Specialists in the manufacture of GRP mouldings & impenetrable building solutions.

GRP building penetrations and weathering for Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre

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  • Sector: Industrial
  • Services: weatherproofing building penetrations
  • Solutions: Building Penetrations,
  • Timelines: 2017-2020
  • Client: Viridor

As part of a £317m project to open a new plastics reprocessing and waste management centre near Bristol, Jones and Woolman UK helped to ensure all building penetrations were fully weatherproofed and capable of withstanding the potentially corrosive environment.

Viridor’s new Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre comprises an energy recovery facility (ERF) and plastics recycling and reprocessing plant. Situated less than ten miles from Bristol city centre, the facility will process 1.6 billion plastic items and divert 320,00-tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill every year.

The massive construction programme began in 2017 and was officially handed over to Viridor in December 2020. There were 20 principal contractors engaged during the build and, at the peak of construction, around 500 people were working on the site, resulting in around three million hours of on-site work. This included laying 173km of power cables and installing 167 tonnes of pipework.

100 building penetrations

Jones and Woolman UK was proud to be part of this project, working to ensure that all those cables and pipes travelled in and out of the buildings in a weatherproof, corrosion-proof, secure, and attractive manner.

“We installed weathering details on around 100 building penetrations, including cable trays, water and soil pipes, vents and flues,” explains Steve Smith, technical manager at Jones and Woolman UK.

With so many different vertical penetrations to work on, the project required careful planning. To save time on site and streamline installation as much as possible, Jones and Woolman UK prefabricated many elements at its factory in Walsall, including upstands and closure flashings. “We generally make GRP moulded items, but we also use galvanised steel and stainless steel fixings,” Steve notes.

Corrosion resistance

A significant concern for the project was corrosion resistance. Due to the nature of the waste processing and plastics reprocessing facility, it is highly likely that building elements will be exposed to corrosive chemicals.

GRP is widely considered to be corrosion resistant, as it doesn’t react to most acids, chlorides, or solvents. However, a plastics processing facility posed unique challenges, so the Jones and Woolman UK team had to carefully consider the materials and finishes used in the project.

“There was a risk that the chemicals in use at the Avonmouth facility would be corrosive to GRP,” Steve says, “So we ensured that the most durable resins and fleece reinforcements were used.”

A shining example of building penetrations

As well as being functional, the building penetrations also needed to match the building aesthetically.

“The building has a metallic silver finish,” explains Steve. “We always try to colour-match penetration detailing with the external cladding, but metallic finishes are notoriously difficult to replicate,” he says.

Of course, it’s not just about colour matching, “We must also consider the percentage of gloss and texture to get a good match with metallics,” Steve adds.

Using a special metallic paint, which is compatible with the laminates used, the team at Jones and Woolman UK were able to create a finish for the penetrations that blended in well. “We were delighted with the final appearance,” Steve says. “If you don’t notice the penetrations, we know we’ve done our job well,” he adds.

A facility for the future

The Avonmouth ERF forms part of Viridor’s strategy to end plastic waste export, increase UK plastic recycling capacity and invest locally. As such, this is a project that will be providing value to the country, and the planet, well into the future.

As part of this, the Jones and Woolman UK team stand by the building penetrations and weathering work completed at the site, with the entire system being covered by a 25-year system warranty.

To find out more about building penetrations and weathering systems from Jones and Woolman UK, or to discuss your project with a member of our team, please contact us on 01922 712111 or use the form on this page.