Project Description

Completing a louvre screen in 50% less time than industry standard was just one of the challenges met- and exceeded- by Gilberts Blackpool for a major data centre extension project in Hertfordshire.

Not only did the company and its approved installer John Campey & Sons deliver in the tight timeframe, it did so whilst maintaining the weather integrity of the centre, which was already full with computer equipment and service plant to provide carrier-neutral superfast connectivity for tenants’ cloud data.

In addition, the location of the louvre screen on the façade meant access to accurately complete a site survey in advance and create design drawings was impossible, despite the need for the louvres to precisely fit round scores of penetrations for ducting, cables and structural steelwork.

From initial inquiry to completion, the supply and fit project took Gilberts just eight weeks. Gilberts advised that its WHK75 high performance louvre system in kit form, with bird guard, would be the most effective solution to balance the level of weather protection and ventilation required for the data hall extension. Gilberts’ unique blade design for the WH75 Series provides unrivalled weather performance, optimising hidden drainage discharge away from the louvres and building interior whilst still delivering 50% free ventilation area, thus achieving Class A weather rating.

Gilberts engineered each component to order, applying expertise from more than 40 years’ manufacture of louvre systems to create a solution that would meet the high specification once installed, despite having no specific design drawings.

To create the final 17.6m x 11.1m screen, the team had to squeeze behind tarpaulin which had to remain in place to retain the building’s weather integrity whilst the screen was fitted, precisely measure each section, cut each 2m long blade to size with millimetre precision, and fit each blade and mullion, then flash around each penetration abutment.

“The lads like rising to a challenge, and finding a solution!” observed John Campey, head of the installation team. “We could have completed it even quicker but were slightly held up by some additional building work creating a parapet and secondary structural support system for the screen to fit into. Gilberts’ louvre systems is the only one we work with, they are produced with great accuracy and high quality.”

Added Steve Hoswell, director for the main contractor on the project esg plc, “Gilberts was the obvious choice for us: it was the only louvre manufacturer that could deliver the high specification required to the satisfaction of the M&E consultant, accommodate the build programme, and still provide a commercially viable solution.”

Gilberts’ air movement solutions incorporate grilles, louvres, and diffusers for natural, hybrid and mechanical ventilation.

Founded almost 60 years ago, Gilberts Blackpool is Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist, and is unique in its ability to develop components, be it ‘mainstream’ or bespoke- entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 95000ft2 manufacturing facility. Its state-of-the-art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.