Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stylish flooring

Victorian Woodworks have supplied a variety of wooden floors to Cameron House a luxury hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond.

A selection of timber flooring solutions were specified for Cameron House, including a combination of Burnt Oak boards and smoked End Grain Woodblocks for installation within the Cameron Grill. The Great Scots Bar received luxurious Russian Oak supplied as a 'four block' ration. In addition, premier pre-finished Engineered wide boards were specifically chosen for The Bathhouse Restaurant. Victorian Woodworks specified flooring that would provide a durable finish, vital to such a high traffic environment.

Victorian Woodworks

Globe repairs

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London

Shakespeare's Globe has begun repair works to the roof of its iconic theatre. In 1996the theatre became the first thatched building in London since the Great Fire 330 years earlier, and was a crucial component in Sam Wanamaker's vision to strive for faithful reconstruction of Shakespeare's legendary theatre. Today, it is recognised as one of the most famous thatched buildings in the world.

Experienced Master Thatchers, phil Cambell and Kit Davis who both worked on the original thatching, have joined forces once more with their respective teams to undertake essential maintance work on the ridge of the roof. A combined workforce of ten thatchers will use 800 bundles of sedge from the Norfolk Broads, 10,000 English hazel spars, 2,500 feet of liggers and 600 litres of fire retardant fluid.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Obituary: Tony Pattison

TONY Pattison established DDD (Dismantle and Deal Direct), with his partner Liz, after twelve years in business as the Architectural Salvage Store, a traditional salvage company dealing good quality architectural items salvaged from residential properties in and around London. Tony started the business after making a decision to come out of the construction industry in 1992, where he project-managed refurbishments and restoration projects. His first salvage job was to dismantle a large manor house in Bedfordshire. The contents of this started the business. Everything was catalogued, photographed, measured, packed and housed at the premises in Chorleywood. DDD grew out of the original business and from its new location in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire it was able to hold a larger selection of architectural features. Working alongside a number of NFDC-registered demolition contractors DDD was able to purchase some of the best salvageable items available from domestic houses and commercial buildings for trade customers as well as the general public.

Sadly, Tony died on 11th December 2008 after a brave struggle with cancer. Tony was very popular and highly regarded in the trade. Tony and Liz always offered a cheerful welcome. Tony, like most of us, found the trade sometimes frustrating but he was indomitable in his energy to always find a fresh approach and try a new way through difficulties. Tony and Liz were very much a team united in purpose and always courteous to trade callers. Tony had an ability to search out and find all manner of architectural salvage; he was a great go-between and connector of dealers who he traded between. Dean and the Hertfordshire Lads, Robert Grimmond, Marcus Olliff, Ronnie Wootton, Drummonds and his life long friend Paul Harris together with many others will miss his visits and conversations. Such a brief summary of man seems almost impolite but his memory will be fondly continued by his many friends.

I know that the entire trade extends its condolences to Liz Pattison at this time.

Steve Tomlin
15 December 2008

Liz would like to thank friends for their kind messages and hopes to arrange a memorial get together in the New Year to celebrate Tony's life with friends from the trade. The funeral will be held privately.

High spend home owners bring building industry in from cold

The Listed Property Show, Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd February at Olympia, London

A consumer property show is delivering a rare ray of sunshine to the financially-stricken building industry. Several thousand owners of the UK’s heritage homes will be attending expert showcase The Listed Property Show this coming February in London.

It does not need any more headlines, or indeed the Chancellor, to tell us that times are tough for anyone linked to the building industry. But one specialist sector is applying lessons learnt in the last recession to ensure that the slump does not drag them under.

Whilst the housing market sunk during the economic down-turn of the late 80s and early 90s, companies focused on renovation were able to keep afloat because house-holders chose to put money into improvements rather than movements.

The listed property market is top of the spending table on renovations. Often these are homeowners who are legally obliged to carry out work to a defined spec; that means a decent budget, quality materials and expert advice. Recent research amongst owners of period properties showed that less than 14% felt that the current recession would affect their plans for renovations, whilst an impressive 77% are planning a home improvement project. Last year’s event grew by 65% from 2,285 visitors in 2007, to 3,770 in 2008 and organisers The Listed Property Owners Club expect the same again this year.

Listed Property Show

Passerby auction story

Mallam's Oxford saleroom, September 24th 2008
Article by a passerby

On September 24th Mallam's Oxford saleroom included 13 lots of interest to the architectural salvage trade pitched intriguingly in the middle of a sale of jewelry, porcelain and period furniture. These pieces were originally from Shoppenhanger Manor near Maidenhead, removed after a fire and stored for some time in containers. Whilst fresh to the market, two dealers who were attended the sale had previously been invited to tender privately for the items. Their bids were obviously not high enough because here the lots were ,up for auction. Estimates had been set at prices below those offered by the dealers. Tempters perhaps and if so they worked as prices soared away.

The first lot up set the scene [see pict 1] a pair of very early English Gothic carved oak front doors with a lovely patina.Very nice indeed.Bidding started in the rooms and on the phones.The winning bid of £4,461 including premium came on the phone (estimate £1500-2000). Following was a stone entrance arch possibly for these doors and selling to the same buyer for £780 (est £200-300).A collection of Victorian oak pillasters, a cartouche and 3 lions head plaques sold for £1,100 (est £300-500).

Three nice early oak columns with a nasty varnish finish fetched £1320 (est £600-800). Other highlights included 2 pairs of wrought iron gates with frames and pediment over, one set antique and the other a modern copy fetched £2,900 against an estimate of £400-600. A thickly painted limestone fireplace [see pict 2] 17th century, nicely carved with rosettes had an estimate of £200-300 but sailed away to a premium inclusive £5,550.- with one of the trade present being the under bidder. Stunned though the trade present were, it was the last 3 lots of stained glass [see pict 3] which
really took the breath away. Basically sets of panels being montages of broken coloured Victorian glass interspersed with small fragments of medieval painted glass, these fetched a combined total of £8500 after a fierce telephone battle. (est £2400-£3700). One member of the trade was heard to mutter ,as he stumbled away slightly bemused ,that he thought his earlier offer of £500 was more than enough!

A good result for the vendor and the auctioneer but there didn't seem to be much profit in it for the trade at these prices.

. . . Passerby

Pict 1: A PAIR OF EARLY ENGLISH GOTHIC CARVED OAK DOORS, each with four panels and arched design, quatrefoil, trailing foliate and flower head design with later iron work, alteration and restoration, maximum measurement of each door 7ft high x 2ft 4" wide. Sold for £3,700

Pict 2: AN ANTIQUE PAINTED STONE FIREPLACE SURROUND with Gothic carved quatrefoil and arched fenestration moulded sections constructed in seven pieces. Sold for £4,600

Pict 3: AN ANTIQUE STAINED GLASS WINDOW also, by repute from Selby Abbey constructed in twelve leaded panels inset glass fragments including a hinged opening window, each panel approximately 16" x 26". Sold for £3,600

Eiffel Tower staircase sells at Sotheby's

Above: An employee at Sotheby's Auction House stands next to a portion of the original staircase of the Eiffel Tower [pict. from Yahoo News]

Sotheby's, Paris

A part of the Eiffel Tower's iron spiral staircase has been sold at Sotheby's auction house in Paris. The 4.5m (14.7ft), 20-step section, which once linked the tower's second and third levels, it was one of 24 sections removed in 1983 to make room for new lifts it was expected to fetch up to 30,000 euros ($44,000; £21,000). It may also be the last piece available to the public, as the other 23 sections have already been bought by museums and collectors around the world. Auctioneer Remi Ader said the other 23 sections have been spread around the world, including one installed inside the Statue of Liberty, another of Gustave Eiffel's designs.

During its auction sale it fetched 553,000 euros (710,000 dollars), 10 times its estimated price. The staircase has been bought for a Dutch basketball team of the same name by entrepreneur Erik Kurvers, who is president of the club. Mr Kurvers said the price was worth it because of what the piece symbolises.

BBC News

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tesco plans to halve its carbon footprint

Supermarket giant Tesco has unveiled a £27 million plan to generate energy on-site at 50 of its UK stores through combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

This forms part of a strategy from the company to "halve the carbon footprint of its existing estate by 2020". The technology aims to cut carbon emissions by 10%. Added to which, the installed 'mini-stations' will be used to heat the stores. The plan follows an annnouncement from the company in July that it received planning permission to build a straw-powered CHP plant to meet the electricity and heating needs of its Google distribution center. The new plant will generate 5MW of electrical power.

Tesco said it has already installed gas-powered CHP plants as its stores in Swansea, Reading, Orpington, Aylesford and Hemsworth as well as at its recycling service unit in Peterborough and its training center in Hertford. It has tested combined cooling heating and power (CCHP) technology at its stores in Carmarthen and Gloucester.

Tesco: Measuring Our Carbon Footprint

Olympia suffers at the fate of the recession

Olympia, Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair, November 10 to 16

At the close of the Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia, November 10 to 16 there was no doubt that the worldwide banking crisis and now the recession had taken there toll. As the most important UK quality fair since the economic crisis took hold, there was more focus than usual on the fair and not surprisingly the ATG reports that the fair was badly hit. Again it was not surprising that this year a significantly high proportion of exhibitors failed to cover costs, but it must be remembered that Olympia is a very expensive fair at which to stand. The number of stalls were down by 35 but the visitor numbers were 22,352, almost identical to last year.

David Moss from the ATG reports that, 'The phrase that kept cropping up around the stands was "pockets of business", and even some of the dealers who just ticked over admitted that there was business out there. As with all recent fairs, period furniture proved difficult, although again a handful of dealers in this field enjoyed remarkably good business. Jewelery sold very well, period silver not so well as usual, but some of the objects soared, such as the Arts & Crafts.'

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BigREc Survey shows predicted decline in reuse between 1998 and 2007

London UK - THE report on the BigREc 2 Survey was launched in St Pancras, London last Thursday 4th December 2008 with presentations and talks by Gilli Hobbs and Katherine Adams of BRE, Thornton Kay of Salvo and Steve Tomlin of Masco.

The report had been commissioned by BRE in 2006 and was carried out in 2006 – 2007. The results showed that, overall, the reclaimed part of the reclamation trade had declined since 1998, although some sectors of the trade, reclaimed bricks and architectural woodwork for example, had increased.

Anecdotal evidence that the government push for recycling, spearheaded by WRAP, had diverted materials away from reuse and towards crushing and chipping, seemed to be confirmed by the survey, with total volumes down from 2.96m tonnes in 1998 to 2.23m in 2007. Employment was also down from 39,000 in 1998 to 25,800 in 2007.

The BigREc survey was in two parts: Yellow Postcards and the main BigREc survey questionnaires comprising 19 material sectors ranging from salvaged concrete to antique bathrooms

2,043 Yellow Postcards were sent out of which 1,900 were valid, and 180 were returned (compared to 1200 sent out of which 288 were returned in 1998). These gave an indication of the total size of the market, the type of business and sales turnover of each respondent.

323 BigREc main survey questionnaires were sent out of which 36 were completed (88 completed in 1998) comprising of a 28 page booklet with 235 questions in total. The survey gave detailed info on volumes, stocks, suppliers, customers, distances goods travel, employment and standards of supply.

The Yellow Postcards and BigREc Survey were two separate surveys which corroborated each other to an extent.

It is a long job answering 235 questions and after the failure of the BigREc survey of 1998 to make any impact on policy (in fact government policy moved against reuse after the survey was published in 2000) unsurprisingly there was less enthusiasm for completing the survey this time.

The Yellow Postcards went into a draw for a free Salvo mag subscription worth £50 (won by Anglia Building Supplies in Essex) and the BigREc main survey went into a draw for a free stand at Salvo Fair worth up to £750 (won by David Nightingale of 3A Roofing in Suffolk).

Nine businesses completed both surveys in 1998 and 2007 – it would have been eleven but two have since gone completely out of salvage and into new manufacture. Accuracy is an issue with this survey, comparative shifts are more reliable than absolute figures.

The Yellow Postcard and BigREc 2 survey was undertaken by Thornton Kay of Salvo Llp.

Construction Resources Waste Platform BigREc Survey Report 2008

Climate change theory by professionals does not add up

Above (l to r): Myles Allen, moderator Reto Brennwald and Bjorn Lomborg battling it out at the Climate Forum in October

Switzerland - A FASCINATING debate took place on 9 October between author and polemicist Bjorn Lomborg and scientist Myles Allen at the Climate Change Forum held in Switzerland.

Although Lomborg believes climate change is real, he says that the world should have other priorities for spending money, such as curing malaria and clean water supplies. Allen says that this would be the Russian model where the old Soviet government chose to spend money on irrigation for agriculture rather than nuclear safety, in other words we should spend money on reducing global warming. Myles Allen says the only way carbon is safe is if it follows his acronym SAFE standing for Sequestered At time of Fossil Extraction, but how is this done?

Myles Allen took ten pieces of coal, one of which represented all the coal used between 1750 and now, which he calls one global warming unit (gwu) and is roughly 500bn tonnes of carbon and is responsible for increasing global warming by one degree. One piece of coal represents all the oil and gas left in the worlds reserves, and the remaining five pieces of coal represent all the coal left in the world, with the other three pieces representing tar sands and oil shales. It took 250 years to burn the first gwu and will take around 25 - 35 years to burn the next one.

What was interesting to me was the lack of consideration given to the existing embodied energy stock of the world. My guess is that based on his figures, around 1 gwu of energy is embodied in the world's existing built infrastructure. So we should reuse the world's building materials rather than crush or recycle them. More importantly we should not demolish any building or road, or any built item, in the first place. The only reason for demolition should be if the energy cost of not demolishing is higher than that of demolishing.

In other words, if it takes more energy to keep something in place than to remove it then it sould be removed. But that decision cannot be made by the building's owner. It must be made by the global community. If the world decides a building should be demolished then all the materials from that building should be kept in as large a lump as possible and reused to make whatever is being built in place of the demolished building, or as near to that building as possible.

The harder it is for the western developed world to demolish buildings then the easier it would be for the undeveloped world to build up their infrastructure. There would be capital flight from the west to the undeveloped world.

Instead of carbon emission trading schemes each country would have an embodied energy audit and would be responsible for maintaining its energy capital stocks, both above and below ground. This would slow down the western world's use of energy.

It is no good looking at solely at energy flows and emission trading schemes. We must look at energy assets and human health trading schemes.

Bjorn Lomborg's famous book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, was deemed by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty to be dishonest, which he challenged and their pronouncement was withdrawn. In November 2001 Lomborg was made Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, and in 2007 he was named as one of the 50 people who could save the planet. Rolling Stone wrote Lomborg pulls off the remarkable feat of welding the techno-optimism of the Internet age with a lefty's concern for the fate of the planet. He comes across as a cool media-savvy dude, like someone who you would see on Saturday morning TV showing you how to cook Thai curried asparagus.

Myles Allen is a climate change physicist at Oxford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He recently suggested that poor countries affected by climate change should sue oil companies. He also says that we will soon be living in the climatic equivalent of the Cretaceous age. He contributed to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a Lead Author of the Chapter on detection of change and attribution of causes. He comes across like a young John Steed of the Avengers.

Another debate in New York on Tuesday 13 January 2009 with the motion Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money also features Lomborg and will be broadcast on BBC World News on 7 and 8 March. Moderator: John Donvan. Speaking for the motion: Peter Huber, Bjorn Lomborg and Philip Stott. Speaking against the motion: Daniel Kammen, Oliver Tickell and Adam Werbach

Myles R Allen v Bjorn Lomborg debate on video
Bjorn Lomborg's web site
Myles Allen's web site

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We need eco-extremists - Miliband

The scale of the popular movement and the force with which activists and agitators deliver their arguments is key to the success of any future international agreement to tackle climate change. These were the somewhat surprising words of the new Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy, Ed Miliband, when he spoke at the Environment Agency's conference this week.

"We need the utopians and we need the agitators, We need the people who say that people like me aren't doing enough." he said.

He spoke about the massive popular mobilisation of the Make Poverty History campaign in the run up to the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005, saying that had made a huge difference to the outcome of the gathering of world leaders. Mr Miliband told delegates how, at the time, musician-turned-campaigner Bob Geldof had shouted at him down the phone, arguing his case in no uncertain terms. "Bob Geldof can be a pain in the ****, but it's incredibly important that people like that are part of the climate change movement," he said.

When the United Nations holds its climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009, the outcome will be shaped in part by the apparent level of public concern. When I came into this job I didn't know as much as I should have done about Copenhagen 2009 as a red letter day in relation to climate change," said Mr Miliband.

"Whether we get an agreement or not will be partly defined by the strength of the popular movement around the world." He said it was vital for activists to form global networks that would help give their message more weight. Government wants the world to reach an agreement on climate change, he said, but it would not be an easy task.

"Given the economic backdrop this is a very big challenge we face. This can't be done by government alone, it needs a popular movement to make this happen. That movement needs to do more to find its international voice." said the Minister.

He also commended the work of local councils and stressed the need for everyone to play their part. "I think the work that local authorities are doing is incredibly important because it makes people in local areas change the way they live and change their ways for the better. The most important thing of all is that people can say of us in decades to come 'these people saw the scale of the challenge, they saw the threat that was posed by climate change and despite tough times they did act and they did make a difference to ensure we met our obligations to future generations, " he said.


Taking buildings apart piece by piece

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette USA, By Kevin Kirkland

In a city with more than 200 condemned buildings, how hard could it be to find one to dismantle and salvage? Harder than removing a million rusty nails and stripped screws, it turns out.

Construction Junction, a nonprofit retailer of used and surplus building materials in North Point Breeze, gets most of its windows, paint, cabinets and other items as donations.

In September, it went one step further, taking down a house in East Liberty through "deconstruction" -- separating and recycling wood, metal, brick and other house parts, keeping them out of landfills. Now the 9-year-old organization would like to do more such projects in Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg. But first, they'll have to break through a wall of legal issues and demolition procedures that were created to take down more eyesores as cheaply as possible.

"This is about more than reusing things people throw away," said Mike Gable, Construction Junction's director. "This is an economic development strategy. The more material we intercept, the more material we put in the marketplace, the more people we employ."

It's a complicated issue that bedevils communities nationwide. Cities in Washington and California offer incentives or simply require developers to divert at least 50 percent of building waste from overburdened landfills.

Brad Guy, a Regent Square-based sustainability consultant who recently visited Cleveland to teach deconstruction, believes Pittsburgh could do better. "Pittsburgh is a city with a strong green builder movement. People would rather harvest the community's resources and make the most of everything we have," he said.

The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan released in June mentions deconstruction and recycling construction waste, but ridding city neighborhoods of ugly, unsafe buildings that sometimes shelter crime is a much bigger priority for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said acting mayoral spokesman Joanna Doven. "The mayor is always interested in having the dialog but his first priority is public safety," Ms. Doven said. "If we do this, will it take longer for this vacant house to come down? Will it cost more?"

The answer to both questions is yes, but only for the handful of houses that Construction Junction could deconstruct each year. The cost to dismantle the house at 6121 E. Liberty Blvd. was $20,000, covered by a grant from the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority. With the blessing of East Liberty Development Inc. and the help of demolition contractor ICX, an eight-man crew spent 4 1/2 days in late September razing the 2 1/2-story wood-framed house. Demolition, meanwhile, would have taken roughly 1-2 days and cost about $10,600, Mr. Gable said.

The project was a learning exercise, not a money-maker or big waste diverter. Dave Bennink of RE-USE Consulting in Bellingham, Wash., who has deconstructed nearly 500 buildings nationwide, showed the crew techniques to speed the process, including cutting the house into huge panels that could be more easily disassembled.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Add events to Salvo Online Calendar for 2p per day

Salvo's online calendar is for fairs, auctions, sales, openings, launches and get togethers. Everything to do with architectural and garden antiques and salvage, reclaimed building materials, craftspeople, green and traditional building and reuse.

It is now possible for those registered to Salvo to add an event to this calendar using their control panels. The cost is 2p for every day that your event appears live on the calendar, ie. If your one day event appears live on the calendar for 10 days, the cost will be 20p.

Salvo online calendar