‘Innovate, innovate, innovate’ were the parting words of Carl Tomlinson on the occasion of the excellent Aluminium Federation 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner in London in mid November 2012. They struck a chord in the ongoing challenging economic environment, not least because this is what so many companies in our sector are trying to do right now. Innovation was also a key theme for Ian Harris, Director, Maber Associates, when he spoke at our highly popular Regional Members’ Meeting in Coventry at the end of October which attracted over 60 companies.
CAB Regional Members’ Meeting, Coventry Transport Museum , 31st October
Ian looked in detail at some really exciting innovations in the construction of ‘pod’ classrooms for schools. There was a clear message to the CAB supply chain audience of over 100 that there are always opportunities to innovate and also to partner with architectural practices to enhance and refine any such product development. Ian highlighted a number of schools projects including ones on the Academies Framework. In one particular school’s project it was decided to take on a very efficient plan form –a shed – and use pods inside it to carve out spaces as required. Where the brief called for open plan, it was left open plan, but where the brief called for enclosed, a pod was planned. Inside the pods, made from a partitioning system, there is the look and feel of a classroom and they can work acoustically and thermally to all the relevant standards.
In a separate presentation, Richard McWilliams, Director – Research, Development and Innovation, Capita Symonds highlighted the results of an Innovation survey carried out amongst CAB members just before the event. The survey was interesting as with an ever increasing frequency, buyers are seeking an ‘innovative’ approach from suppliers – to ensure continuous improvement and more cost effective products, processes and services from the supply chain. Richard was delighted with not only the level of response from CAB members but also that the results showed a very positive and proactive approach to research and innovation – a trend that he said put our members well above the norm for the construction sector.
CAB/CPA Market Trends Survey
During the presentations at the Coventry meeting we presented the first results of the CAB/CPA Market Trends survey carried for Q3, 2012 amongst members. Each member receives graphical breakdown of the collated results. Amongst the various results it was interesting to note the overall positive outlook for the future with the majority of members being upbeat about prospects for growth. While some of this may be down to the rising popularity of the material in construction in general, it is also likely to be due the growing market for aluminium products in home improvement and the increase in refurbishment projects in the commercial sector. Interestingly aluminium’s ‘rising stock’ has been reinforced by recently conducted market research reports highlighting the number of PVCu fabricators that are adding aluminium to their product range
CAB Programme 2013
Trade Associations like any other businesses never stop planning ahead and a number of our key CAB events for first half of next year are in place or will be finalised shortly:
March 5 – 7, 2013 – Ecobuild, Excel, London (CAB has a 36m2 stand in the North Gallery)
March 21, 2013 – CAB Regional Members’ Meeting, Rotherham
May 16, 2013 – CAB Technical Conference – Loughborough University
July 4, 2013 – CAB AGM, Golf & Activities Day – The Belfry, Warwickshire
Innovation is around us, more than we realise most of the time and Carl’s words were still ringing in my ears after the Alfed Dinner when my train back pulled out of Slough railway station revealing the innovative and award winning bus station with its beautiful design also delivering functionality. It was designed by BBLUR Architecture and inspired by wavelengths of light from experiments by famous Slough architect William Herschel. The imposing 140 metre long roof structure was made possible by use of an innovative aluminium cladding system.
For further information on CAB, its membership and activities, see our new website at www.c-a-b.org.uk or contact Julie Harley at the CAB office on 01453 828851.