Blackpool engineering skills are playing a part in establishing a Northern Alliance of high quality education.

Gilberts, Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist, has employed cutting edge ventilation technology for main contractor Kier Construction for the new Don Valley Academy & Performing Arts College in Scawthorpe, Doncaster. The school is part of the Delta Trust, which aims to establish a Northern Alliance to transform educational outcomes in the region, with a core value of promoting environmental awareness and protection locally, regionally and globally.

To meet the requirements of the Facilities Output Specification (FOS), and Department for Education school building guidelines (BB101 and BB93), Gilberts has supplied its state of the art Mistral Fusion System (MFS) stand-alone, ductless, dynamic hybrid ventilation solution for multi-occupancy rooms.

The modular design of MFS has meant one core product has been used to address design configurations of ventilation through the wall or through the roof in all teaching spaces. Thus, 130 MFS 128 units paired with Gilberts’ WMZ glazed in façade louvres have been utilised to deliver appropriate airflow and quality into the classrooms with minimal heat loss throughout the three-storey building. A further four MFS units were then configured to create two natural ventilation roof terminals (MFS-VN), delivering fresh air intake and stale air extract for the main hall, in conjunction with four WHC high performance façade louvres.

Separately Gilberts’ Mistrale 75 natural ventilation façade louvre cassettes with VN75 dampers have been used to allow fresh air into non teaching areas.

Kier contracts manager for the project Mike Gorman explained, “Gilberts’ breadth of product and expertise meant we could, from one source, obtain the key elements we needed to ensure compliance with the ventilation criteria, knowing that the few component types required would all integrate as required, regardless of different subcontractors installing the façade and building services. The stand-alone, duct-free format of the MFS meant the whole installation was less complex than alternative solutions.”

Mistrale MFS mixes internal and external air to ventilate the internal space. Each stand-alone unit comprises a through façade external louvre, mixing damper and low energy fan. These combine to modulate airflow, mixing the new, fresh air with the warm exhaust air, extracting its heat without the need for an exchanger, and ensuring an even distribution of airflow.

Just 2 no Mistrale MFS128 single-sided units will ventilate a standard 32 person classroom, achieving the 8litres/sec/person fresh air required by current Department of Education Building Bulletin (BB101) and PBSP guidelines. 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.

Gilberts’ Mistrale 75 is a natural ventilation solution designed to provide smooth, accurate and stable airflow. The system attains a U value of 0.96W/m2/K, with air leakage less than 5m3/hr/m2. The 75mm blade pitch of the core WH louvres delivers high performance with Class A weatherability, and a free ventilation area of 50%.

Founded 50+ years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (95,000ft2) 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 contact Gilberts on Tel 01253 766911; e: Website:

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:

Ventilation design and specification for multi-occupancy buildings is now as simple as A,B,C through an innovative approach pioneered by Gilberts.

Britain’s leading air movement specialist is the first to develop a stock, single-unit hybrid solution focussed on natural ventilation with heat recovery- its Mistrale Fusion System (MFS). The company’s pioneering approach has continued, with the evolution of the system that now enables simple addition of extra elements.

Thus, the core MFS is manufactured as a standard product, with ‘add-on’ items to meet the varying specifications of each project. Elements such as heating coils, filters, silencers, duct connection outlets and louvre transformation, plus a range of air volumes for warm up or purge ventilation, to supplement the standard airflow rates, ensure the MFS brings a comprehensive hybrid solution to the extensive, variable building demands for ventilation.

“Using this modular approach makes it as simple as possible for the precise needs of each room to be met, in line with the latest F.O.S and BB101 requirements,” explains Gilberts’ Technical Director Roy Jones. “It means the MFS is retained as a standard, individual module to which bespoke parts are added in compliance with the architectural requirements, simplifying and accelerating the whole building services design, supply and installation process.

Further, because Gilberts undertakes all R&D in-house, it can still efficiently tailor-engineer the MFS to create a bespoke answer to individual project demands. Thus, all involved in the construction supply process benefit from a commercially viable single source strategy.

The approach has been exemplified in delivery of a number of schools- new build and refurbishment. Gilberts’ MFS enabled the precise requirements of each classroom to be accommodated- level of occupation, room orientation, site geography- even in those learning spaces with complex needs such as IT suites, science laboratories and SEN special needs classrooms.

It also meant project-specific design constraints could be overcome- for example one façade included a 6° deviation from the vertical, so Gilberts engineered a bespoke duct transition piece and special louvre system to ensure an airtight fit. In another, there was no suitable external façade, so Gilberts engineered a vertical solution to provide intake and extraction through the roof.

“The flexibility of the product are limited only by the building designer’s imagination!” adds Roy Jones. “The standard permutations cover almost every core requirement; our ability to develop, engineer and test bespoke strategies means that an issue which may normally be a deal-breaker can be addressed and turned into a deal-maker: a true one stop shop solution with the benefits of modular design.”

MFS is just part of Gilberts’ diverse range of ventilation systems, grilles, louvres and diffusers which, coupled with its in-house expertise, have established it as the leading independent supplier of air movement solutions in the UK.Family-owned, Gilberts has a 55 year pedigree in developing and manufacturing innovative air movement solutions. It is unique in its sector in its ability to design, engineer and supply its products with all processes undertaken in-house at its 85,000ft2 head office and manufacturing facility in Blackpool.

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