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Engineering a change of use

Engineering a change of use

Engineering a change of use

Posted: 15/07/2020

Energy. Ventilation. Materials: the importance of great building service engineering to renovations.

80% of the buildings that will be in use in ten years' time have already been built. Some are already being converted and repurposed. In fact, 50% of our work at GLD is renovating existing buildings.

We have to consider how to adapt a building for new purposes, different end users with perhaps different energy needs and consider how to integrate new materials and technologies into existing buildings.

We like the challenge.

We are proud of being energy aware – see our blog about hydrogen. For refurbished buildings, which may be listed, we can’t control the fabric of a building but we are involved in insulating and powering it. This is important to bring cost savings to a building’s end user and to help combat climate change. Staggeringly, heating our built environment accounts for 10% of the UK’s carbon footprint.

We’re currently working on three renovation projects involving changing energy and structural requirements.

For an industrial conversion we are monitoring significantly increased energy needs and different energy usage patterns before we recommend a new power source.

With the second project, we are repurposing a building for different users: school children rather than care home users. Whilst we don’t have to consider DDA regulations due to the age of the building, we have had to consider the age of the new residents in our installation of LST radiators – and as with any renovation of an older building we have upgraded the M&E installations as required. We have also replaced the windows to ensure better insulation – and cost savings.

For our third project (involving even younger end-users) we are converting a ward in Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust into a modern unit with birthing pools; more welcoming for the mothers and safer for their babies. The old radiators and windows are making way for modern mechanical ventilation that provides a safe and consistently warm environment for staff and temporary residents.

We’ve learned a lot about the optimum temperature for birthing pools and we can talk for some time about different mixer taps as well as about how much we enjoy working alongside the hospital’s estates team. They recognise the need for good building services. More than just complying with Health Technical Memoranda, (HTM) we can create environments that will be genuinely fit for the next generation.