Articles & Case Studies

Smallest ever height restriction met by Franklin Hodge for ASDA tank challenge

Posted: Friday 27th April 2012

Deep in the vaulted cellars of an early 19th century former vinegar maker, Franklin Hodgeis on course to complete one of its most challenging projects, installing four fire sprinkler water tanks for the new ASDA store in Worcester.

Part of the new £75M St Martin’s Quarter Carillion Richardson development, Franklin Hodge have been working closely alongside ASDA, main contractor Carillion and fire protection specialists Tyco to design and build the four tanks in the vaulted cellars, which were previously owned by Hill, Evans & Co, who produced some of the finest vinegar in England from 1830 until 1965.

With space at an absolute premium, and a need to preserve the historic brick storage tunnels, Franklin Hodge have had to design and build not one, but four separate tanks and pipe-work to meet the required capacity for a fire protection sprinkler system that is necessary for non-compartmented retail outlets of more than 2000 square metres floor area.

At just 1.2 metres, this two-month installation is the smallest height restriction Franklin Hodge has ever had to work with, whilst standard tank width columns of 1100 or 1200mm have had to make way for purpose-designed 900mm panels. The four galvanised steel tanks (from 19.5m length down to 14.7m) have also had to be built one at a time for testing purposes, all linked by individual common pipe-work restricted to the front of the tanks so that each vessel can be isolated if required.

“We can put a tank in anywhere,” said Franklin Hodge’s Contracts Engineer, Andy Scott, “but this has been a particularly awkward job, especially having to build four separate special tanks instead of one, and manage the pipe-work all at just one end, in a very confined space”.

Michael Lunn, Services Manager for Carillion added: “With such a demanding height restriction and less than four metres between each tunnel column to build four tanks we expected this to cause some real headaches for Franklin Hodge, but they have risen to the challenge and gone the extra mile to make everything happen smoothly”.

He added: “With all of us working to tight deadlines in such tight conditions deep underground, it was also very beneficial to work with a tank manufacturer whose service includes delivery of components to the exact point where the actual building is going to take place”.

In addition to the four separate tanks (lined with EPDM) and specially adapted galvanised steel pipe-work, Franklin Hodge also had to design and build a connected drain as part of the contractor’s specific requirements.

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