  

Mainstream has raised more than EUR3.0bn in project finance to date and employs more than 420 staff across five continents. 




Secure, high quality construction depends on easy to use fastening solutions that are guaranteed to perform well in the long term. Nowhere is this more crucial than when attaching building elements to concrete where fasteners must be able to accommodate many different types of load and remain resistant to corrosion throughout their design-life.

Here is where construction fastener specialist EJOT UK is innovating to support the growth in MMC. Its newly extended range of concrete screws and through-bolts enables the safe, secure and rapid on-site assembly of offsite-produced elements with the assurance of European Technical Assessments (ETAs) and the backing of a globally experienced R&D team.

High corrosion resistance for lasting concrete attachments
Developed specifically to meet the needs of the UK market, EJOT has launched an ETA-approved fastener with enhanced corrosion resistance – the JC6-KB. This is a bi-metallic concrete screw manufactured in A4 316 stainless steel with hardened carbon steel lead threads.

As a result, the JC6-KB is suitable for outdoor Option 1 concrete applications approved for environmental classifications ranging from C1 up to C4, in accordance with BS EN 12944.

Its development reflects how the UK R&D team, supported by the EJOT Group team in Germany, is ideally positioned to ensure local customers have the right products they need to apply in the way they prefer. The overall EJOT product portfolio may be designed to suit a global market, but that does not mean UK customers have to adapt the way they work when choosing the EJOT brand.

In fact, the team in Sherburn-in-Elmet is proactively developing UK-focused fasteners that are gaining traction in overseas markets too, making a positive contribution to the global construction market. This benefits from the EJOT strength that brings together the best of British and German engineering – an internationally respected combination.
An expanded concrete screws range with new application potential

The JC6-KB’s development was in tandem with another major concrete screws advance by EJOT globally. Its new JC2 range of carbon steel concrete screws offers greatly extended scope for achieving a secure, reliable attachment for metal fixtures in Option 1 cracked, non-cracked and hollowcore concrete, as well as other hard base materials.
This enables JC2 self-tapping concrete screws to be used as an alternative to anchors or screw/nylon plug combinations in an increased range of construction applications. This could include attaching façade scaffolding, shelving and handrails to battens, cable racks and formwork.

Importantly, as these concrete screws need no expansion, they can be used closer to the edge of the concrete and at smaller spacings than when using anchors. They are also easy to use and install, with no specialist skills required, which can be a big time-saver on site.

Only a small pilot hole is required, which generates a relatively small amount of dust. Once this is removed from the hole, the screws are simply driven into place  – they offer a good degree of adjustability like a standard wood or metal screw which makes them a versatile choice.

The JC2 range offers six fastener types designed by EJOT’s R&D teams in both Germany and the UK to offer superior performance in-situ along with hassle-free installation. All provide the independent assurance of ETA approval and are tested to offer fire resistance to 120 minutes.

Upgrades to EJOT UK’s ETA approved through-bolt range
Whilst the new range of EJOT concrete screws offers greater versatility on-site, a through-bolt is still often the preferred attachment approach for a whole host of reasons.

Here is where EJOT UK has innovated further. Its range of ETA-approved through-bolts – also known as anchor bolts – is the BA Plus, providing a range of Option 1 anchors suitable for both cracked and non-cracked concrete applications.

It builds on the strengths of EJOT’s established BA range of torque-controlled expansion anchors, suitable for concrete and other hard base materials including natural stone. And the benefits are extensive, including being quicker to install, more secure in thinner concrete and a design that reduces the risk of installer error.
BA Plus provides through-bolts for all the most typical cracked and non-cracked concrete applications ≥ C20/25 up to the seismic Option 1 performance. Backed with the independent assurance of ETA approval, the range offers a dependable solution for numerous applications including steel structures, column base plates, heavy duty racking, cable racks, handrails and facades.

But BA Plus is not the only new through-bolt development by EJOT. Its UK team has also developed a new range of through-bolts for Option 7 non-cracked concrete applications, BA-C NC. This provides a class-leading anchor for many other applications including warehouse racking and stadium seating – again backed by the third party assurance of an ETA.

Find out more and access technical support

EJOT UK is a full manufacturing member of the CFA (Critical Fixings Association). Full details about the EJOT range of fastening systems for concrete are available on the below website, where new brochures for the various ranges can also be requested.

The superior airtightness performance qualities of the Wraptite® air barrier system from the A. Proctor Group will enhance a new state-of-the-art development at St Dunstan’s College – a co-educational independent school in Catford, London.

Contractor Willmott Dixon will deliver the new Junior School, STEM building and Sixth Form Hub at St Dunstan’s.
Designed by Bond Bryan Architects, the new development will be sited adjacent to the existing historic Headmaster’s House and connected by a glass atrium. Phase one includes a new junior school with specialist facilities for art, music and performance, and phase two includes the construction of the STEM Centre and Sixth Form Hub.
A vital element of the design and construction is to maximise the energy efficiency of the new buildings: Wraptite airtightness membrane, the only self-adhering vapour permeable air barrier certified by the BBA, will form a crucial part of the solution.
The inclusion of Wraptite within the facade will ensure “as-designed” performance, narrowing the gap between as-designed and actual energy performance and reducing the likelihood of potential failures to meet required airtightness levels.
Wraptite is a self-adhesive breather membrane applied externally, quickly and efficiently as part of the rainscreen system. The self-adhesive Wraptite membrane fully bonds directly to the substrate, requiring no mechanical attachment and little seals or tapes to suppress air leakage around junctions or penetrations.
Wraptite combines the critical properties of vapour permeability and airtightness in one self-adhering membrane, providing high levels of protection to the building fabric beneath the cladding. As a result, the Wraptite system allows the substrate beneath to dry quickly and moisture vapour to escape and reduces the likelihood of mould, mildew, condensation, timber distortion and metal corrosion.
Wraptite is compliant with Part B regulation changes and also has BBA approval for unrestricted use in buildings over 18m in England and 11m in Scotland.