INCA Case Study: NV Buildings, Manchester


NV Buildings, Manchester

​Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: High Rise, Residential

Architect: Thomasons Consulting

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: QFF Facades

System & Finish: K Systems Exicco Cavity Drainage EWI System + Silicone TC Render

U-value Achieved: 0.19W/m2K

Background and Requirements:

For the perfect example of architectural excellence which not only delivered an impressive aesthetic but significant environmental benefits, look no further than the three-building NV buildings project, completed by K Systems, in partnership with structural engineers, Thomasons, and installation contractors, QFF Facades.

Boasting a prominent location in the Salford Quays area, adjacent to the Lowry Theatre and Media City TV headquarters, the 15 storey NV Buildings are among the most iconic residential sites in Greater Manchester. With their distinctive curved main elevation that creates a unique aesthetic on the skyline, the buildings regularly feature in many iconic photos of the area.

After testing, the existing cladding on all three buildings was deemed a fire safety risk by experts and therefore needed to be removed and replaced with a non-combustible alternative.

The project not only required the stripping and refitting of a drained cavity external wall insulation system, which included an expanded polystyrene insulation system, but the delivery of structurally strong, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally enhanced buildings.

Solution, Specification and Results:

K-Systems approved installer, QFF Facades, installed a K Systems Exicco Cavity Drainage External Wall Insulation System for steel frame buildings, utilising the K Systems M (Mineral Wool) system.

This high performing system provides high levels of fire resistance and non-combustibility and its installation meant that the fire classification of the facade for NV Buildings was upgraded to A2-s1, d0 meaning that the development is now considered compliant with the latest building regulations, safeguards residents and provides a better return on investment for the client.

In terms of achieving acoustic performance standards, this was achieved using Mineral wool which has superb acoustic qualities due to its porous nature and low thermal conductivity that resists the passage of sound. Its inclusion in the project meant that noise from wind and traffic was significantly reduced, ensuring a quieter residential option for those who wish to avoid an audible disruption yet still live within the hustle and bustle of city life.

For the building finish, a high-performance thin coat silicone render (Silicone TC) was specified. K-Systems’ Silicone TC render provides numerous advantages including ease of application, and its hydrophobic properties make the render low maintenance.

Sustainability was at the forefront of K Systems’ methodology and design process for NV Buildings which contributed to the mineral wool insulation system being specified for this project.

The mineral wool insulation system has a number of excellent environmental properties and contains no gases with ozone depletion potential (ODP) or global warming properties (GWP).

The finish used on this project also contains a biocide to help prevent infection from mould, yeast and algae, and also has a low susceptibility to soiling and contamination, ensuring buildings remain as structurally sound years later as they did at first build stage.

Available in a wide range of colours, the topcoat finish used on NV Buildings is a light grey, thereby matching the original facade and meaning that aesthetically, the iconic buildings have maintained their distinctive design.

Digital technology utilised included BIM which meant project designs benefitted from federated models, allowing us to reduce errors, achieve cost efficiencies, reduce the overall delivery time, and minimise waste during the construction period – further proving K Systems’ environmental credentials and responsible business ethos.


The safety and liveability of the three x 15 storey buildings was of paramount importance when completing this project and with this in mind a bespoke specification was produced which included various detailing such as soffits, balconies, and full height panels. Particular attention to detail was afforded to the drained cavity fire-stops, including fire-stop details between floors, at party walls for each apartment and around openings.

Given the building’s prominent location, in the vicinity of a busy Media City where regular filming takes place, it was key for us to deliver the project as discreetly as possible without causing disruption to residents and businesses close by – this meant significant planning and stringent timeframes for delivery throughout the project.

Measures to minimise disruption included storing and protecting materials outside throughout the duration of the project and rotational deliveries which ensured that unused materials were not left outside for unnecessarily long periods of time.

Completed Refurbishment:

In collaboration with QFF Facades and Thomasons Consulting, K-Systems delivered an industry-leading, insulated façade solution for NV Property Management that fulfilled the desired criteria, improved thermal efficiency and fire safety, enhanced building aesthetics and delivered an outstanding architectural structure that exceeded industry standard – all within budget, fulfilling environmental and sustainability requirements, and to the agreed timeframe.

Excellent delivery and exceptional customer care, made possible by an outstanding K-Systems service management team. All aspects of the project – site inspections, site surveillance, deliveries, planning etc were delivered excellently. It was a well-tuned operation

Thomasons Consulting

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