Hounslow listed townhouse and BMS

A period townhouse required a comprehensive programme of mechanical and electrical works to facilitate modern standards of access and usability for the mobility-impaired owner.

Contract Value: not disclosed
Date: 2008
Local Authority: London Borough of Hounslow

Context

The property is a substantial four-story Grade II-listed Victorian mid-terrace in an attractive residential area of West London. Our client required a complete refurbishment of the property in order to make provision for their current and future mobility needs whilst also encompassing a range of energy-saving features to make the property carbon-efficient.

The Challenge

The location, built-form and historic nature of the property provides an inherent challenge to the consulting engineer in terms of site access, adaptability and planning constraints. Furthermore, configuring both improved accessibility and efficiency of building services requires detailed specification and cost-control.

Our Solution

Our approach was both pragmatic and innovative, principled on full use of the latest technology to achieve a building which delivered in terms of user comfort without sacrificing building performance.

The use of solar water heating panels or ground source heat pumps had previously been ruled out given that the hot water demand was anticipated to be infrequent, however when required the boiler load for the domestic hot water is considerable.

Energy consumption in the property was therefore controlled by the specification of a gas-fired hot water generator linked to a digital Building Management System (BMS) which has the additional benefit of monitoring and controlling both the heating and cooling systems in the property. This avoids the energy-inefficient simultaneous operation of the cooling and conventional central heating systems.

The external water consumption of the property was also reduced by the specification of a grey water system which required excavation of and extensive works to the basement.

Our mobility solution also included the installation of Clos-o-Mat sanitary-ware and a fully-automated bed, together with automated control of the vehicular and pedestrian gate access system to the property.

Designing accessibility at the heart of the solution also provided a satisfactory way of minimising energy usage. The Lutron control system enabled automated lighting by presence detection, facilitating lighting control for the disabled client whilst ensuring lights turn on only when required.

Our client's exacting and rightly ambitious vision required an engineering solution which encompassed current thinking in environmental and accessibility applied to a building from an era of markedly different conceptions of building performance.

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