Protection From City Pollution

Despite suffering a series of economic hammer blows over the past year – largely the result of COVID-19, labour shortages and a slew of supply chain issues – construction output growth has surged to a two-decade high, according to the latest figures.

The respected IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI (purchasing managers’ index) for June 2021 was 66.3, up from 64.2 in May, the strongest rate of output growth for 24 years.

Commercial work recorded a reading of 66.9, another long-term high, and output growth was the strongest since March 1998.

And construction companies remain upbeat about growth prospects for the next 12 months.

Much of this optimism is because of a boom in commercial work, mainly, of course, in cities.

Data provided by Glenigan, the leading provider of construction data across the UK, has published details of the top cities that will see projects with a value of £50 million or more starting in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, this reveals that London heads up the league table of projects starting with 417. Manchester is next with 74, followed by Birmingham with 56. Liverpool has 35 projects starting, Bristol has 31, and Leeds and Doncaster share 27 each.

Meanwhile, Glenigan reckons that Cardiff, Cambridge, Nottingham, Reading, Bedford, Leicester, Derby and Newcastle will share a further 131 project starts in 2021.

This is good news for the construction sector, but there is a problem – keeping expensive HVAC assets safe in a built-up environment poses particular challenges. After all, cities have more than their fair share of pollution to contend with.

Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to mitigate the impact of a dirty environment.

Dust caused by demolition and construction activities, which can last for months or even years, is a real problem for those tasked with maintaining critical HVAC equipment sited on adjacent buildings. It’s a problem we are frequently asked to look at, and we have a solution – using Air Intake Screens.

ECEX Air Intake Screens are designed to have minimal impact on airflow while trapping most airborne debris at the point of ingress. With a 10-year warranty and a typical service life of 15+ years, payback is usually achieved well under two years through reduced energy consumption and filter costs.

But don’t just take our word for it. ECEX Air Intake Screens have been installed on air intake louvres at the University of Oxford, helping to prevent the dust created by a nearby construction site from clogging internal filters and severely compromising system efficiency.

Adjacent to a large demolition/redevelopment site, before the addition of ECEX Air Intake Screens, large amounts of dust was being drawn into the ventilation system.

ECEX Fine Mesh Air Intake Screens were specified and installed to stop airborne dust, as well as pollen, leaves and insects, from entering the system. Accumulated debris can easily be seen on the face of the screens and cleaned off in a few moments as and when necessary, using a soft brush, vacuum, or garden hose.