Procter Cast Stone have recently started to work with a 5-Axis CNC Machine. The cutting edge technology enables us to use our design expertise to develop an unparalleled range of complex shapes and design details, to make virtually any architectural stone profile. We design and supply a wide range of high quality cast stone with no compromise to aesthetic appeal.
The new drawing pack aims to provide clear information about cast stone components.
Procter Cast Stone is happy to announce the redesign of our Technical Drawing Pack.
Designed to bring a wealth of information to the fingertips of architects, specifiers, home builders and contractors, the new brochure provides the technical information needed to assist you with your next cast stone project.
The brochure features product drawings from a wide range of standard and typical Procter's cast stone components that include:
As the only UK Cast Stone company with an in-house installation team, not only do we make our cast stone products, we install them too.
To request a copy of the 2018 Cast Stone Technical drawing Pack, please contact our team on 0113 286 3329. The free-to-use downloadable pack is also available in our downloads section.
>> Next: <Understanding Cast Stone> Guide
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Procter Cast Stone's Brentwood facility is now holding stocks of copings, pier caps, cills and heads, all in the popular Millstone Grit colour
Procter Cast Stone is now holding stocks of selected standard items in Horndon-on-the-hill, Essex for customers in the South East of England who need quick access to high-quality products. Other bespoke cast stone products can be delivered within a week from extensive stocks held at the company’s production facility.
Standard products available for collection or immediate delivery from Essex are copings, pier caps, cills and heads, all in the popular Millstone Grit colour. If other cast stone products are required – such as string course or quoins – these can be delivered within 7 days from the extensive stocks held at the production facility. In addition, customers can order non-stock standard cast stone products including porticos, walling, steps, columns and arches, all in standard or custom colours. Furthermore, Procter Cast Stone can readily manufacture bespoke cast stone products, working from existing quarried stone items that need to be replicated or replaced, architects’ drawings, or little more than dimensioned sketches.
Cast stone products at the Essex site are carefully stored and protected so they will not suffer any damage or undue weathering prior to installation. Advice on storage, site handling and installation can be provided to ensure the cast stone maintains its high-quality finish.
Follow the link to find out more about standard products from Procter Cast Stone at www.caststoneuk.co.uk/products/standard-stock, contact the Essex branch on 01277 888433 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the branch at Portland Lodge, Brentwood Road, Horndon-on-the-hill, RM14 3TJ (just off junction 29 of the M25).
Procter Fencing and Concrete Products, a sister division of Procter Cast Stone specialising in supplying fencing products to fencing contractors, building contractors, builders’ merchants and councils with direct works operations. Customers can also access technical advice about fencing and request site surveys, estimates and quotations for railings and gates.
>> Next: Procter Cast Stone launches improved-website
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The 100-acre new build village scheme featuring a selection of cast stone products has been Highly Commended in the ‘Best use of Cast Stone to a Housing Development Project’ category at the Excellence in the Use of Cast Stone Awards.
The UK Cast Stone Association Awards (UKCSA) was established in 1991 to recognise the very best UK manufacturers of cast stone and associated trades and has grown to become the first point of reference for all matters regarding cast stone. Awards are given to projects that demonstrate high-quality cast stone design and have made a positive ethical, social and environmental contribution to the built environment.
This project was recognised by leaders within the cast stone industry, including RIBA and The Concrete Society professionals, for the significant quantity and breadth of bespoke cast stone products supplied. Bespoke cast stone supplied by Procter Cast Stone including heads, cills, band course, columns, copings, pediment and porticos.
James McVicar, Sales Manager for Procter Cast Stone, said “This was a complex 100-acre site built in a number of phases over several years. The project consisted of bespoke designs with specific site call offs, but our team rose to the challenge and supplied a range of bespoke cast stone products that we have become known for.”
>> Next: Chelsea flower show
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Procter Cast Stone's Bedwas facility is now holding stocks of copings, pier caps, cills and heads, all in the popular Millstone Grit colour
Procter Cast Stone is now holding stocks of selected standard items in Bedwas, Caerphilly for customers in the South Wales area for collection or immediate delivery. The stock includes copings, pier caps, cills and heads, all in the popular Millstone Grit colour. Other standard cast stone products can be delivered within a week – such as string course or quoins – from extensive stocks held at the company’s production facility in Garforth, West Yorkshire.
In addition, customers can order non-stock standard cast stone products including porticos, walling, steps, columns and arches, all in standard or custom colours. Furthermore, Procter Cast Stone can readily manufacture bespoke cast stone products, working from existing quarried stone items that need to be replicated or replaced, architects’ drawings, or little more than dimensioned sketches.
Cast stone products at the Bedwas site are carefully stored and protected so they will not suffer any damage or undue weathering prior to installation. Advice on storage, site handling and installation can be provided to ensure the cast stone maintains its high-quality finish.
The facility in Bedwas is shared with Procter Fencing Materials, a sister division of Procter Cast Stone specialising in supplying fencing products to fencing contractors, building contractors, builders’ merchants and councils with direct works operations. Customers can also access technical advice about fencing and request site surveys, estimates and quotations for railings and gates.
Follow the link to find out more about standard products from Procter Cast Stone at www.caststoneuk.co.uk/products/standard-stock, contact the Bedwas branch on 02920 600 324 or email@example.com, or visit the branch at 11 Pant Glas Ind Estate, Bedwas, CF83 8XD.
>> Next: Procter Cast Stone launches improved website
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Standard and bespoke cast stone are very cost-effective for producing high-quality features for hard landscaping
The Director of Procter Cast Stone explains the benefits of using high-quality standard and bespoke cast stone for landscaping projects.
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is renowned for creating natural-looking landscapes, yet he invariably incorporated hard landscaping features such as bridges and follies. Today, homeowners and architects working on all scales, from small suburban gardens to large properties with extensive grounds, continue to utilise hard landscaping. Cast stone is very cost-effective for this, either standard cast stone products or bespoke items, with the possibilities being limited only by the designer’s imagination. Very tellingly, at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the coveted People’s Choice Award was won by Matthew Wilson’s colourful garden ‘God's Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire’, which made brilliant use of bespoke cast stone manufactured by Procter Cast Stone.
Matthew Wilson’s garden design was inspired by the medieval Great East Window at York Minster and required 30 tonnes of cast stone for columns, finials and additional details. Procter Cast Stone worked with Matthew Wilson to develop his initial sketches into working drawings from which moulds could be made and the cast stone units manufactured.
The ‘God’s Own County’ garden uniquely illustrates the way in which cast stone can benefit hard landscaping. More typically, cast stone is used for entrance columns, copings, pier caps, spheres, balustrading, walling and steps. It is also chosen either on its own or to complement other structural materials for gazebos and orangeries. Procter Cast Stone has a broad portfolio of standard products or, if required, the company can manufacture products that are modified from standard designs or fully bespoke – as with Matthew Wilson’s award-winning garden. Designers can create a classical look using traditional styles and details, or a more contemporary appearance can be achieved very easily. Furthermore, designers can select one of Procter’s standard colours or, if required, special colours can be produced to order.
Some homeowners choose cast stone for creating a focal point for their garden, while others find cast stone is excellent for executing a broader theme encompassing walling, steps, balustrading and outdoor living spaces. Whatever the need, cast stone is remarkably versatile, with superb structural and aesthetic characteristics.
While ‘Capability’ Brown always used quarried stone, cast stone offers a number of advantages, with its substantially lower cost being the biggest. Cast stone also has a far shorter lead time. To the untrained eye, cast stone is indistinguishable from quarried stone, yet both are similarly low-maintenance, weather the same and last for the lifetime of the garden.
Procter Cast Stone is a well-established business and has recently invested over a quarter of a million pounds to expand and improve its manufacturing facilities in Garforth, West Yorkshire. With an in-house joinery shop for production of the all-important moulds, together with computerised batching plant and a climate-controlled curing chamber, Procter Cast Stone tightly manages the entire manufacturing process to ensure that its products are of the highest quality possible – indeed, the strength and quality far exceed the requirements laid down in BS 1217 and we work to the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) specification for Cast Stone, which is more stringent than the British Standard. The installation of most standard products is well within the capabilities of general builders and landscaping contractors but, for complex structures such as gazebos, steps or balustrading, Procter Cast Stone has its own teams of highly skilled installers who will ensure the cast stone construction is completed on time and to the client’s full satisfaction.
For landscaping projects, Procter Cast Stone can also work closely with Procter Contracts for the design, manufacture and installation of ornamental gates, railings and other architectural metal work. Procter’s most photographed ornamental gates are those installed at Kensington Palace.
Contact Procter Cast Stone to enquire about standard or bespoke cast stone for landscaping by emaill firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone or the online chat facility on the website. Alternatively, download a PDF version of the brochure here or see our videos about the Chelsea Flower Show project and more.
>> Next: Stock in Brentwood
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Procter Cast Stone has appointed James McVicar as its new Sales Manager.
Procter Cast Stone has appointed James McVicar as its new Sales Manager and is taking this opportunity to build on the firm’s existing reputation for outstanding customer service.
James McVicar is an experienced sales manager who joined Procter Cast Stone as Sales Manager in September 2016. He will be working to increase the company’s visibility and ensure that architects, developers, specifiers, interior designers and end users are aware of Procter Cast Stone and the company’s high-quality standard and bespoke offering. He comments: “We have a fantastic product that I firmly believe is second to none. Already we have improved the way in which we handle enquiries, which gives us a better understanding of clients’ projects and timescales. From initial enquiry to delivery of the final product, the team is fully focused on providing outstanding customer service; for example, we now keep clients updated as their orders progress through the various stages of production.”
Experienced in managing teams both large and small, James McVicar knows that if everyone in the team works together, then the client experience is improved along with the business performance. He states: “I am driven to achieve the business objectives whilst constantly looking at ways to improve our customer experience. I am a positive person who believes that anything is possible and I will do the utmost to make the impossible possible.”
Procter Cast Stone is a well-established division of Procter Bros Ltd, a company that can trace its history back 277 years. Projects with which Procter Cast Stone has been involved range from prestigious residential and commercial properties, through to places of worship, flood defences and restorations of listed buildings. In 2016, Procter’s bespoke cast stone featured prominently in the ‘Peoples’ Choice’ award-winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
James McVicar concludes: “Last year we invested £715,000 in our production facilities, including the installation of a new climate-controlled curing chamber, benefiting clients with reliable lead times and a great product. If you are interested in high-quality standard or bespoke cast stone and want to be sure of receiving the best possible customer service, speak to me or any member of the team.
Contact Procter Cast Stone to request a printed brochure by email email@example.com, telephone us or the online chat facility on the website. Alternatively, download a PDF version of the brochure.
>> Next: Procter Cast Stone launches improved website
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Procter Cast Stone has published a third edition of Understanding Cast Stone, a Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers. This updated version includes new information relating to installation and CE marking. In addition, the extensive table of British standards and Eurocodes has been brought fully up to date, and there is a new section for Useful Resources.
Market surveys have demonstrated beyond doubt that cast stone makes residential developments more attractive to prospective purchasers to the extent that they would be prepared to pay more. Similarly, cast stone is a very cost-effective and low-risk way to enhance the aesthetics of schools, commercial properties, retail outlets, public buildings, places of worship and other buildings. Procter Cast Stone is offering architects and specifiers a free guide to cast stone products to help them maximise the benefits available from this versatile and cost-effective construction material, whether the products in question are one-offs or manufactured in larger quantities.
Using either standard products or bespoke cast stone products can be an extremely economical way to add considerable value to housing developments, incorporate styling features within prestige projects, mimic traditional details in infill developments or in alterations to period properties, or simply to cut the cost of repetitive work. Furthermore, cast stone units are manufactured in a factory environment, which means that unit-to-unit and batch-to-batch quality is better than for quarried stone, plus deliveries are more reliable.
However, for architects and specifiers to maximise the benefits, they need to understand how cast stone products are manufactured, what can be achieved with cast stone, and how cast stone products should be designed so as to aid manufacturing and handling. Getting the product and installation design right from the outset can make a significant difference to the cast stone maintaining its good appearance in the long-term.
The Understanding Cast Stone guide also includes information relating to site practice. This is important, as a few simple precautions taken during handling, storage and installation will ensure the cast stone products do not sustain damage that could lead to them having to be repaired or replaced. The guide to cast stone also provides advice on cleaning and maintenance (cast stone should need minimal cleaning and maintenance, but applying the incorrect techniques can cause damage). Towards the back of the guide there is a comprehensive list of applicable British Standards and Eurocodes.
Understanding Cast Stone, a Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers, is available as a PDF from the Downloads section or request a copy by telephoning or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the online version here.
>> Next: 10 Tips for saving money on cast stone
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Procter Cast Stone was awarded Highly Commended in the Best Use of Cast Stone, Commercial Projects category at the recent prestigious UK Cast Stone Association national awards presentation.
Commenting on the award in relation to the cast stone supplied to Bourne Hill Stables, West Sussex, Procter Cast Stone’s Director commented: “It’s a great award to win because it shows how well Procter Cast Stone can perform in any given location. It is also good for the whole team to be recognised for producing excellent work.”
Visitors to Procter Cast Stone’s website www.caststoneuk.co.uk can find plenty of examples of other applications featuring cast stone units manufactured and installed by the Company, see the video of Borne Hill Stables.
>> Next: RHS Chelsea Flower Show
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With this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show now at an end and as each of the show gardens sadly gets dismantled, it’s worth recognising the less-publicised skill which went into creating some of the stunning gardens.
A great example is the stone structure in the ‘God's Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire’. Inspired by the medieval Great East Window at York Minster, the structure formed the centrepiece of the Matthew Wilson’s colourful garden – which won a silver medal and the ‘People’s Choice’ prestigious award.
As some garden designers and others in the industry might have realised, the structure wasn’t in fact crafted from quarried stone, even though it perfectly resembled it, but from cast stone – a process which allows intricate shapes to be created by using a mould filled with a precise matrix of loose materials, before being cured and allowed to set.
The cast stone was manufactured by the UK’s leader, Procter Cast Stone, and their sales manager, Simon Tibble, explains how the job came about and how he sees a growing role for cast stone in garden design.
“Earlier in the year, we were approached by Welcome to Yorkshire to see if we could help with the design and manufacture of the stone structure, plus other features, in their Chelsea garden. We’re based in Garforth, West Yorkshire, so I suppose our location along with renowned expertise in cast stone made us the perfect partner. We were delighted to help, and using only rough sketches as a starting point, we went on to design and manufacture the four turrets, 55 square metres of ashlar walling, the ‘laying down’ window, planters and benches.
“Of course cast stone has long been used by garden designers for stone features, but often just as standard products which, of course, limit creativity. Large custom-made structures formed from quarried stone are hugely expensive, but cast stone allows a much more cost-effective alternative. We’re seeing an increase in interest from garden designers in using cast stone for custom-made garden structures”.
Find out more about our bespoke cast stone design service, please email email@example.com. For drawings of standard cast stone products, go to the Downloads section of the website.
>> Next: Procter Cast Stone launches improved website
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This new property features heads, cills, hood moulds and other components manufactured from cast stone, in combination with Cotswold stone random coursed walling.
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Cast stone is popular for new-builds as well as renovations, conversions and extensions to period properties. However, architects and specifiers are sometimes unclear about whether cast stone can be used alongside quarried stone. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – as can be seen in the photograph here – but read on to find out more.
For new-build projects, cast stone is commonly used with quarried stone as shown here. This property has been constructed with Cotswold stone random coursed walling, and all dressings are Procter Cast Stone’s manufactured products with a millstone grit coloured finish. Using cast stone in this way results in substantial cost savings, plus much quicker deliveries. Cast stone is more cost-effective than quarried stone even when one-offs are required, but the manufacturing process – using reusable moulds – means that cost savings are greater for products such as door and window surrounds, quoins, string course, copings and numerous others where multiple units are required.
Cast stone weathers in the same way as quarried stone, so architects and specifiers can be confident that both materials will ‘mellow’ together. To the untrained eye, cast stone is indistinguishable from dressed quarried stone, and it will also last as long. Procter’s experience shows that cast stone can be used very successfully on listed buildings as well as those in Conservation Areas.
When cast stone is used on period properties, it is often necessary to reproduce components that are damaged or missing, and also manufacture replica units for additional windows and doors, for example. By a combination of meticulous site surveys and attention to detail during mouldmaking and production, bespoke units can be produced that are first-class copies of the original units. Furthermore, if standard colours are not sufficiently close, Procter Cast Stone can formulate custom colours that will weather to match the original quarried and dressed units. In some cases Procter Cast Stone takes mouldings from original carved units so that an ‘inverse’ pattern can be created on the surface of the mould, thereby allowing special finishes to be reproduced on the faces of the cast stone units. In other cases, Procter Cast Stone works with the architect to produce new cast stone units in a style that matches that of the original dressed stone units.
Whatever the project, Procter Cast Stone allocates a project manager to work closely with the architect, specifier and contractor to ensure all requirements are met in full, including arranging deliveries to suit the build schedule. Highly skilled joiners translate the component designs into the moulds that are critical for the production of high-quality cast stone. During the moulding and when the units are demoulded, great care is taken so that the finished units are of the highest standard possible. All units are manufactured in the company’s own factory with state-of-the-art batching and curing. Procter Cast Stone manufactures units in accordance with the UKCSA Specification for Cast Stone, which far exceeds the requirements laid down in the relevant British Standard, BS 1217:2008.
For more information about high-quality standard and bespoke cast stone products go to www.caststoneuk.co.uk. Alternatively, contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss specific projects by means of the online chat facility on the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us.
>> Next: Copings for flood defence walls
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Procter Cast Stone has redesigned its website to improve the user experience.Request a Consultation
Procter Cast Stone has redesigned its website to improve the user experience. Visitors browsing with desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones will all appreciate the better graphics, while the main menus have remained unchanged so visitors who are familiar with the site can find the information they want as quickly and easily as possible. In addition, the responsive architecture has been retained following more than a year of positive feedback from customers.
The first thing visitors will notice is improved use of the screen space, particularly when viewing the website on a widescreen display; a new slideshow of large photographs on the Home page illustrates cast stone products, completed projects, manufacturing and site surveys.
Continuing with the theme of enriched graphics, the website’s gallery section has been redesigned, as have the individual product pages. Throughout the site, the pages benefit from a fresh, clearer layout that makes it easier for visitors to find what they need. In addition, the product pages have gained helpful links to downloads on the left-hand side, and there are new illustrated links to related products at the bottom.
Page design throughout the site is now more consistent, yet the proven menu structures are unaltered. One enhancement to the navigation is the inclusion of a small menu at the side of the product pages so visitors can easily jump between related products.
Explore the new website or contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss specific projects by means of the Live Chat facility on the website, email email@example.com or telephone us.
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Cast stone is a cost-effective way to enhance the aesthetics of flood defences
It is essential that flood defences provide the required protection, yet these functional structures need not have a utilitarian appearance. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the aesthetics of a flood-prevention wall is to install cast stone copings. Many standard designs are available or bespoke copings can be manufactured very economically.
Procter Cast Stone’s range of standard coping comes in a choice of styles, sizes and colours. Although not usually required for flood defences, bespoke colours can be mixed to order; this might be appropriate when protecting buildings that already have bespoke cast stone or that have quarried stone features needing to be colour-matched. To complement the copings, Procter Cast Stone also manufactures standard and bespoke products such as pier caps, plinth, gate piers and steps.
To the untrained eye, cast stone is all but identical to quarried stone, and it also performs the same and weathers the same. All products are manufactured in accordance with the stringent UKCSA Specification for Cast Stone, which exceeds the requirements in British Standard BS 1217 by at least 40 per cent. Furthermore, since Procter Cast Stone has invested in a new climate- controlled curing chamber, the strength achieved is even higher. New computer-controlled batching plant also ensures exceptional colour consistency within each batch and from one batch to another.
Thanks to the recent investment of almost £0.75million in new facilities, equipment and staff, Procter Cast Stone can now offer faster deliveries on copings and other products manufactured to order, whether standard or custom. In addition, substantial quantities of copings are held in stock in Garforth, near Leeds, ready for delivery or collection.
Copings for flood defences are suitable for mechanised handling, which minimises the installation time and helps contractors comply with site health and safety requirements. Copings are straightforward to install by competent bricklayers, with no specialist training required. Nevertheless, care should be taken with site storage and handling to ensure that cast stone units are not damaged - though replacement units can be supplied in a timely manner if the need arises. For large projects, deliveries can be scheduled so the cast stone units are not stored on site for longer than is absolutely necessary.
Procter Cast Stone has published a number of free guides and white papers for architects and specifiers who are not familiar with cast stone, explaining the advantages compared with alternative materials, the production process, and providing advice on specification, design Ref: PR 123 Copings for flood defences and installation. These can be downloaded from the website, together with case studies and dimensioned drawings of standard products; the website also has an extensive photographic gallery illustrating the capabilities of cast stone. The company’s technical experts can discuss projects with prospective clients to ensure they maximise the benefits and minimise the costs, but without compromising quality.
For more information about high-quality standard and bespoke cast stone copings and other products go to www.caststoneuk.co.uk. Alternatively, contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss specific projects by means of the online chat facility on the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us.
>> Next: Cast stone entrance features
>> Next: Cast stone as building external materials
Procter Cast Stone is investing £715,000 at its factory in Garforth, West Yorkshire, which will benefit customers directly by reducing lead time for bespoke cast stone products, raising customer service and quality standards, and increasing stocks of standard cast stone products. In addition, the company has produced a video to showcase the improved facilities.
A substantial investment has been made in the factory, which effectively makes it a brand new facility. Even though it is built on the same site, the new factory is almost twice as large at 1400sqm, and the mould – making section is now housed in the same building so that the joiners – who are responsible for the process-critical mould-making function now being immediately adjacent to the production process. Furthermore, new joinery machinery has been purchased, and the company has installed computer-controlled batching plant and a climate-controlled curing chamber.
Two more members of staff are joining Procter Cast Stone to support the expanding business. Rasa Aleksandraviciene is an architectural engineer and she is strengthening the technical team, providing detailed advice to customers, preparing CAD drawings and producing complex quotations. Charlotte France is the second new member of staff, focusing on sales and customer service. Between them, these additions to the Procter Cast Stone team will help to ensure the company remains a market leader in terms of attention to detail and customer support, particularly for high-quality bespoke cast stone.
While the investment in personnel is enhancing customer service, the new facilities and equipment mean that turnaround times are reduced, partly because capacity has been increased and partly because the curing chamber cuts the curing time. Procter Cast Stone is already renowned for the high quality of its products, and the new computer-controlled batching plant takes part-to-part and batch-to-batch consistency to an even higher level. Furthermore, the batching and curing enhancements result in a higher-strength product, far exceeding the requirements of BS 1217 and the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) Specification for Cast Stone.
Having reorganised its site at Garforth, Procter Cast Stone now has more space available for safe storage of standard and bespoke cast stone units; consequently the standard range of stocked items can be increased to incorporate new products as well as new colours to suit demand from different geographical regions. Customers are welcome to visit the storage yard to view the variety of cast stone products that can be manufactured and to assess the high quality.
Director of Procter Cast Stone, comments: “With this investment, we will be doubling our capacity by 2017, which will allow us to continue our current annual growth rate of around 15 per cent. We have already received some very positive feedback, so the investment is being appreciated by the people who matter most, namely our customers.”
For those who are unable to visit and tour the new facilities for themselves, Procter Cast Stone has released a video. This shows the design office, joinery workshop, batching plant, cast stone production, hand finishing, curing chamber, storage yard, delivery and installation.
For more information about high-quality bespoke and standard cast stone products contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss specific projects by means of the online chat facility on the website, email email@example.com or telephone us.
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The Director of Procter Cast Stone provides ten tips for saving money when purchasing cast stone – but without compromising on quality.
Cast stone offers an extremely cost-effective yet visually near-indistinguishable alternative to quarried stone for new projects as well as refurbishments, conversions and extensions to period properties, whether the requirement is for one-offs or large quantities. However, the price of cast stone can vary significantly from one supplier to another, largely due to the quality. Standard sized ashlar blocks need to comply with BS EN 771-5 and be CE marked to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). Architects, specifiers and quantity surveyors are under pressure to reduce cost, so this present ’10 tips’ article suggests ways in which costs can be saved without compromising quality and resorting to low-cost manufacturers that might deliver non-standards-compliant products.
1. Use standard products
Manufacturers such as Procter Cast Stone offer extensive ranges of standard products such as heads, cills, string course, quoins, copings and pier caps that are manufactured in large volumes and held in stock. Clearly, there will be more cost-effective than similar non-standard items. Procter also offers a made-to-order standard range for which the moulds have already been manufactured, so these products can be delivered with short lead times and, again, at a lower cost than bespoke products. These made-to-order standard products include ashlar walling, steps, porticos, arches, canopies, pedestals, columns, balustrading, spheres, plinths, gable vents, corbels, cornice, mullions, door jambs, bullseyes, and name and date plaques. If standard products are not suitable for a particular project, consideration should be given to specifying a mixture of standard and non-standard products to achieve the design intent while minimising cost. In some cases it is also possible to manufacture standard products in non-standard sizes by using or adapting existing moulds, thereby saving cost compared with bespoke items.
2. Choose standard colours
Cast stone manufacturers typically offer a range of standard colours. For example, Procter Cast Stone offers Dark Portland, Light Portland, Aire, Natural, Millstone Grit, Millstone Light, Cheshire Red and Light Yorkstone (a colour chart can be downloaded from the website and samples are available on request). Architects and specifiers therefore have a broad choice, and selecting from the standard colours will cost less than specifying a non-standard colour – though using cast stone of a non-standard colour can give a building a striking appearance for only a small increase in cost.
3. Buy quality products
It is well worth buying high-quality cast stone because this can prove to be considerably more cost-effective than buying low-priced, low-quality items that cause problems due to inaccurate sizing, inconsistent colouring, inadequate strength, delivery with damage, and poor long-term weather resistance. Bear in mind that if cast stone products are delivered to site and found to be unacceptable, it might take weeks to manufacture and deliver replacements, which can cause serious delays to construction projects.
4. If using bespoke products, discuss the designs with the manufacturer
There will be some projects for which bespoke products are required, in which case the architect or specifier should discuss the requirements with potential suppliers. Some design features are easier (and less expensive) to manufacture due to the production process and the need to manufacture a mould, and sometimes it is possible to manufacture moulds in such a way that they can be used to produce different sizes of cast stone unit – which will cost less than if a number of separate moulds have to be manufactured. A good supplier will be able to use its experience and knowledge to work with a customer to ensure the required cast stone units meet the specification while remaining as cost-effective as possible.
5. Consult with the supplier at the earliest possible stage
Whether using standard, modified or bespoke cast stone units, it is highly advisable to consult with the potential manufacturer at the earliest possible opportunity, before too much time has spent on the detailed design of the cast stone units. As with almost anything, it costs far less to make a design change – even a small one – at the early stages of a project.
6. Provide a full set of CAD drawings
Often Procter Cast Stone is approached by an architect or self-builder and asked to create a design based on a rough visual. While this is a perfectly good way to proceed with a project, the design time will, inevitably, have to be reflected in the price. On the other hand, if the customer provides good quality CAD drawings, then Procter’s design input is reduced and the price will be correspondingly lower.
7. For porticos, specify a ring beam rather than structural steelwork
Porticos are becoming very popular both for new-builds and as additions to existing properties. Traditionally cast stone porticos have required the use of structural steelwork, but this is a relatively costly element of the overall portico. Procter Cast Stone has therefore developed a ring beam design that avoids the need for structural steelwork, resulting in a cost saving that is passed on to the customer. The ring beam is used in all of Procter’s standard porticos and can be adapted for virtually any bespoke portico.
8. Take care with site handling and installation
In common with many construction materials, cast stone can be vulnerable to damage unless it is properly stored, handled and installed. A good supplier will provide information and advice for site storage, handling and installation, so building contractors should follow this to ensure that cast stone units are not chipped, cracked, stained or otherwise damaged. Although replacements can be manufactured, there is a risk that the construction will be delayed – not to mention the cost of purchasing the replacement. Procter Cast Stone has site handling and installation information available on its website for downloading free of charge.
9. Make sure of Procter's installation service
Building contractors generally possess the necessary skills to install relatively simple cast stone features properly. However, for more complex features – such as a portico or balustrade – Procter’s expert installation service can prove more cost-effective. The experienced installers understand all the particular characteristics of cast stone and therefore can ensure a perfect installation every time. Importantly, the specialist installers will usually take less time than a general building contractor, so the overall cost is lower. Furthermore, the cast stone remains Procter’s responsibility until the installation is complete, so the customer is not at risk of additional unexpected costs in the event of any damage being incurred during installation.
10. Take advantage of free guides
Procter Cast Stone has published a number of guides and other information to help architects and specifiers make the most of cast stone – and as cost-effectively as possible. These can be downloaded free of charge from the website and are highly recommended.
Follow the link to download the free guides, as well as brochures, PDF drawings and CAD files of standard products. Alternatively, contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss specific projects by means of the online chat facility, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us.
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CE Marking Cast Stone is required but only in certain circumstances
Our Director of Procter Cast Stone explains under what circumstances CE Marking cast stone products to the EU Construction Products Regulation is mandatory, and when it would not be legal to do so. This technical article also discusses the related matter of the different standards that should be applied when manufacturing cast stone.
Following an extensive consultation process, there is now industry consensus on the circumstances under which cast stone products should be CE marked in accordance with the EU Construction Products Regulation 305/2011 (CPR), which came into force on 1 July 2013 to replace the Construction Products Directive (CPD). Now that guidance documents have been published containing tables and a checklist there is, at last, clarity for architects, specifiers, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors. Prior to this there was confusion and conflicting advice, so all parties will welcome the new, easily understood guidelines.
One of the problems behind the previous confusion is that the CPR was developed by the European Commission and therefore refers to European standards including EN 771-5 (Specification for masonry units. Manufactured stone masonry units), of which BS EN 771-5:2011 is the current edition of the equivalent ‘transposed’ British Standard published by BSI. However, BSI also publishes BS 1217:2008 (Cast stone. Specification), which is the standard followed by most UK manufacturers of cast stone – though the Specification for Cast Stone published by UKCSA, and which UKCSA members adhere to, is more stringent than BS 1217.
For completeness, we should also mention both parts of British Standard BS 5642, namely BS 5642-1 (Sills, copings and cappings. Specification for window sills of precast concrete, cast stone, clayware, slate and natural stone) and BS 5642-2 (Sills, copings and cappings. Specification for copings and cappings of precast concrete, cast stone, clayware, slate and natural stone). Because there was a potential conflict between BS 5642 and BS 1217, BSI issued amendments in February 2014 to the effect that cast stone sills, copings and cappings shall be manufactured in accordance with BS 1217 (see here for more information about Cast Stone British Standards).
The situation now is that various factors influence which standard applies (BS 1217 or BS EN 771-5), and if CE marking the cast stone product is necessary. These factors are: whether any dimension exceeds 650mm; whether reinforcement or fixings are incorporated; whether the product is standard or bespoke; and whether the product is a standard-sized ashlar walling block.
One of the documents produced by UKCSA is a checklist structured as a decision tree so users simply answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a series of straightforward questions. This leads the way through the decision process for identifying whether or not to CE mark the cast stone. However, in some circumstances ‘derogation’ is an option for the manufacturer. This means the manufacturer has the choice of whether or not to CE mark a bespoke product when it is manufactured in a ‘non-series’ production process, with various criteria influencing whether the production is ‘series’ or ‘non-series’ (eg quantities, differences between units, and production methods). More information is provided in the European Commission’s document CPR 07/07/01, Explanations on Art 5(a) of the CPR, but an important point to note is that CPR 07/07/01 includes the following statement: a “non-series process” should be understood as the manufacture of goods in small quantities without using standardised designs and assembly line techniques.
Let us consider a few different situations and what the requirements would be in each case.
A cast stone quoin manufactured to replace a damaged quarried stone item on a refurbishment project. No reinforcement or fixings incorporated.
In this case the maximum dimension is less than 650mm and, because it is being manufactured to replicate a quoin on an old building, it is a non-standard design produced to the architect’s drawings and specifications. The UKCSA CE Marking Checklist indicates that derogation is available, so the manufacturer can decide whether or not to CE mark the one-off cast stone product. Looking at the EC’s document CPR 07/07/01, it is clear that this product is classed as being manufactured in a ‘non-series process’ (small quantities without using standardised designs and assembly line techniques), so CE marking this cast stone product is not required.
Standard ashlar walling blocks of a standard size either manufactured for stock or to order.
Standard ashlar walling blocks are the only products that must be manufactured to BS EN 771-5 and CE marked to the CPR, regardless of whether they are being manufactured for stock or to fulfil a specific order.
A non-standard, single-piece sill 850mm long with reinforcement and fixings.
Because this cill is longer than 650mm, it falls outside the scope of CE marking to the CPR. In this case the product must be manufactured to BS 1217 and, if the manufacturer is a member of UKCSA, the sill must also be manufactured in accordance with the UKCSA Specification for Cast Stone.
Compared with the confusion that reigned previously, the new UKCSA guidelines make it very straightforward to decide whether or not CE marking cast stone is legally required or if derogation is available as an option. The guidance also identifies which standards should be applied. Nevertheless, if architects, specifiers or contractors have any questions, they are welcome to contact the technical experts at Procter Cast Stone for advice and guidance. Furthermore, the two UKCSA documents, together with a wealth of other free guides and technical information, are available to download from the Procter Cast Stone website.
Follow the link to download the CE Marking cast stone guides or other documents, and use the Live Chat facility to ask for more information or discuss specific projects.]]>
Procter Cast Stone has added two new downloads to its website, both relating to CE marking of cast stone.
Two new downloads have been added to the Procter Cast Stone website, both relating to CE marking of cast stone. The PDF table, decision tree and accompanying notes help architects and specifiers understand which British and European standards are applicable in different circumstances, and whether CE marking is illegal or necessary for compliance with the European Commission’s Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
For several years, there has been confusion among architects and specifiers, as well as manufacturers, trade bodies and others, about when cast stone units should be CE marked, and which standards are applicable. Now, following a thorough industry-wide consultation, UKCSA has published two documents to provide clarity.
The first is a table showing which standards apply and whether CE marking is illegal or necessary for compliance with the CPR. Various different scenarios are presented, so readers can readily determine what is required. For example, if the cast stone product is a standard item, offered to all customers, with a length of less than 650mm and reinforcement incorporated, then the applicable standard is BS 1217, Cast stone. Specification, and it would be illegal to apply the CE mark. On the other hand, if the product is a standard ashlar block, offered to all customers, and the length is less than 650mm, then the applicable standard is BS EN 771-5, Specification for masonry units. Manufactured stone masonry units, and CE marking to the CPR is required. Note that as well as covering standard products, the table also shows what happens when cast stone products are manufactured to an individual customer’s requirements.
A second document helps users to decide what is required by means of a decision tree, with straightforward questions and yes/no answers leading the way through the process.These two downloads are the latest additions to Procter Cast Stone’s online library that contains guides, tips and information for architects, specifiers, self-builders and installers. The website also has a photographic gallery, a broad selection of cast stone case studies, CAD file downloads and a list of British Standards, making it one of the most comprehensive resources for anyone interested in cast stone.
Go to Downloads to download the CE marking documents, and use the website’s Live Chat facility to ask for more information or discuss specific projects. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com
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Procter Cast Stone has one of the UK's widest ranges of products for standard cast stone entrance features and can also adapt its standard designs and manufacture totally bespoke cast stone features to architects' designs. For more complex entrance features such as porticos, Procter also provides an installation service, so the company has complete control over the manufacture, transport and installation. Cast stone entrance features that Procter supplies are porticos, canopies, arches, steps, columns, pillars, pilasters, pedestals and gate piers. If required, Procter Cast Stone can work with its sister division, namely Procter Fencing Systems, which specialises in standard and bespoke fencing, railings and gates and Procter Automatic Gates, which designs and manufactures standard and bespoke automatic gates.
Procter Cast Stone is a one-stop shop for all types of standard and bespoke cast stone entrance features
With most buildings, including residential properties, commercial buildings, educational establishments and places of worship, the eye is drawn naturally to the entrance; cast stone features can enhance the aesthetic as well as serving a practical purpose and adding to the perceived and actual value of the property. Cast stone is a very versatile, economical and low-risk way to add impressive features to new-build, conversions, refurbishments or redevelopments.
Procter Cast Stone offers a standard range of very high-quality cast stone porticos in a choice of style, shapes and colours. Moreover, the company also manufactures bespoke porticos to architects' designs and in custom colours. For self-build projects, Procter Cast Stone can produce detailed drawings from little more than customer sketches, providing as much or as little advice and guidance as necessary. Porticos can be open or enclosed, and other features can be added such as steps and landing areas, and coping and balustrade or railings around the top creates a balcony. Procter's porticos are constructed with a highly cost-effective yet structurally strong ring beam system that utilises reinforced concrete rather than structural steelwork. For existing properties, Procter can superimpose its proposed portico design on top of a digital photograph to illustrate how the entrance will be enhanced by the addition of a portico.
A cast stone canopy can be an attractive and practical addition to a property, less imposing than a portico. With no columns, the canopy is supported by the wall against which the canopy is set. If required, Procter Cast Stone can provide advice on design and installation. As well as a range of standard cast stone door canopies in a choice of styles, sizes and colours, Procter Cast Stone also produces bespoke door canopies to architects' designs, whether of traditional or contemporary styles. For renovation projects, Procter can manufacture an exact copy of a damaged original canopy, while also achieving an accurate colour match.
Procter's standard cast stone arches are an excellent, cost-effective way to apply impressive entrance feature to new-build or self-build projects. In addition, bespoke cast stone arches can be produced to architects' specifications or to replicate existing quarried stone arches for renovation projects. Cast stone arches can, of course, be complemented by other cast stone features such as column, pilasters, and door and window surrounds.
Cast stone step treads and risers can be manufactured for a fraction of the price of quarried and dressed stone, particularly if standard catalogue items are specified - though bespoke cast stone steps are usually considerably more cost-effective than quarried stone due to the way in which moulds are reused multiple times to produce the quantity of components required. Traditional and contemporary designs are offered, and cast stone steps are equally suitable for exterior and interior applications. If required, Procter Cast Stone can also supply standard or custom balustrade to complement the steps, or a sister division of the company, Procter Fencing Systems, can supply standard or bespoke steel railings and handrails.
Suitable for exterior or interior use, cast stone columns, pillars and pilasters can serve as part of a portico, to support a cast stone arch or, for example, as supports for bandstands or colonnades. Procter Cast Stone offers a variety of standard styles and colours, with a choice of column caps and column bases if required. Bespoke designs can be manufactured to architects' drawings in traditional or contemporary styles, with smooth or textured surfaces, or as exact replicas of existing features for renovation projects. Procter's comprehensive service extends both upstream and downstream from the manufacturing process; depending on the customer's requirements, Procter can undertake site survey, provide technical advice and guidance, produce detailed drawings, make moulds incorporating intricate details, manufacture the cast stone units, deliver them to site to an agreed schedule, and install the cast stone columns, pillars and pilasters to the very highest standard of finish.
Although they are not structural, cast stone pedestals are simple and cost-effective way to enhance a property's entrance. Procter Cast Stone manufactures pedestals to traditional or contemporary designs; as well as offering its own standard designs, Procter Cast Stone can produce bespoke pedestals to architects' designs. Pedestals can be finished using various styles of cap, with the additional option of cast stone spheres and finials.
Cast stone gate piers create a very impressive entrance, whether for a home, commercial property, educational establishment or elsewhere. As well as presenting a striking appearance, cast stone gate piers are also practical way to support gates where these are necessary for security. Procter Cast Stone manufactures all of the components required for constructing gate piers, including pier caps, balls, finials, and the concrete or steel core required to take the weight of the gate. Alternatively, pier caps can be supplied on their own for repairing or renovating existing gate piers.
Remember that our sister division, Procter Fencing Systems, specialises in standard and custom fencing and gates, and another division, Procter Automatic Gates, designs and manufactures standard and bespoke automatic gates, so Procter Cast Stone can act as a single point of contact for all of these requirements.
Follow the link to find out more about cast stone entrance features from Procter Cast Stone and to use the website's Live Chat facility to request further information or discuss specific projects. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wall coping stones can be supplied in a choice of profiles and in a variety of standard colours, or customer-specified designs and shades can be manufactured to order. Railings are fabricated from steel and finished with corrosion-resistant galvanising and a tough, low-maintenance and long-lasting powder-coated finish. While the most popular standard colour is black, other colours can also be specified. Procter Fencing Systems offers a broad choice of standard railings in traditional, ornate and contemporary styles, or the company can manufacture bespoke railings to architects’ designs.
The combination of copings and railings is very traditional, yet contemporary designs can be used to impressive effect around new buildings, residential properties, offices, commercial premises and schools. Procter’s coping stones and railings are therefore proving popular both for the refurbishment of older premises and for installation on new builds.
When architects, specifiers and premises owners source the copings and railings from one supplier, it eliminates any doubts about compatibility, simplifies the procurement process and generally reduces project risk. Overall, the single-sourcing approach can reduce costs, risk, and the time and effort needed for project management.
If the main contractor is to undertake the installation, Procter provides detailed instructions for installing the coping stones and the railings. Alternatively, the company can complete the installation as well, using its own skilled workforce rather than sub-contractors, which results in even greater benefits for the client.
Stone has traditionally been used to add character and style to prestigious properties, but today architects are using cast stone instead, achieving the same or better visual impact and with the added benefits of lower cost and reduced project risk.
Apart from size and location, the main characteristics that typically make a house stand out as a prestige development are features such as stone columns, heads, keystones, cills, door and window surrounds, bullseyes, balustrades, canopies, porticos, arches and steps. Traditionally these would all be bespoke items produced from natural quarried stone, but cast stone offers a number of advantages.
As well as being very cost-effective - especially where repetitive work is concerned - cast stone is also extremely versatile, giving architects a level of design freedom that they do not enjoy when working with natural stone. Almost any three-dimensional form can be manufactured, and cast stone is available in a wide variety of shades to mimic natural stone - or custom colours can be produced to order. Architects also have a choice in the surface finish and texture that they specify, safe in the knowledge that cast stone weathers in the same way as natural stone.
Keeping construction projects on schedule is always a challenge, and one of the advantages of cast stone over natural stone is that project risk is reduced. Because cast stone is manufactured in closely controlled factory conditions, it is not subject to delays in supply, meaning that quoted delivery times can be relied upon, and lead times are usually shorter than for natural stone. Furthermore, should a cast stone unit be damaged during installation, it can either be repaired or a substitute manufactured in a relatively short time.
Depending on the client's and architect's requirements, cast stone units can be selected from catalogues or manufactured to drawings. While the former option is usually the lowest cost, custom units can be manufactured very economically to an architect's hand-drawn or CAD designs. If a client sees a feature on another building and wants something similar, the architect and supplier can easily work together to create it in cast stone.
Throughout the UK there are a number of suppliers of cast stone, but architects and specifiers need to be aware that not all produce high-quality work suitable for prestigious projects. Procter Cast stone is part of Procter Bros, a family-owned business that was established in 1740. Like all the divisions within Procter Bros, Procter Cast stone puts a great emphasis on high product quality and outstanding customer service.
Technical staff provide free consultations to assist in the selection and design of all cast stone features. Early involvement in project planning ensures the successful incorporation of the features to suit aesthetic, performance and budgetary parameters, and deliveries are scheduled to suit site programme requirements. When bespoke units are required, CAD drawings are prepared and submitted to the client for approval. Accurate production moulds are then manufactured and the cast stone units produced from these.
All Procter Cast Stone products are subject to final inspections, carefully packed, protected and shrink-wrapped on pallets. Deliveries are made using Procter's own vehicles to ensure they arrive in first-class condition.
To assist in the process of specifying cast stone products, Procter Cast Stone has published Understanding Cast Stone - A Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers. This is available as a PDF file free of charge by emailing email@example.com or directly from the Downloads section of the website.
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We love a challenge here at Procter Cast Stone, so when a customer asked us to provide and install a huge amount of Cast Stone to this newly purpose built residential care home, we were delighted to oblige.
The home is built on what was a brown field site and this presented many problems such as ground contamination and poor load bearing capacity.This particular project also had a large basement and underground car park.
For this project we supplied nearly 60 Tonnes of Cast Stone which included heads, cills, coping, bay surround and a supply and fit portico.
Once we were on-site it was necessary for the contractor to excavate down to the required depth which resulted in the removal of 11,000 Tonnes of earth. They then drove steel piles to a suitable load bearing stratum where a total of 178 piles were installed.
Before the order was placed an essential part of the way we work was for us to attend a site meeting, followed by the contractor visited our works to see the quality of the Cast Stone Procter manufacture. We supplied full manufacturing drawings and liaised with the site to ensure that all deliveries were scheduled and that we delivered on time.
The Procter Cast Stone standard portico system was used which adds a touch of class and elegance to the building but at an extremely affordable price. Our skilled team of in-house installers fitted this element of the build.
On completion of our work we received this is a statement from the customer:
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you and all your staff involved in all aspects of providing us with the art stone required for our important project in Headingley, Leeds. May I compliment your company on the excellent finish and detail of your products along with the ease with which our order has been handled and delivered to site , this is a breath of fresh air and makes our task as builders that much easier. In these difficult trading times for us all it is always quite easy to receive any type of criticism but un-common to receive praise when praise is due. I have passed on my recommendations to various architects and builders merchants that we deal with so hopefully this will be of benefit to you.
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Cast stone portico to suit bespoke house design
Although Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Products offers a range of standard cast stone porticos, from which architects can mix-and-match features to create the size and style of portico (or porch) required, in this case the architect created a bespoke design with square-section columns to complement the chalet-style house.
As with all of its projects, Procter Caststone & Concrete Products appointed a contract manager to liaise with the other parties as necessary to ensure that the bespoke cast stone portico project ran smoothly from start to finish and the right products were delivered to site in accordance with agreed schedules. Where bespoke units are involved, close co-operation with the architect is vital to ensure that the cast stone units are designed to create the desired effect but without incurring unnecessary costs. Furthermore, it enables lifting points to be incorporated in faces that will not be visible after the units have been installed, and additional advice can be passed on relating to structural strength and manufacturability.
As well as liaising with the architect, the contract manager also attended site meetings, agreed the delivery schedule and made recommendations regarding site handling, fixing and cleaning. During the course of the project there were also extensive discussions with the steel fabrication supplier to ensure that the steel and cast stone components worked together as required.
Cast stone can be an extremely cost-effective alternative to natural stone, especially for projects such as this where there is a degree of repetitive work and where some unit designs are variations of others. Furthermore, deliveries of cast stone are highly reliable, and the fact that the units are produced in closely controlled factory conditions ensures consistency from one unit to the next and from one batch to the next. Architects also appreciate the wide choice of colours and finishes available, as well as the freedom to design almost any three-dimensional form.
To assist in the process of specifying cast stone products such as standard porticos or the bespoke portico described above, Procter Caststone & Concrete Products has published Understanding Cast Stone, a Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers. This is available as a PDF file free of charge from the Downloads page of the website or it can be requested by telephoning us or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cast stone is increasingly being used for commercial buildings such as shops, banks, supermarkets, offices and even warehouses. These commercial projects are a far cry from the residential applications more usually associated with cast stone, but architects appreciate the material's versatility and the way it can add maximum impact for minimal cost and risk. From the client's perspective, the small additional outlay for the cast stone features can be recouped many times over through a higher resale value for the property, or better occupancy rates and rental income.
Buildings constructed with quarried stone possess an air of quality, strength and solidity, but quarried stone is expensive. To the untrained eye, however, cast stone is indistinguishable and therefore offers a very cost-effective alternative - particularly where repetitive work is required, as cast stone manufacture takes place in moulds that can be reused many times. Typical cast stone products specified for commercial premises range from ashlar and wall cladding, through string courses and banding, to arches and coping. Procter Cast Stone has an extensive range of standard products and colours, but the versatility of cast stone means that architects can have a free hand in creating striking bespoke cast stone features. Non-standard colours can be specified to mimic a particular quarried stone, to complement a corporate identity, or simply to create a unique aesthetic. As well as geometric form and colour, the versatility of cast stone even extends to surface textures.
Properties in town centres, in particular, need to blend in with surrounding buildings that may include traditional design features; cast stone can be used as a simple and cost-effective way to achieve this goal. If a property is being renovated or converted, cast stone can be used to replace quarried stone units that have been lost or damaged, or to produce matching window surrounds or other details. If the property in question is listed or in a conservation area, Procter Cast Stone can support clients when they are negotiating with planning authorities so that cast stone may be used instead of quarried stone.
For contemporary buildings, architects can use the versatility of cast stone to create striking designs. Almost any three-dimensional form can be produced in cast stone, and Procter Cast Stone can provide design advice and guidance through technical consultations to help architects bring their concepts to fruition as cost-effectively as possible.
Compared with quarried stone, cast stone offers several advantages in addition to lower cost. For example, lead times are typically much shorter and deliveries more reliable, and if any units are damaged they can often be repaired in situ or, if the damage is irreparable, replacements can be manufactured and delivered to site within around two weeks (provided the correct mould is available). Site handling can also be easier and installation quicker because threaded bosses can be cast into the units for attaching lifting hooks. Cast stone weathers in the same way as quarried stone and generally requires no maintenance, though it can be cleaned if required.
Procter Cast Stone has published a number of detailed guides that explain more about cast stone and its benefits. Follow the links to download the free guides, as well as brochures and CAD drawings of standard cast stone products, and to browse the gallery and case studies. To discuss specific projects or request a site visit, telephone us or email email@example.com.
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Cast stone is an extremely versatile and cost-effective construction material and is typically used to add traditional styling features to new buildings. However, many architects and specifiers do not realise that cast stone can also be used to listed buildings and in conservation areas. While it is true that approval must be granted for this material to be used in place of quarried stone, Procter Cast Stone has experience of supplying products for such applications, as well as supporting and assisting clients in their negotiations with planners.
Listed buildings that are being repaired, restored, altered, extended or converted can all benefit from cast stone. In some cases it is appropriate to replace quarried stone that has been damaged or lost, while elsewhere cast stone can be used to mimic quarried stone features so that extensions or alterations blend in with or complement the existing building. Procter Cast Stone's experienced staff can undertake a site survey to ensure as close a match as possible, including colours and surface textures. Because cast stone weathers in the same way as quarried stone, the new units soon develop a comparable finish.
Using cast stone instead of quarried stone can reduce costs considerably, especially where there is a need for multiple identical or near-identical units. When the requirement is for relatively complex bespoke design, cast stone is still likely to be less expensive than quarried stone that needs to be carved.
Provided a reputable supplier is used, cast stone offers several other benefits in addition to the major advantage of cost reduction. For example, deliveries can be made to an agreed schedule and tend to be more reliable than for quarried stone, and the fact that cast stone units are manufactured in a factory environment to tight specifications and under a rigorous quality management system means that quality is consistent both within a batch and from one batch to the next. Furthermore, should one of the units suffer minor damage, repairs can often be carried out in situ by the manufacturer. If a unit is damaged beyond repair, a replacement can usually be manufactured and delivered to site within about two weeks if the correct mould is available.
An example of the type of project with which Procter Cast Stone has been involved is The Galleries, City & County Group's award-winning restoration and conversion of the Grade II listed Victorian Warley Hospital site in Brentwood. Procter Cast Stone supplied hundreds of cast stone units to replace damaged quarried stone and to replicate quarried stone for new features on the existing buildings, as well as for new buildings and extensions on the site. Items supplied included window and door surrounds, plinth and string course, buttress stone, steps, bay windows, coping and gable vents. All were bespoke, manufactured to the architects' drawings. Initially the planners expressed concerns about using cast stone on Grade II listed building in a Conservation Area, but Procter's staff attended meetings with the planners and architects to discuss this issue, with the result being that cast stone was approved for use.
Other projects on which Procter Cast Stone has worked include private houses that are listed, churches and heritage structures such as Kimberley Bridge.
Cast stone, which is something referred to as simulated stone, is formed in wooden moulds that are constructed by skilled pattern makers working to the architect's drawings. Depending on the product and finish required, cast stone is made using a semi-dry mix of white and/or grey cements with quarried or manufactured sands. The appearance of quarried stone is achieved using crushed quarried stone, well graded quarried gravels and mineral pigments. A waterproof is also added to minimise moisture absorption and improve resistance to frost damage. On large components, a coloured facing mix is used on the outside of the mould, with a higher-strength, non-coloured backing mix in the interior. Reinforcement can be incorporated to enhance the structural strength, and bosses for lifting eyes can be set within the casting to ease handling on site.
To the untrained eye, cast stone is indistinguishable from the quarried alternative. In many cases it is prohibitively expensive to use quarried stone, so architects and planners are increasingly turning to cast stone for listed buildings and conservation areas.
Procter Cast Stone has published 'Understanding Cast Stone - A Guide to Cast Stone Products for Specifiers', which contains a weather of information relating to this sustainable, versatile and cost-effective construction material. For copies of this guide and other literature, go to the Free Downloads section. Alternatively, contact Procter Cast Stone by telephoning or email firstname.lastname@example.org]]>
City & Country Group has earned an enviable reputation as one of the UK's leading property developers, combining traditional values with innovation and the pursuit of excellence. In May 2009, the company's landmark development in Brentwood, The Galleries, received two top industry awards. This conversion of the Grade II listed derelict Victorian Warley Hospital won both the Best Conversion and Best Large Development awards at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2009. An important aspect of the development was the use of cast stone to replace damaged natural stone and to replicate natural stone for new features on the existing buildings as well as for new buildings and extensions on the site. All of the cast stone items were supplied by Procter Caststone, whose staff also provided advice, support and consultancy services to ensure that the project progressed
Cast stone used in conversion of Grade II listed hopital
smoothly, on budget and to the agreed schedules.
Having used Procter Caststone before on a new build project, City & Country was well aware of the benefits of cast stone compared with natural stone - including versatility, price (especially where repetitive work is involved), consistent quality and reliable deliveries - and was pleased with the high standard of service provided. Procter Caststone also helped at the start of the new project by attending preliminary meetings with the developer and architects, hence City & Country was eager to work with the same supplier on The Galleries. However, the planners initially expressed concerns about using cast stone on a Grade II listed building in a Conservation Area, so Procter's staff attended further meetings with the planners and architects to discuss this issue, with the result being that cast stone was approved for use. In addition, Procter's staff met with the architects, builders and developer to discuss matters ranging from site surveys and colours, to handling and fixing. Procter's standard colour samples were used on site to select the correct match for the original Portland stone, plus some items were specified with custom shades. Once work was underway on the cast stone items, Procter Caststone produced CAD drawings that were submitted to City & Country for distribution.
Hundreds of cast stone items were supplied, including window and door surrounds, plinth and string course, buttress stones, steps, bay windows, coping and gable vents. All items were bespoke, manufactured to drawings provided by Brewster Bye Architects of Headingley. Each cast stone item was individually labelled for ease of identification on site, and deliveries were made to an agreed schedule so that only those items needed for a particular project phase were stored on site.
City & Country has succeeded in transforming the derelict Victorian buildings into a stunning collection of high-quality homes. The use of cast stone has enabled the work to be completed without jeopardising either the project timescales or budgets, and the cast stone is expected to last at least as long as the natural stone items in the existing buildings, weathering in the same way.
For more information about cast stone, please call 0113 286 3329, email email@example.com
Cast Stone products from Procter enable architects to incorporate high-quality detail features.
Cast Stone products from Procter enable architects to incorporate high-quality detail features such as cills, mullions, copings, quoins, columns, arches and pilasters can all be produced in a range of colours that closely match those of natural stone. In addition to its standard range, Procter is in a position to manufacture Cast Stone products to architects’ designs thanks to the company’s in-house mouldmaking facilities and team of skilled craftsmen.
Procter’s Cast Stone is characterised by a clean, sharp appearance that complements brickwork, natural stone, flint or rendering. The range of standard colours is designed to match those of natural stone, such as York stone, Bathstone, red sandstone and Portland stone. Procters can also match non standard colours to meet client`s special requirements. Over time, the Cast Stone weathers in the same way as natural stone. Almost any three-dimensional geometric form can be cast, allowing architects to design elegant curves as well as straight-edged features. Additional detail can also be incorporated into the surface, such as brick-effects or channels, and the edges of units can be square, bevelled or radiused.
Two of the most popular uses of Cast Stone are to add perceived value to housing developments and to incorporate styling features within prestigious projects. Elsewhere Cast Stone is used to mimic traditional details in infill developments or extensions to period properties, and to create internal features such as fireplace surrounds.
Where possible, all units are cast in a two-stage process. A facing mix provides the stone appearance on the exposed faces and a backing mix adds strength and forms a good bond with the reinforcement, where used. All manufacturing processes and independent tests are carried out generally in accordance with the requirements of BS 1217: 1997 (Specification for Cast Stone).
Procter has a tradition of excellence and craftsmanship that dates back over 260 years, though many of the design and manufacturing processes used to produce Cast Stone products are truly state-of-the-art. Procter look to develop long term relationships with customers by delivering high quality products and reliable personal service. In every project, large or small, a dedicated planner is assigned to oversee that every aspect of the work meets with the customer’s requirements.
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Cast Stone Installation Guide
The guide to installation introduces cast stone and the manufacturing process, then provides more detailed information about delivery and unloading, inspection, site storage and site handling. Considerable space is devoted to the actual installation process, with advice and guidance relating to cutting, fixings, mortars and protection.
In addition, the guide to installing cast stone discusses aftercare and maintenance because although this is not strictly part of the installation process, installers often become involved in these activities. Other topics covered by the guide are repairs, replacement and fixing to cast stone. Finally, there is also a useful section for sources of further information.
Procter Cast Stone believes that its new Cast Stone Installation Guide is the most comprehensive publication of its type. It contains a wealth of information, yet it is available free of charge as a PDF file on request, as a download from the company's website, or the text can be read online.
Porticos transform the appearance of properties, and the advantage of the Procter porticos is that these high-quality products are far more affordable than quarried stone porticos. To the untrained eye, cast stone is indistinguishable from quarried stone.
Customers can choose standard porticos in Classic, Elegant or Ornate styles, and select from Square U-shaped, Square L-shaped and Semi-Circular formats. Nine standard colours are listed, or special colours can be created to order. If desired, customised variants of standard designs can be manufactured, or bespoke porticos can be produced to architects’ designs or for restoration projects where design details must match those on existing stonework.
Following a site survey, Procter Cast Stone can provide a guide price and a visualisation showing the selected portico superimposed on a photograph of the property. Once the specification has been finalised, a firm quotation is prepared. Design advice is provided free of charge at all stages and, if a customer makes contact sufficiently early, the company can assist in obtaining planning approvals and building regulations approvals.
Procter Cast Stone standard porticos use a reinforced concrete ring beam for structural integrity and to eliminate the need for costly steelwork. Installation advice is provided or, alternatively, Procter Cast Stone offers an installation service using its own skilled team. This is particularly beneficial when the main contractor has little or no experience of working with cast stone, and it helps to reduce project risk because the portico remains the responsibility of Procter Cast Stone until installation is complete.
Standard and bespoke porticos are manufactured in accordance with BS 1217: 2008, the British Standard specification for cast stone, as well as the more stringent UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) Specification for Cast Stone.
Procter Cast Stone has published a number of detailed guides that explain more about cast stone and its benefits. These, as well as a gallery, case studies, brochures and CAD drawings, are available free of charge or on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Procter Cast Stone is a single source for standard and bespoke cast stone
Depending on the architectural requirements, some projects call for bespoke cast stone for features including porticos, steps and door surrounds, whereas other projects utilise standard products such as cills, heads or quoins. Often, however, it is best to use a combination of bespoke and standard cast stone products, as this gives the architect substantial design freedom yet it is far more cost-effective than using bespoke cast stone throughout.
For customers requiring bespoke cast stone, Procter Cast Stone offers a broad choice of colours to simulate various types of quarried stone, or custom colours can be manufactured to order. Moreover, standard products can be produced in the same colours, which ensures a perfect colour match for projects using a combination of custom and standard cast stone products. Architects and contractors additionally benefit from reduced administration because they only have to deal with a single supplier.
One of the advantages of cast stone is that almost any three-dimensional form can be produced, and there is a choice of texture as well as colour. Cast stone units are formed in moulds manufactured using architects' CAD or hand-drawn designs, so cast stone is more cost-effective than dressed or carved quarried stone - even when the requirement is for a one-off. Much greater cost savings are available if higher volumes or standard products are ordered.
Procter Cast Stone's technical staff frequently provide design advice to help reduce the cost of manufacturing and installing bespoke cast stone units - but without compromising the architect's scheme. If architects are not familiar with cast stone, Procter can provide as much advice and guidance as necessary to ensure that full advantage is made of this versatile construction material. Read our products guide online.
In the UK the national standard for cast stone is BS 1217 Cast stone - Specification. However, the national trade association for manufacturers of cast stone products is the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA), which publishes its own specification for members to follow. While the British standard is longer and contains more detail, the UKCSA specification differs significantly in that it calls for a higher compressive strength. Architects and structural engineers therefore need to be aware of this difference and take care to specify the specifications to which cast stone units must be manufactured.
At the time of writing, the current version of the British Standard is BS1217:2008 - and note that BS ISO 1217 and BS EN 1217 are completely different standards; the former relates to displacement compressors and the latter to materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs! Interestingly, BS 1217 has remained current despite most British standards for masonry units being superseded by European standards in the BS EN 771 series.
BS 1217 comprises ten clauses three annexes and a bibliography. In addition, the Foreword explains who prepared the standard, which standard it supersedes, and makes references to the recently published standards BS EN 771-5 (Specification for masonry units. Manufactured stone masonry units) and BS EN 845-2 (Specification for ancillary components for masonry. Lintels). Within clause 1, Scope, there are also references to BS 5642-1 (Sills and copings. Specification for window sills of precast concrete, cast stone, clayware, slate and natural stone) and BS 5642-2 (Sills and copings. Specification for copings of precast concrete, cast stone, clayware, slate and natural stone), and clause 2, Normative references, cites BS 1881-208 (Testing concrete. Recommendations for the determination of the initial surface absorption of concrete), BS EN 12390-2 (Testing hardened concrete. Making and curing specimens for strength tests) and BS EN 12390-3 (Testing hardened concrete. Compressive strength of test specimens). All of these standards are listed in the bibliography, and this also adds one more standard, BS EN 1991-1-1 (Eurocode 1. Actions on structures. General actions. Densities, self-weight, imposed loads for buildings) - and bear in mind that the UK National Annex to this Eurocode is NA to BS EN 1991-1-1:2002. Users of BS 1217 therefore need to be sure that they are complying with all relevant British, not just the caststone standard BS 1217.
Turning now to the technical specifications, Clause 4 of BS 1217 addresses the needs of two-part mix units - stating a minimum face mix thickness of 20mm for visual faces and the need for a bond (via mechanical keying or inter-diffusion) between the facing and backing mixes.
Cast stone units often incorporate reinforcement, and this is covered in some detail by clause 5. For example, the standard cites the minimum cover required for untreated steel, galvanised steel and non-corroding reinforcement materials.
Clause 6 is one of the most important parts of BS 1217, as it lays down the requirements for compressive strength as measured by crushing test cubes of 100 or 150mm in size. The average strength of any three test cubes must be not less than 25.0 MPa and the strength of any single cube must not be less than 20 MPa. This is where the UKCSA standard differs significantly from BS 1217, as the corresponding figures in the UKCSA standard are 35 MPa and 28 MPa. In other words, cast stone units manufactured in accordance with the UKCSA standard can be expected to be around 40 per cent stronger than those manufactured only to BS 1217.
Although clause 7 covers the surface finish of cast stone units, it merely states that the colour and textural finish of the visual face are to be the subject of a contractual agreement based on samples and/or mock-ups representative of the planned production (and the UKCSA specification is similar).
Clause 8, Tolerances, includes a table of tolerances for different linear dimensions, and also provides a tolerance for the flatness of plane surfaces. There is no mention of tolerances for curved surfaces, but the standard notes that tighter tolerances can be agreed between the purchaser and manufacturer.
Weathering is covered by clause 9, which provides specifications for two alternative tests: the capillary absorption test (CAT) and the initial surface absorption test (ISAT). Annex A (which is only informative) gives more information about the apparatus and test methods for the CAT, and Annex B suggests that CAT conformity is usual for semi-dry cast stone products and conformity with both CAT and ISAT is usual for wet-cast units.
Clause 10, Marking, lists the information that must be included on the delivery note, drawings, invoice or supplier's certificate provided with each consignment of cast stone units.
Annex A, CAT weathering, has already been mentioned, and Annex B, General notes for guidance, covers topics such as manufacturing variations, weathering, testing and curing, and there is a table comparing the properties of semi-dry cast and wet cast units. Annex C provides guidance on slenderness ratios and includes diagrams to show how circles should be inscribed or superscribed on typical sections in order to calculate the slenderness ratio.
As well as the similarities and differences between BS 1217 and the UKCSA specification mentioned above, it is worth noting that the UKCSA specification also has requirements for mortar (to BS 5628-3:2005) and joints (flush pointed, 6mm or 10mm widths).
Neither BS 1217 nor the UKCSA specification covers everything that might be required from cast stone units, so architects and specifiers are recommended to work with both documents, which means selecting a supplier that is a full member of UKCSA. In addition, it is the supplier should be consulted at an early stage in the project so that any additional requirements can be included in the agreed specification.
To help architects and specifiers maximise the benefits of cast stone, Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Product has published Understanding Cast Stone, a Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers. This guide and the UKCSA specification are available from the Downloads section of the website or request copies by telephoning us or emailing email@example.com Copies of BS 1217 are available from BSI.
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Procter Cast Stone Launched Installation Service
Procter Cast Stone is now offering a cast stone installation service for the porticos, steps and balustrade that it manufactures. This comprehensive service is available throughout the UK and overseas for both standard and bespoke products, and will be a major advantage for projects in which the main contractor has little or no experience with cast stone.
While contractors generally have the skills necessary to install cills, heads and other simple cast stone features, complex constructions present more of a challenge. By using Procter Cast Stone’s installation service, clients can be certain that the cast stone will be correctly installed, pointed and cleaned. Furthermore, the work will be carried out as quickly as possible and with minimal risk because the cast stone remains Procter’s responsibility until installation is complete. The client can also be given instructions for protecting the cast stone from subsequent accidental damage while other trades are still on site. Of course, because the installation is likely to be carried out more quickly than if undertaken by the main contractor, and will be ‘right first time’ as well, the cost is usually lower.
Procter Cast Stone believes it is unique in the industry because its installers are employed directly, rather than being sub-contractors. This helps to ensure that a very high standard of workmanship is achieved every time and the client receives an immediate response if there are any questions. In addition, preparatory work is carried out at the factory, which minimises the time spent on site and ensures that any issues are resolved prior to delivery.
Throughout all stages of the project, including the specification, design, manufacture and installation, Procter Cast Stone liaises with the relevant people to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, making life as simple as possible for the client, architect, structural engineer, quantity surveyor and site manager. Even the hire of carnage or other lifting equipment is organised by Procter Cast Stone, so there are no ‘hidden costs’ on top of the quoted price.
The new installation service from Procter Cast Stone makes porticos, steps and balustrade an even more attractive proposition for home owners, developers, architects and specifiers. For more information, telephone us or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website to view photographs, case studies, brochures and CAD drawings.
>> Next: Cost-effective bespoke portico
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Ashlar walling on prestigious new house
Cast stone is an inherently versatile material, being suitable for use as a direct alternative to natural stone when creating eye-catching detailed features - such as quoins, lintels or
balustrades - or for use as a walling material. Where repetitive work is involved - such as in walling - the manufacturing method enables substantial cost savings to be achieved. A further advantage of the manufactured nature of cast stone is that deliveries are reliable and can be scheduled to suit the site requirements.
Any three-dimensional geometry that can be cut or carved from natural stone can also be reproduced in cast stone. It is therefore possible to manufacture ashlar or textured walling in a broad range of sizes, with a choice of edge finishes and a light, medium or heavy texture. Colours are highly consistent between units manufactured within a batch and also from one batch to the next. If preferred, controlled variability can be introduced to mimic the colour variation found in natural stone. Colours can be matched to existing natural stone in the case of restorations and extensions, or specified so as to comply with local planning requirements.
Cast stone ashlar and textured walling can either be used for entire exterior walls or to create features such as bay windows, extensions, porches or conservatories. In addition to walling, Procter Caststone also manufactures door and window surrounds, string courses, steps, porticos and other cast stone units to standard and custom designs. These can be the perfect complement to cast stone walling.
If required, Procter Caststone provides advice and guidance for designing cast stone walling, as well as supporting developers and architects who wish to use cast stone on listed buildings or properties in Conservation Areas.
Find out more about the full range of Procter Cast Stone walling products.
For more information about cast stone walling or other products, please call us or email email@example.com
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Cast stone balustrade offers visual appeal and practicality
Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Products is now offering standard cast stone balustrade - comprising balusters, plinths, top rails, copings, piers and corner piers - for creating architectural features that are both attractive and practical. Compared with using natural stone, cast stone is far more cost-effective, plus it benefits from consistent colours and reliable deliveries.
Architects can specify the style of baluster and top rail, the colour of the cast stone - which can mimic many natural stones as standard, or custom colours can be manufactured to order - and the height of the plinth can be varied to suit the architectural requirements. Other options available include radial on plan sets, raked stair sets, 45-degree internal and external sets, and feature panels. In addition to the balustrading, Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Products can also manufacture steps, ashlar, walling, porticos and other standard products and bespoke designs. While the standard balustrades are influenced by classical designs, bespoke balustrades can be manufactured to architects' drawings if required.
Typical applications for cast stone balustrades include entrance steps, balcony surrounds and safety barriers around basement steps. Often the balustrade therefore serves a practical purpose and is also an attractive architectural feature, adding style and character to prestigious properties.
Each baluster is supplied pre-drilled to accept stainless steel dowels for locating the baluster relative to the plinth and top rail. Procter Caststone & Concrete Products can supply these dowels so that the balustrade is delivered to site as a complete package ready for installation.
All balustrading is manufactured to order and can normally be delivered within four to six weeks - but always to agreed schedules. Because cast stone units are manufactured in tightly controlled factory conditions, quality is consistent from one moulding to the next and from one batch to the next. Furthermore, production in reusable moulds means that the finished product offers a substantial cost advantage over dressed natural stone.
More information and product drawing downloads for cast stone balustrade from Procter Cast stone & Concrete Products, as well as free publications to help architects and specifiers maximise the benefits of cast stone is available, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Consistently popular since the first edition was published in 2006, Understanding Cast Stone is a specifier's guide that explains what cast stone is, how it can be used and the benefits it offers. The guide also contains sections covering site practice, aftercare and maintenance, and there is a comprehensive list of applicable British Standards and Eurocodes.
Complementing this first guide there are two other guides, one written for architects and the other for self-builders. These are based around the same material but include additional information to help the different readers find out what they need to know. All three guides have been periodically improved and updated with extra information and revised standards references where applicable.
Several of the UKCSA publications are also available to download from the Procter website, including the recently published Technical Manual, the UKCSA Specification for Cast Stone, a guidance note entitled Specifying Cast Stone with Confidence, and the UKCSA Sustainability Statement.
For people looking for ideas or who are working on designs incorporating cast stone, Procter Cast Stone offers both PDF files of its cast stone product drawings and CAD files via FatsrackCAD. Of course, designers can readily modify the CAD files to create bespoke features, or they can generate their own designs against which Procter Cast Stone can provide budget prices or a detailed quotation.
Cast stone is available in a variety of colours to match natural stone - such as Dark Portland Stone, Cheshire Red, Aire, Millstone Grit and Yorkstone - and these cast stone colour shades are illustrated on a PDF that can be printed by the user. Alternatively, a cast stone colour sample pack can be posted on request. Of course, architects seeking to match other natural stone finishes or who need a bespoke colour can contact Procter Cast Stone to discuss their requirements.
If the cast stone resources, publications and information available online or by email are insufficient, Procter Cast Stone has experts available who can respond to enquiries by telephone or email, or who can meet architects, specifiers and self-builders for detailed discussions. Ongoing support can be provided through the design stages of a project, including the planning approvals process in cases where planning authorities might raise objections to the use of cast stone in Conservation Areas or on Listed Buildings.
Based on the above, Procter Cast Stone believes that it offers the best range of free cast stone resources, information and technical support for anyone considering using cast stone on all types of construction project in the UK. Visit the website to see what is available or contact the company directly by telephoning us emailing email@example.com.
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The Shri Venkateswara (Balaji)
Procter Cast Stone has supplied 2280 bespoke cast stone units - amounting to 182 tonnes in total - for the construction of a substantial dual-purpose ornamental gateway and accommodation block for the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple in Tividale, West Midlands.
The Shri Venkateswara Temple was inaugurated in August 2006 and is the first shrine for Lord Venkateswara (also known as Lord Balaji) in Europe. The temple complex covers an area of 12.5 acres and an important building is the ornamental gateway, or Gopurum, which doubles as an accommodation block containing four flats for priests that live at the temple. Both the main temple building and the ornamental gate feature traditional Chola architecture and, in the case of the ornamental gateway, substantial use has been made of cast stone units supplied by Procter Cast Stone.
In total 2280 units of simulated Spanish granite - weighing approximately 182 tonnes overall - were supplied over a 12-week period to meet the construction schedule. All units were individually marked so that their positions could be determined unambiguously from the unit location plans issued by Procter Cast Stone. In addition, lifting eyes were integrated as necessary and full instructions were provided to ease handling and minimise the risk of damage.
Ciara Ryan, of Essex Goodman Suggitt Chartered Architects, explains why cast stone was specified instead of natural stone for this project: "The two main reasons were speed of delivery and the complexity of the shapes. Natural stone tends to have long lead times and delivery can be unpredictable, but we were confident that Procter Caststone could deliver to an agreed schedule.
"For the ornamental gateway, with its stepped design and complex profiles, it would have been very difficult to use natural stone - but relatively straightforward for a supplier to work from AutoCAD drawings to produce moulds from which units are cast."
Cast stone was used extensively throughout the ornamental gateway for bands, pilasters, plinths, architraves, window and door surrounds - all in various sizes and shapes due to the tiered nature of the Chola-inspired design. Ciara Ryan is very pleased with the finished result, as well as the service received from Procter Cast Stone: "We selected Procters from a shortlist of several potential suppliers. They are one of the leaders in this field and were very helpful throughout the project, particularly with the front-end design. I would be more than happy to work with the company again on other projects."
Early in the temple project, Procter Cast Stone became the main link between the architect, the structural engineer and the builder. Meetings were held periodically to ensure that technical requirements and timescales were adhered to, and accurate delivery schedules were planned to meet the build dates. During the construction, regular site meetings were held to ensure compliance with the client's requirements.
Surjit Bohgal, director of Model Builders Ltd, is complimentary about Procter Cast Stone, saying: "Having not worked with cast stone before I found it very straightforward thanks to the way all the units were marked for correct coursing; otherwise the project would have been rather like tackling a massive, complicated, three-dimensional puzzle.
"The quality of the cast stone was also very good, the deliveries were always on schedule, and Procters supplied excellent instructions for on-site handling, lifting, installation, pointing and cleaning. The people from Procter Cast Stone were helpful throughout the project, and I would have no qualms about installing their units again."
Procter Cast Stone has stringent quality control processes in place, so every unit is checked for correct dimensions, colour and surface finish. Indeed, the quality control is so high that 100 per cent of the 2280 bespoke cast stone units were accepted for the temple project, with none rejected. Samples were supplied to the client and architect prior to Procter Cast Stone being awarded the contract, and all subsequent deliveries to site matched the pre-production samples perfectly.
Dr VP Narayan Rao, Chairman of the Shri Venkateswara Temple, is very impressed with the cast stone. He comments: "To the untrained eye, it looks just like natural stone, yet it was far easier to obtain. The service from Procter Cast Stone was always first-class, and we have no complaints about the cast stone whatsoever. In fact we are now considering using the company for another project at the temple where we might otherwise have used natural granite."
Procter has a tradition of excellence and craftsmanship that dates back over 260 years, though many of the design and manufacturing processes used to produce cast stone units are truly state-of-the-art.
Procter seeks to develop long-term relationships with clients by delivering high-quality products and reliable, personal service. A dedicated planner is assigned to every project, large or small, to ensure that all aspects of the work meet with the client's requirements. Following the success with the Shri Venkateswara Temple, Procter is now involved with further construction projects on prominent religious buildings.
For more information about standard and bespoke cast stone products, please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org]]>
At Procter Cast Stone we offer a free guide for using cast stone for self build projects. 'The Self-Builder's Guide to Cast Stone ' explains what this exceptionally versatile construction material can be used for, how it is manufactured and how easy it is to work with - both in terms of design and installation. Illustrated with a wealth of colour photographs, the guide benefits from a table of applicable British Standards and Eurocodes, as well as listing sources of further information. Download cast stone guides or request a copy by telephoning us or mail Procter Cast Stone.
The Buildstore National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon is the UK's only permanent centre for self builders & renovators. Our stand in the centre gives details about our products and services, and we'd be very happy to meet you there to talk through your project and answer your questions etc. If you'd like to arrange a meeting, just call us.
Cast stone matches natural stone in refurbishment project
A prestigious refurbishment and conversion project at Brookfield Park, Garforth, has seen bespoke products from Procter Cast Stone being used to match existing natural stone in several buildings, some of which date from the 1780s. An arch, mullions, cills, copings, and other items have been installed and are, to the untrained eye, indistinguishable from the original Halifax stone.
Mr John Wilson, the owner and developer, has always used natural stone in previous refurbishments, but he happened to see examples of Procter cast stone and was struck by the quality of the products and the versatility of the process. Having previously suffered from unreliable deliveries of natural stone, he decided to use cast stone for Brookfield Park. This project was to refurbish farm buildings and sympathetically convert them into high-quality business premises, so any delay would have resulted in an unacceptable loss of rental income.
Procter Cast Stone started by undertaking a site survey to assess the existing stone and check the feasibility of incorporating replicas into the new-build areas of the works. One aspect that required particularly close attention was the use of new cast stone to raise the height of an existing arch. Detailed drawings were produced, which were submitted for approval by Mr Wilson.
A number of bespoke moulds were manufactured in Procter's workshops, despite the fact that some items were only to be produced as one-offs. Nevertheless, the price for the project remained cost-effective compared with using natural stone, and Procter Cast Stone was able to supply the high quality required and, most importantly, meet the agreed deadlines. To ensure that the quality of the cast stone was not compromised, Procter Cast Stone provided guidance for on-site handling, installation and fitting.
Mr Wilson comments: "I'm the sort of person who would prefer to use hand-cut natural stone, but unreliable deliveries made that impractical for Brookfield Park. Instead I have used Procter cast stone and am very satisfied with the results. Only an expert would be able to tell the difference between the natural and the cast stone, and the arch, for example, is truly a thing of beauty - I have every confidence that it will still be standing in 100 to 200 years' time and looking as good as natural stone would".
"In fact I have just placed another order with Procter for cast stone to be used on another project," adds Mr Wilson. "Partly this is down to the quality of the product, which I believe is second to none, but, more importantly, the exceptionally high standard of customer service that I have received at all times is very refreshing."
Procter has a tradition of excellence and craftsmanship that dates back over 260 years, though many of the design and manufacturing processes used to produce cast stone products are truly state-of-the-art. Procter looks to develop long-term relationships with customers by delivering high-quality products and reliable personal service. In every project, large or small, a dedicated planner is assigned to ensure that every aspect of the work meets with the customer's requirements.
For more information about cast stone products, please email email@example.com or telephone us. To request a free copy of Understanding Cast Stone - A Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Downloads section of the website (registration is required first).
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How self-build projects can maximise the benefits of cast stone
Cast stone is a remarkably versatile construction material that is suitable for all types of the self-build project including renovations, refurbishments, extensions and new-builds. While it is often used to replicate natural stone features on period properties, cast stone is equally appropriate for adding striking details to contemporary designs. Furthermore, cast stone complements brick-faced, rendered block-built and rendered timber-framed properties. Benefiting from reliable deliveries and being easy to design with and install, cast stone offers maximum impact for minimum effort and cost.
Sometimes referred to as reconstituted stone or artificial stone, cast stone is manufactured in wooden moulds created from the architect's drawings. Depending on the product and finish required, cast stone is made from a semi-dry mix of white and/or grey cement with natural or manufactured sands. The appearance of natural stone is achieved with crushed natural stone, well graded natural gravels and mineral pigments. A waterproofer is also added to minimise moisture absorption and improve resistance to frost damage. On larger components, a coloured facing mix is used on the outside of the mould, with a higher-strength, non-coloured backing mix in the interior. Cores are sometimes used to reduce the volume of cast stone used and, therefore, the weight of the final product; reinforcement can also be incorporated to enhance the structural strength. Additionally, bosses for lifting eyes can be set within the casting to ease handling on site. In extreme circumstances, cast stone units can be manufactured and delivered to the site within approximately two weeks, provided the mould is already available.
Because the moulds can be reused almost immediately, production of multiple identical units is very cost-effective. But even for one-off units, cast stone is an economical alternative to natural stone. However, manufacturers such as Procter Cast Stone also offer extensive ranges of standard products that can be delivered from stock or manufactured to order in a variety of standard or bespoke colours. Standard products include columns, heads, keystones, door surrounds, window surrounds, heads, cills, bays, bullseyes, gables, gable vents, balustrade, canopies, porticos, arches, cornices, steps, string courses, ashlar, copings, pier caps, spheres, corbels, and name and date stones. Cast stone is an excellent way to add individuality to a property very cost-effectively, plus it enhances the resale value.
Because cast stone is manufactured rather than quarried and dressed, reliable deliveries can be scheduled. If circumstances mean that a project is delayed, Procter Cast Stone can also reschedule delivery of the cast stone units to avoid them being stored on site and being at risk of accidental damage.
Installation of cast stone units is very straightforward so long as care is exercised; no specialist skills are required beyond those for bricklaying, and no specialist equipment is necessary (unless lifting gear is required for heavy units). After installation, cast stone weathers in the same way as natural stone. It can also be cleaned or repaired, and conventional masonry fixings can be used to attach other items. On request, Procter Cast Stone can provide more information about site handling, installation and cleaning.
Products for use in compression - such as quoins, string courses and walling units - can be structural, but cast stone lintels and other units that might experience tensile loads should be used in conjunction with a suitable structural element. ProcterCast Stone can provide detailed advice relating to the design of cast stone units, not only in relation to structural considerations but also to enable production costs to be minimised.
For those wishing to find out more about cast stone, Procter Caststone has a stand at BuildStore's National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon, the UK's only permanent centre for self-builders and renovators (see www.buildstore.co.uk). Here visitors can see examples of cast stone products and, by appointment, meet a member of Procter's staff to discuss cast stone in general and individual projects in detail. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to view the manufacturing process at Procter Caststone's factory in Garforth, Leeds, where design options and project details can be discussed.
As well as these opportunities for one-to-one discussions, Procter Caststone also has a wealth of information available on its website at www.caststoneuk.co.uk. This includes a cast stone brochure, a specifier's guide to cast stone, product drawings and an illustration of the standard colours available. In addition, there are case studies, a photographic gallery that shows a wide variety of cast stone applications, plus there is a facility to register for a free email newsletter. Whatever plans self-builders have in mind for cast stone, Procter Cast Stone can provide the technical and design support to help them realise their ideas.
To make an appointment to meet someone at either the factory or the BuildStore's National Self Build & Renovation Centre telephone us or email email@example.com
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Islamic style features to architect's design
Cast stone architectural components used in restoration project
It is vital to manage and reduce risk in construction projects, whether the projects are extensions or improvements, self-builds, one-off architect-designed houses, or major developments of residential or commercial properties. Reducing risk helps to avoid undue delays, increased costs and quality issues. Provided a reputable supplier is selected, cast stone reduces project risk considerably in comparison with using quarried and dressed natural stone, yet the end result is the same: increased visual appeal and resale value. See Top Ten Reasons to Specify Cast Stone.
Using a UK-based manufacturer such as Procter Cast Stone helps to ensure that deliveries can be made to an agreed schedule. This means there is no waiting for late deliveries, and the cast stone units do not have to be stored on site for longer than is absolutely necessary - which therefore reduces the risk of the units incurring damage. Furthermore, if there are delays to the construction project for other reasons, the deliveries can be rescheduled at no cost to the contractor. On the other hand, if there are design changes or if a unit suffers irreparable damage, new units can be manufactured and delivered to site far more quickly than if natural stone were being used - and with a guaranteed colour match. Note that minor damage to cast stone can often be repaired relatively easily in situ by the manufacturer.Cast stone is manufactured in a factory environment, with reputable suppliers adhering to both British Standard BS 1217 and the UKCSA Specification - the UK Cast Stone Association's own standard, which specifies a strength at least 40 per cent greater than that laid down in the British Standard. Customers using such suppliers can therefore be certain of receiving a consistently high-quality product that also meets contractual requirements such as limits in variability of colour and surface texture. In addition, the manufacture of cast stone is a well understood and closely controlled process, so tight tolerances can be held on specified dimensions to reduce the risk of problems arising during installation.
Another important way in which the use of cast stone can de-risk construction projects is through the technical consultation and support that is available from leading suppliers. In the design stage of a project, Procter Cast Stone can provide detailed advice in relation to geometrical forms that are robust and cost-effective to manufacture, as well as technical information about fittings, mortars and site handling. For construction projects in Conservation Areas and/or involving Listed Buildings, Procter Cast Stone can also support planning applications if there is a risk that planning authorities might raise objections to the use of cast stone rather than natural stone.
When it comes to budgeting, cast stone offers a further advantage in that its production in a factory environment means that budget prices are accurate - so it is unlikely that there will be significant discrepancies between budget prices and firm quotations (and using a UK-based supplier eliminates any risks relating to exchange rate fluctuations).
As can be seen from the above, using cast stone can help significantly in reducing risk with construction projects, though it is essential to use a reputable supplier such as Procter Cast Stone.
To help architects and specifiers gain a better understanding of cast stone and maximise the benefits of this versatile material - including using cast stone to reduce risk in construction projects - Procter Cast Stone has published a series of guides and other information resources. These are available free of charge from the Downloads section of the website or request copies by telephoning us or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-Builder's Guide to Cast Stone
Procter Cast Stone has published The Self-Builder's Guide to Cast Stone. This FREE guide has been specifically written to meet the needs of people contemplating or embarking on self-build projects. The cast stone guide explains what this versatile construction material can be used for, how it is manufactured and how easy it is to work with - both in terms of design and installation. Illustrated with a wealth of colour photographs, the guide benefits from a table of applicable cast stone British Standards and Eurocode, and sources of further information are listed.
Cast stone is a remarkably versatile construction material that is suitable for all types of self-build project including renovations, refurbishments, conversions, extensions and new-builds. While cast stone is often used to replicate natural stone features on period properties, it is equally appropriate for adding striking details to contemporary designs. Furthermore, cast stone complements brick-faced, rendered block-built and rendered timber-framed properties. Benefiting from reliable deliveries and being easy to design with and install, cast stone achieves maximum impact for minimal effort and cost.
Standard cast stone components available from stock
Cast stone stock is held by Procter Cast Stone at its factory in Garforth, near Leeds. To help customers find out what is available, Procter Cast Stone has published a list of the standard products that are stocked for immediate collection or delivery. This includes heads, cills, string course, quoins, coping stones and pier caps. The competitively priced yet high-quality stock cast stone products are manufactured in 'Aire', a popular mellow-coloured cast stone that is lighter than Yorkstone but darker than Millstone Grit.
If customers are unable to collect what they need, they can request delivery, locally within 2-3 days, by means of Procter Cast Stone's own transport (unless otherwise agreed).
Procter Cast Stone already sells a substantial quantity of stock products each year, but the publication of a stock list will help house builders, self-builders, builders' merchants and brickwork contractors to identify what is readily available.
In addition Procter Cast Stone can manufacture stock items in alternative colours in two to three weeks. Other products from the company's extensive catalogue of standard designs can be manufactured to an agreed schedule, with the lead time being dependant on volume. The range of standard cast stone products includes porticos, canopies, columns, pillars, arches, cornice, balustrade, walling, keystones, bays, bullseyes, spheres, ashlar, corbels, date stones, gable vents and steps. Furthermore, non-standard variants (such as cills of a custom length) can be manufactured in three to five weeks, which includes the minimum of two weeks for product curing. A Product Drawings Pack provides details of the standard products, and this can be downloaded free of charge from the Cast Stone Product Drawings section of the website.
Where there is sufficient market demand, Procter Cast Stone undertakes to manufacture those products and hold them in stock. For housing developments and similar projects where exact build schedules are not applicable, Procter Cast Stone can also manufacture bespoke cast stone designs and hold them in stock ready for immediate call-off.
Follow the links to see the list of cast stone stock products or download the Product Drawings Pack from the Cast Stone Product Drawings section of the website. Alternatively, contact Procter Cast Stone by telephoning us or emailing email@example.com.
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Bespoke cast stone units offer benefits to architect
Bespoke cast stone units are a versatile and cost-effective alternative to natural stone. Judicious use of cast stone can transform a property, adding style, character and perceived value. Furthermore, because it is manmade, cast stone offers architects a level of design freedom that is not available from natural stone.
Almost any three-dimensional form can be manufactured, and cast stone is available in a wide variety of shades to mimic natural stone - or custom colours can be produced to order. Architects also have a choice in the surface finish and texture that they specify, safe in the knowledge that cast stone weathers in the same way as natural stone. Moulds for cast stone units are manufactured using architects' CAD or hand-drawn designs.
Other advantages that cast stone offers over natural stone include the fact that reinforcement can be incorporated within cast stone units, as can lifting eyes or bosses to facilitate mechanised handling on site to comply with health and safety requirements and to minimise the
risk of damage through mishandling. Individual units can be clearly marked to aid rapid on-site identification for correct installation.
Cast stone units are produced in moulds, with one-off units being very cost-effective compared with natural stone. However, if multiple units are required, the tooling cost is amortised over a much larger number of units to reduce the unit price even further. This lower cost means that cast stone becomes affordable on projects for which the cost of natural stone could not be justified.
Cast stone units are produced in a factory environment, with suppliers such as Procter Cast Stone adhering to rigorous quality control procedures to ensure consistently high quality both within batches and from one batch to the next. Production in such an environment means that deliveries to site can be to schedules agreed in advance. Furthermore, should a unit become damaged, an identical replacement can be manufactured more quickly than is likely to be the case for natural stone. These two factors help to de-risk a project and ensure that project timescales do not drift.
There are a number of suppliers of cast stone within the UK, but architects and specifiers need to be aware that not all produce high-quality work. Procter Cast Stone is part of Procter Bros, a family-owned business that was established in 1740. In common with the other divisions within Procter Bros, Procter Cast Stone strives to achieve high product quality and outstanding customer service.
Technical staff provide free consultations to assist in the selection and design of all cast stone features. Early involvement in project planning ensures the successful incorporation of the features to suit aesthetic, performance and budgetary parameters, and deliveries are scheduled to suit site programme requirements.
All Procter Cast Stone products are subject to final inspections, carefully packed, protected and shrink-wrapped on pallets. Deliveries are made using Procter's own vehicles to ensure they arrive in first-class condition.
For architects and specifiers that have not previously worked with cast stone, Procter Cast Stone offers a free guide, called Understanding Cast Stone, which explains the design considerations, site practice, aftercare and maintenance, as well as providing a list of applicable British Standards and Eurocodes. This can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF from the Downloads section of the Procter Cast Stone website.
For more information about bespoke cast stone products, or request a free copy of Understanding Cast Stone - A Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Downloads section of the website.
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Cast stone products define character of prestigious house
Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Products has supplied cast stone products that have helped to define the character and style of a prestigious house in Bolton, Lancashire.
The architect made extensive use of cast stone, with Procters supplying both standard products and bespoke designs for quoining, string courses, door and window surrounds, pier caps and the imposing portico over the front entrance. Manufactured to mimic dressed York stone, the cast stone units complement the red brick walling and add eye-catching features that help to define the building's character.
In addition to manufacturing the cast stone units and delivering them to site, Procter Cast Stone & Concrete Products supported the project by attending site meetings and supplying working drawings for the portico. As with all of its projects, Procter Caststone & Concrete Products appointed a contract manager to liaise with the other parties as required and ensure that everything ran smoothly - with the right products being delivered to site in accordance with the agreed schedules. For this project the units were purchased via a local builders' merchant. Advice on site handling and installation was also provided to make certain that the quality of the cast stone units was not compromised at any stage.
Cast stone can be an extremely cost-effective alternative to natural stone, especially for projects such as this where there is a high degree of repetitive work (cast stone units are manufactured in reusable moulds). Furthermore, deliveries are reliable, and the fact that the cast stone units are produced to high quality standards in closely controlled factory conditions ensures consistency from one unit to the next and from one batch to the next. Architects also appreciate the wide choice of colours and finishes available, as well as the freedom to design almost any three-dimensional form.
To assist in the process of specifying cast stone products, Procter Caststone & Concrete Products has published Understanding Cast Stone, a Guide to Cast Stone Products for Architects and Specifiers. This is available as a PDF file free of charge on request or directly from the Downloads page on the company's website.
For more information about standard and bespoke cast stone products, please telephone us, email email@example.com
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