Shrink-wrap building screens at Oxford University
The Mace team at Project 696 contacted Tufcoat to work up a strategy to enclose the RC frame with shrink-wrap building screens to create a protective ‘cocoon’ for their project at the University of Oxford’s new laboratory and campus facilities building.
Tufcoat shrink-wrap has been utilised in this way on several projects without the need for scaffolding, predominantly for major construction projects however the application does benefit smaller projects as well.
Each of the buildings reinforced concrete floors required weatherproofing to enable the program to remain on schedule, a method which has been successfully adopted on similar reinforced concrete frame structures.
By creating a subframe using timber or steel in between the slab and column apertures, shrink-wrap can be effectively sandwiched to create a weatherproof construction screen.
Each floor had a 112-metre perimeter with differing heights ranging between 3.5 – 4.5m, so with over 900lm of timber fixing each floor was completed by the Tufcoat teams in 2 stages. 1st fix entailed the task of pre-drilling the concrete frame for the timber followed by the 2nd fix of hanging and securing the flame retardant shrink-wrap.
This method has allowed a significant proportion of the fit-out works to commence 3 months earlier than initially planned, whilst the perimeter corridor allowed the cladding contractor to install the envelope unhindered and without disrupting the ongoing fit-out.
Tufcoat also installed 2 sections of their Wraphix™ Printed Shrink-wrap which was branded with 5-metre MACE logos. An option also available to scaffold shrink-wrap and pioneered by Tufcoat in 2017!
“I would consider investing in this type of temporary screening on all future projects to test the advantages that this could bring. If the value of this work can be secured at contract stage, the advantages of improving programme output or at the very least de-risking the latter stages of the project to protect commissioning activities leading to a smoother handover, are well worth the investment. Considering both the qualitative and quantitative benefits, it has paid for itself many times over.
By properly engaging the workforce and explaining the safety, health, welfare, quality and programme benefits we have found the screen has been respected by everyone with minimal accidental damage. Creating a secure working environment shielding the workforce from the elements has been well received.
The integration of this system into our Work at Height Plan was instrumental in achieving compliance while meeting the demands of the programme. The screen’s particular application on this project has created opportunities for the MEP contractor and cladding contractor to be working either side of the screen and within inches of one another, which would otherwise involve extensive exclusion zones, access, and working space constrictions.”
Robert Cocks, Project Director