Taking Care of Building Systems at Lavender Fields Care Home

Project Brief

Client: Firecrest Construction

Project Type: Large-scale sustainable building systems installation

Industry: Care Homes


Top Line Numbers

  • 87 extract fan systems
  • 15 mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) units
  • 4 ASHP’s
  • VRF & DX Split A/C Systems
  • 5,000L cold water storage tank
  • 12-month project

Lavender Fields are creators of a self-sustainable retirement community and recently began their journey to create a 72-bedroom spacious care home in Barmby Moor, York. To support this creation, they hired Firecrest Construction who required additional contractors to execute the project.

Project Description

The Project

The care village planned to comprise of one central building with 72 en-suite bedrooms alongside 24 privately owned, close care bungalows on site. The central building was purpose-built to include all of the amenities any resident may require, so they don’t have to leave the site where care is always on hand. The centre includes a pub, café, bistro, hairdressers, village shop, post office, nail bar, and even a gym.

The main aim of this project delivery was to provide a fully sustainable and energy-efficient mechanical systems, whilst simultaneously ensuring aesthetics are at the forefront of the design and installation as we needed to create a sense of a homely living environment for all residents.

This project encompassed so many components to deliver a full-service care facility combined with lifestyle areas. To demonstrate the sheer scale of this project, our team had to install the following building services:

  • 4 Lochinvar air source heat pumps (ASHP) for heating and hot water
  • 2 1,550 litre water cylinders providing hot water via a plate heat exchanger
  • 3 low pressure hot water (LPHW) heating circuits serving underfloor heating in each wing
  • 5,000 litre cold water storage tank and a booster pump
  • 5 Mitsubishi VRF heat recovery air conditioning systems
  • 5 Mitsubishi DX split air conditioning systems
  • Electric radiant panels
  • 15 mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) units
  • 87 extract fan systems
  • Fire and smoke dampers and control systems
  • Building management controls systems (BMS)
  • Hot and cold water services and above ground drainage provided throughout the project to serve the 72 en-suites and commercial facilities.


Executing a Multi-Faceted Building Systems Project

Aside from the high volume of mechanical building systems that needed to be installed in this project, we were presented with challenges to give the end client both the functionality and aesthetic they were seeking. For example, the client wanted to retain high ceilings, which from an installation perspective left us with minimal ceiling void to install the desired services. As such, we had to be very meticulous with our design to ensure services, plant, and equipment were suitably located out of the way whilst still allowing access for future access and maintenance.

This requirement also meant close coordination and collaboration with other trade suppliers during the design stage and onsite to rationalise any potential system clashes.


Project Phases 

With a brief as expansive as this one, the project encompassed many stages.

Stage 1 – Tender

When the project was released for tender, our estimating team reviewed the initial drawings, the client’s requirements, and project specifications to submit a bid. Once successful we were contractually appointed by Firecrest Construction.


Stage 2 – Design

The design phase is where our design team carries out the technical calculations and produces mechanical drawings for the client’s review and approval. All of your services were coordinated with other suppliers at this stage with dedicated meetings to eliminate any potential for clashes onsite. Once a plan has been established, we ordered the required materials.


Stage 3 – Construction

At this point, the project is passed on from our design department to the contracts team to organise a programme of labour to ensure our engineers are booked to fit in line with the proposed timeline. Our engineers installed all of the mechanical building solutions in accordance with the approved drawings. To keep things on track, our Contract Manager, Richard regularly visited the site.


Stage 4 – Testing and Commissioning                         

Once all of the pipework, plant, and materials were installed, the building systems were tested and commissioned by a mixture of our engineers and specialist sub-contractors to ensure they were fully operational and working within the design constraints.


Stage 5 – Handover

The final step of the project is the handover. This is when Sayes Ltd officially conducted a handover to the client, which involved performing system demonstrations to show end-users how to operate and control the systems for optimal use. All system documentation and manuals were  handed over to the client.


The overall project was 12 months from start to finish, and the work delivered by the Sayes Ltd team was executed in 9 months.



The Team


A primary reason why we can deliver a project of this scale and complexity is down to the expertise we host in our team. Our specialists are trained to the highest standard  so that they can design and deliver building systems of the highest quality.


Our experts involved in this project included:

  • Matthew Tatler (Design Manager) – Matthew oversaw the overall design process from start to finish to ensure it aligned with the client’s requirements.
  • Connor Crosswaite (Design Apprentice) – Connor assisted our Design Manager by producing detailed CAD drawings of the proposed building systems and involved with the overall coordination
  • Callum Belk-Sumpton (Revit Technician) – assisted the design and installation team by producing Revit & CAD drawings
  • Tom Howard (Contracts Director) – Tom managed the financial aspect of the project, ensuring all materials and engineer time were accounted for and fit in line with the tender proposal.
  • Richard Day (Contracts Manager) – Richard project managed the project, overseeing the day-to-day operations.
  • Dan Cox (Estimating Director) – Dan was involved in Stage 1, pricing the project and ultimately securing the work.


Prioritising Sustainability in Building Systems


A priority for this care home creation was sustainability and Sayes played a big role in making this a reality by ensuring the building’s main plant was fully electric and sustainable. This stemmed from both the building systems that were chosen and how they were installed.

To prioritise sustainability, we opted to install air source heat pumps (ASHP) to provide heating and domestic hot water to the entire building.


The system at the core uses a three-port priority demand function which allows the system to prioritise hot water in line with the specific demands of a care home, and then switch to heating mode when the hot water demand has been met. This highly energy-efficient approach is further boosted by using a thermal store that helps to smooth out the peak loads and reduces the number of times the compressor starts and stops – so helping to prolong operational life and improve reliability. The BMS controls system utilises a cascade controller which allows the system to closely manage the operating patterns of the four heat pumps to match demand.

Highley efficiency VRF air conditioning systems have been utilised elsewhere in the main central hub areas providing efficient heating and cooling.

As all the heating equipment is electric the electrical usage can be offset against the renewable electricity produced by the PV panels.

A Project for Lifestyle and Longevity

From our team’s attention to detail, whilst maintaining close collaboration with other contractors and the interior designer were able to implement building systems that were designed for efficiency and longevity, alongside prioritising aesthetics throughout.


“The feedback Sayes & Co Ltd received from Lavender Fields Care Home on this entirely new Provence House design and installation project has been terrific!


Seeing the project complete in February was made even better by Sayes Service Ltd getting contracted to provide ongoing maintenance for the systems we installed.” – Richard Day


Client Testimonial 


“Sayes were introduced to us through Firecrest, our main contractor. Not only were they reliable and efficient at all times, they worked in a clean and tidy manner, which can be unusual these days. Their personnel were also politeness personified and very keen to help over and beyond the call of duty and this continues even now. I cannot recommend them highly enough.” –  Chris Mitchell – Chairman at Lavender Fields Care Village Limited