Prefabrication is a success

SPIE Matthew Hall has provided all of the HVAC piping services including low temperature hot water, chilled water and domestic hot and cold water for Glasgow’s £95 million 5000-seat Commonwealth Sports Arena and adjacent 2000-seat Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome that will be used as competition venues for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The large-scale project comprised a chilled water plantroom and boiler house, housing a total of 19 pumps, and several kilometres of distribution pipework.  

Lack of space in the mechanical rooms – both for plant and for people to work was a key constraint and the need to install large plant into confined spaces called for the elimination of cumbersome pipework and fittings, and for as much work as possible to be done off site.

The solution was to change from the original specification for standard welding and flanging to grooved technology and prefabricate in a bespoke off-site centre.  Engineering services were installed using a range of Victaulic rigid and flexible couplings, valves, strainers, mechanical tees and elbows on BS1387 steel pipe from 65mm – 500mm in diameter. 

Pre-assembled modules

Up to 95% of the entire installation was prefabricated off site and delivered as and when needed on the jobsite.  This included pipe spools and pre-assembled modules for the boiler room and chiller room, all the risers and the main pipe runs from the risers to the floors.

Tightness of space in the energy centres was overcome by using grooved components to replace bulky welded/flanged items and cut down the amount of pipework required.  Pumps and chiller units were pre-assembled with valves and fittings in the prefabrication shop.  The use of butterfly valves saved weight, whilst the facility to close-couple valves reduced the number of pipe spools needed and the potential for joint leaks.

Saving time

SPIE Mathew Hall Construction Manager, Gary Walker, explained: “Comparing welding and flanging with the grooved system is like comparing chalk and cheese.  When you’ve got 20 welds per pump and 20 flanges with multiple nuts and bolts compared with a Victaulic coupling with just two nuts and bolts it’s a big difference.  A 100mm weld might take up to two hours to complete but a Victaulic joint can be made in minutes.” 

The project successfully met a set of challenging criteria to achieve a fit-for-purpose solution on time and on budget.  “The installation was completed in around half the time it would have taken to weld and it was three times as quick to flush the non-welded system. We saved 25 – 30% on total installed costs compared with traditional methods,” said Senior Project Manager, Brian Fee.

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