Commercial Construction – Insulating A Plant Room
A residential and commercial new build project in South London, this multi-storey building’s plant room had been fully fitted out with the machinery and pipework before insulation had been considered.
Once pipework and plant was in situ, access to the concrete soffit was considerably restricted, meaning the installation of pre-manufactured insulation was impossible. Areas of the ceiling that were left uninsulated, could be subject to cold thermal bridging and the formation of condensation.
Our client, Crest Nicholson, contacted us to find out whether Spray Foam insulation could provide the solution to avoid the costly dismantling of plant, pipework and machinery. With a target U-Value of 0.16 W/mK to be achieved, we visited the project to carry out a full site survey.
Following attendance at the site survey, the parameters of a potential install were seriously compromised by difficult access, a network of large pipework and some areas of the concrete soffit that had little room in which to operate. Based on the U-Value of 0.16 W/mK, we specified 160mm of Class 1 Fire Rated Closed Cell insulation.
Due to the working height of the installation surface and the large plant fixed at floor level, the project required careful planning and a steady timeline to ensure that every inch of the concrete soffit was insulated to remove the thermal bridge.The heat generated within the the plant room, combined with the cold external soffit could lead to significant condensation issues during winter months, therefore, our specification had to be discussed extensively with the architect and Building Control.
Once we had satisfied the concerns of those involved in the planning of the plant room insulation, it was time to generate job specific risk assessments and method statements to ensure that the project could be delivered safely, as per the specification and in a time-frame that worked for our client.
This was one of those projects where we truly couldn’t predict how long the installation would take. Whilst Spray Foam insulation is generally quicker to install than pre-manufactured insulation, the difficult access and the obstacles of pipework and plant meant that we had to take our time to avoid any issues.
The preparation work to protect expensive plant, pipework and machinery from the danger of over-spray was an important part of the overall works therefore, we sent a team of two a few days before our spray team were due to commence works. Our pre-install team thoroughly covered pipework, floors and machinery with polythene sheeting which would help to significantly reduce the risk of over-spray damage.
Once fully protected, we mobilised our spray rig and a team of 3 to ensure that any work conducted at height was carried out using the relevant safety equipment, including scaffold towers and podium steps. In true ThermoFoam style, we attacked the most difficult and time consuming areas first and after 5 days, we had completed 70% of this 130 square metre project.
Returning the following week to conclude our works, the whole project took 8 days including pre-preparation works, the installation and the end of job clean up operation. As a part of our works, we also spray applied a Bostik Idenden ET-150 vapour barrier.
It’s always worth considering the insulation requirements for a plant room before all machinery and pipework is installed. This can avoid a simple project turning into a costly and time consuming exercise. To insulate 130 square metres at 160mm would ordinarily take around 2-3 days maximum without obstacles.
We needed an urgent insulation solution for our plant room which could avoid having to dismantle the expensive and extensive pipework, ducting and machinery. When conducting our research, it appeared that Spray Foam Insulation was about the only possible solution and we contacted ThermoFoam to discuss the project.
After attending for a site visit, the ThermoFoam team provided a specification that was acceptable to our architect and based on their experience having insulated other plant rooms in a similar environment, we were happy to appoint them to conduct the installation works.
The team were helpful, courteous and worked incredibly hard in a challenging environment to provide a full insulation solution that only Spray Foam could have achieved. ThermoFoam were able to mobilise quickly and efficiently to deliver a completed job within the time limits required. We shall definitely use ThermoFoam again for future projects.
“Charlie Holland, Project Assistant, Crest Nicholson”