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Jason Horrex

Manager, Saint-Gobain Technical Academy & Isover Ireland

Free courses give construction industry stakeholders the confidence that they are complying with building regulations while using products, systems and materials effectively.

Whether you are a busy construction industry professional or a property owner involved in a significant DIY project, it’s essential to be aware of — and comply with — the latest building regulations.

Upholding high building standards

Certainly, if you know how to use building products and materials correctly, your work is more likely to be of a high standard and compliant with those regulations.

That’s the thinking behind two Technical Academies, which were founded by French building materials multinational Saint-Gobain in 2010 and 2015, respectively. The Academies — based in Kingscourt, Navan, County Meath and Dublin — run free training courses to upskill and educate all construction industry stakeholders.

Attendees include trade professionals, merchant staff, supply chain professionals, installers, specification engineers and members of the public. All are trained to use Isover products and systems according to current construction techniques and standards.

The need to make buildings compliant to
airtightness has become an increasing
requirement of building regulations.

Workshop environment for practical experience

Jason Horrex, Manager of the Technical Academies, describes the courses as a ‘value-added service’ from Saint-Gobain, which owns Isover, a provider of insulation solutions. “The learning we provide has been specifically designed to help attendees comply with the relevant regulations and give them the confidence to use our products to achieve the best building performance,” he says. “Ultimately, if we equip them with techniques and tricks, they’ll use our materials correctly and more efficiently.” It’s a win-win.

One example is a popular course on airtightness, which demonstrates the most effective ways to ensure there are no unintended and draughty gaps in a building envelope. “The need to make buildings compliant to airtightness has become an increasing requirement of building regulations,” says Horrex.

“We show how to use membranes, tapes and sealants for that purpose, and that care needs to be taken in the detailing — such as sealing reveals around windows and doors or areas where cables or pipes run through walls.”

Flexible and adaptable learning

For remote learning, Horrex and his team offer a selection of e-learning webinars lasting between 60–90 minutes. In-person courses, meanwhile, can last for half a day or a day and be a blend of classroom and practical learning.

“We have a workshop environment so that attendees can get real hands-on experience with the materials we provide,” he says. “I think they like that — and the fact that when building regulations or products change, we can quickly adapt our courses to reflect those changes.”

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