SuPPoRtING the CoNCRete BloCk INduStRy
| Chairman’s Report
| Traditional and Sustainable
| Timber Frame - The Fire Risk
| Changes to Building Regulations
| Commercial Training Days
| Promoting The Masonry Solution
Chairman and CBA Update Editor
I note with regret that the last Chairman’s independent producers, evidence that
report was in June 2007, a veritable tide of at least some of the aggregate backed
events has passed under the bridge since companies view concrete blocks as less
then and most of them were unwelcome. of a core activity. Since taking over as
As you can see from the graphs on Page Chairman I have been
4, our industry went in to a catastrophic On a brighter note the trend towards
decline early in 2008 as the building boom timber frame residential building has been determined that CBA
turned to bust following the international satisfactorily reversed from a GB high of take a more active
banking collapse. 25% in Q2 2008 to 22% in Q4 2009. In
England the figures were 18% and 14%
stance in promoting
Housebuilding fell to its lowest level since respectively. This, despite social housing, masonry over timber
1946 in 2009 with only 118,000 new
homes built - down 17% on 2008.
historically a great employer of timber
frame, representing a much larger share
frame and much of this
In contrast since the 70s we have built of new house starts. update is devoted to that.
around 200,000 new homes a year.
Since taking over as Chairman I have
Even those approaching retirement will not been determined that CBA takes a more rests, and indeed the case for supporting
have experienced such a steep downturn in active stance in promoting masonry over the CBA rests, at a modest 10% margin -
our working lives. The downturn has done timber frame and much of this update the extra cash from a 1% share increment
nothing less than reshape our businesses. is devoted to that. Articles include our funds the whole organisation.
Hanson, once the largest producer, has advertising campaign’s eight selling points,
taken bold steps to cull all but the most notes on the unique commercial training CBA’s presence is vital on technical, product,
profitable two plants, whilst Forticrete day, an update on the fire risk debate building standard and sustainability
has exited the block business completely surrounding timber frame and our opinion committees and working groups, both
to concentrate on architectural masonry. poll on public perception of masonry versus nationally and internationally, on issues
Tarmac has shut several plants and taken timber frame homes. Mike Leonard gives us which affect the industry.
out shifts in others. In fact almost every the good news on success promoting the
producer has curtailed capacity or taken masonry solution, particularly for Technical reports by the invaluable
the knife to operating site costs. social housing. Gerry Pettit belie the detail, and indeed
arcane nature, of some of these
At management level all the major These are all tools for members and their discussions. Through CBA’s efforts this
companies now include their block commercial teams to actively use in getting year we have maintained block weights
business within a wider building products positive messages across on masonry and at 20 kgs max with sensible and workable
portfolio and have combined operational, rebutting some of the more questionable placing procedures. We are engaged in
commercial and technical resource. Our claims from the timber frame lobby, making sure that the use of blocks will
industry employed over 1,500 people in notably on sustainability, thermal mass remain widespread for separating walls
2007, a figure surely reduced to under a and build costs. as thermal loss and bridging standards
1,000 today. tighten. Recently Gerry and other masonry
UK concrete block output amounts to colleagues voted down a proposal that
With the fall in sales also went a reduction 40 million m2; if there were no timber every masonry raw material that had ever
in prices, and margins have been squeezed frame houses that would arguably be been mined, cement, glass and power
so hard that many operations have become over 46 million m2. It follows that for every station products potentially, would count
unprofitable for long periods. As we 1% gain in market share at the expense of against our sustainability ratings. Individual
emerge from this recession we will see timber we will sell 300,000m2 more blocks companies simply could not engage in all
a higher percentage of production from contributing £1.5 million revenue. My case these debates.
I have not had the pleasure of meeting Generally speaking the demand CBA Technical Helpline is staffed
the last Chairman, Chris Hudson, but from for higher U-values in walls favours on a rota basis by volunteers from the
reading the last CBA update he was clearly concrete blocks as the achievement Technical Committee. Its function is to
very committed and a man on top of his of those levels requires thicker or promote the use of aggregate blocks
subject. His last report makes interesting better insulation rather than changes and raise the profile of CBA and
reading in that several of the milestones to masonry. its members. This it does through the
anticipated have now come about. provision of free technical advice on
In particular, timber must now be Much of the industry’s capacity the selection and correct application
from sustainable sources and energy reduction has, unusually, been of aggregate concrete blocks.
performance certificates are now in permanent. When the upturn arrives
place for new build and as older there are opportunities for economies By accessing www.cba-blocks.org.uk,
housing stock is bought and sold. of production scale. enquirers have the option of sending their
enquiry by email or by telephone. Those
The Code for Sustainable Homes targets Finally I refer you to the events diary on seeking advice include members of the
also march on, reaching Level 3 for private Page 15. The Operational and Technical general public, builders, architects, engineers
sector and Level 4 for public sector this and Commercial training days are new and members of CBA. Most questions posed
year. By 2013 the private sector has to departures for the organisation. It is are relatively straightforward but by no
attain Level 3 and the public sector has intended that these be practical and means could all of them be so described.
to attain the carbon neutral (yet to be focused - such that delegates come
fully defined) Level 6. 2016 sees all new away wiser, more informed and more CBA technical helpline: 0116 222 1507
build mandatory at Level 6. Personally I enthusiastic. Certainly the first
remain sceptical of the practicality and cost commercial event at Nottingham last
effectiveness of a carbon neutral objective. September generated lots of good
Climate change is truly the greatest threat feedback. Please support them both.
to mankind and our planet, but aiming
to have every home generate its own It is the intention to now follow an annual
heat and power does not instinctively pattern of AGM, three council meetings
feel sensible, any more than the idea and two training days. The next CBA
that we all grow our own food or make Update will come out in March 2011.
our own clothes.
Please read this update as thoroughly
As we go forward in to 2010 and beyond as you are able, distribute it widely within
there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. your organisation and especially to sales
staff. Follow the website and its link to the
Forecasts vary for 2010 but prior to the Modern Masonry Alliance for further real
inclement weather few forecasters had time news and information.
2010 as worse than 2009.
Good luck and best wishes for 2010.
There remains a huge backlog of
housing starts if the government Andy littler
objective of 3 million new homes by
2020 is to be anywhere close to realised.
Trends of masonry versus timber frame
are heading in the right direction.
Deliveries and Stock – CBA Stats and National Statistics for Construction from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
Volume of new orders obtained by contractors by type of work 2005-2009
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 (constant 2005 prices)
BIS deliveries MAt-dense (m2) CBA deliveries MAt-dense (m2) Private Commercial Infrastructure
BIS Aircrete Block deliveries MAt (m2) CBA deliveries MAt lightweight All New housing Private Industrial
BIS deliveries MAt lightweight (m2) other Public
These graphs illustrate the catastrophic figure for lightweights was 42%. Sales of CBA share arguably rose slightly, which
fall in sales of all masonry blocks from all concrete blocks as reported by BIS in the is surprising as CBA members were more
a plateau through 2006 and 2007. above periods fell by 39%, CBA members exposed to the more poorly performing
The market turned down in Q1 2008 saw an overall fall of 40%. lightweight market.
and fell rapidly until a levelling off from
Q3 2009. Overall BIS MAT sales of dense Aircrete block sales declined even further, The graph showing volume of new
concrete blocks in the UK fell by 34% by 48% in 2007 to the second half of 2009, orders, obtained by contractors by type
from a 2007 high of 60 million m2 to again reflecting the greater exposure to the of work 2005 to 2009, identifies the
37 million m2 in the second half of 2009. housing sector. difference in performance of various
The corresponding figure for lightweights sectors. Private Commercial and
was 45% – lightweights suffering more In 2007, CBA members were responsible Housing experienced steep declines
from the decline in housing than dense. for 77% of all concrete block sales and 2007 to 2009 paralleling masonry block
within this nearly all lightweight sales. performance. In contrast Public Works
Overall CBA sales of dense concrete blocks In the second half of 2009 their share and Infrastructure which consume
in the UK fell by 37% from 2007 to the was 76%, even after losing a member comparatively few blocks actually
second half of 2009. The corresponding (Lignacite). Bearing the latter in mind increased in this period.
CBA’s marketing Traditional,
is hitting the conventional,
right notes sustainable!
It’s the holy grail of UK housebuilding: how to build affordable
Website zero-carbon homes in volume using conventional materials.
Now, Britain’s housebuilders and housing associations can draw
The marketing committee upon a blueprint for a zero-carbon home built using traditional
has recently reformed masonry materials.
and have been busy
updating key areas of the The Tarmac Homes Project, a test-bed initiative led by Tarmac,
website for members and affordable housing developer Lovell and The University of
customers alike. Nottingham’s Department of the Built Environment, has built
two landmark homes – one to Level 4 and the other to Level
Log on to 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes – the Government’s
www.cba-blocks.org.uk zero-carbon target for all new homes by 2016.
and customers will now
be able to see an up to Both properties are traditional, semi-detached homes
date list of members. In addition to the revised members list a new built using brick and block materials to maximise their
technical datasheet for ‘External Insulation of Solid Walls’ has been thermal efficiency.
produced by CBA’s Gerry Pettit. The datasheet is now available to
download from the website. The project, which also tested the commercial viability of
building low and zero-carbon homes, provides the housing
Visitors will also be able to see new related ‘Links’ on the website industry with an indication of the current costs to meet the
offering extra guidance on where to find relevant information on Government’s residential carbon reduction targets.
the block industry.
Commenting on the importance of the project, Darren
CBA’s website is a crucial source of communication for the Waters, commercial executive director for Tarmac Building
association and with updates like these we can ensure that Products, said: “The Code for Sustainable Homes does not
customers are provided with the latest standards, regulations and come with a set of instructions on the box to help
product information. With the new marketing committee the housebuilders choose the correct mix of materials and
website will continually be updated. renewable technologies to build a zero-carbon home.
300x230-NEW ad IH_SH-300x230 22/02/2010 15:32 Page 1
It was therefore important to use this test-bed project to try
and develop a commercial house type which can be built
Advertising REDUCE using tried-and-tested products and techniques that have
been favoured by UK builders for decades. This makes the
COSTS initiative both practical and commercially viable.”
CBA has been a little quiet
within the media until NOW
recently, with the launch of a • 93% of people prefer
masonry to timber
frame homes *
new advertising campaign. • Produced locally
• Available off the shelf for
• High recycled content
You will have seen this advert • High performance tried
and tested solutions
in major publications such as • Meets the Code for ...Building with
Sustainable Homes concrete blocks is
Inside Housing, House Builder • Compliant with all Social 15% cheaper than
Housing requirements timber frame*
and HA throughout November MAKE IT CONCRETE
and December, further
advertising is also planned For further information email:
in 2010. *Source: A quote from an17th/18th ‘Building’2009 June 2008
*1002 respondent survey
NEWS AND VIEWS
Timber frame industry in
“total denial” over fire risk
CBA has been monitoring, with growing not believe they would be going timber One of the most vociferous commentators
interest, the debate on potential fire risks frame for such a big building’, he said. on timber frame as a fire risk has been
inherent in timber frame construction. As “If you have a concrete floor design Brian O’Murchu, Editor of Concrete Today,
editor I have trawled the Internet to bring and there is a fire it’s going to magazine of the Irish Concrete Federation.
members right up to date. compartmentalise. If you have timber, An April 13th 2007 article of his reads:
it’s going to burn right through”.
Concern dates back to a 1983 World in “I have been calling attention for a number
Action documentary which alleged that As a result a report was commissioned by of years to the problems associated with
timber frame houses were more vulnerable the Fire Protection Association (FPA). That the use of timber frames in multi-storey,
to fire and wood rot. The programme was report asked whether, ‘timber construction multi-occupancy buildings. I draw your
credited with damaging the reputation of should be used for high rise buildings’. It attention to a recent fire in Swords, Co
timber frame homes and making that type then went on to question if timber frame Dublin which highlights the real dangers
of construction much less popular. buildings are safe once they are completed. which face the occupants of timber frame
It said that greater consideration should be apartments; dangers of which they are
In July 2006 a half built six-storey timber given to the installation of sprinklers, and completely unaware when purchasing the
framed residential block by developer to building in fire compartments during property.
St. George at Beaufort Park, Colindale, construction.
North London, famously burnt to the A serious fire broke out in the Airfield
ground in less than nine minutes. It took At the same time Brian Coleman, apartments Swords recently, when repairs
100 fire fighters five hours to put out the Chairman of the London Assembly were being carried out to a first floor
blaze and 2,300 people were evacuated and Vice Chair of the London Fire and balcony. Flames entered the roof cavity
from the area. Emergency Planning Authority, called and made their way to the adjacent timber
for an end to the construction of multi- frame walls despite the best efforts of
storey timber framed buildings because the operative who poured buckets of
of the risks to construction workers and water into the roof space in an attempt to
occupiers. In fact he went as far as to say: prevent fire spread.
If you have a “Nobody in their right mind would buy
a timber frame building higher than two The fire brigade was subsequently called
concrete floor storeys”. and fire fighters spent over an hour hosing
design and there is the affected area. When they were about
a fire it’s going to 2007 proved a particularly bad year for
timber frame building fires. In April a fire
to leave, the fire took hold and spread
through the party wall into the attic space
compartmentalise. in Newcastle destroyed a £100 million four and from there to adjacent properties. Six
If you have timber, storey timber frame development and was properties were affected and four are likely
described by the local fire brigade as the to be demolished. What is particularly
it’s going to burn “biggest in the city for a very long time”. disturbing is that it is pure chance that
right through. The month before a three storey partially the repair man noticed the roof cavity had
constructed Persimmon development in caught fire. Had it gone unnoticed and
Willenhall, West Midlands was completely had the embers smouldered until later
Reportedly, London Borough of Barnet destroyed. The fire brigade was quoted as that evening when the occupants were
building control officer, Andy James, saying that there was little it could do to sleeping, the result would almost
had been shocked when the architects prevent the destruction of the building. certainly have been serious loss of life.”
proposed timber frame for a six storey On Christmas day twelve flats of ‘70’s
building. “In the original meetings with the vintage in Marston Way, Croydon were In November 2009 another massive fire
developer and the architects we just could completely destroyed. occurred on a timber frame building site
in Peckham. The fire (pictured) destroyed A ban on subsidies to timber framed
a partially completed multi-storey developments by English Partnerships
development of timber framed affordable and The Housing Corporation.
homes and badly damaged two adjacent Ministers must
blocks of flats. About 150 fire fighters act now before The latest news is that the Greater London
attended and 310 people were evacuated Authority is conducting a public enquiry in
from their homes.
such fires not only to the risks associated with timber
ruin homes and frame construction and how they might
At the time, Jonathan O’Neill, Managing possessions but be mitigated. Submissions have been
Director of fire safety body, the Fire made on our behalf by BPCF and the
Protection Association (FPA), called on also cause serious enquiry formally opens on the 16th of
the government to put more pressure on injury or death. March this year.
the HSE to take a stronger role. He said:
“Ministers must act now before such fires The last words go to CP Davison who
not only ruin homes and possessions but Through the MMA and the BPCF, to makes a reader’s comment in Building
also cause serious injury or death”. In the which we are affiliated, CBA continues December 2009:“Isn’t it about time that
same vein, Peter Jackman, Chairman to heighten awareness of this health and building control officers stood up against
of International Fire Consultants (IFC) safety issue, with Mike Leonard taking a the ‘green’ brigade and used some
stated that the timber frame industry was particularly active role. As far back as July common sense. Following the Great Fire
“in total denial” over the risks of fire. He 2008 BPCF Chief Executive Martin Clarke of London 1666 stricter building codes
stated: “I can’t understand it. It’s almost as wrote to Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State were introduced requiring the use of brick
if they have a death wish. As a body they for Communities and Local Government and stone in construction”.
are shying away from the issue”. seeking the following: Food for thought.
More recent research by Professor A moratorium on high-rise multi-storey
Ulrich Schneider of Vienna University timber framed buildings for housing
reinforced the threat, particularly in the and other accommodation.
case of multi-storey buildings. His report
has been widely circulated to the UK A ban on timber cladding on low
regulatory community. rise buildings.
to building regulations
lighter constructions from the recognition Government wishes to pass the running,
CO2 emissions of thermal mass; but nevertheless which involves approving, charging
the overall effect on the result of the for the use of and policing, Accredited
This year has seen government calculation is expected to be relatively Construction Details (ACD) for the
consultations on changes to the small as any gains in the calculation avoidance of thermal bridging, over to the
regulations for England & Wales methodology are related to keeping private sector and is proposing to impose a
and for Scotland. The specific consultations dwellings cool in summer rather than any 25% loading on calculated thermal bridge
have been on: significant benefits in the heating season. details which are provided independently
of this scheme. We have commented
SAP 2009 (CO2 calculation procedure The main issue for both England & Wales negatively on this proposal, as we know
for dwellings) and Scotland regulations is the decision others also have. However, we believe that
to include separating walls in the U-value Government is minded to pursue this route
Part L (CO2 emissions regulations for calculation procedure for the building despite any adverse comment. At present
England & Wales) envelope. This will drive all builders towards ACDs are available as free downloads and
filling cavity separating walls or move them we believe that this system should continue.
Section 6 (CO2 emissions regulations to building solid separating walls. As we Government see it as being similar to the
for Scotland) believe that builders will opt to stay with Part E robust details scheme but there
cavity separating walls and to fill them are many junctions in buildings involving
CBA has responded to all three with insulation as this is the cheapest different constructional details and it will be
consultations. There has been no direct option open to them, CBA will work with difficult to arrange to inspect these during
call for fabric U-value improvements for Eurisol (the trade association for mineral the construction phase and even more
England & Wales on this occasion but wool producers) to prepare a joint action difficult to test post-construction than it is
the proposals for Scotland do advocate plan for amending the 7 aggregate block to carry out an acoustic test on a separating
a further tightening of that requirement. robust details (RDs) for cavity separating wall. Robust Details Ltd and BBA have
For England & Wales the main thrust walls. These 7 RDs include 5 generic formed a consortium to take on the role of
of the approach is to advocate a RDs and 2 proprietary RDs. We will be administrating this scheme. In anticipation
comprehensive programme of training approaching Robust Details Ltd with our of the new ACD requirements CBA has
across the whole construction team to plan, which involves testing a representative had some work done to establish high
reduce the gap between the design and selection of separating walls filled with performance details for key junctions but
actual energy performance of buildings. mineral wool, in order to demonstrate that more work will almost certainly need to be
CBA response expressed scepticism about the required acoustic performance is still done in 2010 once we know which way the
the effectiveness of training on its own being met. The wish is then to extrapolate ACDs are to be handled.
although accepting that appropriate these results across the 7 aggregate block
training was an issue that needed to be RDs once it has been demonstrated that
addressed. Our view was that adequate filling cavities with mineral wool does not Structure
supervision, to ensure that the complicated degrade the acoustic performance. The
details required to achieve the design objective is to get the RDs suitably revised For England & Wales there
airtightness and to avoid thermal bridging, in time for the implementation of Part L was going to be a consultation
needs to be provided in addition to the in October 2010. Whilst filling separating this year on a new version of
proposed training programme. walls represents a significant new sales Approved Document A (AD A). This review
opportunity for mineral wool producers it is necessary as the structural Eurocodes
We were pleased to see that SAP 2009 is a major existing market for us and one come into effect in 2010 and replace BS
includes thermal mass as part of the CO2 we cannot afford to lose to other forms of 5628 in the UK which is referenced in AD
calculation procedure. Aggregate block construction. Therefore this is a priority task A. This has now been delayed by CLG and it
constructions stand to gain more than for CBA in 2010. will probably be BS 8103-2, which is broadly
the same document as AD A, which will initiatives intended to raise the awareness
be updated first. However, as the review HSE guidance on of the subject. In the meantime CEN is
of this standard has not yet started it will drafting standards as is ISO and these will
not be ready for March 2010 when the ‘heavy blocks’ provide the benchmarks for this subject
Eurocodes replace national design codes in the future. These standards will be
in Europe. We are represented on the BS HSE has now agreed the final addressing economic and social impacts
committee responsible for BS 8103-2. text for the updated version of as well as the more familiar environmental
Construction Information Sheet impacts. Whilst these standards are in
Scotland has consulted on a change to 37(CIS 37). After a good deal of argument preparation, claims for environmental
their equivalent of AD A which is Section about the content this is very similar to the performance against single sustainability
1 of the Building Standards (Scotland) original version of this document some indicators such as carbon footprinting are
Regulations but this does not cover the 10 years ago. HSE has accepted the CBA expected to continue.
simple rules for housing that AD A covers. position of not changing the 20kg advisory
Such rules are covered in a separate weight limit but have introduced guidance The first major standard to emerge from
document called the ‘Small buildings on frequency of lifting and working CEN/TC350 should be for Environmental
guide’ to which Section 1 refers, but they zone (between knee and shoulder). Performance Declarations (EPDs) of
are hoping that BS 8103-2 would be These changes are deemed to fall within products. Provided there are no unforeseen
revised in time so that they did not have to established industry guidance so do not hitches, this should appear sometime in
revise their guide. CBA have commented represent additional restrictions. 2010 and will be the blueprint for future
on the Section 1 consultation. assessments such as BRE environmental
HSE had intended to launch the new profiles. As it will be a European standard,
guidance in the autumn of 2009 with bodies such as BRE should amend their
Zero carbon an industry event in conjunction with procedures to comply with it. At the
a of 6-7 minute video for site use but time of writing, some key aspects of this
The government has announced finding sites for shooting the video has standard are still the subject of fierce
its intention that new dwellings proved to be problematic and together debate between different industry sectors
should be zero carbon by 2016 with staffing reductions within HSE this so it is difficult to provide accurate details
and other new buildings by 2019. At the video production programme has been of the final content as yet.
time of the pronouncement, they did not delayed. We have been given the chance
have a clear idea of what they meant by to comment on the script of the video but
‘zero carbon’ but have recently consulted as this follows the text of the Construction Standards
on a clarification of the definition. As a Information Sheet very closely it is not
result it is proposed that getting to ‘zero considered to be controversial. CBA is close to agreeing the minor
carbon’ will involve 3 components: a well amendments to the masonry unit
insulated fabric (energy efficiency), on-site The plan is to endorse CIS 37 with the CBA product standards. These are more
solutions (carbon compliance) and so- logo. We will need to update the CBA Safe extensive than was initially expected but
called ‘allowable solutions’ which are off- Handling data sheet to reflect and extend very little has changed in real terms so
site solutions. the guidance in CIS 37 and to reflect the there are no changes to requirements
change from BS 5628 to EC6 and we will except that the water absorption by
As part of the process a group known seek to get HSE to endorse that document. capillarity requirement for manufactured
as the Zero Carbon Hub has been CBA’s involvement in this process has stone units has been relaxed.
advising government on the base line been particularly worthwhile. Without it
requirements such as fabric U-values. the maximum block weight could easily There will be more guidance on factory
Their initial proposals were fairly modest have been reduced to 15 kgs along with production control (FPC) procedures by
but after a process of consultation, complex procedures on how many blocks the addition of new text and a new annex.
in which CBA was active, it would seem to lift over defined time periods and lifting Despite the attempts of the notified bodies
that the hub has been prevailed upon heights. In our view common sense has around Europe to introduce a mandatory
by those outside the building material prevailed. FPC system it will nevertheless remain as
sector to make their recommendations guidance only. This means that producers
more demanding. Thus the can write and operate FPC systems to suit
recommendations for 2016 for the Sustainability themselves. The guidance only relates
external envelope of dwellings is a U-value to finished product testing whereas
of 0.18 W/mk which represents a wall The initiatives on sustainability the masonry notified bodies wanted to
having a cavity of around 160mm filled are legion and confusing and not introduce requirements for materials,
with mineral wool. helped by government and EU production and finished product testing.
MARKET SHARE NEWS
MMA reports gains
in market share
NHBC market share statistics confirm that Active lobbying at the Labour and
masonry had never secured two successive Conservative Party conferences. We have great sustainable
quarter gains in market share since records
begun. In 2009 this was shattered with Providing evidence to ABI and the fire products that are
three successive quarterly gains cumulating authorities to help those bodies assess preferred by 93% of
in a one third shift in market share in the risk of timber frame in fire.
favour of masonry.
homeowners, our products
Speaking in various industry debates. are cheaper than timber
This represents a massive swing back
to masonry with timber frame now 18% Organising a Part L and F consultation
frame and we contribute
of the UK market. This is despite the fact event in London. to local economies.
that 50% of the homes built in 2009
were in the social housing sector where Submission of Part L and F and 2010
timber frame enjoys a much greater other responses to government As we enter an election year we still have
overall share. consultations. lots to play for. We believe that our efforts
have already played a significant part in
The MMA has aggressively promoted the Design and media placement of MMA securing £1.6 Billion of additional funding
many benefits of masonry including the advertising campaign promoting the which will provide for the construction of
facts that brick and block is 15% cheaper 15% cheaper than timber message. 20,000 social homes and 10,000 private
than timber frame, it supports the local homes. There is still a long way to go and
economy and is truly sustainable. We Participating in the Zero Carbon Hub 5 million people are still on the housing list.
believe the campaign has been a key factor Worked Examples Group to offer cost All of us can play a part in persuading those
in changing perceptions and creating effective solutions to meet the higher who wish to represent us as Members of
the environment where private and levels of the Code for Sustainable Parliament that investing in the building
increasingly public sector house builders Homes. industry should be a priority as we seek to
are turning to masonry. revitalise our economy. To this end the MMA
Exhibiting at Interbuild and securing a has joined with the HBF, CPA, FIB BP and the
The job is far from done, however, and VIP package for CBA members. BMF to produce our own manifesto which
we are now seeing the start of the fight will be sent to all those standing for election.
back from the timber frame lobby who Speaking at a major sustainability
have booked substantial schedules for two conference in Lancashire and the CBA The scrapping of MMC targets, an
extensive advertising campaigns from the event in Nottingham. improving housing market and the
UKTFA and Wood for Good. proposed changes to building regulations
Staging an industry summit during are great opportunities for the masonry
Highlights of the MMA 2009 campaign Interbuild. sector.
Design and media placement of the The MMA has been supportive of the work
The scrapping of MMC targets for CBA advertising campaign. being undertaken by the Association of
Social Housing. Chief Fire Officers and the Association of
Extensive PR coverage in relevant British Insurers to highlight and provide
Strong presence at Ecobuild and journals. evidence about the dangers of timber
Green Build Expo. frame fires. They have been particularly
Continued development of the focused on the high rise developments
Speaker at industry conferences, Masonry First brand and under construction where some of the
exhibitions and events. www.masonryfirst.com most notable incidents have occurred.
93% of people prefer
This has contributed to the launch of A survey commissioned by CBA confirmed that result. People want to live in
a report from the two bodies and the that 93% of respondents would prefer a masonry home irrespective of age,
subsequent announcement of a public to live in a home built traditionally from gender or where they live.
inquiry by the GLA. We will continue to bricks and blocks.
support their bodies with a view to getting The fact is that people feel safe in
this form of construction banned Over the weekend of 16th to 18th masonry homes, they trust them, the
in the public sector. of October 2009 an ICM telephone phrases ‘safe as houses’ and ‘put
omnibus survey was conducted with your money in to bricks and mortar’
2010 is the year when we need to 1002 respondents. sum up public attitudes in the UK.
continue to gain market share. We
have great sustainable products that are When asked the question: “If you were able It would be good if all CBA members
preferred by 93% of homeowners, our to choose which type of house would you and their employees could spread this
products are cheaper than timber frame prefer to live in or buy”: message as widely as possible, start a
and we contribute to local economies. conversation with the kids in the car
A house thats structure was made (they can’t get away), break the ice at
We should also highlight that using local of blocks or bricks? parties or put it in as a question in your
materials and on site construction is a sure next club quiz!
way to create much needed widespread A house thats structure was made from
employment opportunities and build timber and plywood?
properties that will last 150 years!
The reply was 93% favourable to blocks Don’t forget to register
The case for masonry, particularly in times and bricks. When the responses were
when money and jobs are difficult is grouped in to geographic regions, gender for free news updates at
irrefutable and it our job to make sure and age there was very little variation in www.masonryfirst.com
this is fully understood by all who make
or influence the decision making process.
Working with the BDA and the BMF
we will stage a series of major events
to promote the benefits of masonry to
merchant and manufacturers sales teams
who must be properly briefed as our front
line troops in the battle for market share.
The future is about offering envelope
solutions rather than promoting individual
companies. With this in mind we are about
to commence a campaign to expand the
membership of the MMA to include all
the stakeholder companies whose future
success depends in part or all on there
being a strong masonry industry.
director – MMA, January 2010
The first of its kind
This event was something of a first for CBA. our future in our hands Face to face promotion
The training day, in September 2009, was Mike leonard – of masonry products
targeted quite specifically at concrete block Modern Masonry Alliance owen Gallagher – Plasmor ltd
commercial staff, with a specific objective
of giving those people the tools to increase Introducing the MMA – a consortium Introducing Code Connect – A free
market share enjoyed by masonry. Over 50 of manufacturers and trade associations advisory service connecting traditional
people attended, almost all in sales roles representing the £2 billion block, brick building methods with the Code for
and feedback from the day was excellent. and mortar industry in the UK. Sustainable Homes for house builders,
housing associations, specifiers,
Blocks are sold on a combination of price, Government target of 3 million new building control and merchants.
quality and service. As CBA members we homes in the UK by 2020 heading for
all compete in a market, be it direct to site a massive shortfall (only 110,000 built Objectives, features and benefits
through the end customer or via builders in 2009). explained.
merchants to site or to yard stock.
Social housing starts as a percentage Demonstrates code compliance using
We will all continue to do this and it of new starts currently at a staggering traditional building methods.
is certainly not the function of a trade 50% – traditionally this was around
association to discourage competition! 20%. Social housing has been 60% Face to face technical consultation
timber frame recently so CBA faces giving the opportunity to show
However, what we can do collectively is further pressure on volumes. favourable build cost comparisons
to promote concrete block and masonry via SAP/EPC code assessments.
solutions at the expense of other methods Advantages of masonry and regulatory
of construction, principally off site modular drivers described. Technical consultation process
build and timber frame construction. described:
Section 106 requirement for
We will all continue to win orders and lose Modern Methods of Construction •A
ssess customer code level aspiration.
orders against competitor block companies has gone. xplain Code for Sustainable Homes.
but if the size of the cake is larger in the iscuss construction proposals and
first place then we will all ultimately have Description of Code for Sustainable methods and specifications.
fatter order books. Homes. •L
oad basic data in to SAP.
n real time demonstrate various
The commercial training day consisted Introduction to masonryfirst.com routes to compliance introducing
of four presentations prior to a popular and Masonry online. new technologies whilst maintaining
site visit to the Tarmac Homes Project in traditional build specification.
Nottingham – further described on Page Image of Masonry 15% cheaper
5. Here are bullet point summaries of the than timber frame. Presentation showed that at Code Level
content of the first three presentations, (the 4 and above the installation of energy
fourth was on the Tarmac Masonry Homes). saving and generation technology
becomes more important than the
The full presentations are available at basic wall construction method be it
www.cba-blocks.org.uk/news/press_ The full presentations masonry or timber frame. Also that
releases/. Also we still have a few memory are available at all levels of CSH can be achieved with
sticks containing all four presentations, masonry, the key factor in masonry or
please contact Loretta Simpson (see Who’s
www.cba-blocks.org.uk timber frame walls being the insulation
Who on Page 15). type and thickness.
CBA and APA in
At a joint CBA and Aircrete Products Next Steps
Association (APA) meeting held under
the auspices of the BPCF in November It was agreed that:
2009, the two organisations decided
to commence some limited working Both organisations will direct majority
together where interests were in of marketing spend via the MMA.
common. Key items were minuted
and are reproduced below. Both organisations should consider
inviting the other to participate in
Marketing Collaboration (and contribute to) any marketing
activity for concrete blocks to be
It was agreed that there might be implemented outside of the umbrella
occasions when the APA and CBA should of the MMA. The mechanism for
Sustainability and responsible collaborate to carry out limited marketing this will be for the APA and CBA
sourcing outside of the MMA. Situations that Marketing leads (Paul Lacey of
trevor Grounds – tarmac could merit this could include: Hanson and Kerry Davies of Cemex
respectively) to liaise.
Explains sustainability drivers and Occasions when the APA and CBA
their route through to material wish to take a more aggressive stance Close communication will be
suppliers against timber frame than the MMA maintained between the APA and
would take, due to resistance from CBA Chairmen and the leadership
Strategy for Sustainable the Brick Industry members of MMA of the APA and CBA Technical
Construction (June 2008), (rationale is that proportionately more Committees (Ian Gray of Tarmac
this affects us in three key areas: bricks are sold to clad a timber frame and Gerry Pettit of CBA respectively).
than a concrete block home).
arbon reduction targets –
•C We have already begun to see the
Part L Building Regulations. Occasions when the APA and CBA fruits of this co-operation through
limate change adaptation – wish to promote concrete blocks as an agreement to share advertising
Resilient construction/flooding/ a form of construction focussed on costs in a joint initial £12,000
overheating/thermal mass. the inner leaf that competes against campaign using the “Reduce
aste reduction on site and in timber frame, rather than the more Cost Now” advert discussed in
manufacture - recycling/ generic term of ‘masonry’ which this newsletter. Adverts are being
resource use. encompasses both inner and outer placed in the first half of 2010
aterials – Reducing leaf. in Housebuilder, Social Housing,
environmental impact Construction News and
and responsible sourcing. Promotion of the recycled content Showhouse amongst others.
of concrete blocks.
Life Cycle Analysis
BRE profiles and
Green Guide ratings.
CSH and BREEAM
Credits and Assessment criteria.
Certification options for blocks
BRE BES 6001.
Certification option blocks BS 8902.
MONEY SAVING INFORMATION
At the end of 2009 CBA placed adverts Responsibly sourced with high levels high performance tried
in Housebuilder, Showhouse, Housing of recycled raw materials and tested solutions
Association Magazine, Inside Housing and The timber frame industry makes great There is a concrete block for pretty well
PSLG. This campaign is all about going play of its green credentials and the fact every relevant building application, if
on the offensive and reclaiming market that timber is renewable. If responsibly anyone says differently refer them to our
share lost in the past to timber frame sourced, trees can be replanted, but to website or get them to call our technical
construction. At CBA we believe we have claim that the whole business is in some helpline. Concrete blocks have been in
a convincing story to tell as to why building way carbon neutral is farcical. Energy is use for over 100 years and there are
homes in masonry is simply a better required to cut trees down, haul them to very few cases where they have failed
solution than timber frame. The actual mills and manufacture to sawn lengths, catastrophically in use, certainly they have
advert placed is shown on the back cover plywood and board. Chemicals, adhesives never caught fire! A masonry constructed
and listed below is some elaboration of the and copious amounts of water are needed. home is considered to have a life of
six bullet points made. After this the timber is transported long 150 years or more. Consider this against
distances, first to a port, then by sea to an NHBC 60 year guarantee, that life is
Produced locally in the uk UK ports prior to more transportation to due to concerns on timber longevity, not
Close to 100% of timber and plywood is further assembly or building sites all over concrete, bricks or blocks.
imported, shipped in from Scandinavia or the country.
North America. Concrete blocks are made Meets the Code for Sustainable homes
locally, and I mean local, probably 80% of In contrast, the whole concrete block Concrete blocks can be and are used in
blocks are delivered less than 30 miles. By business is a local one as described above. all code levels. The article on the excellent
and large they are made from local power Over 30% of concrete blocks are made from Tarmac Homes Project built by Lovells
station ashes or quarried aggregates. recycled materials, mainly power station at the University of Nottingham School
Concrete block production falls into the bottom ash but also crushed glass, slate for the Built Environment are exemplar
manufacturing sector, an area of decline waste, shale, china clay by product sand, examples of Code 4 and 6 homes
in the UK economy. Manufacturing construction and demolition waste, power constructed from masonry solutions.
provides well paid, long term year round station fly ash and RockTron – an impressive
employment and blocks are frequently list. When blocks do use quarried materials Compliant with all Social
made in rural areas, near to the raw these are usually the lower cost products housing requirements
materials available, where other jobs are which the quarries have historically found Social Housing providers were once
scarce. It makes sense to produce low difficult to sell. For instance any quarry tasked with aiming to build using
value bulk materials locally due to the crushing stone cannot avoid producing MMC – Modern Methods of Construction.
huge transport savings made, both in a third of output as dust. There is rarely This loosely defined portfolio of methods
shipping materials to the block plant sufficient sales for this dust without a local included timber frame and off site
and in product distribution. concrete block plant as a major customer. construction.
Available off the shelf for Similarly blocks can and do use either The directive from the Homes and
immediate use 6mm, 10mm or 14mm aggregate. Typically Communities Agency hasnow been
There are over 4000 builders merchants the block manufacturer buys the slowest scrapped in favour of a technical method
yards in the UK and very few do not moving (and cheapest) of the three, thus statement, also loosely defined. As a
routinely stock a range of concrete blocks keeping the quarry stocks in balance. Block result social housing providers are free
for collection that day. Larger orders can be manufacturers have made great strides in to build again in masonry. Not all social
satisfied by next day deliveries direct from increasing energy efficiency in their factories. housing providers are aware of this and
the local factory. Building in timber frame Curing sheds are super insulated, boilers as such CBA has written to them all
has nowhere near this level of convenience have been modernised and curing controls reinforcing this message.
and flexibility. are highly sophisticated.
The Concrete Block Association 2010
Although The Concrete Block Association does its best to ensure that any
advice, recommendation or information it may give is accurate, no liability or
responsibility of any kind (including liability for negligence) is accepted in this
respect by the Association, its servants or agents.
Dates for your diary Who’s who
Wednesday CBA AGM Hilton Birmingham 10.00 - 14.00 hr Martin Clarke
31st March Bromsgrove Hotel Chief executive BPCF
(M5) 0116 253 6161
Friday Concrete Industry BPCF Offices To be confirmed
23rd April Training - Leicester
Managers (one day) Norman Richards
thursday Concrete Industry BPCF Offices To be confirmed 0116 253 6161
29th April Training - Waste Leicester email@example.com
Management (half day)
Friday Concrete Industry BPCF Offices To be confirmed BPCF and CBA Admin
30th April Training - Social Issues Leicester 0116 253 6161
Management (half day) firstname.lastname@example.org
tuesday CONCRETE2010 BPCF Athena Centre 9.00 - 16.30 hr
11th May Exhibition, AGM and Leicester CBA treasurer
Conference – details at 0116 253 6161
thursday Concrete Industry BPCF Offices To be confirmed
27th May Training - Leicester Mike leonard
Modern Masonry Alliance
and Responsible Sourcing 0777 884 2831
(one day) email@example.com
Wednesday CBA Operations and Hilton Birmingham 10.00 - 15.30 hr
23rd June Technical Conference Bromsgrove Hotel Gerry Pettit
(M5) CBA technical Consultant
Wednesday CBA Council Meeting BPCF Offices 10.00 - 14.00 hr 0780 272 2972
7th July Leicester firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday CBA Commercial East Midlands 10.00 - 15.30 hr
29th September Conference Conference Centre Andy littler
Nottingham Uni. CBA Chairman
0778 552 0674
Wednesday CBA Council Meeting BPCF Offices 10.00 - 14.00 hr
6th october Leicester email@example.com
300x230-NEW ad IH_SH-300x230 22/02/2010 15:32 Page 1
• 93% of people prefer
masonry to timber
frame homes *
• Produced locally
• Available off the shelf for
• High recycled content
• High performance tried
and tested solutions
• Meets the Code for ...Building with
Sustainable Homes concrete blocks is
• Compliant with all Social 15% cheaper than
Designed and produced by www.ajadesign.co.uk
MAKE IT CONCRETE
For further information email:
*Source: A quote from an17th/18th ‘Building’2009 June 2008
article in 13th
*1002 respondent survey October