Kershaw Mechanical Services Complete Work on Biggest Contract to Date

March 13 2019

Cambridge based experts in Mechanical and Electrical building services, Kershaw Mechanical Services, have recently completed work on phase one of the development for a new 155,000 sq ft office and laboratory development.

Located at Granta Park, a scientific research centre eight miles from Cambridge city centre, the first phase of the build covered the eastern and central wings and includes laboratories, offices, a connecting winter garden, landscaped terraces and an outdoor amphitheatre.

Kershaw Mechanical Services were contracted to undertake the full design and installation, testing and commissioning of the Mechanical & Electrical building services for the new development. This included the drawings, design and coordination for both stage 4 and 5 of the project – producing fully coordinated 3D models and full data deliverables.

The mechanical installation was Kershaw Mechanical Services biggest to-date, with an M&E value of over £22million and over 250 Kershaw operatives assigned to the project during peak times. It included laboratory and office ventilation systems, fume cupboard extraction system and full laboratory gases, low-temperature hot water and processed chilled water systems, fire protection and a Building Management System.  Electrical works included internal and external lighting, data and telecommunication installation, security systems and fire alarm, UPS and backup generator supply. 

As with any build of this scale, Kershaw Mechanical Services was working to an extremely tight programme and needed to ensure it followed a well-planned schedule where all trades were able to work onsite at the same time.  

One of the challenges the team on site had to overcome was the fact the ceiling voids were extremely tight, meaning that effective clash detection at the planning stage was critical. Kershaw Mechanical Services utilised their own internal BIM team so they were able to ensure that the planning, prioritising of areas and coordination was fully within their control. 

The expertise of their drawing team, who produced highly accurate Stage 5 3D models, was instrumental in the decision to use Kershaw’s in-house pre-fabrications facilities in order to produce pipe and ductwork ahead of programme.

Tom Rust, Project Engineer, Kershaw Mechanical Services said: “This enabled us to deliver work which typically may have taken place in the midst of a chaotic job site, in predictable conditions of the prefabrication environment at our Waterbeach offices.” He continued “By carrying out a large percentage of the manufacture away from the site, we kept disruption to a minimum, making it a cleaner and safer work environment.” 

With quality control a priority, and in order to make sure there were no leaks or undetected problems, Kershaw undertook full NDT testing on the prefabricated items prior to installation allowing for the smooth and efficient delivery of works. 

Gary Smith, Operations Director Kershaw Group said “We opted to use our own in-house prefabrication facilities for a number of reasons. Firstly it enabled us to have full control over the process, meaning we were able to keep to or ahead of programme.” He continued “With the majority of the production taking place off-site we were able to reduce the need for hot work on site, meaning fewer permits, paperwork and signoffs – all of which contributed to us being able to successfully deliver the project in budget and on time”

Kershaw’s ability to control the production of the pre-fabricated items meant they were able to work efficiently with the other trades on site and ensure the services were fitted in a neat and efficient manner within the programme.

The development included several laboratories, each of which is pressure controlled and need to be operated independently of one another.

The Kershaw team had to make sure they maintained pressure regimes throughout the development, but with a well-executed design and install, again utilising their own internal teams, they successfully achieved this. The commissioning met with all client requirements and an innovative, layered laboratory design ensured services to individual laboratories can be changed without affecting the others. 

Luke Ashton, Managing Director, Kershaw Mechanical Services “This is a major construction for the Cambridge life science community, and we are proud we were part of it.” Talking of the build itself he continued “We provided the full M&E package for the development, which includes some highly sophisticated technologies. We needed to ensure that every laboratory within the build could be controlled independently.” he added, “Throughout the duration of the build we had to call upon our vast experience and expertise in the research and sciences sector to ensure we were able to deliver the build efficiently and effectively.”

The development of the new headquarters started in late 2016, with M&E service commencing in May 2017 and it was handed over, to client satisfaction, in November 2018.  The building will house over 500 staff members and will utilise ‘smart’ technology and help to ensure it operates at optimum capacity throughout its lifetime.