The invisible brilliance of Art Brick from Alumasc

As EWI products constantly evolve, manufacturers are under constant pressure to present the industry with new and innovative ideas.

Blog1_ArtbrickAlumasc already have an impressive portfolio of products, designed to improve the thermal efficiency and aesthetic appearance of virtually all types of construction, whether new build, refurbishment, or non-traditional. But when properties are built or refurbished amongst existing properties, the need for them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings, can sometimes be restricted, if available renders don’t quite match the existing finish.

To address this need, Alumasc’s Registered Contractor Westdale Services Ltd have taken Alumasc’s Rendabrick to the next level.

Introducing Art Brick

Westdale Services have developed Art Brick – an advanced brick effect render that can be tinted, textured and coloured to match into any surrounding brick, allowing a limitless aesthetic choice.

Blog3_Before_AfterHaving worked with Alumasc products successfully on numerous projects, Westdale Services started development of the new Art Brick render system in order to increase the options available to both newbuild and refurbishment projects that might otherwise have encountered planning issues.

With more properties being built on small plots of land in between existing properties, the need to blend with the surroundings has become more widespread, and Westdale felt there was a requirement for a finish that offered increased depth of colour and additional textures.

Suitable for both newbuild and refurbishment, Art Brick can provide any colour and texture, with long-term durability and protection from efflorescence. The result is a cost effective brick façade solution that can be installed without the requirement for pre-made brick slips or corner brick slips.

blog2_passagewayIt is suitable for installation onto any EWI system, including the exclusive Alumasc Ventilated System (AVS). When used with AVS, Art Brick provides a decorative rainscreen solution for timber frame and steel frame construction, offering specifiers, homeowners and housebuilders the widest and most cost effective choice of external wall solutions on the market.
For more information on AVS, click here

For more details on Art Brick, contact Area Sales Manager Tyrone Lawton on 07720 883 650.

MMC is on the up, say NHBC

Most housebuilders have used or have considered using modern methods of construction (MMC) in the past three years, research from the NHBC Foundation has recently revealed.

For the new report – Modern methods of construction: views from the industry –  NHBC surveyed 135 large and medium sized housebuilders and housing associations to gauge attitudes towards MMC, and the extent to which different methods and systems had been adopted.

The research showed that one of the main attractions of MMC “is the perceived ability to build more quickly and there is some evidence that MMC can lead to a reduction in costs,” NHBC said.

The most commonly used methods were components and sub-assemblies which around three quarters of the surveyed housebuilders and just under half of the housing associations installed in 2015. Panelised systems – such as timber and steel frame – were the second most popular.

Few of the companies quizzed had used full volumetric construction or pods, NHBC said. But many were contemplating using them in the future.

And the majority considered themselves to be “late adopters” or “followers” of volumetric construction, pod and panelised forms of MMC rather than “market leaders”. There was “lower enthusiasm” within much of the industry for more radical versions of MMC, but NHBC said that housebuilders had still been taking advantage of a range of innovative approaches.

Neil Smith, NHBC’s head of research and innovation, said:

“This report shows the high hopes invested in MMC, as a means of delivering transformational change to the housebuilding industry, have not yet been realised on the scale anticipated by its champions. It also illustrates that although cautious about over-commitment, the industry is nevertheless embracing MMC in many guises, and stands ready to explore new options and innovations.”

Alumasc join in the fun at Renishaw Fun Day

The recent installation of Alumasc EWI systems for Rykneld Homes in Derbyshire has led to more Alumasc systems being used at phase 2 of the project, in the Renishaw area of Chesterfield.

RykneldIn order to engage the local community with the forthcoming refurbishment, Rykneld organised the Renishaw Community Fun Day, inviting Alumasc approved installer Westdale Services who installed the new EWI during the phase 1 works.

Having worked closely with Alumasc on phase 1, Westdale extended the invitation to Alumasc Area Salesman Nigel Walters, who also went along to chat with local residents about the planned improvements. Local groups and organisations were also there raising money for the local school.

Nigel explains: “When residents are faced with major refurbishment works to their homes, it naturally raises a number of concerns. Westdale and Alumasc worked successfully on the previous phase, so by being available at the Fun Day to answer their questions, we were able to present them with all the facts and offer peace of mind.

“When residents see their landlord working so closely with the manufacturer and installer of the EWI system, it reinforces how serious we all are about giving them warmer, more attractive homes, with the least amount of disruption possible. We are all working together to get the job done as efficiently as we can.”

Left - Iain Wheeler, Business Development Manager, Westdale Services (Midlands) Ltd. Right - James Lindsay, Regeneration Programme Leader, Rykneld Homes.
Left – Iain Wheeler, Business Development Manager, Westdale Services (Midlands) Ltd.
Right – James Lindsay, Regeneration Programme Leader, Rykneld Homes.

Rykneld have a housing stock totalling more than 8000 properties, 3000 of which are of non-traditional construction types such as Reema, No Fines, Unity, etc. The insulation upgrades will hopefully continue year upon year until all of the traditional and non-traditional properties are refurbished.

Phase 1 has recently been entered into the INCA 2016 Awards – read the full story here.

Read more about Alumasc EWI Systems here.

Alumasc EWI slashes U-Values for Rykneld Homes

The latest in thermal imaging technology shows the striking transformation that the quality installation of Alumasc EWI systems has brought to social housing residents in North-East Derbyshire.

Rykneld1Housing Association, Rykneld Homes, embarked on the refurbishment of 328 homes in the villages of North Ringfield, Pilsley, Tupton and Dronfield in June 2015. The properties, built of REEMA hollow panel construction, were cold and draughty, with residents paying high fuel bills whilst struggling to maintain heat levels within their homes.

Using ECO funding, the £2.3m project saw the specification of Alumasc’s Swisslab EWI, which is perfect for overcladding existing properties. Alumasc’s Registered Installer Westdale Services, installed the system with grey 80mm EPS insulation and finished it with a “Snowdrop” coloured dash effect on a grey render basecoat. To add aesthetic interest to the properties, brick-effect render detailing was added around the windows and door frames, tinted and shaded to remain in keeping with surrounding traditional brick houses.

Thermal Transformation

Westdale services, who have an established track record of successful EWI installations, partnered closely with Rykneld Homes to utilise the latest in bespoke thermal imaging technology. As such, IRT Surveys Ltd were instructed to undertake infrared thermal imagery on a sample number of properties.

IRT also provided a ‘Carbon Dashboard’, allowing Rykneld’s Asset Managers to undertake sensitivity analyses of their housing stock, identifying energy usage per household and showing them where their resources are best-placed, in order to achieve the maximum improvements to energy efficiency.


The result is, a remarkable transformation in thermal performance. The previous U-value of 1.69W/m2K has been slashed to a new value of 0.30W/m2K and EPC ratings have been improved from band F to band C.

The improved aesthetic appearance of the homes has also enhanced community spirit within the four villages, giving residents a renewed feeling of pride in their surroundings.

Graham Wingfield, Rykneld Homes’ Head of Regeneration & Development, commented:

“This project shows how community-wide regeneration should be done. Well done, with a simple and effective balance of colours and brick render detail, these dilapidated non-traditional properties have overcome their technical difficulties to offer a more attractive and comfortable place to live, with energy performance levels equivalent to that of New-Build schemes.”

Feedback from Ryneld Homes’ residents has also been very positive, with some of them commenting:

“We are highly satisfied with the work. We are much warmer and our bills are already reduced. The workmen have been very pleasant and worked really hard.” (88 Alma Rd).

“My home feels warmer. I am elderly and I feel better in myself now it is warmer. I have no complaints at all and am really pleased with the overall appearance of the house.” (64 Alma Rd).

“Our house is nice and warm and we really like it now!” (60 Alma Rd)

For more information on Swisslab External Wall Insulation, click here

Alumasc Contractor boasts 8 nominations at Scottish Home Awards

WebImageAlumasc’s Registered Contractor CCG have been nominated across an unprecedented six categories for this year’s Scottish Home Awards with eight project nominations. Achieving finalist status in the Affordable Housing Development (Private House Builder) category is Panmure Street, an innovative project in Glasgow, which demonstrates the benefits and versatility of using the new Alumasc Ventilated System.

Taking its name from the historic use of the adjacent canal, the Timber Basin in Panmure Street provides 108 homes for Queens Cross Housing Association, available to a mix of social housing tenants and shared equity homes for first-time buyers.

CCG was the off-site manufacturer (OSM) and main contractor on the scheme, for which the key driver for the specification of AVS was its ability to replicate traditional construction design whilst being adaptable for the closed panel production line.

A closed panel, fully off-site manufactured solution was delivered, with only a small element of external on-site fabric work required. Alumasc’s lightweight acrylic brick slips were used as the final finish, and are able to replicate any brick in the marketplace.

Paul Muldoon, Contracts Manager at CCG, commented:

“The Panmure project is one of the largest projects using closed panel technology to be manufactured off-site in our new factory. Due to the design of the Alumasc Ventilated System we were able to apply 75% of the brick slips off-site therefore the usual challenges such as transport logistics, site access problems and weather, did not impact on the project.”

Speaking about the project, Mark Gibbs, Technical Director for Alumasc Facades, added: 

“By working closely with CCG from the initial design stage right through to installation, we were able to ensure that the Alumasc Ventilated System met all the requirements of the closed panel CCG OSM build and we are thrilled that the project has been shortlisted. We wish CCG all the very best at the final results stage.”

Click here for more information on Alumasc’s Ventilated System, or call Alumasc on 01744 648400.

Click here for more information on CCG’s nominations at the Scottish Home Awards