Prefabricated Heating and Hot Water Package Systems

Prefabrication of Commercial Hot Water Systems

Prefabrication, by definition, is the practice of assembling a structure and its components in a factory or assembly facility before being transported to the construction jobsite for installation.

The method itself is said to have been inspired by building techniques tracing back to the Mesopotamian civilization, and has been around for thousands of years. The world’s oldest known engineered roadway, the Sweet Track, was built in England using prefabricated timber sections around 3,800 BCE. Around 1837, prefabricated farm buildings and bungalows were becoming popular as well. Even Gustav Eiffel’s temporary tower in Paris was assembled out of prefabricated iron elements back in 1889.

In the HVAC industry, however, particularly in the design and construction of commercial hot water systems, the use of prefabrication is relatively new, although some European, American, and Asian HVAC contractors have been doing it for some time. Now, with Automatic Heating Global’s innovative engineering, many more Australian contractors are reaping the time and cost saving benefits of prefabrication with our custom designed skid mounted commercial heating and domestic hot water system packages.

Offsite Prefabrication Advantages

One of the major advantages of HVAC prefabrication over traditional construction is its improved efficiency, accuracy, and less time in assembling the components since the assembly happens in a controlled environment, not in a busy construction site. This results in consistent quality, tighter joints, better air filtration, better insulation, shorter time frame, and higher plant efficiency. By pre-fabricating offsite, the system can be pre-commissioned and tested for potential problems before being delivered to the construction site, which allows for a smoother commissioning once installed. Furthermore, since the components are usually modular, prefabricated units are flexible in a way that they can easily be disassembled and relocated to different sites. This is advantageous not only for the builder, but also for the owner who may want to relocate the structure in the future.

Moreover, since most of the work happens off-site, this means less traffic in the construction site, which could give more time and space for other subcontractors doing traditional construction to finish their job. This translates to higher labor productivity and faster overall construction duration for the whole project. Less traffic in the job site also means less exposure of workers to physical hazards that are usually present in this environment, including noise, radiation, vibration, extreme weather, falls and presence of foreign debris.

Lastly, prefabrication generally reduces costs due to savings in labor costs gained from doing most of the job off site where the workers’ productivity is maximized. This is true especially if a component is repeatedly used in the project. A mass-produced component made in an assembly line is generally cheaper than a similar element constructed by a highly paid skilled worker on site. Moreover, moving assemblies from a factory tends to cost less than moving raw materials to each site.

All of these benefits make prefabricated commercial hot water systems an attractive option for builders, designers, and owners alike. And with the emergence of new trends like building information modelling and lean construction, prefabrication is likely to increase in the years to come.

Crane lifting prefab Hot Water System at Nightingale 2 project
Prefabricated skid frame fitted with Revere™ CO2 Heat Pump and Thermex Stainless Steel Tanks being crane lifted into position at the Nightingale 2 project at Fairfield in Victoria.
Revere™ CO2 Heat Pump and tanks at Monash University
Prefabricated Domestic Hot Water Package comprising Revere™ CO2 Heat Pump and Thermex Stainless Steel tanks installed at James Gormley Bike Arrival Station at Monash University.
High Efficiency CO2 Heat Pump Hot Water Package

We invite you to join Rohan Hocking for a quick video intro to a recently completed Revere™ CO2 Heat Pump prefab package system.

Designed to deliver hot water for heating and DHW efficiently at low ambient temperatures, this custom designed prefabricated system comprises the Revere™ CO2 Heat Pump and Thermex Stainless Steel tanks. Engineered for an exciting new apartment complex in Hobart, this package offers an average COP of up to 4.2, fossil fuel free operation and uses CO2 as the refrigerant which has zero ozone-depleting potential (ODP).

The DHW system is also WaterMark approved and can be engineered to suit the specific peak hot water demands of your project.

Call us for a free consultation on 1800 337 959 or register your enquiry via the Heat Pump Enquiry Form

HVAC Prefabrication Project by Automatic Heating

As one of the leading providers of water-based heating and cooling technologies in Australia, Automatic Heating has been quick to adopt prefabrication in its projects. One example of this is the Harold Holt Swim Centre, located in Glen Iris, Melbourne, where Automatic Heating supplied the prefabricated skid frame and platform for the new water heating plant which comprised two Modulex condensing water heaters.

The skid frame and platform were designed and built at Automatic Heating’s assembly facility in Epping before being transported to the pool complex for final installation. Since the platform had already been assembled and pre-commissioned off site, the final installation was made operational within just a couple of hours, reducing downtime on the centre’s operations. Today, this hot water system installed at Harold Holt Swim Centre delivers energy savings of up to 40% over conventional systems, thereby reducing the facility’s gas bills significantly.

This project has also been featured in Architecture & Design blog.

To learn more about HVAC prefabrication, please download Automatic Heating’s whitepaper, HVAC Prefabrication whitepaper which outlines the many benefits of this approach and explores actual case studies where this method had been applied.