Case Studies

Packaged plant boiler room for Cardinal Newman School

Packaged plant boiler room for Cardinal Newman School

Client: Cardinal Newman School
Project: Packaged plant boiler room
Project Value: £160k
Project Manager: Matt Clare


Cardinal Newman in Latchford, south of Warrington, is a Catholic High School with over 800 students aged 11-16. The school was formed when two Warrington high schools – English Martyr’s and St John’s – merged in 2003.

The heating for the school buildings has been provided by an old and inefficient oil fired boiler that was installed in the mid 1980`s. The burners used on the boiler had become obsolete and the cost of ongoing repairs has become prohibitive.

As with many boiler rooms of this age, there is a strong risk of asbestos within the existing plant room. Working together with the school, the decision was taken to create a bespoke, standalone plant room, to sit outside the building and connect into the existing school pipework. It’s fully insulated and lined with two huge access doors at the front and a flue system on the top to remove unwanted gases.

We have built quite a number of these packaged plant rooms over recent years for the likes of Aberdeen heat and Power (link). They offer the ability to create a complete and fully fitted plant room that can be connected with far less interruption to the existing heating provision than would be the case if we had to remove all of the existing plant, before we started work.

Our work

With the container created and lined, it was ready to go for the team to install the plant on our own site to install at the School, when the Easter break started.

The plant room was fitted with four Ideal Evomax 2 150kw boilers. On efficiency alone they have the old oil fired system beaten, with around 97% efficiency compared to nearer 60% from the old system. Combined with the ability to cascade boilers (ie only fire up as much power as is needed to meet the demand) the ongoing savings in fuel and carbon footprint are huge.

The new boilers link to a Plate Heat Exchanger (PHE) that keeps the fluid from the existing radiators and pipework separate, so they cannot contaminate the new boilers and pump system. There’s also an air dirt separator inline and a dosing system on both sides of the system too.

The new system connects into the existing pipework inside the plant room via a new transport pump system.

There’s a BMS to control the whole system and a control panel that allows all of the boilers and pumps to be controlled centrally in the clean, brightly lit space of the new plant room.

The final detail is the link to the fire control system. Should fire be detected within the school buildings (or the plant room) the solenoid kicks in and the gas supply to the system is shut off.

The actual cost of the container – even fully insulated and lined – is surprisingly low and the additional flexibility it brings in installation, is worth every penny.

When we work with schools for major plant room overhauls, we are normally restricted to working within school holiday periods. For some of the largest projects, these can take well over a week, which limits us to working in Easter and Summer only. By using packaged plant, we speed up the site process, which means that with good planning, we can install during the much shorter half term breaks too.

You can see more of the step by step build here.

Project Management

Matt Clare managed the project throughout and speaking about it said “We are seeing a real growth in this type of installation specifically for schools. Many of the boiler rooms created in the 1970’s and 1980’s have the issue of Asbestos and the packaged plant room allows us to upgrade the system and mitigate any risk of contamination.

The design of the new plant rooms creates such a bright fresh space to work in with perfect access, they make servicing and any future plant upgrades an absolute breeze”

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    sustainable building
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