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Case Study - Sheerframe, Shetland Islands

Case Study - Sheerframe, Shetland Islands

Bells Brae school in the Shetland Islands, which occupies one of the most exposed coastal locations in the UK, has been transformed with high-performance Sheerframe curtain walling.

The project has been fabricated and installed by local firm Garriock Brothers who installed a similar system at a nearby school in 1995 which has so far proven to be successful.

The 300-pupil school faces high winds and violent storms all year round with its south side looking out over the North Sea. This has consistently worn down the timber and steel fenestration systems put in place, first in 1971 and again in the 1980s, which both failed to overcome the main issues of weathering and durability.

The experts at Sheerframe helped to design bespoke fixing brackets which could overcome these issues and suit the building design and resistance capabilities. The grid system has its own drainage, thermal break and expansion and contraction elements constructed into the system which works with a series of aluminium beads of different dimensions to take bending and sheer loads.

The Sheerframe team worked closely with architects Arch Henderson on wind-load testing to ensure the new curtain walling grid system with PVC-U windows would provide a long-term solution for the school.

Technical Services Manager Carl Symonds was impressed by the transformation, saying the school now has a “modern, efficient and durable system” in place to withstand the worst Scottish weather.


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