Royal Holloway, University of London

With the completion of the new Emily Wilding Davison Library building at the Royal Holloway University London a now distant past, it seemed an appropriate time to cast our minds back to the success of this landmark project.

Take some time to watch and listen to Paul Layzell – the Principal of the University, as he shares his views on the project and how selecting the right partners to build the project was essential to its success.

PCSA/Early Design

Pre-Contract Service Agreements or PCSAs are becoming more common in the façade world. They are no longer restricted to the iconic landmark projects where there are only 2 or 3 contractors in the world capable of delivering them, and one is selected at an early stage, and paid to develop the design to a point where costing is relatively well understood and aligned with the ultimate project business plan.

Colorminium Overview of 2017

With January already come and gone, 2017 feels like a distant memory. We thought we would speak to a number of employees from across the organisation to hear them describe 2017.

Take some time out to listen to a number of our staff from across the business describe 2017 in just one word – it is certainly very enlightening (and humorous!). Listen to our people talking about the challenges we faced, the opportunities we have and how the company is made up of great people, all sharing a common purpose, objective and goals.

CPD Training Session

We are continuing to invest in the development of our people across all areas of the business. Last Thursday saw some of our Design Team having a CPD session presented by Annalisa Simonella, on Advanced Building Physics.

Ensuring our people are at the forefront of industry standards, technical design and facade innovation is critically important to giving our clients the support and expertise they expect from us.

The CPD session was found to be very useful by all that attended in adopting new methods and finding solutions for some of the technical design challenges faced in the facade industry.

Leadership Team attend Roger Hamilton Conference

Superb to have the Leadership Team here at Colorminium attend the London Entrepreneur Fast Track Conference led by Roger Hamilton. Exceptional advice being given on how to 10x your business with proven steps and what you need to do to swiftly move to the next level.

Over the last ten years, Roger has worked with over 100,000 entrepreneurs and has a proven track record, so he presents us with an attractive opportunity to learn so we can grow and progress forward.

Quality Assurance

In the building and construction industry, reputation and trust are the cornerstones for continued growth. To build customer confidence, the industry must stand behind the quality of its work. Quality Assurance Programs exist for that purpose.

Specifically, an on-site Quality Assurance Program (QAP) can be a variety of initiatives that work together to ensure a specific product is installed correctly, or ensure a specific service is being provided to the building owner to the highest industry standards.

Assessing Quality on site to ensure it is at a sufficient standard is really the most important attribute to ensure that the clients expectations are met; but it doesn’t start and finish there.

Benefits of Off-site Construction

As the trend for Off-site Construction becomes more popular, there are an increasing number of Clients that opt for this process which brings many advantages. Benefits include predictability, quality assurance, faster construction times, less waste, less noise and disruption to neighbours, less – even zero – defects and lower site accident rates and improved health and safety.

The findings from a study carried out by The Steel Construction Institute, support the view that off-site construction is faster than traditional on-site construction.

Wedge House Update

Today has marked another milestone for the Wedge House scheme. We have finally commenced the installation of the first few aluminium windows into the precast panels up in Thorpe Precast’s factory in Stoke-on-Trent.

Across the rest of the project, Design is progressing well on all elements that are being constructed onsite and as we write, the concrete floor slabs are being poured which should see precast panels being able to be installed in approximately 4 months’ time.

Thermal Assessment of a Facade

Why do we need to assess the thermal transmittance in a facade? Why do we need to identify whether there is a risk that condensation might occur? What types of condensation do we need to analyse and how do we quantify it, if it occurs while demonstrating compliance with the regulations? Which regulations do we need to follow? Presently we face these challenges when we start the design of a facade project to provide our clients with the best levels of energy performance on their buildings.

What is the UK’s Number One ‘most beautiful University’?

We are grateful to Joe Belcher of Associated Architects to give us a reference regarding the work we were privileged to be a part of on the recently opened, new Library at Royal Holloway University.

We are pleased that through working with the delivery team to produce another stunning building on the campus, we have helped Royal Holloway to top the charts once again of being the number one ‘most beautiful university’ in the UK.

We are soon to be releasing a video featuring some of those involved in the making of the new library, please feel free to comment and follow us if you were involved in this project to receive a preview ahead of it’s release.

Do you care about the health of your workers?

In the construction industry – we all need to be more conscious of the affects that we have on our employees. These facts below show how it is vital to care for your workers.

At any given time, across England and Wales, one worker in six is said to be experiencing depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. – this suggests that 350000 construction professionals may be affected.
For men between the ages of 15 and 49, suicide is now the leading cause of death.



No one is going to argue at this stage that BIM is anything other than a good idea which should in theory at least make our businesses more efficient and the design and procurement process more effective. From the perspective of a façade contractor, our take on BIM is that it is absolutely NOT about producing 3D images but is all about the INFORMATION with 3D modelling to complement.

Annual End-of-Year Event

Friday 15th December bought with it an excellent, Annual End of Year Staff event, held at the Sea Containers building with a stunning view of the river and the City. This was a landmark event to celebrate a year of progress. Not only did we have an excellent speech from the influential Hamish Taylor, but the atmosphere was enthusing and motivating. It was evident that the team are raring to move forward with tenacity and verve in the coming year.

Festive Holiday Period

Season greetings to you all.

To make everyone aware:

We will be closed this Friday 15th December for our annual corporate event.
Our festive period of holiday extends from 22nd December to 2nd January.
During this period, we will not be contactable, but we will be right back with you in the new year to continue our exciting journey.

Principles of Acoustics

The subject of acoustics, often perceived as somewhat of a dark art, is something that needs to be considered on almost every project in the façade industry. Whilst this is an extensive and detailed topic we have set out below a few basic principles.

Sound is measured in decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale, which means that a sound of 50 dB is 100 times louder than a sound of 40 dB. The Human ear has a large audible range and at the threshold of pain, the dB is roughly 1 million times greater than at the threshold of hearing.

The main consideration when reading specifications and test results is that a sound difference of 3 dB or less is barely audible to the human ear, whereas a sound difference of 5 dB is clearly audible. It is easy to look at minor differences between specification and test results and whilst numerically they may not be aligned, in practice the difference is so small that it will not materially affect the end installation. This is where a pragmatic interpretation of test results is required rather than a theoretical or literal comparison. Due to this, if you are doing acoustic testing, it is worth considering taking the average result over a range of tests if you get a minor failure as subsequent tests with all the same inputs and the same test rig, can give different results.

The Lifting Challenge

The challenge – a 1100kg piece of glass, 5.4m wide, 2.1m tall, scaffold just 200mm from the final position of the glass and no tower crane access possible….

With the only manipulator in the country capable of handling this weight of unit unavailable on a long-term hire, we developed a solution with GGR Lifting Solutions which involved specially adapting an Emu glazing manipulator for the job.

Market trends

To find out more about the direction the market is heading, we sat down with Ronnie Myatt (Business Development Manager).

How is the industry changing in terms of the style of buildings being built and does this suit us?

The architecture of today is an ever-changing and evolving piece. There is a continual drive by architects and clients to create buildings that are more sustainable and more efficient. Where we see the effect of this, is that there is far more focus placed upon BREEAM and increased thermal efficiencies needing to be achieved across the façade.

Attracting Millennials to Construction

The problem of an ageing workforce in the UK is a very real one and nowhere more so than within the Construction industry. It has consistently been reported that there is an increasing amount of skilled workers looking towards retirement in the near future, and this paired with a lack of new talent coming through, could equal trouble for organisations who may simply end up without the labour required to operate successfully.

Laminated Architectural Glass

A brief description of the process of manufacturing laminated glass.

Glass suppliers will supply laminated glass in stock Jumbo sizes in various standard configurations of thicknesses and coatings but very often these do not suit the requirements of our project and the glasses must be made up as cut to size laminated sheets.

Architectural laminated glass is most commonly made using sheets of glass with a plastic interlayer. For the purposes of this article we will focus on PVB (polyvinyl butyral) as the interlayer material.

PVB comes in standard thickness with 0.38mm being the nominal standard single ply with the differing thicknesses being multiples of this and built up in the assembly process to accommodate deviations from flatness which may occur due to heat treatment processes to toughen or strengthen the leaves of the laminate. A thickness of 1.52mm is commonly used for this purpose.

Colorminium Facade Excellence Forum

On a regular basis, Colorminium holds a façade excellence forum across our sites with a range of personnel in view of achieving best practise. This forum is designed to inform our site managers and supervisors of lessons learnt within the business and to facilitate cross fertilisation of ideas and challenges at the cutting edge.

The most recent one debated and informed our operatives about Weathertightness of Facades. The knowledge share, gave everyone the chance to gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject, realise the measures that need to be taken, disseminate best practice and ensure the importance of the topic was understood at all levels.

Heat Treating Glass – craft or science?

Books can and have been written on this topic but hopefully this extremely summarised account will enlighten some.

To increase the strength of float glass we can heat treat it. There are 2 levels of treatment covered under the current standards. Heat Strengthened and Toughened (also known as Fully Tempered). Strengthened glass increases the strength of the glass by 2 and Toughened increases it by 4 to 5 times compared to annealed glass of the same thickness. Of the 2 only Toughened glass is classified as a class A safety glass.

Lillie Square Photography looking fantastic

With the high-end residential apartments now starting to be occupied, the stunning professional photography brings out the real quality of the façade and the complexity of design. The bronze anodised finishes are a great feature displaying the character of the project.

This project was a huge chance for the team and it is most definitely something that Capco, as the owner/developer can be proud of.

Ian Price, Our Founder, stated that ‘This was a great opportunity for Colorminium to showcase their expertise and ability to ‘Engineer the Exceptional’ on a grand scale. I think this has been achieved to a very high standard and the project will stand out within our portfolio.’

Thermal Fracture in Glass Units

Thermal fracture is the name given to glass breakages that occur due to high ranges of temperature variation within the glass unit. When areas within a pane of glass heat up faster, and to a higher temperature than other areas within the same unit then it will lead to increased stresses inside the pane and the chance of the glass cracking increases.

Thermal shock should be assessed as early as possible on a project to identify if there are potential issues, and what can be done to mitigate them as far as possible.

Factors that affect the way the glass heats up and therefore the likelihood of thermal fracture are:

Our partnership with Alban Safety

To find out the value of our partnership with Alban Safety, we interview Lloyd Roberts (Managing Director at Alban Safety).

How is the new Colorminium & Alban Safety partnership enhancing or achieving a sustainable behavioural safety culture?

A positive H&S culture can be achieved through the efforts of Colorminium and its management team building good relations with its subcontractors and interacting with the workforce to promote positive change. Alban Safety will work alongside Colorminium to help promote and achieve this goal. Alban Safety run a bespoke Behavioural Safety training programme which could be delivered to your managers at head office, this in turn would give them insight into and how to achieve a positive safety culture across all Colorminium sites.

Programme Management in Construction

To learn and establish exactly why Programme Management is so essential in Construction, we sat down with Steve Woodcock (Contracts Manager).

Why is programme management so essential?

Delivery timescales in a construction project are as important as the spec, the performance and the quality of the product. They are all contractual obligations that must be achieved, it’s not optional.