Gold award for teamwork!

Neil Afram, Managing Director of Space Airconditioning plc, the UK Daikin Distributor, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for over 12 years, so when he learned that the famous charity was having air conditioning problems at it’s Windsor offices, he was pleased to step forward and offer his company’s assistance.

The problem

Gulliver House is an attractive red brick, 3-storey, purpose built, office block in the centre of Windsor and has been the charity’s HQ since 1991. Over the years air conditioning, in the form of split system heat pumps, had been installed to serve various parts of the building. When Space Air engineers carried out a detailed survey of the plant they discovered no fewer than 18 ageing individual split systems, all manufactured to operate with the controlled ODS refrigerant - HCFC R22.

The building suffered from a lack of centralised control for the multiple air conditioning units and an ineffective ventilation system. In addition a number of the existing units were out of order, as a result comfort levels got a definite ‘thumbs down’ from the staff and visitors alike.

The Space Air solution

Space Air, Daikin Distributors since 1980 and with offices in Guildford, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, advised the charity on various Daikin based options available, and on current legislation. They recommended that the best long-term solution would be to replace the existing air conditioning units including the central air handling unit. Apart from being unsuitable and relatively inefficient, even if refurbished, by the end of 2014, under the R22 phase out Regulation, most of the existing equipment would, in any event, become unserviceable by law.

Space Air also recommended that new Daikin VRVIII systems, with integrated Heat Recovery Ventilation and a Centralised ‘i Touch’ Controller would provide the ultimate in energy efficient climate management. The result would be dramatically improved occupancy comfort, greatly reduced operating and maintenance costs; and the carbon footprint of the building would, at the same time, be markedly reduced. 

The team

The charity had plans to modify the internal layout of the building and once these had been finalised Space Air was asked to prepare formal proposals to replace the R22 equipment and obtain installation quotes from within its network of approved installation specialists, all as part of a competitive tender process. As a result one of Space Air’s most loyal and long standing approved installers, Air Improve Ltd., was instructed to install the specified Daikin solution, supplied of course, by Space Air.

The project

Work began on site with the de-commissioning and removal of existing plant with the exception of critical equipment. Daikin VRVIII systems incorporating a mixture of 4 way blow cassette, ducted and wall mounted fan coil units with fully integrated VAM Heat Recovery Ventilation units were installed on a floor by floor basis to minimise disruption. Much of the work was carried out at times that were least inconvenient to staff.

On completion the new systems, including the Daikin i-Touch centralised control were commissioned and staff training conducted by Space Air technicians. The new installation was then formally handed over to the client. 

In addition to supplying all of the schematic drawings, Daikin equipment and associated accessory items, Space Air provided project management support and maintained full liaison with the client, the property agents, their consultant and Air Improve throughout.

Award reward

Client plaudits are always welcome and it was with great pleasure that the work of the Space Air and Air Improve teams received high praise via a stream of highly complimentary internal memoranda from executives of the charity.

Charity donation

A surprise element of the project for the client came courtesy of an arrangement made by Space Air for the Sims Metal Group to collect and recycle all the redundant plant. This ultimately enabled a cheque reflecting the value of recovered/recycled materials to be presented as a donation to the charity. Space Air and Air Improve also ‘clubbed together’ to boost this donation to over £4,000. Mike Nankivell (Space Air) and Graham Osborne (Air Improve) are pictured presenting the donations to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s Commercial Director, Peter Schooling.

Benefits of good teamwork

Since successfully completing the Gulliver House project, Space Air and Air Improve teamed up again to replace R22 based air conditioning equipment at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Foundation offices in Central London. Although the subject of competitive tender, the client’s decision to award the contract was influenced by the high level of satisfaction with the service, quality of work and cooperative approach of Space Air and the Air Improve site at Gulliver House. 

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