Although construction with precast sandwich panels with full size brickwork is a new approach in the UK, Ballymore selected this method to construct the Phase 1 residential tower blocks at their London City Island development.
Ranging from 11 storeys to 19 storeys across the four blocks the system has a completely precast concrete structure from level 1, including floors, internal walls and sandwich-based façade elements featuring full bricks, framework, windows and ventilation fittings.
Due to the success of this solution it will also be considered for Phase 2 of the London City Island project.
Advantages to the environment, safety and workforce of this include:
- Precast concrete panels embrace lean construction practices and reduce concrete waste that some traditional methods have;
- Precast concrete units can be re-used or recycled;
- Made of natural raw materials which are locally available, and in large quantities, precast concrete minimises the whole life cycle impact on the environment when compared with some other construction materials;
- By installing the window frames into the concrete panels in the factory it reduces the need for working at an open edge;
- Housekeeping of the site is improved as there is no storage of traditional building materials, such as re-bar, mesh, bricks, mortar silos and scaffold. As the internal walls are pre-cast there is less need for dry-lining.
These differences make it a much better environment for people to work in.
When it comes to finish, colour, materials and shape, the possibilities of precast sandwich brickwork structures are endless and at Ballymore we hope to see this approach embraced more often across the UK in the future.