Cap-free fire-rated curtain wall

In what is believed to be a first for the industry, a cap-less, fire-rated curtain wall system has been completed on a refurbishment development in Manchester.

The project, known as The Core, is located at 24-30 Brown Street in the city centre and uses the ‘MB-SR50N EI efekt’ developed by Aluprof.

Originally built in the mid-1980s as the headquarters for law firm Halliwells, the building, also formerly known as St James’s Court, has been given an £8 million overhaul to replace the facade and re-fit the internals.

The Core comprises 48,000ft2 of office space over six floors including a new 7,500ft2 roof-top extension. It is this new upper floor that proved a challenge for the architects PRP as the planners insisted on parts of the new facade would need to be fire rated due to the proximity of other buildings and future developments.

A fire rating of EI60 was required on part of the new cap-less, curved glass facade on the top floor. Aluprof’s new system, MB-SR50N EI efekt, enabled the architect to have a cap-less fire rated system while blending in with areas that did not require a fire rating.

Dan Holden of facade specialists Caseu Consulto said: “We were going down the route of a steel system for this project until we were introduced to this new system by Aluprof. To achieve a cap-less fire rated curtain wall system is a big development for the industry, but to be able to have the fire rated system on one side of a mullion and non-fire rated on the other side in a seamless transition, is truly impressive.”

With the old heavy red brick facade removed and window openings made much larger, the new office development has been finished to shell to allow tenants to customise their space, following the trend for more individually designed workspaces. The central light-well has been opened up and windows enlarged to further add light into all floors.

The project team for the refurbishment, managed by OBI, included PRP Architects, Russells Construction, Tier Consult as structural engineer, and REDS, M&E advisor.