Chestnut Nursery




January 2017 – April 2019
Working with industry partners to provide cost effective and environmentally conscious mechanical and electrical engineering

Background & Brief

Chestnut Nursery is a charity project giving those with mental illnesses a meaningful occupation in a supportive environment, aiming to restore well-being. The commercial garden plant nursery grows over 50,000 plants each year at its site in Poole.

Drewlec was first involved in the project in early 2017 to assist the charity with plans and budget for the nursery build. We proposed a set of rough costs for the mechanical and electrical engineering work that would need to be carried out on site. A year later, we returned to Chestnut Nursery to provide a more in-depth proposal, including design details for the electrical work, responding to the architectural plans and builders’ requirements.

Response & Solution

Mindful of the charity’s financial situation and budget for the build, it was important to us that the work we proposed was not only cost-effective during construction but remained so across the lifecycle of the building. Similarly, as with all Drewlec projects, we focussed on proposing works with a minimal carbon footprint. As a team, we strive to improve on, and beat, the carbon standards as set by the government and provide customers with an environmentally conscious plan of works.

To meet these environmental requirements, we worked closely with other contractors, including Footprint Architects and Greendale Construction, developing a team integral to the overall success of the build. Working with a team of experts from the earliest stages of the design planning all the way through to completion ensured that each specific element of the project was considered and planned with awareness of the bigger picture.

This way of working allowed us to develop a mechanical and electrical plan to fit with the architect’s vision and which was implemented in correspondence with construction timeframes, while providing the client with the most cost effective and energy efficient options possible.

Underfloor heating was installed in the nursery to avoid obstruction in the retail space and provide a more efficient way of warming the space. To fit Footprint’s flooring concept, we innovated and implemented a specific underfloor heating system that would sit under the smooth finished structural concrete floor.

To reduce long term running costs and to further reduce the carbon impact of the building, we proposed and installed air source heat pumps to heat the building and its water supply. Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the outside air and transferring this heat into the building’s internal system, negating the need for gas. To support the government’s policy to cut carbon emissions via heating systems in the 2020’s, we always investigate the best alternative heat options for clients on a case by case basis.

The nursery’s design featured large window apertures, maximising natural light and allowing for the use of daylight saving LEDs which would only come on to supplement available light in the evenings or on darker days.

We also took responsibility for and installed the mains supply and power, wiring, intruder and fire alarms, data and telephone infrastructure, earth bonding, ventilation, sanitary ware and above ground drainage. Our teams also managed the testing, inspection and commissioning of all systems.


By working closely with Footprint Architects and Greendale Construction, we were able to recommend innovative concepts to enhance the overall build. We adapted our ways of working, as well as the products proposed and fitted, to meet the budgetary requirements of the client.

This collaboration at the outset of the project enabled us to recommend innovative concepts to enhance the overall build. As a result, the electrical systems were developed as part of the architectural plan, allowing us to work efficiently on behalf of the client and to integrate seamlessly with the other teams working on the construction site.

Install costs were kept to a minimum and the solutions fitted will guarantee low running costs for years to come.


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