Uckfield construction firm completes another challenge

The cupola feature designed, manufactured and installed by Uckfield firm Design and Display Structures.

The latest challenge met by Uckfield firm Design & Display Structures is a large-scale lightweight cupola feature for Barton Square at the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

The cupola encompasses a lightning protection system which tops the 34m diameter dome soaring above the retail outlet.

Access to the dome peak was difficult and so the feature was built at car park level and hoisted as a pre-assembled structure to the top of the dome, with final connections made in the quickest possible time.

The cupola, with lightning protection system, sits on a dome at Barton Square at the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

D&D broke the cupola design down to a kit of repeating modular sections. They were clad around a primary steelwork frame and met the aesthetic requirements of the architect.

The body was created in 1/6th segments and the skirting in 1/12th segments so the joint lines complemented each other. 

This enabled repeating manufacturing of panels save for one into which D&D incorporated the access hatch necessary for final installation and future access for maintaining the lightning protection system.

A close look at the cupola and the hatch incorporated for final installation and for future maintenance access.

Site assembly and inspection could then all take place at ground level utilising mobile towers rather than high level scaffolding. 

This meant there were substantially lower construction health and safety risks for all parties concerned in that phase of works. 

D&D used a combination of Vectorworks and Rhino to produce the necessary 3D/2D fabrication and installation drawings.


Allan Curtis, of D&D, said the savings afforded by the GRP construction approach were many. 

“By being a low weight, low maintenance, pre-finished RAL colour ref material, it avoided high level assembly and post decoration in what is clearly a very tricky location to access both during construction phase and in the future. 

Aged copper colour

“To client benefit the cupola in its aged copper colour will stand proud as a highly visible retail customer beacon for years to come.

“Through offsite modular manufacture GRP panel construction delivered curved and louvred profiled surfaces at a much more economical cost than alternative materials which would have involved fabricating each panel individually from scratch.”

• Contact details for Design & Display Structures can be found 24/7 in our Uckfield Directory. Look for the name or search in categories for Architectural-themed Features, Construction, or GRP Manufacturer.

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