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KCC winner at the Schueco Excellence Awards

The Schueco Excellence Awards for design and innovation have become an annual event firmly established in the industry’s calendar, and continue to feature brilliantly designed and constructed buildings right across Ireland and the UK.

The awards – which are run in association with RIBA Journal in the UK – have won the respect of the UK and Irish building industry because of the high quality of the submissions they routinely attract. The only stipulation for entry is that each project should utilise at least one Schueco system and involve a Schueco UK Partner specialist contractor. This year, the Cultural Award was awarded to Irish company KCC Architectural for their work on the prestigious Newport Street Gallery in London.

The Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall designed by architects Caruso St John. Newport Street Gallery, Vauxhall, United Kingdom. Architect: Caruso St John, 2016.

Designed by Caruso St John for Damien Hirst, Newport Street Gallery has already won multiple awards including the prestigious 2016 Stirling Prize for Architecture.

KCC Architectural were subcontracted to manage the glazing element of the prestigious project and did so by introducing oversized Schueco glazing systems, which became a key design element of the building. Each of these pieces weighed almost 570kg.

According to KCC, the most challenging piece of the project was the seven structurally glazed secondary glazing units, fitted with bonded glass in Gallery 1 in the Victorian part of the building. They also fitted four further special secondary windows in Gallery 3.


‘The architect had the design intent and we had to make it happen,’ says one of KCC’s directors, David Skelly. ‘It was a significant challenge to work to almost zero tolerance on such complicated windows, and a lot of design work went into it because they were so large and heavy.’

Since the 1.7m wide x 2.3m high window size surpassed the maximum engineering constraints of the Schueco Jansen Janisol SG system, the project required design and engineering input from the team in KCC and the engineering company Clear Structures, which provided structural calculations.
The thermally broken profiles required heavy and durable steel reinforcement which was achieved through the design of bespoke large brackets which helped carry the units. Project specific tests had to be carried out on windload, fixings, bonding of the glass to the system and condensation levels, the latter being of particular importance due to the type of building being constructed.

KCC also created further windows in the project, using the same system, for newly built parts of the gallery, such as the main entrance building. These pieces measured up to 3.5m x 3m. The gallery also features Schueco Jansen glazed and flush metal overclad doors. The Judges of the 2017 Excellence Awards for design and innovation awarded KCC with the Cultural award and commended them on overcoming the challenge of the oversized glazing requirements, as well as its contribution to the overall design and feel of the project, which blends the new build with a terrace of listed industrial buildings.



Irish Fencing – From the Ground Up!

The current business landscape for companies involved in building and design is improving and becoming profitable despite issues surrounding capital investment, housing output etc. Survival during the past decade was success.

One company which has shown the resilience and determination needed to move forward through the peaks and troughs of the building industry is Irish Fencing Services. Founder and Present Chairman Terry Hobdell, recalls that Irish Fencing and Products as it was then manufactured a plastic covered concrete post and Chainlink fence system called Plastacon – essentially a green Wavin Pipe with specially vibrated concrete infill.

“We were based in a farmyard in Ballyboughal in North County Dublin and we worked with Merck Sharpe and Dohme in Tipperary, Nitrigin Eireann in Cobh and Levi Jeans in Galway with all with top builders, engineers and contractors in our first year,” he recalls.
We tried to be inventive from the start and we broke new ground as a specialist fence installation company,” “We had to learn on our feet,” he continues, “and worked in every County in Ireland North and South as probably the only show in town.
“I remember we also worked at Pat Quinn ‘s Club in Kilternan where we got our first bounced cheque which virtually wiped us out!”
“Our next big event was the advent of Palisade Fencing which in the mid-70s became the market leading product – and remained so for 15 years or so.
“Always looking for an opportunity, we adapted the system, invested in the first commercial welding robot in Ireland, and went on to develop powder coated finishes over hot dipped galvanising. This was a major milestone in our development as it was a first in Britain or Ireland, and we went on to export to the US and Continental Europe.”

Sliding, Cantilever and Swing gates for every location.

The marketplace was expanding rapidly and Irish Fencing’s reputation was being firmly established. “All the time the fencing market was expanding and other contractors were opening. At one stage at the height of the boom in 2008 there were 400 companies with the word fence in their name. A far cry from the 2 in the 1973 Golden Pages,” remarks Terry. But the industry’s rapid expansion posed problems. “Anyone in construction knows how standards fell and corners were cut at that time, We have had 4 site visits this month alone to inspect rusting mesh fencing were the contractor had vanished, was not known or was refusing to engage. Thankfully we have not had this problem because our policy of using only proven suppliers”.

“We have examples of powder coated products over 30 years old with no problems except a bit of weathering. We have the comfort of knowing that every single piece of steel that has been made in our works has gone to Galco Steel for full hot dipped galvanising protecting the base for up to 50 years before it requires maintenance.”

This is one of the many relationships we see as a key factor in the success of Irish Fencing. Why? Terry Hobdell explains: “our relationship with Galco Steel goes back over 40 years and having a company that has had a policy of constant development and service improvement has been hugely important to us. It is important to have a domestic supplier with competitive pricing for galvanising and a certified production process up to the best international standards.

Irish Fencing Services can bring experience and choice to a Housing Development.

“Our loyalty to suppliers and, in return, the excellent service they provide in exchange has always been part of our business philosophy. A few pence saved on a product or service that is not of high standard is shooting yourself in the foot.

The road was not without its major bumps and challenges. Terry looks back and admits: “in common with the rest of the industry, our world collapsed in mid-2008. We were in the process of investing in the construction of a new plant and mercifully we were able pull out of the site purchase, if it had gone ahead we would have been gone by 2010.


“As it was, we lost money for 6 years and had it not been for our strong reserves and ability to downsize to a turnover 50% of what it was in 2008, we would have failed.”

“In the middle of the recession, the poison chalice of owning the company passed to Managing Director Shane Winters and Financial Director Sarah Wilson. Shane and Sarah obviously had the number one objective of returning the company to profitability and to this end they took some brave decisions. No one was made redundant during this period, as much work was brought back in-house.

The loyalty of the workforce some of whom are with us since 1973 was immense”. Says Shane
“A secondly objective Shane and Sarah aimed for was to bring the business to a different level regarding documentation, health and safety, production and customer service. To achieve these goals extra specialised personnel were recruited to these areas to improve standards,”.
“Outside accreditation was considered essential firstly because of the demands of larger customers, secondly because it set internal disciplines, and thirdly because it hugely reduced the amount of paperwork necessary at tender stage or commencement of a project.”
To this end, CIRI and Safe-T-Cert accreditation have been obtained and CE Marking for those products requiring it
Production is now adopting and operating many Lean Systems and this creates efficiencies and improves work flow.
Thinking strategically had paid off for the company so many times in the past and again such dynamic management resulted in a major commitment to try to relocate the company’s premises. “the 2008 ambition to move was now an imperative. We desperately needed to get a property with extensive yard space as our supply only business was growing rapidly. Loading and unloading in our cramped space was a nightmare continues Shane
“In 2016, we purchased and equipped new premises with state of the art equipment, with over 6000 sq. metres of space, convenient access and egress and more than ample parking 500 metres from The Naas Rd in Inchicore.

Tullamore Dew used Irish Fencing Services to enhance their new facility.

“We now handle over 400 inward and outward movements per week, with speedy turnaround for our suppliers and customers,”

“As the supply side of our business has grown, we needed to assess our delivery strategy. After examining the pros and cons of having our own transport we determined that we are far better off using a specialised logistics company and opted for C.A.B Freight Services who provide us with a wide range of specialised vehicles with Cranes or other lifting equipment, as well as different sizes and design of truck giving us total flexibility. “They can service our onsite personnel as well as supply customers and provide an amazing service” adds Anthony Smyth, Transport Co-ordinator.

The evolution of Irish Fencing was happening apace. “The change of emphasis in its business model the new location and a desire to refresh under the new ownership of Shane and Sarah resulted in the company rebranding to Irish Fencing Services.

Sarah Wilson takes up the story: “the new branding was important in refreshing the company at many levels, to move forward into the better period we anticipated after the pressure years from 2008 to 2014. The help we got in this exercise from Garrett McKeagney of Goldfinch Design & Strategy was incredible.

Irish Fencing Services can provide railing solutions for large and small projects.

“Our normal initial point of contact with a project is usually the Architect or Engineer where we provide specifications drawings and samples, and often visiting site to determine specialist solutions. Eventually, when a contractor is appointed, there will often be ways that we can assist in improving productivity with alternate installation methods or possibly simplified products. Our objective is to work as closely and as early as possible on a project to provide the speediest installation and the most appropriate product, and to leave the site with all parties including ourselves having made a fair and reasonable profit,” says Sarah.


“We are looking forward to a very good 2017,” she says, “and the signs for 2018 are looking positive. Foreign direct investment is always a major market for us and since 1973 we have been involved on so many multinational projects. Data Centres are currently very big business, as well as schools, indigenous companies and private individuals. However,” continues Sarah, “the effects of Brexit could cause major problems to the economy and are certainly a very worrying issue.

“Whilst the main business of Irish Fencing Services is the manufacture of Fences Gates and Railings, we are also distributors for the Iconic Kee Klamp product which is over 80 years old and is still the world’s most popular tube assembly system.”

We are also The Fencing Partners for South West Microwave and their Micropoint perimeter detection system. Micropoint has recently been used on remote unmanned perimeters by ESB Networks as well as The Dublin Port Authority, She adds: “a fully working Micropoint System is on display in our premises in Inchicore it is fixed to samples of all the different fences and railings we provide to show its performance in all scenarios. Micropoint enables monitoring of an intrusion attempt before the intruder has accessed the perimeter allowing those precious extra minutes for reaction.

“The ability to offer the widest range of fencing products with the highest on-site professionalism is our hallmark and we intend to confirm our position as the go-to fencing contractor from our Dublin Cork and Newry locations.”


MEDITE SMARTPLY launch new, customer driven website

Innovative timber panel manufacturer, MEDITE SMARTPLY, is excited to announce the launch of its new website – the latest stage in the company’s rebrand project. Designed to provide a customer-centric user experience, the website offers a comprehensive and detailed breakdown of the brand’s entire range of MDF and OSB products, plus all supporting environmental and test certification. Importantly, it also brings together the previous three individual product websites for ease of navigation and access, something customers asked for.

With a clean, contemporary design, the website hosts a range of content including case studies, news stories, product pages and downloads. External user testing was carried out to develop a site tailored to customer needs and expectations, allowing distributors and end users to find the solution they need in just a few clicks. This was especially critical in the stockist selector, where ease of location was seen as key.

The new website reflects MEDITE SMARTPLY’s market-leading position in sustainable timber panel manufacturing and continues to drive the company’s new corporate identity, helping to cement the brand’s thought-leading position in the marketplace. New advertising campaigns, sales tools and literature all continue to set the standards of what OSB manufacturers can do.

“We’re tremendously proud of the new website,” said Stuart Devoil, Head of Marketing & Brand at MEDITE SMARTPLY, “which is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication. As MEDITE SMARTPLY moves from strength to strength under one unified brand, it was only right that our website design reflected this new integrated brand identity and the market-leading status of our product portfolio. Along with other vehicles such as our SMARTPLY AR app and product selector, the new site will continue to establish our digital presence and give our customers a more engaging and straightforward experience online.”

Visit the new site here: www.mdfosb.com/en/


KCC DataStore

Introducing Datastore – KCC Architecturals latest innovation will ease the workload of architects and contractors across the country.

Media surrounding the construction industry is constantly buzzing with information and news on Building Information Modelling or BIM, as most of us know it. We are all familiar with how important it is and understand at this point that it is the future of how buildings are going to be planned, designed, built, and managed.

In 2016 KCC Architectural realised that their traditional hardware catalogue was in need of updating, as there had been so many product additions and enhancements since the last publication. Given the constant changes in the construction industry, KCC understood that the world was a very different place since the last publication. Steve Young, project development director for KCC said “We knew that producing a new and updated product binder simply wasn’t good enough. Put simply, we could see four major factors had changed the landscape as we knew it, and we had to adapt our business to meet these requirements.”

The changes Steve was referring to are not specific to KCC, but relevant to the entire construction industry. One such requirement was CE Marking. In 2011, CE Marking became mandatory for construction products covered by harmonised European Standards (hENs). It became a necessity for manufacturers like KCC to make a Declaration of Performance (DoP) for the product and where appropriate affix the CE Mark.
The second factor that had a huge impact on the construction industry, was the introduction of Irish Amended Building Regulations 2014 (BC(A)R). With a stringent inspection and certification process, the possibility of ‘passing the buck’ or slacking on quality adherence or best practice simply wasn’t possible. This presented the need for comprehensive product performance statements and test evidence to allow buildings to be certified and occupied.
BIM, quite obviously, became another major factor. The UK Government mandate that came into effect in 2016, insists that all public government projects must be BIM Level 2 compliant by the end of 2016. The growing need to have products available as 3D objects, complete with performance data to use in a 3D Model, became a necessity for KCC to respond to their clients needs.

Steve saw KCC survive the recession and says “We have emerged from the economic recession and we see the construction industry is very different to what existed in 2008. We all have less time, less resources and less patience. As a company we already offer a ‘one stop shop’ solution to our customers and clients by taking away the need to deal with several suppliers. We wanted to take this one step further and develop a system that would save our clients time, energy and effort – so we developed Datastore.”

KCC built Datastore in response to their clients needs and a notable gap in the marketplace. To put it mildly, Datastore is an architect or building contractors dream! An enormous piece of work, in the guise of a vast database of every single component KCC provide, the information is publishable as concise yet comprehensive individual datasheets at the click of a button.
KCC haven’t stopped there however – The Datastore system also delivers project specific catalogues (aka ‘Technical Submittals’) detailing every item KCC are or providing to a particular project, and include images, performance characteristics, dimensions, options, finishes, test evidence, and warranty information.

Speaking excitedly about his involvement in the development of Datastore, Steve says “These technical submittals link directly to our scheduling systems to allow us create project specific catalogues within minutes and it allows us the flexibility to make revisions quickly where necessary. We weren’t content to stop there however, and we went on to develop the system further to be able to produce submittals with 100% of our back up evidence – every test certificate, every fire test report. We can provide the submittal in hard or soft copy or for those that are working within BIM models, we can export the data in a variety of formats”.

It seems that this is just the start of KCC’s plans as they are now building a library of 3D Revit Models. These and other major enhancements will be released later in the year.




Designer, Julius Taminiau, has created a floating house equipped with office space using MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME. First discovered during an exhibition in London, where he worked on an open source plan for houses, Julius took his findings back to the Netherlands and set about designing his dream build.

“The boat will cover 100 square metres and consists of two floors,” says Julius.

“The rooftop will be half filled with solar panels, which will be concealed by the balustrade. Apart from the living and sleeping rooms, one of the spaces on the floating house will have a double height and will be a working space with flexible layout. In the open space, a mezzanine floor enables the creation of separate work and meeting areas.”

The floating house idea had to fulfil two key objectives that the architect had in mind: ingenuity and sustainability.
“The budget for this project was tight and therefore we decided to rationalise the design and make it as clever as possible”, says Julius.

“The solution was found in a design with a fixed grid basis on the size of panel material. The sizes of the rooms, cladding, windows and other materials had to match precisely and be well proportioned. It also reduced the amount of waste material, avoiding unnecessary impact on the environment while also reducing costs.”

The lay-out of the MDF cladding follows a tatami grid system and is applied in a fish-scale pattern. By emulating nature’s time-tested pattern, the architect underlines the secondary key principle of sustainability, which played such an important role in the design.

“The facade of the floating house will be continuously exposed to wet and damp conditions”, says Julius. “Therefore, we chose the durable MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME as cladding.”

“The acetylated wood fibre makes the resultant panel extremely durable, resistant to decay and dimensionally very stable.  The panel will not rot and expands minimally in length or width, even when in contact with water. It’s also guaranteed for use in these conditions for up to 50 years.”

The floating house and office was built by Oranje Arkenbouw, Hardenber in the Netherlands and the panel material was supplied by local distributor, RET in Utrecht.  The finished product was coated in a water-based matte paint and, due to the unique qualities of MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME, can be left for 15 years without the need to reapply.

“The dark colour of the coating gives the floating house added character and underlines the eastern mystique,” says Julius.

“Added to this, the panel material can be sawed, coated, painted, sanded, nailed and mounted just like any other wood material. The class 1 durability classification makes the panel material as durable as hard timber types, such as teak. It’s a product with multiple possibilities, ideal for a project as ambitious as mine.”

With such a wide variety of possible applications, MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME’s potential can match any designer’s imagination. Even in situations where humidity and weather are usually a concern for the use of timber panels




What’s the story behind this penthouse in Serbia? Read the architect’s inspired narrative about the result.

Ten years ago, architect Aleksandar Savikin designed the building with the penthouse. He also had the opportunity to create the interior. He tells us: “In certain respects this work was made easier, as I was fully aware of all the architectural lines and possible positioning of the furniture. It’s always such a pleasure to design the building first and then to decorate the interior afterwards.”

Brick slips for the interior
The architect created open spaces that flow into each other to form one large integrated space. The choice of brick slips not only stands for a distinct style, but it also brings all the different areas together. Aleksandar Savikin: “I decided on bricks because I love the contrast of modern and minimalistic furniture against the rough surface of the bricks. The furniture and lighting seem more sculptural and special against a brick background.

Dark colour
Douro facing bricks provide this kind of contrast thanks to the powerful texture and dark colour. The joint-free brickwork adds a modern touch. “I must admit that it took a lot of courage to choose this colour for an area of 100 sqm. But it was love at first sight. Douro bricks have a complex colour, and they are in perfect harmony with the idea I had for the interior. The result is even better than I expected,” explains the architect.

Kingscourt Country Manor Bricks provide a large range of brick slips, for more information contact us on 01 844 1200, email; info@kcmb.ie or visit www.kcmb.ie. Alternatively, visit our showrooms at Unit 26, Airways Industrial Estate, Santry, Dublin 17, D17 TH93.


Le Corbusier inspired range from National Tile

Exciting developments at National Tile Limited sees the addition of the ‘Le Couleurs Le Corbusier’ range of ceramic tiles to its product lines.

The announcement comes thanks to National Tile well established links to Gigacer and the Italian firm’s recent collaboration with Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier – which is a world exclusive-  and which  lead to the introduction of a brand new collection based on La Polychromie Architecturale of the great artist and designer.

The collection is composed by two base colours in technical porcelain (120x250cm) with smaller sizes for floors and walls: Beton Gris and Beton Blanc. The two “Betons” are inspired by the surfaces that Le Corbusier used most in his projects: raw sprayed concrete and white lime. Along with the two base tiles, the range offers a selection of 12 other colours taken from La Polychromie Architecturale in a glossy glaze finish, format 30x120cm.

The colours developed by Gigacer are certified to be exactly the same colours that Le Corbusier codified in his palette. Now it is possible to use these very colours in a durable surface such as ceramics, and get exactly the same effect that Le Corbusier obtained in his creations. This range is only the first step of this exciting collaboration, with developments on future ranges of products and on the colour palette to come.

According to Gavin McDonald of National Tile Limited: “We are delighted to be able to bring such as world-exclusive product to the Irish market. It is consistent with our commitment to providing designers, specifiers and architects with the finest ranges to meet their design challenges and creative aspirations.”
From the outset, National Tile Limited has offered the best of products at competitive prices, from a wide range of bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles, wall tiles and floor tiles. The company has also expanded its product range to include engineered wooden flooring and laminates
National Tile Limited, Coes Road, Dundalk, Ireland
Phone: ++353 42 9337678 Fax: ++353 42 9335424


Waterford Institute of Technology to host sixth All Ireland Architecture Research Group (AIARG)

On 27-28 January 2017 the Architectural Research Group (aRCH) at Waterford Institute of Technology hosted the sixth annual AIARG conference.

The aim of the conference is to highlight new areas of architectural research, encourage collaboration and facilitate dissemination of findings as well as encouraging the participation of practicing architects who wish to further their research interests.

Aleksandar Kostić, Acting Head of the Department of Architecture and Chair of the AIARG 2017 Organising Committee, said, “WIT is delighted and honoured to host this renowned conference, which gives us the opportunity to showcase the great work done within the Department of Architecture as well as the city of Waterford.”

The All-Ireland Architecture Research Group (AIARG) is an organisation that aims to promote architectural research within practice and academia.  The group was founded in 2010 through the collaboration of the seven schools of architecture in Ireland, both north and south, including WIT and continues to be made up of members of the seven schools of architecture and professionals interested in architectural research.  Each year an architecture conference is held in one of the schools – this is the first time it is to be held in Waterford.
There are a range of themes organised for the conference such as Minor Woods of Ireland, Intertidal Infrastructure, Domesticity at the Crossroads; Irish Housing Design 1955-1980 as well as Architectural Education in the Age of Globalisation, which has attracted around 70 speakers and session Chairs from inter alia UK, US, China and Spain from both the world of academia as well as industry.

There are four keynote speakers attending: Peter Buchanan, celebrated author of Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Complete Works, Ten Shades of Green and most recently, The Big Rethink series in The Architectural Review; Jane Rendell, prolific author and Professor of Architecture and Art, and Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, UCL; Jonathan Hale, architect and Associate Professor & Reader in Architectural Theory; and Shane O’Toole, co-founder of Group 91 Architects, co-founder of DoCoMoMo Ireland, inaugural director of the Irish Architecture Foundation and twice Ireland’s Commissioner for the Venice Biennale. RIAI approved CPD points are accredited to the conference.

Financial support has been provided by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs under the Government Policy on Architecture 2009 – 2015 Implementation Programme (GPA).
For more information:  www.aiarg2017conference.com



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