Community Base Brighton

Cladding panels designed and fabricated by AMS have helped a 1960s office block beat cancer.

Product Summary

  • 300m2 of 2mm aluminium panels in RAL 1035 for the profiled frame and fins
  • 600m2 of 2mm aluminium panels in RAL 7035 for infill panels

Client Comment

“AMS produced some mock-ups for us and we were very happy with the level of finish and detail. They also gave very good advice during the detailing stages on how to achieve a certain look. It was easy to find the correct detailing for the aesthetic we wanted to achieve.”

He added: “The AMS aluminium cladding is pretty much the complete elevations apart from where you have glazing. The client is very pleased with the resultant aesthetic although it hasn’t really changed from what it originally looked like apart from the colour. It just looks shiny and new.

“If we had a similar technical challenge to meet then we would use AMS again. They were a very good safe pair of hands.”

Ian McKay | BBM Architect

Project Introduction

AMS were lauded as a “very good safe pair of hands” by award-winning architects BBM Sustainable Design who specified their panels for the first time for a technically challenging project.

Some 2,600m2 of AMS’ 2mm aluminium panels in RAL 1035 (Pearl Beige) for the profiled frame and fins and RAL 7035 (Light Grey) for infill panels have been used on a £1.1 million refurbishment of the Community Base charity offices in Brighton which are home to 30 community and voluntary organisations. Community Base reception deals with hundreds of enquiries about local community services every month.

Planners were keen to keep the look of the old building and this required remodelling the seven-storey façade elements to the millimetre. This was achieved with the help of AMS and their preferred installer Façade Concepts who were nine months on site.

AMS general manager Graham Higgs said: “We had input to design from concept stages throughout the project to completion and as a designer and fabricator of metal cladding solutions that is always how we prefer to work to get the best results for our clients.”

Technical Information

  • Temporary partitions were erected to protect the office workers while the exfoliating 1960s precast concrete cladding (and pebbledash on plywood under the windows) was removed by pneumatic drills from the concrete frame and replaced with a steel sub-frame used alongside PIR insulation and the AMS panels as a ventilated rainscreen.
  • This has improved the thermal efficiency of the 3,400m2 building from the assumed original wall u-values of 0.98W/m2K to 0.23W/m2K for the installed wall system as well as saved the charity the cost of getting abseilers in twice a year to conduct hammer tests to remove some of the worst-offending pieces of concrete cancer.
  • Architects BBM found AMS via market research for a supplier of aluminium panels and AMS suggested Façade Concepts as the specialist sub-contractor.
  • This was the first time Façade Concepts had used these particular AMS panels and at Community Base they were PPC coated with a marine-grade coating due to the coastal environment and then mechanically fixed using an aluminium sub-frame.Architects BBM found AMS via market research for a supplier of aluminium panels and AMS suggested Façade Concepts as the specialist sub-contractor.
  • Matthew Small of Façade Concepts said: “The AMS products were chosen for their suitability and performed exactly how we expected them to. They were designed with longevity in mind and with a view to breathing new life into an otherwise tired-looking and thermally inefficient building.”
  • He added: “The footprint of the building was effectively our site boundary which made logistics pretty challenging, with deliveries on a Just-In-Time basis.
  • “The building was also occupied to around 90% which meant we had to be very mindful and respectful of our client’s tenants. But although the situation of having the tenants in the building while we stripped off around 75% of the external wall construction was challenging to organise, we did manage it.”