2022

Engineered Temporary Weather Screens

Project Highlights

The background

Concerned about the turning autumn weather the client was looking for temporary weather solution to enable them to secure the building and maintain their programme of works for the internal fit out of the new 15 storey office building in a prominent city centre location.

Base have previously installed temporary weatherproof screening on several large and prestigious construction projects to provide rain and wind protection for construction teams, enabling them to continue to work uninterrupted where building exterior is yet to be completed.

Tensile fabric screens can be installed quickly with minimal disruption to other site works. They are extremely adaptable and can be tailored to suit the access requirements. Base can also offer the option to have either vertical or horizontal webbing strap attachments, customising the screens to suit the interfacing options available within the space.

The Proposal

To provide a series of tensile fabric weather screens around the entire building perimeter, covering from the ground up to the 2nd floor. This would be an engineered solution allowing the client to assess the loads applied to the structure and have peace of mind that the screens are both weatherproof and also meet the sites prescribed wind loading.

The PVC flame retardant (B-S2-D0) fabric screens were proposed to be manufactured with horizontal welded webbing straps & ratchets at 1m centres providing attachments to tension the screens to the steel columns of the building, and the seams to be hot air welded to ensure completely watertight.

The design and components

The entire project consisted of 44# screens with a total fabric area of 1800m2. The largest of the screens were 11m high by 8m wide. Some were split in two to provide a removable lower section allowing access when needed. Others were specifically adapted to fit around the personnel and goods hoists.

The screens each have a ground level weather flap that is timber battened to the existing concrete slab using 100mm frame fixings. Where screens abut with one another, they have vertical screen to screen weather flaps that were hot air welded together to form a weather tight seal.

Where fabric screens could not be tensioned laterally to columns, the design was adapted to tension vertically between the steel beams above and the concrete slab below. This was accomplished by utilising a pole and pocket detail top and bottom, with a steel plate bracket fixed to beam with lindaptors and eyebolts resin anchored to the concrete slab.

All panels are engineered to withstand the relevant British Standard wind loadings.

Challenges

Fabric panel installation can become hazardous in wind speeds exceeding 10mph, be they steady or gusting. Weather conditions for the installation must be carefully considered during install planning and discussed fully with the client to understand any impact to programme.

There were several areas on the project where the existing columns were not able to be used to support the webbing strap screen fixings and alternative attachment methods had to be devised with the client.

Screens adjacent to bays that accommodated the hoists had to be adapted to fit around the hoist support scaffolding. In these locations, the screens had cut-outs to stop short of the hoist and their webbing tails were extended to fit through the hoist supports.

Results and client feedback

The clients project team were incredibly happy with the performance of the screens and the versatility offered by our solution which enabled them to adapt and match their fast-moving programme. Multiplex also found that Base Structures’ screening solutions were the most cost effective compared with alternative products they had reviewed and implemented on their other UK sites. Base’s screens also proved to be more versatile and offered more flexibility when considering site conditions and access requirements.

“Base have been excellent throughout the full process, from tender to installation. We have used a temporary weathering solution which is a great design and works perfectly. The installation team have maintained an extremely high standard of quality and safety and delivered the install ahead of the anticipated programme. I would highly recommend Base to any contractor looking for a temporary weathering solution. Well done to all.” The Client.

Afterlife

Once the client have completed their internal fit out works and ready to move onto the exterior and no longer require the screens, Base will remove them. Our screens are very quick to demount and, as with the installation, the operation causes minimal disruption to other site works.

From there Base will review the future of the screens as to their suitability for re-use, initially discussing with the client about any possible uses and if not look at our fabric industry and event industry networks to find a re-use. We have a zero to landfill policy and are committed to the upcycling and re-use of tensile fabric that has not yet reached the end of its life.

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