The SFS installation process at University of Northampton

At the beginning of 2016 we secured a £3.2 million contract with Kier Construction to supply and install an SFS pre-panelised system for the construction of a new 600-bedroom student accommodation development at the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus. At the time, it was the biggest Metsec Metframe project in the UK.

We commenced on-site in November 2016 and over a 33-week period installed 30,000m2 of SFS. Our works also included the installation of 11,000m2 of Holorib decking plus reinforced concrete to intermediate floors, before handing over a watertight shell to Kier Construction in June 2017.

This is how we did it.

Design:

As with the majority of projects of this nature, we worked closely with the design team, including architects Stride Treglown and Metsec. Drawings were produced and approved by the design team and then issued to all appropriate parties for construction.

Once the drawings were approved the building was designed and modelled in 3D. The model produced information so that the individual sections, including the punching of service slots and coordinated countersunk holes for all connections, were manufactured precisely.

Off-Site Manufacture:

Metsec rolled and punched the SFS sections and then delivered them to our 40,000 ft2 production facility in Middleton, Manchester where we pre-panelised the structure. We fabricated the panels to strict factory controlled tolerances to guarantee accuracy and quality, working to the approved drawings. We then delivered to site at the exact moment the panels were required working to a pre-defined logistics plan.

On-Site:

Once on-site we constructed upwards from a levelled concrete slab provided by the Main Contractor which conformed to Metframe tolerances of +0/-6m. The pre-panelised walls were craned into position and internal walls were unclad to aid panel connection. The external panels, which were pre-clad in our production facility in Middleton, were fixed into position working to the drawings, thus forming the structural walls of the building.

Having been fitted with Versaliner off-site, insulation and brick tie channels were then fitted to the external panels on-site ready for brick installation. Internal panels were then installed.

Lift shaft panels were constructed in the same way as the wall panels. Steel staircases and bathroom pods were incorporated into the frame as construction progressed.

Once the walls and corresponding structures were in position, metal decking was installed with additional rebar and anti-crack mesh, all fixed to the wall panels. Concrete was then poured to form a floor. Additional rebar reinforcement was installed to achieve the required fire protection and reinforcing bars used to tie the structure and ensure robustness to meet the building’s specific requirements.

This process was repeated, floor by floor, until the construction reached the roof level. It took approximately three weeks to install appropriate panels, decking and concrete to an approximate area of 1,250m2. Once one floor was completed the appropriate trades, including M&E teams, then moved in to commence works.

Once the upper level was completed, we then installed the roof structure – a Metsec Roof Cassette pre-lined with 18mm OSB – to make the building watertight. Once this was finished we were able to hand over a watertight structure to Kier Construction in June 2017.

We are one of only a handful of companies in the UK with the skills and capability to deliver pre-panelised SFS solutions and are a Metsec Approved Installer. In 2016 we made a six-figure investment in our production facility in Middleton, Manchester to cope with demand for these services and have dedicated, specialist installation and commercial teams who understand project requirements from inception to delivery.

Our Off-Site Framing Solutions brochure is available for download here.