Top marks for Armstrong

Off-site manufacture of a new boiler room for the University of Wolverhampton kept disruption to a minimum during the expansion of its Walsall Campus.

The University of Wolverhampton is an extremely popular academic site with a range of 360 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and over 23,000 students. As part of a broader expansion project, additional heating capability was required at the campus and building services engineers C A Sothers Ltd identified that an off-site manufacture approach would have significant benefits in this very busy higher education environment.


C A Sothers approached HVAC experts Armstrong to provide a self-contained boiler package for the University. Armstrong – a specialist in off-site manufacture of plant rooms – built the primary heating package at its purpose-designed factory in nearby Halesowen. The finished package was shrink-wrapped for its short journey to the University site and the project’s contractors completed the cladding and weather-proofing of the plant room.


As the boiler package was fully-assembled in the factory, and delivered to site requiring only final connections, project times were drastically reduced with installation taking days rather than weeks. In addition, as the construction of the package could take place under cover and away from any other building works, there were no limitations placed upon the HVAC section of the project by adverse weather or bottlenecks, making it easier to streamline the overall expansion.


Most importantly, disruption at the busy site was minimised. The volume of traffic across the campus and the amount of contractor access to the site was greatly reduced. As a result the health and safety risks associated with carrying out a project of this type were significantly reduced, whilst manufacture in the more easily controlled environment of a factory ensured the highest levels of overall quality.


Steve Cooper of Armstrong said: “Off-site manufacture of plant rooms is becoming increasingly popular in the educational sector. In the past, all construction work was typically crammed into the summer break to avoid disruption to students. This created a situation where educational sites were all demanding the same resources (in terms of contractors and materials) at the same time.


“In contrast, the speed and ease of installing an off-site manufactured plant room makes it possible for work to take place at any time in the academic year. This provides a more sensible, and safer, way of approaching building works and was the ideal solution for the University of Wolverhampton expansion.”

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