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v5 7746JAP Facade

v5 7746JAP Facade

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Published by: firefoxextslurper on Sep 06, 2008
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06/09/2010

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 Winter 2004/2005
 A 
lthough topical in consequence of the Latham-inspired initiatives andincreasingly recognised as being a merited solution to the challenge of providingoptimum value, off-site prefabrication is not a new concept. Architecturalprecast concrete panels have been produced off-site for many decades and areincreasingly being specified to clad a wide range of new buildings including commercial andcivic office schemes, residential, retail and leisure developments as well as hospitals andschools. Despite this trend, there are many building projects that fail to benefit because the advantages of precast cladding construction are not fully considered early enough.
Off-site prefabrication
 
Chairman of the ACA, Stephen Maddalena considers theadvantages of precast cladding
The direct and incidental advantages of precast cladding construction are many and varied. Importantly, they valuably contribute to enhancing quality and safety, to improvingefficiency and productivity and to providingprogramme and price certainty.
D
esigned by Chantrey Davisand Shepherd Designand built by ShepherdConstruction, the Discovery Dock development in Canary Wharf, ispredominantly clad in reconstructed stonepanels supplied and erected by Techrete(UK) Ltd.
The largely residential development,comprises three blocks; 14 storey, 16 storeyand the 25 storey tower. The panels are in the main double-punched window units,and were delivered to the site, following the installation of the windows at Techrete’s factory by Parry Bowen, the curtain wallsubcontractor. Typically 6m x 3m and weighing up to 9 tonnes the panels wereproduced with cut-outs to accommodate the cantilever support beams for the steelbalconies. Although there was very good panelrepetition, it was necessary to manufactureseveral ‘challenging’ shapes, which in somecases resulted in the adoption of a two-stagecasting process. With such expansive areas of claddingit was important to minimise panel- to-panel colour variation and a newmix was developed by Techrete toprovide as much colour stability as canbe achieved, using natural materialsThe panels were fixed to thereinforced concrete frame, where the load was transmitted via integralcorbels on the rear of the panelsadjacent to the columns.The restraint fixing was via channels typically cast into the underside of  the post-tensioned floor slab, whereaccurate positioning of cast-in fixingshas a substantial bearing on theeconomic and smooth running of  the cladding system. Insulation andhorizontal fire stopping was alsoincluded within the precast concretecladding package.
Rising high at Discovery Dock
continued on page 2continued on page 3
Design matters
Innovation in production methods andsignificant investment in labour and plantresources enable architectural precastconcrete panels to be provided in anincreasing range of finishes and facings,shapes and sizes to suit the requirements of individual projects.
Finishes and facings
 A comprehensive range of cladding finishesis available ranging from lightly texturedreconstructed stone and polished concrete finishes to coarser washed exposed aggregatesurfaces. Aggregates and cements can beselected to suit colour preferences. Precasting
 
effectively allows the pre-assembly of naturalstone, granite, brick and terracotta tile facings with a reinforced concrete backing, a singlepanel perhaps incorporating 100+ facingstones or 1000+ bricks.Natural stones and granites are usedmore economically than with traditionalconstruction methods as they can beproduced in thinner sections. Panels mayinclude a mix of finishes and facings that would otherwise demand separate trades.
Shapes and sizes
Fresh concrete is an extremely mouldablematerial allowing complex shapes to be formed. Panels can economically incorporatecill, coping, soffit, window reveal and specialsections, especially where repetitive. Largepanels avoid the need for secondary structure for their vertical support and lateral restraint.Grid-width units can reduce mid-spanloadings onto the structural slab edge.Panel sizes are usually limited by site craneageor transport constraints. Limitations may beovercome by using low-loader trailers thatallow storey-height panels to be delivered vertically. Reduced wall thicknesses withprecast cladding panels can increase netlettable floor area.
T
echrete, a leading manufacturer of architectural precastconcrete in Ireland and theUK, has invested
 €
5 millionin an extension to its UK works at Brigg,making it one of the most modern factoriesin Europe. This reflects the company’sincreasing volume of business in the UK.
Plant director John Stothard commented,“This expansion will create more space for conventional production, as well as housinga new robotic plant to streamline theproduction of architectural concrete.” A key feature will be a carousel system in whichsteel moulds will travel to the operative rather  than visa versa. The aim is that all curing and finishing will be contained within the building, thus creating a better working environmentand a controlled curing regime for the panels. According to Stothard, “The advantagesare that each product will be finished in acontrolled environment regardless of theseason and external areas will only be used for storage of completed units. Achieving thisis quite a challenge as much of the equipmentis bespoke and must be adapted for thespecial needs of architectural concrete.”The new building and offices are constructed of Techrete’s precast concrete sandwich panels, which provide a complete wall solution.
TECHRETE INVESTS IN UK PLANT
Off-site prefabrication
 
continued from page 1
Quality matters
Panels are produced by skilledcraftsmen, motivated by long- term employment prospects, in apurpose-built factory environmentusing specialist equipment. Eachstage of manufacture is subject to inspection in accordance withan independently certified qualitysystem, and finish and dimensionalaccuracy are checked beforedelivery.
Sustainability matters
Precast panel construction produces negligible waste, just enough concrete being batched to fill available moulds. And at the end of theeconomic life of a building, the precast panelsmay be refurbished for re-use or crushed for recycling.
Functional matters
Precast concrete cladding produced inaccordance with BS 8297:2000 has a lifeexpectancy of 60+ years and is generallymaintenance-free. Dense concrete is air-and water-tight, giving superior weatheringperformance and corrosion resistance. Jointsbetween panels are usually filled with sealant.The thermal mass of concrete serves to reducepeak heating and cooling loads. Insulation canreadily be incorporated either as a lining to theinternal face of a panel or as a core between two concrete layers, achieving U- value requirements of 0.35W/m
2
and better. In addition, concrete isan inherent sound insulator, non-combustible and fire-resistant.
Construction matters
Precast cladding panels are erectedon site by specialist teams trainedin safe handling and fixing, typically without the need for an externalscaffold. Panels are delivered ona just-in-time basis, allowing largeareas of the frame to be rapidly enclosed to give an early start to weather-sensitive following trades. Window apertures within the panels can be framed, glazed and sealedbefore delivery.In addition to issues of quality and practicality,each of the above points correspondinglycontributes financial advantages. Off-site prefabrication and increased on-siteproductivity, especially using the largest units that are practical to deliver and handle at site, facilitate optimum value. Similarly, decreasing the dependence on site-based activitieshelps stabilise the total construction cost andshortens construction periods, at the same time reducing financing costs. However, itshould be recognised that all these advantagescan only be attained by early involvement of  the specialist precaster.
 
Rising high at Discovery Dock
continued from page 1
T
rent Concrete recently completed its £2.3mcladding contract at BelgraveHouse, a high-profile officedevelopment at the rear of Victoria Stationon Buckingham Palace Road in London.The contract was awarded following a two-stage tender process, with Trent’sprevious successful cladding work withcontractors Sir Robert McAlpine (on thenew Bull Ring development in Birmingham)proving influential.
Trent designed, manufactured and erected350 units in total. In the main these were two-storey mullions, 7.5m high, with a facingof deeply profiled natural Portland stone, and8.5m long spandrels with projecting Portlandstone sills. Trent was also responsible for 600m
2
of handset in-situ Portland stonecladding. In addition, 1000m
2
of matchingreconstructed stone cladding for the servicecore and plant room were produced.This combined natural and reconstructedstone approach provides a high-quality, cost-effective solution. Natural stone is used on the main elevations, whilst reconstructedstone is used elsewhere and provides anextremely good imitation of the natural stonein both colour and texture.
Combined natural and reconstructed Portlandstone for Belgrave House facade
Erection of the 880 or so panels was completedin approximately seven months, with a monthor so ‘overlap’ as the double mastic pointing wasapplied by a youthful but very professional teamof abseilers. Serious consideration has to begiven to wind conditions at Canary Wharf, when formulating a programme for this type of system;crane down-time of 40% is not uncommon. A further challenge to be addressed wasnegotiating the cantilever formwork at roof levels, this was achieved by using a ‘C’ hook  which circumnavigated the obstruction andresulted in a smoother operation than had beenenvisaged.
Award for Trent
The Experian Data Centre in Nottinghamis the winner of the Building categoryin this year’s Concrete Society Awardsheld at the London Marriott Hotel on4 November. The judge’s commented“Viewed from the front, the building is striking: indeed its innovation is in theappearance. Low rise, precast, pigmentedconcrete units have been differentiallyetched and are of various lengths to provide a bomb-resistant screen withunspectacular but effective windows. Thebuilding is unobtrusive and entirely inharmony with the surroundings.” Architect for the project was SheppardRobson, main contractor Bowmer &Kirkland Ltd and the precaster TrentConcrete Ltd.
The project also benefited from maximising the use of precast and specification of alarge-panel scheme. This enabled rapidconstruction and the early enclosure of a weatherproof envelope, allowing follow-on trades to start sooner.
Client:
Belgrave House Development Ltd & JER Victoria Ltd
Contractor:
Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
 Architect:
Squire and Partners
Engineer:
Whitby Bird and Partners

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