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TREE PLANTING SEASON | TCS GEOTECHNICS

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DON’T MISS THE TREE PLANTING SEASON WITH TCS

We are well into tree planting season and TCS Geotechnics provide products for all your tree planting needs. According to the The Royal Horticultural Society the optimum time period for planting trees spans from October to April.

So why do professional landscapers plant in the coldest months of the year?

During the coldest months of the year it is usually the easiest time to dig the ground, also the trees and shrubs planted are dormant and so require minimal maintenance. In the coldest months of the year, you can purchase root-balled plants which are lifted straight from the ground and available to purchase without pots. These root balled plants have a solid soil ball at the base and this is prepared ready for planting fairly soon after delivery. Root balled trees and shrubs are often a more cost-effective option than plants which are containerised but they can only be purchased when the weather is cold. Once the weather warms up the rootball dries out too quickly unless planted in ground. Trees and shrubs planted in the colder months of the year, having had the opportunity to adjust to their new environment whilst dormant, benefit from the optimum growing conditions provided by the spring and early summer months.

The RHS says that ‘’weeds, lawns and other vegetation intercept water before it reaches the roots of newly planted trees and shrubs. Keep a vegetation-free circle at least 1.2m (4ft) in diameter around the plant for its first three years to help avoid this problem.’’

TCS can offer root and weed barriers to prevent the weeds getting through.
TCS WEED BARRIERS
Dupont Plantex logo

TCS offer a range of weed barriers for long-lasting, highly effective and chemical-free weed control.

DuPont™ Plantex Platinium is resistant to the most aggressive weeds. Whether its Japanese knotweed, couch grass, reed, giant reed, giant hogweed, marestail, horsetail, bamboo or Himalayan balsam, Plantex® Platinium will deliver the resistance required.  Following numerous test by DuPont’s R&D team over several years in natural environments, no perforation or regrowth through the fabric has been observed. Once correctly installed on an area contaminated by invasive plants, Plantex® Platinium does not require any maintenance, unlike alternative solutions like periodic chemical treatment or physical removal.

While providing an effective barrier against invasive plants, Plantex® Platinium crucially remains permeable to air and water.  This permeability prevents perched and puddled water and associated issues, as can occur readily with an impermeable membrane system.  The water and air permeability is ecologically sympathetic to the natural balance of the soil by maintaining its biodiversity. Moisture will be able to evaporate naturally through the Plantex® Platinium thus preventing condensation under the fabric which can lead to mold and degradation of the soil. Furthermore, the soil temperature will not be affected (less greenhouse effect).

DuPont™ Plantex® Gold is an aesthetically appealing bi-coloured, non-woven Polypropylene weed control barrier, for effective weed control even against tough weeds such as couch grass, horsetail and bindweed. This brown and black fabric allows air, water and nutrients to pass through and thereby lets the soil and plant roots breathe while keeping the weeds at bay. Plantex® Gold is ideal for application on slopes where it can be used covered as well as uncovered. The brown/gold colouring gives the fabric a more natural look.

Terram WeedGuard is proven for suppressing weeds in landscaping and garden applications without the need for chemicals. This geotextile is designed to allow the passage of water, oxygen and nutrients while blocking weeds. Terram Weedguard is installed at the interface between soil and a decorative layer such as bark chippings, stone chippings, pebbles or gravel.

  • Weed control fabric which avoids the use of chemicals
  • Lightweight and simple to install
  • Maintenance free and resistant to microbiological and chemical attack
  • Ideal for landscaping, garden beds and beneath decking.
TCS ROOT BARRIERS
Dupont Plantex logo

DuPont™ Plantex® RootBarrier (Impermeable) is a coated non-woven impermeable membrane, ideal for preventing invasive growth and damage by aggressive plant roots, e.g. bamboo. By resisting the penetration of aggressive rooting plants and trees, Plantex® RootBarrier protects underground drainage, sewage, piping and cable systems, patios, paved areas, asphalted surfaces as well as buildings and utility channels from root invasion and damage. This strong and robust, spun-based material will contain invasive root growth without damaging the plants or harming the surrounding materials. Easy to use, Plantex® RootBarrier requires little preparation and once installed can be left maintenance free for many years.

DuPont™ Plantex® RootProtector (Permeable) is an air and water permeable non-woven root barrier. The water permeability of our membrane ensures a free flow of water in the soil avoiding trapped water, hydrostatic pressure issues & poor load resistance in wet areas which can so often be an issue with impermeable membranes.  Improved water, air & nutrients supply, compared with impermeable barriers, allows for a harmonious development of all root system architecture.  Allowing efficient drainage helps maintain the stability of foundations, structures, slopes, earthworks and infrastructure.

TERRAM ROOTGUARD (PERMEABLE) and ROOTGUARD PLUS (IMPERMEABLE) are used to protect buildings, walls, paths, drainage pipes, cables and lawns from potential damage caused by root development. Tree roots grow very close to the surface and are the cause of considerable damage. Structures with shallow foundations can be undermined. Damaged pipes, or pipes with faulty joints, can become blocked by roots. Root growth is also known to cause desiccation of soils to the extent that soil structures may subside and crack, and in these circumstances expensive underpinning may be the only solution.

Rootguard – Permeable edition in some instances it may be necessary to have a water-permeable solution e.g. surrounding land drains.  ROOTGUARD is a geotextile manufactured from polypropylene/polyethylene fibres. It provides excellent resistance to root development; confirmed in numerous trials and commercial projects. ROOTGUARD has high tensile strength, high puncture resistance and is capable of whithstanding the differential forces that can develop in clay soils.

Rootguard PLUS: Non-woven geotextile extrusion coated with high density polyethylene. Research has demonstrated that high-density polyethylene (HDPE) can withstand penetration by even the most vigorous of tree roots.

TCS TECHCELL FOR TREE ROOT PROTECTION

Once your tree is planted and you have installed your root or weed barrier, TCS offer various systems to use above the ground for the perfect finish, whilst protecting the tree and leaving room for it to grow.

TCS Techcell For Tree Root Protection
An increase in urbanisation combined with the need to preserve flora has led to a rise in development in areas where the continued health of mature trees must be assured within the close vicinity of buildings and associated infrastructure. The preservation of these trees is generally ensured via Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).

What Is A Tree Root Preservation Order (TPO)?
A Tree Preservation Order is a legal instrument put in place by a local planning authority in the United Kingdom to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity. An order prohibits the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without the local planning, authority’s written consent. If consent is given, it can be subject to conditions which have to be followed.

Inhibiting Root Damage
Of particular note is the fact that cutting or otherwise damaging roots via excavation around them is also a restricted activity under TPOs.  However actual cutting of the tree roots is not required for the tree to suffer the ill effects of construction.  As many tree roots are found within the first metre of soil,  trees see a decline in health when the areas surrounding the trees are not protected from trafficking by vehicles and plant. The trafficking not only crushes the roots but also compacts the soil around and above them reducing the permeability to water, air and also restricting the activity of burrowing insects and other fauna, which normally maintain a nutrient-rich healthy soil structure.

No Dig Solution
As a consequence of all of the above, so-called ‘no dig’ solutions are sought which provide a stabilised raft or stiffened layer above the root zone capable of spreading the load of trafficking vehicles and inhibiting the effects on the soil and roots below.  TCS’s Techcell cellular confinement system offers just such a solution. When filled with a 4mm – 20mm or 20mm – 40mm clean angular gravel, Techcell creates a permeable stable surface which distributes the loads imposed by vehicular traffic whilst allowing water, air, and nutrients to reach the tree roots preserving the health of the tree.

The British Standards Institute BS 5837:2012 provides recommendations relating to tree care, with a view to achieving a harmonious and sustainable relationship between new construction/existing structures and their surrounding trees. Techcell not only complies with BS 5837:2012 but also with Arboriculture practice note 12 (APN12).

TCS POLYMER PAVIOURS

If the final road surface requires a more formal permeable finish, this could be provided above the Techcell via permeable block paving, porous asphalt or polymer paviours such as Techpave R, Bodpave 85 or TCS Gravel Fix Pro, which can be filled with gravel or seeded soil to provide a green finish.

TCS Gravel Fix® Pro is an advanced recyclable stabilisation system for gravel, shells, mulch and sand. With its hexagonal honeycomb-like structure of high quality Polypropylene cells, TCS Gravel Fix® Pro is designed to provide a strong and stable sub-base for the professional application of gravel on paths, driveways, car parks and roofs.

DuPont™ Typar® geotextile is fitted on the bottom of the paviour for maximum porosity and weed growth reduction.

Techpave R is an interlocking polymer paving systems designed to locally stabilise grass or gravel surfaces. Techpave is suitable for applications such as car parks, driveways, cycle paths, footpaths, access roads and recreational areas.

Bodpave® 85 grass pavers / paving grids are a strong interlocking 100% recycled cellular porous plastic paving grid system for grass reinforcement, ground stabilisation & gravel retention for regular trafficked surfaces (pedestrian and vehicles). Bodpave® 85 porous pavers can be installed with either a grass or gravel filled surface.

The open cell structure provides high surface water infiltration and is suitable for source control within a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS). The unique design of the Bodpave® 85 units resist lateral movement, improves traction and allows expansion & contraction whilst promoting optimum grass growth, root protection and surface stabilisation.

A PERSONAL TOUCH IN GEOSYNTHETICS | MIKE DAVIES

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MIKE DAVIES
INTERNAL SALES

GEOSYNTHETICS – A PERSONAL TOUCH

THREE YEARS AND COUNTING

TCS have now published 3 employee blogs and having had lots of positive feedback from the industry about our personal blogs, we have now asked Mike Davies to write a little about himself. We would like to congratulate Mike after just having his 3 year work anniversary at TCS Geotechnics as an Internal Sales Representative. Mike has become an integral part of the team and we think it’s a good opportunity for him to reflect on his career path so far (don’t forget Mike it’s also a good opportunity for you to bring some cakes in to celebrate this milestone).

‘I graduated from Edge Hill University in 2012 and enrolled with Jewson’s on a Graduate Management Trainee course. During the course, I worked in two civils branches and a general builders merchant branch, completing the course in October 2015. I was then promoted to Assistant branch manager for the local Jewson’s branch in Wigan and there continued to expand my knowledge of the wide range of products used in the building and civils sector. I was drawn to the civils side of the market, as this part of the industry has always fascinated me and I’ve enjoyed learning and broadening my knowledge about the specialist products involved. In particular I find the products and system used in today’s civil engineering industry innovative and interesting. Although I will always be thankful to Jewson’s for my initial training and starting me in the industry, I felt that the opportunity to join TCS in September 2016 was too good to miss as it aligned with my preference for civils products and applications.

An aspect of my role with TCS that I particularly enjoy is using our specialist geosynthetics knowledge to help our merchant customers find what they need. I do this by providing information on the industry leading geotechnical products that we offer and their various applications. I believe customers not only appreciate the technical help they receive but also that they can rely on our fast and efficient responses. This level of service has helped me to build a trusting relationship with my customers. As well as dealing with our merchant customers, we source geotechnical products from many different suppliers. This often involves product training and consultation with the suppliers which keeps my interest peaked and means that I can offer the most effective and up to date advice to my customers. Building relationships with suppliers is also important and I especially enjoying playing football against them (but only when we win). I feel this keeps the relationships open and positive while allowing a personal connection to be established which I believe is vital – at the end of the day, notwithstanding everything else, people deal with people.

Reflecting on my time with TCS, it’s hard to believe how fast the last three years have gone. As I mentioned I have particularly enjoyed building and expanding my product knowledge and developing my customer base, with many new relationships formed alongside strengthening old ones. I look forward to continuing this development over the years to come. I have also enjoyed the banter in the office with regards to winning orders and gaining customers, although it is all a team effort, the camaraderie is what make TCS an exciting, fun and inclusive place to work. My involvement in growing the product and customer base with TCS is something I am proud of. ‘’

Mike, who is usually hitting the ski slopes in Bulgaria over the winter has had a change and recently enjoyed some sun on his honeymoon. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mike and his new wife Corinna. We hope you enjoyed your big day and savoured every minute of it, enjoying the time spent with your friends and family on your special day. Congratulations!

MIKE DAVIES

LANDSCAPE SHOW | TCS GEOTECHNICS

By NEWS

TCS ATTENDED THE LANDSCAPE SHOW

The 17th and 18th September 2019 brought the annual Landscape Show to the beautiful setting of Battersea Park in Central London. Set within the park itself in the Evolution Centre, the show was held over two days with exhibitors and visitors from a range of disciplines including geotechnical suppliers and manufacturers, landscape and garden designers and architects and landscape contractors.

TCS Geotechnics were exhibiting our wide range of geosynthetic products including Tensar Geogrids, Woven and Non-Woven Geotextiles a comprehensive range of Techline Geomembranes and preformed ‘shoebox’ liners and the full range of geosynthetic Formpave Aquaflow Components.

Perhaps most relevant to the Landscape Show audience was our range of Techcell Geocellular confinement systems providing solutions for Tree Root Protection, soil erosion and stabilisation, our standard and bespoke range of Gabion Baskets and our specialist range of stock Dupont’s Premium  root and weed barriers.

ROOT & WEED BARRIERS

Gary Norris, the UK Sales Manager for Dupont, joined us on the stand to jointly promote the use of DuPont™ Plantex® for tackling problems such as Japanese Knotweed and other invasive plant species.

DuPont™ Plantex® Platinium with its performance enhanced intrinsic strength, is resistant to the most aggressive weeds. Whether its Japanese knotweed, couch grass, reed, giant reed, giant hogweed, marestail, horsetail, bamboo or Himalayan balsam, Plantex® Platinium will deliver the resistance required.  Following numerous test by DuPont’s R&D team over several years in natural environments, no perforation or regrowth through the fabric has been observed. Once correctly installed on an area contaminated by invasive plants it does not require periodic maintenance, unlike alternative solutions like periodic chemical treatment or physical removal.

Platinium is available in widths of 2.5m and 5m. The 5m width is especially important when covering large areas as it requires fewer joints. The material is simply rolled out and covered and, if required, jointing can be undertaken relatively simply by taping or welding.

DuPont™ Plantex® Gold is an aesthetically appealing bi-coloured, non-woven Polypropylene weed control barrier for long lasting, highly effective and chemical-free weed control and is ideal for application on slopes where it can be used covered as well as uncovered.

DuPont™ Plantex® RootBarrier is a coated non-woven impermeable membrane, ideal for underground piping and cable systems protection.

DuPont™ Plantex® RootProtector is an air and water permeable non-woven root barrier, making it ideal for horizontal installations such as cycle tracks, green roofs, paths, roadways and drives.

TREE ROOT PROTECTION

An increase in urbanisation combined with the need to preserve flora has led to a rise in development in areas where the continued health of mature trees must be assured within the close vicinity of buildings and associated infrastructure. The preservation of these trees is generally ensured via Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).

Of particular note is the fact that cutting or otherwise damaging roots via excavation around them is also a restricted activity under TPOs.  However actual cutting of the tree roots is not required for the tree to suffer the ill effects of construction.  As many tree roots are found within the first metre of soil, trees see a decline in health when the areas surrounding the trees are not protected from trafficking by vehicles and plant. The trafficking not only crushes the roots but also compacts the soil around and above them reducing the permeability to water, air and also restricting the activity of burrowing insects and other fauna, which normally maintain a nutrient-rich healthy soil structure.

So-called ‘no dig’ solutions are sought which provide a stabilised raft or stiffened layer above the root zone capable of spreading the load of trafficking vehicles and inhibiting the effects on the soil and roots below.  TCS’s Techcell cellular confinement system offers such a solution. When filled with a 4mm – 20mm or 20mm – 40mm clean angular gravel, Techcell creates a permeable stable surface which distributes the loads imposed by vehicular traffic whilst allowing water, air, and nutrients to reach the tree roots preserving the health of the tree.

The British Standards Institute BS 5837:2012 provides recommendations relating to tree care, with a view to achieving a harmonious and sustainable relationship between new construction/existing structures and their surrounding trees. Techcell not only complies with BS 5837:2012 but also with Arboriculture practice note 12 (APN12).

GABION BASKETS

TCS Geotechnics offer a range of wire mesh gabion baskets that are delivered flat packed and ready to be assembled via wire or helical fixings and filled on site. Gabion baskets can be filled with rounded stone, angular rock or recycled materials like crushed concrete as required.

Gabions are typically supplied in 76.2mm x 76.2mm aperture welded mesh (other mesh sizes available) and provided in Zinc coated triple life corrosion protection as standard, optional PVC coating or stainless steel wire are also available.

TCS Gabions are typically used to create free draining gravity retaining structures in slope stabilisation and erosion protection applications. The infilled gabions can be used to secure erosive landscapes and provide structural support for applications such as bridge abutments, wing walls and outlet aprons, TCS gabions can also be used to clad unsightly areas to improve aesthetics.

As indicated above, units can also be manufactured from other non-standard mesh sizes or combinations of wire diameters to suit particular needs and stainless steel gabions are also available to special order.

VERSA STREET FURNITURE

TCS also shared our stand with our sister company Versa street furniture.

Versa specialise in the design, manufacture, and installation of quality street furniture, canopies & shelters.

The street furniture Versa can supply include bollards, access control and barriers, cycle stands, seating, litter bins, planters, tree protection, post & rail systems, signage and boot cleaners. Versa can also manufacture a bespoke range of cycle shelters, canopies, bin stores and smoking and waiting shelters across a number of sectors including schools, universities, retail, car parks, sports & leisure, parks & green spaces.

For further details, please visit Versa’s brand new website https://www.versauk.co.uk/ or call on 01942 214275 or email sales@versauk.co.uk

All in all, TCS and Versa had an excellent throughput of visitors over the two days and consider the show to be a great success.

IAN FRASER

JOANNE MURRAY

DAVID FAIRHURST

TERRAMS 50TH CELEBRATIONS | TCS GEOTECHNICS

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Terram turns the big 50

Terram (part of the Berry Global Group), recently celebrated 50 years serving the industry and to mark this historic occasion held an open day for key customers.  To show our support for one of our key supplier partners TCS Geotechnics Technical Director Ian Fraser, Sales Manager Kieran Burke and Product Manager Adam Brooksbank all attended.

The event started at 1 pm with a short meet and greet followed by a presentation on 50 years of Terram (and 31 years of Stephen Hancock) and the many changes that have taken place over the years. A tour of the manufacturing facility followed, before a reception and entertainment at a nearby venue. This provided a relaxed opportunity to network with the Terram staff we speak to on a daily basis and fellow Terram customers. Guess-the-Volume competitions were held on Terram 1000 and Bodpave 85 annual sales and our very own Adam Brooksbank successfully guessed the Terram figure. Apparently the Terram finance department’s answer of ‘not enough’ was not acceptable.

The day finished with a few quiet (or perhaps not so quiet) drinks with the guests and staff of Terram to celebrate their achievement.

The event was clearly a huge success for Terram and we at TCS enjoyed it immensely.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Terram and look forward to partnering them as they grow and develop the next 50 years of the Terram story.

A PERSONAL TOUCH IN GEOSYNTHETICS | ADAM BROOKSBANK

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ADAM BROOKSBANK
PRODUCT MANAGER

GEOSYNTHETICS – A PERSONAL TOUCH

LIVING THE GEOTECHNICAL DREAM

We recently celebrated National Apprenticeship week at TCS with a blog from one of our former apprentices, Connor Parkinson, who is now a fully-fledged member of the sales team. It struck a chord with me as my son will be a school leaver this year and he too is looking to embark on an apprenticeship. This soon had me reminiscing about my own career and realising 2019 marks 20 years since I left secondary education and embarked on an apprenticeship of my own.

After a couple of years trying various industries, and quickly learning that motor vehicle mechanics was not for me, I moved into a business apprenticeship with a manufacturer of drainage and gas venting geocomposites, where I started as a sales support administrator. The construction and civil engineering sector quickly grabbed my attention and I found something that was not only interesting but also challenging. In the early 2000’s geosynthetic materials were still seen as some new age technology, despite being around for a couple of decades at that time. I was particularly interested in how these materials replaced traditional construction methods I began a largely self-taught journey of the products and their applications. Upon completing my apprenticeship I moved into a full-time sales role dealing with an array of products including erosion control mats, geocomposite drainage layers and geomembrane liners to name just a few.

After five years I was approached by a specialist sub-contractor of geomembranes and bioengineering products, to become National Sales and Contracts Manager. I had no experience of contract management or sales management, but off I headed from sunny Holmfirth in West Yorkshire down to the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. At 22 years of age, this was a daunting experience but one I really enjoyed. Here I learned more about geomembranes and the various applications of these materials including lining of attenuation tanks, baffle curtains in underground reservoirs, lake and pond lining. I also gained experience in the different types of membranes such as HDPE, LLDPE, PP (Polypropylene) and EPDM including why different polymers suited different applications. From requiring high chemical resistance that HDPE offers for applications such as contaminated ground, to the flexibility of PP geomembranes and the ease of installation over HDPE in demanding and awkward shaped applications. I also learned more in-depth about the bioengineering side of the industry which included coir erosion control mats such as our Techmat CN and CB ranges, pre-established coir pallets and rolls, brushwood faggots, rock rolls, and floating islands. Moving to a new part of the country in a new role helped to shape who I am today and enhanced and expanded my product knowledge.

Moving on I joined CMS as part of the geotechnical products sales team distributing polymer paviours, geogrids, grass protection matting, woven and non-woven geotextiles, and other geotechnical solutions. Following a takeover by SIG and a move in premises from Warrington to Manchester, I was installed as sales manager for CMS which then became SIG Geotechnical, after three successful years building the business and helping with the integration into SIG I joined Mark Maloney and Philip Cox, two previous directors from CMS, who had set up Technical Civils Solutions.

JOINING TCS GEOTECHNICS

The TCS brief was simple, Mark and Phil had identified the growing geotechnical market and wanted someone with my knowledge and expertise to join the business and grow this sector. This was a huge challenge – holding small stocks of geotextiles and geogrids and being known predominantly in the North West, the lure of being able to help create something from scratch and the challenge of showcasing TCS and it’s product range to a wider audience throughout the UK was one I was unable to turn down. I set about building a suite of products to provide geotechnical solutions to a now growing customer base, turning around enquiries in a timely manner and delivering products and solutions available from an expanding range of stock. TCS continued to grow and went from strength to strength as the business grew to become TCS Geotechnics, a leader in the supply of geotechnical products and systems. TCS has now become distributors of Tensar geogrids, Terram non-woven geotextiles, drainage geocomposites, Bodpave polymer paviours, and Grassprotecta grass protection mats, Lotrak wovens and the Formpave Aquaflow geotechnical ancillaries including Inbitex, SC Membrane and SC Intergrid amongst others. Nine years on from starting with TCS I am proud to be a part of a fantastic team of individuals and working for a progressive company with a great reputation within the industry. Here’s to the next 9 years.

ADAM BROOKSBANK

THE TENSAR PARTNER CONFERENCE

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TENSAR PARTNER CONFERENCE

The Baltic Sea spa town of Soport, Poland, was this year’s destination for the Tensar Partner Conference.

The event ran for 2 days, Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th March, and was an opportunity for TCS to meet with distributors and Tensar’s technical and sales teams from around EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa).

TCS Geotechnics have been distributing Tensar TriAx® and Biax since June 2014. It is a partnership that has flourished based on a mutually clear understanding of the UK Geotechnical market.
This was my first Partner Conference with Tensar and accompanying me on the trip were Mark Maloney (Owner / Director ) and Ian Fraser (Technical Director).
Over the two days, we had presentations on various aspects of the Tensar business, including; Energy, Rail, Pavement Optimisation, Walls & Slopes, and New Product Technologies. We were very proud to have Ian Fraser present on behalf of TCS Geotechnics in the discussion of Pavement Optimisation, despite him managing to insert an image of Scotland’s Rugby Union Captain holding the Calcutta Cup!

What was clear from all the presentations – and has always been so – is Tensar’s continual investment in research, testing & development, which is second to none.
In between all of the presentations, there were breakout sessions in what was dubbed ‘The Market Place’. This was a valuable opportunity to liaise with the Tensar Team about their particular field of expertise. As well as the presentations mentioned above, there was a chance to speak to the Marketing Sector, the Ministry of Defence Supply Chain and also Tensar’s Software Team. All of this provided an invaluable opportunity for us to offer input and have a clear understanding of the business direction.

In all, for me personally, it was a wonderful opportunity to see more of what lies behind the products and systems we distribute. I have seen the testing first hand at Tensar Head Office in Blackburn but the ethos is consistent throughout the world. A market leader constantly engaging with its team and its partners to change an ever-growing geotechnical market.

I am very grateful to Chris Buchanan (Director of Marketing and Product Management EH) and Richard Abell (Regional Director – UK & Ireland) for the invitation to Soport and very much look forward to the next event.

KIERAN BURKE

CE MARKING OF RECYCLED POLYMERS IN GEOSYNTHETICS | TCS GEOTECHNICS

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The use of recycled polymers in geosynthetics and implications for durability statements made under the European Harmonised Standards and the CPR.

It occurred to me recently that if I didn’t sit on BSI, CEN & ISO technical committees I would be considerably less well informed about geosynthetics standards, changes to those standards and their implications. Consequently, I have decided to occasionally highlight topics which are hopefully of relevance and assistance to those of you who deal with geosynthetics regularly and are not immersed in the world of standardisation. The first topic is the use of recycled polymers in geosynthetics and the implications for durability statements made under the European Harmonised Standards and the associated Construction Products Regulations 2013.  

It may seem obvious but please be sure that your Declaration of Performance (DoP) is being made against the EN current standard. The current EN standards for geosynthetics (other than barriers) are dated 2016 (EN 13249 to 13256 & 13265). In the UK the current published geosynthetic barrier standards (EN 13361, 13362, 13491, 13492, 13493) are dated 2018. Please note that there are changes to the requirements from the old to new standards.

Firstly we should clarify that a manufacturers’ own rework material is not classified as recycled for the purposes of the EN standards and therefore this discussion. Rework is material that is waste from the same production process in the same plant in which the product is made, for example, offcuts from the edges of geosynthetic production being shredded and reintroduced. There are limitations on the use of rework material so this should be checked for the polymer and process involved.

The relevant section of the above standards is Annex B – Durability Aspects. In simple terms, for products which offer a CE Marking Declaration of Performance under the EN geosynthetics standards, the inclusion of recycled polymers (Post Industrial Material (PIM) or Post Consumer Material (PCM)) means it is ONLY possible to declare a service life of up to 5 years AND ONLY for non-reinforcing functions. For reinforcing functions where the recycled polymer is included effectively no declaration of service life is possible. In other words, it is not possible to use recycled polymer in a reinforcing product and obtain a CE mark for this product under the EN Harmonised Standards. Furthermore it is not possible to declare a service life of greater than 5 years for ANY geosynthetic product which contains recycled polymer under the current EN Harmonised Standards.

I am sure that a number of you are thinking that’s a disgrace and we should be using more recycled polymer. Whilst in principle I might agree with you, the information above is based on the current rules as they stand and if you want to change those rules then the case needs to be made and evidence presented. It is my understanding that the group responsible for setting these rules, the Durability Working Group (WG5) in CEN TC 189, considered this long and hard and concluded that, in general, manufacturers could not guarantee a sufficient consistency of supply of recycled polymer to ensure reliable durability prediction. We must bear in mind the fact that these products are used in sensitive applications like lining hazardous landfills, supporting roads and railways, constructing bridges and retaining walls etc where failure could lead to loss of life and not just your apples falling through a hole in your shopping bag!

Another point of clarification is that products not covered by the above EN application standards do, and can, use recycled polymer. So, for example, it is common for plastic paviours to use recycled material but these products tend to be made of thick polymer sections, which typically increases their resistance to weathering, and are generally applied in non-critical applications.

Lastly, if you are in the UK and thinking I don’t need to worry because this won’t apply to us after Brexit, think again. It is extremely unlikely that the UK will leave CEN even after Brexit because membership of CEN and the EU are not tied. Norway, Switzerland & Turkey are all members of CEN and are not in the EU.

I hope that this was of some assistance and I would be happy to try to field any questions – or refer you to someone who can!

IAN FRASER

A PERSONAL TOUCH IN GEOSYNTHETICS | CONNOR PARKINSON

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CONNOR PARKINSON
SALES EXECUTIVE

GEOSYNTHETICS – A PERSONAL TOUCH

THE POINT OF VIEW OF AN APPRENTICE

In our first blog in the series themed ‘Geosynthetics – A Personal Touch’ Joanne Murray mentioned the apprenticeship scheme that TCS participate in. I thought that a blog covering this in a bit more details might be useful to anyone considering this route.

I started on the TCS apprenticeship scheme after my first year at college and I am pleased to say that it has given me an excellent foundation on which to build my growing understanding of the geotechnical products we stock and sell. I have learned about our varied and extensive merchant network customer base and have developed my knowledge of the geosynthetic market.

I started college in 2013 and studied Physical Education, Sociology, Psychology & Business Studies without fully knowing what I wanted to do as a career. I passed all my exams in the first year but felt I wanted to do something within a working environment and to learn on the job whilst practicing the skills I had picked up in my first year in business studies.

So I started the second year looking out for potential apprenticeship opportunities. I didn’t want to rush into anything so I took my time and waited for the right opportunity. After some time came across an advertisement for an apprentice sales advisor at TCS Geotechnics. At the time I had no geotechnical background so the products and services TCS offer was completely new to me but that made the opportunity all the more interesting. I applied for the position, was given an interview and not long after, received an offer. I quickly accepted and started in April 2015.

The scheme at TCS offered me on the job training relating to the products, services and sales techniques utilised by TCS. I also received training on the accounting and CRM software packages and became proficient in all the various transport and logistics portals. TCS also gave me time within the working day to study a level 2 Business Administration NVQ qualification. I completed this course and progressed to Level 3 Business Administration NVQ qualification which I completed in May 2018.
I think there have been many benefits to learning on the job. Not only does it help to focus on the specific products and processes that TCS have in place but it allowed me to start to build up key relationships with my customers and the associated confidence. Responding to enquiries quickly and offering a rapid and informative level of service is one of the key qualities TCS pride themselves on.

The training I have received has allowed me to develop the skills needed to do this and it is clearly very much appreciated based on the positive responses I receive from customers. Converting a quotation into an order always gives me that sense of achievement and motivates me to continue to develop in my role. I have recently started to visit my customers at their branches to further extend and build on those relationships. By representing TCS and meeting the customers face to face, it gives an extra dimension to our growing relationships.

FUTURE PLANS/DEVELOPMENT HOPES

For the future, I want to gain as much experience as I can in the geotechnical industry, as I feel I am yet to even scratch the surface of this dynamic and growing market. This would involve learning more about the specialist geotechnical products that we can offer and also gaining further knowledge of the markets TCS operate in. The natural progression on from this would be for me to take on more of a leadership role at some point in the future.

I am actively involved in mentoring our current apprentice and I enjoy passing on my knowledge, knowing that I was that new starter a couple of years ago and feeling proud of how far I have progressed since.

CONNOR PARKINSON

NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIPS WEEK

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National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2019) takes place 4 to 8 March 2019.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2019) takes place 4 to 8 March 2019.
Here at TCS Geotechnics & Versa, we have seen huge benefits over the past 10 years of the National Apprenticeship scheme. Many of our staff have gained valuable qualifications and experience going through this process and this week, we take the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and thank them for their continued service.


Our apprentices from left to right:
Lauren Brown – Lauren has completed her NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and is currently working towards her Level 3. Lauren currently works in our Administration team.

Megan Mcloughlin – Megan completed her NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration back in April 2016. She currently heads up Versa’s procurement team and also project manages all aspects of manufacture within our street furniture works.

Connor Parkinson – Connor has completed both his Level 2 & Level 3 NVQ in Business Administration. He is an integral member of the TCS Sales Team and has been since joining the business in April 2015.

Dan Cox – Dan recently joined the TCS team back in September 2018 and is working towards his NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. He currently works in our logistics department liaising with all of the TCS Sales team.

TCS & Versa take great pride in developing apprentices and the most pleasing aspect is to see so many go on to take full time employment.
We look forward to the next intake of apprentices as we move further along in 2019.
Kieran Burke
Sales Manager
TCS / VERSA

portrait of Joanne murray infront of a stack of Tensar Triax

A PERSONAL TOUCH IN GEOSYNTHETICS | JOANNE MURRAY

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JOANNE MURRAY
SALES & MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR

GEOSYNTHETICS- A PERSONAL TOUCH

Now four months into my new role at TCS Geotechnics and starting a new year, I have been reflecting on how I got to where I am now. To join a company straight from school, when you don’t really know which direction you want your career to take, then to end up staying for 15 years, speaks volumes about that positive experience. Finding your feet and taking your place in an industry you originally knew nothing about was an achievement in itself. Additionally, learning about geotechnics and geosynthetic products has been very interesting and satisfying, particularly as many of these products work in clever and innovative ways giving effective and sustainable results.

To learn on a job and grow and develop as a person within a company is very special. Having the support of geotechnical and civil engineers and other related professionals, plus regular training all the way through my career has been very important to me. Tensar® was my one constant throughout all of my major life events including marriage, buying my first house, two children and university.

A WHOLE NEW ANGLE

When the time came to spread my wings and gain new experience elsewhere the thought of leaving one company after 15 years and going to another was a scary one. However, the beauty of moving to an existing geotechnical distributor of Tensar products, was the familiarity with those products. The opportunity to continue to contribute to the growth and sale of those innovative products and systems but from a different angle. However, the welcome challenge is that I am now dealing with a different set of customers; the merchant network and also a wider new range of geotechnical and geosynthetic products. In addition to Tensar Geogrids, there are new products for me to learn about such as geocellular confinement systems (Techcell),  woven geotextiles, invasive weed barriers (Plantex) and gabions to name a few.

The support from suppliers to stock their market leading products such as Tensar TriAx geogrids, Terram Bodpave, Dupont Plantex and Formpave Aquaflow, shows how dedicated we are to supplying only the best products to our customers.

Selling geotechnical and geosynthetic products to the market via the merchant network is an interesting business model built on excellent levels of service and customer relations. Our approach allows us to build trusting relationships with our merchant customers, which is a very important core value to TCS and something that was born out of Mark and Phil’s original experience when working in the merchant sector before they set up TCS 10 years ago.

FAMILY FEEL

Following my former Tensar Director, Ian Fraser, to TCS helped me to feel very much at home straight away.  From the word go, I settled into TCS as they have a close family-like feel. How many companies can you say the owners/directors work in the same office, joining in with the laughs but, more importantly, the day to day running of the business?  Discussions about our business strategy and product ranges take place in an open and inclusive way creating a professional and team-driven environment, reflecting the type of company that TCS is and one that is a pleasure to be involved in.

I am also proud to say that I work for a company that actively supports an apprenticeship scheme helping young school leavers learn on the job and through college placements, to be the future of TCS. I was once that school leaver and the start to my career at a successful company was an extremely important step for me.

JOANNE MURRAY