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Specific rooms have been set up with dedicated mixing and cutting stations.

Speedy meets dust challenge

A customised dust management solution has been developed for a renovation project at a prestigious London building. EHN reports.

Speedy Services recently teamed up with Dustcontrol UK to provide a dust extraction solution on a contract being undertaken by Willmott Dixon. The project involves the refurbishment of the Old Admiralty Building in central London’s Horseguards Parade, which will see the Grade II listed building transformed into a modern working environment.

The Old Admiralty Building refurbishment project is spread across 600 rooms.

It is described as Willmott Dixon’s biggest current project and is a joint venture between

two of the company’s independent arms, Willmott Dixon Interiors and Willmott Dixon Construction, which have come together to form Team OAB, a partnership specific to the Old Admiralty project.

The scheme has several challenges, both in relation to the materials contained within the building and the requirements of the new fit-out itself, which is spread across over 600 rooms. Silica dust, found in many construction materials, presents the risk of the lung disease, silicosis, which can be caused through the inhalation of respirable crystalline silica (RSC) particles. Invisible to the naked eye, these are created by activities such as drilling, sanding, coring and grinding.

Stringent standard

Willmott Dixon turned to Speedy Services for its input, and the hirer in turn approached Dustcontrol UK, which offers dust management equipment built to the stringent H-class application standard. The machines are cyclone based with a pre-filter and an H-13 HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to capture 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 microns for the highest standard of exhaust air.

Dustcontrol and Speedy devised a scheme that would see the sectioning off of a specific room and setting up a mixing and cutting station, to keep dust in one place on site and avoid it spreading. A site survey determined that dust extraction equipment would need to be in place on site round-the-clock to combat the dust created by plasterers and flooring contractors mixing dry powders.


Dustcontrol suggested using a DC Tromb 400, its most powerful extractor. A short hose was then used to attach the machine to a pre-separator, which collects up to 90% of all heavy particles and prevents this material reaching the filter in the Tromb, meaning that only 10% of the very finest dust is directed to it. With the project set to last several months, the pre-separator helps to prolong the lifespan of the Tromb filter. A Y-piece can also be added to the machine to enable extraction from two power tools at the same time.

The manufacturer further recommended using its DC2900 to combat dust created when mixing plaster. This was used in combination with a hook that sits inside the rim of a bucket and serves to create a vortex to prevent dust escaping, stopping it from becoming airborne in the first instance. In addition, an Aircube 2000 was installed within the room. The ambient air cleaner is designed to run continuously so that any particles that should escape are picked up by the machine in situ. This further restricts dust migration, stopping it from moving into other areas of the site. Extraction units such as the Tromb and DC2900 can also be used as vacuums for cleaning other areas on site, and this also removes the need for brooms, which disturb dust during cleaning.

The solution has been extended to cover six floors of the Old Admiralty Building, meaning there is a specific room designated for dust generating activities on each floor. This is set to increase further to ten rooms in the coming months. Alan Collett, Strategic Account Director at Speedy Services, said, “Often in the construction industry, dust control measures are a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that presents itself during the course of a project. However, with Willmott Dixon in this instance, strategic engagement has allowed for the solution of a potential problem to be developed before it even materialises.”

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Discussing the project are, from left, Speedy’s Chris Wilkinson, David Blessett of Willmott Dixon and Dustcontrol UK’s Phil Haskins.

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