Customized facades for the new Bracknell town center

The redevelopment of the town centre in the 55,000 inhabitant city Bracknell in the southwest of London included the construction of 580,000 sq ft retail and leisure site area with new, conspicuous retail buildings with complex façade and roofing designs.

The extensive £200 million redevelopment programme includes the construction of a 580,000 sq ft retail and leisure site in the north of Bracknell town centre. The project features high-end stores such as Marks & Spencer and Fenwick, a 1,300-space multi-storey car park as well as landscaped public areas.

Due to the scale and complexity of the redevelopment of Bracknell town centre, coupled with a short timeframe in which to deliver, it was crucial to appoint an experienced specialist contractor with an established supply chain. Prater began work on site in 2015 and the project team’s collaborative working ethos has played a fundamental role in the success of the roofing and façade packages.

Having worked together previously on a number of high profile projects, including Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal, Tate Modern and the South Bank Tower, Mace appointed Prater to deliver the external envelope for all 8 buildings at Bracknell town centre – each one its own individual project.

With the sheer size and complexity of the work faced, Prater brought real value to the project. As one of the few specialist contractors in the UK with an extensive internal design resource - Prater was able to provide in excess of 20 designers to work on Bracknell town centre. With each of the buildings featuring individually bespoke façade and roofing finishes, a collaborative approach was required to avoid issues and maintain the tight build programme. From the outset, Prater worked closely with Mace and key supply chain partners such as Bailey for the Fenwick panel system, BTS for rainscreen panels and RW Simon for louvres. One of the key challenges for the project was the façade design on the Fenwick building. Having already been initially changed from a stone cladding system to a 5mm aluminium alternative, the client Fenwick then decided upon something different much further along into the design process. Prater was given the difficult task of developing a design concept and turning it into a working reality that would achieve the desired aesthetic. Working closely with Bailey, the team developed a perforated aluminium panel system featuring the unusual effect of floating panels – the visual result that the end client was eager to see. Carl Wright, Project Director at Mace commented: “We need to know we can rely on our partners; have good relationships with them and that they can deliver when required. Prater is a major company in our supply chain.” Aaron Hill, Senior Project Manager at Prater also commented: “We needed full co-operation and collaboration from our supply chain to develop and deliver this project on time and to the highest possible standard. By engaging our partners at the design stage, on-site operations have been smoother. We are incredibly proud of our work, and as far as we are concerned – the successful outcome would not have been possible without our supply chain partners.”

The Bracknell project is an exemplar project in Prater’s portfolio – not only does it demonstrate the specialist contractor’s capability and technical excellence across multiple disciplines but it highlights what can be achieved through collaborative partnerships with 8 new buildings delivered in just over 18 months.

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