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Tekla software makes for a sweet delivery of panelised Chocolate Factory development

Screenshots from the Chocolate Factory Tekla Awards entry from Frameclad

With an innovative combination of infill light-gauge steel for the lower floors and panelised load-bearing frames for the top storey, the Chocolate Factory used Tekla's design and organisational capabilities for a smooth on-site construction process.

The ‘Chocolate Factory’ development in London’s Wood Green takes its name from the old Barratt & Co confectionary factory that once stood on the site and is a combination of office space and residential buildings, including affordable housing. Responsible for delivering the secondary structural framework, from design and engineering to fabrication and on-site delivery, on the development’s residential block (E2) was light-gauge steel frame manufacturer Frameclad.

Speaking about the project, Nicholas Frank, Designer at Frameclad said: Block E2 of the Chocolate Factory development combined infill light-gauge steel for the building’s lower floors and panelised load-bearing frames used to construct the top sixth storey, with minimal need for significant structural reinforcement.

Screenshot of the Chocolate Factory created in Tekla StructuresWhen it came to detailing the load-bearing frames of the top floor, the large steel sizes required definitely presented us with a challenge from a logistics point of view, having to carefully consider the size and weight of the individual frames and how these could be loaded onto lorries and transported to site safely. With Trimble’s Tekla Structures software, we were able to easily identify the weights and centre of gravity for each component, carrying out checks and generating reports. This was a massive help in ensuring we didn’t encounter any roadblocks further down the line, with any problems or issues able to be identified at an early stage.

For the light-gauge steel frames on the ground level to fifth floor, a clear benefit of the constructible modelling software was the ability to break down the individual steelwork using the user-defined attributes available within Tekla Structures. This meant that we were able to automatically sort the steel by phase, floor and zone; with the ability to easily filter and sort the information you needed at a specific time, generate fabrication reports, and efficiently phase the fabrication and delivery of the steel.

Once fabricated, each piece of steel also had a unique code stamped on it detailing the specific zone, floor, profile size and steel length, meaning that the site team could easily identify the location for each piece of steel. All of this made for quicker and more organised fabrication, delivery and assembly processes, facilitating just-in time deliveries.

Screenshot of the Chocolate Factory created in Tekla Structures

The value of Tekla Structures also translated into the factory, with the software’s direct integration with Frameclad’s cold-roll-forming machine allowing for the automated manufacturing of wall frames and roof cassettes, including the accurate location of all studs and tracks.

Nicholas continued: The benefit of BIM on offsite projects like the Chocolate Factory is huge, with the ability to easily check, verify and compare information to ensure it’s correct, before you progress to fabrication. When you know the data you are using is correct and constructible, the overall project delivery is a lot simpler and more straightforward.

A great example of this was our use of Trimble Connect, the cloud-based collaboration platform. Using Trimble Connect, we can overlay our model with the IFC file and model from the engineering team or architect and visually confirm that all aspects are coordinated correctly. On this project, the architect’s model had air bricks included in the design. Using this information, we were able to align the two models and ensure we left sufficient space in our steel frame design to allow for the air bricks. Similarly, with the project’s MEP team we could design the steelwork around the building services planned, and vice versa.

It makes you more confident in your design, with the ability to see instantly if there’s any discrepancies or issues and be able to resolve those effectively.

The framework for Block E2 is expected to be completed by the end of autumn 2023, and is the result of another successful collaboration with an up-and-coming contractor Formation Design & Build Ltd. The Chocolate Factory development as a whole is expected to be completed by early 2024.

For more information about Tekla software use in offsite and modular construction, visit: