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Hanh Phuc Hospital

Published in Case Studies Friday, 15 March 2013 21:16

Examination and Treatment centre

The project entailed a new-built Examination and Treatment center in Belco Tower, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street , with POWERTEC undertaking the MEP and Data installation.

Followed by Singapore Standard , Hanh Phuc Hospital set out a strictly criteria to provide patients a perfect service. The roof incorporates passive ventilation, drainage into a free draining trench filled with aggregates. Washing facilities for male and female restroom, fitted out with taps on raised plinths. Electrical installation included power, data and lighting, fire alarm, emergency lighting, PA system and hearing induction loops.

Residential Key Design Considerations

Published in Market News Friday, 15 March 2013 21:05

The residential sector, particularly new build central London schemes has become very prominent in recent years.


Matthew Thurston, Client Services Director at hurleypalmerflatt gives you some of his engineering lessons learnt within the residential market.


With the level of central servicing potentially including centralised chp, heating, cooling, ‘Whole House’ ventilation and intensive AV and security requirements the design of the engineering services is a key element to the success of any scheme. Minimum Energy Standards (Code for Sustainable Homes) also has a major bearing on this as well as Part L and other statutory planning requirements. Early establishment of the brief and interface between landlord and occupier is critical both spatially (risers and plant etc) and operationally.

Some of the key design factors and ‘lessons – learnt’ that should be considered on any future schemes are highlighted below:


Apartment heating and hot water requirements
To meet planning, statutory and minimum energy standards (CfSH), Centralised CHP/heating systems are often adopted due to the potential for future replacement with Low or Zero Carbon (LZC) technologies, as well as offering potential economies of scale in respect to efficiency – therefore reduced carbon emissions.

Common practice is to specify Heat Interface Units (HIU’s) to provide hydraulic separation between primary and secondary pipework, and allow for the generation of heating/cooling and hot water within each apartment.

Utilizing diversity or coincidence factors for hot water demand, such as the Danish Standard DS439, help to avoid gross system over sizing, and are based upon data obtained from years of European and Scandinavian community heating studies.


Early spatial co-ordination
Typically spatial planning of apartment utility cupboards is required at an early stage to ensure that appropriate allowances have been made for plant items required to fulfil the client brief. Items such as the HIU heat exchangers (as outlined above), hot water cylinders, ventilation equipment, and consumer units need to be accommodated within each apartment, and often have to be integrated amongst storage shelving and washer dryers.

Area and value is at a premium, particularly in congested city developments and the layout of apartments critical to a successful marketing strategy. Early and thoughtful consideration to the location and subsequent coordination of these requirements with the Architect and client is paramount.

During detail design the use of a prefabricated approach with specialist suppliers/contractors is an efficient and cost effective method that should be considered. With the significant increase in occupier AV, comms and data requirements the location of these services within central cupboards/risers etc, needs careful consideration with regard to extraneous heat build up etc.


Corridor overheating
Due to the increase in the use of centralised heating and CHP in residential schemes, the problem of communal corridor overheating has been brought to the attention of many developers and design teams.

Poorly insulated heating pipework distributed within long, unventilated, internal corridors can cause a significant build up of heat, especially during summer months.

Mitigation measures can include the installation of dedicated fans or by utilising the smoke extract fans linked to a thermostat to ventilate the corridors. Other passive measures such as enhanced pipework insulation, PIR controlled corridor lighting, and vents to the top of riser shafts can assist to help reduce the risk of heat build up.


Ventilation strategies
As a consequence of designers having to find cost effective ways of meeting more demanding carbon emission reduction targets, ‘Whole House’ Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems are being increasingly specified to help achieve Part L compliance and attain the desired Code for Sustainable Homes level.

Each individual system continuously extracts moist and polluted air from kitchens and bathrooms, whilst supplying filtered fresh air to all habitable rooms via a heat exchanger.

A correctly sized, installed and commissioned system will provide positive benefits to the occupier, however there are common issues such as excessive noise levels due to undersized MVHR units and inadequately sized external air intake/exhaust terminals, to name a few. Consideration to air quality targets stated in any EIA also needs to be considered 
in detail.


Metering strategies can vary depending on a number of variables for example the physical constraints of the building or the value of the development.

Gas is provided to higher end apartments, however other dwellings are generally provided with electric cooking hob facilities. In accordance with utility providers requirements, metering of electricity and water should be accessible and located within communal areas such as risers or in dedicated meter rooms. Heat or cooling is measured in kWh by a heat meter integral to the HIU.

Data is then collected onto a metering network and logged onto a site based billing server. For social housing developments, pre pay metering systems can be incorporated into the design where tenants are provided with the facility to top up online or through an on site kiosk. 

International Engineering Standards

Published in Market News Friday, 15 March 2013 21:04

Bernard Antieul, Client Services Director at hurleypalmerflatt, talks about global standards and whether they should be taken with a pinch of salt.


Globalisation within client markets has progressed faster than that of engineering standards. Organisations should be aware that there will not necessarily be one size fits  all solutions. 


Where companies have established global standards, these standards should be considered as guidance. It is more important to understand the concepts behind the standards and adopt local solutions that support the concept. Strict compliance can have unfortunate consequences.


Language and terminology can lead to misunderstanding, for example, in some countries ‘trunking’ is ‘ductwork’ and asking a contractor to run all his cabling in trunking has led to scratching of heads on site and consequently necessitated rework to remove the recently installed cabling from the air conditioning ductwork. 


The involvement of local staff and discussions with people on the ground will often help in this regard, but it is worth having early involvement, especially if there will be a necessity to change existing global specifications. 


There are four broad aspects within which international standards can be considered:

1International standards i.e. IEC 

2Country standards i.e. BS, DIN, NEN, IS, etc

3Country legislative requirements i.e. Building Regulations, National Building Codes, etc

4Local customs and practice


Most manufacturers will provide plant and equipment that complies with International Standards where they are appropriate. These are often accepted, and where specialised equipment, such as close control air conditioning units and UPS are designed in the US or Europe and the manufacturer has established a local factory to produce them, the US or European standards will often still apply. 


In specialist areas, there are often no local equivalent standards. In these instances the solution is simple and universally accepted.


There are many countries where it would be necessary to obtain the country standard and have it translated, for which it is recommended that a technical translator is used, in order to obtain the correct interpretation. 


This attracts significant cost and time. In many countries, there are not equivalent standards to American or European standards, and it is not possible to purchase equipment manufactured to these levels. This is particularly a problem when trying to attain LEED or BREEAM certification where you are reliant on meeting certain US or UK standards to demonstrate compliance.


Local legislative compliance can be a veritable minefield, especially where for example a National Building Code exists, but each member state of the country concerned applies or ignores some of the Code. This implicit knowledge is not written anywhere, and is subject to change without warning.


The process that one has to follow to obtain regulatory approval and sign off varies with every country and the way that bureaucracy has developed over time.  In our experience, the best way of resolving this is to engage local staff or expertise to guide one through the process. However, it is best not to believe what the first person tells you, try and get a consensus. Regular interrogation and verification is essential for a successful outcome. 


There are some countries where a centralised Government department or regional authority has established requirements that are not written anywhere, but people familiar with the local market are aware they exist and you often cannot get your installations certified unless they comply. 


Custom and practice dictates how installations are completed and insistence in the application of another country’s practices can reveal a lack of appropriate in-country skills and material. The end result can be less than required and often worse than adopting the local approach, and will certainly be more expensive. 


Many of the local practices have been developed to suit their markets, so for example countries that have high levels of airborne dust and pollution, coupled with a virulent rodent population, may deter the use of raised access floors. 


In India, they generally do not use galvanised walkways or platforms for plant access as it is much more cost effective to manufacture from steel and paint it regularly. This also allows for simple on-site modifications in case it turns up wrong in the first place.


The best advice is to share knowledge and work together with the local experts, a vigorous top down approach will inevitably not achieve the best results.

When leading visionary architects and developers question the need for iconic buildings we would be well advised to sit up and listen.


Whilst I am not entirely sure that this is exactly the message that they are trying to get across, there does appear to be a ground swell of opinion that the design of modern building needs to align with the needs of occupiers rather than creating architecturally beautiful buildings that do not actually respond to the requirements of tenants current or future needs.


The current lack of investment capital combined with low tenant demand means that we all need to consider and understand in detail what the specific characteristics are of any given building will be to enhance its likelihood to attract future tenants and occupiers.


There is significant pressure for the occupier’s real estate teams (both developers and agents) to demonstrate that they understand the strengths and weaknesses of their portfolios, and how they operate them. Therefore any new building, or significant refurbishment needs to be able to demonstrate how it will lead to improvements.


The situation is further complicated by the current economic climate combined with increased regulatory burdens on businesses, continually changing legislation surrounding energy and sustainability and the very real potential for further economic shocks.


How can we as building services specialists influence this?


One of the key issues we find repeatedly when we engage with developers and tenants is how we can design their buildings to assist in improving the overall productivity of their staff, and allow them to use the building in a more efficient way.


In addition, they cite the need for area that they can use more efficiently, ie use less space but better space, which maximises their usable area, whilst minimising their rental costs, but more importantly space that they can use flexibly and be adaptable to their future requirements, both known and unknown. 


In any given organisation the staff costs represent a significant investment, therefore it is essential that the space creates an environment that reflects the company’s brand, adds to their ability to attract and retain the very best staff and is a place that they are proud for their clients to visit and spend time.


We know that flexibility costs money, it is therefore essential that we fully understand what elements of the business model actually need to be flexible, and where the way of working needs to be flexible to adapt to the functionality available. 


From our extensive experience working with the many large corporate / financial companies and prominent developers, we have an in-depth understanding of the particular and varied requirements and how the scope and the extent of the services provided will vary between the front of house functions and the back of house activities. ie providing solutions that are mutually beneficial.


Business culture is much more staff focused than ever before, and adaptability of space to suit the businesses operational changes is critical.


People mobility is another key issue. Businesses want the ability to relocate staff around the office or offices, with minimum disruption and down time. They also want to enable remote working, be that working from home, a cafe or someone else’s office. This latter item seems to be gaining in prominence as businesses move to more collaborative working practises; therefore it is essential that any new development provides its potential tenants with the opportunity to take advantage of these opportunities.


Companies around the world are becoming more global, connected, and mobile. Office design is changing to keep up. People are starting to have more and more freedom to choose how they work, where they work, and when they work.


So just what will your office look like in 5, 10, or 20 years?


You won’t be chained to a desk, for starters. Many companies now plan for on-site coffee shops, cafes, and lounges, where employees can work at any point in the day. In fact, 30 percent of some offices are dedicated to just this type of non-traditional workspace. 


The overriding goal is to provide employees with a variety of comfortable settings that match their individual work styles—and to spark creativity. Half of great ideas come from bursts of brilliance, when people bump into each other in the hallway and start talking.


In the future, offices will look more like trading floors, with individual desks being replaced with communal tables. A number of companies have already seen the potential for idea sharing that this model promotes. 


At British Airways corporate offices, the CEO, who spends 70 percent of his time travelling, recognised that his office space could be turned into a café or a conference space—and wanted to maximize the time he does spend in the office by being in close proximity to his employees.


Space and technology will encourage collaboration. New technology allows employees to sit around a table, plug in their laptops, and instantly share information with the group. Likewise, many companies are stepping away from the traditional conference room and opting for more comfortable lounges and even outdoor meeting spaces.


Conferences will take place anywhere. Multiple clients and co-workers across the globe can view and hear each other simultaneously. Currently, though, it usually requires the equipment to live in a certain room with just the right lighting and acoustics. 


In time, those same teleconferences will be happening in any part of the office from any device. With the help of video chat software, like Skype, a smartphone or tablet can be used to tap in to a meeting and, because technology is moving away from the need for clunky power strips (many offices are going completely wireless), new telepresence technologies will be easier to set up wherever, whenever.


Touch screen panels and interactive displays on tables and walls are going to be the next phase of development. With this technology, you’ll be able to sit around one of these tables with a group and all have digital pens to jot down ideas during a brainstorm session.


Offices are major innovators in technology. Whether they seek to create new products that customers will buy or work to improve their own office processes, many offices consistently embrace change. Information technology has allowed businesses to communicate and carry out a multitude of tasks over long distances cheaply and instantaneously.


Despite the advancement of new technologies such as cloud consulting, which should in theory reduce buildings power requirements, demands and the levels of resilience required for new developments are increasing at a significant rate. 


The availability of power (or potential lack of power), particularly in the City of London, combined with the costs of new supplies to developments is increasingly becoming a key topic of discussion and concern.


Building legislation and its implementation through building control and local authorities will be key drivers in reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of buildings. Part L of the building regulations is scheduled for more onerous updates in 2013 and 2016 with a target such that all new building built from 2019 onwards will need to produce as much renewable energy as they consume, making them truly zero carbon. 


This is therefore a key driver when considering the design of buildings and requires architects and engineers alike to consider façade performance, services performance and on-site low carbon generation opportunities.


In London particularly, there is a real drive to implement de-centralised energy generation such that by 2025, 25% of all London’s energy will be derived from such installations. This is not only to support lower carbon generation but also to mitigate the risk of any potential energy gaps which may begin to appear in the UK electricity infrastructure. 


The gap is a by-product of our increased requirements for technology, and hence power, as well as the forecast of coal fired power stations closing to being able to meet the clean air requirements. In addition, the UK’s remaining Magnox nuclear stations are planned to close by 2015. 


Reports have suggested that without action to fill the gap, there could be a 10-15% shortfall in electricity generation capacity by 2015. Mitigation of this through design and de-centralised energy will be a key driver to ensure our building continuing to function in spite of this.


To respond to this buildings must be enabled to provide the functionality at day one to meet typical expectations of tenants, which of course will vary depending on their business arena, location etc, but also have the inherent flexibility and adaptability designed in from the outset, that does not compromise the developments’ investment value, but allows the occupants to readily adapt to their changing business circumstances, with minimum disruption and churn costs.


This includes the need for flexible floor spaces, adequate slab to slab dimensions, and an appropriate level of design parameters and day one resilience. 


Carefully planned service distribution and risers that are positioned to accommodate both tenant and landlord needs a clear strategy for expanding, and contracting the services provision to meet any occupant’s particular needs at any one time.


This last one is always the difficult issue to address satisfactorily.


Clearly funding for any new speculative development is difficult to secure at the moment; therefore any potential development seeking to attract capital will need to have excellent credentials. 


Very good net to gross floor efficiencies are still the key drivers to maximise yields, but this can work against the need to provide a flexible, highly serviced and resilient product. 


Our approach is to use our experience with tenants to understand the likely tenant that would be attracted to a building of the type under consideration, and then to benchmark the services specification against similar developments. 


This informs the correct level for the Shell and Core/Cat A specification to drive through efficiencies.


This will inevitably include some spatial and infrastructure allowances for tenant’s particular services, such as comms risers, plant area for generators, cooling restaurants, etc. It is also essential that at the outset the potential strategy for sub-letting are planned into the design.


We then envisage what possible requirements any given tenants may have, and work with the team to determine how this could be accommodated, for a single-let, a let of 3 to 4 different tenants or a full multi-let scenario.


This exercise ensures that we manage into the design any given fit out option and also allows the developer to respond positively to tenant’s enquiries.


So whilst it is impossible to gaze too far ahead through the crystal ball and predict the future tends with absolute certainty, a sound understanding of tenants needs and how technology is developing and shaping working practices will ensure that projects can be designed to provide flexible buildings that are capable of adapting to future change.

Jerry Whitlock, Technical Director at hurleypalmerflatt, keeps you informed on upcoming Government changes to Part L and Part P, which may effect you.

The Department for Communities and Local Government have issued consultation papers in advance of the upcoming changes to the Building Regulations and building control system.

These changes are due to be implemented in 2013 and the consultation gives an opportunity for those who may be affected to voice an opinion and possibly influence the decisions that are made.

It is clear that the overall drive is to deregulate and in 2010 the Building Regulations Minister, Andrew Stunnell, announced a programme of work to develop the proposals that have led to this consultation.

There are four sections to the consultation and this paper looks at Section Two – Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) and Section Three – Part P (Electrical safety in dwellings).

Part L (conservation of fuel and power) Consequential works in dwellings
This part of the consultation form looks at the difficult issue of consequential improvement, where a sum of money, usually equating to 10% of the total capital expenditure, is used to fund improvements to the building’s overall energy consumption and carbon reduction.

At the moment this applies to domestic buildings greater than 1000m². The proposal is to look at smaller buildings up to 1000m² and apply similar criteria.

The intention is to look at reducing emissions in more existing building stock and smaller properties.
The result may be that instead of complying with the requirements, there are more methods applied to avoid consequential improvements.

This may also lead to more works being carried out, without the correct permissions and involvement of Building Control, effectively taking us backward in our combined drive to reduce emissions, carbon and see real energy savings.

Part L (new build standards)
This proposal is looking to set new energy demand targets for new homes from 2013. This will impact on all elements of construction including the fabric and engineering services installed within. We are looking at a 20% aggregate improvement in CO2 performance standards for new non domestic buildings from October 2013.

There is some inevitability that this proposal will be passed, mainly due to the drive towards zero carbon homes from 2016. This is important as if we leave it much longer the target will not be achievable, making the EPBD legal requirement to have nearly zero energy homes by 2020 an impossible target.

This will lead to penalties at the Treasury for failure to comply with the Directive. An unpalatable issue for the Government of the day, let alone public opinion. The overall current thinking in the industry is that the changes are unaffordable.

The success of this proposal will be in the way that the changes are sold to an ever-cynical general public.

Part L (works in existing buildings)
This proposal links with the new-build standard in terms of what it is trying to achieve and looks at more specific issues, including raised performance standards of the following:
• Domestic window replacements
• Domestic extensions
• Non domestic extensions

It also proposes to use the Lighting Energy Numeric Indicator (LENI) as an alternative way of meeting the minimum energy performance for lighting installations. This may conflict with actual light level requirements in the various guides issued by CIBSE.

A further proposal is to introduce quality assurance processes to mitigate the risk of change between ‘as designed’ and as ‘built information.‘

Part P (electrical safety – dwellings)
As an introduction, Part P of the building regulations was introduced in 2005 and intended to ensure that persons carrying out electrical work were either registered with a recognised trade body and able to self certificate their work, or to advise the local Building Control that electrical works have been carried out for those not able to self certify.

The new proposals are interesting as they look at the impact that Part P has had in terms of cost and safety. This follows a huge number of negative comments from industry since original consultations started in 2010.

There are options:
• Leave unchanged
• Revoke
• Amend to reduce costs and burdens it imposes on installers, building control and consumers

The preference for Government is to make amendments to reduce costs to business whilst maintaining health and safety at the highest level.

This is intended to be achieved by:
• Making a greater proportion of electrical installation jobs non–notifiable
• Allowing DIY enthusiasts and other unregistered installers to employ 3rd party qualified electricians to test and
inspect the work as an alternative to using BCO

It is also proposed to lower BCO charges where the 3rd party test and certification is carried out or where electricians are qualified but not registered.

The result of the changes proposed will directly impact all of us in some way or another whether in our working lives or our personal home life.

The Part L changes are to drive lower emissions thus increase energy savings is a non-reversible issue with a legal implication and associated penalties to Government.

The changes to Part P are not tied to legal issues and it will remain to be seen. If the ground swell to reduce the cost burden whilst maintaining health and safety is adopted with the same vigour as the Part L changes.