Construction connectors

Timber frame builds are growing in popularity as the UK construction industry looks to embrace the benefits of off-site, whilst creating more sustainability developments. There are other reasons why timber is being used more often as a constructional element, including the fact that it minimises on-site waste, is 100% recyclable and has a number of structural and insulative properties. Aside from that, growing tress take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, meaning it has the ability to create developments that are carbon negative. Being highly workable, lightweight and strong means the popularity of timber construction techniques and the connectors that are used on site, looks set to continue its increase.

Timber to timber connectors

Growth in timber frame construction has resulted in a wider range of timber to timber connectors being offer by manufacturers such as BPC Fixings. Many of these are based on the original galvanised steel angle bracket that has been used by builders and roofers for generations. Variations of this angle bracket for use with timber construction includes Holding Down Angles, Angle Plates, light and heavy duty Angle Brackets and adjustable Angle Brackets. Alongside this are Angle Braces, Corner Stretcher Plates and Slotted Brackets. In combination with the wide range of flat plate connectors, these timber construction connectors are an essential accessories for builders and roofers.

Galvanised steel or stainless steel connectors

When choosing timber to timber connectors it is important to specify those that are manufactured in a quality assessed facility, such as those holding ISO9001. Thickness of steel used to manufacturing the angle brackets and angle plates matters as well. Depending on the weight loading, exposure and other factors, this usually ranges from 1.2mm or 1.5mm thickness steel for light duty applications, through to 3mm for heavy duty angle brackets.

Timber to timber constructional connectors are usually available in a variety of types – mild steel unfinished, galvanised steel, powder coated steel or stainless steel. Our AB Angle Brackets are manufactured from stainless steel grade 304 austenitic to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301, making it suitable for aggressive and exposed locations. It is available from stock in all sizes. Our timber to timber constructional fixings are galvanised to BS EN 10346:2009 +G275.

Galvanised and stainless steel are the two most commonly used materials used for timber construction as well as roofing projects. Both are highly durable, strong and able to withstand extreme weather conditions, including the negative pressures that try to lift off a roof as winds pass over it. As both galvanised and stainless steel constructional connectors are durable and long lasting, choosing between them really depends on site requirements and client or user preferences.

Fast and next day delivery

All activities on site depend on having products on site when you need them, which is why it is so important to have a reliable supplier for your connectors and fastenings. This is one of the reasons why we offer a next day delivery to our customers either to a merchant’s branch or direct to site. Backing up our stockists with this level of service means that builders and roofers can be confident of having the right connectors on site, when they need them. Most of our products are available from stock

Building with timber is a highly effective method of improving a projects sustainability because growing tree lock up carbon dioxide as it grows. That makes timber builds a net carbon store rather than an emitter. As the popularity of timber grows, complementary products such as timber to timber connectors ensure that these benefits are easily accessible.

For more information on high quality construction fixings from BPC Building Products, visit: www.bpcfixings.com or call: 01924 364794.

BPC Building Products floats the boat for Windermere Museum

Windermere museumBPC Building Products’ joist hangers have been used during construction of the new £16.7m Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in the Lake District.

The museum, which will be completing later this year, features a copper roof and the BPC hangers were used to fix the timber trusses to support this structure.

BPC timber to timber joist hangers are manufactured from high quality galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 + G275 and austenitic grade 304 stainless steel. The range is available fromstock in a huge variety of widths and heights to suit all on-site applications.

Specialist contractor on the project, Thomas Armstrong, chose BPC Building Products components because of the high quality of the fixings as well as the fact that they could be delivered to site next day.

Thomas Armstrong (Construction) Ltd. wasappointed by Lakeland Arts to be the main contractor for the new Windermere Jetty project.

The copper roof was specified for the learning centre and reception roof at Windermere Jetty because of its aesthetic appeal and long term performance benefits.

Award winning architects, Carmody Groarke, were selected to design the Museum through an open international competition organised by the RIBA.

Windermere jetty is a world-class working museum that respects its lakeshore surroundings and will secure the future of the nationally significant boat collection established by George Pattinson. The new Museum will include displays of steam launches, motorboats, yachts and other vessels and tell the stories of their construction, owners and use on Windermere.

Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories will replace the Windermere Steamboat Museum which opened in 1977. The Museum’s collection of boats form the most important and coherent collection of watercraft generic to one particular location in existence anywhere in the world.

BPC joist hangers are manufactured in the UK at the company’s advanced facility in Yorkshire. The company has recently announced a major investment in expanding its manufacturing capabilities at the site.

Formed in 1977, BPC is an established UK manufacturer of galvanised and stainless steel building and fencing components. The company offers an extensive range, which is available from stock, at its
modern factory and warehouse facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Next day delivery is usually available on the company’s full product range, with no minimum order quantity.

For more information on BPC Building Products or to find your local stockist, visit: www.bpcfixings.com or call: 01924 364794

Trends in the constructional fixings market

Timber frame construction has been used for centuries, although its popularity has grown recently due to the increased focus on embodied energy and off-site techniques. Open panel timber frame construction is the most common system used in the UK, accounting for around 80% of the market. More advanced closed panel systems that require hoisting into position have a smaller but growing share of the market. In addition to the structural elements, both floors and roofs are now being more frequently specified as timber cassettes, ready for rapid assembly on site.

BPC Fixings manufactures in Yorkshire and offers next day delivery with no minimum order quantity.

Although timber frame construction is growing, it is still a relatively small part of the market, but one that is beginning to drive our product development process. However, traditional construction techniques make up the vast majority of the fixings category, which comprises of angle brackets and plates for pitched roofs and joist hangers for floors. There are also a wide range or restraint straps, designed to securely connect timber to brick or block walls as well as wall ties, frame cramps and bead and mesh ranges.

Timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings are a critical part of the construction programme from both a specifiers and contractors point of view. For specifiers, they have a direct bearing on the long term performance of the building, which is reflected in the fact that fixings are manufactured from steel that complies with harmonised European standards. For example, all our timber to timber joist hangers are made from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D as standard, and stainless steel to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301 to order. They also need to comply with the Construction Product Regulations (CPR) and our range is CE marked where necessary in order to demonstrate compliance.

Contractors and roofers also need to be confident that the fixings they source are up to doing the job. That means being manufactured to the required standard as well as being easy to source and to fit on site.

Joist hangers represent one of the largest sectors in the fixings’ market, closely followed by items such as restraint straps and angle brackets, and the range we developed reflects this makeup. Both roofing and flooring works inevitably involve a need for a range of fixings, although there are a range of standardised designs that we develop that cover more jobs on site.

Mini hanger from BPC in situ.

Our fixings are available from stockists and we support customers with next day delivery, direct to site where necessary. These kinds of investments in service have been key to driving forward our business. We have also invested half a million pounds in new manufacturing equipment recently at our site in Wakefield in order to build on these commitments.

 

Investing in the future

The future for the fixings’ market looks strong with a move towards off-site and timber frame driving new product development, although traditional construction techniques will continue to account for the majority of the market for many years. Having been manufacturing in the UK for the last 40 years we firmly see ourselves as being on the side of roofers and contractors – as a company we continue to re-invest where it adds value to our customer proposition. It helps that we specialise in this area as that means we have a better understanding of what is required.

The market dynamics look set to continue improving and we are seeing signs of growing confidence in the sector; as house prices continue to rise and low interest rates encourage homeowners to spend on RMI, with loft conversion and extensions. On the new build side, too, a desire by the government to build more houses will ramp up demand in this area. All in all, the market for fixings looks very positive, which means the value of sourcing from a supplier that understands the market and can develop products that makes the job easier for contractors and roofers cannot be underestimated. As a company, we remain focussed on making traditional and hybrid construction techniques, such as timber frame, easier, whilst meeting the challenges of ever changing legislation.

Where do I source constructional fixings?

Timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings are by their very nature notoriously difficult to differentiate because they fulfil a very specific single purpose. This has lead many merchants to look to their supply partners for non-product based initiatives that give them an edge in the market.

Joist hangers from BPC Fixings are produced from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D + G275 as standard, or stainless steel available to order.

The challenge for manufacturers, therefore, is to develop service options that enable merchants to capitalise on current market opportunities, for example, continued strength of the timber frame and RMI (renovation, maintenance and improvement) sectors. When it comes to timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings merchants can differentiate themselves by offering customers ex-stock availability or next day delivery options.

These non- product differentiators create a very powerful selling proposition. For instance, fixings’ suppliers that provide merchants with a next day delivery, direct to site where necessary, will find it a highly effective way of earning loyalty from customers. We’ve also found that competitions that we run on behalf of merchants helps generate interest and footfall, with the latest giving end customers the chance to win official Euro2016 merchandise.

 

Strict merchant supply policy

Our approach on all our ranges, including our entire timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings is that we have a merchant only policy. This means merchants have the confidence that their prices won’t be undermined by us offering similar trade prices to builders and roofers. This has been an important factor in the success of our business over the last 35-plus years and many merchants that have adopted the range have performed particularly well in this market.

Of course, in a competitive market such as constructional fixings, where often there is limited opportunity for product differentiation, adopting a rigid supply policy is only the start point. Many merchants are looking for differentiation in terms of the service package, too, which means having a supply partner that they can rely on. That partner has to be willing to hold high levels of stock to ensure they avoid stock out situations, a sure fire way to lose customers and also to offer next day delivery anywhere in the UK, ideally with no minimum order quantity.

Both of these are crucial to a successful merchant operation and is one of the reasons why we have invested so much in our warehouse and distribution over the last few years.

BPC Fixings manufactures in Yorkshire and offers next day delivery with no minimum order quantity.

Our approach is that a good supplier makes sure that merchants are free to concentrate on what they are good at – selling products to trade and DIY’ers. Next day delivery and holding over a million products in stock means that we can be responsive to merchants’ needs. It helps that we manufacture in the UK, which keeps us leaner, a crucial factor in maintaining merchant margin.

In an effort to convey this potential we encourage all our customers to visit our manufacturing facility in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Our 50,000 sq ft of warehousing and distribution capacity gives us the ability to hold most of our products in stock, which incidentally increases to 100% on our fixings ranges.

 

Understanding the trade

The timber to timber and timber to masonry category is an important part of the construction sector. They are critical to the long term performance of the building, which is reflected in the fact that most fixings now have to be manufactured to British Standard. For example, all our timber to timber joist hangers are made from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D as standard, and stainless steel to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301 to order.

Joist hangers represent one of the largest sectors in the connectors’ market, closely followed by items such as restraint straps and angle brackets, and the range we developed reflects this makeup. Both roofing and flooring works inevitably involve the need for timber to timber or timber to masonry fixings, and having a suitable range available, with the necessary service backup, is essential to pick up sales. We usually work with merchants to identify a core range to hold in the branch if they wish, which will allow them to pick up trade counter sales. For other items, used for planned works, we deliver to an agreed schedule, including next day direct to site in many cases. Our merchant customers find that offering a very tight range of known volume sellers is the best way to grow sales without complicating their systems by holding unnecessary stock of slow moving but essential products.

Helping merchants grow their business

The future for the fixings’ market looks good for merchants. Our advances in EDI and email ordering has definitely made things easier for customers and our recent half a million pound investment in new manufacturing equipment will help us push more value through to merchants.

The market dynamics also look set to improve; as house prices continue to rise and low interest rates encourage homeowners to spend on RMI, for example, with loft conversion and extensions, it will create more opportunities for merchants. On the new build side of the equation too, a desire by the government to build more houses, will ramp up demand in this area. All in all, the market for fixings looks very positive, which means the value of working with a supplier that understands the market and can offer clear elements of difference cannot be underestimated.

How do I choose angle brackets?

Angle brackets are used for many applications on construction sites and because of that they are available in a multitude of different sizes and designs. In addition, they are used for DIY, gardening, home repairs and renovation projects. In fact, angle brackets are an essential piece of kit to have with you on any kind of construction or gardening project!

Here, we look at some of the factors that you need to considered when choosing where to source your Angle Brackets.

What quality standards apply to Angle Brackets?

Heavy duty general purpose angle brackets should be manufactured from 2.5mm thick galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 +G275. If you choose Angle Brackets made to this specification you can be sure they are durable, low maintenance and will do the job they are intended to do.

All our general purpose heavy duty angle brackets are made to this standard.

Our range of AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Brackets are manufactured from 3mm thick galvanised steel. The 40mm wide brackets and plates provide a strong connection, allowing for the use of bolts, nails, screws and coach screws. They are suitable for timber to timber, timber to masonry and timber to steel applications.

We also offer a number of light duty Angle Brackets and connectors, and these ranges are complemented with flat connector plates, ‘T’ and ‘L’ shaped brackets and corner plates – ensuring you always have the right connector to hand.

What angle brackets should I use in harsh environments?

Our AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Bracket range is manufactured in stainless steel grade 304 austenitic to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301.

It is available from stock in all sizes, giving you a versatile reinforced bracket for 90 degree connections in harsh environments. The AB40 Angle Bracket is suitable for connected to timber or masonry, or combination of both, using nails, screws and / or bolts and coach screws.

What other factors should I consider when choosing an Angle bracket supplier?

There are many factors to consider when choosing an angle bracket supplier. Cost is usually high on the list although it is important to balance this against quality and look for a range that offers all round value for money. Call backs to site because an angle bracket is rusting prematurely or failing in some other way is usually the consequence of choosing the wrong supplier!

Other important consideration when choosing angle brackets include material, finish, strength, constructability, availability and service. It is always better to take these into account before making a final decision. Most construction projects need hundreds of angle brackets, even thousands on larger developments, so it is important to evaluate what each range has to offer. Get it wrong and the cost of replacing them doesn’t bear thinking about!

What type of Angle bracket?

There are a huge range of angle brackets, many of which are designed for a specific group of tasks, and include:

  • HDA Holding Down Angle
  • AB Angle Bracket
  • FCP Flat Connector Plate
  • AP Angle Plate
  • AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Brackets
  • CB Light Duty Corner Bracket
  • AAB Adjustable Angle Bracket
  • ‘T’ and ‘L’ Brackets
  • Light Duty Angle Braces
  • Corner Stretcher Plate
  • Corner Plate
  • Mending Plates
  • Dual Coat Angle Bracket

What is the best finish?

Most Angle Brackets are supplied with a galvanised finish. The principal benefit is that the galvanised coating can have a life expectancy far in excess of 50 years. The galvanised coating we use on our angle bracket ranges has a tough metallurgical structure that gives outstanding resistance to mechanical damage in transport, fitting on site and service.

Our galvanising process also ensures that every part of the angle bracket is protected, even recesses, corners and inaccessible areas. This isn’t possible with other, non-galvanised coatings.

Are there other coating choices?

Where an angle bracket is visible you may wish to choose our Dual Coat Angle Bracket range, which includes angle brackets, joist hangers and universal connector plates.

The range is suitable for a wide range of garden, DIY and landscaping applications as well as furniture upcycling and re-painting projects. It is manufactured from galvanised mild steel and then powder coated after fabrication for superior dual coated corrosion protection – providing both superior performance and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Angle Brackets can accommodate most situations that require connectors and that makes them an essential item in any builders’ metalwork toolkit. They complement our range of joist hangers, wall brackets, restraint straps, floor joists and other timber to timber and timber to masonry connectors.