Biomass District Heating Scheme at West Dean, Nr Chichester, West Sussex

Client: The Edward James Foundation
Architect: Savills
QS: McBains Cooper
Engineer: Millwood Consulting
M & E: Sustainable Energy
Value: £2,352,000
Programme: 30 Weeks


This JCT Design and Build Contract included the design and installation of a new biomass boiler, a new portal framed industrial building and the installation of a new district heating system. 2.5 kilometres of underground pipework was installed to feed the hot water to the various educational, commercial and residential buildings in the Estate.

A 900m² new steel framed portal Energy Centre was constructed to house the new woodchip biomass boiler and wood chip storage area. Extensive external works adjacent the new Energy Centre included new roads, requiring a Section 278 Agreement, and concrete hardstanding, for articulated vehicle deliveries, drainage and services associated with the new boiler house. Two oil-fired backup boilers and fuel tanks were also installed in this building.

The new flow and return pipework was laid in trenches excavated across the whole of the estate, including maintained lawns, estate roads, gardens and pathways. The pipework was also moled beneath the A286 between Chichester and Midhurst. This required a Section 50 Agreement and prevented disruption to the traffic on the main road. Vehicular and pedestrian access to properties in the Estate, and to roads adjoining the site, were maintained at all times, thus ensuring minimum inconvenience and disruption to the occupants and the public. The compact programme allowed just 30 weeks for the design and construction period with 24 weeks allowed to achieve ‘Heat On’ in order to meet grant deadlines.

“Pilbeam did an excellent job on the biomass facility and I wish you luck with the award.”

Alex Barron – The Edward James Foundation Ltd