Over the last decade, there has been a significant uptake in all methods of offsite construction driven by the demand for new homes, the current skills shortage and changes in environmental regulations. Precast concrete, light gauge steel, engineered timber and volumetric modular are now established approaches to manufacture and delivery.
The increased trend towards offsite manufacturing, particularly in the residential sector, has meant that it is now necessary to call upon these methods of construction to increase output and keep up with demand. As an example, the Greater London Authority stated that 50,000 new homes a year are needed in London to satisfy the growing population; a challenge that can be facilitated by employing offsite manufactured solutions.
Offsite manufactured solutions enable key elements of a facade to be produced offsite in conjunction with the project's overall critical path; while site foundations and utilities are being prepared, units can be produced offsite ready for final installation. Complete facade solutions or smaller components that interlink with the traditional elements of a build (as a hybrid approach), are available dependent on the scope and scale of a project.
With the increased shortage of skilled labour, offsite component manufacturing provides greater certainty for project delivery, whilst minimising wastage, inefficiencies and delays in a safer, controlled environment. Construction within a factory environment is not only safer but achieves quality control from precision manufacturing. Ultimately this ensures fast builds and lengthy lifespans, alongside significant environmental benefits from reduced transport pollution and the use of products with outstanding energy performance.
Offsite Lightweight Cladding
Alongside the increase in offsite modular construction, there is a growing need for lightweight cladding systems that are suitable for offsite installation and durable enough to withstand being lifted, transported to site and craned into position.
Our lightweight facade systems, including our Anvil metal cladding and Corium brick cladding, allow the facade and components of a modular building to be prefabricated under quality-controlled factory conditions, delivered to site and installed efficiently and quickly without the need for substantial finishing on site. These systems provide an ideal solution for refurbishment projects where existing building structures need to be extended and foundations cannot be altered, or where an alternative facade material finish is required that minimises the load on the existing foundations.
Cladding panels are manufactured and delivered to site ready for installation either as a fully finished panel/component, or in the case of brick slip cladding, ready to be pointed with the rest of the brickwork on site.
Click here to read more about our Anvil metal cladding systems.
Click here to read more about our Corium brick cladding system.
As well as our range of architectural and structural components, we facilitate both hybrid and full facade solutions. This portfolio includes full facade panels which are available in a variety of material finishes and colours including acid etched, grit blasted, polished, exposed aggregate, stone-faced, brick-faced and tile-faced.
A facing brick finish can be used for most bespoke precast-concrete applications, including columns and wall panels. A combination of precast-concrete finishes can be used within adjacent units, and smaller elements can be used in combination with traditional brickwork, such as brick-faced lintels or underslung soffits.
If choosing a facing brick finish, the selection of brick type should be a key consideration, not only for visual impact but for manufacture and overall cost. Purpose-made precast brick slips or practically any cut traditional brick material can be used, but not all brick types are appropriate or as easy to bond into concrete.
Colour uniformity of the brick material must be considered, and pallets should be mixed to minimise any obvious variations on a facade. This is particularly important for large expanses of brickwork, or where adjacent panels are manufactured at different times, decreasing the risk of colour changes between panels. This needs to be stated in the material specification.
Precast & Prefabricated Brick Components – Lightweight Soffits
Lightweight soffits are an increasingly popular design feature due to the combination of a specially developed lightweight brick-faced steel unit, with an accredited stainless-steel support angle system. Until recently, creating such a design feature would have been a complex, costly and time-consuming process involving the drilling of individual bricks and threading of metal rods for support. However, a recently developed stainless steel system means that the soffit arrives on-site as a unitised bolted-up section, which attaches to the brickwork support angle.
To suit different designs, these units are prefabricated offsite to the required dimensions. All of the system components are produced to the highest quality and are engineered for economy and durability, with slips permanently bonded to the high-grade stainless-steel system using a BBA accredited bonding agent.
The two-part system design provides maximum adjustability, both vertically and horizontally, which facilitates alignment on-site. The quality of the product components allows the units to be perfectly aligned and, once in position, the brick facing needs to be pointed, creating a seamless match with the main brickwork.
Precast & Prefabricated Brick Components – Arches and Chimneys
We supply a range of structural and lightweight prefabricated arches and chimneys, available in many brick finishes.
Structural brick clad arches can accommodate a large range of bond patterns and most brick face finishes can be supplied onto a range of backings including reinforced concrete, structural steel and several lightweight options.
Prefabricated chimneys offer a modern and lightweight alternative to brick slip clad chimneys. They are easily and quickly installed and can be clad in a range of traditional materials including brick, stone or render.
For a truly lightweight solution brick effect, glass reinforced plastic (GRP) chimneys are an alternative to the masonry clad units. Often weighing less than 30kg, these chimneys are quickly installed in a mid-ridge location and match the texture and colour of the original brickwork.