From abandoned premises to contemporary office building

Studio 4, Welwyn Garden City

Pinnacle provided engineering services for the feasibility study, acquisition and conversion/extension of disused commercial premises in Welwyn Garden City into a contemporary office building with finishes and services appropriate for its future use.

Structural challenges

Due to the building’s age and history, all external cladding was removed back to the parent steel frame and reclad with a Kingspan system providing a contemporary look and feel while meeting current performance standards. As with many refurbishments, there was a lack of record information and, following cladding removal, a variety of structural challenges to the proposed refurbishment became evident. Numerous bays of previously unknown bracing were exposed and had to be removed, using the 100m2 extension to the front of the building to provide the ‘missing’ building stability. Detailed co-ordination with cladding and glazing suppliers ensured adequate temporary support during the fixing of the new cladding system and the eye catching, tapering glazed feature frontage.

Additional bracing provided building stability

Following a detailed structural survey, the new and existing frames were analysed to understand their behaviour under all loading conditions. The frame for the new extension was designed with additional bracing back to the existing structure to provide the necessary building stability. This allowed removal of the existing cross bracing, providing flexibility for new window and door locations without compromise to the Architectural vision.

Externally, a CCTV survey of the existing foul and surface water drainage allowed back calculation to prove suitable capacity to accept the increased outflow without additional work and that the condition of the existing did not require refurbishment. All external hard landscaping and car parking was refreshed prior to handover.

Detailed co-ordination between design team disciplines and contractor suppliers was fundamental to delivering a project on programme and within budget which met all aspects of the client’s expectations.