Neatly packaged and ready to go
As regulations and market requirements change, the industry must change too. Glynn Williams explains why modular systems offer the solution to many industry challenges.
The building industry has today become very adept at coping with change. Commercial building services have had to deal with BIM demands, changes to building regulations, increasing health and safety requirements and the need to meet with increased efficiency targets. These factors have combined to drive new approaches and solutions into what was previously considered to be a very traditional – if not staid – market sector.
However, our industry faces increasing customer demands, often attached to stringent financial penalties for any non-compliances. Meeting these demands can be hampered by the skills and manpower shortages, which may get worse depending on Brexit negotiation outcomes relating to non-nationals being able to work in the UK. These elements mean that the industry needs to pursue existing and new ways to deliver solutions.
One approach is off-site build. This has been around in principle for quite some time, but is now recognised as offering the real potential to solve some specific building services problems. Packaged sets for water boosting, where the pumps, controls and pipework arrive on site as a packed unit ready to ‘plug and pump’, have been used for some years.
The power to deliver
When we think of packaged booster sets, we tend to think of landmark sites that require large volumes of water such as The Shard, Wembley and Royal London Hospital. Grundfos has specified and supplied booster sets to these and many other applications. However, we know volume demand for these sets comes from everyday applications where the available water is insufficient to meet demand and here booster sets provide a neat solution.
Off-site build packages like this offer significant advantages, including flexibility. A good example is a solution we provided to B&Q. A stock profile of around 40,000 lines – many of which are flammable – puts a state-of-the-art fire suppression system as a high priority. To meet this demand, a bespoke packaged pump house solution was built at our manufacturing plant.
The solution was delivered to site with the pumps in a pre-packaged pump house. This comprised: 2 x LPCB high hazard diesel pumps - with the necessary pipework, valves, wiring, heating, lighting and drainage, all packaged within an insulated steel enclosure and mounted on a structural steel baseplate. The unit was offloaded and installed, ready for use, in just a few hours.
The complete package
The choice of who to partner with on such projects should be guided by ability to professionally engage at all stages of the process. Select a partner who has the capacity, knowledge, expertise and accreditations. For example, Grundfos’ manufacturing plant in Sunderland is a recognised centre of manufacturing excellence and is a streamlined and very cost-effective option.
Given off-site build’s ability to remove so many ‘snag’ areas, it is little wonder that there has been a huge increase in interest in this type of engineering solution. The real benefits such packaged units provide, also go beyond the obvious as these solutions do of course deliver the more discernible benefits of a reduction in costs, footprint, lead time and installation time.
However, they also deliver less obvious ones such as a reduction in health and safety risks and of course the risks posed by onsite delays; the unavailability of ancillary components; or the lack of qualified staff to carry out a more complex installation. Importantly this approach also delivers a reduced environmental impact, a much-reduced CO2 footprint as well as a reduction in wastage.
It’s a wrap
Interestingly it is the building services industry that has seen one of the biggest take-ups for this type of solution. This may not be that surprising when you consider how many potential commercial application solutions this can support, as well as the benefits that it offers.
In the future, we see this trend continue to gather pace, as these packaged systems have the flexibility and engineering promise to continue to consistently deliver a complete solutions package to a myriad of industry demands.
Glynn Williams is director of sales – Commercial Building Services for Grundfos