Tandridge Golf Club was designed by the renowned Harry Colt in 1924, and today is judged as one of the top 100 golf courses in the UK.
Situated in a rural location near Oxted, in Surrey (UK), it has a thriving membership and is a beautiful course; the main club buildings date from 1928 and have been carefully retained to the present day (unfortunately the first clubhouse burnt down in 1927, exacerbated by the thatched roof).
It is popular every day, with golfers seemingly happy to battle in all weathers at all times of the year, perhaps encouraged by the excellent dining facilities afterwards (they recently were awarded No.3 in the UK for Golf Club restaurants).
Above all, my team and I noticed a warm friendly atmosphere from members and staff alike, that we felt part of for the duration of our work.
At this point I need to iterate that I know absolutely nothing about golf, being blessed with a laughably poor ability at almost any type of sport. Sadly, I could never become a member of a golf club – unless they had a ‘dining and bar only’ category.
The subterranean boiler room contained a 140Kw cast iron Sime open flued gas boiler, which was connected to a maze of steel pipework dating back to the early origins of the clubhouse. There was also a somewhat decrepit 30 yr old open flue 30Kw Ideal boiler running a hot water calorifier.
We had already successfully replaced the hot water plant for the gents and ladies showers in a different wing of the building (this will be covered in another post soon) and as a result were asked for proposals to update the entire heating system, and also provide new hot water plant for the busy commercial kitchens.
As things stood, the clubhouse and dining areas had recently been revamped with new windows and wall insulation, making the building much warmer; however, the entire building was controlled with a simple clock and a single dial wall thermostat like one has at home (though not in my home, of course).
Our proposal was to divide the heating into separately controllable zones where allowed by the existing pipework – whilst retaining most of the old iron radiators and ‘one pipe’ steel/iron tubing. wherever possible, no floors would be lifted or pipework changed outside the confines of the boiler room.
We would convert the ‘open vented’ heating feed and expansion tank system to a sealed type, to arrest corrosion and resolve a persistent problem with ‘pumping over’ in the header tank (which was exacerbating the corrosion).
In the kitchens, for hot and cold supplies they were running off gravity storage tanks in the loft, which required periodic sterilisation against legionella and also provided unacceptably low pressure for wash up facilities.
The kitchen pot washing facilities regularly ran out of hot water during busy times, because the hot water calorifier (aka. a hot water cylinder) had very long recovery times, something many a domestic household with a teenage daughter knows about.
Nowadays, it is common for old commercial boilers to be replaced by a ‘cascade’ of smaller wall hung units. This is a group of modern lightweight boilers that give the advantages of low lift weight, compact format, wide power modulation, redundancy and easy installation.
We specifically did not advocate this route; when connecting to an older pipework system there will be dirt in the water and these low water content small (often uprated domestic design) boilers simply aren’t built in a robust enough way to tolerate the conditions found in a retrofit environment. The only real advantages are for the installer; their lifespan will be poor in a commercial environment.
Instead we specified a high water modern single condensing boiler, with large waterways; the best product was the 140Kw Viessmann Vitocrossal 200; a boiler we have successfully installed before in office, nursing home and church complexes.
Supplied in a large frame weighing around 250kg stripped down, the boiler needed the complete removal of the boiler room stairs to get it into the basement and some lifting gear. A new plinth was constructed to site it on.
The Golf Clubhouse is a period structure and we, and the management team at the club, were anxious to avoid any unsightly changes to the exterior. We had a bespoke stainless flue system designed and this was installed into the existing boiler room chimney, for an invisible upgrade. As an alternative to scaffolding, we used a large truck mounted crane for access to the chimney top, which involved a 10 metre reach out from car park; this had to be scheduled for a quiet period in the club diary.
We configured the boiler in a room sealed mode, to make the boiler room quieter and safer; our flue design specialists created a stainless steel air duct through the beer store for this purpose.
To allow separate heating zone control we specified an insulated low loss header and switcher, with individual pump groups for each heating zone, plus another for hot water. These allow each zone to be isolated if necessary for maintenance, and also allow pump speeds to be set for optimum temperature distribution across the different zones.
It is important, when designing heating for church complexes, and establishments like Golf Clubs, that those in charge have a simple system to control their heating in an economic fashion. After all, their lives are busy enough without having to go on courses to deal with ‘building management systems (BMS)’ that are only understandable by building services professionals. If someone recommends a BMS to you, better think about changing your job title. UK civil servants love them, which is why school heating systems are on 365 days a year – no one knows how to turn them off, or back on again…..
Instead, we altered a domestic control system called Evohome, to control a large boiler plant and zones with simple controls more commonly found in high end British homes. The Golf Club secretary and Head Chef can operate each zone and hot water remotely from a simple colour touchscreen- and from their iPhones and Googly things at home too.
Each zone can be controlled locally, but the Evohome base unit will take over at the next time setting, stopping accidental settings of high temperatures overnight, for example.
To prevent dirt from entering the boiler system we fitted a large Spirotrap industrial magnetic filter.
The system is now up and running, and is expandable to allow for another 3 zones of heating to be added at a future time, should this be required, without draining any of the existing system. A Mikrofill digital pumpless pressurisation unit keeps the system topped up, and reports any water losses so that corrective action can be taken, it also stops filling if there is a significant water loss.
The kitchen hot water system is handled by two ACV tank in tank unvented calorifiers; these have a very fast heat recovery time as they can take around 100Kw of energy from the boiler plant.
To prevent large kitchen draw-offs from affecting the mains water delivery to the shower block, two TWS GC450 accumulators linked together provide a buffer to the water mains supply, these are located in a cool store separate from the boiler room.
The kitchen reports that their Syspal washing equipment now works correctly under the proper mains pressure, and the wash up area has never run out of hot water.
The work was carried out in the late summer and hot water services were virtually uninterrupted throughout.
The heating and water zones are now controlled by Evohome thermostats and an Evohome base unit.