Gilberts’ role in delivering improved policing

Lancashire Constabulary’s West Division Police Headquarters will deliver a better environment for all occupants, thanks in part to its neighbour, Gilberts Blackpool.

The state of the art, eco-friendly building, which has cost in excess of £20m, is the biggest single investment in the force’s history,  will provide an improved working environment for the officers and staff, and enable them to deliver a better quality of service to the public. The new headquarters will form a base for local policing teams, plus an investigations hub and custody suite.

The project places much emphasis on sustainability: it is targeted to achieve a BREEAM rating of very good, and required that 75% of the spend would be within a 40 mile radius of the new site, in Clifton Road. Yet the building materials have to perform despite the site’s proximity to the exposed Fylde coast.

SES, Engineering Services chose Gilberts Blackpool to deliver the interfaces between the mechanical ventilation and the rooms below, as part of its package of MEP services won with principal contractor Willmott Dixon under the National Scape Framework.

“Gilberts is the leader in the sector, and had the capability to deliver everything we needed from one source- from the stringent specification of high security grilles for the cells, to diffusers in open ceilings,” explained SES project engineer Sam Butterworth. “We knew Gilberts has the expertise from various other custody suites and high security projects we have worked on with the company in recent years. It helped that Gilberts is based literally within walking distance of the site- the requirement to use 20% of suppliers within a 10mile radius is a little difficult when half of that radius is, in effect, the sea!”

A combination of Gilberts’ GPP high security grilles, drum louvres, DG four-way diffusers, GDS swirl diffusers and GX air valves ensure the mechanical ventilation system delivers an appropriate flow of fresh air into the various areas of the three-storey 8,500m2 building, and removal of used air.

The 60no GPP grilles used to ventilate the 42-cell custody suite meet the enhanced Home Office specification for police use, and comprise  2mm thick stainless steel fascia to create a tough yet attractive unit with maximum taper resistance.

To accommodate different suspended ceiling configurations throughout the remainder of the building, more than 250 DG four-way and 350 GDS swirl diffusers were utilised, to blend efficient performance with modern aesthetics.

The diffusers are complimented in the washrooms etc by Gilberts’ GX air valves, and large general areas by Gilberts’ DL drum louvres. The stove- enamel finished air valves provide a compact means of extracting stale air and odours from toilets, washrooms and kitchens to achieve high air volume and velocity. The DL drum louvres rotate to deliver a powerful stream of air with the capability to throw horizontally or vertically, thus accommodating any rise and fall in the airstream caused by temperature differentials between the supply air and room air.

Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts Blackpool is unique in its ability to develop components- whether ‘mainstream’ or bespoke – entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 90,000 ft2 manufacturing facility. Its state of the art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.

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