We were faced with the challenging prospect of delivering a complete utility package to feed a new build seven story apartment block located on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. Initially, the client wasn’t sure on the metering set up they desired, but was happy without individual utility bills to the units. Based off this we suggested bulk metering, saving approximately £80,000 and a large amount of space within the building. Alongside the issue of connecting gas, water and electricity onto existing mains on a busy main road within a city, we faced an unusual challenge due to the developer digging down on the entire site so that the ground floor sat three metres below ground level, with a two meter gap from the road.
The architect designed the site with an accessible plant room situated on the ground floor, 3m below road level. We were to install gas, water and electricity services into this room, ready for internal contractors to distribute throughout the building. The client was happy with bulk metering, but we had to work with the architect to maintain the aesthetic of the build, comply with the planning permission given, and ensure the installations satisfied their respective regulations.
The most logical way of bringing the incoming water service onto site was to come from the road at 750mm depth with a 90mm MDPE service pipe connected to the main in the road. With the pipe coming in approximately 2 metres above the site’s ground level due to the gap between the road and the building, we decided to enclose it underneath an elevated walkway entrance to the building and enter the plant room from there. Installing a water pipe above ground increases the risk of freezing and vandalism, so the pipe had to be well insulated and securely boxed.
Due to the required capacity of the incoming electricity service, the cable’s recommended bending radius was too great to be able to drop 3 metres and enter the plant room at ground level in a neat fashion. In order to resolve this issue, we installed a GRP kiosk on the site boundary to house the current transformer unit, enabling the electric cable to come on to site at the usual depth whilst adopting its natural bending radius. We then installed outlet cabling coming from the kiosk into building using a different route, leaving an isolator in the plant room ready for distribution.
With it not being good practice to attach a gas supply to a means of escape, and unsightly to have a pipe crossing the gap at high level, we used a similar tactic to the electricity and installed a GRP kiosk to house the meter. As some of the pipe would be exposed as it was brought down to site’s ground level, we had to transition to steel to ensure it retains its integrity over the coming years. From the kiosk, we then installed MDPE outlet pipework underground to the plant room, terminating with an AECV from where the gas could then be distributed around the building by the mechanical contractors.
‘BGS Ltd provided water, gas and electricity on a seven storey accommodation build in Manchester. Their work was proficient and of high quality and carried out by friendly professional operatives.’
Philip Eatough MRICS – Quantity Surveyor, Edmond Shipway LLP.
Project Manager: Pete Boniface