UHPFRC is a relatively new product and is not widely used in the UK market at the moment. Whilst there are French, Japanese and Australian standards for UHPFRC materials there are currently no British Standards or European Harmonised Standard, therefore it was important that we were able to obtain a thorough understanding of the product, and it’s method of design and manufacture before we could make an assessment on its suitability.
We were lucky that our Facades Technical Standards Director, Clive Everett, had written his MSc dissertation on the assessment of UHPFRC and its potential uses in facades. With his knowledge we were able to ask the necessary questions, engage appropriate experts and understand the information presented to us.
As with any new modern methods of construction we always have to go on a bit of a journey of discovery to learn more about the products, their manufacturing processes and to understand the product specific quality control procedures and this was definitely the case with UHPFRC.
We created a bespoke sign off to be sure it met our standards. To do this we reviewed;
It was clear that Thorp, together with Lafarge, the manufacturers of the UHPFRC product (Ductal) that Thorp use, had put a lot of time, resource and testing into the development of this product and were able to instantly answer most of our questions with information that they had to hand. Where this wasn’t the case Thorp went away and did the additional testing straight away. We found the product is durable and robust, and has the necessary flexibility of design to be able to accommodate a huge variety of architectural arrangements.
Once we were satisfied with the design of the system and the quality control processes we visited Thorp’s factory to see the whole process in action. This helped to satisfy us that the written quality control procedure was being effectively implemented on the factory floor.
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