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34

www.concrete.org.uk

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concrete

ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

T

he Quadram Institute is a new

international hub for food and

health research, located at the heart

of Norwich Research Park, one of

Europe’s largest single-site concentrations of

research into food, health and environmental

science. Construction of the multimillion-

pound facility began in February 2016 and is

ongoing.

A key distinction of the building is its

unique and flexible architecture. The

Quadram Institute has been designed to be

adaptable to future change, with open-plan

laboratory and office spaces, to encourage

collaborative working.

The design is comprised of two buildings

connected by a large atrium and roof

light.Office accommodation is housed

in glass surroundings, with laboratory

accommodation located in a brick-clad

structure. Long-format, handmade bricks

reflect the natural qualities associated

with local stonewall construction. The

complexities of the design present several

challenges when constructing consistent

patterns for the external architecture.

Panelised slab formwork

PERI has provided specialist aluminium

panelised slab formwork solutions, together

with proven panel formwork equipment,

to help contractors working on the project

minimise safety risks, cater for differing

construction heights and guarantee a

consistent architectural pattern for the

perimeter of the building.

The sophisticated structural design of

the building meant the team on-site had to

work in challenging ergonomic conditions

in order to complete the formwork on time,

amid challenging deadlines. As a result,

main contractor JB Developments specified

Skydeck aluminium panelised slab formwork,

together with the GT24 Multiprop support

for large areas of slabs. It was agreed that

the speed of the system, together with its

relatively low weight, would enable workers

to quickly apply formwork without excessive

manual labour required.

The speed of the system is particularly

essential in facilitating non-tiring and

ergonomic working operations, and enabling

workers to strike the concrete earlier than

normal, thus enabling the faster creation of

soffits once the concrete has gained sufficient

strength to support the structural span. The

low weight of Skydeck – the panels and

main beams of the system weigh only 15.5kg

– makes a noticeable difference when it

comes to shuttering and striking,minimising

the risk of worker fatigue. It also makes

cleaning and formwork removal easier, since

the panels can separate from the concrete

without any effort.

This was important considering the

architectural design of the Quadram Institute.

Formwork removal can often pose the risk

of damage to the surface of the concrete,

particularly to edges and corners.However, in

this case the formwork is designed to separate

effortlessly from the concrete with little to no

contact, thus maintaining the required finish.

Fast striking

The formwork is also enabling contractors to

create exposed soffits quickly and effectively

at various positions around the four-storey

structure. An important feature of the

building’s architectural design, these four

soffits also serve a more functional purpose,

aiding ventilation and weather protection

for the building. A key characteristic of the

formwork system is its drophead. This can

be used to hold the structure in place, while

panels and cover strips form the soffit of the

concrete. The cover strips and dropheads

then remain in position while the panels

and beams are struck, enabling the fast and

effective creation of exposed soffits, adding to

the overall design of the building.

Quadram Institute,

Norwich, Norfolk

Caption

Aswork on the new£81.6mQuadram Institute progresses ahead

of completion in 2018, adaptive and flexible formwork is enabling

contractors tomeet intricate architectural designs consistently.

Steve Pritchard

of

PERI

reports.

GT24 Multiprop support for the large slabs.

(Photos:PERI.)