Transforming the Delivery of STEM Education At University Of Birmingham’s Collaborative Teaching Laboratory

By Admin

British Gypsum

8th Nov 2018

Completing the new Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) facility at University of Birmingham posed a number of technical and programme challenges. However, close collaboration between Grimes Finishings Limited, the University’s Clerk of Works and British Gypsum’s technical representatives ensured the project was completed in record time, snag free and to the highest delivery standards.

In October 2017 Grimes Finishings Limited was awarded the Partition, Linings and Plastering package by construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall PLC for the new £40,000,000 collaborative teaching laboratories at the University of Birmingham Edgbaston Campus.

The University of Birmingham’s new 72,120 sq ft Collaborative Teaching Laboratory facility was designed to bring together practical teaching activities across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines. Set over three storeys, the high-specification facilities feature state-of-the-art wet lab, dry lab and E-labs.

On winning the contract, Grimes Finishings engaged with British Gypsum’s Technical team to identify the most suitable building materials for the project’s various requirements. As it was such a high performance and technical environment, the project had a number of varied challenges to overcome. These included the need for:

  • Heavy and severe duty impact resistance in high traffic circulation areas and plant rooms
  • High performance acoustic compartments within teaching areas and between the large number of plant and laboratory spaces
  • High fire resistance and insulation performance around the many plant riser and laboratory spaces, creating safe fire escape routes throughout the building
  • Thermal performance throughout the envelope of the building

Meeting stringent specifications

Working in close collaboration with architect’s Sheppard Robson, the Grimes Finishings’ site team engaged British Gypsum’s technical team to help develop the NBS specification and produce a project specific systems pack for the scheme. The pack incorporated various British Gypsum interior lining systems, including a number of its GypWall lightweight metal framed partition and wall systems. Designed to meet the most demanding fire resistance, sound insulation, impact and height requirements, the GypWall systems were the ideal solution for the project’s unique requirements.

GypLyner IWL was also specified to further increase sound insulation and to meet the stringent thermal performance requirements throughout the envelope of the building while CasoLine MF – a suspended ceiling system – was specified thanks to its high level of design flexibility. British Gypsum’s Thistle plaster products and Gyproc Joint Tape were also used on the project to deliver a superior finish.

Commenting on the process, Tony Fitzgerald, Senior Product Manager at Morgan Sindall, said, “It was crucial for us that the specification and project pack were followed to the most finite detail to ensure excellent quality and system performance throughout the high-performance space. Grimes Finishings’ full time dedicated quality control manager worked closely with the University’s Clerk of Works and British Gypsum’s technical representatives to ensure the highest possible installation quality throughout the process.”

Richard Grimes, Managing Director, Grimes Finishings Ltd., commented, “The project handed over successfully thanks to the collaboration between all parties and our commitment and dedication to quality. Our close working relationship and excellent technical support from the British Gypsum project team meant all the challenges of such a high speed and technical project were met head on and each one overcome, resulting in the project being delivered on time, snag free and to Morgan Sindall’s perfect delivery standards.”

Completing the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory at University of Birmingham’s Edgbaston Campus was amongst the most challenging builds the University had ever attempted posing both unprecedented technical and programme challenges throughout. The project handed over on time to the client on 6 th August 2018.

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