INCA Case Study: Selfridges Building, Birmingham


Selfridges Building, Birmingham

Project Type: Refurbishment

Building Type: High Rise, Non-Residential

Architect: Scott Brownrigg Ltd

System Designer: Sika Ltd

Installer: Rendserve Limited

System & Finish: Sika Rockwool + Elastocolour

U-value Achieved: 0.14W/m²K

The Selfridges building, part of the Bullring Shopping Centre is a landmark structure in the heart of Birmingham. The building’s façade is curved, wrapping around the corner of Moor Street and Park Street, the façade comprises of 16,000 anodised aluminium discs.  The buildings sub structure is a steel frame with sprayed concrete façade, an insulated render system has been installed with a waterproofing layer in a blue finish. The building had been suffering with major leaks for many years this mainly due to the on-going maintenance regime of the building’s discs and gutters. The hidden secret gutters had been poorly designed and compounded the original system failures. The original 70mm insulated render system also wasn’t thermally efficient.

The decision was taken to fully strip the 7500m² existing saturated render system back to the existing concrete structure. The works had to be completed within a non-negotiable & heavily penalised time frame prior to the start of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

To ensure the project was completed on time a fully enclosed scaffold was installed & a heating system was set up to maintain a constant temperature within the scaffolded area, this was to ensure work didn’t stop due to drops in temperature. The scaffold design was a huge project, the scale has to be seen to be appreciated. The scaffolding followed the curves of the building both horizontally and vertically and extended over the top curve to create a roof and the erection and dismantling of said scaffold was only allowed overnight to reduce the impact on the major routes that surrounded the building and with one of the largest scaffold designs in Europe this was no easy task.

Due to the location and the iconic nature of the building the owners Hammerson still wanted to make the building attractive and stand out.  An eye-catching pink and black jigsaw-style hoarding called ‘Dogtooth Flower’ was wrapped around the entire building, it had been created by local fashion designer Osman Yousefzada and was officially the largest scaffold wrap in the world by some considerable distance. Each of the 16,000 Aluminium discs were carefully removed, each one getting tagged with a bar code ensuring it went back in exactly the same position after being refurbished off-site.

Sika Parex was chosen for the supplier of the ParexTherm cladding system as it was able to demonstrate compliance with the design brief, match the specified colour and also compliance to legislation was met when the elevations turned from being a wall into a flattish roof. On top of this, the ability for Sika to draw on its extensive product range for concrete repairs, EPDM’s, sealants, liquid coatings for the gutter liners and also flat roofing membranes for the terraced areas meant Rendserve had a one stop shop for the external works.

The client had very strict instructions on impact resistance, maintaining the original design intent and the colour was a must. This led to Sika creating a bespoke system design using a roofing grade, high density insulation board, high impact mesh along with standard mesh and specialist Reemat mesh within the SikaGard 675 liquid coating that had to be colour matched to the original project. 150mm Rockwool Hard Rock insulation was fixed direct to the building substrate which in places was pre-chamfered from 150mm down to 70mm to avoid having to replace the curtain walling sections. It was then followed by a seven coat render system including 3 layers of mesh and having to work around the 16,000 protruding rods.

Rendserve also designed, supplied and fitted all the secret guttering, EPDM’s, anti-slip walkways on the roof and parapet capping’s.

The project was a logistically challenging & problematic due to the busy inner-city footprint and there being little to no site storage facilities therefore all materials had to be ferried in on a daily basis in smaller vehicles from an outer city compound area.

The remit of this totally unique and one-of-a-kind project was to have the project completed, scaffold down and site cleared prior to the opening of the 2022 Commonwealth games and..………. mission accomplished!


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