Internet review

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 30 August 2011



(2011), "Internet review", Structural Survey, Vol. 29 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Internet review

Internet review

Article Type: Internet review From: Structural Survey, Volume 29, Issue 4.

Stephen Todd 15/05/2011

The web site information included below includes two key and other informative sites. If there are any other interesting sites or sources of information that you have found useful, please e-mail me at

Building research establishment

The current “Homepage” includes links to:

  • About us

  • Breadth and diversity of services

  • Business sectors

  • Insite 11 This two day event combines an exhibition of over fifty refurbishment innovations that aim to transform the retrofit arena with a conference programme that looks at how we revitalise our buildings and communities, create spaces that are great to live in and conducive to long term occupant wellbeing.

  • Ninety Years of BRE

The “Spotlight” section includes information on BRE's presentations from Ecobuild 2011

The “News headlines” section includes:

  • BRE Global & TÜV Rheinland provide worldwide access to UK microgeneration approval An agreement between BRE Global and TÜV Rheinland will increase access to UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approval for manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Memorandum of Understanding provides streamlined arrangements for manufacturers of PV panels, using TÜV Rheinland for testing and certification, to apply for MCS approval from BRE Global. The UK MCS certifies microgeneration technologies against robust criteria. MCS certification of PV panels is undertaken in two main stages:

    • Factory production control in accordance with MCS 010. TUV Rheinland will conduct a factory inspection visit, including an assessment to determine compliance.

    • Product compliance to MCS 005 (which includes EN 61215 for crystalline PV and EN 61646 for thin film PV. Testing conducted by TUV Rheinland at one of their 6 accredited international laboratories can be considered for compliance with MCS 005.MCS certification of PV panels includes systems with a maximum output of 50 kW and includes roof mounted and roof integrated modules. Work already conducted by TUV Rheinland can be considered for the certification process. When all the necessary criteria are met a certificate is granted and maintained subject to satisfactory annual surveillances. Whilst TÜV Rheinland will undertake the testing and factory inspection, BRE Global will provide the final quality review for the UK market. Over 60 different manufacturers are now certificated by BRE Global under MCS. These include manufacturers and suppliers of PV systems together with other technologies including heat pumps, small scale wind turbines and wood pellet boilers. The UK demand for microgeneration systems is growing, stimulated by Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which provide strong incentives for market growth.

  • Innovation a key component of BRE's INSITE11 event BRE has announced new dates for its INSITE11 event which takes place from 4-5 October at its head office site in Watford. The event, which focuses on bringing innovations from the future to buildings of the past, will include a showcase of fifty new and near to market refurbishment technologies and materials that aspire to transform the retrofit arena. The event also includes a two day conference that looks at how we revitalise our buildings and communities, and create spaces that are great to live in and conducive to long term occupant wellbeing. Another strong theme will focus on aspects of performance in operation, highlighting the need to measure both physical and social aspects of developments to inform future projects and the supply chain. Recent success stories from both new and existing developments will be featured in the conference that demonstrate creative and business led approaches to refurbishment. INSITE11 is being delivered by BRE in association with the National Refurbishment Centre, and the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network aims to bring the right people together from the entire supply chain – the products, materials and services to clients, specifiers and investors – who, together, can translate the bigger retrofit challenges into business opportunities and ultimately drive market transformation. Other features include:

    • Tours of BRE's own refurbishment project the Victorian Terrace and the BRE Innovation Park including the newly completed Princes Foundation Natural House

    • Briefings and interactive workshops in specific and related topics

    • Active pitches and 1 to 1 surgeries with public and private funders

    • Case study exemplars of leading edge retrofit projects from across the UK and abroad

    • CIOB Research & Innovation Awards

    • 90th anniversary tours of the BRE site

    • BRE Training taster sessions

  • Difficult demolition wastes study The “CREO house” at BRE was finally deconstructed this month and BRE's Resource Efficiency team took the opportunity to learn more about the end-of-life implications of dealing with such a structure. As part of the full scale build for BRE's Insite exhibition in the Summer of 2009, construction began of the demonstration building using insulated concrete formwork (ICF) on the Innovation Park at BRE's main site in Watford. Unlike conventional concrete buildings, where temporary formwork is set up and removed once the concrete is cured, in an ICF building, the formwork is built using large, hollow polystyrene blocks. These are infilled with concrete and reinforcing bar as the construction progresses, with the polystyrene remaining in place as an insulating layer to the completed structure. The building was left in an incomplete state to allow exhibition visitors to see and understand how an ICF building worked, with a plan to finish the project at a later time. But owing to a number of factors beyond BRE's control this did not happen, and the unfinished structure has now been removed to make way for further demonstration buildings on the Innovation Park. The BRE Trust are funding a research project that is seeking to maximise the recovery of building products from innovative systems that are seen as difficult to reuse, recycle or recover at the demolition stage, and BRE's Resource Efficiency team have been gathering data to support this project. The deconstruction of the ICF building at BRE has provided further useful data for this study. Ahead of the deconstruction, a pre-demolition audit was performed using BRE's Smartwaste tool, which predicted that the process to remove and recycle the ICF building would generate about 250m3 of material. The key product by weight would be around 278 tonnes of concrete, and an estimated 131m3 of expanded polystyrene. Other wastes would include the reinforcing bar, small amounts of plasterboard from the rooms that were internally fitted-out, and glass and timber from the window units. Whilst the concrete and steel are relatively easy to divert from landfill, saving perhaps £15,000 of disposal costs for this project, the polystyrene presents a greater challenge. Transporting the large volumes but small weights of this waste stream would not be cost effective except over short distances to local facilities. However, because the polystyrene waste also contains small amounts of concrete, and because it is no longer in tact as complete blocks showing the recycling codes, it is proving to be difficult to reprocess. Since a key objective of this project was to have zero waste to landfill, for now the polystyrene has been stockpiled on site while BRE explore alternative viable solutions. These include heating and compressing the expanded polystyrene back into rigid polystyrene, which can then be used in products such as carpet underlay; or incineration with the heat being recovered to district heating schemes or for electricity generation. The outcome from the project will be presented as a BRE Trust report later in the year.

  • The “40 Per Cent Symposium”, managing sustainability in commercial property The UK's innovative conference on managing sustainability in commercial property is being launched by one of Britain's leading corporate real estate executives – John Pike, in conjunction with the BRE Group and in association with the International Sustainability Alliance (ISA). The “40 per cent Symposium” will tackle head on the key issues surrounding the measurement and legislation of sustainability in the built environment and how environmental strategies can be used for cost control and saving money. The Symposium, which will be staged on October 18 at the Sofitel, St James, London and will be a unique event and will appeal to a wide audience in the commercial property sector from property managers, investors, owners and occupiers, consultants, architects, engineers and anyone with an interest in sustainability and how that impacts upon their property interests. Among the in-depth topics being covered by key figures from throughout Europe will be:

    • How UK companies will cut costs by following environmental strategies

    • Taking the confusion out of the measurement of environmental performance and KPI's

    • Adding value to your property assets through certification schemes

    • Taking a proactive approach to CSR

    • Creating value in sustainability

    • Are green leases a win-win for landlords and tenants?

    • Cities of the Future – focus on a carbon neutral environment

    • How Governments are tackling the huge issues around water and waste

    • What's coming over the hill from Europe

    • The future for the CRC Scheme

    • Making sense of the myriad of legislation and regulation

The royal institution of chartered surveyors

The UK section of the main menu is re-structured as:

  • UK regions

    • England

    • Northern Ireland

    • Scotland

    • Wales

Regional information in each of the above areas is linked. For example under “England”

  • East Midlands

  • East of England

  • London

  • North East

  • North West

  • South East

  • South West

  • West Midlands

  • Yorkshire and the Humber

The information under “North West” includes:

  • 2011 RICS Awards North West

The winners of the eight individual RICS category awards are as follows:

  • Building Conservation – The Plaza, Stockport

  • Regeneration – The Inspire Centre, Levenshulme, Greater Manchester

  • Sustainability – Accrington Station, Accrington, Lancashire

  • Community Benefit – Speke Neighbourhood Health Centre, Liverpool

  • Commercial – St Paul's Square, Liverpool

  • Design and Innovation – Fielden Campus, The Manchester College

  • Residential Development – High View, Congleton, Cheshire

  • Tourism and Leisure – Pier Head Ferry Terminal, Liverpool

Each winner was then assessed across all categories to decide which one deserves to be crowned the overall “Project of the Year”. This was awarded to The Plaza in Stockport.

  • Northern CPD events

    • RICS Northern CPD Programme

  • Press releases

    • North West housing market remains subdued

    • Rents increase rapidly in North West

    • Farmland prices in the North West reach record high

  • Assoc RICS

  • RICS matrics

  • Newsletter

  • Practice areas

    • About professional groups

    • Journals

    • Construction market survey

    • Housing market survey

    • Energy fact sheets

    • Surveying safely guide

  • VRS

    • Information on the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme

  • RICS Sustainability At global, national and local level RICS and its members are committed to creating and maintaining a healthy environment not only for today but also for future generations by adhering to the following principles:

    • Protection of the environment through the preservation of natural capital

    • Promotion of social equity by ensuring access to services for the benefit of all

    • Support of a healthy local economy, including high levels of employment

  • Join RICS

    • Routes to membership

    • Become a surveyor

    • Benefits of membership

    • How to join

    • Associate

  • Members

    • My details

    • Valuer Registration Scheme

    • Practice standards

    • Professional Groups

    • Red Book

    • Benefits Plus

  • Students

    • What is surveying

    • Benefits of surveying

    • Student membership

    • Student member zone

    • Resources

  • Public

    • Governance

    • Corporate social responsibility

    • RICS for employers

    • Useful guides

  • The RICS produces a range of useful guides – please see list of guides below:

    • Arts and antiques (Buying and selling at auction)

    • Boundary disputes

    • Buying a home

    • Compulsory purchase

    • Extending your home

    • Flooding

    • Letting a property

    • Party Walls

    • Property auctions

    • Property surveys

    • Renting a property

    • Right to light advice

    • Selling your home

    • Subsidence advice

There is also useful advice on:

  • Commercial planning permission To make changes or extend your business property or if you are going to change the way the building is used, this guide provides an outline of the rules in England.

  • Helplines RICS telephone helplines give 30 minutes free advice on issues in boundary disputes, party walls, compulsory purchase and business rates. Lines are open every weekday between 0830 and 1730.

  • Home report – Scotland

  • HomeBuyer Service

  • Using a surveyor

  • Market surveys

Clearview stoves

Clearview Stoves is a dedicated manufacturer of clean burning wood and coal multi-fuel stoves and have created a range of multi-fuel stoves that combines “state of the art engineering and clean burning efficiency with beautiful designs.”

Timber frame fires

This website highlights the need for urgent action to address the health and safety risks associated with building high rise buildings and Care Homes in timber frame. Since the Great Fire of London in 1666 the dangers of using timber frame construction methods in built up areas are obvious. Yet timber frame construction continues to be the method of choice in North America and Scandinavia where raw materials are cheap and easy to source. The recent UK revival of this technique, after setbacks caused by widespread public concern about building quality during the 1970s and early 1980s, continues to stir up heated debate. During the last few years serious blazes in multi-storey apartments, care homes and sites under construction have put lives at risk and raised real doubts about the indiscriminate use of this building method. Fire services warn timber frame construction sites pose unique dangers. Blazes spread rapidly and burn with such ferocity that the intense heat damages surrounding buildings. Likewise, fresh evidence suggests social housing rising above two storeys leaves tenants vulnerable to rapid fire spread, because essential fire protection is not always fitted in accordance with building standards. Claims and counter claims about timber frame abound leaving home owners and housing tenants confused and worried about the risks they face.

This website offers a bank of information to keep architects, builders and owners on top of the latest issues and developments. Timber Frame Fires aims to generate well-informed debate. It will track major fires, the causes and shed light on the risks so everybody can be certain about where timber structures can be safely used.

Azymuth acoustics- acoustics calculator

The basic sound insulation requirements for educational or healthcare buildings can now be assessed with an online calculator by Azymuth Acoustics. The calculator uses data and methods contained in Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) and the Health Technical Memorandum 08-01 (HTM) which contains the standards for educational and healthcare buildings.


Green-Works is an award winning social enterprise and registered charity dedicated to helping the environment by diverting redundant office and school furniture from landfill by providing reused and remanufactured furniture to small businesses, charities, schools and community groups whilst providing training and real work experience to the unemployed. Green-Works have launched a sustainable office desk designed by Royal college of Art student Gaurav Raut which has been manufactured from old veneer-topped desks.

RoofGreen UK

ROOFGREEN UK is a specialist supplier of all aspects of Green roofing, including Roofscaping, Green walls, Green Parking and instant groundcover solutions. The site describes the technical and practical advantages as:

  • ACOUSTICS A Green roof provides an excellent sound barrier, both from external and internal sources as the mass of the vegetation absorbs and deflects sound. This provides improved comfort for building occupants during heavy rains and hailstorms and reduces internal noises from buildings used for recreational purposes.

  • BALLAST Wind uplift resistance and the requirement for ballast in many locations of the United Kingdom is paramount during the design process. A Green roof has a saturation point of approximately 85 kg/m2 in most cases, thus creating an excellent source of ballast for the roof structure and waterproofing system.

  • AESTHETICS A green roof, in particular a sedum mat vegetation blanket provides an instant aesthetically pleasing greening effect, thus reducing the environmental impact of a new building immediately after installation.

The “typical systems” described include:

  • Sedum Vegetation Blankets

  • Plug and plant

  • Bio-diverse

  • Greenwalls

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