Modern Building Services
BESA Conference, fire safety, Brexit, Aldous Bill, Indoor Air Quality, Training, Refrigerants
BESA Conference tackles the industry’s challenges

After a year of extraordinary events and unprecedented change, the industry is preparing to gather at the Park Plaza Victoria hotel in London on November 1 to debate where we go from here.

offsite, House of Lords, OSM, infrastructure, hospitals, houses
Can offsite solve the problems of construction?

As the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee produces its report on the benefits of offsite manufacture, the industry faces some tough questions about performance

London Energy Transformation Initiative, London Plan, LETI, Elementa, Etude, zero carbon, World Green Building Council, heat, electricity
Taking the lead to zero

The London Energy Transformation Initiative has already seen many of its recommendations adopted into the draft London Plan, and is now creating new approaches to help clients understand and achieve sustainable buildings.

BESA, IAQ, asthma
Soaring asthma rate strengthens case for IAQ

Building occupants are under siege from a battery of potential health threats, according to BESA’s Indoor Air Quality group.

CentraLine, Honeywell
Comprehensive connected building management

Benefit from a comprehensive solution offering cross-application control, low cost installation, integrated and safe remote operation and much more…


CentraLine are also pleased to announce the arrival of the latest version of their powerful supervisor ARENA NX v4.4.

Brexit, regulation, CIBSE, Hywel Davies, ICOM, EPBD, Part L, Clean Growth Strategy, nearly zero energy buildings, NZEBs
It’s not all about Brexit

We’re all waiting to discover what Brexit might mean for UK legislation on energy and emissions. But that shouldn’t distract us from home-grown regulation that will also introduce significant changes – and opportunities. Karen Fletcher reports on a presentation by CIBSE’s Dr Hywel Davies.

EPCs, MEES, Dr Andrew Geens, CIBSE Certification
In support of EPCs

Last month, MBS raised the issue that some building performance specialists view EPCs as ‘not fit for purpose’. Here Dr Andrew Geens makes the case for EPCs as an energy efficiency measurement and clarifies his position on why EPCs are a useful indicator for building owners and managers.

wellbeing, LG, University of Salford, Dr Graeme Sherriff, Andrew Slater, Andrew Robinson, Jonathan Moore, Building Engineering Specialists Association, BESA, Foobot, WELL, British Council for Offices, BCO Guide to Specification, Jack Frienc, Professor Derek Clements-Croome, MEES, Reading University, Hasman, Kane Group Building Services, Exi-Tite, University of Salford, LG Air Conditioning and Energy Solutions
The road to wellbeing

In this month’s MBS round table discussion, sponsored by LG, our panel of experts considers the topic of wellbeing and the contribution of building services to the health and happiness of occupants at work and at home. By Karen Fletcher

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, Spring Statement, late payment, housing
Is that Spring in the air?

Or a chill wind for construction? Karen Fletcher considers the Chancellor’s Spring Statement.

Ecobuild, Sarah Ratcliffe, Better Building Partnership, BBP, Dr Robert Cohen, Verco, Design for Performance, NABERS, Abigail Dean, BREEAM, EPC
Clients demand more

Are construction clients finally reaching the end of their collective tether when it comes to building performance? Karen Fletcher outlines the issues that are coming to a head.

Darren Richards, offsite technology, Industrial Strategy, Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, MEP, prefabricated utility cupboards, PUC, volume house-builders, procurement, trades, pods, manufacturing
Building blocks

Modular construction has gained considerable momentum over the past five years in the UK due to its positive impact on cost, programme, quality and safety. Offsite construction consultant Darren Richards discusses the latest developments.

MEES, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard, EPCs
MEES - a timebomb under the property industry

MBS looks at the latest research that shows EPC ratings look set to fall at an alarming rate, even in properties that are relatively well-managed. Computer modelling results make for difficult reading as the likely impact of MEES on property values becomes clear. 

Paul Reeve, Industrial Strategy, UK Clean Growth Strategy, Electric vehicles, ECA
A clean energy future - achieving the vision

Paul Reeve outlines the fundamentals of the government’s Industrial Strategy, and what it might mean for the building services sector and its clients.

Obstruction of progress

In the last three years, £7.8 billions in retentions have gone unpaid. MBS looks at the numbers which paint a picture of how this affects not only individual companies, but the construction industry’s ability to modernise, train and deliver.

Hot property, cool billions

Commercial property is 10% of UK net wealth. How will MEES affect value?

Building Engineering Services Association, Retentions
MPs rally behind Retentions Bill to protect SMEs

A group of MPs are lending their support to proposed new legislation that could provide a welcome boost to the finances of thousands of SMEs working in construction related sectors.

Ecodesign, Chris Meir, heating, NOx, Remeha
Ecodesign – the heat is on

More stringent regulations for space heating are on their way as the next phase of Ecodesign requirements come into effect next year under the Energy-related Products Directive (ErP). Chris Meir considers the implications for boiler manufacturers and the building services industry as a whole.

Peter Reynolds, Grundfos UK, hydraulic balancing
Balance is now what’s expected for heating systems

Peter Reynolds explains why hydraulic balancing offers benefits for heating system efficiency, and why he welcomes government policy that it should be ‘expected practice’ in domestic installations.

CentraLine, Energy Vision NX
The new ENERGY VISION NX from CentraLine

CentraLine announces latest version of ENERGY VISION NX - a software solution for professional building energy management.

CentraLine takes success on the road

CentraLine took to the road last month for a series of product updates across the country, where CentraLine Partners had the opportunity to interact with the existing product range, and to find out more about the latest product offerings. The sessions took the form of live technical demonstrations and showcased the new, improved functionality within the CentraLine NX platform.

BESA, apprentice, careers
BESA calls for action on apprentice funding and careers advice

The government must move quickly to clear up the confusion surrounding funding for apprentice training, according to the President of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

booster set, Steve Schofield, Europump, BPMA, CE marking
Boosting confidence

If you are part of the booster set supply chain, you have legal obligations to ensure that the products which you place on the market are fully compliant with EU legislation. In this article, Steve Schofield urges users to buy with confidence.

ECA, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Steve Martin, Paul Reeve
Making it personal

The issue of personal data protection will become increasingly important with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25th May 2018. Steve Martin and Paul Reeve explain what it means for our sector.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, energy, Energy Managers Association, energy management
Rising to the challenge

Lord Rupert Redesdale is a man on a mission. In fact, he’s been pursuing his goal of more effective, efficient and sustainable energy production and use in the UK for some time. MBS talks to him about the future.

MEES, LG Air Conditioning, EPCs, Debbie Hobbs, Andrew Geens, Simon Clouston, Andrew Slater, Jeremy Smith, Martyn Wilkinson, Cundall, Andrew Slater
MEES – Just the start

With only five months until Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are applied to buildings, our round table discussion panel, sponsored by LG Air Conditioning, agrees that MEES should be viewed as the starting point for building efficiency, not the finish.

Exhibition preview: EMEX 2017

As a media partner, Modern Building Services would like to invite all our readers to join us at EMEX on stand B14.

Electrical Contractors' Association, ECA, energy market, distributed energy, Ofgem, energy storage, batteries, renewables, Paul Reeve
Smart energy revolution

Paul Reeve looks at government plans to enable a distributed energy future and sees the disruption of our energy market – and future opportunities for our industry.

Brace for impact

As Ofgem and National Grid rethink how commercial customers are charged for electricity transmission costs, businesses will see significant changes in what they’re paying and when. MBS considers the proposed changes and how they might impact energy use.

Reflections on water

As Whitbread announces that it’s the first hospitality multinational to be granted a self-supply licence, MBS considers the implications of a focus on water for building services

Building Engineering Services Association, BESA, training, skills, Apprenticeship Levy, Trailblazer, apprenticeship, Tony Howard
Back training and fix falling productivity

Demand for building engineering services is growing at its fastest rate for years, but companies are struggling to find the skilled people to fill vacancies and our productivity is suffering. Tony Howard* says proper support for training is the answer.

Andy Lewry, BRE, Energy management, facilities management
Energy management – the challenge for facilities managers

With energy costs rising, concerns over resilient energy supplies, and statutory obligations connected to emissions and climate change policies, facilities managers will have to face many challenges. Andy Lewry and Cameron Steel discuss how facilities managers can face them

Commissioning Specialists' Association, commissioning
What can the commissioning industry gain from ‘lessons learned’ on projects?

Tony Anderson of the Commissioning Specialists’ Association highlights the important and often overlooked issue of using previous problem-solving solutions to address challenges in new projects.

air conditioning, GWP, Mitsubishi, R32, refrigerants
Are you ready for the F-Gas Regulations?

The F-Gas Regulations are about to get much tougher as we move into 2018. Modern Building Services brought together a panel of industry experts to examine the issues facing the sector as gases such as R410A surge in price and R32 enters the UK market. Andrew Brister reports.

BREEAM’S success founded on commitment to R & D

The BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings is the most widely used such method in the world and dominates the European green-building market. Kerri-Emma Dobson of BRE explains the reasons for its success and how it is preparing for the future.

Wieland Electric, structured cabling
Getting smart with cabling

Making buildings smarter isn’t just about digital technologies, it’s also about getting smarter with construction processes. Mark Redfern of Wieland Electric discusses the benefits of structured cabling.

LG, Multi V5, VRF
Multi V 5 - Ultimate Comfort

During the concept of LG’s latest VRF solution, Multi V 5, efficiency was only a part of its concept consideration. Ultimate Comfort is a driving force behind Multi V 5’s application to the market in recognition of the 3 main areas of user concern.

CentraLine, HAWK 8000
CentraLine extends its reach

CentraLine completes the NX product family by introducing the powerful HAWK 8000 controller for efficient and safe integration of building applications.

CentraLine, Niagara
The power of Niagara eXtended…and more besides

Niagara eXtended (NX) is the CentraLine building-management system. It is expanded upon the industry-leading Niagara software platform and offers additional benefits and value to CentraLine customers and partners.

Efficient in every way

With CentraLine you can rest assured that it’s not just our logo that is green. Our products are designed to be energy efficient and to conform to the latest energy efficiency standards, but it is just as important that our green approach extends to efficient engineering, and in turn delivers additional benefits to our end users.

Andy Lewry, controls, BMS, BEMS, energy efficiency, performance gap
Taking control of building performance

The control of energy in buildings is generally poor, and the performance gap can inflate energy bills by up to 400%. Andy Lewry discusses how controls can help.

Metsec, cost overruns, cost over-runs
Bringing cost over-runs on projects under control

Why is there so often a significant difference between projected costs versus final costs? Ryan Simmonds of voestalpine Metsec examines the reasons and reviews how changing the approach to planning the project can bring inbound and outbound project costs closer together.

BREEAM, sustainable, sustainability
Sustainable masterpiece at Wimbledon Art College

A new studio building for Wimbledon College of Arts, designed as a simple, flexible space with excellent natural light and ventilation, has become a beacon for those in the higher education sector seeking to place sustainability centre stage for future developments — and has achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.

The early involvement of specialist contractors will be increasingly important to the successful design, delivery and operation of tall buildings, says BESA technical director Tim Rook. The direction of construction in this country is up. We are building faster, denser and higher — yet most tall buildings are approached as ‘bespoke’ projects with no standard approach to their design, construction and operation. With over 200 new high-rise buildings planned for London alone, it is clear that a unified set of guidelines for the supply chain is urgently needed.  Most high rise structures are mixed use — residential; retail; commercial office; leisure etc. — all of which can change radically during the building’s operating life. The design process can also last for many years and is, therefore, at the mercy of significant economic, political and social changes that can radically alter the developer’s vision for the building part way through construction.  All of this creates a unique set of challenges for the technical trades given the task of designing, installing, commissioning and operating the services.  Today’s tall buildings are more like vertical cities with a wide variety of occupants and rapid changes of use. The design team also has to be thinking extremely long-term — 80, 90, 100 years. What services will future generations of occupants need, and how will technology alter how they are delivered? Will they need a car park for all-electric, driverless cars? Will there be cars at all?  Handover Even post-occupancy warranty issues need to be considered early because these can be extremely complex to satisfy multiple tenants, all with different requirements. The project team has to be aware of the type of warranties that will be given at the end — even if the handover process is many years in the future. At the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), we have been working on these questions for some time. We have launched an interactive ‘wiki’ to gather expert data and recently hosted a supply-chain forum comprising architects, consultants, contractors, builders and legal specialists all with particular expertise in tall buildings. In a full-day interactive session, the BESA forum looked at how tall-building supply chains currently operate and where this is creating weaknesses in delivery and long-term operation. The members considered the implications for the surrounding area and the local community and how a tall building becomes a catalyst for other projects and other spaces. The definition of ‘tall’ covers any building where, because of its height, there are specific engineering challenges, changes and additional considerations that go beyond normal practice in order to ensure a safe and efficient system.  Therefore, the forum members looked at how the specific challenges created by tall structures impacted on the design and safety of pressure systems, pipework and jointing selection, anchoring and expansion, fire systems (sprinklers, dry risers), large VRF air-conditioning systems, cold water services and many more.  Over 20% of the total construction costs are down to M&E services, according to the consultants Davis Langdon. Yet specialist contractors with crucial knowledge of these services are usually left out of the process until the later stages — a fact that the whole forum agreed was hampering project delivery and undermining ongoing operation of the completed building. With multiple types of occupant, the arrangement of the services is a ‘day-one issue’, with an early decision made about the position and nature of the services ‘core’ critical to the overall design. Similarly, construction logistics need to be considered from the outset as most tall buildings are in tight urban areas — creating serious access issues, particularly with the amount and size of equipment to be transported in. It was recognised by the forum that a great deal of value can be brought to the table by the contractors who will carry out the work and that it would be preferable to do this early in the design process. There was even a willingness to consider making this a paid-for service.  Some developers do bring in specialist contractors at design stages 2 and 3, which can be as much as five years before work starts on site in a complex tall building. However, in most cases the specialists are brought in after construction has begun — and that is too late.  Concept Architect Simon Bowden told the BESA forum that lifetime design should be a priority right from the concept design — with the architect, client and developer being clear about how long they expected the building to operate. He said, ‘You must make the building flexible enough to deal with changes in use — particularly in the office space. You need to look at the floor plate; it is wrong that so many offices are demolished when they should have been designed for re-use with a longer design life built in.’ WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff technical director Peter Brickell said ‘everything depends on the core’. “If you are building for residential then you need the core in the centre to maximise living space around the perimeter, but offices often have different requirements, with a deep floor space and only senior management out on the edge of the floorplan,’ said Mr Brickell. He said that a floor plate of approximately 18 m was a good rule of thumb because it works for residential, hotels and offices — and can be adapted later depending whether the core is in the centre or not. He added that the design team should look to ‘blur the lines between office and residential so you can change in future, aiming for spaces that could suit both, with floor-to-floor heights of around 4 m. ‘If the cores are at the edge, you can keep the integrity of the floor plate when making changes.’ However, this means that heating and cooling loads must be discussed at the outset because every occupant will have their own particular needs and targets, which have a ‘profound impact on the design of the core and, by implication, the footprint’, according to Valeria Khnykina of SSE. ‘One of the first decisions should be the position and size of plant — basement/mid-level/rooftop,’ she added. ‘If you have chiller plant on the roof, that has major structural implications. And if you have a hotel in there, will it want its own services arrangement because of its different usage patterns to the offices etc.?’ If the building is to be connected to a district-heating supply that also has to be designed early so you need to know what the loads will be — particularly if you want an efficient ∆T (hot water supplied at 90 to 105°C, with the return at 30 to 40°C). So, will there be a requirement for buffer vessels or thermal stores? The forum also discussed the role of lower-temperature systems as a result of increasing use of heat pumps and the difficulty that could create in getting the right balance of temperatures across the whole structure.  Awkward Early input from the FM team is essential to ensure good management of the technology throughout the building’s operating life. BESA vice president Giuseppe Borgese said that core services should be done in such a way ‘so that you don’t need to shut down the whole building when replacing or refurbishing’, but that often requires FM specialists to make themselves unpopular by asking awkward questions of the designers. From a construction point of view, ‘Verticality is really important,’ said Kevin Mason of Briggs. ‘In lots of projects, the services are removed from the core and that creates real problems. If you have toilets at every level, then you have waste pipes coming through in various places and that can have a big impact on your flexibility.’ He said manufacturers were producing more modular equipment and offsite fabrication was improving. ‘However, they could put more thought into how it is ultimately going to be assembled on site. For example, do the pieces of plant have to be so big? Or can you give us boxes that can be taken apart and reassembled on site to ease access and lifting issues?’ He also stressed the importance of managing operating pressures in tall buildings and techniques for avoiding the need for interstitial plant rooms as these add cost and complexity while also taking up valuable space. Advances in mobile technology mean the integration of smart systems and how they are going to control the services is another early consideration, according to Tom Smith, global director at WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff. He said this also had long-term implications for the health and well-being of occupants. This is an increasingly important consideration for clients that goes beyond obvious issues like indoor air quality to how people are being encouraged to use the stairs more often than the lift, for example, as part of the WELL Building Standard, which is now being adopted in many countries. The BESA tall-buildings forum is continuing its work to develop industry standard guidance, which will be developed and published on a sub-topic by sub-topic basis via its ‘wiki’. Adopting this dynamic, online approach will enable the working group to readily update its content with strong links between sub-topic publications and make access easier for members.  For further information or to join the wiki task please email:  a floor plate of approximately 18 m was a good rule of thumb because it works for residential, hotels and offices — and can be adapted later depending whether the core is in the centre or not
Early specialist support crucial for tall buildings

The early involvement of specialist contractors will be increasingly important to the successful design, delivery and operation of tall buildings, says BESA technical director Tim Rook.

Elementa Consulting, London Plan, zero emissions
Developing a roadmap for a zero-emissions London

When over a hundred stakeholders got together to discuss the need for a radical rethink of London’s climate-change policy for buildings, the ideas flowed thick and fast — as Clara Bagenal George and Ed Garrod of Elementa Consulting report.

Airmec, fire dampers, maintenance, testing
When did you last see your fire dampers?

The requirements for fire damper testing have changed. British Standard 9999:2017 now says that all fire dampers are to be inspected and performance tested annually (not every two years as before). Andrew Steel of Airmec asks if you are you compliant?