250 Bishopsgate is an iconic building within the City of London; home to the Royal Bank of Scotland since 2007 but now the new headquarters for NatWest Bank.
Glass Aftercare has been performing periodic visual inspections and minor maintenance / repairs for the Facilities Management company for over 4 years. The last visual inspection identified that the façade had developed numerous leaks resulting in water ingress, causing damp and mildew to penetrate inside the building. It was evident that a major glass refurbishment was required.
Last year the property owners undertook a major consolidation of the buildings within their portfolio and as a result, decided to undertake a major internal and external refurbishment programme to make 250 Bishopsgate fit for purpose for the next 25 years.
Following a rigorous tendering process Glass Aftercare was awarded the contract to undertake a comprehensive audit of the building and repair whatever the audit uncovered.
The client understood that the audit needed to encompass the fabric of the building and the environmental implications of having a façade that keeps moisture out and heat in, whilst focusing on the long-term health and safety of the people who work there.
Glazing Inspection and Audit
The in-depth audit of the main curtain wall, a separate hanging wall, the main reception roof and the 9th floor atrium roof identified the following main areas of concern:
- Incomplete Operations and Maintenance Manual
- Poor installation of original curtain wall (contributing to water ingress).
- Use of inappropriate sealing materials such as foam, silicone & timber (contributing to water ingress).
- Ineffective drainage systems (contributing to water ingress).
- Low UV protection
- Excessive sun glare entering the building
- Inadequate temperature control
- Poor energy efficiency
Before any structural repairs could take place, it was imperative that the Operations and Maintenance Manual was completed and brought up to date as it lacked critical information for the correct maintenance and repair of the glazing. Glass Aftercare liaised with Raico, the original glazing supplier, to gather the missing information (glass and façade specifications, suppliers etc), and a new OMM was created.
Due to the damage caused by the the poor installation of the original components and the use of non-compliant sealing materials it became evident that the curtain walling system needed to be replaced in some sections rather than repaired. For all the original suppliers and specifications had been identified whilst completing the OMM, unfortunately both the glass and façade systems had been discontinued. Using Glass Aftercare’s extensive experience in the field, a solar control film was sourced that not only matched the original glass colour but also improved the UV protection and thermal efficiency.
With the location of the building being on a busy road and heavily pedestrianised area of the City, strict H&S procedures had to be followed and the majority of the work was done outside of office hours to minimise disruption. Glass Aftercare took care of all the logistics with regards to road closured and craning in the the new glass panels. As the majority of the installation work was being carried out at high level, our team not only had to be skilled installers but also trained abseilers.
Glass Aftercare had to de-cap the entire existing framing system, remove the glazing assemblies, clean off the seals and tapes, install new assemblies where required, and then re-cap the framing system with new seals and tapes.
In total more than 20 glass roof panels in the atrium and the main reception were replaced. In addition, widespread leak repairs were performed throughout. All the drainage gullies were refurbishment along with new smoke vents and new perimeter flashings to prevent future moisture ingress.
Glass Aftercare commissioning a comprehensive independent testing procedure, in accordance with the strictest professional standards, to make certain the repairs would be able to stand up to the most rigorous conditions.
Finally the Operations and Maintenance Manual was updated to include specifications, supplier details and maintenance guidelines for all the new materials that were installed.
“It’s fair to say that we would never have imagined the scale of the problem without the exhaustive intrusive inspection we were contracted to carry out” says Glass Aftercare Director Rod Milicevic. “Having identified the problem, I was extremely proud of the work undertaken to restore the system as close to the correct operations and maintenance manual, match the replacement glass and façade materials and then carry out the installation in extremely demanding circumstances. This has been a highly significant contract for us – certainly one of the most challenging– and it has enabled us to show just what a comprehensive set of skills we are able to bring to the market.”