Colchester: Teamwork is a breeze as ventilation project for WWF centre takes shape

(left to right) Allan Hurdle (MD Fläkt Woods), Simon Hare (MD ASGB) and Kevin Root (MD Vision Ventil

(left to right) Allan Hurdle (MD Fläkt Woods), Simon Hare (MD ASGB) and Kevin Root (MD Vision Ventilation) in front of a 4.2m bespoke wind cowl. - Credit: Archant

Two Essex firms have teamed up to create bespoke wind cowls for a prestigious green building project due to open later this year.

Ventilation and air climate firm Fläkt Woods, which employs 350 staff at its UK headquarters in Colchester, has made use of the specialist skills of engineering firm A Smith Gt Bentley Ltd (ASBG) to create the cowls, which are set to be installed at the new WWF Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey.

The new building is set to be a showcase for green building design.

ASGB assembled the complex, 4.2m high wind cowls, while ensuring the finished products complied with the strict design specifications.

Fläkt Woods managing director Allan Hurdley said: “ASGB’s facilities and staff are set up perfectly to handle a project of this type and its meticulous requirements. They’ve proved to be a great asset to us and have produced a finish that we, and the client, are really impressed with. Having a company on your doorstep with so much experience and expertise in specialist engineering has been a huge benefit. So much so, we’re looking forward to working with the team at ASGB on future ventures and continuing to support the local economy.”


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ASBG boss Simon Hare, said it was great to work with a fellow Colchester-based company with strong local roots.

“Although these wind cowls aren’t the usual type of products we work on, we knew we would be able to harness our engineers’ skills to fulfil the brief from Fläkt Woods,” he said. “Much of our work is bespoke to our clients, so the challenge of working on this job was one we relished.”

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The cowls will form part of the building’s natural ventilation system.

It will provide fresh air to 3,600m sq of floor area. The wind cowls are positioned on the 80m long curved timber grid shell – which spans 837.5m – and rotate on specially designed bearings.

The WWF Living Planet Centre has regenerated a ‘brownfield’ site with a design sympathetic to its natural surroundings, while also meeting the highest sustainability standards. WWF-UK is committed to constructing a building that exemplifies how the needs of a modern workplace can be met with the least impact on the planet.

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