Jun 2, 2021

Brickability to buy Taylor Maxwell for up to £63 million

construction
Cladding
Acquisitions
timber
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Brickability announces planned acquisition of timber and cladding supplier Taylor Maxwell for up to £63 million

Brickability Group plans to buy Taylor Maxwell, the timber and non-combustible cladding company, for up to £63 million.

It would mark the group's 11th purchase since 2018, according to Chairman John Richards, who cited  Taylor Maxwell's track record in providing façade and timber products to the construction industry for over 60 years as a "significant value add" for its shareholders.

"The firm operates from 16 regional locations across the UK, with minimal overlap against Brickability’s existing client base. Over the years, Taylor Maxwell have acquired a wealth of local market knowledge, enabling them to build strong professional relationships with a diverse range of key manufacturers," he said.

"The acquisition of Taylor Maxwell will bolster Brickability’s leading position in UK brick distribution; offering cost and revenue synergies while being transformational in terms of the group’s scale and relevance in the wider materials supply industry."

The company has conditionally raised £55 million (before fees and expenses) by way of a placing of 57,894,737 new ordinary shares of one penny each at a price of 95 pence per share with new and existing institutional investors. 

In addition, in order to meet market demand, certain selling shareholders have also conditionally raised a further £38 million through the sale of 40,000,000 existing Ordinary Shares at the Issue Price.

Martin Rudge, Managing Director, Taylor Maxwell, said Taylor Maxwell's management team view the transaction as an exciting new chapter in the history of the business, one that they feel will benefit its employees, customers and suppliers alike.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved over the last sixty years and how the business has developed into the company it is today. Growth in recent times has been organic and this transaction is seen as a great opportunity to develop the business further as part of a larger organisation," he said.

Both companies have been in dynamic mood as they react to legislative and commercial changes following the pandemic. The timber sector is wrestling with soaring prices, with the the US Random Length Timber index surpassing $1,600 this month, up from $326 this time last year.

Forum Tiles is Brickability Group’s latest venture into Ceramic Tile supply. This new start-up business has been formed to offer a full range of porcelain, and ceramic tile solutions direct to the developer market (click here). The group also bought McCann Roofing Products for £2.75 million last year.

Taylor Maxwell recently announced the acquisition of SBS Cladding, a distributor and fabricator of decorative rainscreen cladding systems (click here).

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Jun 17, 2021

Why engineers must always consider human-induced vibration

Vibrations
Engineering
design
Structuralintegrity
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Human-induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users

Human induced vibration, or more accurately vibrations caused by human footfall, often conjures images of Millennium Bridge-style swaying or collapsing buildings.

But in reality, the ‘damage’ caused by human-induced vibrations is less likely to ruin a structure and more likely to cause discomfort in people. Though not as dramatic as a structural failure, any good engineer wants to make sure the people using their structures, be it bridges or buildings or anything in between, can do so safely and comfortably. This is why human-induced vibration must be considered within the design process.

Resonance v Impulse

There are two ways that human-induced vibrations affect structures: resonant, and impulse or transient response. Put simply, resonance occurs when Object A vibrates at the same natural frequency as Object B.

Object B resonates and begins to vibrate too. Think singing to break a wine glass! Although the person singing isn’t touching the glass, the vibrations of their voice are resonating with the glass’s natural frequency, causing this vibration to get stronger and stronger and eventually, break the glass. In the case of a structure, resonance occurs when the pedestrian’s feet land in time with the vibration.

On the other hand, impulse or transient vibration responses can be a problem on structures where its natural frequencies are too high for resonance to occur, such as where the structure is light or stiff. Here the discomfort is caused by the initial “bounce” of the structure caused by the footstep and is a concern on light or stiff structures.

Engineers must, of course, design to reduce the vibration effects caused by either impulse or resonance.

Potential impacts from human induced vibration

Human induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users. These include:

  • Interfering with sensitive equipment Depending on the building’s purpose, what it houses can be affected by the vibrations of people using the building. Universities and laboratories, for example, may have sensitive equipment whose accuracy and performance could be damaged by vibrations. Even in ordinary offices the footfall vibration can wobble computer screens, upsetting the workers.
     
  • Swaying bridges One of the most famous examples of human-induced resonance impacting a structure occurred with the Millennium Bridge. As people walked across the bridge, the footsteps caused the bridge to sway, and everybody had to walk in time with the sway because it was difficult not to. Thankfully, this feedback can only occur with horizontal vibrations so building floors are safe from it, but footbridges need careful checking to prevent it.
     
  • Human discomfort According to research, vibrations in buildings and structures can cause depression and even motion sickness in inhabitants. Tall buildings sway in the wind and footsteps can be felt, even subconsciously by the occupants. It has been argued that modern efficient designs featuring thinner floor slabs and wider spacing in column design mean that these new builds are not as effective at dampening vibrations as older buildings are.
     
  • Jeopardising structural integrity The build-up of constant vibrations on a structure can, eventually, lead to structural integrity being compromised. A worse-case scenario would be the complete collapse of the structure and is the reason some bridges insist that marching troops break step before crossing. Crowds jumping in time to music or in response to a goal in a stadium are also dynamic loads that might damage an under-designed structure.

How to avoid it

As mentioned, modern designs that favour thinner slabs and wider column spacing are particularly susceptible to all forms of vibration, human-induced or otherwise, but short spans can also suffer due to their low mass. Using sophisticated structural engineering software is an effective method for engineers to test for and mitigate footfall and other vibrations at the design stage.

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