Assembly Building B Frame System – the HybriDfMA approach

Design works for PCE Ltd’s HybridDfMA Frame system for Building B are nearing completion with a total of 778 elements engineered, modelled and detailed. The Assembly waterfront development for property developer Bell Hammer at the heart of Bristol, offers 2,615m² of commercial office space over 7 floors.

Structural engineering design works were completed with the DfMA approach at the forefront of the design process in only 16 weeks. Considerations for product repeatability of handrail, temporary access and permanent fixtures helped develop efficient offsite solutions, which benefit the safety, quality and speed of the build.

Harnessing PCE’s intuitive digital systems enabled the PCE internal design team to maximise efficiencies by hitting specific factory casting slots and tracking progress throughout the design and production phases in a fully collaborative BIM environment.

Connectivity throughout the structure utilised PCE’s standard Kit of Parts, with the main focus being the architect’s desire for a high quality, exposed-concrete finish. Alongside this philosophy, PCE utilised the 3D data-rich BIM environment to fully coordinate connections, including intricate details such as where the façade panels hang from the building edge beams.

Collaboration between AHMM (Architects), ARUP (Structural Engineers) and Galliford Try (Main Contractor) has enabled the PCE modelling team to accurately represent the clients’ requirements and provide the desired frame intent along with the required high standard finish.

To assist other trades, the PCE solution of precast concrete columns, composite structural steel and insitu reinforced concrete beams together with 250mm prestressed concrete hollowcore units, provides 400m² of open floor plan per level, as well as a flat soffit enabling greater ceiling space and easy access & routing for follow-on M&E services.

Driving the Offsite Mindset

Further to benefits such as edge protection and repeatability in casting, the logistics plans and craneage plans were also digitally developed during the design stage to better organise designated stacking areas for materials along with safe access for the on-site project delivery team.

In unison with CDM legislation, every component has been engineered and modelled with respect to temporary works, fully understanding practicalities and buildability during permanent and temporary conditions. Through thorough understanding of this process, PCE then facilitated installation of wall props using easy access and were positioned throughout the building to meet the aesthetic requirements of the project.

PCE Hybrid DfMA Frame System

Using the PCE “Systems Approach” has enabled the design team to select elements and connection details from PCE’s standard Kit of Parts library. In doing this, all interfaces are already tried and tested, reducing the need for re-design or unnecessary risks on-site, whilst breeding efficiencies into the build.


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