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Pace of steel price rises accelerates

Steel prices are expected to reach £1000 a tonne by the end of the year, according to a survey carried out by the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations among a hundred member companies of the Association of Ductwork Contractors & Allied Services — a rise of 50% in just 12 months. The survey also found that while prices had risen by about 20% since December, they were expected to soar by over 30% in the following six months. There is also no sign of when the upward trend will peak.

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Contractors blamed for delays on complex projects

Many complex construction projects are likely to be finished more than six months late, due to poor time control, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Building.

Polypipe Terrain boosts production capacity

Representing an investment of about £1 million in the factory of Polypipe Terrain at Aylesford in Kent is a new HDPE extrusion line and three additional injection-moulding machines — giving a significant increase in capacity. Additional storage capacity has also been created.

BK reduces its carbon footprint in Scotland

Balfour Kilpatrick, the multi-services and power-systems business of Balfour Beatty, has moved its head office, projects unit and Scotland West operations to a new building to reduce its carbon footprint. The new office is the Lumina Building in Hillingdon Park, Glasgow — close to the previous premises.

OBE for SummitSkills CEO

SummitSkills’ chief executive Keith Marshall has been appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his contribution to skills.

Following directorships with the Training Standards Council and later the Adult Learning Inspectorate, he joined SummitSkills as chief executive in 2003 and has led the organisation through its initial licensing in 2004 and the award of its second contract in 2007.

FG Eurofred targets VRF in direct-sales operation

FG Eurofred, a joint venture between Eurofred of Spain and air-conditioning manufacturer Fujitsu General, is targeting the UK air-conditioning market with a new image, a new structure and a unique selling proposition.

Balfour Kilpatrick completes contract for Luton Innovation Centre

Balfour Kilpatrick has completed a £1.8 million contract at the Luton Innovation Centre for the supply and installation of HVAC, electrical and plumbing services for Marriott Construction and ultimate climate Luton Borough Council.

New test chamber reduces testing time for Ciat

A new EU1.5 million test chamber at Ciat’s factory in Culoz, France has halved the time needed for end-of-line testing, enabling chiller production to be increased. The new chamber also dramatically reduces the impact of these tests on the environment.

Reader wins Vent-Axia World Superbike Championship competition

Ventilation specialist Vent-Axia is pleased to announce that Simon Lamb of Targetfellow Estates Ltd is the lucky winner of its World Superbike Championship competition in the June issue of Modern Building Services. He wins two tickets to this year’s championship.

Bailey wins major City project

NG Bailey, one of the UK’s largest building-services providers, has been awarded a £20 million contract to provide the category A mechanical and electrical fit-out for a grade A specification office in the City of London. Work starts on Drapers Gardens, to the north of the Bank of England, in July. This 25 000 m2 development for Canary Wharf Developments and Exemplar Developments is designed to achieve an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating.

BSS reports record results

National distributor BSS Group has reported a 27.4% increase in revenue for the year to the end of March 2008 and a 23.3% increase in profit compared to the previous year.

Birchall fits out UK’s largest modular healthcare scheme

Building-engineering provider Birchall has installed the mechanical services for the largest modular healthcare scheme in the UK. The Acute Admissions Unit at Watford General Hospital has been built using 142 steel-framed modules.

Energy Technique shows improved performance

Energy Technique has reported a 9.3% increase in sales for the year to 31 March 2008 to £9.19 million and profit before tax up 34.8% to £530 000.

Housing starts plunge to lowest level since 1945

Housing starts for 2008 are forecast to be the lowest since 1945, according to the latest forecasts for construction output from the Construction Products Association. Little more than 147 000 new housing starts are expected in Great Britain this year, 27% down on 2007 and the smallest number since 1992. In addition, the social-housing programme is failing to grow in line with the Government’s plans for 45 000 new homes a year by 2011.

CORGI to be replaced

Capita has been named as the preferred bidder in the competition to provide a new registration scheme for gas installers in the UK. It will replace the scheme currently operated by CORGI. The announcement comes from the Health & Safety Executive.

Innovation in solar energy

Solar-heating specialist Riomay is installer of the year in the British Renewable Energy Association awards for what is believed to be the largest solar-thermal heating system in the world.

Building the lower-carbon future

The 2006 Building Regulations are starting to have a major impact on large-scale regeneration projects, as demonstrated by Temple Quay Central in Bristol.

Make light work of switching

With energy-hungry filament lamps soon to be history and low-energy bulbs growing fast in popularity, it is time to revisit the subject of selecting contactors for switching lighting loads — as Steve Rickard explains.

Panel radiators — clever by design

Nearly every home and many offices have panel radiators, but they are usually ignored and unloved. Dean Chughtai from MHS Radiators takes an alternative view and celebrates a true classic — that still has a key role to play in an era of renewable energy.

The future is variable

In just five years the number of porjects using variable-speed pumps has shot up from 10% to 90%, posing new challenges for commissioning engineers — as we found out from John Coppin

An informed perspective on maintenance and refurbishment

John Armstrong shares his practical experience of maintenance and refurbishment.

Consequential improvements

Consequential improvements was a new line of thinking in the latest Building Regulations. Malcolm Jeary offers guidance on what it all means.

Variable-speed drives perform in all weathers

Alldales variable-speed drives have been fitted to the master extract system of the O2 leisure and entertainment venue in London. They were commissioned by building-automation consultant TAC Systems as part of an upgrade and refurbishment arising from the fitting of a new integrated Building Management System and bring to 16 the total number of inverter drives supplied by Alldales since the former Dome site reopened.

Tricool responds to planning challenge for chiller replacement in Mayfair

The low profile of two Tricool chillers installed as part of the replacement of the air-conditioning and ventilation systems for the Hilton London Green Park Hotel in Mayfair was a key element in obtaining planning permission.

Plastic pipework is renovation solution for data centre

Durapipe’s SuperFLO plastic pipework system has been installed as part of the renovation of a data centre owned by ATOS Origin, avoiding the need for hot works.

Quick and easy method of making bacteria counts

Easicult dipslides from Kamco provide an easy way to determine the total bacterial count in cooling-system water without having to send samples to a fully equipped laboratory. These dipslides can be used, for example, to check water for bacterial activity in cooling towers, evaporative condensers and hot and cold water systems.

Buderus cuts the cost of education

Fuel costs for boiler plant at Withington Girls’ School in Manchester are expected to be reduced by up to 40% following the replacement of 30-year old boilers on the recommendation of Belfry Maintenance Group, which had maintained the old boilers for many years.

Growing the role of the facilities manager

With the involvement of CIBSE, the scope of facilities management is growing to include operational and engineering aspects — and Geoff Prudence, chairman of CIBSE’s FM Group, believes that the time is ripe for further progress.

Prefabricated boiler plant minimises downtime in sheltered housing

A downtime of just half a day was achieved when boiler plant serving the heating system in sheltered housing in Alnwick, Northumberland, was replaced. That feat was achieved using a Paraskid 120 condensing packaged boiler plant from Potterton Commercial to replace the previous plant.

HCFCs awareness

Guidance on regulations governing the use of ozone-depleting substances, such as some refrigerants, is available from the British Refrigeration Association. This guidance has been prepared as there is critical timing associated with phasing out refrigerants under the ‘Ozone depleting substances regulation’. It is important that everyone involved with the distribution and use of HCFCs, including R22, is fully aware of the issue.

Hydrocarbon contractor refurbishes with MSCBs

Trox has supplied and installed exposed multi-service chilled beams in the refurbished office of hydrocarbon contactor M. W. Kellogg Ltd in Greenford. The initial contract was for one floor, with a potential rolling programme covering four buildings and 30 storeys.

Floor-standing boilers have design features aimed at the replacement market

To reduce the cost of replacing existing boiler plant with a fuel-efficient condensing model Broag-Remeha has introduced the Gas 110 Eco floor-standing boiler which has been specially developed to fit into the same floor area as one of the most popular traditional boiler designs of equal output. One of the major savings is avoiding much of the cost of modifying pipework and associated fittings. These boilers also pass through a standard doorway. Their footprint is 600 x 663 mm, the difference in output being due to height. The range of features of these boilers also makes them ideal for new-build.

Outsourcing the maintenance of building-services systems

The occurrence of a problem with a building-services system is not the time to start finding a specialist to put it right. The appointment of a service and maintenance provider is a much better approach — as Chris Trotman explains.

Condensing combi boiler replacement nearly halves gas bill

One of the first installations of Vaillant’s ecoTEC SEDBUK A rated condensing combination boilers installed in Scotland is a replacement for a boiler in a private Victorian property in the Lenzie district of Glasgow — and has reduced the gas bill by 42%.

Rhoss reduces footprint of new range of chillers

The small size of a range of Rhoss chillers from Coolmation is said to make them especially suitable for retrofitting in replacement projects where space is at a premium. Their footprint is little more than half that of their predecessors.

Maintenance specialist warns against trying to cut servicings costs

John Wright, general manager of specialist servicing and maintenance company EWS, has warned against the dangers of cutting corners on service and maintenance in the current economic climate.

Fast-track parts service for Daikin equipment

Daikin distributor Space Airconditioning has a dedicated and experienced spares department to support all Daikin equipment, both current and older models. Space has over 27 years’ experience with Daikin equipment.

Krantz chilled beams deliver comfort for refurbishment of King’s College London building

Architectural and design practice BDP specified Krantz active chilled beams during the refurbishment of the Strand Building of King’s College London. Nearly a kilometre of these beams were supplied for open-plan office areas and cellular office spaces in the reconfigured interior of the building.

Pump replacement is the time to exploit the best of modern technology

Glynn Williams is concerned that like-for-like pump replacement fails to exploit the benefits of modern pump technology.

RDM develops drop-in replacement for Tuscan refrigeration controller

Controls company Resource Data Management has developed a drop-in replacement for the aging Tuscan refrigeration controller, providing a quick and cost-effective upgrade of existing installations to the latest technology.

Customer service leads to reappointment of Chubb Fire at National Media Museum

Chubb Fire is now responsible for servicing the extensive fire-safety system of the most popular museum outside of London — the National Media Museum in Bradford, which draws over 735 000 visitors a year.

Lochinvar water heaters give excellent performance in York school

The benefits of condensing water heaters have been brought to a school in York by upgrading an outdated boiler room using two Lochinvar TurboCharger 88-380CE condensing water heaters. They provide hot water for a kitchen serving the main dining hall of St Peter’s School and were installed by Connaught Gasforce.

Hushon shows its flexibility

Air-conditioning distributor Hushon used products from three manufacturers to fulfil the air-conditioning and ventilation requirements for the refurbishment of a major office building in Oxford.

Alldales retrofits inverter drives to fans in Sainsbury’s building

Retrofit work carried out by Alldales Drive Systems to fit inverter drives to air-handling systems at Sainsbury’s store support centre in London demonstrates how in-house experience can help overcome the challenges of introducing additional plant into existing buildings to improve energy performance.

Water as a climate-change issue

Building on CIBSE’s success in addressing the carbon issues associated with climate change, the institution’s new president, Professor John Swaffield, argues that water is the new carbon.

Rainwater Harvesting — saving the UK’s water

Over 100 000 l of water falls each year on the roof of an typical 4-bedroom family home in the UK, compared with the 70 000 l a year used by a typical family for flushing toilets, washing clothes and outside use. Harvesting that water is the solution to the water stress that is experienced in much of England, explains Steff Wright.

Are you feeling the pressure?

Low pressure and poor flow rates can cause serious water problems at existing and new-build properties. Darren Cooper explores the issue and suggests various solutions.

Rehau shows how to utilise rainwater and avoid storm-water problems

Rehau has installed its own rainwater recovery system at its newly expanded factory in Amlwch on Anglesey to meet a significant percentage of its non-potable water requirements. The company has also installed its storm-water management scheme to reduce the disruptive effect of heavy rainfall on the site.

Waterwise Marque for waterless urinal

Armitage Shanks’s Aridian waterless urinal has been awarded the Waterwise Marque for products that highlight water efficiency or reduce water wastage.