Aug 21, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Swedish hospital’s HVAC system acts as an exemplary model for UK’s public sector

Published in Healthcare
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Tight deadlines, space limitations and stringent hygiene requirements – these are just a few of the many obstacles contractors must overcome when working in a challenging healthcare sector. That’s why, after winning the contract for installing a new mechanical room at the Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, local contractor Sandbacken Ror knew traditional pipe joining methods were not up to the challenge, making the move towards more innovative solutions a natural choice, writes Jared Breidinger, Divisional Sales Manager at Victaulic.


The newly-built emergency room (ER) at the Danderyd Hospital, part of a major Swedish hospital service modernisation project, required a HVAC system, connecting heating and cooling piping to the central system. At times, the task demanded up to 30 people co-working on the installation of over 18 miles of piping: the length of 300 football pitches.

In a complex system installation, such as at Danderyd, a few factors played an essential role in making the project a success.

Grooving versus welding

The tempo is at full throttle when Sandbacken Ror simultaneously works on two fronts of the ER. In the basement, work is near completion: a newly-installed piping system for heating and cooling is about to be connected to the central system.

On the sixth floor, the piping connecting the central system in the basement with the separate ventilation systems is also being finalised. The insulation is being applied, and the pressure test is imminent.

Success – everyone can relax

But a firm foundation of the project was laid more than a year ago when Sandbacken Ror decided to partner with Victaulic, whose grooved couplings and fittings were simply a better fit for the task.

It did not take long for Sandbacken Ror to see the fruits of its decision.

First, choosing grooved pipe joining technology made the estimation of the Danderyd project easier. Sandbacken Ror provided a fixed price for the entire project, which made a sound economy of the utmost importance. Installing a grooved system made installation easier and workflow more predictable, and eliminated uncertainties associated with hot works. That meant that construction workers also did not have to worry about a vast range of hazards which are typically faced by welders, including fire and fumes. All the above contributed to an easier estimation on the project.

Secondly, pipe contamination was another problem Sandbacken Ror did not have to deal with as, in contrast to a welding process, grooved pipe installations do not contaminate the system with soot and fragments of metal. The pipes, therefore, do not require extra cleaning and sanitisation, which would then have to be executed following rigorous procedures.

Speeding up with 3D

What Sandbacken Ror found particularly useful was the fact that the initial plan drawing was converted into a 3D model by Victaulic, to ensure there were no conflicts with existing installations and to optimally utilise the space available, which was then sent back to the planner for approval. The 3D drawings portray the different zones of the project as they are meant to be built on site, with all components in place, as well as listed materials and volumes.

Furthermore, the latest 3D technology has even more than that to offer. At preconstruction stage, if needed, a walk-through of the site could be facilitated using the newest 3D VR gear. This allows contractors to fully immerse themselves and results in less unexpected events during construction, as potential clashes could be detected upfront.

After approval of the plans and drawings for Danderyd’s HVAC system, pipes were cut and grooved in the appropriate lengths and spools were produced and preassembled in the quantities required, ready for installation on site.

The spools were delivered to the Danderyd Hospital on pallets, accompanied with the 3D drawing and a plan sheet, according to the construction schedule and progression of the project. This increased space efficiency on site significantly. To make the installation process even more simple, all components delivered to site had ID tags that referred to the 3D drawings of the project.

For the scheme, Victaulic had planned and precisely drawn up blueprints to make everything fit: approximately 70% of the assembly work was prefabricated at Victaulic and components arrived fully assembled at the site.

Investment in the future

Faster installation times at Danderyd ultimately translated into fewer manhours. That’s why Sandbacken Ror is confident that using a more innovative solution made financial sense too. Considering saved hours on installation and minimalisation of material handling and storage, the grooved system was no more expensive than a welded system.

Sandbacken Ror’s decision to use grooved couplings and fittings will also result in reduced future costs when implementing any changes or modifications at the hospital.

The entire installed pipe system can be disassembled, which means changes and the work associated with them will be far less costly than with other solutions. In fact, it will be easy for the Danderyd Hospital to add new components to the system, replace or interchange an older one, such as a pump or a heat exchange, changing the specifications of the system.

The pipe installation work done at the Danderyd Hospital is a testimony on how innovative solutions enable constructors to overcome all major challenges and complete projects on time and on budget.

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