PCE’s hybriDfMA Living System project completed

The benefits an Offsite system brings to an inner city construction project

Construction of the 995 apartment high-rise residential development known as Chapel Wharf, located in Manchester was completed using PCE Ltd’s hybriDfMA hyTower®  system. Developed by Dandara, the build to rent project consists of four towers that vary between twelve and twenty two storeys high which contain one, two and three bedroomed apartments.

PCE’s hybriDfMA Living system was used throughout the concept stage allowing the architectural design to be developed around a standard ‘kit of parts’ that were then interchangeable and reconfigurable to create multiple layout iterations. This approach maximised efficiency in each of the hybriDfMA stages and produced an extremely cost-effective solution along with all the other benefits an offsite system brings to a complex inner-city project, such as significant reductions in onsite man hours, vehicle movements, noise, dust, general disruption and most importantly programme. 


30 deliveries a day

A robust delivery strategy was developed in the early pre-construction stages with Main Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine which offered certainty during the construction phase. At peak, up to 30 deliveries to site per day were safely and efficiently choregraphed on a ‘just-in-time' basis to the 4 tower cranes which serviced the confined inner city site. The systemised approach to delivery also permitted the smart integration of other aspects of the building solution as part of the superstructure system. The project was conceived with an ‘offsite mindset’ with a drive to maximise ‘premanufactured value’ and a strategy to deliver the buildings quickly and efficiently utilising offsite manufactured components and systems. Over 1300 bathroom pods were progressively installed within the apartments during the superstructure build. The permanent handrail was delivered with the stair flights, negating the need to install over 70 levels of balustrading on site: all the glass balustrading to the cantilever concrete balconies was preassembled at PCE’s offsite factory, negating the need for scaffolding and operatives working on the edges of the structures to install several thousand linear metres of temporary and permanent edge protection.


This smart integration coupled with the use of a composite precast concrete sandwich panel structural façade system which was delivered to site with the glazing preinstalled, enabled PCE to deliver the four residential blocks without any external scaffolding. The integrated facade system coupled with the fact that there is no requirement for back propping the slab also has the benefit of creating a weathertight environment directly below the ‘leading edge’ of the superstructure assembly resulting in a fit-out programme that can commence just two levels below the frame construction which significantly changes the dynamics of the project’s critical path.

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