Helec delivers full pre-packaged plant room for a North London residential scheme

Helec plant Room

An “EnSmart” pre-packaged plant room energy centre was handed over to The Formation Group’s Berol Yard residential new build scheme in Tottenham, North London. Work on the project had begun in March 2020 and continued - off-site and socially distanced - throughout the pandemic. The Technical Director designed and built a complete plant room to deliver space heating and domestic hot water services to 167 apartments and delivered it to site and into position in three main sections.

Whole plant room off site

Helec Limited, an independent mechanical and electrical specialist contractor, has worked in the specification, design and build of full pre-packaged plant room solutions using off-site construction methods for several years. By 23 March 2020, halfway through the project build, the Coronavirus pandemic struck the UK and most of the country went into lockdown. The team were faced with a challenge: how to ensure they could safely continue building the whole plant room off-site and avoid slowing down the main developers build programme of completing the 167 apartments? By this time the main shell and the core build stage of the new residential complex was well under way.

As they had already committed to procuring the main bulk of mechanical and electrical equipment along with main pipework components before travel restrictions started affecting supply chains, the local build team were able to safely continue working within a “local bubble”, building the sub frames and boiler skids, along with all the required duty pump sets, water filtration kit and all the electrical plug and play connections.

The pre-packaged plant rooms were designed and constructed off-site, ready to be installed into ready-to-receive plant room areas at the site, with minimal additional works prior to the initial commissioning process. This reduced the need for “hot works” and the number of staff required on site, as well as any potential health and safety hazards. Additional benefits of off-site construction are the reduction in the number of deliveries to a restricted location, meaning there is also less noise and reduced NOx emissions on site from delivery vehicles. This in turn reduces the impact on the local area during the construction programme, as well as the risk of damaged goods by working within a controlled environment off site.

Built to any size

Pre-packaged plant rooms constructed off-site can be designed and built to practically any size in order to fit the client’s needs. From internal small single section internal skids up to ‘multi-module’ externally sited sectional energy centres within enclosures, from ground sited or rooftop applications up to 40m long and 20m wide. Upon build completion, the plant room is set into place, generally in the restricted basement area, and the rest of the building can then be constructed up around it, floor by floor. Eventually, as each floor is completed, the apartments’ space heating and domestic hot water services are connected from the main plant room through vertical and lateral risers into Heat Interface Units fitted in each apartment. Metered HIU’s provide and deliver thermal heat and domestic hot water services as and when required by the homeowner.

Jonathan Passmore
Jonathan Passmore

The in-house Building Management System monitors the site demand throughout various sensor points and readings taken in the energy centre’s hydraulic set up to ensure the boilers only fire up and operate at the most efficient state in order to maintain a set point temperature in the thermal stores which in turn minimises the gas consumption and endeavours to deliver a low return temperature back into the plant room.

The “EnSmart” is future proofed for using hydrogen fuel mixes going forward, meaning it can play its part in the transition to net zero.

Jon Passmore is Uk Technical Sales Manager at Helec

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