When you need products with an unquestionable pedigree, you’ll find them here at Hemsec.
Our focus for almost 100 years has been entirely on manufacturing the highest quality insulated panels available anywhere in the world, and on delivering them when, where and how our customers need them.
Our products primarily serve the food, pharmaceutical and construction industries, meet and exceed appropriate BS and ES accreditations, and are warrantied for 60 years, which demonstrates their durable performance.
From the simplest panel needed to refurbish or line a cold store, through energy-saving, load-bearing SIPs for residential and commercial buildings, to the toughest panel required to handle severe temperatures from -50C to +50C, Hemsec’s technologies provide you with outstanding results.
The panels provide your structure with a smooth finish with no unsightly joins, and can cope with demanding spans for very large areas.
All our panels have been fire resistance tested to appropriate levels by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), so you may be confident that their safety is indisputable.
We can help you to find the perfect product for your project through our search tool below.
Simply select from the options and the results will show what products are suitable for your project. Its that easy.
Your search returned 10 results.
Industry must provide documented evidence to support Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)
MMC projects employ a set of relatively new skills in UK construction. In this blog, we examine the need for greater skills in estimating for MMC, and for a range of documented evidence of the benefits, to support the delivery of these new methods and the products used.
“What is undeniable is that MMC projects are quicker, but this is not demonstrated sufficiently, because there is minimal benchmark data available.” Ian Dacre, Chartered Quantity Surveyor.
Where does MMC fit in the UK today?
The UK building industry is increasingly employing Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), evidenced by the growing number of build projects for residential, industrial, and public sector/commercial property. This growth is driven by the need to build more homes to address the housing crisis, for garden offices and emergency buildings generated by the Covid situation, and for more and extended public and private sector industrial/commercial buildings. Within the industry there are passionate advocates of modern offsite construction, using materials such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs); however, much work needs to be done to convince others, including at the time of writing, most architects, quantity surveyors and contractors, to shift, when it benefits the project, from traditional methods.
About Ian Dacre
One area where greater knowledge is needed is in the skill of estimating for MMC. Ian Dacre, a Partner at Rider Levett Bucknall in Bristol, a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with over 25 years’ experience and an Assessor for the RICS, talked to Hemsec about the complexities, and the need for greater skill in estimating.
Ian has been involved with Constructing Excellence (CE) for several years and has undertaken research in:
- Defining Value
- Supply Chain Integration
- Knowledge Management
- Performance Management with CE and the University of the West of England.
What are the challenges of assessing the overall value of MMC projects?
“There is limited data available; although there are many publications which discuss the pros and cons of MMC,” explains Ian, “there is nothing to date published on the commercial aspects.
“So, it is a challenge, but there are some principles we can follow, so that we can start to create a bank of knowledge relating to the cost, value and performance of MMC projects:
- Value: In terms of assessing value, there are two aspects:
- capital value
- whole life value
- Whilst they are totally different; they should nonetheless be viewed as one, because it is critical to understand the full cost both of constructing and maintaining a building, if we are looking at the benefit of the whole project. It is impossible to do so by taking the capital value alone.
- Cost: We need to ask ourselves; how do we benchmark a quotation or programme-saving offered from an MMC provider?
- Performance: We must use the MMC providers’ information as there is no historic data available at present.
“In conclusion, we need the experts – the MMC providers – to supply the information. Once it becomes widely available in the marketplace and everyone can access it, this will enable us to benchmark projects – it will be a major step forward.”
How can an assessor accurately estimate the total costs? For example, the impact of greater construction speed?
“There are tools available. Programme management can demonstrate the time efficiency savings, but at the moment, we also need to factor lead in times. One of the problems we have is that sites cannot manage the speed of MMC,” says Ian.
It would appear that sites are not set up for how quickly materials arrive and are installed; this leads to sites not being ready, tradespeople not being in place and other delays. This is where education in process is needed, so that programme management works properly.
“Whole Life Cost (WLC) models can generate the occupancy costs over a period of time, but again, as with any kind of research data, we need several MMC projects to be built and monitored over time to see the overall effects,” Ian asserts.
What data is needed and how does the industry get it?
“Unfortunately, the amount of current data is minimal and is not widely available. Generally, most is based on a historic project people are familiar with but which is not documented.
“Cost data for capital expenditure is not readily available in the marketplace when compared to other materials and structural solutions, which have been used and documented for many years.
“There are many reports, papers and magazine articles that bestow the benefits of MMC and possibly things to watch out for, but nothing as yet on cost and whole life value.
“It is possible to obtain information on lead-in times, delivery times and erection times from MMC suppliers, but it is difficult to get accurate cost information,” Ian says.
What are the ‘hidden costs’ in estimating for traditional methods that get overlooked when comparing them with MMC?
“The hidden costs include waste, and redoing things on site, both of which stem from a lack of understanding. One could also argue that there are possible inefficiencies due to the external environment in which people are working, such as weather. These are not really hidden, but are inherent in the programme where the main construction process takes place outdoors.”
Hemsec team members have seen costs being added where firms have used unnecessary materials, because they don’t understand the way SIPs work. For example, people use them for cladding inside a wall, roof or ceiling made from different materials, not realising that the SIP itself is structural and is a full supporting wall with insulation built in.
“What is undeniable is that MMC projects are quicker, but this is not demonstrated sufficiently, because there is minimal benchmark data available,” says Ian.
How do we persuade professionals such as architects and QS to recognise this when comparing with MMC?
“When it comes to the perceived lack of understanding; when someone does not understand something or it has not been demonstrated sufficiently or proven, a risk factor may be applied (both cost and programme, and maybe performance in the WLC arena).
“This is potentially unfair to the MMC solution, but it is down to knowledge and experience, which can only be gained by undertaking projects, and having benchmark data readily available,” says Ian.
So, until there is benchmark data available it is going to be chicken and egg, and down to the individual architect and QS to take the leap.
SIPs are frequently used in MMC projects, yet for those not familiar with them, their basic cost is often compared with traditional products. How logical is this?
Ian says, “The costs need to be looked at as part of a whole method in order to answer this question. As users, my firm knows the benefits and the hidden cost-savings that result in overall reductions later in the build programme. So, even if SIPS appear more expensive initially, people build with them because they fully understand the all-round benefits including the speed of construction, the whole of life costs including running and maintenance, and the environmental gains.
“There has always been a conversation about the all-round effectiveness of steel and concrete frames – but both are continually built. Unless the industry – probably the SIPs suppliers and other MMC suppliers – provide some cost data for a comparison to be made, people may well pass the product by.
“It may be that the procurement solutions we have, such as Design & Build, don’t allow for the true savings to be passed on, as they are not understood sufficiently. If Construction Management (CM) was used, whereby specialised project management techniques were used for the planning, design and construction, the overall savings would be passed directly to the client once the project is complete.
What prevents professionals from looking at the project costs as a whole?
“We do generally, but dare I say, it comes down to commerciality,” says Ian.
“A Life Cycle Costing (LCC) or Whole Life Costing (WLC) model is usually an extra over service and fee, and I think it’s realistic to say that the main cost focus on a project is usually the capital.
“For the future, though, there is increased focus on WLC, as we are realising the capital cost is minimal in comparison to WLC.”
What investors, lenders, valuers and insurance warranty providers need to know about MMC
Ian Dacre believes that there is a degree of scepticism amongst these sectors, probably because MMC is still relatively new.
“I would say simply, let us get some evidence into the marketplace:
- Capital cost models: how much are they?
- Demonstrative programme savings: how long did they take to build (lead in, ordering, supply and erection)?
- Energy efficiency: cost in use calculations
- Whole life cost assessments
- Details of how to extend/alter/adapt an MMC solution (this is difficult I know, but traditional builds are well understood)
“If all this data were available people could make assessments whether rightly or wrongly, but it allows them to make their own view and not rely on others’. It’s not about lack of trust – it’s just people like to make their own decisions based on the information presented to them.
It is also how it is presented and by whom. The more information to benchmark or compare against, the better.”
How can professionals learn about the benefits of MMC in the meantime?
Ian says, “The benefits are out there if you choose to look. I think one of the inhibitions felt by professionals is a fear that they may be losing control of design, maybe, and possibly losing control of a key programme deliverable.
“Having said that, transference of risk of this element has to be a huge benefit especially when PI levels are increasing dramatically. I know the SIPS suppliers will have PI to cover, but this is more of a discrete market, with specialists designing a specific product, frame or panel.
“As to how people learn; in my opinion, all forms of communication which transfer knowledge to others is going to help bring change about. With the mass of communication that happens these days, it must be very brief, snappy and get the point across in terms of the programme savings and the cost information.
“I was invited to an MMC factory visit last year. Preceding the visit, we had a quick presentation by the company of what they did and how they did it, etc; however, there was nothing about cost and value. I know I’m a QS, but this is my point. We can all discuss the opportunities (and maybe risks) with MMC, but without costs the jigsaw is not complete.”
What will be the shift in thinking in UK construction in the future?
Ian explains, “Architectural design is one thing and we all want nice environments in which to live. The architects are the experts in creating buildings to fit in with or enhance an area, or contrast in an area by designing a “one-off”.
“I believe that the shift in thinking may be with how we deliver the design – or products. The number one key driver to change will be cost.
“Procurement is also a major issue as the MMC supplier will have to be integrated into the team, sometimes before the main contractor, as the product may be fundamental to the whole structural solution. How this is achieved requires a shift in how we all procure. I have a housing project at present where we have approached MMC providers to tender and to become part of our design team for their solution. Once designed it will be tendered in the usual way. So, we need to think about:
- Technical erection and structural details
- Interface details with other products and trades on site (this will vary depending on the MMC product)
- Fire risks
- Delivery, storage and erection
- Programme efficiencies – not just saying it’s faster
Ian concludes, “We need “an independent authority” to write a study using the data that is available from MMC suppliers and manufacturers about mainly the cost and programme effects of their products. There is a wealth of information on the traditional forms, therefore it is easy to compare and analyse. We need something for MMC that will be built upon and expanded upon over the years to become an industry recognised reference document.
“LCC and WLC needs to be covered but generally, at present, this is not the main criteria for selection.”
Thank you, Ian, for your thoughts and participation in this interesting and thought-provoking discussion.
Please note that Ian’s responses are his own personal views and not necessarily those of his employer nor of Hemsec.
If you would like to find out more about Hemsec Control panels, please get in touch with us at:
email@example.com, or call us on +44 (0) 151 426 7171
Alternatively, you can search the NBS Source (formerly RIBA products selector) for more information.
The future is bright with SIPs
Controlled Environment Solutions – Part 3
Part 3 – Versatility of composite insulated panels
Our blog series on controlled environment solutions continues with a look at the versatility of composite insulated panels for refurbishments and new builds.
As the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, controlled environment solutions have come to the fore.
Not only are they central to the future of sustainable construction, they have suddenly become much more important to an increasing number of industries and sectors, particularly healthcare, pharmaceutical and food preparation, and processing.
In turn, insulated panels are a central component when creating controlled environments. They offer superb versatility, cost effectiveness and safety, as well as excellent levels of thermal performance, air tightness and strength.
The benefits of controlled environment insulated panels
Composite insulated panels offer numerous benefits for new builds, refurbishments and building repurposing. They create a tight, efficient envelope that is straightforward to construct and maintain. They can be used for chilled and frozen storage, clean rooms, warehouses, data centres, viral testing, laboratories, paint spray rooms, fruit ripening areas and many other environments.
Storage of perishables
Because insulated panels are manufactured with a high performance, rigid Polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation core, they regulate a building’s thermal performance and efficiency with precision. This makes them the perfect solution for the storage of perishable foods, medicines, items requiring temperature-controlled environments, and other purposes.
Maintaining consistent and stable temperature control is another significant quality, for all situations: chilled, ambient, sub-zero, freezer – as well as warm applications such as homes and offices, too.
Clean air and hygiene
Creating an air-tight environment is crucial to ensuring clean air, exceptional standards of air quality and reducing air leakage. Tongue and groove panel joints give exceptional air tightness, and the closed cell structure of an insulated panel prevents moisture absorption. The core is HCFC free with Zero ozone depletion potential (ODP). The profiles are available as smooth, 100 Rib and Microrib.
Society’s awareness of the importance of hygiene has grown exponentially as the virus pandemic has taken hold. Insulated panels are a perfect solution and ideal for areas that especially require tight regulation to minimise the risk of contamination or infection. Hospitals and healthcare providers are now recognising insulated panels as a key material as they are easy to keep clean, contributing to maintaining high safety and hygiene standards.
This is likely to spread to retail, leisure, offices, and other public spaces as people demand greater levels of safety.
Many people assume insulated panels carry a greater fire risk than many traditional construction materials, but the opposite is true. Hemsec insulated panels can withstand fire for between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the panel construction. And because panels are air-tight and can be used for various purposes – e.g. internal or external walls, ceiling spans and roofs – they can clearly define and separate areas of a building to reduce the spread of a fire.
Why Hemsec Control panels are suitable for all controlled environments
For almost a century Hemsec has been manufacturing products with materials to the very highest standards of quality. In the second decade of the 21st century, those values remain unchanged as we strive continually to meet or exceed the appropriate BS EN accreditations. They are built to last as well: steel faced insulated panels are covered by our industry-leading guarantee up to 40 years, backed up by our steel providers warranty.
From the simplest panel needed to refurbish or line a cold store, through to the toughest panel required to handle severe temperatures from -40C to +30C, Hemsec’s Control panels give outstanding performance, with a range of panel finishes available to suit controlled environment applications. These finishes are ideal for environments which require high standards of health and hygiene. They are food safe, have good resistance to chemicals and detergents and highly resistant to abrasion and scratches.
Clients value our insulated panels citing their exceptional flatness and the smooth finish, together with the efficacy of the jointing system. They similarly appreciate our ability to supply bespoke solutions and the speed of our delivery.
Limiting the impact of Climate Change is of critical importance to our company. We believe that our composite insulated panels benefit the environment because they are so incredibly energy efficient. We are working to minimise the environmental impact of our manufacturing processes through energy and waste minimisation, utilising UK supply chains and ensure that our products are carbon neutral.
Finally, all our panels have been fire resistance tested to appropriate levels by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and have a CE conformity mark.
If you would like to find out more about Hemsec Control panels, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or search the NBS/RIBA products selectors for more information.
Support for the growing modular and portable sector
We have seen a very definite upswing in the use of Hemsec panels for the modular and portable buildings sector, as a direct result of the need for safe, hygienic buildings to be built in days and weeks, rather than months and years.
During lockdown we have developed safe methods of manufacturing, and have continued to supply our world-class steel-faced and timber-faced structural insulated panels in very tight turnaround times.
How can we help?
As we look ahead, it is our firm belief that the modular and portable sector will continue to grow and it’s important to make players aware that we have the capacity to support them, by:
- Helping to raise the sector’s profile
- Supplying panels in high volumes
- Continuing with rigorous testing, quality and safety standards
- By working within a product BBA rather than a system BBA to make it easy to work with us
Why the sector is set for growth
- There will be an ongoing need for more flexible working spaces to be built quickly, as the world evolves to a more socially distanced, super-hygienic model post-Covid
- Now that the industry has had to adapt fast, and the end user has experienced how quickly they can get excellent quality buildings, it’s unlikely construction will return to how it was before the pandemic
Some examples of how structural insulated panels can be used
Panels can be used as part of an existing system, or to create an entire build system, and this depends on the builder’s preference and working methods.
There are two basic insulated panel systems: steel and timber. In some respects, it is a matter of preference as to which is used, because all our panels hold LPCB fire ratings, both types enable exceptionally fast builds, and both provide outstanding levels of insulation.
They are ideal for myriad applications, including but not limited to:
- Extension of working facilities
- Education facilities
- Areas where social distancing is required
- Small stand-alone temporary structures e.g.
- Welfare facilities
- Testing stations
- Office sectioning
- Manufacturing facilities, e.g.
- Medical instruments
- Drugs and medicines
- Treatment centres, e.g.
- Isolation areas
- Pods for temporary living-on-site
- Domestic applications, e.g.
- Garden rooms to extend living areas as people spend less time away from home
- Workroom extensions to allow residents to work from home
Speeding up housing supply
The modular and volumetric housing industry is highly likely to grow because of the way building has changed in few short weeks.
Using MMC, affordable housing and key worker accommodation in particular can expect a significant boost as markets return to work, and the focus moves from emergency, to benefiting from what companies have learned during lockdown.
UK supply lines
The speed at which the lockdown hit the world meant that it became difficult, if not impossible, for countries to rely on imported product. A lot of metal panels are made in Poland, the Czech Republic, France and Italy and we understand from customers that it is hard to get them right now.
It means that there has never been a better time to include British manufacturers in your supply chain if you are a building developer.
At Hemsec, we have overcome the challenges of lockdown by a variety of measures, such as reducing the number of staff on shifts so we can ensure they remain physically distanced, providing PPE for all factory staff and educating and monitoring the teams to ensure they stick to safe working practices.
We have been manufacturing throughout the pandemic, and have supplied materials to builders working in mission-critical situations, such as the Nightingale hospitals, isolation wards, temporary storage for food and drugs, and facilities for urgent manufacturing requirements such as hospital equipment and PPE.
We are ready and willing to help your organisation in a partnership, where you gain advice, support, contacts and expertise as well as some of the highest quality structural insulated panels available anywhere in the world.
If you would like more information about Hemsec products and services, please contact Chris Griffin, Hemsec Commercial Manager on 0151 432 7569 or email Phil.Montgomery@hemsec.com.
SIPs education e-book free to download
Where can you get a guide to SIPs here in the UK?
The answer is here.
In association with PBC (Planning, BIM & Construction) Today Magazine, we have put together an illustrated guide to SIPs, which outlines why they are so crucial to the future of the UK construction Industry.
It details how the design process starts, and continues through the manifold benefits of these extraordinary, robust panels, to their long-term place in the world of sustainable, affordable buildings that we live in today.
Happy reading, and when you are ready to engage with us, we’ll be delighted to talk. Contact us here.
UK Supply Chain Resilience will help the construction market to recover
Now is the time to find UK manufacturers to supply in the face of global import and export challenges
As the first green shoots of a structure out of lockdown begin to emerge, however uncertainly they may be interpreted, the speed of recovery will no doubt stress pre-existing global supply chains and strain the UK’s ability to recover at the pace we all want it to.
Countries throughout the world entered this crisis at different times and with different strategies, which has led to different outcomes and exit plans. This means that if your company has depended on our once comfortably dynamic, Just-In-Time international supply chains, you may find they will not be so reliable, as the flow of goods is disrupted by the timing of each nation’s recovery.
The movement of materials across frontiers and through ports will not be as fluid as it once was as vessels are delayed, returned loads cancelled, or products not manufactured in time. These supply chain failures will no doubt put upward pressure on the costs of projects, as companies move quickly to identify and address this risk with contingency plans.
Here at Merseyside-based Hemsec, before the pandemic, we were ramping up our manufacturing capacity as part of an ambitious growth plan. Since the pandemic began, we have worked tirelessly to maintain a safe level of working production, and our first priority was to ensure that our hospitals and the other organisations employing front-line key workers were able to source the materials they needed for controlled environments and isolation pods.
Now that this urgency has abated, we have been carefully expanding our production capability in line with the updated government advice to help our customers get back to work where they can do so safely.
All of this has helped us maintain a state of readiness for when high volume demand returns to the UK market.
We are proud to be members of Made in Britain and our robust and dedicated supply chain means we can continue to supply, in high volume, insulated composite panels to the UK construction industry.
We have a range of high-quality products from our External Panel for the building envelope, our SIPs panel for the building structure, our Carrier panels for industrial and commercial cladding, to our Control range for cold-storage and hygienic applications.
If you have a project that may be at risk due to the failure of an international supply chain, and you need some support or supply assurances for any of the above, then please get in touch with us at email@example.com or search the NBS/RIBA products selectors for more information and we’ll be happy to work out a solution for you. We’ve been here for 92 years, we know we can help, we’re expert at it.
How will buildings change post Covid-19?
There will be a need to re-purpose and redesign buildings, as well as increase space as a result of the current global pandemic, according to a growing number of industry insights.
The healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries, being on the front line, have already experienced an immediate upsurge in emergency construction for more space: isolation rooms, clean manufacturing and storage for example.
These ways of immediately tackling a crisis tend to lead to changes that impact forever; things simply don’t go back to how they were.
So, as the situation plays out, there is likely to be a need for greater space, enabling individual workers to distance themselves safely from colleagues and site visitors.
In the food industry, for example, people often work shoulder-to-shoulder, and Klipspringer’s blog, ‘Just How? Social Distancing in Food Factories’ suggests a number of measures to improve safety, including strong ‘Keep your Distance’ signage which demonstrates the need to keep two metres apart, and “Additional entrances and exits…to spread out the people flow, with additional doors available and a turnstile entrance and exit system. This doesn’t just mean in and out of the factory, but from area-to-area.”
Klipspringer also suggests factory zoning and physical segregation barriers, all of which could suggest that more space would be an important part of the solution in many factories.
Kerry Foods ‘Insights’ blog ‘6 Lessons from China’s Recovering Food & Beverage Sector after Covid19’ says there will be more “Demand for visibility on product sourcing and safety,” and that the industry will be “more keenly aware of strict hygiene and food safety.”
Foodnavigator.com says the same in its ‘Market Trends’, “Food safety has attracted significant concern from consumers, who want to know whether the coronavirus can be transmitted by imported food…”, which surely will create the need for food producers to take, and promote, measures to allay these fears.
This is highly likely to include the ongoing need to keep individual workers distanced from each other, an area that has not up until now been a necessary consideration in most manufacturing environments.
In the UK over the last few decades, we have gradually lost a lot of our ability to produce goods in an effort to keep reducing costs. Many reports suggest that there is likely to be a strategic move to rebuild domestic manufacturing in order to improve our self-sustainability, flexibility, and our ability to react to crises in the future.
So, even though for some manufacturers, demand has ‘dropped off a cliff’, leaving them with the same operational costs without the sales in the short term, in the medium-to-long term it is likely that there will be a resurgence in the sector.
Whilst automation is going to come increasingly to the fore, manufacturing still requires humans to be physically onsite to run, maintain and repair machines. External sales people and contractors will still need to come onsite.
Having plenty of flexible space is going to become important, and it’s not just in manufacturing either.
Retail outlets will need to adjust to social distancing, allowing for more free space; seats in cinemas and theatres are likely to be set more widely apart, restaurant tables will not be packed so closely together.
Organisations will require business continuity rooms and emergency health centre/isolation rooms.
As manufacturing staff are not highly paid, unless they are highly skilled or tech-savvy, there may be also be a call for some living space for the workforce, possibly affordable housing close to areas of work.
At Hemsec, we believe that SIPs, metal-faced structural panels, and insulated panels are going to be in high demand in order to meet these new market needs.
As a manufacturer ourselves, we understand the need to have high quality supply readily available, and are committed to ensuring our customers get what they need.
If you foresee a high level of demand, let’s start a conversation now, with a view to developing a supportive supply partnership to meet your needs when the time comes.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)151 426 7171
Support for the growing modular and portable sector
We have seen a very definite upswing in the use of Hemsec panels for the modular and portable buildings sector, as a direct result of the need for safe, hygienic buildings to be built in days and weeks, rather than months and years.Download
UK Supply Chain Resilience will help the construction market to recover
Now is the time to find UK manufacturers to supply in the face of global import and export challenges.Download