Innovative approach to architectural precast concrete Exo-skeletons

Detailed design works utilising the latest digital tools is progressing at pace on PCE’s HybriDfMA Bespoke System solution for the Central & Cecil Housing Trust development at Lodge Road for property developer Regal London

The detailed design of 743 precast concrete cladding components which create 4,500m² of the building’s façade is now complete with design moving onto the projecting ‘Exo-skeletons’ to the north and south elevations. Detailed co-ordination in the digital environment has been critical in the design development due to the extent of the interfaces with the internal finishes, drainage, glazing and the balconies.

Maintaining a seamless look to the precast cladding whilst concealing all connections has been key to maintaining the architect’s intent for the highest quality of finish.

The design of the connection details have been co-ordinated to ensure the cladding panels can be assembled level by level to enable PCE to handover each of the 13 floors progressively to Regal London to allow windows and curtain walling to be installed at the earliest possible point in order to gain a weathertight building and provide an environment for finishes to progress.

PCE is maintaining a seamless look to the precast cladding whilst concealing all connections

Time and cost savings

A steel framed Exo-skeleton clad in reconstructed stone panels was proposed at Stage 3, but it was obvious that this would create significant logistical and coordination challenges.

Key to PCE’s strategy was to re-engineer these projecting frames as a structural concrete frame consisting of a series of reconstructed stone columns and beams with integral structural steel beams cast in to support the prefabricated balconies.

This approach will remove multiple trades, reduces the risk of working at height, simplifies the interfaces with the building and significantly reduces the risks associated with connectivity, provides the highest quality of finish, and most importantly reduces time and cost.

PCE’s HybriDfMA Bespoke System solution

Simplification and resulting efficiency

Connections between the upper-level columns and beams have been simplified by PCEConnections between the upper-level columns and beams have been simplified to create the appearance of a continuous reconstructed stone band at each floor level.

This approach has minimised the number of connections, removed complicated thermal breaks, simplified waterproofing and will enable the main façade cladding to be fully completed in isolation of the Exo-skeletons.

Health & safety focus

Health & Safety is always at the forefront of the PCE design process with temporary works for the Exo-skeletons with being designed to ensure a practical, safe and constructable solution.

Temporary propping of the upper-level columns has been developed to enable the prefabricated balconies to be installed progressively in order to maximise the programme opportunities created by the HybriDfMA solution.

Click image above to enlarge.


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