ARUP - Pinewood Film Stages

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Project Details

Project - Pinewood Film Stages
Main Contractor - Sir Robert McAlpine
Timber Cassettes Supplier - B&K Structures

Project Overview

The Pinewood challenge was to deliver 5 film stages and associated infrastructure in one year to exacting acoustic standards required for film production on a tight budget. The Pinewood site is on the Heathrow flight path and near the M25 generating significant background noise to be mitigated in the envelope design of the buildings.

Planning was granted at enquiry due to the importance of the UK Film industry to the national economy.

The rapid delivery of the project was key to the client's business objectives of securing major franchise blockbusters, with state-of-the-art facilities. So performance of the buildings was also vital.

The previous Richard Attenborough Stage was built 'fast-track' in 32 weeks. Pinewood wanted to build 15,820sq m of stages in 5 buildings with associated infrastructure in 52 weeks. So the design phase started with a comprehensive review of rapid envelope and frame solutions to meet the challenging programme.

Prefabrication is seen throughout the construction of the stages, from foundations to roof. Main Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine embraced prefabrication strategies to save time and on-site effort. The substructure uses precast ground beams to support precast sandwich panel façade elements. These sandwich panel facades are self-finished eliminating the need to build internal lining walls or add cladding. The overall build-up of the sandwich panel elements and the timber cassettes above is also 300mm thinner than the traditional cavity wall approach used on previous stages at Pinewood. This yields approximately 720m2 of additional internal area for a typical stage.

In our previous work at Sky we had developed with B+K Structures timber cassettes capable of delivering 50db noise reduction. So we developed these to incorporate acoustic attenuation on the inside of the panel and pre-attached cladding to the outside. All previous stages at Pinewood have been constructed using inner lining walls separated from the envelope. By incorporating the acoustic performance into a single panel, the envelope programme was reduced from 13 weeks to 6 weeks for a typical stage.

The timber cassettes span between primary steel frame, thereby eliminating cladding rails and purlins, which saved £0.5m from the steel package and reduced the steel programme by three weeks per stage.

Hares also used extensive prefabrication in the steel frame. By lifting the primary roof trusses into place with the gangways, secondary steel and services pre-attached, they were able to significantly reduce the need for working at height and associated craneage. The steel frames were erected in only 6 weeks by this approach, compared to 8 weeks for previous similar stages.

The project is now successfully in use.