Safestore Ltd HQ, Borehamwood

High performance webercem concrete repair system has been specified for a smart exterior makeover to a unique building.

A unique building in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, the Head Quarters of Safestore, the national storage solutions provider, has received a smart exterior makeover with the help of the Saint-Gobain Weber webercem concrete repair system. The building substrate, a combination of brick and concrete, required general repairs to the façade which was showing signs of wear and tear.

Once the headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) from 1939 to 1976 the building has a decidedly nautical style. The two-storey, white-washed property has a dramatic curved tower over the front entrance and is adorned with a flagpole. The charity purchased agricultural land in 1938 and used the building for making parts, storing supplies and examining damaged boats. In addition there is an adjacent metal arched structure, which is now a 1750sqft self-storage unit, where RNLI boats were worked on. In 1976 the RNLI relocated to Poole in Dorset but the building remained empty until 2001 when Safestore acquired the property and began renovation work.

The external repairs were carried out by Structural Renovations Limited who has long experience of using the webercem concrete repair system. Tom Haynes, Director, Structural Renovations, said: "We hammer tested the rendered and concrete surfaces to each façade, removing defective material back to a sound substrate. In some locations the brickwork beneath had cracked which required the installation of helical wall ties to restore structural integrity, particularly to the two front corners of the building, in preparation for the webercem concrete repair system."

The webercem concrete repair system is a multi-component system compliant with BS EN 1504 for concrete patch repairs. The system contains webercem HB40 for high build repair and levelling; the associated bonding slurry webercem bondcoat, and finally a high performance coating of webercote smooth.

webercem bondcoat, a cementitious bonding aid, provides high initial grab to improve the build of the repair mortar and promote the bond to the concrete. It contains fibres for improved thixotropy, is solvent-free and only requires mixing with clean water onsite.

"The repaired areas were treated with lightweight, polymer modified, high build webercem HB40 structural repair mortar. The complete system has a proven track record demonstrating its quality and performance and allows speedier completion of work. We use it regularly on projects similar to this," continues Tom Haynes.

Once fully repaired the facades of the Safestore HQ were coated with webercote smooth which provides excellent anti-carbonation protection for existing concrete and new repairs. It has a minimum 15 years life expectancy and is protective, durable and decorative. webercote smooth can be applied by brush, roller and spray and is resistant to chloride ingress. It is available in four standard colours including White as used on this project.

In some areas following the repairs it was necessary to match the finish of the existing render substrate texture and here Structural Renovations used Weber cullamix tyrolean, a cement based mix in White. cullamix tyrolean provides a decorative and protective finish to achieve an open honeycomb texture. This pre-blended, through-colour render contains ECO Smart™ cement replacement technology, is available in six colours and suitable for most environments including coastal, suburban and rural locations.

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