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STENI Panels Help Sea Cadets Get Shipshape

Two types of cladding panels from Steni UK have helped give a new Sea Cadets headquarters a face and membership lift.

Glass fibre reinforced Steni Nature Sparkling White cladding panels, which are built up to provide a surface finish of natural stone, have been used alongside Steni Nature Brick Effect panels, which are large-format but lightweight, on the new TS Diadem in Frimley, Surrey (

Designed and project managed by Hampshire based architects Stephens Cox Associates and built on site in just 10 weeks by modular building specialists Elite Systems (GB), the new site was officially opened by HRH the Earl of Wessex in January 2011.

Sea Cadets chairman Peter Stapleton said: “Our new home has not only given us a building which is warmer and easier to maintain than its predecessor but a bit of a membership lift. Since it opened our numbers have more than doubled from around 20 to almost 50.”

The Steni Nature panels were installed on the main 10m x 21m, part two-storey building and a 7m x 11m single-storey boat/bus house. Unlike its predecessor, the main building required an extra storey at one end as the new site on Gilbert Road was smaller than the old one around the corner on Portsmouth Road.

The Sea Cadets made the move because their old site, a 1960s single-skin concrete building adjacent to the grounds of Frimley Park Hospital, was required by the NHS Foundation Trust for a new entrance to its new A&E department. The move was a joint project by the Sea Cadets, the Hospital Trust which owns the new site, and the Ministry of Defence which owned the old site.

“We lost some land but we have ended up with a much improved building,” said Peter Stapleton. “The old one always felt colder inside than out. The finish on the new one is much better and generally, it will prove a lot easier to maintain. We are very happy with it.”

The brick-effect cladding, which eliminates the need for wet trades, was believed to be a requirement of planning permission as the new site, which is used twice weekly by the 10 to 18-year-old cadets, is adjacent to a housing estate where brick is the predominant fascia.

Construction by Elite Systems (GB) had to be delayed for a few weeks when a badger set was discovered on site, requiring investigations into whether it was still in use.

Jamie Gee, architectural technician with Elite, who have used the fire- and weather-resistant Steni panels before, said: “The entrance to the site was tight and a precise lifting plan for the cranage of the buildings on delivery was required due to nearby trees.”

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