Collective response to rising steel prices — Paul Roxburgh of the Association of Ductwork Contractors & Allied Services.

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 his contribution to skills — Keith Marshall, chief executive of SummitSkills.

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.

Targeting direct sales of Fujitsu VRF air conditioning as the key to growth, Tony Gittings, sales director of FG Eurofred UK.

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.

Reducing the time needed to test heat pumps and chillers in this new test chamber is enabling Ciat to increase production.

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.

Stars of solar energy — Alan Aldridge (left) and Tony Book (right) of Riomay receive the installer of the year award in the British Renewable Energy Association awards from association director Philip Wolfe.

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.

A ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating has been achieved by this office development at 1 Linear Park in the Temple Quay Central development in Bristol. (photo: Stride Treglown)

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.

Lighting loads pose special demands on switching contactors, with electronic ballasts for high-efficiency fluorescent lighting being more demanding than traditional ballasts.

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.

As the accepted form of space heating, panel radiators have long dominated the market — but moves towards renewable and low-carbon energy sources do not signal their demise.

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 impact of variable-speed pumps — John Coppin.

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

The opportunities and pitfalls of maintenance — John Armstrong.

An informed perspective on maintenance and refurbishment

John Armstrong shares his practical experience of maintenance and refurbishment.

One of the most controversial aspects of the current Building Regulations is the requirement for consequential improvements to be made in buildings larger than 1000 m2 when improvements are made.

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.

Specially designed and made to meet stringent planning requirements are these two Tricool chillers for a hotel in London’s Mayfair.

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.

Durapipe plastic pipework has been used to renovate this data centre of ATOS Origin.

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.

Up to 40% lower fuel consumption than the boilers they replace — the new Buderus installation in a school in Manchester.

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.

The growing technical role for facilities managers — Geoff Prudence.

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.

By installing this Potterton Paraskid boiler rig alongside existing plant in sheltered housing in Northumberland, downtime was limited to just half a day.

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.

The replacement answer for cill-mounted fan-coil units in an office refurbishment was these Trox multi-service chilled beams.

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.

Designed to fit into the space occupied by one of the most popular traditional boilers so as to reduce installation costs — Broag-Remeha’s Gas 110 boiler range.

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.

The failure of an air-conditioning system can be caused by many factors.

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.

Replacing an existing boiler with a Vaillant ecoTEC exclusive condensing combi boiler in a large house in Glasgow has reduced the gas bill by 42%.

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%.

The footprint of a new range of Rhoss chillers from Coolmation is little more than half that of their predecessors.

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.

The risks of trying to reduce maintenance costs — John Wright of EWS

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.

The supply of spare parts for Daikin air-conditioning equipment is a specialist service offered by Space Airconditioning.

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.

Energy consumption is 90% of the cost of a pump — Glynn Williams.

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.

Following a period of dissatisfaction with a previous service provider, Chubb Fire has been reappointed to service the extensive fire-safety system of the National Media Museum in Bradford.

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.

Replacing outdated equipment serving this school dining room with Lochinvar condensing water heaters has improved operating efficiency.

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.

Among equipment from three manufacturers supplied by Hushon for the refurbishment of a major office building in Oxford was a Toshiba VRF air-conditioning system with 12 outdoor units.

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.

To improve the energy performance of this Sainsbury’s building in London, Alldales has fitted six 110 kW inverter drives to supply and extract fans.

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.

Too much water. High water levels are a common occurrence on the River Ouse as it passes through York.

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.

The cost effectiveness of water harvesting — Steff Wright.

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.

Storing water at mains pressure provides a neat way of delivering higher flow rates by enhancing the mains.

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.

This rainwater storage system installed as part of a Rehau factory expansion will provide cooling water for polymer manufacture.

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.

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