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  • Abbey School Listed Building Refurbishment

    Listed buildings present a whole series of challenges when it comes to refurbishment projects and the work we recently completed at Abbey School in Chester had some new ones that the team had never seen before, despite completing hundreds of similar projects.

    Abbey School in Chester is a day and residential independent special school for children and young persons aged 4-19 years with autism who may have additional learning difficulties and behaviours that challenge. They are located in Grade II* listed buildings dating back to 1754, in the heart of historic Chester, Abbey Square.

    The building was in poor condition but has significant architectural features to be preserved, which made for some clever thinking to install new HVAC throughout. These pictures show the challenge we faced.

    The first challenge was the oversight of a conservation engineer. They were on-site to advise and ensure we followed guidance. Many of the 16 teaching spaces had architecturally significant covings. To leave this untouched, we used floated ceilings with a visible 900mm gap at the edges to allow the VRF system with ducted fan coils in the classroom to work properly, minimise noise in the teaching space (it helps to have an acoustic engineering business as part of the Kimpton Group) and critically, to preserve the integrity of the coving.

    The second challenge was moving pipework between floors from the two roof-mounted Air Handling Units. The team cleverly used the chimney stack and purpose-built voids to allow this to happen.

    The third was that notching pipework into floor joists, something that most plumbers just take for granted, again had to be overseen by the conservation engineer. Original oak joists could not be notched, so we had to reroute and find alternative runs for pipework.

    With roof-mounted AHU’s and a cold water tank located in the basement, you can start to understand the gigantic Grade II listed jigsaw the team faced, and successfully overcame.

    The ground floor plant room was upgraded to a new 100kW Vaillant boiler feeding LTHW radiators in common spaces, a new kitchen venting system was installed and the toilets and sanitary ware were all upgraded throughout. Even the externals are under the watchful eye of the Grade II guidelines with new cast iron heritage drainpipes and guttering being fitted.

    When you see where it came from, the finished results are something the whole team are very proud of. It’s an incredible school doing great work already, but for them to be able to operate in warm, well ventilated and beautifully finished teaching and common spaces will only make things easier.

    We’re proud to have been part of it. Here are some images of the finished job.

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    What our customers say

    • Kimpton Energy Solutions have provided a reliable and helpful service at Dover and Philharmonic Court since they were opened in 2014 /15. A good working relationship is maintained with the service engineers and having a key account manager who is responsive and maintains regular communication has been a key factor in service provision.Having a…

    • Kimptons provided a ‘planned maintenance schedule’ to suit our academic year requirements and maintained the dates set out. Their engineers were always well presented and aware of how to conduct themselves within our environment. They were all trained and knowledgeable on the various items of equipment they came to work on. Mr Mike Pickles,…

    • We are happy with the service Kimptons have provided over the years. Their engineers are local and have great knowledge of our systems. We have built up an excellent working relationship with service engineers along with their office staff. Mr Kevin Foy, Notre Dame College

    • The Kimpton engineers on site are always accommodating to requests from the estates team with regards to heating, ventilation and air conditioning issues. The planned maintenance schedule has developed over the years and works well throughout the year. Having a key account manager who attends site on a weekly basis provides an excellent line…

    • The installation will improve the comfort conditions in several areas of the school servicing both pupils and staff. We are very experienced in undertaking projects in these conditions were flexibility and careful scheduling is key and this was crucial to our appointment on this contract.

    • We have been using TKR Services since their inception and during that time they proved to be not only commercially competitive, but also, looking from an Engineers point of view they have strived to provide the highest quality work.

    • The Plaza is a showpiece building for Bruntwood in Liverpool and we have since made it our own headquarters in the city. To reflect this, we needed to ensure that the fit out was of the highest quality, whilst maintaining the high levels of service our tenants expect from Bruntwood.