Embrace Building Wraps has installed the UK’s first PVC-free printed scaffold wrap at Newson’s Yard in London’s Belgravia for client Grosvenor Estate.
The company digitally printed and then installed the first of two scaffold banners at the refurbishment site using Kavalan Sunlight Weldable PVC-free banner available exclusively from CMYUK. Measuring 26m x 4.5m, the wrap features an image of a Robanna print on cotton supplied by Fermoie, local creators of stunning original fabrics who have premises nearby. The second banner will be installed later this month.
The search for an environmental alternative
Embrace Building Wraps was founded in 2006, and provides a comprehensive project management, creative print, installation, maintenance and removal service for all large format scaffold, building wraps and printed graphics for site holdings.
It is an approved subcontractor to a wide range of well-established contractors including Multiplex, Bouygues UK, Byrne Group, Balfour Beatty, Kier, McLaren, Sir Robert McAlpine, Costain and Vinci Construction. It works with numerous demolition and fit-out specialists as well as property developers including Erith, Knight Harwood, 8build, Argent Design, Grosvenor Estates, The Cadogan Estate, The Duchy of Cornwall and The Crown Estate, while Selfridges, John Lewis and The Lexicon in Bracknell are amongst its retail clients.
“As one of the UK’s leading printed building and scaffold wrap project management companies, Embrace Building Wraps has been working extremely hard to find an effective and durable PVC-free solution for our clients,” says MD, Greg Forster.
“I’ve been looking for a credible environmental alternative since we started in 2006 but there’s never been anything suitable. At the end of the day, what we deal in is scale, and when you start putting these wraps together, they act like giant sails, so we need a material that is able to withstand everything that Mother Nature throws at it.”
Putting Kavalan through its paces
Embrace set about its own internal extensive like-for-like testing of Kavalan Sunlight in order for it to become one of its Approved products.
The first evaluation was to compare Kavalan’s print quality with the company’s current solid PVC product. Both were printed with the same test image and placed side by side. “The print quality matched, and there was no difference,” says Greg.
Next, Kavalan Sunlight underwent rigorous heat and vibration welding testing, which it passed with flying colours. This was followed by a comparative pull test to demonstrate tensile strength, with Kavalan and the incumbent PVC product registering similar results.
Kavalan Sunlight is fire-rated with EN 13501-1 and B1 classification. However, Embrace also invested in two additional flammability tests – BS 5867 Type B, with and without ink – with world-leading inspection, testing, verification and certification company, SGS in the UK. Once again, Kavalan proved itself in these evaluations.
With the look and feel of traditional PVC, Kavalan is up to 50% lighter, which means that it’s easier to wield, and has a lower carbon footprint when transported.
“We were pleasantly surprised. The lads on the site found it easier to lift these banners into place in comparison to our usual material,” says Greg, who adds, “If you look at our whole Kavalan testing process, as far as we’re concerned, we’ve ticked every single box.”
Embrace has long been upcycling spent printed PVC into second-life applications through its Banner Karma scheme, and has an agreement with the National Farmers Union to provide used PVC banner for agricultural usage – free of charge.
Kavalan is an end-of-life responsible material, designed expressly for waste-to-energy processes as it can be incinerated without any harmful emissions to health or the environment. It too, can also be incorporated into the Banner Karma initiative, but with its final end being clean energy rather than landfill.
What customers want!
Greg believes that Kavalan will become a specified material amongst his client base very quickly, and has already received a number of enquiries since the Newson’s Yard installation.
Grosvenor Estate has now been joined by Allum & Sidaway, a jewellers and bridal boutique in Salisbury, which has the distinction of being the first business outside London to use Kavalan Sunlight for a three-sided, single piece digitally printed scaffold wrap.
“Sustainability is a really important part of our business as a collective responsibility for our staff, our supply chain and also for our clients, especially those in construction, who always want to be seen to offer an environmentally-friendly solution. PVC-free ticks all the boxes,” says Greg.
“We have added Kavalan Sunlight to our Approved list of materials. It’s an eco-friendly credible solution, suitable for many of our clients’ projects. Working with CMYUK, it’s a perfect solution that prevents banners and wraps ending up in landfill.”