University College London (UCL)

Seamless chimney replacement in a live operational environment

The Challenge

This case study highlights the successful execution of a critical project undertaken at University College London (UCL), London’s Global University. The project involved the replacement of external building extract fans and chimneys, identified during validation surveys as part of a four-year MEP and fabric upgrade framework contract. The challenge was to implement the upgrade within a 24-hour window while ensuring minimal disruption in an occupied campus environment.

During the validation surveys, it was discovered that the current external building extract fans were in need of upgrading and to improve energy efficiency. Subsequent investigations revealed that the existing steel external chimneys were decayed, and the existing fans were inefficient. The project’s scope involved designing, building, and replacing the two aged and decayed steel chimneys with lightweight, galvanized, and powder-coated replacements. The goal was to ensure the new chimneys would not only be more sustainable but also provide longevity for UCL’s campus.

One of the primary challenges was to complete the project in a live operational environment within a strict 24-hour timeframe. The occupied campus necessitated careful planning to minimise disruption to the university’s day-today activities. To ensure the successful completion of the project, a massive team of over 50 individuals, including DMA as the principal contractor, fire teams, UCL logistics, the Estates Team, security teams, electrical engineers, BMS team, mechanical engineers, and a crane team, had to be organised and coordinated. Additionally, the team had to orchestrate and manage diversions and utilise the confined campus spaces efficiently.

The Solution

With highly skilled teams and meticulous planning, the project was executed with precision. The process involved replacing the first external extract fan and commissioning chimney 1 upgrade. During this time, the replacement of the second external extract fan was underway and preparations were made for the installation of the second chimney upgrade. The team’s synchronised efforts ensured a seamless process, completing all necessary replacements and upgrades within the 24-hour timeframe.

The Outcome

The project was a resounding success, delivered to UCL within a timeline of six weeks from the initial project engagement to final execution and installation.

Through the collaboration and expertise of the diverse team, UCL was provided with a tailor-made solution that not only improved energy efficiency but also enhanced the sustainability and longevity of the chimneys and external extract fans.

The project’s seamless implementation resulted in minimal disruptions to the operational activities of the university, further solidifying the institution’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in their facilities management practices.