Fire Rated Units Key for St Fagans Museum Project
St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff is one of the UK’s top ten free attractions, with hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to it each year. In 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the museum £11.5 million, the largest grant ever awarded by the HLF in Wales. The money will go towards the £25.5 million project to transform the museum known as Making History.
Making History aims to extend the scope of time covered by the museum, while creating more stimulating spaces for visitors, including a multi-purpose sustainable building plus a striking new entrance to the site. Most of the construction work will be undertaken by Kier, who use Wernick Hire units for their accommodation on site as part of a long standing service level agreement.
The site at the main entrance required a complex of five two-storey blocks. These feature welfare facilities, a canteen, offices and meeting spaces. This will be used during the refurbishment of the main building, as well as the creation of a covered atrium by roofing the existing courtyard. New visitor facilities at this site will include a new reception desk, shop and café, with improved access to the galleries and the Centre for Learning on the first floor, and orientation to the rest of the site.
The second site, where the sustainable ‘Gweithdy’ building is being constructed, presented its own collection of challenges. Set in the middle of the woodlands, access to the site was tight, to the extent that tree branches graze against the Wernick Hire units there. This was further complicated by the historical significance of the woods. The Saint Fagans site in its entirety is Grade 1 listed, requiring a high degree of care even when working in wooded areas. Kier chose to take extra precautions at the Gweithdy site by using fire-rated units for their accommodation, which provides both offices for the management team and welfare for sub-contractors. Once completed, the Gweithdy building will feature exhibition areas and café facilities.
The Surefire™ units are Category ‘A’ fire rated. With an all-steel anti-vandal construction, the units are able to contain a fire for 60 minutes or more. The block of four at St Fagans consists of a toilet and drying room, an open plan canteen, a split office and meeting room, and a split office and canteen.