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Smart Money – How Lovell Homes reduced build time and costs with Smartroof

Posted by on Mar 27, 2019 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smart Money – How Lovell Homes reduced build time and costs with Smartroof

Smartroof Lovell Homes Roof Construction BuildingLovell Homes followed their instincts and explored new methods to find a more efficient roofing solution to meet the growing demand for their ‘room in roof’ house types.

Challenge

Lovell Homes previously used traditional methods in the construction of its three storey homes, in a process involving masonry gables, attic trusses and hand-cut pediments. This process required a time allocation of up to four weeks in the build schedule, due to involvement of multiple sub-contracted trades and service suppliers.

Maintaining maximum site safety was a concern, due to the extensive working at height plus the risk of collapse of masonry gable walls during installation. Mitigation methods for these safety issues required the use of both internal and external scaffolding with associated costs. Lovell was interested in alternative build methods which could simplify the roof construction and enhance onsite safety, whilst saving time in the build plan.

Solution

Smartroof is a radically different solution which is produced offsite and was installed on these two sets of semi’s at Lovells’ Heath Farm site in just two days, saving weeks from the previous build schedule. This patented NHBC approved system replaced the internal block gable with a pre-insulated timber frame spandrel panel, which effectively removed the risk of collapsing masonry. The self-spanning panels replaced the purlins and ridge beam to create an internal space completely free from structural intrusions. The Smartroof ‘room in roof’ solution delivered benefits; in terms of site safety, thermal performance, consistent quality and speed of construction.

smartroof construction site men on roof building As an alternative to the attic trusses, Smartroof delivered factory assembled roof panels directly to site where they were craned safely into position and are supported by the spandrels. This process removed the need for internal birds’ nest scaffolding, traditionally required for safe working on attic trusses and the pediment roof can be safely constructed over the Smartroof panels.

Excellent build quality and thermal performance for the roof was assured as the insulation materials and vapour control layer were applied in controlled factory conditions and were therefore unaffected by any adverse conditions onsite.

Since all Smartroof components were delivered to site for cranage on the same day, considerable cost savings were made compared to the traditional build scenario which required multiple cranes and the additional site management issues. This solution also delivered additional benefits to Lovells; as Smartroof also provided the crane lift plan and crane lift plan drawing, together with a CPCS qualified team, consisting of an operator, supervisor and slinger banksman.

Product Used

The Eaves to Ridge Smartroof system is a panelised cassette system which spans from the eaves to the ridge. This type of roof is typically used where the span from gable to gable is greater than 5.4m.

The Eaves to Ridge roof includes a box beam, or steel beam, running from gable to gable, which the panels are connected to via a unique engineered patented bracket system, to aid speed of installation. This roof, similar to the gable to gable panels, can also be designed to achieve U-values required by the house builder. The spandrel pockets on which the box or steel beam sit are completely sealed after installation, to ensure no visible air gaps to satisfy room in roof U-value requirements.

“I was very impressed with the entire Smartroof process from design to installation and I will definitely use the system on future projects.”

Chris Nelson

Contracts Manager, Lovell Homes

Find more about the benefits of Smartroof

What does 2019 hold for the Construction Industry? Rob Greaves St Modwen Homes

Posted by on Jan 8, 2019 in Lastest News | 0 comments

rob greaves st modwens homesWhat does 2019 hold for the construction industry? Rob Greaves, Senior Technical Manager at St Modwen Homes explains their ambitions for growth in 2019, delivering a new approach to the house building industry and how they are investing in their staff to help achieve this growth.

We are continuing into 2019 with growth of 20-25% across our operation. There are many challenges to deliver this growth as we operate over a vast geographical area.

However, we have plans in place to assist us with these challenges and we feel confident that our targets are achievable. The strength and knowledge of our existing staff will continue to play a key part along with ensuring that we supplement teams whilst also nurturing talent and progressing our ‘’growing our own’’ program which focuses on training and progression.

Our subcontractors and suppliers are a key focus for us and we have rolled out action plans that will allow us to build solid relationships based on mutual trust and performance, with an aim of becoming the client of choice for our supply chain.

We are also focused on the whole customer journey and have recently employed a Customer Experience Director, Clair Bacchus, to help deliver a new approach to the house building industry.

Smartroof: Raising Standards & The Roof

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smartroof: Raising Standards & The Roof

 

Smartroof’s offsite modular roof system attracts architects and builders alike. Smartroof is manufactured in a factory environment governed by strict quality procedures. This helps eliminate any risk of cold spots that may arise from trade methods onsite. This is an important factor in the drive to close the performance gap.

The Performance Gap

The performance gap is a term commonly used to denote the disparity that is found between the energy use predicted in the design stage of buildings and the energy use of those buildings in operation. In recent years, the construction industry and government have grown increasingly concerned over the potential gap between design and as-built energy performance. It could undermine a building’s vital role in delivering the national carbon reduction plan and damage consumer confidence if energy bills are higher than anticipated.

Improving Energy Efficiency

smartroof, panelised roof system, energy efficient roofThere is a strong argument that focusing on the fabric of a building is the most cost effective, reliable and robust method of achieving compliance with future building regulations, as getting the fabric right will save energy throughout the whole life span of the house. As designers focus on improving the fabric of the buildings by reducing wall, floor and roof U-values, the proportion of heat flow through thermal bridging becomes greater and Part L 2013 has much greater emphasis on thermal bridging as these heat losses were often over-looked in the past.

Statistics show that up to 35% of the heat loss in a well-insulated house is through thermal bridges. With 41 different potential thermal bridging junction types being identified within the SAP 2012, it’s important that designers address the thermal bridging details to minimise heat loss.

How Smartroof is addressing the Performance Gap

Smartroof offers consistent and predictable thermal performance that can be computer modelled in advance to accurately assess the thermal efficiency of individual buildings at the design stage. The Smartroof system’s interlocking design makes it an ideal roof solution for those developers adopting a fabric first approach.

In traditional structures the junctions between elements of the building fabric often require special detailing so as not to compromise the overall SAP calculation, but Smartroof’s factory insulated panels eliminate voids or cold spots. Production of the Smartroof system in a factory environment makes it easier to enforce strict quality standards more effectively than with multi-trade teams onsite. The Smartroof solution offers significant increases in design flexibility as its insulation levels can be easily upgraded. This allows the client to ‘future proof’ their roof as U-values as low as 0.09 W/m2 K can easily be achieved.

Smartroof has revolutionised room in roof construction in the housing sector with it’s innovative panel system that can be installed in hours, not days.

Smartroof, panelised roof systemSpecifying Smartroof can also help your client overcome the following challenges:

  • Health & Safety
  • Skills Shortage
  • Build Speed
  • Quality of Product
  • Cost Savings

 

Health and Safety Benefits

Smartroof is delighted to have won the ‘Best Health and Safety Product’ award at the 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards. Traditional room-in-roof construction is vulnerable to major risks caused by numerous factors including the erection of scaffolding and manual handling whilst working in confined spaces and with falling brickwork.

In addition to these, there are risks involved in working at height on attic trusses or top-hats and purlins. This means that the roof can take weeks to erect, insulate and make watertight. With Smartroof the number of hours working at height are dramatically reduced, while the risk of falling blockwork, use of power tools in confined spaces, and manual handling of steels is completely eliminated. Like all Smartroof products, the Classic system arrives in a single load, reducing materials handling and vehicle movements onsite.

Sean Og Coyle, Smartroof Managing Director commented, “Site safety is a major priority for Smartroof, so we are thrilled to have won the award for Best Health and Safety product. We have worked hard to develop a product that overcomes the health and safety risks associated with traditional roof construction and addresses the issues our customers face.”

 

Addressing the Skills Shortage

The construction sector is in the grips of a skills shortage which is limiting construction activity and increasing labour costs at the same time. The shortage has recently hit its worst recorded level and it is expected to worsen over the coming years and decades, with the recruitment of new talent failing to keep up with the rate of retirement.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has reported that the industry will need to find 157,000 new recruits by 2021 in order to keep up with demand. Smartroof is a factory fabricated room in roof system and can be installed in one day. This helps to free up the house builders skilled trade onsite to speed up the build programme.

Smartroof announced as a Finalist for the Structural Timber Awards

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Structural Timber AwardsSmartroof is delighted to be shortlisted for the Product Innovation Award at the Structural Timber Awards 2018 for the second year in a row. The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2018, celebrating its fourth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Each year, over 500 construction professionals gather at the prestigious award ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding.

Sean Og Coyle, Managing Director of Smartroof commented “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do so we are delighted to be announced as a Finalist in the Product Innovation Category at the Structural Timber Awards. Smartroof has experienced a great level of growth as the industry continues to recognise the benefits of offsite solutions. We have a strong customer focus and strive to provide an innovative solution which meets the needs of the modern house builder and it’s great to see this recognised by the Structural Timber Awards.”

The Smartroof system provides house builders with a room in roof solution which is up to 30% faster than traditional methods as well as delivering a 25% reduction in costs. Production in a factory environment provides customers with a high quality product while the ease of installation not only saves time but also improves health and safety by reducing time spent working at height and overcomes the skill shortage by reducing the need for skilled workers on site.

The award ceremony will take place at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham on 10th October 2018.

International Women in Engineering Day- Weronika Niznik

Posted by on Jun 21, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

International Women in Engineering Day- Weronika Niznik

Weronika 2To mark International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, we are celebrating the achievements of the women engineers in the Smartroof team. Weronika Niznik, Technical Design Manager at Timber Innovations/ Smartroof explains how from a young age she wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps and embark on a career in engineering. She shares what a normal working day is like for a design engineer and how she gets great satisfaction from seeing her designs become a reality.

What made you want to develop a career in engineering?

Engineering has always been a big part of my life. My dad is as a civil engineer so ever since I can remember my dad was taking me on to sites to show me huge constructions with big cranes and machinery. I was fascinated with how something that looks so small on paper can be transformed in real life to create massive buildings.

I studied Civil and Structural Engineering at university. Also, I have always had a passion for travelling and visiting historic places which inspired me to specialise in the renovation of historic buildings. After gaining experience in the engineering and design industry in Poland and the UK, I was ready to take the next step in my career and was looking for new challenges and a place where I can develop and learn new things. This is when I joined the Timber Innovations/ Smartroof team as it seemed like the perfect fit for me, offering great career progression.

Describe your normal working day?

To be honest each day is different and every project is special which makes the design process very interesting. I enjoy working on different projects with different teams each day including clients, contractors and developers. I enjoy taking projects through the journey of engineering from the beginning where it is just a 2D drawing on paper right through to the end where we can see the building completed. First we meet with the client to get a good understanding of what their needs are, then we go through the process of modelling it in 3D software. Next it goes through the manufacturing process where all the elements are created like individual Lego pieces. It is very satisfying to see the project erected on site when all small elements from your screen come together to create full real life structure. As I said before, each project is different and has different challenges to solve so I never know what my day will hold.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I think what I enjoy most about my job is getting to help other people. I love helping one of our customers to make their dream house become a reality and helping contractors to make process of design and erection smooth and easy. I enjoy solving problems for our installation and production teams and helping my colleagues and junior designers to understand structures and instil in them a strong passion for construction.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Every project I work on is different and every project brings its own opportunities and challenges. The highlight of every project is always standing back and seeing the design developed on a computer screen become a real life structure in front of you and knowing that building will be there for years to come.

What advice would you give to women considering a career in engineering?

I will say that it may not look from the start like an easy journey. Some people still have a stereotype in their head that engineering is only for men but after many years in construction industry, I can say that it is not true. Its all about believing in yourself. There will be moments you will have to have thick skin but the world is changing and many doors will be open too. If construction is where you can see your development don’t be afraid to do take a step into the industry. Construction needs more of us.

 

Smartroof shortlisted for Excellence in Health and Safety

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smartroof is delighted to be shortlisted as a finalist for Excellence in Health and Safety at the Irish Construction Industry Awards 2018

This innovative roof system is produced offsite and installed in less than a day to deliver major benefits to our customers in terms of site safety, thermal performance, quality assurance and speed of construction. Consequently, the numbers of hours working at height are dramatically reduced, while the risk of falling blockwork, use of power tools in confined spaces, and manual handling of steels is completely eliminated. Like all Smartroof products, the Classic system arrives in a single load, reducing materials handling and vehicle movements on site.

Peter Nordon, Smartroof Ireland General Manager commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for this award. At Smartroof we have listened to our customers and worked hard to develop an innovative system that overcomes the risks associated with traditional roof construction.”

Now in its fifth year, the Irish Construction Industry Awards has established itself as the premier event in Ireland for benchmarking excellence in the construction industry in Ireland. The awards ceremony is attended annually by the cream of Ireland’s construction industry, offering a unique opportunity to network and celebrate with hundreds of senior executives.

The Irish Construction Industry Awards 2018 will take place on Thursday, June 14th at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, we wish all the finalists the best of luck!

Smartroof ‘Best Health and Safety Product’ at 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smartroof ‘Best Health and Safety Product’ at 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards

Housebuilder Product Awards winner logoSmartroof is delighted to have won the ‘Best Health and Safety Product’ award at the 2018 Housebuilder Product Awards.

Traditional room-in-roof construction is vulnerable to major risks caused by numerous factors including the erection of scaffolding and manual handling whilst working in confined spaces and with falling brickwork. In addition to these, there are risks involved in working at height on attic trusses or top-hats and purlins. This also means that the roof can take weeks to erect, insulate and make watertight.

The Smartroof system has been designed and developed as an offsite product to overcome the challenges faced during roof construction. This way of rethinking roof construction delivers proven benefits in terms of thermal performance, consistent quality, speed of construction and most importantly health and safety benefits onsite.

Sean Og Coyle, Smartroof Managing Director commented, “Site safety is a major priority for Smartroof, so we are thrilled to have won the award for Best Health and Safety product. We have worked hard to develop a product that overcomes the health and safety risks associated with traditional roof construction and addresses the issues our customers face.”

As winners of a Housebuilder Product Award, Smartroof automatically become a finalist in the overall ‘Product of the Year’ category at the Housebuilder Awards 2018 which will be held at a prestigious black tie evening event on Thursday 1 November 2018 at the InterContinental London – The O2.

To find out more about the smarter way to build, contact Smartroof on Tel. 01283 200 199 or email. info@smartroof.co.uk

Enhancing service in an age of accountability

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smartroof roof panel systemIn a housing industry where quality is at the forefront of customer satisfaction, Smartroof has engaged in a number of new initiatives which demonstrate its commitment to achieving the highest standards onsite.

Production at Smartroof has been at an all-time high throughout 2017 and with the well documented skills shortage providing a challenge to UK house builders, it certainly looks like more and more will be looking towards offsite systems and components in the coming year.

The many advantages of Smartroof’s ‘room-in-roof’ panelised system are most appealing to those building multiples of the same house types, where a degree of repetition secures production efficiencies. The move away from traditional roof structures towards these more efficient panelised systems has been the logical step for many national and large regional house builders.

To facilitate the increase in demand, Smartroof has increased its production capacity at its Cwmbran and Swadlincote factories and output has now tripled.

Setting new standards

Offsite is a relatively new concept for many house builders so Smartroof’s focus is on establishing systems which take the exacting quality standards set in the factory and transfer them to the site during handling and installation.

By engaging with the NHBC’s technical team, the company has identified the most important points in the construction process which should be validated for effective quality management, providing traceability and compliance with best installation practice.

The first initiative is a detailed Customer Support Pack containing every detail required to manage and record an effective installation. This ensures that installation teams are fully briefed on the correct processes, guiding them to an energy efficient conclusion.

The new Smartroof Customer Support Pack has been designed with house builders in mind. With each stage of the Smartroof process being covered meticulously, from the call-off process right through to post installation checks and after sales support, the Customer Pack gives support to the house builder throughout the entire process, ensuring the smooth running of delivery and installation of Smartroof products.

In addition, a new mobile app is available as a companion to the Support Pack which allows the compliance reports to be completed on screen for convenience during installation rather than a paper form. The app will automatically update a database of site specific records so compliance reports are safe and secure.

Effective support

Designed for installation teams, the Smartroof app provides instant access to comprehensive product information – from utility tools to installation videos. With an intuitive interface, the Smartroof app offers technical data and product features across the entire Smartroof product range. The app also features YouTube-hosted “How To” videos, illustrating the most practical application and best use of Smartroof products and materials.

Most importantly, the app allows real-time correspondence with the Internal Sales Support Team, meaning reporting facilities are tightened and issues can be resolved instantaneously. The app is currently being rolled out across Smartroof installation teams including those from house builder customers who have been trained by technical experts to become Smartroof Registered Installers.

Maintaining effective Health & Safety procedures onsite remains a priority for the business, and to further promote best practice, Smartroof has recently hosted a number of visits from the NHBC at its Swadlincote production facility. These visits also provided the opportunity to gain valuable feedback from the NHBC boosting the company’s awareness of the changing needs of its members working within the NHBC’s own certification process.

Everyday Offsite – Partnering with house builders in a full offsite housing solution

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Everyday Offsite – Partnering with house builders in a full offsite housing solution

Sean Og CoyleIn advance of the launch of an offsite house, Managing Director, Sean Og Coyle explains what actions The Keystone Group is taking to meet the challenges outlined in the Government’s white paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’.

“This country doesn’t have enough homes. That’s not a personal opinion or a political calculation. It’s a simple fact.” Stark words indeed from Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, but it is a reality with which the British public are faced. The Government’s determined focus on the need to address the housing crisis has thrown down the gauntlet to the house building industry.

Ambitious targets, hampered by the lack of skills and labour shortages, leaves every house builder in the country considering how they can join the current “offsite” revolution in our industry. Of course, none of this comes as a surprise to those of us in the industry, which is why The Keystone Group has progressively invested in design and manufacturing capabilities to meet these challenges.

We operate at the sharp end, working closely with house builders to develop the innovative solutions which are most likely to be adopted on the basis that they are commercially sound and inherently practical.

Central to the themes of this latest white paper are the issues of increasing the speed of construction and diversifying the market. The government has given its commitment to exploring innovation and to embracing modern methods of construction, citing the many advantages this will bring to this broken industry. The white paper reports: “…homes constructed offsite can be built up to 30% more quickly than traditional methods and with a potential 25% reduction in costs. They are high quality, reliable, more productive and can be highly efficient.
They can require fewer people onsite, helping to mitigate the skills shortage. Some firms are increasing their use of these methods, but we need to go further.”

Given the above assertions, we believe that the future supply of housing will be met by either factory built modular homes or a more versatile factory fabricated flat pack system. The Keystone Group’s extensive product range covers all the major components needed to deliver the latter and we are currently partnering developers in delivering this solution.

We have embraced the increasing demand from our house builder customers for offsite components, and the natural step as we see it is to provide a more full-scale approach to housing solutions.

We believe that this development will provide a very powerful position for house builders to address the housing crisis with the increase in the speed of construction that this will entail, and are committed to partnering them in this approach.

In a move towards this full house solution, Smartroof has developed a reusable, purpose-built marketing suite to provide the all-important first impression for potential house buyers. This is an ideal location to showcase the house types on offer in a particular development. The Smart Suite is a factory built timber frame structure that can be erected in a matter of hours onsite, with the house builder then finishing to their particular specification. The speed of construction provided by Smartroof is of great benefit, allowing sales to be made before construction on the rest of the site has even started. Moreover, the complete structure can be converted into a garage or dismantled and erected onto another site, allowing the sales process to begin much more quickly and improving efficiency for the builder.

Smartroof roof panel system

Our offsite housing project draws on the expertise within our timber division including our own roof truss company, our newly acquired timber frame house company and market leading Smartroof. The reality is that factory built homes can literally be installed onsite in days rather than months. This dramatically reduces the pressures currently associated with the skills shortage and the need for multiple skilled trades onsite.

Our reputation in the industry is built upon our existing award winning innovations across a range of offsite products. This track record attracts interest amongst major developers and leads to their engagement with our R&D team which gets involved in its strategic planning for new building methods.

We have recently engaged the services of Chris Hagan to spearhead this project, therefore demonstrating our commitment to the product. Chris’s experience at Space4, the timber frame division of Persimmon Homes, will help us to serve the market with a factory built house, maintaining the expertise and customer care that customers have come to expect from The Keystone Group.

Keystone’s track record in offsite to date has been strong. We have focused on developing factory built housing components which enable house builders to enjoy the key benefits of offsite. These include build quality, enhanced energy efficiency and a reduction of onsite risks to the health and safety of staff.

Smartroof shortlisted for Product Innovation Award

Posted by on Mar 5, 2018 in Lastest News | 0 comments

Smartroof shortlisted for Product Innovation Award

Offsite Awards 2018Smartroof is delighted to announce it has been shortlisted for the Product Innovation Award at this year’s Offsite Construction Awards. The ceremony, which will be held on 6th March at Ecobuild in London, will celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment.

Smartroof’s entry for this category has been focused around the ‘Smart Suite’; a purpose-built, reusable marketing suite for the house builder to provide the critical first impression for potential house buyers. The Smart Suite provides an ideal location in which to showcase the house types on offer in a particular development.

Built in a factory environment, the product benefits from all the advantages of offsite construction and can eliminate many of the issues a house builder can experience with selling in the early stages of a development. Traditionally built marketing suites can be a slow build process and can delay the beginning of marketing and ultimately sales activity. A traditional build is also often required to be knocked down and rebuilt elsewhere on the site, making the process more expensive and labour intensive. Ultimately the Smart Suite helps the builder get on site faster and build and sell their houses more quickly and is an important innovation given the well documented housing crisis facing the UK construction industry.