>B< Press given top marks for school refurbishment



DSR Mechanical services carried out the majority of the refurbishment in the school summer holidays, following external improvements in 2016/17. 


When mechanical services contractor DSR Mechanical Services were tasked with a complete strip out and refurbishment of a school block in Hampshire they used flame-free Conex Bänninger >B< Press fittings throughout.

The new piped installation at Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville includes a Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW) radiator heating system serving the school’s Newman block, together with hot and cold water services to the new Food Technology rooms and toilets.

The school, which has academy status and caters for around 1,300 students, was opened in 1966 although its history can be traced back to 1902.

The internal refurbishment, with the majority completed during the school summer holidays, follows external improvements in 2016/17 which saw the roof replaced and new insulation added.

Dave Eves, Director with DSR Mechanical Services, said the engineering consultant, Smith Consult, had agreed to a press-fit system because it made installation in an existing building much easier and quicker, without comprising on the reliability of the joints.

“Press is something we are doing more and more, it’s become our ‘go-to’ system,” said Dave. “The original fittings were all screwed or soldered but there was so much pipework that would not have been practical, particularly in a building like this and with the need to complete the job within a tight timescale.”

DSR’s team of six engineers installed around 1,500 metres of 15mm to 54mm stainless steel and copper pipework.

Dave said: “The hot and cold water services have been installed using copper. All of the heating system pipework has been carried out in stainless steel as there are areas where it is exposed and in a school it can get easily knocked. Although more expensive that’s offset by the fast-fit.”

Dave explained that with an existing building the use of flame-based jointing systems such as braze or solder carried an increased level of risk.

“For a new-build the risk from flame is lower, particularly during the first fix because there is generally a lot less flammable material about. But for a building such as a school you have to be really careful,” he said.

“Using flame-free press means you haven’t got the hassle of all the hot works permits and also because there’s less risk our insurance costs drop.”

Dave added that while the team had been using press for a while, this was the first time they had used Conex Bänninger >B< Press fittings.

“They thought this system was better because it has a second press on the bead, which others don’t have, so it has proven to be really reliable, all of the pipework pressure tested to date has passed first time,” he said. 

“They were also more confident in pre-fabricating the pipework because they felt the un-pressed joint had a secure fit and it was less likely to slip out before they then go around to do the press.”

DSR, which was has been established for 15 years, will return to the school to compete the final phase, the washrooms, during the October half-term.

The main contractor on the commission is LST Projects, specialists in the education, healthcare, community and research sectors.

Conex Bänninger >B< Press is designed for use with stainless steel, carbon steel, hard, half-hard and soft copper tube. The >B< profile has the advantage of a 3-point press, with two mechanical presses either side of the bead and one hydraulic press crimping the O-ring.

For more information on Conex Bänninger’s complete range of valves and fittings solutions, visit www.conexbanninger.com.