Supporting volunteers within our local community

Manchester-based homelessness outreach

Trafford-based community group G-Force work with vulnerable individuals and families in crisis across Greater Manchester, providing essentials and working with other community groups and schools.

One community group that G-Force has recently partnered with is Don’t Walk Past (DWP), a non-profitable group of volunteers who provide fresh food and water, and essential supplies, to the homeless in Manchester City Centre.

Utilising the £1,000 of funds that were raised and donated by Farrat employees within our Sponsored Lapland Challenge in December 2021, G-Force were able to purchase a months’ worth of ingredients to prepare 80+ 2-course meals per week for the homeless throughout January this year.

The hot meals were prepared by G-Force and DWP teams and distributed to homeless individuals in Manchester City Centre twice weekly, on Monday and Friday evenings.

homelessness meals
homelessness meals

Paul from G-Force praised the fundraising efforts of the Farrat team, noting that “the funding has come just at the right time, as (G-Force) has been struggling to fund this project over the winter months.”

The current scale of homelessness in Manchester

People who are recorded as homeless are experiencing the worst effects of the housing emergency facing the country. Homelessness negatively impacts people’s lives, including their mental and physical health and their children’s health, education, and development.

The number of homeless people in Manchester is currently reported to be almost eight times higher than anywhere else in North West England, according to statistics released by charity Shelter in December 2021.

In England overall, 1 in every 206 people is recorded as homeless.

Dedicated charities such as Shelter work within communities alongside local volunteers such as G-Force, and the DWP team, to provide advice and support services such as one-to-one help with housing issues and homelessness.

We are proud to support G-Force volunteers with this initiative and look forward to continuing our work with them, helping people from a range of backgrounds within our local community to take steps towards a brighter future.


Farrat’s ongoing partnership with G-Force

We will be partnering with G-force in 2022, as part of our ongoing commitment to improving social mobility within our local communities. We are looking forward to continuing our fundraising activities throughout the year, to further support the G-force volunteers in the amazing work they do, as well as providing opportunities to support the future of young and socially disadvantaged people, including work placements and apprenticeships.

We will also be involved in the environmental community projects that G-force will be undertaking this year, pledging time for volunteering activities to help G-force make a real difference to the environment and facilities within our local community.

National Apprenticeships Week – supporting the next generation of engineers

This week is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, and Farrat is on a mission to show how accessible mentoring and practical experience is key to ensuring that young people from all walks of life have access to opportunities in engineering and manufacturing.

Farrat will be joining forces with the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for high achieving 16–17-year-olds from low-income backgrounds who have the ability to flourish in the top professions, but who lack the networks and guidance in their field to fulfil their potential.

We will be supporting the Social Mobility Foundation through their Aspiring Professionals Programme, helping students via mentoring, work placements, further education application advice and professional skills development sessions.

Having already worked with the Social Mobility Foundation in 2021, with work placement access for those looking for a good insight into what it means to work for an engineering company with global reach, we are excited to put extended time and effort into nurturing the engineering talent of the future.

Mentors at Farrat

Those from Farrat acting as mentors will support students in a number of ways, including increasing their understanding of their desired career and professional life. The mentoring relationship is extremely valuable in helping to guide mentees through their time on the Social Mobility Foundation programme, their further education or university applications, and in helping them to explore their professional interests further.

“A key part of our Farrat vision is a sustained commitment to local communities, STEM and social mobility, and in 2022 we will be working towards ambitious targets within our social mobility success pillar, to support young and socially disadvantaged people in our community,” states Sally Moxon, Head of People at Farrat.

“At Farrat, we believe it is so important to build a diverse workforce of talent for the future, as well as giving something back to the communities in which we live and work. Our partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation will be instrumental in helping us to provide opportunities to talented young people and help them to fulfil their potential, both now and in their future careers.”

On a mission to reduce the engineering skill shortage in the UK

Not only will this be rewarding for those involved and helpful to the young people being mentored, but this will help to safeguard the future of engineering in the UK.

The UK needs to significantly increase the number of people with engineering skills. In 2014, it was reported that the annual shortfall of STEM skills was 40,000. In 2017, the annual shortfall of the right engineering skills was still anywhere between 25,500 and up to 60000.

We need to double, at least, the number of UK based university engineering students. Encouraging young people from a wider range of backgrounds that might not have had the knowledge or means to go into engineering, will not only reduce this skills shortage, but bring exciting new perspectives to the sector.

Find out more

To learn more about Farrat’s upcoming social mobility projects, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram where we regularly share stories about our people, industries, and the wider community.

Or get in touch with the Social Mobility Foundation to find out more about accessing the Aspiring Professionals Programme.

The role of sustainable building materials in the race to net-zero

It has been widely shared that buildings and construction are responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions driving rapid climate change.

But, did you know that at the current rate of construction, the world is forecast to build more than 2 trillion square feet of floor space in the next 40 years? In their current form, a considerable proportion of these buildings will be constructed out of concrete, with cement as its main ingredient (a notorious greenhouse gas emitter).

A simple route to reducing carbon emissions in the race to net-zero is to design and build smarter. By this, we mean reducing the volume of materials required in construction, reusing/repurposing where possible, and opting for high-performance materials with superior efficiency credentials at the point of the specification.

This sentiment is echoed in a recent report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering on ‘Decarbonising Construction’, which notes that the following aspects will be vital in achieving net-zero transformation in the construction sector:

  • availability and specification of low-carbon materials,
  • reusing materials as standard,
  • and low-carbon procurement.

In our latest insight below, we further explore the role of sustainable building materials in the built environment to understand how our Structural Thermal Break solutions align with the agenda.

Utilising sustainable building materials in construction

Reduce, recycle and reuse

Structural steelwork and lightweight gauge steel can be recycled and reused multiple times. As a result, steel is increasingly selected as a reliable material for constructing robust structures that meet the low carbon demands of the future without compromising on design, practicality, or cost-efficiency.

The recovery rates from demolition sites in the UK are 99% for structural steelwork and 96% for all steel construction products – figures that far exceed those for any other construction material. And the superior strength-to-weight ratio of steel as a construction material, also means that a little goes a long way. This unique characteristic gives steel a high economic value at all stages of its life cycle.

By utilising more recyclable building materials, the industry contributes to more sustainable development by reducing waste and by saving primary resources. Recycling materials such as steel and other metals also save energy and reduce carbon emissions, since it requires less energy to re-melt scrap than it does to produce new metal from primary resources, i.e., iron ore.

The primary benefits of recycling sustainable building materials are well understood and include:

  • Reducing waste, i.e., diverting waste from landfill
  • Saving primary resources, i.e., substituting primary production
  • Saving energy and associated greenhouse gas emissions through less energy-intensive reprocessing.

Although these benefits apply to many commonly recycled materials, there are some significant differences in the properties of materials that influence the environmental benefit of recycling and particularly how these benefits are quantified.

Metals, for example, are infinitely recyclable, i.e., they can be recycled repeatedly into functionally equivalent products – this is the most environmentally beneficial form of recycling.

Other products are ‘down-cycled’ into new products that are only suitable for lower grade applications because the recycled product has different, usually lower, material properties. Although waste is diverted from landfills by down-cycling, only lower-grade primary resources are saved.

For example, crushing bricks and concrete for hardcore, sub-base, or general fill saves aggregates but does not save the resources required to make new bricks or new concrete.

BHC Steelwork - Cineworld Hounslow starts on site

BHC steelwork erection at Cineworld Hounslow in 2019

For recycling to be sustainable in the long term, it is important that the recycling process is financially viable. This is frequently the biggest hurdle to recycling, particularly for products and materials that are downcycled into lower grade, low-value applications.

Current end-of-life scenarios for three of the most common construction materials; concrete, timber and steel are shown below. The illustration describes the end-of-life outcomes of these materials against the established UK Waste Hierarchy:

end of life scenarios
Source: steelconstruction.info from the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA)

Moving towards more sustainable procurement

Steel production is currently a source of greenhouse gas emissions (7% in 2020); however, the good news is that a revolution in steel production is now within reach.

The amount of energy used in steel manufacture has fallen by some 61% since the 1960s, according to World Steel Association data (2020), and further improvements are being sought from steel sector research and development investments.

In 2020, 1.8 gigatons (GT) of steel were produced, accounting for 90% of all metals globally. Major steel-producing countries, including China, Japan, the EU, and now the US, have set ambitious targets to reach net-zero economies. Achieving these demands will further advance the material efficiency of steel and the greater recycling of scrap steel.

In 2005, the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) became the first steel representative organisation in the UK to launch a Sustainability Charter. This was updated and strengthened in 2021 in response to the climate emergency. The objective of the Charter is to further advance steel as a sustainable form of construction in terms of carbon reduction, reuse and efficiency, economic viability, social progress, and environmental responsibility.

Similarly, leading manufacturers and suppliers of structural steel in the UK, British Steel, and Tata Steel, are certified under the BRE Environmental & Sustainability Standard BES 6001, a responsible sourcing certification for the UK construction market.

For these companies, sustainable procurement is part of wider corporate responsibility.

Severfield installing steel connections with Farrat TBK Structural Thermal Breaks at 22 Bishopsgate, London

Thermal efficiency in modern steel design

In respect of the energy efficiency of buildings constructed with steel, low and zero-carbon buildings, and buildings with high BREEAM ratings are readily achievable using steel construction.

Structural Thermal Breaks are commonly integrated into primary and secondary steel connections as high-performance thermal insulators that provide a robust solution to minimising energy loss in steel construction.

Performance characteristics of Farrat thermal break materials include low thermal conductivity, high compressive strength, and limited creep under load, which provides Steel Contractors and Structural Engineers with complete flexibility to modify typical structural steel details with confidence, without compromising thermal efficiency or conformance.

And unlike general thermal insulation materials on the market, Farrat Structural Thermal Breaks are suitable to mitigate against planar, linear, and point load thermal bridging whilst carrying structural loads, which means that they can be used anywhere a penetration or transition exists in a building envelope, helping Architects and designers to achieve the highest levels of building performance and energy standards.

Thermal efficiency credentials

Passive House is one of the highest standards for energy efficiency, granting certification to structures, components, and professionals who have achieved and designed the best in quality, efficiency, and sustainability. The criteria to gain the title of ‘Certified Passive House Component’ is based on two categories: living health and comfort (‘Comfort criteria’) and energy balance during practical application (‘Energy criteria’).

In 2019, Farrat’s high-strength Structural Thermal Break material Farrat TBK, was listed as a Certified Passive House Component by the Passive House Institute in recognition of its low thermal conductivity and superior energy efficiency performance.

Following this in 2020, Farrat’s A2 non-combustible fire-rated Structural Thermal Break material, Farrat TBF, was entered as an approved product into the BRE (Building Research Establishment) Certified Thermal Details and Products Scheme and was also awarded BBA (British Board of Agreement) certification.

The BRE is an international independent certification body, operating with the highest standards in the certification of fire, security, and environmental products and services, management processes, and other products and systems. Details provided within the BRE scheme are invaluable to building design professionals committed to creating energy-efficient structures and are especially useful for architects and structural engineers at the specification stage.

BRE Certified Thermal Details for both Farrat TBK and Farrat TBF thermal breaks are available online here.

“We have always placed a strong emphasis on impartial assessment and certification for our structural thermal break materials,” says Chris Lister, Commercial Manager of Structural Thermal Breaks at Farrat.

“It enables us to back up our commitment to creating cutting edge materials with practical value and sustainability, for buildings and structures of the future.”


Specifiers and contractors are responsible for addressing some of the biggest challenges facing the building construction industry in the race to net-zero.

Meeting these challenges head-on in terms of innovative energy efficiency, intelligent building design, and responsible sustainable building materials choices will be a key driver in reaching sustainability targets and safeguarding the future of the world.

For more information on integrating thermal break solutions into typical, or bespoke, structural steel connections, visit our Structural Thermal Break hub or one of our dedicated portals:



Mission 2022: Support the world to a net-zero future

As companies and individuals, we have a responsibility to address the global environmental crisis with climate action.

Earlier this year, we learned that buildings and construction are now responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions driving rapid climate change. Based on the current rate of construction, the world is forecast to build more than 2t square feet of floor space in the next 40 years. This is the equivalent of adding an entire New York City every month. And in their current form, a large proportion of these buildings will be constructed out of concrete, with cement as its main ingredient. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, behind China and the US.

At Farrat, we’re dedicated to being an industry leader in the fight to work towards Net Zero by 2050.

In our 2022 mission video below, we explain our commitments for the year ahead and beyond.

Farrat commits to supporting the world towards a Net Zero future by placing the environment at the center of our decision-making. In addition to minimising the environmental footprint of our own business and manufacturing operations, we intend to use our technical expertise to support our clients and wider industries to deliver on their own Net Zero pledges.


Sustainability in manufacturing

Within the manufacturing industry, Farrat will support the growth of ‘recyclable’ metal industries and work with our clients to champion the manufacture of aluminum cans over PET bottles.

Through our Univib and IMPACT services, we will support sheet metal and can making manufacturers maximise OEE productivity and reduce waste and energy usage. And in our products and systems, we will advise our clients on how to control machine vibrations with minimal mass.


Sustainability in building and construction

Within the building construction industry, we will support the transition to lightweight structures across our markets, championing the use of steel instead of concrete. Through our full range of construction services and solutions, we will support the entire value chain – from developers and designers to specialist consultants and contractors – to control noise, vibration, and thermal bridging within buildings.

Our technical expertise will be tuned to engineer more sustainable solutions in a wide range of buildings, from high-rise towers to universities, hotels, airports, cinemas, theatres, and landmark concert halls. As we will help our clients to unlock the full potential of steel-framed buildings, building components, and secondary steelwork structures.


Social and environmental impact

As a result, our industrial clients will build leaner and more efficient manufacturing facilities that produce less waste and our construction clients will build with less material.

We will help to facilitate the repurposing of buildings, to create safe and more energy efficient structures where people can live, work and sleep comfortably, and we will push for the development of more connected and sustainable urban centers, with homes, offices, schools, universities and leisure facilities all located closer to each other and public transport networks.

Our end-users – the people who utilise all of these spaces – will live healthier, more fulfilling, and more sustainable lives where they can enjoy truly immersive entertainment venues, thanks to the tangible contributions that we have made along the way.


Our Mission in 2022 is to delight our customers, wherever they are in the world, with the best technical solutions to their engineering challenges whilst also making a tangible contribution to minimising the environmental impact of construction, manufacturing, and our own business operations.