Major event to unlock the future of the door and window hardware industry

A major free virtual conference this week for all door and window professionals is set to explore the future for industry and architectural ironmongery, upcoming technical standards, product showcases and CPD, as well as unveiling the new logo, leadership and growth strategy for the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI).

The GAI Members’ Day on Thursday 27 May has a fully customisable agenda, including the chance to take part in a transatlantic exchange of views on the comparison between BS, EN and American standards, led by GAI’s technical manager Douglas Masterson and Laura Frye Weaver, vice president of education, certification and technical activities at the Door Hardware Institute in the USA.

Another keynote presentation delegates can choose to attend online will be a debate on the long-term vision for architectural ironmongers and their business models in a world increasingly impacted by artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart technology.

Looking at the global trends that could significantly impact on the role of a door and window hardware professional will be Hannah Mansell, UK group technical director Masonite UK, Steve Bewick, chief operating officer for access control EMEA dormakaba, Richard Waterhouse, a consultant and former chief executive officer at NBS, and Paul Martin, managing director of dline eisenware. Chaired by Liz Male, director of PR and communications consultancy LMC, the panellists will be spelling out how they believe the industry will change, and its implications for businesses, individuals and for the GAI itself.

In addition to breakout sessions on issues like best practices in recruitment, the role of BSI technical standards and the UK’s standards-making process, the GAI Members’ Day will include multiple opportunities to preview new products from a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers, including from GEZE, Forza Doors, HOPPE (UK), Codelocks, Croft, Strand Hardware, Mann McGowan, Masonite (UK), Simonswek, ABLOY and others.

As part of the GAI AGM which will be held during the event, the GAI will announce its new President and Executive Committee team, and will unveil the new strategy for the organisation and a major refresh of its corporate identity to recognise the changes ahead. There will also be a mental health and wellbeing presentation by Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Club, a charity that provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families.

The event concludes with virtual horse racing and lots of online networking.

Participants can pick and choose their own agenda online, with every session free to book and free to attend. They can also request private meetings with the main sponsor and supporter brands, including CES, Masonite (UK), ABLOY, UL, GEZE, Lorient, Em-B Solutions, Forza Doors, Mann McGowan, Codelocks, Croft, Frank Allart & Company, Harbrine, Oxford Ironmongery and dormakaba.

Simon Forrester, chief executive of the GAI, said:

“The Guid has never held an event as big, as ambitious and as customisable as this before. It’s an incredible opportunity to get direct access to all the industry leading speakers, to discover the latest innovative products on the market, to network internationally with like-minded peers and to have the chance to book one-to-one meetings with your industry target list.

“This event is free of charge to attend by anyone involved in door or windows fabrication and supply and the whole architectural ironmongery industry, not just our members.

“We are inviting the wider industry to experience the benefits of being part of our organisation, and it will be of relevance for anyone in research and technical, sales and marketing, HR, international standards and specification roles – there is something for everyone. The agenda can be tailored to suit your interests, and we will be facilitating as much networking as possible.”

The GAI is the body that represents the interests of the UK architectural ironmongery industry. Its qualifications, education and CPD programmes are widely respected in the UK and overseas.  Its technical information service is the only specialist service of its kind and provides GAI members with comprehensive advice. 

Register your free place at the GAI Members’ Day at:

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Plant Hire market impacted by Covid-19

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The UK plant hire market declined significantly in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fall in demand as well as fleet utilisation rates can be attributed to the overall fall in construction levels in the majority of end use sectors throughout the pandemic.

The UK plant hire market is diverse, with equipment ranging from excavators to lighting towers and regional equipment requirements with low ground pressure excavators popular in the South and a strong focus on quarry and mining dump trucks in the North. In general, the level and nature of plant hire is impacted by the construction cycle, with the hire of excavators for groundworks initiating the cycle.

It is stated that the plant hire market is heavily influenced by overall construction levels as well as industrial activity and the general performance of the UK economy. Some hire sectors are more influenced by non-construction sectors such as manufacturing, waste management, the weather, and the events sector.

Other influences, such as weather-related factors impact on the level of hire demand, such as flooding which tends to stimulate demand for the hire of pumps, generators and dehumidifiers. Subsequently there has been an increase in damaged roads, stimulating demand for equipment such as compactors and rollers to undertake road repairs and fill potholes.

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 significantly impacted on the development and advancements of plant hire, although the second lockdown did not impact hire demand as much as the first because construction and infrastructure sectors continued to operate.

In addition to hire demand, plant hire companies were affected by the extra costs of sanitising machines and operators’ safety, which impacts on company profits. However, in addition to open construction sites, some hire companies benefited from demand for the Covid-19 emergency response supporting government and private sector responses to the pandemic. This included for example providing vital equipment for hospitals, alternative care facilities, testing sites and telecommunications and utility companies. The main types of equipment required at testing and vaccination centres included generators, site cabins and lighting towers.

Prospects for the plant hire market into the medium-term are relatively optimistic. The range of factors influencing the market are extensive and the type of plant hired will be influenced by the applications required in each end-user sector as well as wider macro-issues and other more product specific issues. Given the scale of fluctuations caused by the recent pandemic, forecasting future prospects of the plant hire market at this time is extremely difficult, exacerbated by the UK’s exit from the European Union and the possible impact this may have on the UK economy and construction levels.

The information was taken from the Plant Hire Market Report – UK 2021-2025 by AMA Research, which is available to purchase now at or by calling 01242 235724.

About AMA Research

AMA Research is a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 30 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. For more information, go to or follow us on Twitter @AMAResearch for all the latest building and construction market news.

Since 2017, AMA Research has been part of Barbour ABI, a leading provider of construction intelligence services. Barbour ABI is part of UBM, which in June 2018 combined with Informa PLC to become a leading B2B information services group and the largest B2B Events organiser in the world. To learn more and for the latest news and information, visit and

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The Benefits of Using Acrylic Sheets

Acrylic sheets can be used for a wide range of applications within a wide range of industries. From aviation and automotive to military and medical, acrylic is the preferred option for thousands of sectors across the globe. With an unparalleled level of quality and performance, read on to find out why you should choose acrylic sheets for your next project.

It is lightweight

Regardless of industry or sector, weightlessness is a key element of most design projects. Acrylic sheets offer the same level of protection as glass without the added weight. This is one of the main reasons why its popularity is steadily overtaking that of glass. Its lightweight quality makes it an ideal material for the application of glazing and roofing. It is also commonly used in DIY projects as a result of its buoyancy and flexibility. If you are new to the world of acrylic sheets, why not try try Clarex. With optimum levels of excellence and supreme functionality, there really is no alternative to products like Clarex.

It is cheap

When it comes to acrylic sheets, the cost is a fundamental consideration. Generally, acrylic sheets tend to be cheaper than glass sheets. They cost less to source and transport and offer a wider range of benefits for a fraction of the price. Industry accredited acrylic sheets, such as clarex, are also relatively cheap to maintain. A wet microfibre cloth should be enough to blot any dirt or smudges and retain its clarity. It is worth comparing costs from a number of different suppliers before you make a final decision.

It is durable

Acrylic sheets can offer greater protection than glass whilst weighing up to 50% less. Acrylic is the preferred choice for a growing number of applications due to its ability to withstand extreme force and temperature. Even in high impact situations, acrylic sheets are unlikely to shatter or break. If pushed to their absolute limits, they are only likely to fracture into large, dull fragments. This is one of the main reasons why acrylic is utilised for a variety of applications and purposes within a wide range of industries and sectors. These include shower doors, aeroplane canopies and even aquarium enclosures.

It is transparent

Acrylic is one of the few transparent materials that retains its translucency over time. It allows sunlight to pass through while filtering out UV light. This prevents it from turning yellow or falling victim to discolouration. The light transmittance level of acrylic stands at 92% while the light transmittance level of glass falls behind at 90%. With maximum sunlight and a lower UV index, there is no better alternative.

It is malleable

As well as being transparent, acrylic is much more malleable and easier to fabricate than glass. By applying heat, acrylic sheets can be sculpted and moulded into virtually any shape or structure. It also retains its shape when cooled which allows it to be altered by tools as easily as timber or wood.

Acrylic is a popular material choice produced by manufacturers on a global scale. There are a variety of benefits associated with using acrylic sheets as opposed to wood or glass. It is important to fully research the pros and cons of any material before you make an informed decision.

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The key differences between residential and commercial construction

Residential and commercial construction projects have numerous differences in tools, materials, purpose and functionality. The cost of commercial construction in comparison to residential is usually much higher and more likely to be publicly funded. While residential construction is often privately funded through capital investment and bank loans.

Here are the main differences between residential and commercial construction.


Residential construction is usually for domestic housing and apartment buildings. Projects range from self-builds to housing estates and apartment complexes. On the other hand, commercial construction is used for building offices, industrial facilities and professional establishments. These sites are often controlled by the commissioning business and the hired commercial building company.

Of course, the purpose of a construction site has a big impact on the materials and equipment used as well as the functionality of the space.


Residential projects are likely to rely on more cost-effective materials that can be used on a smaller scale. Timber is a popular choice for residential construction projects because of its affordability. Although with a bigger budget, residential projects may have more choice, creativity and flexibility when selecting their materials.

Residential materials are likely to be more focused on aesthetics, whereas commercial builds look for functionality and cost-effectiveness on a larger scale. For example, commercial buildings are more likely to use roofing sheets as opposed to traditional roofing materials that are more common in residential buildings.

Commercial construction sites operate on a larger scale and can afford more investment in materials, like steel. Commercial companies will usually benefit from economies of scale by ordering large quantities of materials.

Project length

Residential projects are much shorter than commercial builds and less complicated. Commercial projects usually need a large workforce to meet deadlines and maximum efficiency to ensure greater profits. Commercial sites will often have tighter deadlines and a more varied skillset on the site at once.

On the other hand, residential sites operate at a much slower pace and use a smaller workforce with less efficient equipment. Commercial projects are likely to take longer to complete because of their complexity and vast scale.


Commercial projects often need high-powered machinery and specialist equipment to perform complex tasks. Workers will need special training to operate some machines, which comes with an added cost. Commercial construction sites can justify added training costs for a specialist workforce and machinery. Larger construction sites may need cranes and earth-moving equipment, which requires specialist health and safety training and experience to operate.

Residential construction is often on a much smaller scale and does not require such heavy-duty equipment. In the case of self-builds, homeowners often choose to DIY parts of their home to save costs on hiring a workforce and machinery. If these DIY projects go wrong, they can be solved fairly easily because of their smaller scale. It’s also important to note that commercial sites are more liable to huge lawsuits if things go drastically wrong.

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Building a Safer Future Charter launches with first companies on way to becoming ‘Charter Champions’

The Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter has launched its ‘Charter Champion’ company initiative to help companies drive the systemic culture change required to put building safety first.

Through robust self-assessment, benchmarking and independent verification, the BSF Charter Champion company initiative will help companies identify potential issues and, in turn, develop continuous improvement plans to advance their overall approach and performance on leadership and culture in relation to building safety. Through their participation in this process companies will be able to identify ways in which they can help to reduce their risk profile in terms of building safety.

The first 12 companies, who are demonstrating real sectoral leadership, have signed up to begin the journey and engage in the robust benchmarking and independent assessment process. The organisations include BAM, Galliford Try, Kier, Mace, mhs homes, Persimmon Homes, Places for People, Salix Homes, United Living, Vistry Group, Wates and Willmott Dixon.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent inquiry into building regulations and fire safety clearly identified failure of leadership and culture as key underlying causes of the Grenfell Tower disaster. The ‘Building a Safer Future Charter’ was initiated in response by a group of early adopters including contractors, housing associations and local authorities supported by MHCLG with a vision of having an industry committed to putting people’s safety first.

The BSF Charter has been highlighted by Dame Judith Hackitt and the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) as a key mechanism for leading the culture change required for industry in their report for the Secretary of State and the Minister for Building Safety published in August 2020.

The BSF Charter benchmarking and verification process is now open for participation from across the construction industry. All UK organisations involved in the built environment can proactively participate and demonstrate their commitment to building safety by becoming Registered Signatories to the Charter and, if appropriate, progress to undertaking the ‘Charter Champion’ benchmarking process. This is particularly the case for Duty Holders.

Lord Greenhalgh, Minister for Building Safety said:

“We are taking firm action to ensure that we never repeat the mistakes of the past, with this charter representing a major step forwards in delivering much-needed culture change in the built environment industry.

“I warmly welcome its introduction and commend the twelve organisations already signed up to become ‘Charter Champions’.

“I would strongly encourage more to get involved, especially those who will be playing a key role in the future building safety regulatory regime.”

Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Buildings at the Health and Safety Executive, said:

“Self-assessment, benchmarking and independent verification are important elements of a robust system to enable businesses to properly lead, manage and control major building safety risks.

“Businesses across the industry need to start preparing now for the new building safety regime. The ‘Charter Champions’ scheme is a valuable contribution to driving the necessary change in culture and performance across the sector to ensure that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.”

Dame Judith HackittDBE, Author, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety said:

“I am delighted to see the formal launch of the Champions of the Building a Safer Future Charter. My congratulations go to Amanda Long and her team for the way in which they have built upon approaches which have been tried, tested and proved effective in other sectors to create the Charter initiative.

“I have consistently called for the built environment sector to recognise the need for culture change which can only happen when leaders in the sector stand up and are prepared to demonstrate what good looks like and to be held to account for delivery. I look forward to watching the Charter Champions group grow as others see the benefits of becoming part of this important programme which offers a real market differentiation opportunity.”

Andy Mitchell CBE, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said:

“The Construction Leadership Council welcomes the launch of the Building a Safer Future Charter and its Charter Champions initiative. This is an important step towards an industry that is committed to putting building safety first.

“The promotion of cultural change and leadership in the sector is vital and those that wish to demonstrate real sectoral leadership in relation to building safety should be engaged with the Building a Safer Future Charter.”

Stephen Elliott, Chair, Building a Safer Future Charter said:

“The BSF Charter provides a robust, independent verification process which will drive continuous improvement in leadership and culture in relation to building safety across the industry.

“We have taken learning and insights from tried and tested approaches and responses to major accident hazard safety in other sectors such as aviation and chemicals – both nationally and internationally – and contextualised these for the UK built environment sector.”

Amanda Long, Chief Executive, Building a Safer Future Charter said:

“In the built environment sector, the Grenfell Tower Disaster has put building safety at the top of everyone’s agenda. From a moral, social and economic perspective it’s now imperative that we embed enduring values, attitudes and ethical behaviours at the heart of all we do.

The launch of the Building a Safer Future Charter’s ‘Charter Champion’ status is an important step in driving forwards the systemic culture change in relation to major hazard safety that is required across the built-environment sector and through the entire value chain. As we progress on this critical journey we should be seeking to raise standards and build public trust.

I am delighted to welcome the first 12 companies on their journey to becoming a Charter Champion.”

The Building a Safer Future Charter is referenced in the publication “A Reformed Building Safety Regulatory System: Government response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation” published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in April 2020. The publication states that “the Government encourages duty-holders to be signatories and commit to the Building [a Safer Future] Charter” as part of a more rigorous approach to accountability.

For more information about the Building a Safer Future Charter and how to get involved, visit

Media contact
Sophie Goff
Telephone: +44 (0) 7954 601993

About the Building a Safer Future Charter

The Building a Safer Future Charter has been created to promote an urgent and positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment. There is an urgent need to put people’s safety first in how we plan for, design, build, maintain, and look after the safety of the buildings we live, work or play in and protect those that use them.

The Building a Safer Future Charter consists of five commitments that demonstrate commitment to protecting life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities.

It was initiated by the Early Adopters Group as a first step towards spearheading the cultural and behavioural changes required across the industry to achieve a safer building system and has already gained over 150 registered signatories from across the built environment.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) were appointed as the Charter’s Administrative Partner by the Early Adopters. The CCS has established Building a Safer Future Ltd, a not-for-profit company with its own independent Chair and Board. Building a Safer Future Ltd develops and manages the Building a Safer Future Charter.

For further information, please visit

Twitter: @BSFCharter
LinkedIn: Building a Safer Future Charter

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New guidance to help manage transition back to the workplace

The “How Business Owners Can Use Partitioning and Ironmongery to Help Manage Social Distancing” guide, jointly produced by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) and FIS, which represents the Finishes and Interior Sector, has been updated following changes to UK conformity marking.

Developed to help those involved in managing workplaces understand key considerations they need to make when adapting their spaces, it provides guidance on using partitioning and ironmongery to manage social distancing in the workplace.

Originally published in November last year, it has been updated to cover the changes to UK conformity marking post-Brexit. UKCA and UKNI marking have been introduced as CE marking will cease to be used in Great Britain from 1 January 2022.

It also includes a list of the relevant EN Harmonised and UK Designated standards that are relevant to partitioning, doors and architectural ironmongery and a summary of product marking sales territories to show where UKCA, UKNI and CE marking can be used going forward.

Douglas Masterson, technical manager of the GAI, said:

“It is critical that business owners and those responsible for property maintenance are aware of the changes and how this impacts the architectural ironmongery they choose for their workplaces. Businesses will need to continue to be responsive to Government advice but the new information in the guide will help them to identify opportunities for business owners to make sensible product choices now, that will offer them compliant solutions longer term.”

Joe Cilia, technical director of FIS, said:

“Dividing spaces, even on a temporary basis may have implications on escape routes and safety depending on how they are installed and as good ventilation has been shown to help reduce the incidence of Covid 19 infection, the advice in this free guide is important and relevant.”

The guide can be downloaded from or

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Calls for housing and landmarks for UK’s derelict land – Romal Capital survey

Romal Capital

59% say housing is an issue and undeveloped sites should be committed to modern, efficient housing communities and cultural landmarks.

London, UK | With Britain still in the grip of an on-going housing crisis, property developers Romal Capital sought the views of the British public on regenerating derelict land and brownfield sites. The national survey* found that 59% of Brits are calling for derelict land to be converted into modern, efficient housing and a place for cultural landmarks.

More the three-quarters (77%) feel that when brownfield sites are regenerated, they bring a sense of freshness, art and culture to an area improving the lives of everyone around it. However, as these sites stand, 74% believe that derelict sites are eyesores on the nations landscape.

Romal Capital’s survey reported that over four-fifths (83%) of respondents feel Westminster governments have failed to prioritise regenerating brownfield sites in their area, in recent years. People in the North East of England (90%) felt strongest about this followed by those in the South East (85%). It follows that a lack of commitment from central government will have a regional impact. 79% of people pointed the length of time it takes for decisions to be made as the most significant hurdle to change.

Greg Malouf wants to fast track regeneration of undeveloped sites to tackle UK housing crisis
Greg Malouf wants to fast track regeneration of undeveloped sites to tackle UK housing crisis

“It’s great to see that people across the country want see their areas improved and repurposed. However, it is clear that speed is the issue more than ambition says Romal Capital’s CEO Greg Malouf. Regeneration and planning have a lot of due process and extensive local bureaucracy, and it is this that needs to be restructured to get things going. Local authorities need more support and resources to streamline these processes and fast track regeneration of these sites.”

What to do with all this space?

A 2020 report** from the countryside charity CPRE found there was over 25,000 hectares of brownfield land across 21,000 sites in the UK. Enough to fit over 1 million homes.

The survey discovered that almost a third (30%) of people would most like to see cultural landmarks built on this unused, derelict land, while a similar amount (29%) want to see modern, efficient homes and communities built to help solve the nations crippling housing crisis. When it comes to regenerated outdoor space, over a quarter, (26%) are in favour of new recreational facilities.

“Many people are desperate for somewhere permanent to live and keen to see former industrial and undeveloped areas turned into new, progressive housing neighbourhoods and community hubs.” says Malouf “The authorities must become far more proactive and flexible to allow this to happen.”

About Romal Capital

Romal Capital is an international award-winning property developer based in Liverpool. The team brings to the city over 60 years of combined property development experience from across Liverpool, and other major UK and international cities.

Company Website

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