The Bristol Civic Justice Centre has been designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects LLP with Ramboll Whitbybird to provide modern court facilities with administrative offices to meet the anticipated workload of Her Majesty’s Courts Service in the Bristol area for at least the next 25 years. Now nearing its practical completion by Miller Construction Ltd, it will also significantly contribute to the regeneration of the city’s Redcliff area.
Given the site’s city centre location and particularly restricted access constraints, innovative solutions were required to ensure that the construction of this high specification 6-storey building was efficiently achieved with the minimum of disruption to site neighbours. These solutions included the use of precast concrete panels for its external cladding.
Produced off-site in a controlled factory environment, the precast cladding panels were typically delivered on a just-in-time basis to suit site progress for off-loading and hoisting directly to their respective final fixing positions, thereby minimising any need for double-handling or temporary storage.
The panels are typically storey-height or grid-width units spanning between the floor slabs or structural columns and their sizes were optimised to suit the lifting capacity of the site tower crane. This use of large panels weighing up to 10T each correspondingly reduced the number of units to be fixed and consequently reduced their installation period. It also eliminated the need for an external scaffold; an especially valuable advantage given the very close proximity of the adjacent tower block and the further requirement to ensure that the access road to its car park remained open.
Formally appointed by Miller Construction in November 2008, The Marble Mosaic Co Ltd has been responsible for the detail design, manufacture, delivery and installation of the precast cladding panels, being a £2.2M work package. Produced in accordance with the recommendations of BS8297:2000, the precast concrete panels have been faced with three types of natural stone. Red Eichenbeuhl sandstone supplied by Zeidler & Wimmel was selected to compliment the brickwork of the near-by office buildings. Pennant stone supplied by Forest of Dean Stone Firms Ltd and Jura limestone supplied by Solnhofen Stone Group were also chosen to match the colours of the stonework of the adjacent ancient parish church St Thomas.