A Little Help from our Friends in the UKfrom Matt Capone
It was this July while in Baden-Baden for the Schöck 50th party that I got to meet (among many others) our fellow colleagues from Schöck Ltd. UK. Simon Howland and several others from the office happened to be on a production tour with me. While lagging towards the back of the pack, we got to talking. I was describing how we are just underway in the US and our efforts to educate about the problems of thermal bridges. They understood, having been in the same situation. Now they are 6 years in the making, with steady project flow, gaining market share and an acceptance by the building community that structural thermal breaks really are necessary to make a proper building envelope.
So the invitation went out. “Come on over for a visit and we’ll sort you out, and grab a few pints of the black stuff (Guiness) mate.”
Short of having a time machine, this seemed like the best way to get a glimpse into a similar market, 5 years ahead of us. Plus it doesn’t hurt they also speak the same language…sort of anyways. Plans were then made for myself and Bill Chihata from Schoeck Canada to take them up on their offer on our way back from a training trip to HQ in Baden-Baden.
Bill and I arrived in London on Saturday evening, leaving Sunday open for us to tour around a bit.. We had a full day on/off the tour bus and even waited in line for the London Eye, which did not disappoint. I think we covered as much ground as possible in 1 day.
Monday morning, Simon picked us up at the hotel and we were off – although not very quickly through the London congestion. Simon was just coming off a week of holiday and was admittedly a touch worried about what he had gotten himself into as tour guide and host while trying to get the Blackberry caught up from the past week. Plus you never know how things will turn out when guests come in from out of town, timing, expectations etc…
Our first stop was a quiet success, a passive house residence which was using Isokorb® type S around the perimeter for brick relieving angle support. The site supervisor greeted us and gave a bit of a tour of what will be his bosses dream home…quite nice and large really.
Second stop, we hit a larger mixed-use site with approximately 100 residential units being built by GallifordTry. Simon already had a PO and delivery made for phase 1, but they were still sitting on palettes. So not much to see but in a great quick meeting with the project managers, we all but secured the rest of the order. (We are of course looking for a kick back from UK on this…)
It was great to speak to the decision makers who were proud of the level of buildings they create and relating to thermal efficiency, would never build balconies or similar conditions without thermal breaks. Hopefully always with Isokorb®!
I was hoping to see a project installing Isokorb® type CM or recently done and GallifordTry did not disappoint. Not far away was a 5-story, large-scale residential project under construction. The design renderings showed a beautifully elegant facade featuring balconies alternating across with sun shades and privacy screen filling in between.
The screening has been designed to land on the side edges of the concrete balconies and then alternating support on steel outriggers, which of course use our Isokorb® modules.
Some balconies were completely poured in place, some had Isokorb® bars extending out for future balcony installs, and some were being poured as we were there on-site.
Here I am in full “HI-VIS” gear, as they call it.
Hard boots to hard hat, all required so I could venture in for some closer looks.
Everyone seemed happy to have a real Yank around for a bit. “Obama or Romney?” I was asked a few times. No comment.
While 3 for 3 won’t always happen now matter who you are, it certainly was a positive reflection on the Isokorb® products, as well as the sales service and support of the UK team.
The next day was spent in the Oxford office catching up on some work and chatting with the entire team about logistics, growing pains and how to successfully coexist with the Baden-Baden office.
Again a special thanks to the UK group and especially Simon for taking time out of a crazy schedule to make us feel at home and show us the way forward. Certainly was a worthwhile adventure.