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Air Handling Units – How to Overcome the Restrictions

In our last blog we compared bespoke with off-the-shelf air handling units (AHUs).  We will now take a look at the various restrictions in and around the building that often determine the choice of unit.

Frequently, space in a building is limited and the environment challenging, while on site transportation of equipment and acceptance testing and commissioning of plant are costly. Some or all of these costs can be reduced with good planning, bespoke design and factory acceptance testing (FAT) before any on site staff and equipment are deployed.

The following are five restrictions we commonly encounter when installing, replacing or retrofitting ventilation plants:

  1. Transporting the unit from the delivery area for the building or site.
  2. Transporting the unit through the building itself.
  3. Transporting the system to upper floors or to rooftop locations.
  4. The three-dimensional space available at the point where the plant is required.
  5. The interfaces and routes to and from the unit to new or existing distribution systems.

The delivery and unloading areas can be a considerable distance from the final position of the equipment: this is why the designer needs to take this into account from the start and for it to be reflected in the Design Risk Assessment. With large cumbersome plant it is a necessity to arrange specialist plant movement equipment where possible or adopt manual handling which involve more detailed safe working practices which can all add to the project’s cost.

For new and refurbished buildings, a specialist designer should be directed to incorporate ease of access for infrastructural equipment into the plans for the building.  However, in some cases not all the potential restrictions will be identified, resulting in the need for a flexible and innovative approach to the equipment design.

Similarly, for an existing building, it is very important that a design engineer carries out a survey, examining all the possible restrictions, along with energy goals, and uses the information to draw up a custom AHU design that takes size, weight, handling and materials into account in order to allow the units to be installed safely and successfully.

At Transcool Systems, our experienced engineering team looks at the restrictions and site requirements and then ensures the unit’s design mitigates the problems and issues raised.  This reduces the overall equipment and installation costs.

Here are some are examples of our design modifications:

–    Dividing the unit into modules to enable it to be transported through narrow doors or corridors
–    Adding lifting eyes to the unit’s frame and increasing its structural integrity, so that it can be taken up by crane or hoist to a roof or through a riser shaft.
–    Fitting fans and filters in sizes which still provide high performance but allow the unit to be made as small as possible and so fit into a restricted space
–    Specially designing interfaces to the new or existing distribution ductwork or to navigate a path past a structural part of a building.

As a bespoke designer and manufacturer, we are not restricted to one type or make of fan, filter, damper, actuator or coil: we can design the best solution for your project to maximise performance and minimise on-site risks and costs.

Call the team at Transcool Systems on 01903 733911 to discuss your own project’s AHU requirements.