A warm welcome
With 67 elegant rooms and suites as well as a spa and gym, the luxury 5-star Italian Baglioni Hotel is a welcome retreat in Kensington.
Visitors at the Baglioni Hotel are used to a high standard of accommodation, so uninterrupted heating and hot water are essential. However, heating at the Italian Baglioni has been becoming less and less reliable due to heavily-scaled waterways and heat exchangers.
To solve this issue, commercial boiler manufacturer Hamworthy Heating teamed up with contractor J Collyer Services Limited (JCS) and flue specialists Midtherm Engineering to replace the existing equipment and future-proof the system which will help prevent further breakdowns. As Hamworthy offers a complimentary site survey to identify a suitable replacement, the hotel owner contacted them.
The hotel’s old boiler plant had consisted of six Hamworthy Wessex County modules from the 1990s with a total output of 1,200kW. As there were space restrictions in the plant room, new compact equipment was required for the hotel. The models selected were Wessex ModuMax mk3 196/392V modular boilers, consisting of six boiler modules in three vertical stacks with a total output of 1,176kW. At the core of the boiler is a stainless steel heat exchanger with a 10-year warranty. Alongside this the boiler delivers a high output from a small floor footprint and fits through a standard doorway. However, as space was so limited on this project there was no room for a temporary boiler plant to provide heating and hot water during the changeover phase between old and new equipment.
Tony Moore, Hamworthy’s area sales manager who carries out site surveys, knows the challenges of this type of project, so called in more expertise. Contractor JCS, a team of engineers with decades of experience in installing and servicing the manufacturer’s boilers, along with flue expert Midtherm Engineering assisted with the project. The team worked together to, develope a strategy for the plant upgrade.
Jason Collyer, JCS director and lead technician, explains some of the difficulties during the process: “Access was limited and although the Wessex ModuMax mk3 boilers fit through a standard door, access to the plant room was further restricted by existing installation pipework. There was also little room for storage on-site whilst the work took place. The boilers were delivered to the stores, dismantled and transported to site when required, and then rebuilt within the plant room – a service we offer via Hamworthy if needed. We like using the Wessex ModuMax boilers as they are a reliable range and simple to service.”
The next stage was designing a temporary flue which allows one stack of the new boilers to run as a temporary plant to have uninterrupted heating and hot water during the transition. Ian Ford, from Midtherm Engineering, was the designer of the temporary flue for the project: “Because of the location of the boiler room in the basement, maintaining the heating and hot water service was not straightforward. Working alongside Hamworthy and JCS, we formulated a game plan which resulted in a phased changeover of the flue, boilers, upgraded ventilation system and lining of the existing flue system to suit the new Wessex ModuMax condensing boilers. Initial work involved running a temporary flue from the boiler room, through some existing ductwork into the lightwell, discharging above roof level.”
Afterwards, the old Wessex County boilers were removed in stages. Furthermore, existing mechanical ventilation was inadequate, so an additional high-level duct was required. The latter served as temporary flue route for the first stage of the boiler replacement to facilitate the remainder of the works.
The first step in replacing the boilers was to deliver them to the JCS’ workshop where they were dismantled. The pipework was then prefabricated and along with the Wessex ModuMax mk3 was prepared for transport to the hotel.
Once on-site, the two old Wessex County modules were isolated, drained, dismantled and removed from the site. This allowed JCS to deliver and assemble the new boilers which were then connected to water and gas side pipework, including two boiler shunt pumps, back to the existing boiler isolation valves in readiness for connection to the temporary flue and wiring which was carried out by other parties. This was followed up by a check for correct operation.
Collyer explains how they went about the project: “In phase one, we installed the first Wessex ModuMax stack of two vertical modules which would provide temporary heating until the entire system was in place. In phase two, we removed the four remaining old boiler modules to deliver and assemble another two stacks of the Wessex ModuMax mk3 boilers on-site to replace them.”
The next stage was the installation of boiler shunt pumps and wiring, along with the usual checks. Collyer says: “For the boilers, we used Hamworthy’s matched pipework kits. Each (three in total, one per boiler stack) was connected to the existing system pipework, incorporating a shunt pump on each. This also allowed for removal of the existing, poorly sited boiler primary circuit pump.”
Ian Ford explains the process of upgrading the flue: “JCS installed one stack of the Wessex ModuMax mk3 boilers first and connected it to the temporary flue we designed. New high-level ductwork was then installed to help regulate the temperature in the boiler room. The existing flue header was removed, scaffolding erected to give access to the top of the chimney, and a CCTV survey of the existing flue riser carried out. Due to poor access, the latter would not be simple to remove, and there was an offset below roof level. We were able to install our Furanflex composite liner inside the existing flue riser which made the current system suitable for use with the new, much more efficient condensing boilers. A new flue header was then installed, connected back to the boilers and the installation pressure tested. The temporary flue was adapted to be used as an additional high-level ventilation duct, and the job was done, all carried out within the space of a few weeks with no downtime for the hotel. It was a pleasure to work on this project, especially as it is one of London’s sought-after residences.”
To complete the installation, a Hamworthy Chesil pressurisation unit was used which provides an adequate system pressure for the new boilers and a Clenston air/dirt separator to keep the system clean.
Collyer explains: “Although the system was flushed and treated, we were aware that historically the system water quality had been poor. We decided to fit the air/dirt separator to ensure the new boiler plant was adequately protected and stressed the necessity for regular system water quality checks. Additionally, we installed two plate heat exchangers and buffer vessels to satisfy the hotel’s increasing hot water demands.”
Lastly, to ensure the condensate will not be causing corrosion, the flue condensate pipework was run to the nearest drain. After the installation was completed, the entire system was commissioned by JCS.
Collyer says all sides worked well together and the project was a success: “Hamworthy were involved throughout each stage of the project and very much a part of the team when it came to working out the solutions and meeting the timings required for the installation.
“From the initial survey to flexibility with deliveries and product support throughout our works, I really can't think of another product or company which could have helped complete this project so successfully. Then of course co-operation with Hamworthy’s partner Midtherm, which has a long working history with Hamworthy, made our life easier, too. Everyone is familiar with the products and we can rely on years of experience in terms of flue design.
“Lastly and most importantly, carrying out this job for a prestigious hotel such as the Baglioni, we were well aware of our responsibility and are pleased that the project was completed without interruption. While we were regularly called out for poor hot water and breakdowns before the upgrade, we have had no call outs since the installation of the new boilers. We’re looking forward to our next service visit which will be much quicker and easier with the new plant fitted.”