‘Labour of love’ fabrication package
As part of the refurbishment of Sea Containers House, a prominent building on the south bank of the River Thames, TDS was instructed to provide a fabrication package for the secondary roof steelwork required to support a new plant screen enclosure. In addition to this, we were tasked with helping to design and develop the cladding and tubework that form the enclosure, as well as the signage and letter support steelwork; putting early theory into practice.
The enclosure comprises a series of mountable panels bolted to the main steelwork. The panels themselves were formed out of several sub-assemblies – a platework frame bolted to the main steelwork, a mixture of hot and cold rolled rails running between fin plates welded to these frames, an aluminium cladding sheet fixed to the rails and capped aluminium tubes at the front. All had to be designed in such a way that the whole panel could be installed in layers, so installation and manufacture were a heavy consideration at the start. Also, we had to hide as much of the jointwork as possible and thus keep the number of protrusions through the cladding sheets to a minimum, which restricted our choices during the early design phase. The aluminium tube was a custom section that incorporated a recess to the rear of the tube for running lighting tubes along, which illuminate the cladding at night.
The development of the enclosure was a truly collaborative effort between all parties but was largely down to us putting our client’s first principles into practice and developing the design before reporting back to the design team for comment.
Overcoming a complex access requirement
There were numerous aspects to this project that made it more complex than most. One of the trickiest was the requirement for access through the plant screen cladding at several locations. We were advised of the approximate location for several gates but the design was left to us. One gate had to pass through the tubes, the aluminium sheet and the framework at the back, so became a double-gate. One gate was on a curve so all components required curving to suit.
Another hurdle was the changing geometry of the structure, namely at the S-curve behind the signage. At this location, the tubes required forming from a mix of straight and curved sections to provide the required shape. The cladding sheet behind the tubes was even trickier to provide on site, due to the double-curvature of the cladding at this location. Tekla’s triangle generation and unfold surface components were invaluable here.
Tekla’s interoperability tremendously useful
Aside from the components previously mentioned, Tekla’s interoperability with other software packages was of tremendous use, as well as the ability to send and receive BIM-compliant models of the structure and cladding. This truly aided the development process by allowing the full design team to see in real-time all problems we encountered during the modelling stage and understand the issues we faced. It facilitated the solving of these problems and allowed the client to see what they were getting before manufacture and installation.
Additionally, the architect was able to send its cladding profile in several file types, which we could import and use as a template to follow when modelling the aluminium sheeting.
This was a real ‘labour of love’ project, which came together after a lot of head-banging and trial and error.