Getting ahead – a guide to specification

NEC 6 Large-corrected-1200x800pxIf you’re specifying Pendock products, the following information could provide some useful pointers, as well as helping provide a clearer understanding of the options available.

When it comes to specifying three of our most popular brands: Radius, Linea and Washroom, there are some key elements to consider, which will help ensure the specifications are satisfied and project expectations are met.


Radius column casings

Intended for interior and exterior structural steel work, Radius comprises six individual column casing types, which are available in a range of standard shapes and materials, as well as bespoke options. While aesthetics are clearly central to what is largely a decorative item, specifiers should also carefully consider issues of practicality, as this will directly affect material choice.

Buildings with high levels of footfall, such as conference centres, shopping malls, supermarkets and airports, will require high levels of durability. This is best provided by pre-finished products, such as high-pressure laminate (HPL), alongside stainless steel and polyester powder-coated finishes. Recessed metal skirtings can also be specified to provide additional protection from damage in high traffic areas and applications, such as airports and hospitals.

GRG casings tend to suit the performance and aesthetic needs of lighter traffic interior spaces, such as smaller retail units, offices and car showrooms. External column casings should always be manufactured from metal or GRP for reasons of durability and weather resistance. GRP is also an ideal choice for swimming pools, as they are unaffected by the corrosive properties of chlorine and high humidity levels.

The height or ‘vertical reach’ of column casings is another key design consideration. As a guide, where column casings are stacked to reach extended heights, they should generally be specified with a pre-finished material. Site-finished materials, such as GRG, will require scaffolding to be erected, dismantled, and moved to finish each column, adding both time and cost to the building programme.

Casing shape is not only a matter of personal preference, but is also driven by the elements that need to be concealed. In many applications, column casings will be enclosing a single column or structural support, which usually results in circular sections being favoured for aesthetic and ergonomic reasons, given the wide choice of diameters and finishes available within the range.

However, where building utilities, such as electrical cabling, air conditioning system components or pipework are secured to structural supports, a circular shape could prove impractical, as the diameter may need to be over-sized, purely to accommodate the additional services. An alternative solution would be to use, rectangular, elliptical or extended circle designs, allowing the elements to be concealed effectively while maximising floor space.

Specifiers can also utilise the column casing exterior to locate electrical sockets, signage, seating, cameras and television screens among other items. This can extend the capabilities of shops, schools and other buildings, where space is generally at a premium, and will also have an influence on casing shape.

As a general guide, in terms of budget, laminated-faced plywood products are the most cost effective, followed by GRP and aluminium options, which are similarly priced, with stainless steel being the most expensive material. In almost all cases, price tends to be driven by several factors in addition to material choice.

The size, shape and finish should be considered as well as whether the column casing is a ‘standard’ or a bespoke manufactured item. Typically ply/MDF casings can be specified from a standard range while GRG and GRP casings are produced from moulds, which allow a high degree of versatility for bespoke solutions. Metal casings are bespoke manufactured, to project dimensions which usually attracts a price premium, as they are specified to meet unique dimensions, forms, finishes and other dedicated project criteria.


Linea building linings

Moving onto Linea, this highly adaptable range comprises nine different types of building lining and architectural finishing products, including bulkheads, perimeter casings and pilasters.

Most bulkheads are bespoke and installed at high level, so durability tends to be less of a consideration, although clearly, they must be specified to be fit for purpose for the application. Bulkhead linings can be bonded or mechanically fixed to the timber subframe depending on the size and weight of the item. Mechanical fixings can be ‘hidden’ on GRG units if counter-sunk screwheads are filled, sanded, refilled and then painted.

Moulded bulkheads accommodating curved forms tend to be made from GRG or GRP for reasons of weight and ease of creating a seamless integrated aesthetic. GRP units are supplied with a smooth gel-coat finish, while GRG is site painted. Specifiers should be aware that moulded items will extend lead times by up-to four weeks, due to the additional design and manufacturing processes involved.

Designed to conceal building services along interior walls and below windows, perimeter casings are generally manufactured from pre-formed plywood with a hard-wearing laminate finish. The latter provides high levels of robustness and design flexibility in terms of complementing interior/corporate colour schemes.

Detailing can be an important issue, particularly in healthcare environments where measures should be taken facilitate ease of cleaning and the prevention of dirt build-up. As such, expressed or over-sized joints are often preferred over butt-jointed or semi-concealed solutions.

For pilaster linings, GRG and laminated plywood are popular material choices with the former providing additional fire safety and potential material compatibility with other drylined elements. Radiused corners and semi-circular forms can further improve safety in public and commercial buildings by removing sharp edges.

Added durability can be achieved in the form of stainless steel kickplates. Specifiers can choose to make pilasters blend-in or contrast with their surroundings through colour and material choices, including wood grain laminates and metal effects.


Washroom cubicles systems

The Pendock Washroom range comprises five different systems ­– Classic, Classic Plus, Robust, Ultimate and Education – as well as modular IPS and bespoke solutions. In common with Radius column casings, footfall and frequency of use are key considerations when choosing a washroom system.

Tough, high-footfall applications, including leisure centres and shopping malls will require the most durable solutions, such as the Robust range, which is manufactured from compact laminate (CL). More cost-effective Melamine (MFC) and high-pressure laminate (HPL) solutions from the Classic and Classic Plus ranges respectively are suitable for areas with lower traffic levels, including staff quarters and semi-private spaces. Frequently specified on large commercial offices, Pendock’s design-led CL Ultimate range provides both outstanding durability and aesthetic appeal.

In financial terms, CL-based products have the highest cost, due to their added weight and longer life expectancy, followed by HPL and then MFC. However, basing a decision purely on cost can be misleading; an MFC system might need replacing every five years if used in a high footfall environment, whereas a CL system in the same space might last for more than 20 years – but will not cost four-times the initial outlay. This can be an important consideration in terms of future maintenance budgets and sustainability.

While Pendock has an impressively diverse range of products encompassing multiple materials, finishes and price-points, its ability to tailor ‘stock’ products and/or provide completely new solutions for construction projects is one of our greatest strengths. For this reason, early engagement with our technical team is highly recommended.

Another advantage is that we conduct our own detailed site surveys when producing bespoke solutions, such as radiused bulkheads. This ensures that when the products come to site they accurately align with or enclose whatever is present on site – rather than what is shown on the drawings!


Other considerations and support

The specialised nature of casings and enclosures means that they frequently fall between different trade disciplines and are often left ‘floating’ as they do not fit easily into specification documents.

We have already addressed this issue by providing a successful turnkey solution that covers all aspects of design, manufacture, supply and installation. This not only reduces risk for the project team, but also ensures high levels of fit and finish are achieved.

For smaller projects that may not be covered by this service, we offer a wealth on useful technical information on the website, including NBS specification clauses and more than 200 PDF and DWG drawings. We can also supply material samples and provide in-depth technical assistance.

In conclusion, Pendock has the range of products and depth of specialist knowledge gained during more than 30 years of supplying, manufacturing, and installing casings and enclosure solutions that are aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective and above all fit-for-purpose.