BAM Construction is progressing with a £67m framework to build a batch of secondary schools in the North-East, won in part through its collaboration with Gilberts Blackpool.

The four schools will all be ventilated using Gilberts’ innovative MFS unit, which pioneered the concept of hybrid ventilation in multi-occupancy rooms such as classrooms- a concept recognised as a valid strategy by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Crucial to the deal was the partnership between BAM and Gilberts, to evolve the core MFS unit to create a solution that was standardised as far as possible, and simplified the building’s construction and operation.

Explained Martin Sibley, operations manager services engineering North East BAM Construction, “The ESFA has key requirements of affordability, and specifies design replication and repetition to achieve this. It further demands that the M&E specification is simplified, particularly regarding building controls, yet the ventilation strategy is robust. Our collaboration with Gilberts proved invaluable in achieving a commercially viable alternative to conventional heating and ventilating strategies.”

“It sounds simple,” Martin adds, “but ensuring details like the louvre connection spigot being the right depth to allow building activities such as plastering and decorating the window reveals to be carried out once the louvre had been fitted, is very important to the overall build process. Things like this can only be achieved with a collaborative approach to product design.”

Added Roy Jones, Gilberts’ Technical Director, “Our MFS had already been used as the preferred offering in other school batches, because of its performance and simplified installation. By collaborating together we have been able to address the challenges of each site and building variation, to enhance our existing product so that it delivers the stringent requirements in cost, performance, ease of installation and standardisation, to benefit this and future projects.”

Thus, a single MFS256 with LTHW coil and boost facility will feature as part of the window in the external façade of each classroom to ensure the teaching space is ventilated and heated as a stand-alone solution.

Standardisation of the architectural detailing of each window means a standard MFS256 can be used across all the school batches, reducing costs and simplifying installation. The strategic positioning of each unit ensures the wall and ceiling achieve the coanda effect to provide the correct air movement and comfort conditions.

Inclusion of the heat coil obviates the need for radiators, and, with the collaboration with BAM, has been engineered to be easy to access for cleaning. The boost facility on the controller gives teachers finite control, by providing up to double the air volume to provide rapid heating or purge ventilation, as necessary, at the touch of a button.

For specialised areas such as IT suites and science laboratories, Gilberts has refined the controls of the MFS to create a standard product that can cope with the more specific demands – fume cupboard interlocks/ overrides and gas interlocks- in science rooms.

As part of the process refining the core MFS into a standard solution, BAM and Gilberts worked closely together, with practical experience from previous schemes, to fine tune the unit controls, the design of which Gilberts ratified in its in-house test laboratory. The testing proved the final solution with no 10degreeC limit on supply air, inclusion of the LTHW coil and boost facility delivered sufficient capability to meet all the requirements of the ESFA’s output specification, and was robust enough to provide comfortable conditions rapidly.

Installed through the external façade or window, Mistrale MFS mixes internal and external air to ventilate the internal space. A mixing damper within modulates airflow to allow the new, fresh air to mix with the warm exhaust air, thus extracting its heat without the need for an exchanger. The integrated low energy fan energises to blend the internal air, ensuring an even distribution of airflow, with control over temperature and CO2 levels within, and maintenance of a comfortable internal environment for occupants. Each unit also achieves relevant acoustic considerations: its operational ‘noise’ is less than 30dbA, and it has been engineered to absorb external noise to keep within the classroom criteria required by BB93.

Gilberts has further taken care to attain compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document L: Mistrale MFS attains air leakage better than legislative requirements- 5m3/HR/m2, and a U value of 1W/m2/°C. As with all Gilberts’ ventilation solutions, it delivers efficient weather performance via its bespoke louvre system, achieving class A performance at 2m/s face velocity, to EN13030 Part 1.

Gilberts’ calculations indicate MFS delivers optimum internal air control and quality for less than £5/room/pa running costs.

MFS is just part of Gilberts’ range of ventilation solutions that have established it as Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist in commercial applications.

Founded 50+ years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (85,000ft2) manufacturing facility, producing engineered solutions, with an in-house test centre. Technical expertise is supported with full in-house testing addressing air movement and combining with computational fluid dynamics CFD).

For further information please contact Gilberts on Tel: 01253 766911 Email: Website:
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