The Hackitt Report
To embrace the change demanded in the Hackitt Report, we must look to innovative solutions which address the needs of today, and the demands of tomorrow; innovation is born from the desire to improve, build on what we already know and to bring forward the next generation of construction materials. It is necessary that construction companies work with experts to validate these new products as good innovation will not only bring better quality and performing materials, but also offer cost savings over the life cycle of a project.
As Dame Judith Hackitt reported on the Building Regulations following the Grenfell review; ‘The system is broken, and things will change.’ The brave new world of buildings that is starting to reveal itself will be better for clients, owners, occupiers, developers – and the planet.
Ground gas protection and the use of brownfield sites – are you planning properly for the future?
With the ever-increasing demand for new houses and the ever-decreasing availability of suitable greenbelt land, developers are looking to reclaim previous use land, utilising the space beneath our feet with basement constructions. While this has led to an increase in competition for the sourcing and use of brownfield sites which are popular candidates for land development, they can present challenges in the form of ground pollutants, particularly in a densely populated country like the UK – especially given our industrial heritage.
These aggressive ground conditions present issues with durability of ‘standard’ construction materials used in the built environment, which are more often than not only tested and proven to survive favourable ground conditions. As our understanding of material science increases, so does our knowledge of the long-term effects on human health from exposure to contaminants. These contaminants can be carcinogenic; therefore it becomes more important to future proof our developments so we can protect workers and, ultimately, residents who might end up living on these sites.
Developing a long-lasting solution
Over the last few years, a good deal of work and research has gone into the development of multi-layer thermoplastic membranes that are resistant to ground gases and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Materials such as GP® TITANTECH membranes utilised on potentially contaminated brownfield land can provide a barrier to prevent migration of harmful contaminants and ground gases into the habitable areas. These membranes, which need to be chemically resistant to other chemicals that they are likely to come into contact with, must be robust enough to make them sufficiently durable so that they are not damaged during installation or in service. As a result of these considerations, guidance for the provision of suitable materials is constantly evolving as our understanding changes, and unsuitable practices and materials have been seen to fail.
The ‘copy and paste’ problem
As an industry we tend to lean on previous project knowledge during the design process; ‘It worked last time, we’ll use that again’, ‘we’ve never been asked that before’, and ‘It’s never really been an issue’. This leads to a ‘copy and paste’ culture from previous specifications, which can be the cause of considerable issues further down the line. Therefore, we must always seek to continue our education of current practices and common issues that the industry faces. That’s why the level of self-regulation is ever more pressing in today’s busy world.
GP® TITANTECH construction membranes from JUTA UK LTD are the first products of their kind to combine water resistance with protection against hazardous gases, VOC vapours, hydrocarbons and other chemicals that may be present in contaminated land, providing an innovative and durable solution to problems faced on construction sites worldwide.
For developers of brownfield and contaminated land the GP® TITANTECH family of products – TITANFLEX®, TITANTANK® and TITANBOND® – represent a major step forward in safeguarding projects against gaseous and chemical contamination. JUTA UK has invested heavily in testing the system, ensuring the products are fit for purpose and designed to last for the lifetime of the structure. Integral to this process was independent (BBA and NSAI) Certification.
Full compliance for a brighter future
While compliance across the full range of standards and guidance documents is difficult, particularly as they have changed across the decades, the good news is that the new generation of products, such as GP® TITANTECH membranes entering the market place allow specifiers to be compliant across the board. As such, they are able to provide comfort and assurances to end users that the materials are suitable, fit-for-purpose and designed to go the distance for today’s requirements and future-proofed for the foreseeable future.
“We are the first to demonstrate our system actually works in the built environment.”
Recognition of innovation
GP® TITANTECH membranes have been nominated by industry for the Land Management Award at the Contamination Expo 2019! The nomination provides recognition by industry of the ability of the GP® TITANTECH membranes to ‘unlock Brownfield potential’. The expo is Europe’s leading event for contamination and geotechnical professionals and takes place on the 11th & 12th of September at the NEC, Birmingham.