Advanced Ergonomic Technologies (AET) has completed another prestigious UK installation of its market leading Flexible Space System, incorporating AET Flexible Space Underfloor Air Conditioning and special Raised Access Floor system. The company has just finished the last of thirteen phases in the extensive and demanding refurbishment of the floors of the Grade I listed Willis Building in Ipswich, designed by Foster & Partners
Willis is one of the top three global insurance broking companies and their three-storey office building was originally constructed in 1974 and then credited with listed status in 1991. As part of a major refurbishment project, installation of air-conditioning was required in the conversion of an area which contained a swimming pool into a new, flexible working space
After considering all the options, AET’s Flexible Space System was specified by F.C. Foremans, to effectively overcome English Heritage planning restrictions and the limitations associated with traditional air conditioning solutions. The installation of a new false ceiling, which would have been necessary to conceal any ceiling-based air conditioning system, was undesirable while studies also showed that air blown in from the side walls was also impractical
Instead, a purpose-designed, removable plug has been fitted within the swimming pool and the 1250m2 area covered with an under floor air-conditioning system to bring high comfort levels to the newly created office above. The system utilises the plenum under a new raised access floor as a duct in itself with the area divided into four distinct zones determined by use and occupancy density. Each zone is supplied with chilled or warmed air under the floor from a CAM-V variable volume unit. Fresh air is introduced into the CAM-V and filtered along with re-circulating air to achieve a high standard of indoor air quality.
Supply air is drawn up into the occupied space by fan assisted terminal units (TU4), which are recessed into the floor, plug into an under floor power source and are connected by data cabling for intelligent control. These fan tile units feature individual controls to provide variable speed and temperature adjusted for maximum user comfort. Since they are not restricted by duct or pipe connections, they are easily interchangeable with floor panels, allowing easy reconfiguration of the system to accommodate any changes in office layout with minimum cost and disruption.
AET has also developed a special glass floor tile to surround and highlight the edge of the pool below in line with English Heritage requirements. In addition, AET has supplied over 17,000 m 2 of its raised access flooring for other parts of the building to accommodate the growing cable-management requirements of office users more effectively, flexibly and more discreetly while allowing for further air-conditioning installation at a later date, if required. The floor panels are supported on pedestals and stringers, allowing the floor to be raised between 100 mm and 1 m in height as necessary.
“Working with the Flexible Space System has brought enormous benefits on this project” explains Bernard Berry, Concept’s Consultant and Contract Manager on the project. “The results are there for everyone to see. Hugely flexible office space, improved comfort levels and fast installation with minimum disruption to the building’s occupants – all thanks to the Flexible Space air conditioning and raised access flooring from AET”.