Description: 62 New Build Retirement apartments in a Macclesfield Canal Side Setting
Client: Gladman Developments
Heating System: All Electric
ThermaSkirt Profile: Deco BMe2 & BMe3 (Installed by Byrne Electrical, Congleton)
Heating in apartments is often challenging in that space is a premium commodity and the needs and wants of the client can vary enormously. This can be especially true in retirement apartments – properties specifically aimed at the over 55’s.
Why? Well many will have downsized from larger family homes but still want to keep important items of furniture and so useable floor space becomes very often a deciding factor. This is why traditional radiators are losing their appeal to developers like Gladman as they try to offer more living room in the same constructed envelope.
But many clients are downsizing also from older traditionally heated homes, and so the alternative of underfloor heating is not always appreciated as it can be slow to operate, and often under performs under carpet or other insulating finishes like wood.
In addition, the problems installing underfloor heating into a multi-unit, multi storey building can introduce many extra weeks into the program, prevent other trades making progress, as well as often requiring temporary heating to ensure the screed is fully cured before floor covering can commence.
Sarah Kennard, Utilities Consultant from Gladman Developments explains;
“We strive to offer our customers the best in retirement living, and have opted for a higher specification than other providers in our Adlington Homes whilst still remaining competitive. We came across the ThermaSkirt product through research into alternative heating systems as part of our continual improvement program.”
“We liked the fact that ThermaSkirt makes our apartments feel bigger, as there are no walls dedicated to a radiator, but we weren’t faced with major modifications to our preferred methods of construction as there would be with underfloor heating. Also, we know from market research, that underfloor heating is not popular with our target audience due to its slow response times, and poor performance under decent carpets – something our clients like”.
A trial installation was arranged, and the Senior Management team at Gladman also visited a nearby site that had had ThermaSkirt fitted in a similar environment, all be it a major renovation project for Places for People rather than new build.
All were impressed, and after technical and commercial evaluation by Byrne Electrical – Gladman’s preferred M&E Contractor- DiscreteHeat were awarded the contract to supply for The Bridges – a picture perfect development on the banks of the Macclesfield canal.
Manufactured in the UK by DiscreteHeat Ltd, ThermaSkirt is a radiant heating system that is designed to replicate a skirting board profile. Made from aluminum, the warm water from the primary heat source passes through integral tubes on the back of the profile. The front face then heats up and radiates heat – usually from a low level all around the room. Alternatively, the electric Skirting version is heated by a specially developed heating cable that will not over heat, even if covered over by blankets, clothing etc. In this instance, Gladmans opted for the all-electric ThermaSkirt e as they prefer not to use as boilers and plumbing.
Ian Lear from Byrne Electrical continues “We have worked for many years with Gladman and at first, we were a little skeptical that ThermaSkirt could provide the same level of heat as the traditional electric radiators we usually install. However, having seen and felt them working, we quickly appreciated the benefits”
Working with DiscreteHeat Technical Training Support, the team at Byrnes were soon up to speed, and a team of 2 men were able to install and commission a typical 2 bedroom apartment in a day. Although this is on the face of it longer than installing an electric radiator, as the skirting boards are effectively installed pre-painted at the same time, the cost of installation was very similar to the radiator and painted MDF.
Being ‘above ground’ ThermaSkirt works with any floor construction or finish; tile, laminate, carpet or wood and if it’s a retro-fit project can often use the existing radiator pipeworks or storage radiator electrics.
Ian and his team from Byrnes got into their stride with the ThermaSkirt in their 2nd week of installing and completed the installation of 62 apartments on time and in-budget.
Simon Pallent, Site Manager for Gladman’s goes on “I was pleasently surprised by the ThermaSkirt performance. In fact, the only complaint I have had was that some apartments were too warm. But I did point out that the room thermostats had been set to 30°c, so that was soon sorted. We have had a really cold spell in February but the apartments were heated up nicely, and it does feel like underfloor when it’s on. The support we’ve had from DiscreteHeat has also been 1st class.”
As a result ThermaSkirt e has been specified on 4 further Gladman Developments, with the prospect of a further 10 in 2020.
Sarah Kennard sums up the project; “We’re really pleased with the ThermaSkirt product, and the support we have received from the manufacturers. We happy to have specified ThermaSkirt on future Adlington Homes projects”