Combined cladding and barriers for safe parking and good looks

The new Thames Valley Police Base at Taplow in Berkshire include a two storey concrete car park for both fleet and commuter parking. TTSP Architects specified Berry Systems spring steel mounted safety barriers for perimeter edge protection and made this decision early enough for Berry to demonstrate that their Protecta-Clad system could be used to combine the barriers, the cladding and the fencing thereby saving components and installation time. TTSP also specified a Vision 38 perforated aluminium cladding on the two sides facing into the rest of the site and Securegard 358 mesh fencing on the two exterior facing sides.

Protecta-Clad was developed to take advantage of the installation process for safety barriers. The base plates of the spring steel buffers are extended to carry the mounting brackets for the cladding and, at Taplow, were also used to support the fencing posts. Installation of the cladding and fencing was achieved from the deck, disposing of the need for cherry pickers or scaffolding. The barriers also provide immediate ‘working at height’ safety for the installers.

A total of 166 metres of safety barriers were installed to which 163 square metres of cladding was attached and 158 square metres of mesh fencing. The installation was completed with 53 metres of rubber wallguard and 38 rubber corner fenders to protect the concrete wall on the ramp and the concrete columns from unsightly and potentially expensive vehicle damage.

Protecta-Clad can be floor or column mounted by utilising brackets cleverly affixed to either the spring steel buffer base plates or the column fixings. These brackets are designed so that the barrier can still absorb energy by deflecting on impact but the cladding is not affected.

All Berry Systems’ barriers are independently tested at MIRA. In some circumstances the cladding element of Protecta-Clad can be specified to meet the pedestrian loading requirements of BS 6180 so that no pedestrian handrail is required on the main perimeter. Alternatively, as at the Thames Valley Police Base, a handrail and anti-climb mesh can be mounted onto the barriers instead.

Berry Systems MD said:

“This project for the Thames Valley Police is a great example of the benefits that can accrue when we are involved in the specification process at an earlier stage. Protecta-Clad is still a relatively new concept but because the safety barriers are frequently part of the final finish, they are often specified much later than the external envelope. So by the time the architect is aware of Protecta-Clad’s advantages, the project has progressed too far for it to be included.”

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