As the nights draw in, keep an eye out if you drive through Strood in Kent.
external lighting to St Nicholas Church in
Strood has now been completed and even though we say so ourselves we
are delighted with the results. This was part of a townwide project
funded by Medway Council to
provide sensitive lighting to the church facade as well as coloured
feature lighting to trees and some of the town's railway arches.
External lighting design needs a lot of care and consideration; these
projects were fully 3D simulated as part of the design so the client,
church and planning authorities knew exactly what they would be
We have been receiving a lots of enquiries regaring heritage and historic projects recently. A key issue is how to effectively
heat these older buildings using sustainable technology. The key is
careful assessment of builing thermal charateristics and then selection
of the best heating source.
Do contact us if you would like advice on sustainable servicing of all building types and ages though.
Some great projects are underway at the moment, with others finishing,
such as the new Biomass Heating installation at Brockhill College for
the Performing Arts, Hythe. These are wood pellet boilers and
replaced a decades old oil boiler. Feeding two large blocks they
are set to make an enormous contribution to the colleges' CO2 reduction
hope all our friends and collegues have remained safe and well during
the pandemic. Something cheerfull in one of the local farming
publications "South East Farmer"
though. A large article on Berry Gardens, Wares Farm at Linton. A major
fruit storage and distribution packhouse project finished last year.
Full details are on page 34 of July's edition.
The new lighting scheme at St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook is completed. This scheme has completely transformed the church and will enable far more flexible use for the parish. This complex project needed a lot of planning, requiring input from many parties. The end result looks amazing so if you do get a chance to visit the church then take it. There are more pictures in our gallery.
The IET have issued their 1st amendment of BS7671:2018 “Requirements for Electrical
Installations”. This relates to Electric Vehicles and the means by which they can
be safely connected to the electrical installation of buildings. Section 722 has
been heavily updated to reflect new technologies and to provide alternative safety
measures when connecting to PME earthing systems -
A busy start to the New Year with the “Foundations for the Future” project for Hospice in the Weald about to be tendered.
We are also delighted to be seeing a resurgence of interest in true low carbon design as public, press and government awareness increases again, which is really good.
This year will see our 25th anniversary. More on this later in the year, but for now a big “Thank You” to all of our clients and colleagues who have supported us over the years.
We are delighted that the Cottage Hospice project achieved Practical Completion this month and is now open to patients.
A marvellous dedication service was also led by the Bishop of Chichester to consecrate the chapel.
A truly inspiring client and building and hopefully the first of many such facilities
in the UK.
On that note, we wish all our clients and colleagues a peaceful, healthy and happy Christmas.
You can read the Hansard transcript here. This project completes this month and Hospice in the Weald will rely on charitable donations and support to provide support and care to maintain their operation. Please consider making a donation to them if you able.
Hot off the press this month was the issue on the 1st October of the HM Government
Consultation on the New Building Regulations Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power)
and Part F (Ventilation). These are available here and we are delighted to see CO2
emission targets due to be tightened up as well as the need for technology / design
assessments at an early stage. Initially forming part of the Future Homes Standards,
the same principles are due to extent to non-
Couldn’t help taking a photo of a this.
In case you are wondering, it is a thermal store. It forms the heart of the heating and hot water strategy at the New Cottage Hospice (for Hospice in the Weald) at Five Ashes. Seen here soon after initial installation, the (very neat and labelled) pipes gather heat from various sources and enable “low grade” heat to be managed to maximise efficiency of systems. Such methods are used extensively in low carbon design and contribute to sustainability at a core design level .
Work has started at Chestnut Cottage, Flimwell.
Seen here on the day the roof went on!.
This building is to be a highly efficient dwelling using SIPS construction and will have extremely low thermal losses. MVHR will further improve efficiency. Designed and being built by the Architect this is going to be a lovely house.
We are currently working on final design stages for the Varnes Holiday Cottages, Greatstone, Kent for Folkestone & Hythe District Council. This exciting project will see four new holiday lets situated right next to the beach. Seen here are some early stage solar path models used to assess glazing gains.
Phase 2 of Sail & Colour Loft for University of Kent is now complete at Chatham Historic Dockyard. Again working with HMY Architects the Client team and the Historic Dockyard Trust, this large, historic and unique building presented many challenges to the team, as many features could not be touched and yet the accommodation needed to meet the requirements for a modern university. The end result looks great and is currently being fitted out with furniture ready for students.
Several ecclesiastical projects being worked on at the moment, including St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook. We are delighted that their new lighting system (seen simulated here) has just gained Diocese approval to proceed. This will replace existing older lighting and really enhance worship and use of the church. The church is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
Sorry there was no posing last month -
The Cottage Hospice now has a roof and 1st fix M&E services are under way. This building will be opening later in the year and will offer crucial services as part of Hospice in the Weald.
The Wares Farm packhouse project for Berry Gardens with Civils Construction is steaming on with 1st fix M&E services well under way. This is a hugely interesting project requiring significant infrastructure and servicing input.
Working hard this month to complete the Building Services designs for the new clubhouse
facilities for Cranbrook Rugby & Cricket Club. This new building will replace existing
facilities and provide extensive showering and social facilities. Due to be constructed
in the coming months, we will keep you informed on this exciting project
The tower at Northfleet Radar Station for the Port of London Authority is now standing high next to the Thames. Specialist lighting, power distribution, communication systems and earthing all form part of this scheme. A scary climb to the upper staging did reward with give some good views though!
Phase 2 of the Sail and Colour Loft for Kent University at Chatham Historic Dockyard is about to start. This exciting project will provide additional accommodation to that provided in 2016. Another challenging project in this historically important building. More info as the project proceeds.
Randomly, on the way back from the Dockyard we spotted another project of ours completed in 2016; seen here is part of a circa 110kW PhotoVoltaic system installed to the roof of Medway Council’s Gun Wharf offices. Only visible from a few locations , these arrays were installed with a high degree of aesthetic consideration due to planning issues. Sensible and discrete application of low carbon technologies.
Summer works at Goldsmiths University of London, Loring Halls of Residence have now completed. Heating Main infrastructure to Block G, new flat heat interfaces and cylinders and new boiler plant (seen here) were all installed during a short intensive contract.
In other news we have learnt that another project for which we designed M&E services, is in the Kent Design and Development Awards. The new veterans accommodation for Royal British Legion Industries, working with Clague Architects (see May 2017 below). So that will be three projects in the awards.
We are delighted to have learned that two major recent projects have been been short-
Working with Clay Architects on both of these projects, the schemes shared a common need for innovative thinking and detailed design within very different existing buildings.
We are delighted to see The Cottage Hospice (for Hospice in the Weald) getting out
of the ground now. Photo here was taken on the day the steels turned up. This facility
will provide twelve new in-
More regulation news this month!
On 1st July the new BS7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition) was published.
This is a major update and comes into force on 1st January 2019. It applies to all UK electrical installations. Contact us if you would like more information about the changes and implications on how they will affect electrical designs on projects
We are getting enquiries about The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES). These
form part of The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations
2015. From 1st April 2018, landlords of buildings (within the scope of the MEES Regulations)
must not renew existing tenancies or grant new tenancies if the building has less
than the minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E. Things are set
to tighten up further. After 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue to let any
buildings which have an EPC rating of less than E.
Exemptions are possible in some special cases.
This is part of the UK Governments efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from existing buildings. Engineering systems and fabric performance play a key role in EPC ratings and remedial works and upgrades may be need to be planned well in advance and need to be carefully considered.
Work has started at The Packhouse, Wares Farm, Linton. A significant development for Berry Gardens fruit producers. PCS are working with Civils Contracting Ltd in the design and installation management of fixed building services and the significant infrastructure required for this exciting large project.
Phase 1 of the heating replacement at St Nicholas Church, Southfleet is complete. This work involved replacement boilers and central plant, ready for Phase 2 which will see the installation of new heating within the church later this year. Also this month we are also very pleased to commence design work for more work for The University of Kent at Chatham Dockyard within the Sail and Colour Loft.
We have been delighted to see the completion of the Heating Infrastructure works
at Maplesden Noakes Secondary School in Maidstone. This project has been running
since last June and has seen a large district main installed, a number of satellite
plant rooms and a new central boiler house, seen in the photo here -
A number of recent enquiries have been about electrical supply quality issues.
See here is evidence of a transient on a voltage waveform measured on a client’s site using our power analyser. Thought to be imported from the local grid, a similar event was responsible for damage to electronic systems and loss of business. There are increasing concerns about spikes, dips and other transients. The answer is sometimes a Surge Protection Device strategy other sites need more complex remedial strategies. Speak to us if you would like more information about power quality issues.
Just before the break, we were delighted to carry out final inspections on the successfully completed Tong Centre at Simon Langton Grammar School, Canterbury. This project, saw the construction of a open plan space, for 6th Form use in Creative Research. Provided with a heat recovery heating and cooling, with natural ventilation and external solar shading measures, this is a great innovative space.
A good looking building too!
Our office is now connected to the farm’s biomass heating system. Which means we
are now “Carbon Neutral” in office energy usage -
Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for 2018 to all our clients and colleagues.
Cranbrook School 6th Form Centre is now complete. This ambitious project saw the transformation of an old 1960’s gymnasium into a “state of the art” 6th Form Centre. Thermal upgrades together with underfloor heating, passive ventilation, daylighting and highly efficient LED lighting makes this a comfortable and efficient space for the 6th Form to work in. Working again with Clay Architecture Ltd this project showcases what can be done to maximise the function and use of older accommodation.
With winter approaching attention is turning to the provision of heating to buildings
once again. We have several ecclesiastical projects at the moment, with churches
wishing to improve comfort conditions for worship , events and general use. Historic
buildings of all types need care and consideration when providing new heating -
Electric Vehicles and Hybrids seem likely to become more and more common. Some of our clients are already planning for this with the installation of EV Charging Points and associated infrastructure. Seen here is a completed installation for Oxleas NHS trust (with a PCS vehicle “testing it out”!). One of several sites being future proofed. Electrical capacity is a key factor with charge points and careful load management will be needed in years to come as vehicles become dependant on electricity.
Another summer holiday… time for mains distribution replacements! Works proceed with
several buildings at Goldsmiths University, with existing electrical distribution
equipment being replaced with modern switchgear and monitoring systems. Seen here
is one of the new panels on this site -
Environment and Sustainability seem to be out of the headlines at the moment; we
should nevertheless remain committed to reduction of CO2 emissions in the built environment
as well as considering supply chain and resources. We were delighted this month to
revisit a project of ours completed last year -
As summer approaches, overheating and the need for cooling in buildings comes to mind. Kent College, Pembury has just been provided with a natural ventilation scheme in their older sports hall. Maximising the ability to purge the space at night time and the free cooling that passive ventilation affords, this means that the hall can be used for exams and other uses with fresh air assured and with far less chance of overheating.
Veterans Accommodation at Aylesford for RBLI completes this month. Seen here is one of the show apartments. Twenty Four of these units have been built to a very high standard. (See our Feb 2016 entry below). More information on the development and the essential work the RBLI carry out is available here.
After waiting weeks for phone lines we are delighted to confirm that our office is
now finally based at Westfield Farm; so don’t forget to note our new address and
Other news this month. Civil and Electrical works are well under way at Brambletye School, seen here is the “formwork” for a new concrete substation and switchpanel bases. Also, refurbishment of Highpoint House, Shooters Hill for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust is also now complete. Finally and excitingly, work also starts on site at Cranbrook School in conversion of the old gymnasium to a new 6th Form Centre.
The final section of Gravesham Borough Market refurbishment has now been completed.
Seen here is the “Old Fish Market” which fronts onto Queens St in Gravesend. It has
bespoke ventilation and odour control provided for street food stalls as well as
seating areas and facilities. The Fish Market will be opening to public soon -
Take time to call by and look at this wonderfully restored historic building right near the Thames.
About to commence is an interesting project for the Port of London Authority. Northfleet Radar Station is planned to be erected on the South Side of the Thames to aid navigation and access to river. The tower shown here is accompanied by ground equipment and facilities. Such installations require careful design and infrastructure.
In other news, construction is about to start on the Tong Centre for Simon Langton School in Canterbury. This is a custom built 6th form study centre and will be completed later this year.
Construction is underway on a new teaching block for Harris Academy, Merton. This
is another low energy building where it is proposed to utilise passive ventilation
to ensure comfortable learning conditions for students with low running costs. Reduction
of CO2 levels in school classrooms is an essential part of design as high levels
have been shown to increase risk of drowsiness and poor concentration. Contact us
if you would like more information on occupancy comfort in educational (and other)
The Kent Design and Development awards were held on the 15th of this month. Brompton-
On this cheerful note, we wish all our friends and colleagues a very Happy Christmas
and Best Wishes for 2017.
Gravesham Borough Market nears completion this month. Opening ready for Christmas.
Seen here is Queen Victoria admiring the refurbished main market hall. Historic building conservation has featured heavily in this scheme, alongside energy efficient lighting, radiant background heating, controllable natural ventilation and excellent new stall facilities for market traders. More can be seen at the following link
Try and visit this building in much ignored riverside historic Gravesend.
We are delighted to see the Living Well Centre at Rowans Hospice nearing completion.
Provided with many sustainable features including heat pump heating and PV with very
low CO2 emissions, this building also looks smashing.
More information on Rowans Hospice and the crucial care their provide can be found here.
Lecturing and training are forming an increasing part of our workload recently. Several
short courses planned this month -
Contact us if you would like further information on either informal “in house” training on Energy and Building Services or for more information on selected formal CPD accredited day training courses via CIBSE.
This month sees the completion of a complex mains electrical distribution project for Goldsmiths University, London. Also keeping us busy are several early stage feasibility reports on sustainability and energy strategies. When dealing with building energy performance the earlier in the process this is considered the better. Contact us if you would like more information on this.
So now the summer is here many schemes have started on site -
We have recently invested in a thermal imaging camera. It has already proved invaluable
in identifying thermal bridging, inefficiencies in heating and ventilation systems
as well as overheating cables.
Seen here is an example of heat loss and cold bridging in action through a domestic chimney.
Two of our projects just won a RIBA South East Regional Award. An exciting in-
Also, Cinque Ports Street; a 16 apartment block in Rye, East Sussex. Marvellous new accommodation in an ancient town. Working with Jonathan Dunn Architects .
We are delighted to have worked with both these teams and also delighted to have been named on RIBA awards again.
Spring is here and summer projects are once again in planning stages. In meantime, Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne Phase 2 nears completion. This is part of an ongoing masterplan which has so far seen a new classroom block, the new 6th Form Centre seen here and a significant electrical distribution upgrade.
Recent successful boiler replacement projects at Chatham Historic Dockyard have received lots of coverage this month with mention in several trade journals . Including in print MBS, HVR and the CIBSE Journal as well as online at with
Contact us if you want any more information about the energy efficient specification of boilers and systems in historic buildings.
This month, construction starts on the LIBOR project for the Royal British Legion
Industries at Aylesford in Kent. This project will see construction of two blocks
of twelve flats for service personnel in need of assistance. Seen here is a 3D Revit
model of one of the blocks. More information on this project can be found here.
We spotted one of our projects on Channel 4 TV over the festive season. “Amazing Spaces” featured two high end beach houses right on the sea front at Camber Sands. In Season 5 Episode 6, George Clarke gave an architectural tour of these lovely new dwellings. What was not mentioned was excellent thermal performance as well as Ground Source Heat Pumps and Whole House Vent systems making these a pair of very low energy buildings as well as attractive buildings.
The Richard Holmes Building Cinema project at Goldsmiths, University of London is now complete. This project saw the provision of a new small digital public cinema to be operated by Curzon Cinemas, within the university complex at New Cross, also offering superb state of the art facilities for students. This was a complex project, with environmental conditions being paramount. Teamwork and a positive project team also enabled this scheme to be completed within a very tight programme. The results were excellent
As the festive season approaches we would also like to wish all our colleagues in the industry a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
Our director has written a CPD training article on Power Quality and Monitoring for
the CIBSE Journal which can be accessed here -
Should you wish to discuss this topic then please contact us.
Two major projects handed over in the last few weeks.
University of Kent, Sail and Colour Loft at Chatham Historic Dockyard. A complex
refurbishment in an important historic building.
Also, the new music facilities for Junior Kings School, Canterbury (pictured above) have just been occupied. Excellent energy efficiency, extensive infrastructure works, renewables , complex acoustic considerations and performance lighting -
The new sports hall is completed at Kent College Pembury and opens on 2nd October. This is a great looking project and incorporates passive ventilation, an extensive PV array as well as significant on site infrastructure works.
Lighting is designed to Sport England Standards and provides versatile and uniform lighting. We have been delighted to be part of a great team; Kent College, HMY Architects and Wicksteads (QS). And surely one of the best looking sports halls we have seen recently.
It’s been a busy summer, loads of boiler room refurbishments and essential infrastructure
Left is an example of a major electrical upgrade for a private school client of ours. Cabling and ductwork seen all had to be backfilled by the return to school. The green building on left is a new substation.
This is type of project is common as school expand to accommodate increasing student numbers.
August 2015 Our 20th Anniversary !
In August 1995 we started trading, in those days called Priory Contract Services (which is where the name comes from)
Since then we have been offering technical service to an ever increasing client base. We are close approaching our Two Thousandth project.
This month see the successful completion of extensions to Vattenfall’s Thanet Wind Farm shore based facilities at Ramsgate. Possibly one of the most sustainable buildings we have designed. Heat Pump heating, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Passive Ventilation, Rainwater Harvesting as just some of the features.
Some nice projects on the drawing board this summer as well as plenty on site.
This month sees the new sports hall at Kent College (Pembury) nearing completion.
Seen below is a view of the PV array and one of the Passive Ventilation turrets. Watch out for more pictures of the complex next month.
In addition to lots of summer holiday work, we also have some new regulations to comply with.
Did You Know?
On the 30th of this month Amendment No3 of BS7671:2008 (IET Wiring Regulations) comes
into force. This amendment has some important changes -
A 40kW PV array installed for Oxleas NHS Trust Bracton Centre is now complete, just as another major PV project is out to tender for Medway Council’s Gun Wharf offices in Chatham. Larger PV arrays are still proving a sound investment and secure means to reduce CO2 emissions. (Picture below shows the work in progress at Bracton Centre)
Hopes of warmer weather means we are now designing and planning a number of boiler replacements once the heating is off.
Speak to us if you have concerns about condition of plant or equipment, age of systems or capacity limitations.
Also this month at Junior Kings School Canterbury a new music block with a range of renewables is now well under way as well as a major site electrical infrastructure upgrade planned for completion this Summer.
Time out of the office early in the month for all our staff to visit Ecobuild 2015. This exciting event demonstrates that sustainability and efficiency is increasingly important.
The Rt Hon Ed Davey, Environment Secretary and other politicians gave insight into policy and sustainability on a national and European scale.
Contact us if you would like assistance on sustainability and energy reductions on a more local scale within the built environment.
A new build project for Kent College (Pembury) is currently well underway. A four court new sports hall with teaching accommodation and extensive renewables, this is proving to be a great project .
We are also delighted to hear that Gravesham Council has been granted lottery funding for the refurbishment of the listed covered market building, as we move into detailed design for this historic building.
A Major Anniversary Year and a New Member of Staff!
This year marks PCS’s 20th birthday. Our first commission was received in August 1995 and at the turn of 2015 we had completed over One Thousand Seven Hundred projects both large and small! Look out for more news of our anniversary later in the year.
We are also delighted to welcome our new Junior Engineer Ryan Lee to the company.
And some other news this month, is that St Mary’s Church, Kenardington is now complete. Try to visit this wonderful small church following its refurbishment and extensions if you can.
Westgate Hall, Canterbury.
Opened its doors to the community again last month, with an official opening by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury and the High Sheriff of Kent. It was a great evening, following complete refurbishment.
New lighting, heating and natural ventilation are key components in the updated accommodation. For more information see the Westgate Community Trust website.
Kent Design and Development Awards
Making news again, this project was voted category winner at the presentation evening on 6th November.
Working with Clay Architects, this was complex project for the whole team. A highly serviced building with sensitive acoustic and aesthetic requirements as well need to manage energy usage. More details can be seen on Clay Architecture’s website here.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Following some major investment and training, we have now implemented Revit MEP in our office and we will be migrating to this for drawing and design delivery as BIM is adopt on projects.
Contact us if you would like more information on the amazing and exciting capabilities and options this system of collaborative working provides.
Rectory Park, Horsmonden. This month sees the start of this exciting refurbishment project in Kent. Biomass boilers (fired on locally grown fuel) and a district heat main will be used to serve the refurbished part mediaeval manor house and swimming pool complex.
Contact us if you wish to know more about the provision of biomass on small or larger sites, or if you need advice on what other renewable energy options are available.
Holy Trinity Church Wandsworth is now complete, following a complete refurbishment including new M&E services throughout, the new administration link and facilities have now been finished.
These hot summer days are a reminder to include consideration of solar overheating
and sunpath analysis in any new project.
This can be useful in identifying extent and risks of overheating in new and existing buildings, and coming up with solutions for natural cooling.
Standby generators and resilient power supplies are featuring in our workload at the moment. We have a number of healthcare, private and public services projects where reliability and 100% security of supply are forming a key briefing item.
Medway Crematorium won an award in the RIBA South East 2014 awards. We are delighted and very proud to have been part of this innovative project.
More details can be seen on Clay Architecture’s website here.
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive… has finally arrived and compliant renewable heating systems are able to attract some not insignificant payments. Feel free to speak to us if you would like to discuss implementation of suitable technologies on a project.
RICS South East Awards
Having already been shortlisted for RIBA awards Medway Crematorium is now also being considered for the RICS SouthEast 2014 awards
RIBA SouthEast Awards
We have been delighted to learn that one of our projects, Medway Crematorium has been shortlisted in the 2014 RIBA Southeast Awards.
More details can be seen on the Clay Architecture website www.clayarchitecture.com.
Biomass boilers and heat pump schemes are featuring on many of our projects at the moment. There are (hopefully!) new government incentives for small renewable heat systems coming in the Spring, so this trend seems likely to continue.
Happy Christmas to all our clients and colleagues
More and more clients are seeking EARLY STAGE advice from us in relation to energy efficient design, CO2 reductions and Energy Performance.
TAS Dynamic Simulation Modelling rollout is complete with “in house” DSM being offered on all projects as an in house option.