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Technocover lifts lid on library’s renewable energy

Installation of a biomass boiler at Crawley library and register office called for some clever design in creating maintenance access to the underground woodchip bunker and plant room.

The solution, by secure access specialist, Technocover, includes vertical as well as horizontal covers, one-person operation, safety and security features to meet challenging needs.

Part of Technogroup, specialists in physical protection and structural support for building assets, Technocover designed, manufactured and fitted both access systems to ensure complete integrity of the final installation.

John Nisbet, associate with Gifford, the structural and service engineers for the client, West Sussex County Council, said: “The size of the bunker was a key problem. We needed to provide doors that could be opened single-handed by the driver making the woodchip deliveries. Technocover worked with us to resolve the size in a door design that allowed one-person operation within manual handling criteria, as well as making the covers water-tight.”

A combination of Technocover design know–how and incorporation of torsion spring and gas ram assistance enabled European Manual Handling regulations effort to be met. This means that a single operative can comfortably lift and close the substantial 1500mm by 3050mm chequer plate SOLO-LIFT© upstand bunker covers.
When open, hinge guards fitted to the underside of the covers prevent woodchip from fouling the hinge mechanisms. Automatic safety stays secure the covers in position, and can be released by manual operation.

Internal hinged grids, which are secured by a lever lock and padlock, provide free area for the woodchips to descend into the bunker while acting as fall protection over the 3m drop below for personnel working in the area. These grids have torsion springs to allow one-person operation when access is required for maintenance. Due to their size, the grids have torsion spring lifting mechanisms when they are opened for maintenance or special access.

The SOLO-LIFT bunker cover assembly is waterproof and naturally vented, to help maintain the required dry, aerated conditions for enclosed wood chip or wood pellet storage.

During peak winter use, woodchip deliveries will be required fortnightly to keep the 4m by 4m by 3m deep bunker adequately charged.

Five-leaf

Extending to almost 4.7m, a five-leaf upstand cover system provides maintenance access to the rotary sweeparm that conveys woodchip from the bunker to the boiler. This includes three hinged covers with automatic safety stays and integral ladders that provide fall protection when the covers are lifted.

At one end, the plant room system is cranked through 90 degrees to provide a secure lift-off cover, inset into the wall. Giving 433mm high by 1364mm vertical clear access, this can be opened in conjunction with an adjacent horizontal cover to allow complete removal of the auger for maintenance

The plant room system has been designed with hidden hinges and shrouded padlocking and other secure detail to provide a standard of physical protection appropriate to mitigating vandalism risks in urban locations.

The carbon-neutral Binder 149kW capacity biomass boiler, installed by Wood Energy Ltd, generates the library’s main heating, domestic hot water and secondary underfloor heating. It uses locally produced woodchip, a renewable and sustainable source of energy, underlining West Sussex County Council’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and meeting government targets for emissions reduction.
Green design

The library incorporates a number of other green design initiatives including a sedum roof, and thermal mass for heating and cooling.

West Sussex County Council has developed the new library under the South East Centre of Excellence (SECE) framework. The architect was Penoyre and Prasad, Currie and Brown was the QS and MACE the contract administrator.

The modern, elegant 3-storey building houses what is now West Sussex’s largest library, together with 45,000 sq/ft of office space including a register office.

Email: Terry.Batten@technocover.co.uk


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Arundel Jones Associates Ltd Registered in England and Wales No. 07334149
Hill Farm, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME 17 4AL
Tel : 01622 745333 email
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