Pre-fabrication doubles installation speed at BSkyB

Published:  15 October, 2005

Over 250 services modules made by MEP Solutions halved installation time for three new offices for BSkyB.

Installation time for services for a new office development for British Sky Broadcasting has been halved by using building-services modules designed by MEP Solutions and made off site. The prefabricated modules connect some 60 to 70% of the services on each floor. The rest are piped in the traditional method because of structural considerations and layout.

The refurbishing of New Horizon Court in Brentford will provide three offices for BSkyB executive, administration personnel and specialised production teams.

The services in all three buildings were co-ordinated and installed by Meica Services. They are based around chilled beams, which also have heating coils. The beams are supplied with chilled water and LPHW via risers from chillers with free-cooling capability and boiler plant in roof-top plant rooms. Each of the building’s floors has some 60 beams supplied by Halton. The floors are zoned, with each zone served by three beams.

MEP’s services modules comprise an L-shaped box frame, 2400 mm long with pipe overhangs of 300 mm at one end and 900 mm at the other to allow for cross-bracing steels within the structural steelwork.

Each module contains Mapress galvanised-steel tube and fittings. Chilled-water pipes are up to 65 mm diameter and up to 50 mm diameter for heating circuits. Pipes were lagged and tested by MEP before delivery and connected to an SAV flow-and-return manifold.

Modules also contain a 150 mm medium-duty electrical tray used as support for the flexible Alupex pipework that connects the SAV manifold to the chilled beams.

The modules are position at ceiling height around the inner and outer perimeters of each floor. After installation of electrical services and ductwork etc., the modules were boxed into a plasterboard bulkhead.

Over 250 modules have been installed, and they were delivered at the rate of 15 to 20 a week.

Ian Bolster, engineering manager with Meica Engineering, says, ‘Pre-fabricated services on this project were chosen so that programme certainty would be achieved. We have used the technique quite a lot over the last couple of years, principally because of shortcomings in the labour market — especially in the London area. Pre-fabrication guarantees factory-quality construction and less on-site ‘snag’ items. Also, only pre-fabrication can ensure meeting the increasingly short installation programmes common to modern services installation works.’

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