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exi Project Management have partnered with Coventry University to provide project management from inception to completion, for the replacement of specialist ventilation and extract systems in the workshops and laboratories of the Sir John Laing Building.


Framework/Partnership // Partnership 

Project Type // Replacement of Specialist Ventilation/Extract System

Date Completed // September 2021

The Scheme

exi are appointed to project manage and deliver replacement local extract and ventilation systems (LEV) for the specialist workshops and laboratories used for degrees relating to the construction sector in the Sir John Laing Building on the City Centre campus.

The laboratories are used for a variety of specialist activities, including drying, sieving and assessing soil samples, production and testing of concrete (which can generate airborne cement powder) and woodworking activities (with by-products that pose a risk of explosion if not dealt with correctly).

The existing systems, whilst technically compliant with minimum flow rates, did not provide the flexibility required by the faculty and could not meet with the increased demand on the spaces due to an increase in student numbers. The existing system had reached end-of-life and had been adapted to meet the changing needs and did not provide the level of filtration and extraction required.

The works included the complete removal of the existing system (including the removal of the internally located extract unit) and the installation of three separate systems to provide bespoke systems to each area.

The new extract units were located externally to provide more efficient extract and storage of particles and were sized to meet the current and future demand capacity of the departments. We worked closely with the technicians to fully understand their operating processes, procedures and the issues that they faced with the existing system to ensure that the new system provided a ‘worry-free’ solution.

We incorporated mobile extract hoods where required to provide the most amount of flexibility to the extract systems which will allow the use of the areas to develop and adapt over the years as the needs of the faculty evolve.

Key Challenges

Programme was the key challenge on the project. Following the completion of a feasibility study to secure funding (which included some high-level designs) there was a period of only 5 months from our appointment to completion. We worked closely with the stakeholders in the University (including Faculty, Estates, Risk Management) to develop a robust set of Employers Requirements and design criteria that could be issued to the market. We developed the overall programme, identified key milestones and developed the procurement strategy to allow the scheme to be delivered.

exi took a ‘hands-on’ approach to Project Management during the installation phase, regularly reviewing progress on site, swiftly resolving potential issues with delivery and lead-in times and finding proactive solutions in order to de-risk the project. It was imperative that the project completed ahead of the end of September 2021 so that teaching was not impacted in these very heavily utilised areas.

exi set up clear communication lines and governance arrangements to provide an approach to delivery to help ensure risk, change and costs were managed in a robust and properly considered manner.