Gripple’s UK Technical Manager, Frazer Belafonte, looks at the latest innovations and techniques in M&E installation.
Choosing the right products and methods when installing suspension systems for mechanical and electrical services can deliver faster project completion, enhanced aesthetics and significant cost and CO2 savings.
Time is money
Today’s generation of modern suspension systems – used to install a range of mechanical and electrical services – reduce installation times greatly when compared to traditional threaded rod and channel methods.
Gripple’s Fast Trak offers trapeze bracket solutions for electrical containment supports for projects where ceiling void space is at a premium. It offers the same speed of installation as wire ropes, with off-site manufactured brackets and pre-fabricated short drop components which are ready-to-use on arrival.
Fast Trak’s design allows the installer to make height adjustments to the install without the need for tools. Brackets can be moved up and down the tracks before being secured in place. Such ease of use allows contractors to make significant savings in installation times; one M&E contractor has reported completing one floor of a project in just a day using Fast Trak, which would have taken one week using traditional methods.
With intuitive systems, savings are made on-site but also in the time needed to train installers. This allows contractors to make efficient use of their workforce and deliver more competitive quotes for projects.
Health and safety is a key concern on every site and pre-fabricated systems ensure the risk of accidents is significantly reduced. Ready-to-use solutions remove the need for hot works permits on-site as, unlike traditional threaded rod and channel options, there is no requirement to cut and file materials to size. This removes a time-consuming and hazardous activity from the installation process. The simplicity of Fast Trak also ensures significantly less time is spent at height when installing services.
Traditional suspension solutions such as threaded rod are supplied in three metres lengths, meaning delivery is facilitated by 30 foot articulated lorries, so on-site storage and handling can be cumbersome. New solutions are supplied as ready-to-use kits in compact, stackable packaging, meaning vehicle movements to site are reduced significantly and storage can be easily attributed to the correct locations.
Managing awkward spaces
The need to maximise space in residential and commercial buildings and increase the number of storeys can put pressure on designers to reduce the ceiling void space where building services are housed.
Space saving brackets, like Fast Trak, are designed with all the time-saving simplicity of wire rope solutions, but with particular focus on suitability for ‘short drop’ applications. The Fast Trak system has a bracket depth of just 21mm and the side loading option can be installed in multiple tiers to accommodate additional services and more lightweight services can be side loaded onto the bracket.
Pre-fabricated short tracks mean cable containment supports are closer to the ceiling where space is limited. The multi-tiering option creates more efficient use of limited space and many mechanical and public health contractors have experienced the benefits of the Fast Trak system.
BIM modelling on building projects is increasingly prevalent in the UK construction industry and mandated on centrally-funded projects. Choosing modern suspension systems whereby BIM models with all required data can be provided ensures compliancy and contributes to a building design process which improves efficiency across the lifecycle of the project, reduces waste and encourages collaboration across the supply chain.
Alongside BIM support, design services provide a hassle-free way to plan the next installation. Bespoke suspension designs are based on customer drawings, providing exact specification to eliminate waste and reduce clash detection, minimising the risk of encountering problems during the installation. It also ensures exact requirements of pre-fabricated solutions are delivered to site.
There are also a number of wire rope based systems ideal for electrical containment installation which provide all the same time and labour saving simplicity. Trapeze Plus FR is one example; a single channel suspension solution with an integral adjustment button which offers easy and tool-free adjustment during installation and durability, including fire-rating in accordance with BS476 and BRE certification up to F120.
The future of M&E installation
Quick installation with non-labour intensive, pre-fabricated, off-site solutions can now be easily achieved with the use of modern systems. Installation of cable containment in building services applications can now be a much quicker and simpler process that speeds up project completion and delivers bottom line savings.
Watch a video showing the time savings that can be achieved using the Gripple Fast Trak system here: