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new street station

March 2016

The new look Birmingham New Street Station was unveiled in the Autumn…and Network Rail were so pleased with the metal & stone cladding that they see it as a model for future redevelopments.

New Street’s makeover took eight years to complete and cost £750m. With a footfall of 35 million passengers per year - making it the busiest building in the UK outside of London - the project was about as high profile as it gets.

The stakes were high for all the partners involved; headed up by Network Rail who manage the station and principle contractor Mace.

When it came to re-cladding the walls of the platforms, the overhaul threw up many complications for Simco the cladding and framing sub-contractor charged with renewing the façades.

The original building was Victorian and there have been ongoing changes since then, including a major “brutalist” renovation in the 1960s.

This meant that there were many different kinds of surface to fix the new cladding onto, as well as other features of a modern railway station to work around, as Nathan Barnes of Mace explained:

“There are a considerable amount of sensors and equipment mounted to the walls together with rainwater pipes running down columns requiring access panels. In addition to this finding signage and louvres required careful coordination. There’s a myriad of things you have to consider!”

Initially Network Rail wanted to use a glass cladding system on the platforms, but the project partners realised that it would have been difficult and expensive to make a glass system fit around the intricate design features on the platform walls.

The cladding subcontractor Simco suggested the Taylor Maxwell (TM) genius metal façade system, because its flexibility makes it ideally suited to complex designs.

Graham Smith, Simco’s Managing Director, explained:

“The genius cladding system is very adaptable, and there is a very fast turn-around for deliveries from Taylor Maxwell.

“With many other systems, you have to order a month ahead, then it comes on to site and they either fit or they don’t - you can’t reshape them.”

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