Technical Director in our Oxford branch, Oliver Fyson, narrates at length on the intricate design of the steel frame for an Oxford University Department of Chemistry building, currently in design.
The three-storey extension to the rear of the existing building aims to house chemistry teaching laboratories. Re-allocation of part of the existing space to chemistry required relocation of some of the existing users. The opportunity was therefore taken to undertake a complete space planning review which resulted in major refurbishment of some floors including the taking down and reconstruction of some of the later poor quality lightweight extensions on the flat roofs.
The existing storey heights are low by current standards so to create the ceiling heights required, only one floor in the extension matched the level of the existing. This resulted in the lowest level being cut into the ground thus exposing the existing pile caps which had to be incorporated into the layouts.
The semi-basement is formed with a sheet piled retaining wall on three sides, with grouting of the water bearing gravels and underpinning of the existing building on the fourth side to provide the primary waterproof structure. An internal cavity drain system them captures any leakages through the primary waterproof envelope.
Read more about the steel frame at New Steel Construction Magazine.