Toshiba air conditioning used in pioneering offsite modules

In a ground-breaking initiative, Toshiba air conditioning systems are being installed offsite in modular construction units in China for shipping to the UK for assembly into prestigious new hotels. The manufacturer is working with leading modular offsite specialist CIMC on the pioneering projects for two major UK and international hotel chains. The first hotels to be constructed by this method are located in London, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The air conditioning consists of Toshiba SHRM-i heat recovery VRF systems and ducted fan coil systems, equipped with Toshiba’s award-winning refrigerant leak detection and management system, plus a full intelligent controls package. The indoor elements of the air conditioning system, including pipework and terminal units, are installed in the building modules in China. The pre-fabricated units are then shipped to the UK, delivered to site and assembled into complete hotel buildings. Outdoor units are then installed onsite, connected up and the systems commissioned.

The projects require detailed planning and a high level of collaboration to ensure both technical and logistical aspects run seamlessly, and all parties carry out their roles to the letter. Toshiba worked closely with the offsite contractor CIMC, consultants and end users, to ensure the projects were successfully delivered. Toshiba’s Andrew Gill, who headed up the project for the manufacturer, said: “The customer was looking for a partner with the right blend of innovative and reliable products, plus the willingness to invest in the detailed planning and liaison work required to deliver. The projects are unusual on a number of levels, not least in the amount of customs, legal, warranty and technical liaison required.
He added: “A key was ensuring that the Chinese installation engineers had the detailed worksheets they needed to enable them to carry out the installation to the letter, and then marrying this with the work required here in the UK to connect up and commission the systems.”

Paul Blackmore, managing director of CIMC, said: “It has been a great experience working with Toshiba on these exciting projects. One of the key aspects to a successful modular scheme is the importance of up-front design. We were able to work closely with the team at Toshiba to ensure we could deliver maximum value to the ultimate client.” As a result of the success of the projects, further offside assembly projects are under consideration using Toshiba air conditioning, including more hotels and buildings for student accommodation.

David Dunn, general manager and director of Toshiba Air Conditioning and CIAT Ozonair, said: “The offside modular approach is an interesting alternative to traditional installation onsite. There are a number of potential benefits for end users and the environment, arising from the controlled factory conditions for assembly, reduced wastage, improved health and safety and timely delivery. “Toshiba was delighted to be chosen as a key partner for the project. Having proven the approach works, we are looking with our partners at a number of exciting applications for the future.”