Breathing new life into historic building


The Grade II* listed India Buildings in the heart of Liverpool has undergone a major refurbishment, to transform the 100 years old, 12-storey mixed use structure into state-of-the-art office, residential and retail accommodation.

Being redeveloped for owner Legal & General by refurbishment specialist Overbury, the rejuvenation sees the eight floors of Category A office space delivering a BREEAM and WELL-compliant environment, through grilles and diffusers from air movement specialist Gilberts (Blackpool).

The 350,000ft² of commercial space is served by four-pipe heating and cooling services connected to fan coil units behind bespoke bulkheads. Consulting engineers Crookes Walker Consulting designed the ventilation strategy, installed by Ameon Building Services Engineering.

Crookes Walker specified a combination of Gilberts’ JSL and L Series linear bar grilles in the bulkheads, GECA eggcrate grilles and GTD concealed swirl diffusers across the field area of the perforated ceilings to handle both the supply and extract of fresh air throughout the open plan commercial areas. Gilberts GX air valves ventilate the WCs.

Gilberts’ technical team in-house executed Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of Crookes Walker’s design to validate optimal incoming air temperatures to achieve comfort conditions, without over-heating: a comfortable average 22°C was preserved.

In the Category A office space – already let to HMRC – Gilberts’ L Series of linear bar grilles provide heated air supply, with a typical 57% free ventilation area; blades can be set at a choice of 0°, 15° or 40° deflection. ‘Fineline’ bars enable blending into the bulkheads throughout the office space. GECA egg crate grilles handle extract of the used air.

In the office and meeting room ceilings, Gilberts’ patented GTD omni-directional concealed swirl diffusers feature a frameless chassis, which means they become an invisible, integral component of the ceiling grid; the radial vanes provide rapid entrainment and intermixing  of high volumes of air through up to 50% free ventilation area ceiling tiles to avoid draughts or cold spots for the occupants below.

The ground floor area features Gilberts’ JSL jumbo slot linear diffusers. The innovative air supply diffuser provides a shadow-gap appearance with high airflow (between 20-250l//s per metre), with an unbroken visual appearance unique in the marketplace. Runs up to 6m long sit alongside GECA egg crate grilles to provide extract through the suspended ceiling.

Commented Lee Carey, Principal Mechanical Engineer @ Crookes Walker Consulting,

“We recommended Gilberts’ grilles and diffusers were used because we were confident in the quality of the product, and knew we could rely on a rapid response to any technical or practical queries which was crucial in expediating such a high profile project.”

Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts 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 85,000 ft² manufacturing facility. Its state of the art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.

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