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					CBA                                      UPDATE

                  SuPPoRtING the CoNCRete BloCk INduStRy

    SPRING 2010

|   Chairman’s Report

|   Traditional and Sustainable

|   Timber Frame - The Fire Risk

|   Changes to Building Regulations

|   Commercial Training Days

|   Promoting The Masonry Solution

                                                                                                   Andy littler
                                                                                                   Chairman and CBA Update Editor

    Chairman’s report
    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,
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.


                     Output graphs
    Deliveries and Stock – CBA Stats and National Statistics for Construction from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)




     Square Metres





    Volume of new orders obtained by contractors by type of work 2005-2009
     £ million

                                     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                                                                                                                                   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
                                                  immediate construction

                                                • 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
                                                                        article in


    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.


    Forthcoming changes
    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.


     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.                                most notable incidents have occurred.

                                               93% of people prefer
                                               masonry homes!
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
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.

Mike leonard,
director – MMA, January 2010


     The first of its kind
     for CBA
     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                  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                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
                                                                        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.

    ‘Embodied Impacts’
    Life Cycle Analysis
    BRE profiles and
    Green Guide ratings.

    ‘Construction Impacts’
    CSH and BREEAM
    Credits and Assessment criteria.

    Responsible Sourcing
    Certification options for blocks
    BRE BES 6001.

    Certification option blocks BS 8902.


     Promoting the
     masonry solution
     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
                  Sustainability for
                  Managers (one day)                                                Norman Richards
                                                                                    CBA Secretary
 thursday         Concrete Industry          BPCF Offices        To be confirmed    0116 253 6161
 29th April       Training - Waste           Leicester                    
                  Management (half day)
                  Water Management
                  (half day)
                                                                                    loretta Simpson
 Friday           Concrete Industry          BPCF Offices        To be confirmed    BPCF and CBA Admin
 30th April       Training - Social Issues   Leicester                              0116 253 6161
                  Management (half day)                                   
                  Energy Management
                  (half day)

 tuesday          CONCRETE2010 BPCF          Athena Centre       9.00 - 16.30 hr
                                                                                    david Zanker
 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
                  Management Systems
                  and Responsible Sourcing                                          0777 884 2831
                  (one day)                                               

 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                    

 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                    
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
               immediate construction

             • 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
                                                                              timber frame*
                                                                                                                     Designed and produced by

               Housing requirements

                                                                            MAKE IT CONCRETE

             For further information email:

             *Source: A quote from an17th/18th ‘Building’2009 June 2008
                                     article in           13th
             *1002 respondent survey            October

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