Wiremek replaces listed control panels in Foster’s Willis building
Wiremek has completed the replacement of the original control panels in the listed Willis building in Ipswich, one of the one of the earliest buildings designed by Norman Foster after establishing Foster Associates. With its 890 black glass panels and its avant garde organic shape, the building has won numerous design awards. The plant room is visible from outside of the building, so changes and replacements had to be an exact match to the originals.
Since they were originally installed in 1975, the control panels have been modified but the technology they used was well out of date. Wiremek’s brief was to install new panels that would facilitate early diagnosis and reporting, whilst improving performance and saving energy. The installation was completed two days ahead of schedule.
Wiremek engineers worked closely with the building maintenance services team at Willis to agree the deployment of new technologies and bring the fragmented BMS into a centralised system.
Bespoke colour-matched panels were designed in a modular system that could be taken apart and reassembled in the plant room.
Contributing to the complexity of the design and installation was the need to reuse delicate mineral-insulated cabling and existing 1 MVA transformers that required a bespoke fit onto the new panel.
Among design features of the original installation that had to be retained was safety screening to an access point that allow engineers to walk inside the control panels.
Soft-start for all the building’s pumps saves energy, and the new BMS provides in-depth easy-to-run reporting functionality for the Willis managers
Ian Gleed, managing director of Wiremek, said, ‘This was a unique project in a unique building. Our strengths lie in tackling bespoke and time-controlled installations. we are delighted to have had this opportunity to work closely with Willis and achieve a successful outcome.
The Willis building provides 20 500 m2 of space over three floors.