HMS Drake, Parker VC Building, Plymouth

Project: HMS Drake, Parker VC Building, Plymouth

To thank veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses whilst serving their nation, Help for Heroes has built state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities and adaptive accommodation in Plymouth, to help them recover. Funded completely from public donations, the charity committed £21 million to the construction of the Endeavour Centre – a purpose built rehabilitation complex, and the Parker VC building – a specialist adaptive accommodation facility.

Nestled within the HMS Drake Naval Base to ensure integration amongst the naval community, the Parker VC building – a collaborative project between Help for Heroes, Hulley & Kirkwood, Capita and Interserve - consists of 72 self-contained rooms, including six family rooms and four social rooms. Additionally, there are five permanent staff stationed in the reception to provide 24/7 support. Justin Lees, Plymouth Office Director at Hulley & Kirkwood, described the accommodation as a ‘thank-you’ for those who made the ultimate sacrifices for their country. “The team wanted to provide a building that was not so much a facilitative service, but a gift,” said Justin. “That is why it was designed like a hotel.”

With the residential scheme providing accommodation for injured servicemen in preparation for return to service or reintroduction into non-military life, it was important to understand the exact needs of the occupants to ensure upmost comfort and ease of accessibility.  “The team worked very closely with Navy servicemen to make sure the rooms were suitable,” said Justin. “From their feedback, we could determine exactly what they needed to ensure comfortable living.”

With the vision of creating a ‘hotel’ like atmosphere within a complex, that had simple accessibility, fast-responding, low mass heating systems that were not only efficient, but that could be easily controlled individually from room to room, were required. “Due to the nature of injuries, it was necessary to have controllable heat as one occupant might require more or less heat than another.” It was also imperative that the heat emitters were quiet. “The team wanted to create a comfortable space that was peaceful and healing for the injured,” said Justin. “Noisy emitters were not an option.”

A further important consideration for the Parker VC accommodation was the energy-efficiency of the building. Plymouth City Council’s onsite renewable planning policy requirements, meant a 15% carbon reduction, by onsite renewable energy sources needed to be realised. This was achieved through the use of solar panels on the roof and ground source heat pumps. However, this meant the chosen heating solutions had to be able to work effectively with these low flow temperature applications. “The team and I were adamant on using ground source heat pumps, so a heating system capable of providing variable heat using a low grade heat source was key,” explained Justin.    

With a positive relationship already established on previous successful projects, Hulley & Kirkwood worked closely with Jaga to identify a heating system that could provide all the necessary requirements for such a specific application. Justin identified Jaga’s Maxi Low Surface Temperature (LST) radiators as ticking all the right boxes. “The Maxi LST radiators provided all our requirements in one solution,” said Justin, “and as we had used this technology before, we fully trusted the product.”

With comfort and safety going hand in hand in such an application as the Parker VC building, Jaga’s Maxi LST radiators provide not only powerful and energy-efficient heating, but also ensure safety too. “As most of the occupants are severely injured, safe surface temperatures were essential,” said Justin. The ideal solution was Jaga’s Maxi LST due to its ultra-safe features including a super-strong cool-to-touch protective casing with curved edges to prevent burns or injury. “The Maxi’s ability to utilise the low flow temperatures of the ground source heat pumps in an LST format suited this application perfectly.”

A total of 95 Jaga Maxi LST radiators were installed throughout the site, including two per family room and three in the reception. All were equipped with Jaga’s Dynamic Boost Effect (DBE) technology to provide high output at low flow temperatures and a flexible, fast response. While this allowed for the necessary heat pump compatibility, it also meant the temperature of each room could be controlled by its occupant – a ‘must have’ functionality for Justin. “Jaga’s DBE technology gives the occupants complete control over the temperature of their room,” said Justin, “the boost functionality was essential to this project.” Also, with noise levels around 30db(A), the DBE unit fans are quieter than a domestic refrigerator and are therefore ideal for creating a warm, quiet, comfortable space.

“The Parker VC accommodation building, along with the state-of-the-art recovery building, is a fitting tribute to the selfless work of our many servicemen and women. It is humbling to see the public’s donations to Help for Heroes build such a worthy and rewarding project.

“We were proud of our role in providing the fast responding, safe and efficient heating for this project, and hope to support future projects of this admirable calibre in the future,” concluded Jaga Managing Director Phil Marris.