Timber – Ideal solution or Maintenance Nightmare?

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Within the UK, Over £3.1 billion is spent on timber products annually. Timber is a key element in structures and is commonly used in homes, public parks and industrial settings as fences or safety barriers.

Timber has good strength properties; however for these properties to be achieved, the size of the material will have to be large. The disadvantage with using large areas of timber is that it causes manual handling issues and could incur extra costs associated with lifting equipment.

Timber is a cheap alternative to steel for handrails and fences, for example in forests. However due to the outdoor nature of the application, timber is not a long term solution and this will affect long term cost savings.

The constant exposure to the elements means that continuous maintenance is required to stop rot, decay and insect attacks. The required maintenance comes with high cost implications and due to the changing economic climate; maintenance of timber can be put to one side, risking public safety.

In January the Construction Enquirer published an article about a fatality when a mobility scooter ploughed through a timber weather screen which was situated around the main entrance and Access Bridge to Fareham Health Centre. An HSE investigation found that the barrier had not been constructed to the required standard to resist the impact of a mobility scooter. The structure had not been adequately maintained and the investigation also found that the collapsed section was badly decayed. Planned maintenance work to replace the wood had been cancelled and rescheduled on more than twenty occasions.

The solution? Relinea’s GRP Composite Products

One of the key benefits of GRP is its corrosion resistant properties; it is therefore a key product in industries which demand a strong, durable and cost effective material. GRP can be subjected to tough environmental situations and will not corrode which is vital in promoting public safety. GRP is not a short term fix or an inferior product, it provides similar strength properties to steel and is a long term investment which provides a safer working environment for employees and a cost effective solution for employers.

GRP Provides long term cost saving as it is maintenance free and possesses a 50 year design life; reducing the need to replace it regularly.

Relinea’s GRP Products have many more benefits such as:

• Slip Resistant

• Ease of Fabrication

• Lightweight

• High Strength

• Fire Retardant

• Low Installation Costs

• Impact Resistance

• Ergonomic

• Non-conductive

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