Alberta House, Poplar

We assisted Swan Housing Association by commencing work quickly to remove the combustible cladding from their occupied high-rise building, Albert House. We adopted a bespoke approach to facilitate an early start on site and to reduce risk in the design and pricing of the project. We utilised a Minor Works Contract to facilitate the site set-up and enabling works to run alongside a Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) for the full design package, working with Façade Engineers, Fassaden + Architektur + Technik. We carried out a number of surveys and investigations during the PCSA to confirm previously unknown as-built details to inform our design.

The full scope of works involved removal and replacement of balcony soffits, porcelain cladding panels and Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) banding. We also replaced potentially combustible PIR insulation, sheathing board and EDPM rubber membrane with A rated products.

With residents in occupation it was essential that we maintained a “business as usual” approach which included ensuring comfort in their homes. We programmed works to remove sheathing board and replace it with A1 fire rated Weather Protection Siniat board in the same day, so occupied homes remained warm and watertight.

Being located in densely populated Tower Hamlets, we carefully developed our logistics strategy in consultation with the residents, our client and the local authority. We maximised the limited available space by using an existing central courtyard as our site compound which will be restored into a community garden upon completion.

Our design team developed an approach to fill the existing Steel Framing System (SFS) with mineral wool insulation following removal of the sheathing board was removed to ensure the building maintained it’s existing U-Values whilst preventing the external wall thickness from increasing. This in turn avoided additional work that would have been required adapting the existing balustrading and blockwork to suit the new external wall measurements. It also allowed us to explore options to re-use the existing porcelain cladding.

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