Professional Builder talks to Dan Anson-Hart from Actis Insulation about the company’s latest developments.
Picture the scene. You’re at a school reunion. Little Timmy who used to be the shy, quiet one has become six foot something, with a chiselled jaw and a selection of holiday villas to his name. And the girl who always hid in the library to avoid PE is a world famous, best-selling novelist. Our recent re-acquaintance with insulation specialist Actis was a little like that. A lot has been going on behind the scenes these past five years or so – what with its successful partnership with LABC, the creation of a second CPD module to appease the clamouring throngs and the launch of an advanced new insulating breather membrane for roofs. We caught up with Actis UK specification manager, Dan Anson-Hart to chat about the changes.
PB: You’ve clearly been busy. Tell us how all these changes are helping your business and, more importantly, your customers? Firstly, what’s the deal with LABC?
ACTIS: Well, we’re now into our third year of partnering LABC. Our aim is to help builders, architects, building control officers and specifiers get more insight into thermal efficiency. A lot of this is achieved through LABC’s monthly technical seminars, which take place at different spots around England and Wales. These involve a number of presentations from various industry experts, which all add up to three and a half hours’ worth of CPD training. Our session is on addressing the performance gap with reflective insulation. The seminars are free and include a bonus free breakfast – so what’s to lose? They’re really popular and are often oversubscribed.
Another really important project we’ve recently worked on with LABC is a Registered Construction Details tool. It’s one of a group of such tools aimed at helping builders achieve as-built performance. The one we devised is for thermal details. It gives a list of points to look out for during design and on site. The RCD drawings and documents can be fed into specifications for new projects and are also accessible on the go. Builders can link to installation videos while out on site, for example, ensuring the tool is useful at all stages of the process from specification to installation.
PB: You mentioned that you offer training at LABC roadshows. You’ve also just launched a new CPD module. Tell us about that.
ACTIS: Our initial module on addressing the performance gap has been incredibly popular, with take up increasing by around 50 per cent over the past year. We had people coming to us saying, “that was so useful and we want more.” So we obliged, and the one we’ve just released is about compliance. The first batch of building control officers who came along said it answered every single question they had on the topic. So, we’re pretty confident it’s going to be as popular as our first one.
Obviously, it looks at compliance with Part L – conservation of fuel and power, but it also examines Parts B (fire safety), C (site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture), D (toxic substances) and E (resistance to the passage of sound). And it flags up tools which specifiers can use to ensure they make the correct choices to ensure compliance.
This CPD, like the first, is around 45 minutes long, with a 15-minute Q&A, and is a chance to inspect insulation materials at first hand, and talk to us one-to-one about compliance and thermal bridging issues.
A company can book one as a standalone, or as part of a wider event to which it invites people from related trades across the industry.
PB: You used to have three core products in your Hybrid range – but we understand there has been a recent addition? Can you explain what this new one does and refresh our memories about the other three?
ACTIS: The products are all CE marked, have LABC and LABSS registered details, LABC Warranty and Premier Guarantee approval, and are accepted by the NHBC when used in accordance with the certification.
Hybris is a honeycomb style insulation, which comes in various thicknesses, can be moulded into gaps and is incredibly quick, clean and easy to install. In fact, those qualities apply to all our products. Then we have our insulating vapour control layer HControl Hybrid and insulating breather membrane Boost R Hybrid.
The new (ish) addition is Boost R Hybrid Roof which – surprise, surprise – is specially designed for roofs. It has a lap, and built in adhesive tape, and comes in larger rolls, which cover 15sq m. There’s even a series of bite sized video tutorials which look in detail at how to install the product.
PB: Anything else our readers need to look out for over the coming months?
ACTIS: Well, we’ve been busy giving our feedback, alongside the Structural Timber Association, on the government’s Part L revision plans, which will feed into the Future Homes Standard. So we look forward to that later this year when the chosen changes come into effect. We’re continuing to bang the drum for an increase in timber frame homes as a key way to help us address the chronic housing shortfall (they’re about 25 per cent faster to build than brick and block, you see). And, of course, we hope the wise words of Mark Farmer, the government’s new Modern Methods of Construction champion, will bear fruit. He’s something of a guru to many of us in the industry.
To view the LABC Registered Construction Details developed in collaboration with Actis click here.