29th May 2020 | voestalpine Metsec’s SFS steel framing system has helped to create a seamless finish to the façade of a new state-of-the-art custody centre and strategic policing hub for Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.
The new three-storey building provides office and meeting space at the constabulary’s existing headquarters at Middlemoor, Exeter and is part of a £29 million development which also includes a forty-cell custody centre.
Designed by architects Corstorphine + Wright, the project has been delivered by main contractors, Willmott Dixon and will provide working accommodation for 450 officers.
The main office building’s structure is made up of a concrete frame, finished to the outside with a glazing and seamless insulated render façade, constructed from Metsec’s continuous light gauge steel framing system, SFS.
A key requirement in Corstorphine + Wright’s design brief was the desire to avoid unsightly horizontal movement joints in the finished façade, which would have been the result had a traditional SFS Infill to concrete frame approach been taken for the structure.
Working closely with Willmott Dixon at the early design stages of the contract, voestalpine Metsec’s in-house design team proposed a continuous walling solution formed from SFS to support glazing and rendered elements that would form the external skin of the façade.
The solution not only assured the aesthetic results envisaged by the architects but also delivered time savings during construction as it obviated the need to accommodate joints when insulation and rendering were applied.
Lee Woodman, director at voestalpine Metsec-approved installers, Woodman Brothers, explains, “We were on a fairly tight schedule to complete the continuous walling and enable follow-on trades to start their work. SFS allowed us to erect the framework for the external panels quickly and easily. Using cement board onto the SFS with a mineral wall board over to accept the final finishes meant that the rendering team could start work almost immediately.”
voestalpine Metsec’s solution included the use of fixing cleats to connect the SFS continuous walling to the structure’s concrete frame. This method ensures that any movement created within the structure’s concrete frame during use would not be transferred to the continuous walling, thereby maintaining the integrity of the external façade.
voestalpine Metsec’s design also featured a laced double parapet at roof level to remove the need for additional hot-rolled steel and wind posts.
Willmott Dixon’s Supply Chain Manager comments, “voestalpine Metsec has been one of our supply chain partners for more than ten years, so we have established a good working relationship and understand their designs, solutions and products.
“The Exeter Police Station project is a great example of the benefits that early consultation can deliver. Working together on the design brief enabled us to provide a solution which ticks all the boxes: It meets Corstorphine + Wright’s and the client’s requirements. Everyone was happy with the end product.”
voestalpine Metsec also provided a full 3D design for the project to BIM Level 2 standards, enabling the client to incorporate the SFS model, details and drawings into the building’s facilities management plan.