Thames Lodge is a new secure unit within the grounds of St Bernard’s Hospital, West London. The West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Kier (main contractor) and the project architects worked closely with the Britplas team to overcome a number of challenges associated with this user group and the location of the new secure unit.
The biggest challenge was around security of the north and west elevations. It is normal practice to construct a secure perimeter fence around secure units but in this case it was not possible. The layout of an adjacent hospital building meant that the north and west elevations backed onto the car park and other spaces accessible to the general public and a fence was not practicable.
The challenge was therefore to create this secure perimeter within the building envelope, specifically the curtain walling. Britplas were involved from the beginning of the design process so fully understood the requirements of the Trust.
Initial thoughts from the client and architect were that the curtain wall would need to be made from steel and that the glazing may have to be at a ballistic level. Whilst both of these options would work, Britplas believed there was a better solution. Working with our supply chain partners, Britplas’ technical team came up with a series of enhancements that could be made to aluminium curtain wall sections. Britplas also researched various glazing types based on the attack resistances/ criteria put forward by the client.
The next stage was to test this. Britplas set up a rig where an actual size screen equivalent to the largest and most vulnerable section was to be tested. The client, architect, contractor and members of the supply chain technical teams attended. The test was carried out by the client`s safety officer and head of security.
The bespoke screen passed every test easily and furthermore, saved approximately 40% of the original cost of the steel option.
Britplas completed the full fenestration package for the project comprising aluminium Safevent windows, casement windows, doors and the bespoke curtain walling solution as part of a £1m+ contract.