A job to be proud of national college for high speed rail

Date: 06 February 2019

The final installment in our series of blogs celebrating plastering craftsmanship.

Karl Smith, Commercial and Estimating Director at drylining, plaster and ceilings specialist Tudorharp Ltd, tells us all about the work that was undertaken to deliver a world-class finish at Doncaster’s pioneering National College for High Speed Rail.

Tell us a bit about the project.

Designed to play a key role in attracting and generating the workforce that will build the UK’s new high-speed rail network and future infrastructure projects, the £21m college is a high-tech, purpose-built facility. With a strong focus on adaptable learning spaces the 7,600m2, three-storey building features teaching areas, open project spaces and a 1,900m2 engineering workshop, complete with two sets of 150m-long railway tracks that can accommodate a full-size locomotive.

What were the drylining requirements?

Internal partitions were chosen to provide a clean simple aesthetic. However, the nature of a busy college environment, especially one with an engineering focus, required a severe duty board. And, whilst needing to be extremely robust, it also had to be acoustically rated up to 54db with fire performance requirements of 120 minutes. From the client’s perspective, the brief was to build in flexibility where possible, so the college can adapt to evolving requirements. 

How did you meet this brief?

Over 10,000m2 of Rigidur H gypsum fibre board was installed throughout the build with 12.5mm and 15mm used for different locations. It was then taped and jointed and painted over directly by the decorating contractor. With the benefit of reducing the amount of areas that require pattressing to give the client a more flexible space for fixing to walls, the Ridigur H boards also enabled the construction of large wall spans up to 13m high. 

Fixed to the GypWall Extreme metal stud wall framing, this solution was particularly suitable for this high impact application, as it is robust but also allows spaces to be adapted.

Were there any challenges?

Constructing the complex ceilings was an architectural challenge, as they interface with the abundant servicing requirements that come with such a contemporary and technical building. The ceilings feature a lot of square perforations which required setting out for the recessed lighting. The 12.5mm Gyptone Quattro 41 Activ'Air board was used here and we constructed a support to hold the lighting in place – there was a lot of intricate, hidden work involved.

What are you most proud of?

This was a really big project and we’re proud to have delivered a world class facility, on time and on budget. From a 74-week total project build, 10,000m2 of drylining was installed in just 34 weeks – while still achieving a high standard of finish and aesthetics. The final building is a flexible design that offers real longevity. The client is delighted with the result and we’re extremely proud of the team’s efforts.

Find out more about the National College for High Speed Rail.

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