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Sharpfibre Walks The Talk And Delivers On Time

SHARPFIBRE

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sharpfibre are happy to have delivered another project on time, with completion of our fire protection work on 20 Fenchurch Street set to take place in March 2013.  The 37 storey skyscraper, also known as the “Walkie Talkie” due to its distinctive shape, is one the latest editions to the London skyline.  The building, which stands at 160 metres tall, bulges outwards the higher it gets, giving the upper floors the largest floor pans.  The Innovative structure, designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, includes a viewing deck and sky gardens on the top 3 floors, which will be open to the general public. 

At Sharpfibre we are delighted to have worked on such a significant and highly talked about building and to continue our long standing partnership with Canary Wharf Contractors Limited (CWCL).  For over 15 years we have worked alongside CWCL on a number of projects, including One Churchill Place and Drapers Gardens, providing expert assistance through our knowledge of passive fire protection systems.  The strong understanding and level of trust that exists between Sharpfibre and CWCL means that we have been able to work in unison to deliver 20 Fenchurch Street on time, despite the various challenges the project presented. 

Assessing the project

The requirement for structural steel protection to 90 and 120 minutes and an extremely demanding build programme meant that our chosen fire protection system must take into account logistics, speed of application and stringent environmental controls. 

In terms of logistics, the application of fire protection onto the structural steel members invariably has an impact, with crane and hoist time at a premium; representing a real challenge for any developer looking to maintain its build programme. 

With a total of 80,000m2 of structural steelwork to be protected at the rate of one floor per week, the system needed to be fast to apply and quick to cure, whilst being able to withstand exposure to the elements once had it been applied.  Further to this, the system needed to be controlled to prevent any egress from the completely exposed building envelope.  Finally, strict environmental controls imposed by the Corporation of London, coupled with regular air monitoring, represented another challenge to consider when deciding on the right solution. 

Overcoming challenges

Taking into account all of the above factors and drawing on our vast experience as the UK’s leading applicator of passive fire protection systems, we recognised that Cementitious Fire Spray was the only conceivable solution. 

Locating a bespoke purpose built pumping and mixing station on the ground floor ensured that the mixed materials could be supplied direct to the entire building from one location.  Using one of the building services risers, aluminium riser pipes were installed; allowing the materials to be pumped centrally without the need of the already heavily utilised tower cranes or hoists. 

To control the application and ensure compliance with the environmental conditions, Sharpfibre’s unique and patented encapsulation system was used during the application works.  Our encapsulation system consists of Monoflex fire retardant sheets fastened mechanically to the building structure.  Coping with high wind speeds and the building’s unique geometry were accommodated and resolved using this system. 

With an internal connecting overlap, the encapsulation system can be partially released; allowing for the cleaning of the floors without, disturbing the Cementitious Fire Spray floor sheeting.  Upon completion of a floor, we were then able to move the whole system up to the next level, where cycle begins once again.  Our approach has delivered the required results and, despite especially cold weather and plenty of snow during the winter months, our fire protection application will be complete on time next month. 

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