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10 Jul 2017

It all started with Johnnie

Tyres have been made from wood as well as leather,  iron and steel (wrapped around wooden wheels), and used on carts and wagons. The original spelling was ‘tire’, which comes from the French word tirer: to pull. Pneumatic tyres The first practical air-filled pneumatic...
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19 May 2017

When a Craic is no fun at all…

No laughing matter On putting together this blog I found out that the word ‘Craic’ (pronounced ‘crack’) is not actually Irish. It is a Scottish/Northern English word which means ‘having a laugh’. Crack also has other meanings, but I’ll...
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24 Apr 2017

Beasties… but not timorous

beastie pronunciation: biːsti noun SCOTTISH humorous plural noun: beasties an insect or other small animal. Personally I do not like beasties (even though I hail from the place where the word “beasties” come from), especially the ones that wriggle eg maggots. I...
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20 Feb 2017

Ponte City: Prison or Funky Pad

In 1995 I moved to Johannesburg. Hailing from the Frozen North it was quite an eye opener, from a climate and life experience point of view. Not for the faint hearted I certainly don’t regret living there, but it was a frightening place to be. Burglar bars on doors and...
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15 Dec 2016

5 questions about Phase Change Materials (including one about cocktails)

BRE Global technical author Corinne Williams answers 5 questions about her new publication Assessing the performance of Phase Change Materials in buildings. Question 1: Did you have to test several cocktails during the writing of this publication? No! The ice cube example is a...
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13 Dec 2016

Brick thieves, Caligula and reusing building materials

Making money from old bricks London is experiencing a spate of brick thefts as thieves try to make thousands of pounds by selling them for use in extensions at the homes of wealthy residents. This is a worrying trend, but it illustrates the value of  building materials.  ...
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29 Nov 2016

Diagnosing the causes of dampness in buildings

This piece is based on an original blog by John Houston, Principal Scientist in BRE’s Building Technology & Fire Group Excess water /moisture in all its forms (vapour, liquid, and flooding)  is still the most common problem in housing. It results in visible wetting of...
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22 Nov 2016

Would you risk building blindfold?

Blindfold chess is played by a strong player without being able to see the chess board. The player sits with his/her back to the chess board and calls out the moves (I presume), or wears a blindfold. Blindfold chess is not a recommended method to managing risk… However,...
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08 Nov 2016

Poached or scrambled – how do you like your egg (building)?

I have now written a few blogs since I started in July. It has been a lot of fun and I really appreciate it when I see that you guys have read them! Once I’m inspired, the blog comes to life and takes on a life of its own. This is called creation. And creation is a large...
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13 Sep 2016

A cloak of algae

We all talk about green buildings, but what if they were actually green? And what if you could tuck into the products of that very building? Or use it as fuel? A living skin ecoLogicStudio, a London architectural and design firm created a 430-square-foot gazebo called the Urban...
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