When the new Clacton Lifeboat Centre was opened in 2007, its imaginative design and innovative use of materials was widely applauded. To add aesthetic appeal to the structure and to provide a functional purpose, Hi-Strength Paint Grade blocks from Forterra's Thermalite® range were used for the interior of the building.
Work started on the new lifeboat house site in Hastings Avenue in 2006. The new building which is next to the coastguard station houses both lifeboats and provides up to the minute training and crew facilities. A gift shop and viewing area are included in the plans giving better access to the public than at the present boathouse on the pier.
“This was a very unusual design, with stainless steel combined with brickwork, blocks and glass to create a strong visual impact,” comments Paul Markwell of Rose Builders, the firm responsible for the installation. “The blockwork was specified because of its overall clean and bright appearance and also because it had the capacity to be easily washed down.”
This practical function of the blocks was a major consideration in its specification. Every time the lifeboats return, they have to be cleaned of any salt and debris that could compromise future performance. The Thermalite® Hi-Strength Paint Grade is easily washable once painted, with the smooth surface making its far easier to clean than conventional render or brickwork. Made from up to 50% pulverised fuel ash, they are strong and exceptionally light to handle, facilitating the build process. Additionally, they are resistant to moisture penetration which was a key issue considering the nature of the building.
“It looks fantastic,” concludes Paul Markwell. “We see the building as a testament to how large blocks such as the Thermalite® Hi-Strength can succeed both functionally and aesthetically.” The new boathouse is a modern, low maintenance building with all the facilities required to operate an efficient rescue service and gives Clacton-on-Sea a station to be proud of.