Metsec SFS Fresh Wharf London

Early engagement de-risks design

voestalpine Metsec’s lightweight steel framing system, SFS, is being used in the creation of a new £346m riverside residential development in the Barking and Dagenham area of London, which will eventually provide more than 900 new homes for the capital.

Fresh Wharf is being developed by Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, in partnership with housing association Notting Hill Genesis on a 10-acre, former brownfield site situated along the banks of the River Roding, a tributary of the River Thames.

The site was previously used for commercial lettings before being acquired by Countryside. Demolition of old premises on the site started in early 2018 and Phase 1 of the two-phase construction project commenced later that year.

Working with architects and urban planners, Metropolitan Workshop, Countryside and Notting Hill Genesis have created a scheme which is designed to maximise the benefits of the river frontage and city views.

In addition to a mix of contemporary one to three-bedroom apartments together with three-bedroom townhouses, Fresh Wharf will feature a large, open park at its centre and three landscape-led public realm areas. Existing boat moorings will be reinstated and a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants will be incorporated in the development’s Northern Square, adding to the vibrancy of the area.

Phase 1 of the project sees the construction of 532 homes, accommodated in five apartment blocks of between five and fifteen storeys and ten three-storey townhouses.

Following the demolition works, Countryside needed to raise the level of the riverside site for protection against flooding. This was achieved by capping to achieve a finished floor level of 6.30m AOD.

After this, construction of the new properties commenced in earnest, with the apartment blocks and townhouses being constructed from concrete frames. It is here that Metsec’s lightweight steel framing system, SFS came into play, providing infill for the properties.

Almost 16,000m2 of 100mm SFS was supplied as infill for the external brickwork facades of the apartments and townhouses. To assure compliance with NHBC moisture control requirements, SFS sections being used in areas such as the ground floor, balconies and roof terraces were manufactured from Z600 galvanised steel to provide added protection.

Installation was undertaken by specialist sub-contractor, Stanmore, with Metsec using Revit to create the construction level design for the framing system at the early stages of the project’s conceptualisation.

Garry Tarvet, Associate Technical Director, Partnerships East London, Countryside, comments, “Engaging with Metsec’s team at the very early stages of the project de-risked the design process for us. It ensured that the project could progress smoothly and avoided disruption of the design and construction processes, allowing us to meet our timetable.

“Metsec’s BIM and 3D modelling capabilities also allows them to integrate their designs with our own models, further streamlining the process and making the project much easier to manage from start to finish.”

Working with Metropolitan Workshop, Countryside has also taken a great deal of care to avoid Fresh Wharf being a standard frame and cladding development. External aesthetics have been assured by attention to detail in the selection and detailing of the brickwork, which includes sawtooth brick, basketweave details and multi-course soldiering to add variety, interest and quality to the final finish.