Special Projects
Unite, Stratford

  BTS Fabrications Special Projects


Metclad Contracts limited

Main Contractor

Westfield Shopping Towns Limited


Stratford, London


Unite Student Accommodation


Modular Frames / BTS Special Fabrications


Occasionally, we are asked to look at projects that are different and slightly outside our scope of works.

The below case study showcases a building in the heart of Stratford, right next to the Olympic stadium for the Unite Group who provide student accommodation.

Metclad Contracts working for Westfield Shopping Towns limited chose BTS Fabrication to design, fabricate and assemble modular roofing cassettes.

The works were split over 2 phases.

The first phase was the most difficult as it was the first time that a brick roof had been installed to a 60 degree pitch!

This entailed 9 panels craned into position between 3 large insulated gutters.

The second phase was installed on a higher flatter area but still to a 22 degree pitch with 22 cassettes / 6 large insulated gutters on the agenda.

Our last remit was to manufacture the powder coated peripheral flashings on both areas and on a separate capping to the rear elevation.


BTS Fabrications employed a full time draughtsman and structural engineer to assist with design. We were given details from Metclad’s design department that we structurally checked and used to prepare drawings and take offs for the steel members, bolts and all associated cleats etc.

We engaged a lifting company early in the process to design a lifting beam that was suitable of lifting a panel to the same roof pitch as the roof. All of our lifting hooks were specially designed and tested by the same company.

We employed a local specialist painting company to come up with an internal gutter coating that could be applied in house as the gutters were too large US1 TAGGEDto go through their ovens.


Manufacture and Assembly

The individual frames were made from 3mm Galvanised steel and were very heavy. We looked into gantry cranes with chain blocks to move these around our shop floor but that wasn’t commercially viable so we came up with the idea of wheels.

Once the frames were assembled and the wheels fixed in place, decking and cement particle board was installed to the top of the frame.

Last but not least Metclad installed the G Brick panels before pointing between each brick.

The frames for the first phase were relatively easy as they were all square, the frames on the second phase were curved in places that added to the fun.


Lifting Trials

The photos and video show the trial lift to 60 degrees we performed here in our factory car park. This showcases the lifting beam and lifting hooks that we designed and tested to suit the task.

Specialist lifting hooks were also designed, installed and trialed for the long insulated gutters. Using our 3D design software, we were able to identify the centre of gravity for each gutter type in order to position the lifting hooks for ease of transport and installation.

Even though each frame was carefully selected, engineered and structurally checked we all had our own reservations that the frame would bend or the bricks would crack when we commenced the trial lift. The photos show it was as steady as a rock and our reservations soon turned to elation when the chain blocks finished rotating the frame to 60 degrees!



Other photos show the lifting hooks and specialist bracketry we designed and manufactured to ship these frames economically with 3 frames stacked high.



The first 9 frames were bolted into position in perfect weather over the course of 4 days.

One of the photos shows the absailers that Metclad employed to fill in the holes for the lifting brackets and seal up the ends and side laps between each panel.

The weather, the height and the curved specification of the frames for second phase meant that this phase took much longer.

We also Supplied all 3mm powder coating verge and capping flashings that were installed to the periphery.



We started this project with a lot of potential pitfalls and problems but with the expertise of Metclad Contracts and our in house / external designers we overcame every issue that we were posed.

The overall programme dates were all met and our client and Westfield’s were very happy.

This building is intimidating in scale and colour and we hope that it wins awards.

BTS Fabrications are very proud to be part of this and we have no doubt that it will achieve iconic status in the future.