Project: Pollard House, Worcester Park, Surrey
A complete plantroom strip-out and heating systems refurbishment during the COVID-19 pandemic of an inefficient low temperature hot water (LTHW) heating system supporting 33 flats in a sheltered retirement living scheme housing vulnerable older people.
Customer: Anchor Hanover Group (AHG)
Sector: Sheltered housing
Contract value: £127,000
Contract duration: 7 weeks
Pollard House’s existing heating system had become inefficient, outdated and expensive to operate and maintain. Following a successful competitive tender, CCS was contracted by AHG to carry out a complete plantroom strip-out and refurbishment of the property’s LTHW heating and hot water systems. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a UK-wide lockdown, the project start date was rescheduled from April to July 2020.
Pollard House was the fourth of six schemes completed successfully by CCS for AHG and the first full plantroom refurbishment. CCS had already successfully delivered three installations over the previous winter months and provided residents with temporary electric heaters and hot water showers during the project.
This refurbishment involved the initial removal of three old boilers, two hot water calorifiers, pumps, controls and a flue system, and replacing them with three energy-efficient, wall-mounted condensing heating boilers. The new scheme included the installation of constant temperature heating circulation pumps and domestic hot water circulation pumps, two high-efficiency hot water cylinders/calorifiers, an intelligent heating pressurisation set and expansion vessel, and an automated building energy management system (BEMS) to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The new heating solution adheres to all required building control standards and regulations.
The project was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic which saw projects across the engineering and construction sector facing labour shortages, health and safety, procurement and supply chain issues.
As Pollard House provided accommodation for a ‘covid high risk’ group of older people, it was vitally important that the refurbishment works strictly complied with coronavirus prevention health and safety management protocols throughout the project’s lifecycle to protect residents at all times. This required CCS to programme the works in a way which minimised the number of times operatives were in the building or accessing residents’ flats. All members of the project delivery team worked wearing protective personal equipment which included regulation face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser.
The CCS site supervisor worked closely with AHG’s estate manager to ensure that 2-metre safe social distancing could be maintained throughout the works. The installation team also carried out rigorous sanitising and wipe downs of work areas and surfaces to safeguard against potential coronavirus transmission.
- Covid-19 HSE systems: these had to be robust and strictly followed during the installation work. No access within the care home was permitted which meant that a dedicated external mobile welfare unit had to be set up for CCS staff and supply chain operatives. This included the provision of a WC, mess room and a drying room.
- Social distancing: could be difficult to maintain when CCS’ mechanical installation team was working in a confined space.
- Procurement of materials: had to be well-planned and organised due to COVID-19 logistical and supply restrictions.
- Access and space: the plantroom needed to be re-configured to maximise equipment and servicing access space.
- Programme deadlines: works had to be delivered on time as residents had been without hot water in their kitchens for four weeks.
- System commissioning: all building areas and residential properties, had to have hot water and heating reinstated which required a CCS engineer accessing each flat.
- Client consultation and communication: key to the success of this project was excellent communications between the CCS on site supervisor/manager and AHG’s estate manager. Daily meetings, project updates and timely communications ensured that residents remained informed, any potential issues were identified and resolved quickly, and works disruption minimised. Due to coronavirus restrictions, CCS resident communications were conveyed through the estate manager.
- Planning and logistics: deliveries and equipment installation processes were streamlined and scheduled in advance to minimise COVID-19 risk. This included CCS organising trades people and suppliers to come on specific days and times and ordering equipment and materials well in advance to offset pandemic related delays due to labour shortages and operating restrictions.
- Health and safety management: rigorous risk assessments and COVID-19 safety systems and protocols were put in place by CCS working closely with AHG’s estate manager to ensure 2-metre social distancing could be enforced and protective PPE, face masks, gloves and hand sanitisation routines were adhered to at all times. Where 2-metre social distancing could not be maintained in confined areas of the plantroom, CCS’ mechanical installation team worked in twoperson ‘social bubbles’ following strict mask and glove-wearing, hand washing, wipe down and work area disinfecting protocols.
How we added value
- AHG and residents benefited from a new cost-effective plantroom with high-efficacy boilers which delivered immediate short and long-term savings.
- Savings on energy costs and carbon reduction were maximised through a computer-based automated building energy management system (BEMS) which now ensures the building’s heating operates at maximum levels of efficiency and removes wasted energy usage and associated costs. This is achieved by continuously maintaining the correct balance between operating requirements, external and internal environmental conditions, and energy usage.
- CCS value engineered a range of specified products and equipment along with arranging extended warranties on boilers where possible.
- Plantroom access and space were improved by reconfiguring the existing layout to make maintenance and servicing easier to carry-out. Reduced boiler sizing for example, enabled re-locating new boilers to the opposite wall, freeing-up space.
- Residents benefited from increased hot water volume in their flats while their heating bills went down.
- Carbon emissions were further reduced through the installation of high-performance thermal insulation.
“ CCS were absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend them! They went far beyond the call of duty to ensure that the whole project went smoothly. Our CCS Project Manager Andy Hudson was first class and did an excellent job of keeping me informed on a daily basis of the refurbishment works and the project team was flexible and accommodating to meet the needs of our Pollard House residents.
- Gill Besley-Tyrrell, Estate Manager, Anchor Hanover Group