All posts by Charlotte Instarmac

Aztec logo web

Instarmac are proud to announce the acquisition of Aztec Aerosols

Instarmac Group plc announce that they have acquired Aztec Aerosols Ltd based in Crewe.

Instarmac Group plc is a privately owned company established in 1977 whose primary activity is manufacturing. It has developed an excellent reputation for innovation, exceptional levels of customer support, manufacturing skills and people development.

Operating within the construction and building market place the company produces products for the highway maintenance, tiling, commercial flooring, urban regeneration and internal finishing markets. Materials are manufactured at the company’s industry leading facility based near to Tamworth in the Midlands.

Winners of several awards including being a Times Top 100 company to work for since 2009, Instarmac is excited about its latest acquisition.

Aztec Aerosols was originally founded in 1964 and has over 50 years of specialist knowledge. During this time it has combined technical knowledge with innovation to deliver great products and service to its customers.

Manufacturing will remain at the Crewe production facility under the leadership of Brady Collins, Managing Director who commented:

‘Instarmac and Aztec Aerosols Ltd share many common goals. The team here at Aztec have a vast amount of experience. We look forward to working together on product development and  driving improvement  to our customers.’

John Holcroft , Instarmac Group’s Managing Director stated:

‘The acquisition of Aztec Aerosols Ltd further strengthens the group’s offer and diversifies its market activities. Commercial opportunities exist within the current groups customer base and I welcome the additional technical skills that will enhance both companies.’

IMG_7782 web

The Instarmac Difference

Instarmac, home to UltraCrete, has forged a reputation as one of the industry’s market leaders through continued innovation and commitment. Instarmac works alongside leading industry bodies to develop specifications and approvals for a range of maintenance solutions that help raise standards, reduce risk and save you money in the long term.

In 2002 they helped set the performance criteria of the HA104 specification for bedding mortar for ironwork and were the first manufacturer to develop a cementitious version that fully meets those requirements; Envirobed HA104®.

They created the first HAPAS approved thermoplastic overbanding tape Instaband ECO alongside the British Board of Agrément. They also developed the HAPAS standard for pothole repair materials which is widely recognised across the industry.

Many of their highways maintenance products have been HAPAS approved for over 15 years which has required significant work and investment but provides independent evidence that their materials are fit for purpose.

More recently they have worked with the Road Surface Treatment Association and other committee members to create a Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment. The code promotes best practice and aims to increase the service life of installations through a right first time approach, a method that Instarmac has always strongly endorsed.

Their health and safety processes have been commended by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents from whom they have recently received their 5th consecutive Gold Award.

The awards don’t stop there. They have been placed in The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies for eight years and are currently ranked number one in the Midlands Mid Market 300 which recognises top performing businesses. Instarmac also operate their own FORS Silver accredited fleet and are named as a Low-Risk Operator by the DVSA. They have recently completed the transition to the new ISO accreditations, one of the first companies to do so.

Instarmac knows that when businesses listen, collaborate and innovate with their customers, they thrive.

A customer on a recent visit to Instarmac’s premises commented, ‘It was a very worthwhile visit, and certainly has given us a couple of areas to go away and look at. I really hadn’t appreciated how big and diverse Instamac is, and it’s great to see you at the forefront of innovation and product development.’

If you would like to experience the Instarmac Difference or visit our award winning premises please get in touch. Tel: 01827 872244 Email:


New industry Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment.

A new industry Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment has been published by the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) to help increase the service life of ironwork reinstatements.

The code has been reviewed and endorsed by Highways England and ADEPT and promotes industry best practice and a right first time approach to help prolong the life of ironwork installations as well as minimise return visits, customer complaints and any potential public health and safety issues associated with failed ironwork.

The Code provides guidance on how to avoid early life failure, how to achieve a high quality installation and ensure a high quality repair. It covers installation and refurbishment of ironwork systems including gulley tops and chamber covers. The Code cross references HA104/09 Chamber Tops and Gulley Tops for Road Drainage and Services: Installation and Maintenance in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. It also cross references the Specification for Reinstatement of Openings in Highways (SROH).

The Code considers all aspects of installation and maintenance, including potential areas for failure. It consolidates existing industry experience into one document offering comprehensive industry best practice. Particular advice is given for brickwork supporting the frame and cover, bedding mortar selection and backfill selection around the ironwork installation plus surfacing and over-banding around the ironwork installation.

The health and safety, environment, training and quality assurance responsibilities of client and contractor are also set out by the code. It also provides guidance on site planning, programming, co-ordination and traffic management. A useful inclusion is the pre-contract, on-site and post-contract check-lists. Copies of the Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment may be downloaded from the RSTA website.

If you would like to know more, please contact David Youell,  Vice chairman , Ironwork Installation & Refurbishment sub-committee, RSTA.
Tel: 07970 814330


HAPAS certs web

HAPAS: What’s behind the certification?

HAPAS stands for the Highways Authority Product Approval Scheme, which was developed by market experts to offer consistent and clear testing methods for products and systems designed for use in the highways industry.  It is run and maintained exclusively by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) one of the UK’s leading organisations offering approval, certification and test services to manufacturers supplying the construction industry. Products that are ‘approved’ lead the way in providing definitive guidance for local authorities and contractors alike on highway maintenance.

A HAPAS certificate can be perceived as just a piece of paper but it requires a significant amount of work and investment from businesses seeking approvals. Testing can typically cost 30k per certificate, depending on the product or system being assessed.

Certificates are issued through a rigorous assessment process which involves laboratory and field testing, the latter of which can take up to two years, as well as regular site inspections and performance trials.

Once the certificate is issued, the manufacturer is audited every 6 months to ensure the assessment criteria is being maintained. Such inspections include calibration of equipment, review of packaging and raw material suppliers as well as ensuring that each person involved in the product’s production is adequately trained.  If the manufacturer needs to change any of the ingredients or processes involved in producing the product, they have to gain approval from the BBA.

The certificate is re-assessed every 3 years in order for it to be re-issued. Manufacturers, like Instarmac who produce a range of HAPAS approved highways maintenance materials under their UltraCrete brand, undergo further scrutiny and are required to provide sites where their products have been in-situ for some time. These sites are inspected to verify the product’s integrity; its formulation is also tested to ensure it matches the version that was initially sanctioned. The 6 monthly and 3 yearly reviews incur further costs which are considerable over the life of the certificate.

Any product that has such approval can boast assurance of confidence and long-term proven durability.

It raises the question of why? Why would anyone choose to use a material for repairing our roads, when it has none of this assurance? Products that aren’t approved haven’t undergone rigorous testing, and ultimately provide no independent evidence that they are ‘fit for purpose’.

The endless pothole debate continues, worsening after extreme winter, ravaging our road network and heightening risks to road users. The situation will only deteriorate if the use of un-proven ‘quick fix’ products continues.  Proven materials ‘stay where they are put’ and don’t crack or break out causing repeat maintenance visits.

Further advantages of using HAPAS approved materials include an extended service life, a reduction in insurance, personal injury claims and most importantly, a reduction in whole life costs. There’s an endless list of benefits from choosing a material bearing the HAPAS mark of quality.

web pic

UltraScape helps to preserve historic thoroughfare

UltraScape’s BS 7533 mortar paving system has been used to rejuvenate a busy high street in Wakefield as part of plans to regenerate the area.

Albion Court is an historic, well used thoroughfare which had deteriorated considerably and posed a health and safety risk to pedestrians.

Wakefield Council, in line with English Heritage conservation principals, uplifted and re-laid the 80 year old cobbles to help preserve and enhance the historic surface using UltraScape’s mortar paving system.

The reclaimed cobbles were bedded using UltraScape Pro-Bed HS which provided a perfect bound base for the paving elements. It can be laid up to 75mm in one pass, with greater depths achievable using successive layers. The fast strength gain of Pro-Bed HS allows pedestrian areas to be trafficked in as little as 12 hours. It was supplied in 25kg bags and 1 tonne bulk bags and 30 tonne silos for the larger areas.

Manhole covers and gullies were reinstated using UltraScape’s Resi-Bed resinous mortar. The product provides exceptional strength and bond for areas under extreme stresses. It withstands the inherent flex that covers endure under traffic loading and is perfectly suited for bonding to steel.

UltraScape Pro-Prime was applied between the paving elements and bedding mortar. The addition of a slurry primer is essential to yield a bond strength compliant with BS 7533 and helps prevent costly failures.

UltraScape’s Flowpoint has a high fluid consistency and was ideal for grouting the varying joint widths and depths created by the cobbles. Simple to use, it was poured over the area and washed clean, filling all joints evenly, without staining. This slurry method provides a fast, cost effective and robust way of grouting large, intricate areas, quickly. Furthermore, Flowpoint can be open to foot traffic in just one hour, minimising time on site and disruption to pedestrians. It is available in two colours; charcoal and natural grey, the latter of which was selected for this project as it complements the cobbles perfectly.

Projects incorporating BS 7533 compliant materials benefit from a reduction in failures and considerable whole life cost savings.  The materials have been independently and rigorously tested by UKAS accredited laboratories to assess their performance capabilities. This method removes the uncertainty of site batched mortars and offers a minimum construction life of 40 years.

‘UltraScape’s products produced outstanding results and were easy to work with and will certainly be used on other schemes in the future.’ Craig Pritchard, Wakefield Council.

For further information on UltraScape’s  BS 7533 compliant mortar paving system, please visit or call 01827 254402.


Top Marks for UltraScape at Birmingham University Library!

UltraScape’s BS 7533 Compliant Mortar Paving System has been used in the construction of Birmingham University’s brand new state of the art library.

The new main library which cost £60 million, opened in September 2016 and is already being heralded as one of the first of a new generation of libraries in UK higher education. The Library has been tailor-made to suit modern users’ requirements and is designed to make more of the University’s extraordinary collections accessible to students and staff, with expert library staff on hand to help and advise on texts, support and resources.

Principal contractor, O’Brien Contractors, installed hard and soft landscaping around the prestigious new library, which included 1200m² of yellow rock granite paving. The colour was chosen to enhance the tones of the new building.

UltraScape’s Pro-Bed HS provided a perfect bound base for the granite. It can be laid up to 75mm in one pass, with greater depths achievable using successive layers. The fast strength gain of Pro-Bed HS allows pedestrian areas to be trafficked in as little as 12 hours. UltraScape’s Pro-Prime was applied between the paving elements and bedding mortar. The addition of a slurry primer is essential to yield bond strength compliant with BS 7533 and helps prevent costly failures.

UltraScape’s Flowpoint was used to grout the setts. Simple to use, requiring only the addition of water on site, it is poured over the area and washed clean, filling all joints evenly, without staining.  This slurry method provides an easy method of grouting large areas, quickly. Flowpoint can be opened to pedestrians in just 1 hour and vehicular traffic after only 4 hours, minimising disruption. It can accommodate widths between 5mm and 50mm and depths of up to 200mm

in a single pass and is available in 2 colours; natural grey and charcoal, with bespoke colours available upon request. A special order of buff was produced for this project to compliment the paving elements and surrounding environment.

UltraScape’s Paving Guard surface sealant was applied once the grout had set to help preserve the installation. When applied, the product forms a protective barrier to many common stain agents. It also reduces the ability of chewing gum adhering to the surface of paving, making it easier to remove during the cleaning cycles.

Established in 1958, O’Brien Contractors is a Midlands-based provider of civil engineering, design and build and groundworks services, as well as turnkey sports pitch solutions. Receiving the prestigious five star rating for Achilles Building  Confidence accreditation in 2014 means O’Brien sits alongside leading names in the construction sector as suppliers of excellent quality work with a commitment to growth and sustainability.

Key projects and customers include the Nestlé manufacturing facility with John Sisk and Son; the Regeneration of Longbridge Town Centre with Morgan Sindall; and Primark’s Retail Distribution Centre with Sir Robert McAlpine.

For further information on Ultrascape’s  BS 7533 compliant mortar paving system and ancillary products, please visit or call 01827 254402. Keep up-to-date with the latest news and competitions from UltraScape on twitter, follow @Ultrascape_UK

78) Potholes_Rain web

Weatherproof your Road Network with Maintenance Solutions from UltraCrete

Potholes are inevitable after periods of wet and freezing weather. They form when rainwater gathers in cracks in the road surface. When they freeze, they expand, effectively forcing the road open. The more this process is repeated, the larger the hole becomes.

Wet weather adversely affects pothole repair too! Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is difficult to lay in wet weather, the rain cools the mix too soon to finish compaction and this can cause premature failure. Furthermore the water will most likely soften the base, weakening its structure.

Traditional HMA and associated equipment is difficult to transport to remote sites too, especially in poor weather conditions. Although HMA is a popular method, cold mix asphalt is an effective alternative since it can be used all year round for pothole and patch repairs. It can be delivered and applied in a broad range of environments, using minimal equipment.

UltraCrete’s HAPAS approved Permanent Pothole Repair is a flexible cold lay asphalt that can be used in all weathers and is the ideal solution for the repair of potholes in roads, driveways and car parks. The product’s flexibility means it is compatible with the existing road surface ensuring a durable repair that removes the burden and expense of return visits. Permanent Pothole Repair comes in handy 25kg re-sealable tubs, eliminating waste and can be trafficked immediately.

Potholes aren’t the only problem for motorists in severe weather! It is also one of the main causes of ironwork failure, in particular manhole covers. Poor installation and quality of bedding material is also to blame in some cases.

UltraCrete offers a fully HAPAS approved reinstatement system for the installation of all types of access covers. It comprises of a range of bedding mortars, backfill flowable concrete, cold lay asphalt, bitumen seal and tack coat spray and a thermoplastic overbanding.

The system includes UltraCrete’s Envirobed HA104® high performance bedding mortar, the cementitous alternative to resin based products. It contains a special blend of cements, polymer graded aggregates and recycled glass and is particularly suitable for use in wet weather conditions. It achieves an impressive 53N/mm² compressive strength in just 3 hours too, providing significant resistance to the elements! Furthermore, installations made using UltraCrete’s reinstatement system are ready to receive traffic in little over an hour, great for sites that require a quick turnaround which is especially advantageous for those contractors working in severe weather conditions!

UltraCrete’s fast track, weather proof repair products mean that work doesn’t stop just because of poor weather conditions prevail. Moreover, their longevity offers a lasting solution and eliminates repeat visits, reducing maintenance costs, traffic management outlay and disruption to motorists.

For further information please call 01827 254402 or email


Grab an Apple Watch with Instarmac at Traffex

Join us at Traffex 2017, 4th-6th April, Europe’s largest dedicated traffic management, parking, highways maintenance and transport event.

The exhibition will be held in hall 5 at the NEC in Birmingham and will showcase the latest advancements that will shape the future of the UK’s road network.

Visit us on stand G10 where we will be showcasing our innovative range of HAPAS approved highway maintenance solutions from our UltraCrete brand.

Fed up of costly failures? Want better value? UltraCrete’s repair materials can save you time and money!

Find out how to combat the pothole blight with UltraCrete’s Permanent Pothole Repair cold lay asphalt. It is ideal for planned and reactive maintenance of potholes in roads, driveways and car parks. It is instantly trafficable and can be applied in all weathers. Use with UltraCrete’s SCJ Seal and Tack Coat spray for a permanent repair. See it being demonstrated in our Instarmac Live! area adjacent to our stand. Our programme also includes practical demonstrations of our range of fast setting concretes for backfilling, surface repairs and post installation. All products offer early trafficking, helping you to achieve project deadlines and avoid unnecessary fines.

Instarmac are offering visitors to the stand a chance to win an Apple Watch! Come along to find out how you can take part in our fantastic competition and see how we can help you to reduce your whole life costs. Register for free by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you there!

For further details on any of the products mentioned in this release, please call UltraCrete on 01827 254402, email or visit


UltraScape Features in Multi-million pound retail development

UltraScape’s BS 7533 compliant mortar paving system has been used to install over 10,000 square meters of paving in Newport’s major new shopping and leisure scheme, Friars Walk.

The multi-million pound development provides a major landmark for the city centre’s regeneration after an economic turndown. The complex is home to well known retailers and eateries such as Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and Prezzo as well as housing an eight screen cinema and tenpin bowling alley and has created 1200 jobs.

Work was carried out by primary contractor Bowmer & Kirkland and sub-contractor, Davisons, who laid a range of paving throughout the site using UltraScape’s Pro-Bed HS fine bedding concrete, Flowpoint rapid set flowable grout and Pro-Prime slurry primer.  All materials conform to the British Standard BS 7533. Their fast-track and high specification characteristics were an ideal addition to the site’s development.

Pro-Bed HS was supplied in 30 tonne bulk silos, perfect for large scale projects such as this where site storage was limited. It offers the ability to mix the product on-site at the touch of a button. The bulk silo offers a significant cost saving over traditional bagged material and also the added benefit of reducing packaging waste to zero. This was a welcome addition to the project which was designed to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ for energy consumption.

Construction was carried out in challenging circumstances as contractors worked to tight time frames and with access restrictions as sections were finished. UltraScape’s rapid set materials facilitated a speedy installation, with Pro-Bed HS able to receive foot traffic in as little as 12 hours  and Flowpoint in just 1 hour.

Projects incorporating BS 7533 compliant materials benefit from a reduction in failures and considerable whole life cost savings.  The materials have been independently and rigorously tested by UKAS accredited laboratories to assess their performance capabilities. This method removes the uncertainty of site batched mortars and offers a minimum construction life of 40 years

The Friars Walk redevelopment has helped Newport city centre to re-emerge as the both the premier retail district in this region and the centre for social and cultural entertainment and UltraScape is proud to have played a part.

For further information on Ultrascape’s  BS 7533 compliant mortar paving system, please visit or call 01827 254402.


UltraCrete Supporting National Pothole Day

UltraCrete, the home of highways maintenance solutions, has teamed up with to help promote its third annual National Pothole Day on 16th January 2017.

National Pothole Day was established in 2015 by, a website which encourages road users to report road damage direct to their local council, and forms part of an awareness campaign to rid Britain’s roads of the pothole blight.

The site is widely endorsed by politicians and industry experts such as the RAC and Halfords and UltraCrete is proud to provide support to help highlight this growing issue.

Mark Morrell, PR Officer for says “This is the perfect opportunity for the general public to showcase what their roads and communities are really like. We would like as many people as possible to join our campaign by highlighting local issues quickly and easily.”

Potholes form when rainwater gathers in cracks in the road surface. When they freeze, they expand, effectively forcing the road open. The more this process is repeated, the larger the hole becomes.  With temperatures expected to plummet bringing freezing conditions across Britain the problem is only going to get worse.

It is more important than ever to ensure that the materials used to repair our damaged roads are in fact proven and durable and the only real way of eliminating repeat visits and repair failures is to use materials and systems that are HAPAS approved.

UltraCrete has been investing in such solutions for over 40 years. Their cold lay asphalt products are HAPAS approved and ensure a quality, durable repair, eliminating return visits, traffic management and lane rental charges.

UltraCrete’s cold lay asphalt materials can be used in all weathers, so work doesn’t have to stop because the cold weather has arrived. They have been specially formulated to ensure strong flexibility and guarantee the best product performance.  Their versatility allows for a rapid repair thus helping to maintain a safer road. They won’t disintegrate, so until such a time arises for a full resurface, the patch work will remain intact.

The local road network makes up around 98% of the road network in England and Wales with an asset value in excess of £400bn however, less than 0.01% is spent on annual maintenance.  Source Asphalt Industry Alliance.

By partnering UltraCrete hopes to highlight the shortfall in road maintenance budgets and by working with local authorities help rid Britain’s roads of potholes.

Find out more about National Pothole Day at or follow @StreetRepairs