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LAFARGE Supplies Iconic Skills Academy 

South Bristol Skills Academy has been commissioned by City of Bristol College to drive up educational standards and provide employment opportunities in South Bristol. One of Bristol’s largest employers, Lafarge Plasterboard, has worked with main contractors Cowlin Construction and drylining subcontractors GHT plastering to deliver the iconic project on target for its launch in September.

The impressive four-storey building’s design was inspired by an aircraft hangar and reflects the two halves of the brain. The two areas of the building are separated by a large, light atrium, and are linked by bridges at each level. At the hub of the Skills Academy is a winter garden and terrace, where students and staff can meet and socialise.

The expansive internal spaces and numerous curves of the Skills Academy combine to create an impressive visual experience, requiring special acoustic consideration.

Chris Norris, Senior Technical Manager for Lafarge Plasterboard worked closely with Cowlin and GHT to ensure that both acoustics and aesthetics were satisfied. Chris said: “With large open internal areas there is a danger that resonant sound can quickly get out of hand unless proper precautions are taken. GTEC Pregybel was specified to act as a ‘sound-soak’, to limit reverberation times in the atriums, open stairwells and corridors of the building. Pregybel is a perforated gypsum-based board from Lafarge’s GTEC specialist range of boards. The board fully complies with the recommendations of Building Bulletin 93 (BB93), a report document that provides guidance on acoustic treatments for schools and educational buildings.”

Chris added: “It is available in multiple patterns offering aesthetic choice, while its sound absorption performance provides a superior acoustic absorption to class B/C with a value of 0.7.”

The ambitious design of the Skills Academy curves in three dimensions, presenting a particular set of drylining challenges. Richard Jones, Director of subcontractors GHT said:

“This was a very testing project to build with all the problems that came as part of this very bespoke design. The flexibility of the Lafarge GTEC M/F Ceiling frame enabled us to front up all obstacles we encountered, especially the very complex multi radius ceilings and bulkheads, and overcome them, to achieve the final appearance that we all are very proud of.” Pregybel is fitted to a GTEC Metal Furring (M/F) ceiling frame and is used in isolation as a standalone system. Because M/F ceiling frames can be easily bent into place, the various curves throughout the Skills Academy could be accommodated onsite with no need to customise each frame.

In addition to Pregybel, GTEC 15mm Megadeco was used throughout the development to provide 60 minutes fire resistance and good sound insulation as part of a system. GTEC Megadeco is categorised as severe duty impact resistance when tested to BS5234, making it ideally suited for commercial applications such as colleges and other high traffic buildings. The board has a decorative pre-sealed white face and colour matched joint cements, ensuring that linings and partitions have a consistent finish ready for final decoration. This eliminates the requirement for separate sealing of the board onsite, effectively saving one complete operation at finishing stage.

Jamie Harwood, Project Manager for Cowlin Construction said: “GHT’s performance, under the management of Richard Jones, was a main factor in this project being completed on time. Richard’s hands on approach meant that all operations that were asked of GHT were dealt with swiftly and effectively.

“The unique shape of this building offered daily challenges that GHT handled extremely well. They were fully aware of the Lafarge systems available to them and installed a quality product to the satisfaction of everyone.”

Email: gafyn.evans@lafarge-gypsum.lafarge.com


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Arundel Jones Associates Ltd Registered in England and Wales No. 07334149
Hill Farm, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME 17 4AL
Tel : 01622 745333 email
copyright all rights reserved

News Categories : Lafarge plasterboard
Acoustic plasterboard Plasterboard systems
Drylining products