Adaptive Design Modification

Proactive Problem Identification & Resolution

Ensuring Reliable Heating Supply

“Thank you for all of your assistance with the M&E at our residential care home, your expertise and insight has been of huge benefit to our organisation.”

Development Manager

Housing Association


The client is a leading Housing Association with over 7,000 homes across South East England. The project was based in a Residential Care Home located within a newly constructed residential development. The facility primarily caters to elderly and vulnerable individuals. The care home is a three-storey building, with the ground floor dedicated to communal services such as a dining area, hair salon, and group activity rooms with some accommodation for residents. The upper floors house the remainder of the residents’ accommodations. The building’s heating is provided by two gas boilers located in a ground floor plant room. Communal areas are heated directly via radiators, while individual dwellings receive heating and hot water through a single plate SAV 5-series HIU and direct radiators.


FairHeat was brought in to review the stage 4 design of the heating system. We identified several issues that could have impacted the system’s ability to adequately heat the dwellings. These included an overlooked approach temperature for the indirect HIUs, substandard insulation, end of lateral bypasses, and high operating temperatures that could have led to overheating in communal areas.

Due to our late involvement in the project, much of the equipment had already been ordered, and the client’s contractual position was less than ideal. This meant that any changes to the system were likely to incur additional costs and potentially delay the project. Therefore, any proposed solutions needed to incorporate as much of the pre-ordered equipment as possible.

Additionally, the client requested that we review the installation of the plant room, network, and dwelling installation, and perform acceptance testing of the plant room and some dwellings. These reviews identified issues with the controls implementation that could prevent the supply of heating and hot water during peak demand, poor insulation installation that could lead to overheating, and poor anchoring installation that could result in pipework failure.

FairHeat Solution

FairHeat identified the areas where the design was not fit for purpose and proposed new solutions. The key issue resolved was the replacement of the indirect HIUs with direct HIUs. This allowed the radiators to meet their design temperature without increasing the primary temperature. Most of the equipment that had been ordered prior to our involvement was successfully integrated into the design, preventing unnecessary increases in capital cost.

Most of the on-site issues identified were rectified before the handover date, including the issues with the controls implementation causing inadequate supply at peak load. The handover was completed on schedule, with only a few issues to be rectified on return visits.


The primary flow temperature was reduced to 65 °C after it was determined that the radiators were oversized for a 70 °C design temperature and a direct radiator approach agreed. The insulation standard was increased to ECA Y50, resulting in an approximate 10% decrease in heat losses from insulated pipes. Controls changes significantly reduced the risk to heat supply to residents.

Despite being brought into the project at a later stage, our team successfully identified and rectified design flaws in the heating system. We replaced the indirect HIUs with direct HIUs, allowing the radiators to meet their design temperature without increasing the primary temperature. This modification not only improved the system’s performance but also minimised potential delays and additional capital costs by integrating much of the pre-ordered equipment.

Our comprehensive review of the plant room, network, and dwelling installations revealed critical issues that, if left unaddressed, could have led to catastrophic failure of the pipework. These included poor insulation installation that could lead to overheating and poor anchoring installation. We were able to rectify these issues before the handover date, ensuring the safety and longevity of the system.

During our review, we identified a controls implementation issue that could have resulted in an inadequate supply of heating during peak load. We promptly addressed this issue, ensuring that the heating system could reliably meet the demands of the care home, even during periods of peak usage. This resolution ensured the comfort and well-being of the residents, particularly during colder months.


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