AMPPS Building, University of Manchester

AMPPS Building, University of Manchester

Client: University of Manchester
Architect: Sheppard Robson
Contractor: HBG Construction Ltd
Facades Contractor: Dane Architectural Systems Ltd
Type of works: four-storey new build adjacent to existing University buildings, incorporating renewable energy technology to offset power demand, fitted with aluminium ventilated rainscreen system.

Universities across the UK have been quick to recognise the value of off-site solutions to extend campus facilities or increase student accommodation. One example is the AMPPS (Astronomy, Maths, Physics and Photon Science) Building at the University of Manchester, a four-storey new build project adjacent to existing University buildings. Once completed, the AMPPS Building will be home to the Photon Science Institute, the largest research and teaching centre of its kind in the UK.

Meeting all criteria
As expected from a scientific institute, both functionality and aesthetics were fundamental to the design of the building. Construction speed was also of the essence to ensure timely handover of the new facilities. Main contractor HBG and facade installer Dane Architectural Systems worked together to interpret designs from leading architect Sheppard Robson, and decided that an off-site solution, based on a Kingframe Architectural Facade system, would meet all the criteria. Another deciding factor was the ability to provide the building with a watertight envelope quickly and efficiently. This enables following trades to get on-site much sooner to continue their work and accelerates overall project completion.

Efficient delivery and installation process
The unitised facade panels for the AMPPS Building, incorporating Kingspan K15 phenolic insulation, were manufactured at Kingspan’s 12,000 m2 facility in Sherburn, North Yorkshire. They were then loaded into containers and delivered to site, ready for installation. It took just minutes for each panel to be lifted from the container by crane and/or hoist, then guided into place by Dane installers and, finally, fixed into position. This efficient delivery and fitting process enabled Dane to meet installation deadlines, and eliminated the need for waste disposal or on-site product storage. In addition to attaching lifting points and a bracket system to the frames at the point of manufacture, Kingspan also pre-fitted a hot-rolled box section to the edges of designated panels to enable them to support long-span ribbon windows. This was crucial to achieve the look of the completed building, in conjunction with the aluminium rainscreen system which formed the exterior finish.

Renewable energy
The £35million AMPPS project also features an over-sailing roof structure, acting as both a suspension system for one of the UK's largest photovoltaic array/solar shading feature using thin-film technology, and as a host for roof-level plant screening. The photovoltaic array will produce 40,898kW hours per annum, which translates to a potential saving of 17,000kg of carbon dioxide each year, helping the project to qualify for a grant from the Energy Savings Trust (EST). The Kingspan facade panels support the building’s energy efficiency status, exceeding all required U-values, and ensuring compliance with current and forthcoming building regulations.

Scheduled for completion in 2007, the project has already won a Considerate Construction Award for HBG. This accolade commends the project’s speed of construction and lack of disruption to surrounding areas and activities, factors enhanced by the specification of the off-site facade solution and the close co-operation between Kingspan and its Approved Installer Partners. Intended to encourage and inspire scientific interest and research, the completed AMPPS Building will also demonstrate to construction industry leaders the significant cost, time and quality benefits of off-site solutions. It will no doubt inspire many more specifiers to follow the lead of the University of Manchester.

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