Wanting to develop a new cost-effective composite façade system for office buildings, construction company TGM involved Indupol, Aliancys, BUFA and Solico in part design and the successful collaboration has resulted in the creation of novel construction technologies and a great composite façade project example with a unique shape and design.
TGM explains that it is a Dutch construction company specialising in the installation of building façade systems. Over the years it has been acting as subcontractor in multiple construction consortia in the Netherlands, completing a large number of office and residential buildings in the high end of the market.
According to TGM it is typically installing a complete façade solution onto the bare concrete building. This façade/assembly includes structural components, insulation to heat and moisture, ingress protection, as well as elements that provide aesthetics.
In today’s construction practice, many buildings are still covered with façades based on aluminium, concrete and stone. Increasingly however,TGM says that architects have been asking it for help to create buildings with unique and distinctive looks. For that reason, a solution based on composites seemed logical, as that provides architects with high flexibility to create novel shapes and designs. In addition, it brings to the building owner the interesting benefits of long service life and minimal maintenance.
TCM says its first novel composite façade solution was developed for the construction of the new Eurojust office building in The Hague, Netherlands. This project required the delivery of over 700 façade panels of multiple widths and lengths (ranging from 3.5 to 10 m).
Wanting to ensure a high quality and cost-effective installation, TGM adds that it had some very clear requirements for this project. The installation should be easy and fast, meaning just-in-time delivery of components at the job site (30-40 units per day), easy attachment of the parts onto the building with high precision (tolerances down to 1.5 mm), ultimately providing a reliable insulation to moist and heat without any repair work after installation. At the same time the façade system should be resistant to ingress (surviving heavy mechanical impact) and meet the appropriate building codes for flame retardancy.
Right from the start TGM explains that it involved composites design company Solico, resin suppliers Aliancys and BÜFA, and component manufacturer Indupol, to develop the composite system and a reliable process for large scale production. After having gone through several design iterations, the companies developed a compact proprietary composite system that met all the requirements. As an illustration, a mock-up of the assembly successfully passed fire testing and a real-life and very harsh mechanical attack by experienced vandals.
The composite components were made by Indupol through a hand lay-up process in modular moulds that were adjusted to the desired shape and dimensions, using resin from Aliancys and Büfa (delivered through Distributor, Euroresins). After moulding, the parts were treated with a topcoat in white colour and transported to the job site for installation. With minimal use of scaffolding, the parts were lifted by a crane and attached onto the building.
“While we are an established supplier of quality parts to the Automotive industry, managing the complexity of such a Building project was still a significant undertaking for us,” explains Hardy van Mierlo, Project Executive at Indupol. “All parts received a unique identification number, so we could track them throughout our production process. This also allowed to deliver the parts to the site just-in-time, enabling a smooth installation of each single component on its spot in the total assembly. Consequently, we look back to a great project.”
Prior to this project, TGM says it only had limited experience with composite building façades. Yet it is now very happy about the end result and the unique aesthetics that these material systems can bring.
“We have learned that involving all relevant players in the supply chain right from the start was the key to success, enabling to truly combine the technical expertise from different companies,” comments Leon van Osch, General Manager of TGM. “In this project we have been under continuous time pressure to develop a cost-effective façade system that could meet a long list of requirements. In such a process open communication is crucial, as during design and production scale-up unexpected situations will arise by definition and need to be tackled in a smooth way. We believe that composite façade systems have a promising future, based on the success we created with our partners in this great project.”