Pavilion Court Retirement Living Residence, Felixstowe

Pavilion Court located on the seafront at Felixstowe, Essex, provides 46 self-contained apartments in 1 and 2 bedroom formats designed for disabled use.

A noted retirement living developer has completed its first later living residence using light steel framing, which is located on the seafront at Felixstowe in Essex. The project called Pavilion Court provides 46 self-contained apartments in 1 and 2 bedroom formats that are all designed for disabled use. It is located in a residential area on Hamilton Road, which required a construction process that did not cause disturbance to the local residents.

Pavilion Court consists of two similar buildings of 8 and 9 storeys constructed partly on a first floor podium above a car park. The narrow frontage brick-clad buildings provided high quality, independent and assisted living with wonderful sea views that required design of 3.5m wide windows.

The complete structural package was provided by Metek and included the light steel structure, steel decking, concrete and reinforcement, precast concrete stairs and the structural steel components, making it almost a ‘turn-key’ project. The project was won by Metek in competition with a steel frame and precast concrete units, partly on the versatility that the light steel solution offered and the ability of Metek to deliver the whole package.

Metek’s light steel wall panels were delivered by a single lorry daily, and concreting of each floor level was organised on a 7 day cycle. The installation of the light steel framework was a quiet and fast process, and the whole light steel package was completed in 5 months out of a 15 month overall programme.

Both buildings were brick-clad on their front and side elevations and had a set back at the 5th floor to provide a high level outdoor space in the easterly direction and enclosed winter gardens were built in on the westerly direction. This exposed site meant that wind loading was the critical design case, which required design of a braced steel core in which the RHS steel sections had to be built into the floors and walls.

The light steel framing was designed to resist the high compression forces at the lower levels. All wall panels were delivered with X-bracing. The floor construction consists of a composite slab which was designed for spans up to 5.5m. Slim floor beams were designed up to 4.7m span to support the floor slab and to create larger open spaces without need for down-stand beams.

3D BIM Model

Construction Details

Block A is 9 storeys high and 2209m2 floor area and consists of 26 apartments. Block B is 8 storeys high and 1577m2 floor area and consists of 20 apartments. Both buildings are partly located on a concrete podium with car parking below and partly on a strip footings with a beam and block floor in between. This required use of a light weight construction to minimise the loads on the sub-structure.

The motivation to use Metek’s light steel framing was because no other system provided the speed of installation, light weight and ability to form quite complex plan forms. Stability was provided by the X-braced light steel framing in combination with a steel core that was designed using 200mm deep x 100mm wide RHS sections fitted within the wall thickness.

Metek organised and coordinated the design, manufacture and installation of the light steel framing together with the fabrication of the 100 Tonnes of steelwork and precast concrete stairs, as part of an integrated package through the Building Information Model (BIM), which was created by Metek on behalf of the client and architect.

The floor construction consists of a 180 mm deep composite slab supported on 80 mm deep decking which was designed for spans up to 5.5m. The decking was delivered with crushed ends to improve the transfer of loading to the light steel walls. To create wider open spaces and to give flexibility in planning of the apartments, slim floor beams were designed within the slab depth by using 200 x 200 SHS sections with angles welded to their sides. The slim floor beams were supported by 100 x 100 SHS posts that were built into the light steel walls.

The brickwork was supported at each floor above level 4 and the weight of the brickwork was supported by the light steel façade walls on the levels below. This required use of a cast-in slotted edge trim to the composite slab to which stainless steel brackets and support angles were attached. The façade walls were designed for loads transferred and had 3.5m wide windows, which were designed using multiple C sections next to the windows. Each apartment also had a full mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system that was located under the composite slab and above the ceiling. The overall floor zone was only 400mm deep, including acoustic finishes, ceiling and a 150mm deep service zone located below the 180mm deep floor slab, which is the shallowest achievable in any comparable form of construction.

Light steel framing is the preferred solution where weight saving and speed of construction are fundamental to the success of the project.

Application Benefits

  • Fast construction- 5 months for light steel framing out of 15 months programme
  • No disturbance to the quiet residential area during construction
  • Stability provided by braced steel framework around the stair cores
  • Package included structural steelwork, precast stairs, decking and concrete
  • Floor zone of only 400mm including service ducts
  • 90 minutes fire resistance
  • Excellent acoustic insulation


Metek have been early adopters of BIM methodologies having developed a level 2 compliant process that has successfully delivered multiple schemes nationwide. It has been recognised as excellent in winning the Construction News Specialists Awards 2015 & 2016.

Metek BIM is a lean 5D process that embraces the end client value benefits possible with offsite construction when designing for procurement, manufacture and erection within an integrated methodology. Data deliverables in COBie and IFC format are naturally available.