PCE Ltd was recently acclaimed as recipients of the Offsite Construction Awards Winner of winners award - beating over 200 other "pioneering projects" and "innovative products", according to a recent report on the Offsite Hub website.
PCE also won the Best use of concrete award for the project. The offsite engineered approach provided a number of considerable benefits to both the customer and the local environment, according to the article. "Adopting a conventional approach would have resulted in significant pressures on the site and local resources." The Capella building was designed to provide world class scientific and research facilities with a stringent requirement to minimise vibrational effects when occupied and in use, due to the very sensitive scientific equipment that is being installed.
Following initial contact from Kier, an offsite hybrid solution was conceptualised and commitment was received by PCE to start finalising the design – as well as enabling the casting of precast components to begin prior to the building erection getting underway. The Offsite Hub report acknowledged the significance of this methodology and the benefits for the University of Cambridge (UOC).
"This approach ultimately provided UoC with clarity and certainty of costs, quality and overall project delivery. Finite element analysis along with specialist vibration analysis software were utilised to model the structure and the stiffness of the floor plates to develop an appropriate composite slab arrangement. This was coupled with the benefits of constructing the superstructure in its entirety - including the façade, from base."
Project Capella was transformed from blank piece of paper to an enclosed building in 24 months.