Quick build partner

Technal’s MX curtain walling was recently used across the elevations of a landmark residential project in the heart of Birmingham.

Completed on a restricted site and to an unusually rapid construction programme, the project used an offsite manufacturing solution to reduce time on site.

Wolverhampton based Breakwells Glass was awarded its £1.2 million contract to design, supply and install the MX52 Visible Grid curtain walling on the 18-storey Landsdowne House at One Hagley Road as a result of its past success on projects for Interserve. Crucial to the main contractor’s winning tender, however, was a rethink from in-situ construction to a precast concrete solution, which placed special demands on its supply chain. This included a 60-minute delivery window available for units to be off-loaded directly to the required locations.

Thanks to Interserve’s site management, including electronic scheduling, and Breakwells’ transport planning from its factory 25 miles away – as well as glazing suppliers in Scotland – one floor of the building was completed every fortnight throughout the build period in 2017 to 2018.

The development has created 207 rental apartments for developer Severn Capital.

The critical path for the project even included waterproofing one of the upper intermediate floor decks in order to permit the apartments below to be plastered and fully fitted out, while the MX Curtain Wall with FY open-out windows provided immediate weatherproofing to the elevations, and long-term energy efficiency.

MX52 Visible Grid curtain walling allows specifiers to create larger glazing areas due to the enhanced strength and reduced deflection of the transom sections, Technal said. Varying insulated glazing (IG) unit thicknesses can be incorporated into the grid, with the option of concealed vents to achieve natural ventilation. There is an additional option of a 62mm module for the MX Visible Grid vertical facade.

In this case all the windows were glazed with 28.4mm units containing a 6mm SGG Planatherm 1-ii low-e outer leaf with black, warm edge spacer in the 16mm argon filled cavity, then a 6.4mm Planiclear laminated inner pane. This offers a centre pane U-value of 1.0W/m2K and a g-value of 0.49, while the whole assembly delivers very good airtightness.

Company director David Breakwell said: “We have been using Technal’s systems for 30 years and had previously supplied and installed numerous flagship developments for Interserve.”

He continued: “Due to the accelerated build programme we were having to keep pace with the installation of the precast wall units – extending the mast-climbers and adhering to the one-hour window for our just-in-time van deliveries. It was also necessary to plan the installations in with the working arc of the tower crane’s position.”

The frame sections and external louvres were finished in RAL 7016 matt, while the outward opening windows were all fitted with restrictors and locking handles. The installation work was completed early 2018.