Modern Building Services
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London HEVAR 2004

The popular London HEVAR show is back at Chelsea Football Club on 6 and 7 October — and is well worth a visit.

Rethinking how to reduce the long-term costs of services

Whenever building-services engineers concern themselves about the costs associated with their aspects of a building project they generally confine themselves to capital costs (to reduce initial cost), value engineering (to strip out unnecessary cost) and whole-life costs (reducing operating costs such as energy consumption and maintenance).

Another challenge of climate change

Discussions and debates about climate change always focus on the build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases in the atmosphere and consequent rising temperatures in the not-too-distant future. The aim is to stimulate action to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, as is less-often mentioned, the accumulation of greenhouse gases to date is so great that even if their emissions were reduced to zero now, there would be little effect on global warming for several decades.

Simulating the acoustic performance of buildings

A concept developed by Arup makes it possible to simulate the performance of buildings from concert halls to offices before they are built.

Paddy Hastings
Dealing with the need for churn

While you cannot design office accommodation that will never need rearranging, you can design for flexibility and ease of change — as PADDY HASTINGS explains.

The cool solution to office churn

IAN LILLEY explains how putting air conditioning under the floor can massively alleviate the problems of rearranging and repartitioning offices.

Electrical systems that could almost be designed for churn

Pre-fabrication and the use of modular systems assembled off-site is now common practice throughout the construction industry. MIKE JOHNSON discusses the benefits of modular wiring systems.

Wireless switching offers churn benefits

Changes to the the control of lighting systems can be easily achieved following the installation of Wieland Electric’s Gesis RC product family using wireless technology from EnOcean.

National Energy Centre
Showing the way towards zero carbon emissions

A ground-source heat pump at the National Energy Centre at Milton Keynes can heat a new building with no carbon emissions.

imax boiler
To repair or replace?

Upgrading heating plant and installing a new boiler is a major purchase for organisations. GRAHAM WILLIAMSOn looks at why, despite the initial outlay, it is better to replace rather than continue to repair ailing heating plant.

Enjoying the benefits of prefabrication

Designers, contractors and end users should make much more use of prefabricated boiler and hot-water plant, says Ken Percival.

How controlling boiler plant can cut fuel bills by 40%

Common-sense methods of controlling boiler plant are frequently not exploited. Julian Miller explains how energy savings of at least 20% and as much as 40% can be achieved.

How controlling boiler plant can cut fuel bills by 40%

Common-sense methods of controlling boiler plant are frequently not exploited. Julian Miller explains how energy savings of at least 20% and as much as 40% can be achieved.

Enjoying the benefits of prefabrication

Designers, contractors and end users should make much more use of prefabricated boiler and hot-water plant, says Ken Percival.

The hot topic of water heating

David Pepper considers the driving forces for efficient water heating and the opportunities in refurbishment projects.

Extending efficiency to design and installation

Keston’s prefabrication service is, says managing director Nick Stevenson, designed to ‘take the headache out of designing a heating system, by way of bespoke prefabricated, pre-assembled boiler-plant rigs that are designed individually to meet the exact needs of the project and dramatically cut on-site installation time’.

Stokvis launches wall-mounted condensing boilers

The Stokvis Econoflame R30 series of wall-hung condensing boilers comprises four models with outputs from 45 to 100 kW.

Gledhill provides elegant hot-water solution in Manchester

Self-contained electric DHW solutions for 114 apartments in central Manchester, including a renovated Grade II listed warehouse and two purpose-built blocks, are provided by Gledhill’s PulsaCoil system.

Ensuring healthy boiler performance

As part of the refurbishment of the boiler house at Petherton Road Day Hospital in Bristol, Priva control systems have been installed.

Rycroft develops hot-water specification program

Rycroft has developed an interactive computer program that enables water-heating systems for major projects to be selected and specified in a matter of minutes.

Spirax Sarco
Factory heating integrates efficiently with process steam

Such is the efficiency of two Spirax Sarco EasiHeat engineered systems installed to replace a large boiler providing space heating at the L’Oreal factory in Wales that an installed capacity only a quarter of what was used before is adequate for even the coldest winter days.

Water heater
Water heaters designed for longer life

A novel engineering feature in the State range of water heaters prolongs life, reduces heating costs and premature replacement.

Ferroli enhances its Pegasus range

A 2-stage burner is now standard on Ferroli’s entire Pegasus range of atmospheric floor-standing boilers. There are 20 boilers in the range with outputs from 50 to 290 kW.

Energy-efficient heating for barn conversion

To provide heating and hot water for an eco-friendly barn conversion designed by architect Michael Watson as his own home, Brian Hollidge of Advanced Heating & Cooling of Cambridge specified a Vaillant high-efficiency condensing combination boiler.

Boiler has two independent heating circuits

A gas-fired condensing boiler that can serve two independent heating circuits and one hot-water circuit has been developed by Geminox.

Anne King
Moving forward with collaborative working

Delivering projects more efficiently requires improved collaboration. Anne King explains how information and communications technology could be a means to this end.

Royal Festival Hall
New boilers perform at Royal Festival Hall

As part of the 3-year renovation of the Royal Festival Hall in London, the heating system is being modernised. The work includes the replacement of existing aged boilers with four Viessmann Vitoplex 300 boilers of 1750 kW output and an efficiency of 85%.

Anne King
Moving forward with collaborative working

Delivering projects more efficiently requires improved collaboration. Anne King explains how information and communications technology could be a means to this end.

Construction projects are complex processes that involve co-ordination between many project participants both on and off site. As projects have increased in size and complexity, the number of participants involved in a single project has also increased.

If these projects are to be delivered efficiently we must either reduce the number of partners or improve their collaboration. To help industry get the best out of collaboration, BSRIA has recently published ‘Customer-supplier relationships’ and ‘The partnering toolkit’ and will shortly be publishing, with Be, ‘Marketing and integrated teams’.


To support this collaboration we need tools that work well, appropriate processes to implement them and the right approach from the people involved.

Tackling these questions is at the heart of a new action research programme — Avanti. This programme is a collaboration between Be, IAI and Teamwork, with partners Loughborough University and Co-Construct. It is supporting live construction project teams, as they collaborate to deliver projects, by helping them apply these technologies. It will work through a team of partners representing each stage of the project process, with the objective of improving project and business performance through the use of information and communications technology to support collaborative working. BSRIA will promote Avanti to the building-services sector through a specialist workshop in September and at the BSRIA briefing in November. It will also be reviewing its guidance on design responsibilities to take account of these new ways of working.

Collaborative working

The website will provide mentors for project teams that are introducing collaborative working. So far, very few building-services companies are involved in Avanti, and there is room for many more to take advantage of this DTI-supported programme and use collaborative working on projects in a supportive environment.

To maximise the benefits of IT in construction, we need to share electronic information, not dumb drawings and documents. CAD systems always offered more than merely mimicking drawings.

Simple 2-dimensional systems can be a significant leap forward if information is managed as a database rather than a drawing cabinet.

Likewise, 3-dimensional systems could be a revolutionary development, provided their potential beyond visualisation is exploited.

Full object model

Even better is a full object model which can carry all the information you need about every piece of plant and how it may interact with others. Ideally, it should know the shape, size, cost, colour, performance, standards required, maintenance intervals, fire resistance, delivery data and a thousand other things.

To do this rigorously and effectively needs an open standard for the objects. In recent research on the opportunities for IT in knowledge management, BSRIA found that the greatest barrier to wider use of the new technologies was the lack of standards.

Over the last ten years, the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI to its 500 members and many friends) has been developing such a standard — the Industry Foundation Classes or IFCs.


IFCs allow different software applications to work together, putting the same meaning to the same data — or to be ‘interoperable’. A pump object created in one application can be exchanged with, and used in, another IFC-compliant application. This second application recognises the pump object immediately and can act upon it as though it had been created within that application. The applications can be for design, estimating, planning, maintenance or any other activity.

Applications can also introduce the type of guidance information for which BSRIA is so well known. Guidance documentation can be linked to the different elements on a drawing so that, for example, the commissioning routine for a plant item can be checked easily on the screen at the design stage.

Moving on from design to construction stage, BSRIA is working with Arup and Loughborough University to show how mobile capture of information from the construction/maintenance site can ensure rapid and accurate reporting.


Imagine getting data from site about work progress, health and safety, or part orders instantly — because the order is keyed into a handheld device and not written down to be posted or faxed later that day or week. Once an order is keyed in, the back-office system has the information. This can also be used to show updates to clients as you would have the information you need to let them know the progress of the contract.

Take this one stage further. Imagine that having keyed in the order, it was transmitted automatically to the merchant, and that having signed off the goods-received note on delivery, the invoice could be automatically matched against it. Not only does this save processing costs and speeds delivery, it also eliminates re-keying mistakes. An open standard for this trading was developed by the Building Services Electronic Trading Group and is available on its web site for free download.

Leading edge

If all of these subjects have already been covered in your organisation, you are at the leading edge of enabling collaborative working through ICT. Even if you have only started in one area, you are more advanced than many. If you have not quite got there yet, BSRIA’s research and workshop activity can help you get up the next rung of the ladder.

For more information on all guides visit the website or phone BSRIA on 01344 465600.

Anne King is marketing director with BSRIA, Old Bracknell Lane West, Bracknell, Berks RG12 7AH.

Estimation boosts control of services and maintenance activity

Estimation has launched a services-and-maintenance module. It is designed for managing every aspect of a service department in a contracting organisation or for companies that specialise in building-services maintenance.

Commtech develops web access for end-user documents

Commissioning and maintenance specialist Commtech offers a web-based documentation service as part of its engineering support services. It is seen as a vital element in its after-sales care, leading to high levels of repeat business.

Bumpy ride for private-commercial orders

Orders for private-commercial projects dipped by 1% in the year to May 2004 compared to the previous year — according to figures from the Department of Trade & Industry. However, there was a 29% rise in the three months to May compared to the same period a year earlier, but a 9% fall on the previous three months.

BCEMA name change moves with the times

Reflecting the growing interest of boiler manufacturers in other heating technologies such as CHP, fuel cells and solar, BCEMA [British Combustion Equipment Manufacturers’ Association] has changed its name to ICOM Energy Association [Industrial & Commercial Energy Association].

Toshiba Carrier boosts interests in China

Toshiba has acquired 20% of one of China’s leading manufacturers of air conditioning. Guangdong Midea Air Conditioning is well positioned in the residential and light-commercial sectors and had an estimated turnover of US$825 million in 2003.

Many buildings fail airtightness testing

Around a third of buildings tested by BRE are failing the airtightness test two-and-a-half years after the introduction of Approved Document L2. The news emerged just as as the consultation document for the latest Part L on energy efficiency was released by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Persistence pays off for SES’s first girl apprentice plumber

Faye Mullins (left) spent 18 months looking for a Modern Apprenticeship in plumbing. Then she contacted SES — and became the company’s first female apprentice plumber. She is pictured here receiving her Trainee Skillcard from Bill Teesdale, project manager at the DEFRA/VLA project — a £10 million project in Weybridge that is providing her first site experience.

Industry moves to boost building-services course

CIBSE’s north east region and Northumbria University have started a scheme for companies to sponsor students enrolling for the honours degree in building-services engineer. The scheme will assist students by paying their tuition fees — currently £1150 a year.

Energy Technique moves into air treatment

Energy Technique has launched an air-treatment division after a share placing that raised £3 million of new capital. The new division will focus on specialist air filtration and energy-efficient ventilation products.

Investing in excellence

Grundfos Pumps has been recognised as an ‘Investor in excellence’ as part of the UK Excellence Recognition Programme. This mark of achievement enables organisations to demonstrate their performance against the Business Excellence Model, which is based on nine principles designed to drive improvements in all key areas of an organisation. They include leadership, processes, people and customer results.

Queen’s innovation award for Nuaire

Nuaire has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for its energy-saving ventilation systems.

LG car
LG sponsors Formula 1 in London

Nuaire has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for its energy-saving ventilation systems.

NBS develops standard specification system for building services

A specification system for engineering services has been developed by NBS, part of RIBA Enterprises. Written specifically for the sector by an expert team of in-house engineers, NBS Engineering Services is based on the same methods used by over 25 000 building-fabric specifiers who already use the NBS. It brings 30 years of experience to the £30 billion building-services market.

McQuay AHU business takes off at Heathrow

Up to 300 air-handling units, worth over £3 million, could eventually be supplied by McQuay for Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, Delivery will be completed in about two years’ time.

Fuel Cell
Fuel Cell sets the pace

Fuel Cell is performing well and worth watching — according the the daily newspaper Racing Post. The 3-year-old chestnut colt is owned by AFM Group, which includes contractors BTU Heating and BTU Maintenance.

GSH breaks charity record

GSH’s most successful charity event to date has resulted in £18 500 being shared between the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Donna Louise Trust, a children’s hospice service in the North West. The money was raised at a Paris-in-spring-time themed ball attended by over 300 employees, clients and suppliers.

HVCA 100
HVCA Centenary bridges a hundred years

When the ‘dazed’ first president of the Heating & Ventilating Contractors’ Association, David Mein Nesbit, ‘materialised’ in the present at the start of the HVCA Centenary Convention to be greeted by today’s director Robert Higgs and told where in time and space he was, he immediately wanted to know what progress had been made on the issues prevailing when the association was first founded.

CCL Veloduct boosts its fan offering

The completion of a national distribution agreement between distributor CCL Veloduct and Flakt Woods is claimed to have confirmed CCL’s position as Britain’s premier supplier of fans and air-movement products.

Exterior by night
Practical sustainability

Natural ventilation, exposed mass and air-conditioning using an absorption chiller served by hot water from CHP plant have been brought together to service a new building at Warwick University.

Legionella-safe hot water beats risk of scalding

A large-scale system for monitoring the temperature of hot water and storing data at the Port of Dover is designed to protect against the risk of legionella.

Powrmatic’s optimum solution for Optima Building

Two 40 m-high flue stacks have been supplied for the Optima Building development in Glasgow. One serves two condensing appliances, and the other serves two forced-draught boilers.

Chilled beams add to cooling capacity for Nationwide headquarters

Chilled beams have been used in the headquarters of Nationwide at Swindon to supplement the cooling capacity of an older VAV system with minimal structural work and disruption. The solution was designed by consulting engineers Building Management Technology to meet increased cooling loads.