HybriDfMA Frames project design stage

Beauty lies in the details - Bristol’s Assembly Building C

PCE Ltd’s internal design team are nearing the completion of the structural design phase for Assembly Building C which forms part of the exciting Bristol city centre development being carried out by property developer Bell Hammer with Galliford Try as main contractor and AHMM as Architects.

Initial engineering design work for the 14-storey tower commenced four months ago, with the team utilising their experience in HybriDfMA Frames to provide structural expertise and know-how, enabling PCE’s CAD technicians to initiate and deliver first class digital Building Information Models. Throughout the design engineering phase for the building, calculations for the principally steel framed structure with its complexity of steel columns and composite concrete/steel beams integrated with other precast concrete elements were diligently carried out to generate robustness, stability, and temporary works analysis models. These models, by giving attention to detail in the design process, fully considered the structures ability to withstand the design dead, imposed and wind loads to ensure valued engineering buildability and to reduce the amount of temporary works, bracing, etc, and resultant foundation loads.


A ‘kit of parts’ approach

The HybriDfMA design mentality allows designers to think out of the box to incorporate new ideas provided by a ‘kit of parts’ approach, that allows visually more appealing structures, like Assembly Building C, by the ability to merge precast concrete, insitu concrete and structural steel in a design that provides a building to be built faster, safer, and more efficiently, giving added client value. Composite concrete/steel Deltabeams span between the circa 200 tonnes of structural steelwork columns for the length and breadth of the structure at each level with the North precast concrete core structure providing the overall stability of the building.

The suspended floor plates are formed from prestressed Hollowcore flooring incorporating an insitu concrete topping.


Temporary works considerations have ensured that the minimum number of locations are used for propping purposes as part of the buildability and safe access provision design for PCE’s multidisciplinary workforce to carry out the building’s assembly on site. Design integration and co-ordination with French company Structural, who are the façade design and suppliers, has also been a key process during the development of the frame design. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) have been captured throughout the design stage to ensure as much offsite manufacturing can be incorporated prior to assembly on site commencing, including designing prefabricated joint reinforcement cages and the Deltabeams having the floor structural topping reinforcement bars fixed to them prior to installation. These and other concepts are designed and engineered at an early stage and become integrated into the ‘kit of parts’ approach synonymous with PCE’s HybriDfMA Systems. Exposed architectural precast concrete sandwich panels form part of the main core to the North of the building combined with other precast concrete elements including solid and twin wall components. Great importance has been placed by PCE’s Engineers and Technicians on attention to detail in the design of the architectural panels and all the visually exposed finishes to ensure a stunning, visual building, complementary to the Bristol skyline, which is a key demand of the city planners for this prestigious Bristol Development.


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