Construction Resources Showroom Visit (CPD) G#3173

By September 26, 2015 1999, Archive, Blog, Events, News
Construction Resources Showrooms Materials Products Systems Assemblies

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Construction Resources (CR) Showroom Visit

Construction Resources (CR) Showroom Visit
About:


Ecological Building Centre, 16 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0HS (Sadly no longer there)

Visit 23rd February 99


The crisp winter morning stroll down Southwark Street was surprisingly traffic free, compared favourably with north of the Thames, was made all the better for the bright sun and beautiful blue sky streaked by the skis of the holiday making jets overhead.

The Construction Resources building sits on the south side of Southwark Street and its unassuming corner entrance brickwork is cast in shadow. The first sign of an ecological approach is that this is an existing building with very little intervention just the simplest of street number and building signs with a hint that a designer passed this way.

My fellow CIIG members had already arrived and upon entering we were welcomed and encouraged to hang our coats, immediately I felt a warmth and calm about the place, the materials samples and finishes around the entrance had a natural earthy colouring and soft feel with a refreshing subtlety about the wall paints, bathed in reflected sunlight from the building opposite.

We were met by Lucy Pedler, our guide for the morning. Lucy is an Architect and Product Specialist with an emphasis on the external envelope of the building that is exhibited in the middle of the three floors. There are three guides one for each floor but today Lucy was going to take us to all three floors herself.

In all there are 10 staff researching products on the market, seeking to bring them to our attention and into their range of products to sell. Construction Resources have been in existence for 3 years but EBC only opened last year to promote, exhibit, educate about, train to use and sell “high quality products that combine the highest possible levels of comfort and performance in the building s that people live and work in with the lowest possible impact on the environment”.

The displays includes a fine range of timber stains and natural paints to be hand mixed with water and pouches of natural pigment, they have a small range of colours by BS 4800 standards but since these are all hand mixed the colours are limited only by your imagination and your budget.  Numerous samples showed the wide range of natural thermal and acoustic insulation materials including sheep’s wool, recycled newspaper and jute, flax, coconut fibre, cork, wood fibre, each with thermal properties comparable with the range of mineral and glass fibres in common use today, the introduction of Borax helps give the materials both fire and insect resistance.

You will recall from last year’s Conference and CIIG Review that I indicated that Architects can’t read unless words are accompanied by drawings, diagrams or Hellman cartoons, confirmed by Jane Oldfield remark that the RIBA Library buying policy insists that all books are illustrated or they will not be used by its members. This message is well understood by Lucy and her colleagues at the EBC, the method adopted to display the materials is completely appropriate and wonderfully simple, there are a series of 1:1 scale cut-down 3D sections through buildings including appropriate uses for the materials they promote and sell.

These cutaways are grouped and include existing and new, conventional and familiar UK construction on the entrance side and less conventional methods seen more frequently in mainland Europe and Scandinavia on the street side. The first group shows what we can do with existing brick buildings which represents a large proportion of London’s housing stock, then a concrete framed building with various forms of plaster and linings, insulation and renderings and insulation in flat roof and gutter construction, a third group of cutaways shows materials with acoustic properties in conventional construction, including solid timber floors with acoustic absorbent slots on the soffit, reconstituted rubber strip used as a substitute for mortar in one course of blockwork wall construction for acoustic isolation. I noticed that they included Foamglas in flat roof and gutter formations, which one would be excused for thinking is not a natural or green material since it has a lot of embodied energy from the manufacturing process. Lucy’s explanation that it is one of the few if not only product they know of whose performance is not impaired by moisture and potential flooding in the places they show it, since it is made of naturally occurring sand and carbon and is completely recyclable it qualifies.

As a part-time student of architecture I was fortunate enough have had access to AC Review now renamed Fibre Cement Review and so my own experience of UK building construction was flavoured by European building techniques and materials I found the less conventional method cutaways more interesting and exciting, one showing an open slatted timber batten cladding with expressed timber pelleting was to the say the least refreshing and with the choice of timber species and/or stains the result is exquisite. The materials range from what you might imagine in use as far afield as the northern reaches of Scandinavia and the Mediterranean in the south, a mix of thermally lightweight and heavyweight constructions, suitable to keep heat in and cold out or keep the heat out and the coolthe in. Materials include timber framing and natural fibre thermal insulation batts; fired clay honeycomb insulating blocks used in wall and floor construction, clay plastering, clay and reed reinforced board, all substitutes for gypsum based materials offering the added advantage of responsive surfaces capable of absorbing heat, moisture and smells and releasing heat and moisture when it is needed. Displays include unfired compressed clay reinforced with straw blockwork for internal partitioning and walls as well as ‘Lego for adults’ made of timber offcuts, these are engineered and supported by a calculation service for to up to 3 storey buildings.

The basement includes a range of services installations promoted and sold by EBC, including water saving taps, rainwater harvesting, filtering and storage, water free urinals, duel flush WCs, passive solar gain panels, wood burning stoves, radiant heating panels used behind clay render walls; solar panels and roofs for heat collection, heat exchangers and thermal stores, duel fuel boiler and controls to optimise the source of heat and its use. Many of the products promoted are actually installed and working in and on the EBC itself.

The top floor contains wall and floor finishes and furniture, including timber boarding, linoleum, natural fibre carpets and paints for walls and ceilings.  A wall of sample boards that are all removable, mean you can choose from various panels and compare them together and make the final decisions, then order the materials.  There are many examples of children’s furniture and fittings on show including tiny toilets for children, adaptable play pens that converts to become a climbing frame and a seat as the child grows.

The information pack provided includes 41 sheets on the various products described, newsletters and additional information on the seminars and product training held at the EBC, a good series of economical events are listed to attend.

We were introduced to wonderful new resource for London and the UK. The method of display is great for Architects but perfect for students who more and more are encouraged to dream ivory towers without ever understanding building construction methods and is probably the closest that many will get to anything resembling Mitchell’s, Barry or Chudley, but a fine and memorable substitute. Lucy Pedler gave us a precise, thorough and enthusiastic introduction to Construction Resources aims and the Ecological Building Centre’s range of products. It was a most enjoyable visit, which will be recommended to all of my Client’s staff, especially the students.


© GBE NGS ASWS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
23rd February 1999 – 29th September 2015

Construction Resources (CR) Showroom Visit
Images:


 

Lucy Pedler Product Specialist

We were met by Lucy Pedler, our guide for the morning. Lucy is an Architect and Product Specialist with an emphasis on the external envelope of the building that is exhibited in the middle of the three floors. There are three guides one for each floor but today Lucy was going to take us to all three floors herself.


 

GBE CPD Seminar of the visit (link in right column)

 

Construction Resources Showrooms Materials Products Systems Assemblies

Construction Resources Showrooms Materials Products Systems Assemblies


 


© GBE NGS ASWS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
23rd February 1999 – 29th September 2015

Construction Resources (CR) Showroom Visit
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© GBE NGS ASWS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
23rd February 1999 – 29th September 2015

Construction Resources (CR) Showroom Visit

2 Comments

  • Shelly Murial says:

    I am not ѕure where you’re getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some timе leаrning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wondeгful info I was looking for this information for my mission.
    Shelly Murial

    • BrianSpecMan says:

      Shelly
      I wrote the notes about the CIIG Construction Industry Information Group (Librarians/Knowledge managers and users of information) visit to Construction Resources Show room for CIIG news.
      Brian

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