A £38m construction project in Coventry’s city centre reflects the city’s confidence in the future despite the impact of the global pandemic. Known as UNINN Infinity, the 505 bedroomed development at Number 8 Parkside (just south of the city centre) is setting new standards on several fronts. Firstly, the high-rise project is showcasing the very latest trends in high performance rainscreen cladding, conforming to stringent safety standards. Secondly, the project demonstrates the value of genuine collaboration and partnership across the supply chain. Given the relatively small footprint of the city centre site, main contactor Winvic Construction wanted to work with sub-contractors and suppliers able to provide materials on a just-in-time basis. This would minimise the need for storage on site and also achieve very tight tolerances when it came to cutting cladding board. Lastly, the project is a demonstration of working together to overcome the challenges created by the catastrophic Covid-19 outbreak.
Ben Fowler is Winvic’s Project Manager for the Infinity development. He was involved in discussions regarding cladding specification from the outset. “We knew the developer wanted a really high-quality feel to the building, which unusually comprises a basement containing a gym, cinema and even a karaoke lounge. The apartments are very well appointed, and the development even boasts a panoramic rooftop bar. “While glass reinforced concrete (GRC) was originally considered for parts of the project, after extensive research it was decided that Equitone Tectiva fibre cement panels would be used for the six, 13 and 19-storey towers. The panels are supported on a secret fixed framing system, provide an excellent and cost-effective alternative, deliver excellent fire protection for residents, and create a striking, natural looking aesthetic.We’re using three colours – pebble grey, linen and hessian – to provide a contrast with the lighter brick slips and dark powder coated windows and flashings. Parts of the building also utilise the Linea format panel which has grooved vertical lines cut into the panel to create a dramatic effect.”
Traditionally, 8mm cladding board (as is the case with the Equitone’s Tectiva product) has presented technical challenges to many types of secret fix systems. Vivalda’s Chris Meyerhoff, said: “For years, the cladding industry has been exploring new ways to achieve secret fixings without the use of adhesives. Mechanical fixings were often challenged when boards of 8mm or thinner was concerned, as there was limited opportunity to engage rivets.
“We came across a system by SFS called TUF-S, which enables 8mm cement board to be secretly fixed without any problems. We undertake installation in one of our UK branches with a riveting tool, which ensures consistency. This uses a carbon steel mandrel which when removed, leaves the stainless-steel fastener securely in place. The fastener is open, which prevents trapped moisture from damaging the external face of the board over time and as it does not ‘screw in’, there is no danger of unwinding; ensuring a fixing solution that lasts. This has really opened up the market for fibre cement board, which can now achieve a smooth external finish using reliable, consistent secret mechanic fix.”