Sky Believe In Better Building

Sky Believe In Better Building

Application: Offices & Public Buildings
Architects: Arup
Client: Birmingham City Council

Completed in September 2014, the Sky Believe in Better Building is a showpiece in the heart of the Sky UK Limited West London campus. Construction company Mace, turned to Jaga UK for specialist advice on how to overcome the heat loss resulting from the building’s steep glass facades.

Today, the office and training complex stands as an example of how sustainable building practices and energy-efficient long-term operation can work in harmony with genuine architectural prowess.  


Originally envisaged as a ‘pop-up’ tent, the Sky Believe In Better Building structure was redesigned and delivered as a fully functional, timber framed, three-storey teaching academy.

The unique timber frame supports the building’s steep glass façades, which whilst complementing the primary architectural feature of the building, provided their own challenges for the project.

Glass is a poor insulator so Mace sought a manufacturer that could provide a specialist solution to combat with inherent levels of heat loss. Mace also required a flexible partner able to provide specialist solutions in line with a complex project building programme and adapt to any changes along the way.

However, there were a number of other challenges that also needed to be considered. The building incorporated a displacement ventilation system with a 450mm floor void, which posed some complications in mounting and installation. Furthermore, the objective was for the energy efficient heating and ventilation system to achieve BREEAM Excellent compliance.

Working closely with Mace, Jaga devised a bespoke solution aimed at overcoming the problems associated with heat loss. The solution was the specification of Mini Canal perimeter trench heaters, which are perfect for providing heat alongside glazed facades.

The Mini Canal’s powerful natural output capability satisfied the need for comfortable temperatures and helped meet BREEAM requirements through its Low-H2O radiator technology -low mass, low water content radiators that use just a tenth of the water required by standard steel panel radiators.

The trench heating was installed within the building’s main staircase in tailored boxes that Jaga UK provided specifically for this project. This was an inventive solution that resolved the issue of accommodating the 450mm floor voids, as well as yielding more heat output to compensate for not using fan assisted versions.

These design factors were scoped out through the use of Building Information Technology (BIM). Because Jaga UK was able to supply Revit compatible BIM files for its products, the designers and architects could accurately predict the heaters’ energy performance levels and see how they could be incorporated into available spaces.

To ensure the heating solution could be stylishly incorporated into the contemporary design, Jaga  UK provided custom roll-up anodised aluminium grilles (RNA). In addition, 28 Tetra designer radiators were used to warm the building’s stairwells.

Client Quote

William Couch, Mechanical Engineer at Mace said “Jaga UK was involved from the beginning and worked with us throughout the design period. They were able to stagger the deliveries so that we received them floor-by-floor, which was synchronised with the construction programme. With a programme this fast there were inevitable design changes as the build developed. Jaga UK was always quick to respond when we needed modifications made to the trench boxes as specifications changed.”

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