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.

Could the Construction Industry become the safest in the UK?

Could the Construction Industry become the Safest in the UK?

With over 30 fatalities last year in the Industry, Health and Safety is a moral obligation all of us have to ensure compliance with. The impact that an accident arising as a result of poor health and safety measures being in place is too devastating for consideration.

At Colorminium the Health & Safety of our employees is our No. 1 Priority and will remain of utmost importance throughout 2018.

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.

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.

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:

When is a defect in glass acceptable?

Traditionally in the UK glass in commercial buildings has been assessed in line with TN 35 published by the CWCT, GGF Guidelines, Hadamar and various BS EN standards. These documents define inspection methodology in terms of viewing distance and angle and crucially what is or isn’t considered to be a defect.

Clients and Architects have come to expect glass to be perfect and present no visual barrier to the view outside the building except for a reduction in light transmittal. This however is rarely the case with the result that costly arguments and disputes can arise on projects simply because of a lack of understanding on the part of the specifier of the tolerances and inspection criteria of the products they themselves have specified.

Effect of floor slab movement on system selection

Glazing and cladding systems need to be designed to allow for building movements without compromising the performance or safety of the system. Therefore, the effects of building movements on the glazing system selection needs to be considered at the early planning stage of a project to ensure that the correct glazing system is specified.

It is necessary to maintain a minimum clearance between the edge of a glass unit and the framework that it is installed into in order to avoid breakage of the glass. This edge clearance typically needs to accommodate the following movements: – slab deflection, sway of the building under wind load, long term settlement / shrinkage of concrete and thermal movements.

Re-accreditation of BSI

Following thorough independent Audits of the Integrated Management System undertaken by BSI, Colorminium have again successfully obtained recertification to all three of the Health & Safety, Environmental and Quality Standards, marking the 6th anniversary of Accreditation to these Standards by BSI. No specific non-conformities were identified across any of the standards and a further significant achievement of the process was to transition the accreditation to the recently published 2015 standards for Environmental (ISO !4001:2015 ) and Quality (ISO 9001:2015).

Anodising and PPC – The most common surface treatments

The choice of surface treatments open to the specifier on aluminium facade elements mainly centre around the use of either anodised or polyester powder coated finishes.

Both finishes have their pros and cons which makes the choice challenging at times.

In more recent times, we have seen coloured anodised finishes taking the higher end residential and commercial markets by storm particularly where the specifier has the opportunity to make a statement of their building. The timeless and enduring character of anodising is attractive to specifier and client alike. The fact that anodising is a process where the finish is integral to the surface of the aluminium, is guaranteed not to fade and will never peel are all factors that weigh in its favour.

Installation of glazed elements within precast offsite

Great to see the market moving more towards the offsite installation of glazed elements within precast facades facilitating the closing up of floor plates much earlier than would generally be the case with conventional onsite installation.

This creates quick easy wins when up against tight programme constraints and inclement weather problems because it enables internal trades to commence work immediately.

To be able to install many storeys without the need for costly external access particularly within inner London, is music to many Contractor’s ears.

Our approach to Safety Leadership

To learn and establish exactly how we approach Safety Leadership and what it means for Colorminium, we sat down with Kay Jarvis (Human Resources & Compliance Director)

Safety Leadership is an expression often used in the industry. What does this actually mean for Colorminium?

Safety leadership is about taking the concept of safety from ‘boots’ to ‘boardroom’. That it becomes so ingrained in our culture that we strive to take care of all of our people internally and externally affected by our actions or operations…one behaviour at a time! Defined as the process of interaction between leaders and followers through which leaders can exert their influence on followers to achieve organisational safety goals. The feature of this definition that most often confuses people is the concept of leaders and followers.

Colorminium’s use of Terracotta

The use of terracotta continues to grow in Colorminium’s portfolio. Of late the product has been very popular amongst our clients and architects as demonstrated on The Royal Holloway University Library and Bonhams Auction House – both recently completed by Colorminium. Terracotta is often used in heritage environments where planning conditions dictate material applications. However, this can be done to ensure that the architectural design is fitting but ultimately it is very architecturally pleasing. Use of this artisan product can be challenging due to its fragility, but with experience can be used highly effectively.

Kay Jarvis – Accredited with Chartered MCIPD!

We are very pleased to announce that Kay Jarvis, our Human Resources and Compliance Director has now been accredited with Chartered MCIPD.

This level of accreditation is from The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development which is the main professional body to accredit and award professional human resources qualifications. The CIPD’s qualifications are the recognised professional standard for HR and training specialists working across the UK’s public, private and charity sectors and we are delighted to have this skillset within the business.

Congratulations Kay!

Colorminium’s expertise in delivering stunning internal spaces.

Our expertise in producing stunning internal spaces with atriums continues to gather momentum. With our portfolio of completed projects growing and showcasing these spectacular features, it continues to be an attractive prospect for many of our clients.

For a majority of Central London buildings with little street frontage, the route to creating opulence but retaining value is in the atrium. Not only do they bring a stunning visual aspect to a building, but they engage, empower and inspire people to do their best, most satisfying work.

Human Resources Strategic Away Day

Monday 9th October was slightly different for our HR Team at Colorminium. Kay Jarvis, Simon Parry and Cheryl Price held an off-site meeting to finalise their strategy for 2018.

In talking to the team, they commented that ‘to stay focused on the goal in mind and move away from the day-to-day working life was an excellent exercise to help clarify what our vision is for the year ahead.’

The key take-away from the day was identified as strengthening our culture around our values and constantly putting our people first. Everything that we achieve as a Company is because of our people and they are the focal point of all we do.

Mental Health in Construction Week

Colorminium have been turning our attention to mental health in the workplace – supporting the industry led focus this week on ‘mental health week’ in Construction.

At any given time, across England and Wales, one worker in six is said to be experiencing depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. Assuming an industry population of 2.1 million people (6% of the UK workforce) that suggests 350,000 construction professionals may be affected.

Behind those numbers, of course, are individuals. Although dealing with mental ill health can feel isolating, a key takeaway is the fact that there’s always likely to be someone close by who is dealing with similar feelings or can help.