Just completed two days work at this years’s Homebuilding & Renovating National show and, to many people’s surprise, it is really busy, possibly the busiest its been for four years or so. The seminar theatres, where I am mostly based, have been packed out and the Ask the Experts stand has been inundated all day long. If there is a property recession on, it seems that someone has forgotten to tell the nation’s selfbuild army.
There are also new products which I haven’t noticed before. One is Smart Tint or switchable glazing which I’ve seen on telly but never in the flesh before. It’s obscure but it turns clear when a tiny electric current is passed through it. A snip at £400 per m2.
Another is stretch ceilings which involves creating a false ceiling from a warmed up sheet of PVC. OK, it’s not going to win any green awards, but it’s fun, and you can do weird shapes and use it to mask Artex and other blemishes. The business doing this is Creative Ceilings, ballpark costs start at £40/m2.
Finally, an extruded clay block system from Austria called Redbloc. It’s being sold as a prefabricrated crane-in solution, something similar to SIPs, and with potential U value down around 0.2. “We expect it to be between 20% and 30% cheaper than brick and block walls,” said Bally Sigurdsson, their Finance Director. Well, maybe, you hear a lot of hi-falutin’ claims at these shows, but it’s certainly an interesting looking product and I hope to write more about it in the months to come.