Clive Albert, director at Edinburgh’s Malcolm Fraser Architects, gives us three of his specification favourites
Marmoleum Flooring – Forbo Nairn
The practice has specified marmoleum flooring in our buildings for more than 15 years. Its environmental credentials are unbeatable: made of 97% natural raw materials, 72% of which are entirely renewable and the material itself is 100% biodegradable. But it’s also the product’s resilient performance characteristics that ensure that we keep specifying it. We have buildings more than 12 years old with footfall of over 70,000 annual users. This flooring, with good regular maintenance, still performs and looks great.
Velux Modular Skylights
Velux rooflights are generally associated with residential conversion work, but recently the firm launched a modular skylight for commercial applications. It has a simple, refined design, with the actuators for opening vents and roller blinds integrated and concealed into the frame of the skylight, so there is no visual difference between fixed and venting modules. The system has a U value of 1.4 W/m2K with standard double frame unit, falling to 1.00 W/m2K with standard triple glazing. Support and consultancy are excellent.
Natural Building Technologies
Wherever possible the practice uses vapour open or ‘breathing wall’ construction. We have worked with Natural Building Technologies, in particular using its wood fibre insulation and vapour control insulating boards. This allows moisture to move from both inside the building and within the wall towards the outside and benefits the health of both users and the construction. The system avoids relying on a PVC vapour barrier internally, which keeps air born moisture zipped up inside the building and its VOC content, and is likely to be breached during construction and trapped interstitially.