FP McCann | Acid Test For Somerset Hotel

FP McCann has supplied acid-etched and brick-faced precast cladding, plus numerous structural components, to create an impressive impact on a new Holiday Inn Express  in Bridgewater.

A new £10m hotel in Somerset, which will house many of the workers  on the nearby Hinkley Point nuclear project when complete, is using a range of architectural precast concrete finishes for its facades, supplied  by FP McCann.

The company is also supplying structural precast components for the  four-storey Holiday Inn Express near Bridgewater, working for main contractor Midas Construction. FP McCann’s sub-contracting partner S4J  is undertaking the precast frame build.

Work on the four-storey building commenced in March 2018. In total, some 509 individual precast structural and architectural units are being manufactured by FP McCann for the project.

The fa├žade incorporates both brick-faced and acid-etched finishes. The 30 brick-faced panels, up to 440mm thick, are faced with half bricks  and manufactured at FP McCann’s Grantham factory in Lincolnshire. 

The 84 acid-etched panels, supplied by FP McCann’s Littleport plant in Cambridgeshire, are 410mm thick, with two different colour shades – one ‘buff’ white, one charcoal – to match the architectural design requirements.

"The mix for the white concrete used white aggregates with white cement, while the charcoal concrete was grey cement, pigment and black aggregates,” explains Colin Richards, FP McCann’s quality assurance materials manager. 

“As on all our projects, we manufactured a series of samples for our customer, until an agreement was reached as to the colour and level of etching required by the designers. Once they chose the etching level required, a sample was given to our acid etching team as a reference."

The acid etching process was carried out by FP McCann’s specialist operatives in the factory. “We vary the concentration of the acid to get  the depth necessary – it was 16% strength hydrochloric acid for the Bridgewater hotel units,” says Richards.

The brick-faced sandwich panels include the heaviest units on the  project, weighing up to 15.26 tonnes, and measuring 8.335m across and 2.975m high.

The structural design uses a steel frame at ground floor level, to allow open plan areas for the reception and dining rooms, with precast sections for the three storeys above. There are 394 precast structural units in all, consisting of solid reinforced concrete floor slabs, internal walls, stair flights and cores, plus lift shafts, manufactured at the Grantham facility.

"The internal faces to these walls were fair-faced, ready for minor filling and decoration, and floors were ready for latex and carpet," explains Daniel Westgate, FP McCann’s commercial manager for structures. 

“The precast wall and floor sections have been designed for ease of build, linking together with hidden tie rods. Joints are finished with a high-strength non-shrink grout.” 

As part of the contract, S4J also installed 130 pre-formed bathroom pods supplied by Somerset-based Off Site Solutions (RT). “FP McCann provided a recess for the pods to sit into and the pods were dropped in as works progressed,” says Westgate. 

Grant Millar, operations manager for Midas Construction, was pleased with the decision to use FP McCann’s precast expertise on the project. 

“This method of modular precast construction demonstrates a number of efficiencies compared with practices associated with a traditional build,” he says. “The remote manufacturing of the building components offers significant advantages in terms of product quality and integrity. On site, speed of construction, minimising waste and the ability to work uninterrupted in all weather conditions are all major benefits.

“Additionally, the sandwich panel external facade system removes the need for scaffolding, reducing the health and safety risk factors associated with people working at height.”

The installation of the precast units took just 12 weeks, using a 130t crawler crane. with 10 operatives on site.

The Holiday Inn Express project is scheduled to complete in spring 2019.