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Gilberts’ Background Role in Improving Police Estate Efficiency

Capital investment in a new £48m headquarters building is predicted to save Merseyside Police approximately £250,000 a year in estate operating costs by delivering improved energy efficiency. A key component of the enhanced energy efficiency is the ventilation- delivered throughout the 12,800m2 space by Gilberts Blackpool.


Funded under the Scape framework, the HQ has been designed by Ryder Architects and built by Willmott Dixon, with M&E designed and installed by A & B Engineering. The new facility, Rose Hill, overlooks Scotland Road and one of the famous Mersey Tunnels in Liverpool. The four-storey offices around a central three-storey atrium feature exposed building services to maintain the airy ambience within the open plan office space, designed to be flexible and adaptable to the Force’s changing needs.

Necessitated by the highly urban location, mechanical ventilation/ air conditioning has been installed throughout, with diffusers from Gilberts strategically delivering high levels of ventilation and indoor air quality in the whole complex.

The main atrium has Gilberts’ JN jet nozzles, powder coated in black. The JN jet nozzles are designed to deliver a high volume of air over long distances, particularly where spot heating/cooling is required and branch ducting cannot be fitted such as atria. Each diffuser can be individually angled to optimise ventilation coverage within the ventilated space whether heating, cooling or isothermal conditions. The nozzles have been used previously in atria within the Merseyside Police estate and proven to work well for the client.

The offices in the main building and annex are aired primarily by Gilberts’ GSLS linear slot diffusers, GTD concealed swirl diffusers mounted directly behind SAS perforated tiles and GSFR swirl diffusers with coanda plates positioned between acoustic rafts across office spaces with exposed services. The coanda plates provide an architecturally aesthetic solution to achieving efficient distribution of the incoming fresh air across the occupied space without cold “dumping” – often a factor in offices with exposed services and thus no ceiling for the incoming air to cling to.

Meeting spaces feature Gilberts’ PG perforated face diffusers inset into suspended feature “ceiling” grids above seating. Thus, the ventilation blends into the décor whilst providing a uniform air distribution.

Gilberts’ SX air valves ventilate the toilets.

The forensics laboratories are aired by Gilberts’ PGL perforated laminar flow panels. The panels provide high capacity supply ventilation with a low free ventilation area (15%). Unlike a conventional ceiling diffuser the Laminar Flow Panel provides an equalised turbulence-free input of air into the treated zone creating a vertical air projection with little in the way of back drafts or inter-mixing. Thus, a clean un- contaminated air zone can be created.

Peter Wright, Design Engineer at A & B Engineering, explained, “Merseyside Police appreciates that a light, well-ventilated working office environment is beneficial: achieving that was a fundamental design principle in the project. We needed to balance how to achieve a flexible system that would deliver now, and over the years as use of the spaces changes.

“The technical expertise Gilberts brings enables us to provide an effective design and accurate costing to the client. Even if a design changes during the contract, as often happens, we know Gilberts is great at supporting us with selection, quotes, delivery, even if non-standard solutions.”

Founded some 60 years ago, Gilberts is Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist, and is unique in its ability to develop components, ‘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, where the HTM validation was executed, was designed and built in-house and is one of the most technically advanced in the country.

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