Bespoke metalwork solutions to cladding

Date: 19/06/2023

A LAST-minute call on premier sheet metal fabricator Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication has yielded bespoke metalwork solutions to decorative balcony cladding for newbuild apartments in London.

Architects behind the three large blocks of apartments that make up the Maitland Park site being built by Bouygues UK in Camden had originally planned for the cladding panels on the balconies of one of the blocks to be made of mild steel. Each balcony required seven panels and the weight of the material and the number of panels required would have been far too heavy and expensive.

Huthwaite based Alpha Rail, fabricators and installers of galvanised metal railings, gates and guard rails plus decorative metalwork had been brought in late in the day to take over the balcony project. They recognised that aluminium was a more suitable alternative metal and an internet search took them to Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication.

Located in Normanton, West Yorkshire, YLF are experts in laser cutting and sheet metal fabrication, working for a range of sectors and specialising in bespoke metalwork solutions,  items, parts and components in all shapes and sizes.

Exchange of details and initial discussions led to a meeting with YLF Sales Director John Miller before YLF set about producing samples for approval. Selection made, YLF’s Amada EMS punch machine plus Amada press brake were utilised to punch the desired pattern in the 1.4m x 1m standard panels and fold the ‘L’ shaped side panels.

The nature of the material being 1.5mm aluminium meant it was prone to twisting during fabrication which would be exaggerated once the panels were fitted side by side. Calling upon some 30+ years of experience, YLF designed and produced bracings and jigs to hold the panels in place and keep them square during production to eliminate this risk and ensure a quality product.

Cut to size and appropriately patterned, the panels were finished in a copper coating to mimic the corten self-rusting steel that had originally been envisaged. In all, some 120 panels were produced and delivered within the quoted 10-week delivery time frame.

Alpha Rail’s Project Engineer Andrew Williams worked with YLF on the decorative cladding. “We inherited the project very near completion and were faced with a lot of problems to solve very quickly. The original plan was to clad 10% of the balconies in mild steel but this was unfeasible due to the weight and cost involved in deploying highly specialised equipment to punch the required pattern in the metal,” he explained.

“An internet search put YLF top of the list and they have been brilliant to work with. They turned around the samples as quickly as they could, were able to give input and ideas on how to get around problems that we had and being relatively close to us meant getting samples during the approval process was nice and easy.”

He added: “I’d recommend them to others. Very helpful and a valuable resource.”