Little Venice/Westminster

Little Venice/Westminster

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Westminster City Council (WCC) and City West Homes took a very proactive approach to evaluating their high-rise stock and identifying any tower which could be considered a fire risk. Consequently, after a wholesome Type 4 (invasive interior and exterior) evaluation, steps were taken to replace the Alucobond A2 Aluminium Composite Material Panel with a Soltherm EWI system across 6 Number 18 - 20 storey blocks within the Little Venice suburb.

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Overview

Funded by WCC with additional support granted from the Building safety Fund, the council’s official statement was published on 04th April 2019 and said: “The new system (Soltherm Ultimate HD Silicone) is of limited combustibility (Class A2) and not classed as a “cladding system: therefore will not be subject to ongoing testing criteria, reviews and public scrutiny or queries associated with such systems. Furthermore, the new system is potentially cheaper (than class A1 Rainscreen alternatives) has a longer lifeexpectancy (up to 60 years) and could offer increased thermal comfort for residents (from 0.40W/mK to 0.28W/mK)”

From the pool of EWI systems available, WCC had elected to install Soltherm Ultimate HD Silicone. Offering industry leading options to enhance the building facade fire safety to A2, specifying this unique system future proofed against changes to regulatory fire standards.

Removal of the existing panels was a relatively simple task. The ACM system was stripped in its entirety. The objective of WCC was to mitigate ANY future risk to tenants hence re-using or re-purposing any of the existing system or technology was strictly forbidden (including the existing mineral fibre).

Soltherm Ultimate HD Silicone was installed achieving the target U’ value of 0.28W/mK. Whilst in the main, the system was fully in accordance with BBA 18/5557 (PS4), there was a wide variety of bespoke details required to ensure the system could be securely fitted within the complex existing design / frame. There was no budgetary scope to modify balconies, parapet cappings etc, therefore the EWI system was designed and detailed to accommodate (further detail available upon request).

Westminster planning authorities insisted that the blocks must be visually as similar as possible when re-clad. Whilst recognising that the profile and sheen of the system would differ between ACM and Ultimate HD Silicone, the colours were matched by the Soltherm colouristic department and a special tone created for the project. The planning authorities were very satisfied with the results.

In partnership with INCA contractor member, Hamilton Building Contractors Limited, the fire safety strip and re-clad works were completed in late 2020 on time and within budget. The occupants of the Little Venice high rise towers are now protected by industry leading cladding technology and have gone “on the record: to report how satisfied they are with not only WCC’s swift response to the ACM problem but also the quality and energy benefits of the system selected for re-clad.

Not only do occupants now sleep safely in their beds but they also sleep warmer thanks to EWI.

tech data

PROJECT NAME:

Little Venice/Westminster

SYSTEM(S) INSTALLED:

Ultimate HD. BBA 18/5557 PS4

M2:

9,000

TYPE OF BUILDING:

High Rise Social Housing

SUBSTRATE & U VALUE:

0.28 W/mK

INSTALLER:

AXIS/HAMILTONS

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