The Challenge:

The Hoxton (Southwark) Hotel required the design and construction of a 17 storey high-quality mixed-use hotel and office development in the Southwark area. In addition to 192 hotel rooms, the hotel would also include a cafe/delicatessen, a feature restaurant, creative meeting space and a Sky Bar on the 14th floor with views of the Southbank from its open-air terrace, all of which had to be accessible to the general public.

Above the hotel guest rooms, the building also had to include five and a half floors (3,800m2) of office space, fitted out to Category A standard.

The project had complex façade requirements and during the pre-construction period the Kier team developed and implemented a precast concrete solution for the façade, panelising the envelope, using brick faced concrete panels, with glazing installed off-site in controlled factory conditions.

The Solution:

50% of the façade was completed offsite, and construction of the panels commenced during the PCSA period. This secured planning / proved ‘taken’ VE was viable and faced design was completed in advance of plan. The panels were fixed simply and quickly, bolted from the inside by one person, with four or five panels fixed each day. This brought tangible programme, commercial and quality benefits, whilst also providing the most practical way of installing the façade without the need for scaffold.

The precast concrete was bespoke, designed and manufactured specifically for Wedge House and produced under strict factory-controlled conditions through established and reiterative processes. This enabled very close quality control over the product manufacture. Compared with a conventional approach, offsite manufacture removed the tolerances of traditional brickwork and ensured a consistently high-quality product. The installation of the precast units increased safety and wellbeing on site by reducing the reducing the need for working at height.

Further to this, exposed MEP services mock ups were completed in advance of final design. These were then signed off by design team, with riser and trunk services modularised to improve installation speed and quality. The exposed concrete soffits were benchmarked and agreed early with input from the supply chain, a key feature of the scheme.

The Impact:

Upon Kier’s appointment the design was adapted to accommodate large format precast façade panels whilst maintaining architectural integrity, which were manufactured ahead of time giving a cost saving of £2m, whilst improving quality and programme. Five precast façade panels were fixed each day and the entire building was wrapped in just 12 weeks. Using pre-glazed units meant we could avoid time on site installing and dismantling scaffolding / mast climbers, as well as easing site logistics. The instant-finish weather-proof envelope meant follow-on trades could be brought onto site much quicker.

The fully warranted air/water tight external envelope guaranteed a consistently high level of product quality, which was a key client requirement.

The design for the building both internally and externally was driven by the hotel brand and any client led alterations to the fit out were considered, priced and installed pragmatically throughout the construction phase, recognising the need for the client to adapt to market trends as the project developed.

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