For Frank Reynolds Architects, it was key that this new development not only sat comfortably alongside its neighbouring buildings, which include a Grade I listed tidal mill and other historic industrial buildings, but reflected and enhanced the character and appearance of the area. To create the desired aesthetic, Ibstock brick façades are broken by a regular pattern of storey-height glazing with the only decoration provided by banks of simple glass-fronted open balconies. To maximise the clean, uncluttered lines, a quick and simple method of achieving flawless brick faced soffits to the hundreds of door and window heads was required.
The flexibility of the Nexus system meant that a complete soffit and lintel solution could be developed for the project. Deep soffits above doorways to the ground and first floor were achieved easily with 215mm deep units featuring header bond facing, bolted directly to Ancon MDC brick support angles, while stretcher bond lintels, manufactured 150mm longer to accommodate site variations and ensure perfect alignment with the main facing brickwork, were used at each window head.
To create deep ‘flying beams’ above upper storey stairwells, a number of ‘special’ soffit units, featuring facing brickwork to all four sides, were designed and bolted directly to Ancon MDC brick support systems, which were pre-fixed to the structural steel frame.
As mechanical lifting equipment was not required, contractor, Flahive Brickwork, was able to install the Nexus units in around one tenth of the time of traditional heavyweight precast concrete alternatives.
With a delivery schedule of 25 Nexus units per day, equivalent to a soffit run of 75 metres, the Ancon-Ibstock Kevington partnership was able to meet the tight project programme set by the clients.