Fixings

It is obviously not possible to fit the panels on site to an absolutely true and level structure.Tolerances on the base structure must be notified to the designer of the GRP panel system, and reference should be made to BS 5606, which indicates the accuracy of assembly that may be expected on site for given components and construction.

One of the difficulties of fixing any single-skin panel back to the supporting structure is the problem of restraining the fixing device within the thickness of the panel. Several methods have been tried, including fixing plates moulded into the backs of the panels incorporating bolt fixings. Most uses, however; depend upon a system of clamping the panel back to the structure, usually at the joint interface.The American Express building in Brighton uses this method (Anon, 1977). Panels fixed at Mondial House incorporated a non-ferrous threaded fixing plate device hooked back onto the perimeter I-beam. The length of fixing involved resulted in this being an expensive way of achieving the necessary adjustments (Fig. 3.25).

Generally speaking, panels should be fixed rigidly at one point, with all other fixings being designed to accommodate the movement likely to occur The rigid fixing must in itself be able to be adjusted to accommodate the manufacturing and building tolerances (BRE Digest 223 Wall Cladding: designing to minimize effects due to Inaccuracies and movement). Often designers

3.2 I Joints between panels atTeesside Polytechnic (architects: Basil Spence & Partners).

Outside

Outside

with strip sealant

3.22 Vertical joint at Mondial House.

Outside

Inside Galvanised tie straps push GftP

cover strip agaifisf sealani joint

3.23 Typical back sealed joints between GRP units.

Inside Galvanised tie straps push GftP

cover strip agaifisf sealani joint

3.23 Typical back sealed joints between GRP units.

allow for mild steel stiffeners within the flanges of GRR If these are subsequently site drilled for bolt fixings and not treated or sealed, moisture penetration will lead to rusting and delamination of the flanges.

The designer may need to consider fixings for handling; large panels are often difficult to handle on

Baffle groove
3.24 Open-drained joint at HMS Raleigh (architects: PSA).

site because of high wind speeds coupled with their own light weight, and the size and number of fixings for a large panel need careful consideration. Although GRP as a material is relatively tough, surface protection during transport and erection on site to avoid surface scratching may be recommended (Fig. 3.26).

3.25 Fixing to I-beam at Mondial House (architects: Hubbard Ford & Partners).

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