Offsite construction leads to faster build for Icarus


Long-standing Howick customer Icarus LSF recently partnered with Ashcourt Contracts to deliver 239 units of student accommodation over 9-storys in the centre of Leeds in the UK. CEO of Icarus LSF, Andrew Turnbull talked us through the design, manufacturing and installation of the 6000m2 load-bearing light steel framing included in the project. He says, “We had very early involvement in the design of the building, but manufacturing and installation took just 16-weeks. The on-site erection of the offsite manufactured light steel wall panels (with factory installed weather defense board) and floor cassettes (with factory installed steel decking) was completed 14-weeks ahead of the original 30-week target installation program.”

Speaking about the speed of the new offsite construction process, Andrew comments, “We think the project is a perfect demonstration of how employing modern methods of construction, coupled with the incredible material properties of light gauge steel can drastically speed up the construction process – without sacrifice to health, safety or quality.

Most of the superstructure’s work content is actually completed before we need to set foot on site. While the site is being prepared and the podium levels are being constructed, we’re busy rollforming and assembling the walls and floors ready for erection on site as soon as the slab is ready for us. We take much of the work off the critical path, allowing the building to be erected in an incredibly short on-site timeframe.” 

Construction continues whatever the weather

The speed of LSF installation and ability to reduce the critical path meant the project was delivered 50% faster than would be possible with traditional methods. Added to this, round-the-clock manufacturing provided program certainty not seen by their client on similar schemes. Beyond this, the fact that LSF can be installed in wet and inclement conditions enabled further program acceleration and certainty.

Quality control

By using light gauge steel as the main building material, Icarus LSF was able to offer a solution that not only benefited from the use of offsite manufacturing, but benefited from the mechanical and material properties of the steel itself. The lightweight galvanised steel used, not only provides a much lighter solution, helping reduce the cost of foundations, but it provides an incredibly high level of predictability.

Each stage of the project was measured and controlled to ISO standards; with every steel frame uniquely labelled with frame number, weight and GA site references. Icarus LSF use manufacturing philosophies and state-of-the-art machinery supplied by Howick Ltd, to ensure every steel component produced exactly matches the approved design. Further to this, each component is produced to be self-jigging for accurate and fast assembly within the factory, further assuring quality at every step of the process.

Andrew concludes, “The project success was due in part to the FRAMA 5600 units supplied by Howick Ltd in New Zealand. Using this machinery has changed the way we approach construction builds, and the results speak for themselves. Icarus LSF will continue to adopt new technology in the construction process to build faster and smarter, and we look forward to Howick Ltd helping us to achieve these goals.”