At Bryden Wood, we’re already delivering the benefits of DfMA at scale. We call this “Systemisation”: the development of systems of standardised components for large projects that give enough flexibility to allow mass customisation while working to the requirements of architectural design. The engineers and designers in our Systemisation team come from diverse career backgrounds including structures, civils, architecture, building services, and façades.

Façade engineering is a specialism that has developed at Bryden Wood to respond to our clients’ needs on large and complex projects where scope gaps and overlaps between designers and specialist contractors can result in significant delivery challenges and additional costs. Our façades team is a talented group of engineers with expertise in prefabrication of stone, precast, and GRC cladding, as well as curtain walling and conventional façade systems.

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Our façade engineering offer plugs the gaps between traditional contract and manufacturer design. We take a façade design all the way to fabrication details including digital interface with fabricators, and performance analysis. 

Our approach to façade engineering is flexible and collaborative. We work together with clients to complement their design efforts by focusing on envelope architecture and support systems, specification, and, energy, sustainability, and carbon assessments. We also support contractor design and detailing by taking over construction-focused performance design, full interface detailing, integration and coordination, and fabrication detailing.  

We bring our innovative DfMA mindset and parametric BIM expertise to every project including end-to-end digital workflows between BIM models, supply chain partners, and fabrication machines. 

Our approach to façade engineering is focused on delivering value to all our clients including:

  • Main contractors who are interested in innovation, exploring alternative DfMA construction systems, or de-risking specialist design packages.
  • Façade subcontractors and specialist suppliers of façade materials (precast, GRC, GRC, etc.), particularly on complex projects where design development can often be a distraction for a subcontractor who is focused on fabrication and installation.
  • Clients who understand the benefits of special or industrialized construction and want to guide their contractors to adopt them, particularly on complex projects where early proactive input is desired to ensure the architectural ambition is practically deliverable for contractors.

The team has a track record of delivering productivity improvements on complex projects in multiple sectors in the UK and abroad. For example, at the 1.7m sqft landmark St. James Centre in Edinburgh, Bryden Wood were appointed by lead contractor Laing O’Rourke to complete the interface detailing across the façade packages and completed all façade performance engineering and detailing for the scheme. We used bespoke scripting to automate the design, placing 19,000 individual stone pieces using pre-defined rules, and then developed every panel to a fabrication level of detail. We generated cutting schedules and cost information directly from the 4D/5D BIM model.

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Color Coded 3D Model of The Whiteley’s Project

We have an established track record of working with clients and contractors to deliver outstanding results on complex façade packages using cutting-edge approaches to DfMA and parametric digital delivery. 

At Southbank Place, a prestigious new residential development adjacent to the London Eye, Bryden Wood worked with Laing O’Rourke to develop a series of precast punched panels in lieu of more conventional precast concrete elements. Our solution used a post-tensioned W-shaped precast panel which allowed the projecting bay windows to be pre-fitted to the precast panels in the factory before delivery to site with no need for a separate lift. 

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3D Model of St. Michael’s Tower

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St. Michael’s Façade Performance Analysis

The BIM model was used for design verification prior to fabrication and then became a valuable tool to complete factory-quality checks of the finished panels prior to delivery to site. Together with ExpLORe Manufacturing, Bryden Wood developed automated methods for deformation and load checking to ensure the panels could be lifted and installed safely without cracks or other damage to either the glazing or to the panels themselves. 

Bryden Wood has market-leading capability in the design of GRC systems to a fabrication level of detail. We have worked for specialist GRC contractors to design panels and fixings for GRC systems that reduce manufacturing costs while still allowing preferred installation sequences to be achieved. 

Our use of BIM to systematically code each individual type of panel and support bracket enables easier factory fabrication and site installation and the 3D model is also used to test and validate safe lifting procedures. 

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3D Model of Google HQ

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Google HQ Typical Panels Catalog

Our façade engineering team works as part of an integrated multi-disciplinary team on large and complex projects within Bryden Wood, but can also work as a stand-alone specialist discipline. With broad-ranging expertise complementing our specialist knowledge of DfMA, panelized and unitized façades, we are looking forward to further expanding our façade engineering offer to deliver even greater value to our clients in years to come. 

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Kings Cross S5 Façade Analysis


Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GRC / GFRC)

Bryden Wood has over 9 years experience in designing GRC and were the designers for three of the central London underground stations for the newly opened Elizabeth Line (Crossrail). Our work includes façade cladding, architectural ceilings, optimisation studies, remedial works, and permanent shuttering. We work directly with manufacturers and as part of coordinated design teams to deliver fabrication detailed designs, architectural coordination, façade engineering, and structural engineering solutions.

Read more about our work with GRC, HERE.

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