﻿Exploiting the capabilities of refurbishment
Refurbishment offers much scope for upgrading the performance of building-services systems and avoiding the cost of replacement — As Marcus Sawkins explains.
For buildings with faulty and ageing ventilation plant the obvious choice may appear to be replacement. However, there are many reasons, not least economic ones, why the repair or refurbish options should also be explored. VES recognised that building owners, managers and engineers wanted that choice and formed a specialist site services division several years ago.
Ventilation equipment deteriorates with time and will eventually fail if not maintained correctly. Working on any make of air-handling product in any location, the VES Specialist Site Services team can quickly revive a failing or failed unit, getting it up and running again. The service extends to proposing and implementing a plan of action to refurbish the unit, making it reliable again and often considerably extending its life.
Refurbishment may include renewing internal components — including dampers, filter sections, upgrading heating and cooling coils, fans, motors, controls, compressors etc. Case corrosion can be removed, and new framework and panelling fitted as necessary.
Refurbishment of ventilation equipment, especially larger or more complex units such as hospital-specification or large duties, can often be done at a fraction of the cost of replacement — and with minimum disruption. The energy efficiency of existing equipment can also be much improved with the installation of new motors, inverter drives for fan drives and demand-ventilation controls.
Surveys to assess the condition of an air-handling unit and associated duct systems can be carried out to take into account a customer’s objectives regarding life expectancy, energy efficiency and upgrade requirements. A condition report for plant, AHU, ductwork, controls and hazards involved, along with full recommendations for works, can also be provided — along with a comprehensive quote.
Noise problems are also an issue for commercial buildings, including noise from plant that may be a problem to external residential areas or within conditioned spaces such as theatres and lecture halls where noise needs to be restricted. Our team has extensive knowledge of solving noise problems associated with ventilation equipment. Noisy ventilation and air-conditioning equipment can be silenced using attenuation, enclosures, hoods and screens without affecting performance of the equipment.
Where there are problems with confined spaces or restricted areas, standard and non-standard products can be produced in flat-pack format. This approach can save unnecessary builder’s costs and crane hire and is also ideal when access to the final installation plant area is restricted. Full responsibility for assembling equipment can be taken, thus guaranteeing a full warranty on all products installed.
A good, working kitchen extract system plays an important role in any successful restaurant kitchen. Cooking smells can reach the restaurant, drawing attention to a problem, and kitchens can be too hot for a comfortable working environment. Also, an imbalance of airflow can cause draughts and low temperatures in a restaurant, whilst kitchen exhaust fumes and fan noise can cause complaints from neighbours.
TV chef Michel Roux is just one of many satisfied customers after a swift replacement of his main kitchen extract fan saved his prestigious Le Gavroche restaurant from losing service. Our team now maintains the Le Gavroche restaurant, ensuring he is fully supported. He told us, ‘The Le Gavroche restaurant and kitchens have not been this well ventilated and air conditioned for a very long time. I would highly recommend VES to other establishments looking for excellent maintenance and support.’
This project illustrates the capability of our kitchen ventilation package, with system design, manufacture and installation options. Not only can we build a wide range of fans for high-temperature polluted air, but we can also supply or modify an existing canopy and advise on make-up air requirements.
Another project was the retrofitting of the patented Grease Grabber high-efficiency kitchen hood filter system at the Hard Rock Café in London. The system significantly reduced the amount of grease entering the ductwork, reducing fire risk and cleaning costs.
The working environment in a kitchen can be improved by, for example, replacing an unsuitable noisy extract fan with a silenced one or straightforward replacement of defunct equipment. Many commercial and residential properties often find difficulty locating spare parts for all their air-conditioning and ventilation needs, but by working with VES Spares Service we can provide parts for any make or model of equipment supplied in the last 40 years.
Our team work in partnership with building-services contractors, design consultants, architects, end users and all other trades to provide solutions for leisure, retail, industrial, catering, education, healthcare, residential and pharmaceutical sectors.
Marcus Sawkins is business development manager with VES Specialist Site Services