If fire doors were cars

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If you buy a new car you have confidence that it has been manufactured in accordance with internationally recognised standards. But if, after buying the car, you let anyone drive off in it without checking that they have similar recognised evidence of their competence to drive – a driving licence – then the risk of disaster increases considerably. The car is a critical product and needs treating as such in all respects. After a certain period of time the car needs to be checked – MOT’d – to ensure that, as a critical product, it is still able to function properly. It is all about minimising the risks. Read more »

First Hybrid Orders: Windows, Doors and Curtain Walling

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Having invested in machinery and extensive training, Soundcraft has received its first two orders for Hybrid composite products, with a combined value of c£150k.

The orders, from Higgins Construction and Lifebuild Solutions, are for the manufacture and installation of composite  or alu-clad windows, doors and curtain walling, based on the SAS Hybrid system. The orders are for two schools, one in Teddington, Middlesex and the other in Farnham, Surrey.

These orders include items from the Hybrid Series 1 composite casement window and door system, the Hybrid Series 2 composite window system (with slimmer sightlines), and the Hybrid Series 3 composite curtain walling system.

Of particular note is the height of curtain walling – over 7 metres – on one elevation at the Lady Eleanor Holles  School at Teddington. This requires several bespoke laminated, engineered timber beams, at 7200 x 360 x 50mm, to be manufactured in PEFC certified softwood. In addition, bespoke fixing brackets have been designed by Soundcraft to cater for specific project requirements.

Hybrid composite products have impressive U values and thermal performance, and are designed to meet, and often exceed, building regulations. They are manufactured in the UK at Soundcraft’s North Kent factory, and are often available in surprisingly short lead times.

Soundcraft installing 3000 fire doors at Kingston University

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Soundcraft is two thirds of the way through completing the re-instatement and installation of over 3000 fire doors and doorsets for Kingston University in Surrey, across many of the University’s teaching and residential sites.

The works on the project, valued at c£800,000, are being carried out in accordance with BS8214 and the requirements of Exova BM Trada’s 3rd Party Certification Schemes for the Installation and Maintenance of Fire Doors.

New doorsets, which are 3rd party certified, are mostly laminate faced, either FD30S or FD60S fire rated, in singles and pairs. Specific attention has been paid to ensuring compliance with the University’s strategic access and equality policy, with particular emphasis on complying with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, the DDA and Part M. In some cases new glazed timber screens have been installed, incorporating pairs of doors.

Work is scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2013.

Soundcraft appointed to supply St Peter Hospital

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Soundcraft has been appointed by a local Surrey (Ashford & St Peter’s) NHS trust to supply and install FD30S and FD60S, laminate faced, fire rated, pairs of doors and frames. Valued at £130,000, the doors will be installed over four floors in the Abbey Wing of St Peters Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.

The doorsets will be manufactured under the Exova BM Trada 3rd Party Certification Scheme for the Manufacture of Fire Doors. Installation will also be 3rd Party Certified, under the respective Exova BM Trada Fire Door Installation scheme.

Work will start in March and will take place in occupied wards and communal areas. Consequently, health and safety considerations will be paramount. Soundcraft has considerable experience (in both general hospitals and mental health units) of installing doorsets in occupied NHS buildings, which will prove invaluable for this project. The specification satisfies the requirements of the Equality Act, incorporating the DDA, and Approved Document M (Part M).

Hospital environments can be demanding and any damage to the doors could result in the fire resisting integrity of the doorsets being compromised. To deal with this problem, Soundcraft’s doors for this project will be fitted with protective cladding to minimise the risk of damage. As a matter of course Soundcraft provides maintenance advice in O&M manuals at the end of contracts. In this particular case the advice will be based on the requirements of BS8412 and the Exova BM Trada 3rd Party Certification Scheme for the Maintenance of Fire Doors – a scheme of which Soundcraft is a founder member.

Steve Rouse retires

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Steve Rouse, Soundcraft’s long serving sales manager is leaving on 8 February and retiring to his house in France. After successfully promoting the company and its performance door and window products for many years Steve is looking forward to the change of scenery and culture.

He joined Soundcraft in the 1990s and has been involved in product development and promotion throughout. In recent years Steve has been instrumental in the successful launch of the Integrity Range of Secured by Design (SBD) steel communal security doors, which complement the traditional steel and timber portcullis communal security doors ranges that have successfully served the social housing market for decades.

In addition, Steve has pioneered Soundcraft’s move into 3rd Party certified fire door manufacture, installation and maintenance, all under the respective Exova BM Trada schemes. As specification requirements for 3rd party certification for fire doors are increasing his initiative in this area is proving fruitful, particularly with a number of significant contracts for the health sector, where Soundcraft’s extensive range of laminate faced fire doors is frequently specified.

Steve’s commercial successes have not been confined to doors alone, as he has achieved consistent results in gaining specifications for fire and acoustic glazed timber screens and conservation windows, both box sashes and casements.

His departure will trigger a re-organisation within Soundcraft’s sales and marketing operation to ensure that all his good work continues to produce positive results.

Soundcraft appointed by Vinci Facilities to install casement and box sash windows

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Soundcraft has been appointed by Vinci Facilities to replace, repair and upgrade over 1500 traditional timber box sash and casement windows in the six blocks of the Samuel Lewis Buildings at the Liverpool Road Estate, London, N1; part of the Southern Housing Group.

Valued at c£1.2 million, the project is a good example of Soundcraft’s ability to manufacture and install high quality timber windows that match existing, to satisfy conservation and heritage requirements.

The buildings are over a century old and are in a conservation area. Consequently, the new windows will have to replicate the existing 100 year old sash windows in every detail. Most of the new windows will be box sashes, using traditional weights, not spiral springs. Single glazing will be puttied in place, with brass ironmongery to match the original.

New windows will be manufactured at Soundcraft’s North Kent factory, whilst on site workshops are being established to enable re-glazing and upgrading of existing sashes to take place.

Work was started in February 2013 and is scheduled to carry on into 2014.

Conservation and acoustic windows refurbishment in Euston Square

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One of London’s grandest Victorian buildings, the Grade 2 listed HQ of the Royal College of GPs, recently underwent a major refurbishment to create a new state-of-the-art conference and event centre which opened in November 2012.

Situated in Euston Square, the refurbishment included a requirement for conservation acoustic windows in the form of secondary glazing, to minimise noise from the London traffic on the busy Euston Road. The windows were designed, manufactured and installed by Soundcraft, working for main contractor, Structuretone, in a contract valued at over £120k.

The challenge for Soundcraft was to achieve demanding acoustic performance whilst matching the design of the existing windows in every detail, including ironmongery. To meet the minimum specified acoustic performance, with an upper limit of 47dB, Soundcraft arranged for testing at BRE to confirm that their design met the required level of sound attenuation. 49dB was achieved in the tests, carried out in accordance with BS EN 20140-10:1992 and ISO 717-1:1997.

In addition to acoustic windows and glazing, Soundcraft was able to manufacture and install, in a short lead time, a number of traditional casement conservation windows, again matching the originals, to assist in completing the project.

Will Jones discusses Conservation Acoustic Glazing at Westminster Abbey

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Soundcraft’s Operations Manager, Will Jones, enthuses about an unusual project, completed earlier this year, at a world famous historic site that allowed the company to demonstrate its wide range of sustainable performance products, including fire and acoustic doors and screens, sliding/folding doors and tilt & turn windows.

‘I’ve just finished my favourite job of the year, honestly it’s true.

It was an intricate blend of modern joinery for performance windows and doors in a real heritage site. The space has been designed by Panter Hudspith for The Cellarium Café to complement and enhance the original fabric of the building and included a range of performance door and windows from Soundcraft.

Well that’s the corporate line anyway.

It’s fantastic – The Cellerium at Westminster Abbey was used by the Monks in the 14th century to store their food and drink and it’s going to back to an up to date version of its old use – food and drink.

From the first meeting with the specifer it was such an interesting job, a real blend of old meets new. And of course it all had to meet the requirements of Part M; low thresholds, accessibility, visibility, opening widths and opening forces.

One of the trickiest parts was the fire doors in medieval openings, new joinery in the ancient walls of the abbey. I did all the detailing and measuring on site followed by the templating to make sure there was no margin for error when the window and doors were delivered to site for installation – no pressure then!

It was nice to see the job take shape in the factory, seeing it though from start to finish always gives more of a sense of achievement. The BBC were there filming a documentary I wonder if I’ll end up on television…’

This project is a good example of Soundcraft’s ability to satisfy a wide range of performance door and window requirements. These included fire resistance (FD30), sound attenuation (37dB) and weather resistance, all supplied in FSC® timber, with the fire doors manufactured under a 3rd Party Scheme.

We’re all looking forward to the next update from Will on the work he’s been doing at the Royal College of GP’s on conservation acoustic glazing.

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Berkeley Homes choose Soundcraft for timber screens and pergolas

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In August 2012 Soundcraft received an order, valued at over £200,000, from Berkeley Homes (Capital) Ltd to manufacture and supply over 60 screens, pergolas and vent enclosures for their Saffron Square, Croydon, Surrey development.

Of particular interest was the unusual species of timber that was specified for the project – yellow balau – which is often used for heavy structural work, but in this case was to be used in a less traditional and more delicate way.

Despite having a density of 980kg/m3 Yellow balau has proved, in trials, to be relatively easy to machine, producing clean profiles. ‘’ Our early doubts about using balau for such intricate work because of its density were soon dispelled during the trials’’ commented Lee Gordon, Soundcraft’s Production Manager. ‘’ This ease of machining despite the density is particularly important for our CNC manufacturing process.’’

The provenance of the timber was of especial importance as it had to be responsibly purchased.  Consequently, Soundcraft approached Timbmet, a regular supplier whose commitment to sourcing legal and sustainable timber is central to its philosophy. Although not supplied under the FSC® or PEFC certification schemes, the timber was covered by the MTCC scheme allowing Timbmet to provide confirmation that the timber met the requisite criteria for legal and sustainable product procurement.

Deliveries of the screens and other items, which are being left ‘in the white’ to weather naturally, will start in October and run through to March 2013.

Composite Hybrid Windows, Doors and Curtain Walling from Soundcraft

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Soundcraft Performance Doors and Windows is pleased to announce that it has formed, with Senior Architectural Systems (SAS), a partnership to manufacture Hybrid composite doors, windows and curtain walling.

The Hybrid system, developed by SAS, provides a comprehensive range of façade solutions, backed up by extensive testing. Soundcraft has made significant investment in new machinery and software to enable them to produce the full range of Hybrid composite products.

Also, Soundcraft Performance Doors and Windows is investing in training specialist Hybrid installation teams, drawn from the existing pool of experienced installers of its wide range of performance doors and windows.

However, development work is required before full production can start, which is expected to begin in the autumn.

Hybrid composite – sometimes referred to as alu-clad – products will complement and widen Soundcraft’s existing range of performance doors and windows.