High-end Residential Design and Technical Support

BEM Services were called in urgently to replace a failed Mechanical Contractor to a site in Knightsbridge, London. The site, being run by OD Projects, was for 5 seven-storey houses and 3 apartments with a combined basement level plantroom. The houses were to be have very high quality finishes including Jacuzzis, Cinema Rooms, Wine Stores, Staff Quarters, Lifts, Home Automation, Underfloor Heating and Air Conditioning. The end client was Finchattons who provide multi-million pound residences across the world.


We reacted quickly to the request with initial site visits, (which was essentially a concrete shell with only some initial services installed), and a review of the existing drawings, specifications and the existing installation. At this stage, the Project Director decided to allow the new mechanical installers to continue work whilst the Outline Design (provided by Hoare Lea) was checked and the detailed design completed by ourselves. This put a lot of time pressure on us to complete drawings and calculation checks as the build moved on.


The Outline Design was very thorough but each service needed checking for flow rate, pressures and compliance to the latest regulations. The services included ventilation, cold and hot water (softened and un-softened), underfloor heating, air conditioning, heat interface units, sprinklers, green walls and gas fires. The main plant room also included a Recycled Water System, a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, energy stores and connections to an extensive Building Management System (BMS).


As a team, we addressed each house in turn, breaking down each system to its component parts. Each piece of equipment was sized and specified to allow them to be purchased and delivered to site. The interconnecting pipework and ductwork was sized for the expected flow rate and all valves/ dampers specified. Meanwhile our two CAD technicians drew up plant room layouts and elevations, with the more complex areas being completed in 3D to show how the parts would fit in the space provided. We also liaised with specialists such as flue installers and home automation experts to complete the design checks and drawings.


There were various challenges to overcome along the way such as the client changing the third-floor layout on all houses, which saw the underfloor heating being stripped out and re-laid. Also, one of the houses and the 3 apartments were brought by one client who wanted to change them into one large house. This led to an extensive re-design of all the services with the additional demand that they must be installed in such a way that will allow the building to be quickly and easily change back to its original layout if needed.


As the project progressed we were kept on as the Technical Support to the on-site Project Management Team, which meant reacting to daily questions, issues and problems. This meant we were deeply involved with the installation work that was going ahead based on our design. This meant attending weekly meetings and providing amended drawings where conflicts or issues arose.


Finally, we assisted with the commissioning of all the systems, providing advice on flow rates and pressures. For example, it was found that the ventilation grilles had been incorrectly installed after the ceilings had been installed and painted so we provided alternative methods of measuring the flow rates when the traditional methods didn’t work. Also at this stage we provided advice to the Project Managers regarding the completion paperwork such as the building log book, O&M Manual and compliance with the Guide to Sustainable Homes. This project was a good example where we could step in last minute and help to get the project moving forward quickly. It also illustrates how we worked with the management team throughout the project to ensure that the project ran as smoothly as possible.


To find out more about how we can support your building project please do get in touch by calling 0115 7788 227 or email info@bem-services.co.uk