Towcester office project, Northamptonshire

Towcester office project, Northamptonshire

Client: Westframe
Type of works: supply of Metsä Wood's Kerto-Ripa pre-fabricated, engineered timber panels for use as floor cassettes.

Metsä Wood’s Kerto-Ripa panels have recently been utilised in the construction of three office units in Towcester, Northamptonshire. The pre-fabricated engineered timber panels, which were specified by Westframe, were used to provide floor cassettes with a total of over 250m2 installed throughout the entire construction. Kerto-Ripa was selected for its exceptional structural properties, its capacity to create large open spans and its ability to facilitate a faster build program.

The project specifier, Westframe, which is part of Westleigh Developments, normally designs and manufactures timber-frame housing solutions. Westframe has had a long-standing relationship with Metsä Wood and the Towcester project is the company’s first using Metsä Wood’s Kerto-Ripa.

David Thacker of Westframe comments, “We were looking for a flexible solution which would meet our requirement of achieving a long, clear span. With Kerto-Ripa, we were able to achieve this with a 9m clear span. In addition, the solution’s value engineering was a key driver in being specified for this project. Its speed of installation significantly reduces time on-site. This floor system took a matter of hours to complete, with very little risk to the installation crew or any other construction staff on-site.”

For this commercial development it was crucial for Westframe to find a way of delivering long, clear spans in order to maximise the useable interior space of the buildings.

Metsä Wood’s Kerto-Ripa presented a sustainable solution to this challenge.

Kerto-Ripa is a structural engineered timber panel system created by Metsä Wood from glued Kerto members, an engineered wood product which combines natural beauty with strength that can deal with most types of structural applications. To this end, the Metsä Wood UK team designed and engineered the floor elements that are currently manufactured in Finland, then being delivered through long-term strategic partner, Donaldson Timber Engineering.

As Kevin Riley, Vice President Construction Industry for Metsä Wood UK noted, “The panel is ideal for use within retail, commercial and public buildings and has two key applications: flooring and roofing. It is particularly relevant for specification in projects where long spans are required and we are seeing increased interest in the incorporation of this unique system across a range of projects in the UK.”

For floors, the Kerto-Ripa panel system can create intermediate floors, with clear spans of up to 10m with commercial office loadings and beyond in residential applications; all dependant on the specific loadings involved. Since the product is pre-fabricated, it is easy to install and can therefore help to achieve rapid construction. The open RIPA panel can simply accommodate co-ordinated services within the floor zone, which furthermore helps speed up construction and reduce turnaround time. In cases where increased acoustic performance is required, the SoundBar System can be added to exceed building regulations. As a roof solution, Kerto-Ripa is ideal for flat or low pitch roofs where long clear spans of up to 18m can be achieved and has, in recent projects, been installed at a speed to allow 1,000m2 of weather-protected environment in one day.

Kerto-Ripa is available as either an open, or pre-insulated closed panel construction. The product’s panellised nature provides design flexibility, which means that installation of both roofs and floors is efficient and accurate. The product is made from PEFC certified timber that carries full BM-TRADA audited Chain of Custody accreditation, which means it is suitable for any development where sustainability is a key driver for specification. In addition, Kerto-Ripa delivers excellent energy performance which contributes towards BREEAM ratings.

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