St Pancras Chambers, London

St Pancras Chambers, London

Contractor: H&S Decorating Specialists
Main contractor: Galliford Try Construction
Type of works: supply and installation of Knauf Plano Readymix Plaster.

Readymix plaster from Knauf Drywall is helping to transform a major London landmark into luxury residential accommodation. H&S Decorating Specialists specified Knauf Plano Readymix Plaster at St Pancras Chambers as a solution for poor quality existing interior walls, which contained many surface imperfections after more than a century’s use and 20 years’ neglect. Machine-applied Knauf Plano is one of Knauf Drywall’s range of low-waste, time-saving Readymix plasters.

St Pancras Chambers is a £103 million Manhattan Loft Corporation development which sees George Gilbert Scott’s Midland Grand Hotel – dating from 1873 and now forming the impressive Victorian Gothic street frontage of St Pancras International – converted into 67 luxury apartments and a new 244-bedroom five star hotel. The original hotel operated until the mid-1930s, after which the building was used as railway offices for another 50 years. The new apartments are due for completion in 2010, with the hotel set to open in 2011. The main contractor is Galliford Try Construction.

Before starting on the nearly 600 rooms, H&S Decorating Specialists prepared sample areas using traditional filling techniques to repair the old walls. Director David Gaffney says: “Despite using considerable resources, this failed to produce the finish necessary for the high quality apartments – and it was proving difficult to achieve a cost for substrate preparation that was compatible with the project budget. The Readymix plaster solution provided all the answers.”

Having used the Knauf Readymix spray plaster range previously, H&S switched to Knauf Plano to reduce plastering time and manpower needs. Around 500 bags of Knauf Plano were ordered from distributor Encon, for the 12,000m2 of walls and 4,000m2 of ceilings to be treated with two very thin coats, prior to application of a mist coat and two coats of matt emulsion. Similar treatment is envisaged for the hotel, under a separate contract.

David Gaffney says: “I strongly recommend using Knauf Plano for refurbishment projects where the existing plaster substrate is sound but aesthetically poor. The entire project team was very pleased with the high quality finish that we achieved and was extremely impressed with the improvements to the programme using these techniques.”

Galliford Try Construction Project Director Simon Frawley says: “With Knauf Plano we have a product that is acceptable to all the parties involved, including English Heritage. The obvious time saving and quality of finish achieved with this product are contributing greatly to the overall project.”

Clive Reeves, Knauf Drywall Business Development Manager for finishing products, ensured that recommended contractor H&S was fully supported with technical advice before starting the St Pancras project. He says: “Readymix plaster has provided a brilliant solution in a high profile project where its advantages of speed, a fine finish, cleanliness and minimal waste – typically 1% – benefit contractor and developer alike.”

Knauf Plano is primarily designed for use as a backing coat to fill or level holes or undulations on thin joint blockwork or uneven in situ concrete. It is supplied in 25kg bags and can be applied up to 3 4mm thick in one application, using a rotary screw worm pump machine. The Knauf Readymix spray plaster range also includes Knauf Deco and Knauf Deco Plus finishing plasters, and Knauf Airless, which is designed for use on Knauf Plasterboard and smooth concrete surfaces.

Knauf Readymix plasters are an economical and highly efficient alternative to traditional plaster for finishing walls and ceilings. Less prone to chips and cracks, they ensure a quality finish. They are supplied pre-mixed to the correct consistency for spray application, so no direct water supply is needed on site.

H&S Decorating Specialists is a leading contractor operating primarily in London and the South East, with a national capability. Providing comprehensive painting, decorating and associated services to corporate clients and major contractors, the company operates in several sectors, including commercial, residential, hotels, leisure, education, industrial and railway.

Knauf Drywall manufactures a full range of plasters, plasterboards, insulating laminates, dry flooring, drywall accessories, and metal sections for domestic, commercial and public sector applications. Knauf Drywall pioneered carbon neutral plasterboard in the UK with Knauf Futurepanel. Knauf Drywall also actively promotes recycling from building sites and has a zero waste policy in its energy efficient factories at Sittingbourne in Kent and Immingham on Humberside.

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