Coordinating trades, disruption for students, access to rooms and mess are just some of the reasons why the decision to upgrade student accommodation heating systems may be kicked into the long grass. But those that do are losing out on the energy cost savings and other benefits associated with investing in student comfort.
Prefect Controls, design, manufacture and supply heating control systems, and, for the past five years, have been developing, in conjunction with leading universities such as Bristol and Cambridge, a new, unique service that knocks down these hurdles – Prefect-Direct.
“Easier and more convenient”
Direct specification; Direct purchase; Direct installation and Direct commissioning means that the right controls are installed by the manufacturer, efficiently during term time when rooms are occupied without any unnecessary costs, delays or disruption.
Christ Jones, Sustainability Manager at the University of Bristol commented: “It was both easier and more convenient for us to deal directly with Prefect.”
Most universities schedule works to be carried out during summer months when rooms are vacant, but this causes ‘trades congestion’. However using PrefectDirect means work can be completed during term time, as Chris explains: “Most of the rooms were occupied during this project, We have a comms plan which includes initial e-mail, a notice on the door the day before installation then instructions are left when the job is finished.”
Keeping students happy
He continues: “Student feedback has been very positive because the resulting system is always better than what was there before so most are happy to be able to turn their heaters up or down. The vast majority of this work has been stand alone, separate from other building works so therefore we feel more in control of each phase.”
Prefect-Direct has honed its service so that they are in and out of rooms swiftly leaving most students unaware any work has been carried out, apart from the tell tale ‘On-Message’ sheet and bag of sweets left by the engineer to explain why work has been done. Operating in this way means that refurbishment work that does require empty rooms, such as decorating, can be scheduled, uninterrupted, for the summer months.
Chris explains: “Because the system was being installed in occupied rooms it needed to work first time, Prefect took all the responsibility and so we found it to be quicker and less disruptive because they just got on with the job.”
The benefits of having the same team specifying, installing and commissioning the system are obvious – one point of contact, total control, cost effectiveness and shorter lead times. When the installation is complete the same team are on hand for commissioning and this saves time and helps the whole process run smoothly.
The Prefect-Direct Team comprises qualified installers trained in all aspects of the system, they comply with health and safety legislation and are all DBS (CRB) checked. They are also obsessive when it comes to tidiness and always leave rooms just as they were found (in some cases tidier!) Chris concludes: “Prefect-Direct are one of the best contractors we deal with, we can let them get on with it and they understand students!”
For more information regarding Prefect-Direct please contact Glen Golding on 01787 320604.