Working safely with ventilation intakes

Common air intake plenums sit behind a weather louvre and vermin mesh in accordance with HTM 03-01 Part B 3.22.

This mesh provides a resistance of approximately 55 pascals at 3.0m/s and is notoriously difficult and time consuming to clean.

At Southmead Hospital in Bristol, the design of the air intake was a problem requiring specialist contractors to clean because it involved working at height. External access on the roof provided a safe place to work but you could not clean the mesh without removing the louvres.  

The solution was obvious. Protect the 27 aluminium, weather louvres mounted on the outside walls of the plenum with an external weatherproof filter which was secured to the framework using self-drilling screws.

As the RABScreen can be cleaned by rainfall, vacuuming or brushing, airflow is kept at optimum levels to support the AHU equipment inside.

Frost coil clogging is prevented, existing filter life is extended and, with the removal of the vermin mesh, airflow is improved as the RABScreen has a resistance of only 17.0 pascals at 3.0m/s.

It was not a difficult job. It was not an expensive job but the improvement in airflow will see a return of investment in under six months.

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