INCA Case Study: City Gardens, Chester Road, Manchester


City Gardens, Manchester

​Project Type: New Build

Building Type: High Rise, Residential

Architect: JMA Manchester

System Designer: Alsecco

Installer: Quality Fast Facades (Bury)

System & Finish: Alsecco Ecomin 400 + clay brick slips

U-value Achieved: 0.19 W/m2K

Manchester-based developer De Trafford went through a rigorous selection process in order to determine the construction type and finished materials to clad their flagship apartment development of 109 x one, two and three bedroom properties in the Castlefield area of Manchester. Wishing to provide a contemporary brick finish with inspiring architectural details that would front the building on one of the main thoroughfares into the city, De Trafford, at a very early stage alongside the original main contractor Pochins, visited Alsecco’s façade showroom to see examples of the Ecomin 400 external wall insulation system with brick finishes.

It was clear from the outset that the Alsecco system could provide speed and flexibility in construction, cost savings, high thermal performance, and complete fire safety with reduced complexity (A2, s1-d0 Euro classification) over the originally planned masonry construction method. Additional benefits included less storage space required to hold cladding materials on what was a tight footprint for the construction site. All of the project team were on board with this solution and on-site training sessions by Alsecco assisted the site team in understanding the different stages on system build-up. Once installation was underway Alsecco supported the installation team with regular site inspections and guidance.

The scheme was designed by JM Architects of Manchester and incorporated three various-sized brick arched sections to the eighth storey with levels nine to eleven highlighted with high angled columns and sloping soffits, again all constructed in brick slips. These were the most challenging from an installation perspective but expertly completed by QFF, making them indistinguishable from traditional masonry construction. Cutting the insulation materials to form these details took skill and care and illustrates the versatility of this EWI solution which is often overlooked. The finished appearance shows the benefits of these details which are distinctive and pleasing to the eye.

Prior to construction, Alsecco supplied and installed materials to a full-scale visual mock-up for the planning officers who needed the assurance that the finished façade would satisfy the requirements in this important conservation area.

As the preference for the developer was to build the ground floor in traditional masonry construction in order to incorporate a honeycomb retaining wall feature, the Wiernerbrger 15mm brick slips used as part of the Alsecco system were sourced from the same factory as the facing bricks to the ground floor. The seamless transition to the Alsecco system cannot be seen in the visual appearance of the completed block.

The scheme had a small hiccup midway through as the main contractor ceased trading but Alsecco and QFF worked together to ease the transition to De Trafford self-delivering the remaining construction work and the development is now occupied and forms a tremendous asset to this developing part of Manchester.

City Gardens borrows and builds on innovation, once again placing the community at the heart of the project by creating dynamic and diverse public spaces.


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