Vibrant new student accommodation in Norwich

Latest News Thu, Jun 13, 2019 10:56 AM

Using a new solution to fix non-combustible insulation to a steel frame structure, ROCKWOOL delivered on creating a fire proof and thermally sound building for students in Norwich.

Pablo Fanque House is part of a rejuvenation of Norwich’s city centre and provides brand new state-of-the-art accommodation to over 244 students. Prior to construction, this site was home to the local Mecca Bingo Hall, which stood vacant for more than two years.

With the aim of regenerating the area, Alumno Developments partnered with HG Construction to design a building that stood out for its vibrancy and would attract students. The main brief was to create a building that would be future-proof, structurally sound and fire safe for its occupants.

The architects, Carson and Partners, wanted to use an SFS steel structure in conjunction with a masonry façade, but this presented a challenge to the developer and main contractor, as they were required to create a non-combustible façade without changing the predetermined cavities of the building.

Traditionally, brick workers and main contractors revert to foam insulation boards for this construction type due to the requirement of using channel ties, which have not been approved for use with mineral wool. The alternative option — frame cramps — are not easy to install and can add unnecessary time and costs onto a build.

Wanting to reach the highest standard of fire safety by using non-combustible insulation, Alumno Developments and HG Construction were determined to push the boundaries and approached ROCKWOOL to see if the stone wool manufacturer could provide a solution.

ROCKWOOL’s Technical Specification Manager, Hedley Thompson, worked with structural building components manufacturer ACS to develop a fully tested solution that would allow ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® to be used in conjunction with ACS ROCKWOOL Framefix.

“This is a solution that the industry has needed for some time, and this project is the first site to use the products together” comments Hedley. “Thanks to the ambitions of Alumno Developments and HG Construction, and the close partnership between ACS and ROCKWOOL.”

This new development allows a masonry wall to be tied to a light steel frame or other structural element through ROCKWOOL stone wool insulation using a suitable fixing. Composite, high compressive capacity sleeves are used at every fixing position to provide a rigid, high capacity fixing detail. The channel is fixed back to the structure via the pre-punched holes in the channel. Once fixed, ACS 25/15 4000 range ties are position at any point along the channel to suit the coursing of the masonry panel.

ROCKWOOL SP Firestop was installed alongside 125mm ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB®.

Specifically designed for high rise buildings, ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® is a dual density insulation board that is manufactured from volcanic rock and comprises of a robust outer surface and a resilient inner face. By compressing the primary fleece onto the top 15mm of the insulation, the product can be used, unprotected, in conditions of severe climatic exposure, including strong wind and rain as experienced at high altitudes. ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® complies with Approved Document B, achieving the highest Euroclass classification: A1.

ROCKWOOL SP Firestop is designed to form an open-state cavity fire barrier within external cladding systems that allow for ventilation and drainage of the cavity under service conditions. The SP Firestop VRB has been tested with ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® to ASFP TGD 19: “Fire resistance test or ‘Open State’ cavity barriers, used in the external fabric of buildings”. The combination of non-combustible insulation and an effective fire barrier supports fire safe façade systems and aids the design of high-rise buildings above 18m.

All parties on this project worked well together to provide an innovative system that will now change the way that masonry facades are insulated in the future. This solution ensures Pablo Fanque house provides the students and business residents with a fire safe property.

In association with ROCKWOOL Limited

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Chiswick Tower
14th Floor West Wing
W4 4AL
United Kingdom
T: 0845 2412586
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