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Hatfield Close and Gerrard House

OVERVIEW

Following the devastating effects of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Hatfield Close & Gerrard House fell into the category of social housing buildings that needed to be reclad to meet safety standards and Terracotta cladding offered a solution that satisfied the required standards and ticked all the boxes.

 

Background


On the 14 June 2017, a disaster that shook the nation taking away the lives of 72 people, injuring many others and devastating families and a whole community became the core of public unrest and resulted in a mass scale enquiry that identified around 2,000 buildings over 18m tall clad in dangerous combustible materials in England alone.

 

The cladding crisis exposed that not only did the buildings pose an immediate fire risk to residents but also saw flat owners facing building insurance premiums, extensive and costly remedial work and mortgage lenders deeming the properties unsafe and ceasing to lend money against them.

 

The Grenfell tower tragedy resulted in the review of the building regulations nationally and internationally in countries including Australia, Malta and The United Arab Emirates and in a government pledge of over £5bn towards the remediation of fire safety problems in high rise buildings.

 

The three Hatfield Close & Gerrard House blocks were identified as being clad with ACM, the cladding material used at Grenfell.

 

The project


Although originally constructed as a concrete frame with brick infill sections, the Hatfield Close & Gerrard House buildings experienced weather penetration issues during the 1980s and the 1990s that led to a programme of improvements which included the introduction of an ACM rainscreen system in the 2000s which during the post Grenfell tall buildings cladding mass review was found unsafe. Only weeks later emergency works to strip the hazardous cladding began.

 

Although the primary objective of the project was to improve the fire safety performance of the three blocks, the project team took the opportunity to redevelop the buildings to also improve their aesthetic and structural and thermal properties.

 

The nature of the project called for a holistic approach led by a multidisciplinary team which included Michael Dyson Associates Ltd, a housing consultancy firm that specialises in the social housing sector, social housing main contractor United Living, a Lewisham Homes & Fire risk manager, independent consultants and resident representatives. The team, with guidance from the planners selected terracotta cladding as the material of choice due to its non-combustible A1 fire rating and robustness.

 

In addition to its essential non-combustible fire classification, terracotta offered a large range of tile colours, shapes, profiles and textures that gave the team design freedom and opened the possibility to improve the aesthetic appearance of the blocks at the same time as offering durability due to being a natural product with no synthetic dyes and a life expectancy of 60 years +.

 

The terracotta cladding system offered the façade contractor Novo Facades a simple method that allowed them to deliver a clean and non intrusive installation process which was key as the residents were living in the buildings all along.

 

The project became a construction referent of inclusion and savoir faire. It was a winner in the Inside Housing 2020 Resident Safety Campaign Awards, it was shortlisted for ‘Best Community Engagement’ and Won ‘Project of the Year £10 million to £25 million’ awards at the 2021 National Building & Construction Awards.

 

Solution



Terracotta facade panels are one of the cladding resources of choice in the market because it is a natural and versatile material that gives architects freedom of expression whilst it gives cladding and envelope contractors the advantages of a quick and easy installation process. The Argeton system is one of the principal terracotta systems used worldwide not only because it is a natural and versatile material but also because it offers a technical and cost-effective solution for the residential, commercial and health and education sectors. Argeton is CE and UKCA marked and one of the most tested systems in the market including a BBA and an EPD.

 

NHBC approved and not subject to any restrictions on building height or proximity to boundaries thanks to its Euro-class A1 Fire certification, it is no surprise Argeton is one of the materials of choice not only in new builds but also for refurbishment or re-clad. Durable and fully recyclable, ISO 14025 and EN 15804 (European BREEAM equivalent) certified, sustainability is at the heart of Argeton’s values. Argeton terracotta cladding systems are available in a range off the shelf and bespoke profiles, in lengths to suit and in natural, glazes, digital print and engobed finishes.

 

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