"OffSite, but not out of mind!"

Incorporating new ideas provided by a ‘kit of parts’ approach

PCE Ltd is progressing the next phase in their design, supply and build contract 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.

For a successful HybriDfMA project the eye is always in the detail: PCE’s attention to the refinement and management of such features enables them to ensure that, following the manufacture of the hybrid components, they only need to be lifted from the delivery vehicles and fixed into their final place within the structure. PCE’s Project Manager Darren Waller commented:

‘The Assembly C project is in a higher league compared to many by providing high specification materials to produce a structure where its elements are seen in their nakedness, meaning that the precast concrete and structural steel components are visually part of the completed structure and entirely visible with no further decoration or other coverings. The amount of work that goes behind the scenes by the PCE team to provide first class engineered components is rarely seen, but the end results much appreciated’.


PCE always strives to provide the appropriate component materials to ensure structural integrity, appearance, and client value to build state-of-the-art buildings and are proud of their dedication and commitment to work closely within their Offsite manufacturing factories.  Engagement and communication between PCE and their manufacturing factories ensures there is a complete understanding of the specification, with PCE’s Precast Quality Co-ordinators in the factories to offer first-hand, first point of contact advice, assistance, and ensure that PCE quality assurance requirements are met. They help organise the units that are offered up as sample units, where the whole project team, including representatives of AHMM, Galliford’s, PCE and factory management all agree and sign off on the finished aesthetics, shape, and tolerances of the first units cast which set a benchmark for all others to be manufactured. With Modern Methods of Construction at the forefront of planning for Assembly C, the project team at PCE considered every avenue where they had planned tasks that were traditionally completed on site and looked to amalgamate these into an Offsite manufacturing solution. One of the main benefits of taking this approach was that they could greatly reduce the need to carry out the more onerous tasks usually done on site. An example being that steel reinforcement cages have now been fitted to the structural steel Peikko Deltabeams as well as leading edge handrail posts offsite rather than after the beam has been erected into position. The major advantages of this is less work at height on a leading edge, better quality of the steel fixing in the factory, and speed as well as the importance the safety of the PCE multi-disciplinary workforce. 


The ‘kit of parts’ approach

The PCE HybriDfMA design mindset allows their designers to think out of the box to incorporate new ideas provided by a ‘kit of parts’ approach, and through the manufacturing phase we are seeing that ethos being put into practice. Building C is an integration of traditional double height steel columns, precision composite steel/concrete Deltabeams and prestressed concrete flooring components all of which has been manufactured using Building Information Management (BIM) processes to very tight tolerances. Exposed architectural panels with their Rekli pattern acid etched finish will showcase a spectacular front to the building along Narrow Plain, Bristol. These 17-tonne precast concrete sandwich panels incorporate a large diameter window fixed at the manufacturing factory to compliment the installed units and give clear views internally of the exposed precast concrete stairs and core. In all, some 44 architectural and sandwich panels, 200 tonnes of steel columns, 440 twin and solid walls, over 1,000 hollowcore floor units, 249 steel Deltabeams with 9,000m² of reinforced structural topping will come together to showcase a first class PCE HybriDfMA framed office building for the centre of Bristol.


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