Kingspan Insulation Transforms History Halifax Hall

Originally published by: Building Products UKJanuary 17, 2019

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The Kingspan OPTIM-R Flooring System and Kingspan Thermaroof TR27 LPC/FM have been installed in floor and roof constructions as part of the multi award-winning transformation of The Piece Hall in Halifax.

The Grade I Listed building first opened in 1779 for the trade in ‘pieces’ of hand-loomed cloth. Following a multi–million-pound transformation project, the building has been reinvented as an outstanding international cultural destination, which is strengthening the local and regional economy and enhancing local pride. The project included the construction of the Calderdale Council’s new adjoining Central Library and Archives, as well as the creation of heritage, leisure, events and retail spaces within the conserved building.

The Council contracted the construction works to GRAHAM Construction, and LDN Architects, with their expertise in conserving historic buildings, they reimagined The Piece Hall into the 21st century destination that it is today.

Due to its age, the three-storey building was entirely uninsulated. Its unusual design, set out around a square, also means it has a significant external envelope relative to its floor size. To improve the energy performance of the building, it was decided that insulation would be integrated within the building envelope wherever possible.

One of the most challenging areas to achieve this was in the basement level. Headroom within this space, which was being converted into a management suite, was already limited. The project team were, therefore, keen to identify a floor insulation solution which could achieve the desired thermal performance with a minimal reduction in floor to ceiling height. This led to the specification of the Kingspan OPTIM-R Flooring System.

The system comprises OPTIM-R vacuum insulation panels, with an exceptionally low thermal conductivity of just 0.007 W/m.K, and OPTIM-R flex infill strips of the same thickness, which can be cut to fill any gaps within the insulation layer. The low thermal conductivity of the OPTIM-R VIPs allowed the desired thermal performance to be met with a system thickness of just 43 mm (inclusive of a 3mm layer of rubber crumb).

Externally, heritage roofing experts — Ploughcroft — oversaw the sensitive restoration of the building’s roof. This required over 10,000 tiles to be carefully checked and, where necessary, repaired. As part of this work, Kingspan Thermaroof TR27 LPC/FM was applied to certain areas of the original building roof.

The roof insulation product has been LPCB approved to LPS 1181: Part 1 and are FM approved for Class 1 steel deck roof assemblies. The Green Guide A rated boards, produced at Kingspan Insulation’s Herefordshire and North Yorkshire manufacturing facilities are certified to the demanding BES 6001 responsible sourcing standard.

The transformed Piece Hall reopened on August 1, 2017 (Yorkshire Day) and has since attracted footfall of over 2.4 million, is making a major contribution to the regeneration of Halifax and beyond, and putting Calderdale on the map nationally and internationally.

The project was made possible by funding from Calderdale Council, £7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation. It’s run by The Piece Hall Trust, an independent charity, to ensure the sustainable future of this magnificent building at the centre of Halifax’s vibrant cultural quarter.