K Systems Insulated Facades
Located in East London, on a water gateway between the River Thames and over 2,000 miles of navigable canals, the six-building Limehouse Basin development comprised of a white EPS insulation board that was fixed to horizontal PVC rails that created a drained cavity between the insulated façade system and the substrate.Due to strict regulations introduced in December 2018 following the Grenfell tragedy, which states any building exceeding 18 metres in height must have walls comprised of non-combustible materials, this building was deemed non-compliant, unsafe, and not fit-for-purpose.Development owners Beckford, supported by the Building Safety Fund (BSF), required an expert team to execute the removal of the existing EWI and replace it with an appropriate alternative, without disrupting the unique aesthetic of the building.The combination of K Systems and Retrofit UK, two companies renowned for their expertise, quality of service, and superiority in the market, was an obvious choice for Beckfords.We have a good portfolio of BSF projects to date, and Limehouse Basin is another great example of how our team along with one of our approved installers can help make a building fit for purpose, whilst overcoming numerous challenges along the way. Unrivalled expertise and professional delivery are apparent in every groove and corner of this refurbishment.Our ServiceTogether with Approved Installer Retrofit UK, K Systems continued works despite Covid restrictions (adhering to Government guidelines) to deliver the Limehouse Basin project within the agreed timeframe and with minimal disruption to residents as requested by the client.Removal of the existing EWI system took place in rotation with the installation of the new system, and a robust programme was put into place by the contractor to ensure the building was not exposed to the elements for long periods of time, ensuring the residents were kept as comfortable as possible especially during the winter months. Decanting of the residents did not take place, so we worked alongside all parties to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the residents were prioritised during the works.Due to the nature of this project, technical monitoring from the K Systems team was increased, and weekly visits were planned along with a reactive approach to any on-site issues that arose from a technical perspective. Our technical teams actioned regular quality assessments and maintained open communication with all stakeholders.The result – an industry-leading insulated façade solution that fulfilled Beckfords’ criteria and delivered an outstanding architectural design and structure, fully compliant with fire regulations and boasting a better U-value which translates to better living conditions for the residents.Technical Project DetailsThe key objective for the Limehouse Basin project was to remove the non-compliant EWI system and replace it with a non-combustible system to meet current building regulations.Our team insist on being involved from the very concept of any BSF project to ensure an accurate specification could be developed and allow any initial underlying issues to be identified and rectified swiftly. Therefore, our Technical Team witnessed the removal of the existing system and inspected the substrate thoroughly.After extensive scoping, the K Systems M, mineral wool insulation, system with a silicone render finish was chosen as the preferred option, meeting the demands and needs of the client and current building regulations. This system provides high levels of fire resistance and non-combustibility (an A2-s1, d0) bringing it in line with mandatory Government requirements for buildings over 18m tall.With superb acoustic qualities and excellent environmental properties, the M System didn’t just tick the fire resistance box. The thermal performance of the building was significantly enhanced, with a U-value of 0.30W/m².k being achieved.The shape of the buildings were complex, with numerous curved areas of various facades. This meant the finish required an expert eye and a skilled hand to deliver seamlessly. Both K Systems and Retrofit are renowned for their expertise and superiority in the market, and therefore such challenges were overcome, and high standards of workmanship delivered.Another very challenging aspect of the build was the replication of the rainscreen cladding to the front of the buildings. This detail was successfully created by using tape joints, stop beads, and black silicone mastic to create a shadow gap – further testament to the expert capabilities of our team. This particular finish not only delivered the desired aesthetic but delivered an additional benefit of cost savings for the client.We worked closely with Retrofit UK throughout the duration of the refurb and as a result the Limehouse Basin buildings have a contemporary finish and attractive aesthetic worthy of the projects postcode, and one we are confident existing residents welcomed and potential residents appreciated.