By Wojciech Brożyna – MD of Aluprof UK
Currently buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Many countries have pledged to become ‘carbon-neutral’ by 2050 which is a huge task to complete, but one we in the UK are legislated to achieve. Up to 80% of our 2050 building stock is already built which will require updating in the next few decades, but today we can take a glimpse at what will be the new normal by 2050.
The Forge aspires to be the first commercial building constructed and operated in line with the UKGBC’s net zero definition and energy reduction targets. It comprises two new office buildings and a public courtyard. Located in Sumner Street, The Forge is a Landsec office development located just behind Tate Modern in London and is one of the most innovative construction sites in London, pioneering several new construction methods fit for the decades ahead.
Breaking new ground, the project will be the world’s first large-scale office scheme to be built using a standardised “kit of parts”, in an approach known as ‘platform design for manufacture and assembly’ (P-DfMA), which applies the advances made by the manufacturing industry to construction.
With regard to the development of the facade, Aluprof are delighted to have been invited to take an early design role in developing a unitised facade system that meets the P-DfMA specification pioneered by architects and engineers Bryden Wood. Construction is led by Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace, working together in an innovative joint venture (JV) partnership.
Tom Cherowbrier, Aluprof’s major projects manager comments: “The bespoke system from Aluprof is finished in three shades of bronze anodising which will offer a sustainable finish and an aesthetic appearance for many decades to come. The new system was designed with a standard +/-15mm stack joint for to accommodate the building movement, as well as an impressive non-standard stack joint for the 7th floor which had to accommodate a +20/-30mm movement. The project also has a range of external feature fins with concealed fixing to provide the building with sight-lines of 120mm and 170mm that project 125mm or 225mm from glazing line.”
The unitised curtain wall has been designed in close collaboration with Bryden Wood, which allowed Aluprof to develop a highly-efficient façade unit. The full-size mock-up unit has been rigorously tested in Aluprof’s Research and Innovation Centre in Ogrodzona where it passed air leakage, impact, wind resistance, and water penetration tests. The units were transported in purpose designed, reusable stillages which were then lifted to the floor plates using a combination of large material hoists and tower cranes for installation by specialist installers NACWL. A key feature of the stillage design was to protect the units from any stress and impact during transportation and lift. The new bespoke system has been named as MB-SE120 and has a UW value of <1.3 W(m2K).
Neil Pennell, head of design Innovation and Property Solutions at Landsec, comments on the impact The Forge is set to have on the industry: “The Forge is setting new industry standards for sustainable construction. The pioneering approach we have taken to design and construct will transform how offices are built in the future. Our experiences will shape the way we approach future projects and help change the industry for the better – we hope this will be the first of many zero carbon buildings to come.”
Jaimie Johnston MBE, board director and head of Global Systems at Bryden Wood, says, “The Forge is a landmark moment for construction. The platforms approach to design for manufacture and assembly we have applied at the Forge is the result of many years’ R&D into how we can modernise construction. The huge gains we are seeing on this project in productivity, efficiency, collaboration, safety and sustainability demonstrate that P-DfMA will be transformational for the sector – and for the built environment.”
Richard Sansom, Landsec, project manager for The Forge, appreciates the work being done by the project team: “We want to lead the sector in the adoption of new methods and technologies. However, the real value in innovation lies in its practical execution. As with anything being done for the first time, there are always going to be challenges along the way but we are in a great position to handle these thanks to the experienced and expert team working with us.”