Linking together to promote the Fabric First agenda
Any new agenda needs pioneers to promote the cause, champions to take it on and drive it forward, and innovators to develop products and services to meet specifier’s requirements.
Offsite construction supply specialist Sidey are becoming just such a champion working with other like-minded companies and organisations to promote the ‘Fabric First’ philosophy. And they are doing it in a new and innovative way, having recently launched a dedicated ‘Fabric First’ group on professional social media networking site Linked In where members of the group are able to share their experiences. Suppliers can discuss the challenges and opportunities they face; architects, contractors and clients can use the site as a means of discussing the challenges unique to them, whilst asking for first hand advice from members of the supply chain. The Linked In group welcomes any company, individual or industry association that has an interest in sharing the best practice of implementing and developing a Fabric First approach in construction Only by working together to make more people aware of the outstanding performance of buildings constructed using a Fabric First approach, as well as the financial benefits of this type of construction do Sidey believe that this developing philosophy will fully take hold.
The UKTFA launched Fabric First several years ago at a time when it was becoming clear that the only way more energy efficient homes would be built was by focusing on the fabric performance of the structure. UKTFA CEO Andrew Carpenter was among the first to join the group and is delighted to see other organisations championing the cause. “Fabric First has been at the core of the Associations lobbying for several years and not only are we proud that we set the Fabric standards for the entire construction industry, every UKTFA member underpins the Fabric First message.”
Sidey have become integral members of the supply chain for the Fabric First approach to off-site construction, and their KitFix® offsite installation package and high performance windows and doors have been supplied to numerous sites throughout the UK as a result. It is their innovative culture in developing bespoke solutions which has helped the company become recognised as a market leader in their field. Working as a direct supplier to OSMs, Sidey supply their Solartherm ® Windows and doors into structural timber frame and SIPs factories along with their unique KitFix ® installation package. The unique bracket system allows the windows to be securely fixed into panels in the factory and to be fitted with an air-tightness membrane in a controlled environment ensuring that it is sealed and immediately an integral part of the building structure without the issues usually associated with factory installed fenestration. The development of these solutions was essential to enable windows and doors to genuinely become a crucial element of fabric first construction where offsite manufacturing is concerned.
Development Director Mike Stevenson explains, “Given our years of experience of supplying the offsite construction market we understood what was required to enable windows and doors to become a genuine component in a fabric first approach to construction. There’s been a lot in the press about how ‘Eco-bling’ is failing to deliver what it says on the tin. Concentrating on the Fabric of the building is a far more robust and cost effective method of delivering high performing thermally efficient buildings with a low carbon output that people really want to live and work in. Given our unique knowledge of that it is our intention to drive the Fabric First philosophy forward as much as we can. It is something we really believe in as a construction philosophy, and it is our intention to continue to work with like minded partners to develop products and solutions which not only perform better from a thermal and air tightness point of view, but which enables faster and more cost effective construction too”.
Starting the ’Fabric First’ Linked in group is a new and exciting challenge for the company who recognise fully that many of the people who join in discussion won’t necessarily end up buying from them, but so passionate are they about the subject that they want to take a leading role in driving the agenda forward.
Membership is growing by the week from people and organisations similarly committed to Fabric First. Many debates are taking place about key topics within it and how to raise awareness of the benefits of this kind of construction.
Mike comments, “As new construction philosophies develop education becomes really important. Our belief is that we need to support architects, contractors and clients, and what better way to do it than with quality authoritative publications and the latest professional social media methods. Modern methods of construction through modern methods of communication. We will be delighted to see the group grow and grow, and for a Fabric First approach to become top of everybody’s construction agenda. If we can achieve that we can be rightly proud of the small part we will have played in it”.
As group leaders Sidey welcome all new members and are keen to grow the group and spread the message. Join via www.linkedin.com and join Fabric First.