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INCA Case Study: River Gardens, London


River Gardens, London

Project Type: New Build

Building Type: High Rise, Residential

Architect: BPTW, London

System Designer: K Systems

Installer: Jessella Facades

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

U-value Achieved: 0.24W/m2K

Background and Requirements:

Bellway had a prime location, just four miles from Canary Wharf and eight miles from central London, with 300 metres of river frontage and panoramic city views, on which to build an attractive new housing complex.

Knowing K Systems’ industry leading knowledge, expertise, and reputation for superior quality builds, Bellway knew exactly who they wanted to partner with on this primely located project.

Due to its prestigious postcode, the new abodes needed to be of the highest quality in terms of construction and elegant in appearance to appeal to the target clientele. The client also specified the following objectives from the get go:

– Must ensure excellent thermal performance within each property
– Must ensure optimal permeability for water vapour
– Must include a high-quality finish with superb durability and element resistance

It is also a legal requirement in England for all buildings of 18 metres or more in height to have an external wall compiled with materials with a European fire resistance classification of at least A2-s1, d0 so this was also a specific and non-negotiable objective set by Bellway at the project scope stage.

Solution, Specification and Results:

After extensive planning and a comprehensive scoping process with the client and all involved third parties, K Systems specified the Exicco drained cavity system with mineral wool, with a 1.5mm silicone render finish for this project.

Exicco is an external wall insulation system that is suitable for steel and timber framed buildings and is highly compatible with high rise projects. The drained cavity behind the insulation ensures that any interstitial moisture escapes without detriment to the performance of the system, guaranteeing a warm, easily heated home – objective one and two.

It is also a requirement of the National House Building Council (NHBC) to use a drained cavity system on all residential new builds which is another main reason for specifying K Systems Exicco M for this project – regulation adherence.

Regulation adherence, and the safety of the buildings’ occupants, remained at the forefront of decisions made by K Systems from day one to day done. With the legal fire resistance classification in mind, K Systems built River Gardens with a system with an A2-s1,d0 fire rating – the best rating possible.

The system specified for River Gardens was made up of a combination of A1 fire classification substrate (sheathing board), a Tenmat 120-minute cavity barrier, an A1 non-combustible, dual-density stone mineral wool insulation slab, and a galvanised steel rail.

Designing a building façade this way not only proves K Systems’ adherence to health and safety regulations – achieving objective four – but its willingness to go above and beyond the standard requirements to deliver a project of superior quality.

Moving onto the finish – each waterside home in River Gardens was finished with a silicone render in a variety of shades complimentary to the development’s surroundings. K System’s silicone render is renowned for its ease of use on application, variety of texture and colour, and its high-performance properties.

It is also the most flexible system on the market, making cracking over its lifetime less likely.

Silicone TC incorporates the benefits of silicone technology to provide a water repellent final surface and allows water vapour to pass freely through the render whilst allowing the finish to remain weather resistant.

It 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.

This proved K Systems’ fulfilment of objective three.


One of the key challenges for K Systems was identifying the accurate insulation thickness to deliver the stated u-value. However, this was easily and successfully achieved by carrying out through-wall analysis.
“Ensuring airtightness was also a challenge of this project. Again however, this was overcome by utilising K Systems’ robust details for use at junctions and component interfaces (specifically designed for airtightness) together with a final sealing of the system perimeter. Its validity proven by the independent pressure test carried out on the completion of the project.”

The biggest challenge K Systems faced was how to minimise noise disruption for potential residents. That led to Mineral wool being specified for the River Gardens project.

Mineral wool has superb acoustic qualities and its inclusion in the build meant that noise from the wind and traffic travelling up and down the River Thames would be significantly reduced, ensuring a quieter residential option for target clientele who wish to avoid an audible disruption yet still live within the hustle and bustle of city life.

Completed New Build Project:

Following extensive planning, K Systems brought Bellway’s vision to life and created a beautiful collection of new one, two, and three-bedroom waterside homes on the banks of the River Thames.

Each structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing dwelling boasted:

– Excellent thermal performance properties (achieving a u-value of 0.24W/m2K)
– An A2 fire resistance rating
– Optimal permeability for water vapour
– A protective exterior resistant to the elements
– A beautiful, clean, crisp, attractive aesthetic

The build of River Gardens took place during a global pandemic when the construction industry was significantly impacted in terms of workforce and availability and costs of materials. Therefore, it is a notable triumph for K Systems to have delivered a successful project, within budget, without delay or compromise on quality, that not only met but exceeded the requirements and expectations of the client.

“River Gardens was one of the most challenging but rewarding projects I have worked on. It was a very complex project with a strict scaffold strike programme and being dependent on weather and many other trades. That made it very difficult to achieve completed areas on time.

Thanks to working closely with K Systems and their regular site visits and guidance, we managed to achieve the required completion dates, safely and with an excellent quality finish.

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