• The long arcade at St Pancras station, London

    Underneath the arches - Rebuilding St Pancras station

    The rebuilding of St Pancras station in London has provided a new confidence to British construction. Colin Pinnegar of Bulmer Brick Cutting, UK, describes some of the challenges encountered in brick-matching and cutting.
  • The good old ways - traditional building materials are coming back into favour

    Traditional materials are increasingly being used due to their low environmental impact. Earth building methods discussed include cob, wattle and daub, clay and dabbins, wychart and rammed earth and chalk and other materials include hemp and lime, and a current research projects include the production of hemp/lime masonry blocks.
  • Liquid movements - the interaction between water and building materials

    The absorption mechanisms of water into brick, stone and concrete are discussed together with factors that control evaporation and drying processes in buildings. The use of sorptivity measurements for future design standards is considered.
  • Firing on all cylinders - microwave-assisted firing of ceramics

    A model for estimating the potential for energy and associated cost savings has been developed based on current information and audited test results. Model results show that microwave-assisted gas firing for the clay industry provides favourable payback periods based on energy cost reductions, in addition to environmental benefits.
  • House of the rising sun - the effects of thermal mass on housing

    Investigations into lightweight and heavyweight constructions in relation to potentially increasing temperatures due to climate change show that lightweight construction leads to increased internal temperatures and greater levels of discomfort. The case for high thermal mass buildings in saving energy is not confirmed, but careful consideration should be given to insulation, ventilation and solar gain.
  • A fine waste of a roof - Environmental benefits of green roofs

    Planning constraints on architects and planners, designed to minimise the environmental impact from industry from the erection of new buildings, have highlighted the benefits of green roofs. A vegetated rooftop combines layers of aggregate with some organic matter and can promote the growth of plant and wildlife biodiversity.
  • Feat of Clay - unfired clay bricks for sustainable construction

    The use of unfired clay as a binder in building materials results in a healthy indoor environment and low environmental impact over the lifecycle of the material. A research project funded by the DTI Partners in Innovation programme showed the technical advantages and practical implications of their use.