Three football pitches in size, the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre (FEICC) is a state-of-the-art facility and the new home of the Farnborough International Airshow. The multi-purpose facility is set to become the leading venue for events in South of England and the third largest conference centre nationally. Ramboll provided the building services, structural, civil, fire and acoustic engineering services for this highly flexible and energy-efficient conference, function and exhibition 'factory', known as Hall 1.
The building has an area of 32,500m2 and consists of three large exhibition halls, six conference facilities / function spaces, two large commercial kitchens and associated serveries, offices and other ancillary spaces. The project replaces a temporary structure which is erected to serve large events such as the Farnborough Air Show and will cater for events throughout the year. The client brief required an engineering design to enable complete space flexibility / adaptability to suit a wide range of uses and minimise running costs.
The building superstructure features very large columns-free spaces framed in structural steel with composite concrete suspended floors and trussed roofs. Fabric 1st Principles were adopted to maximise the building's efficiency and reduce energy consumption / carbon emissions. This involves using thermally efficient fabric components with very low air permeability to create passively efficient yet highly flexible function spaces within the large halls and to minimise energy losses.
The building services and structural designs were aligned with the flexibility / adaptability brief. High level ventilation systems supply heating & cooling to all areas with power and data distribution via the suspended floors to suit the varying space arrangements.
The building services systems were designed to enable sections of the building to operate independently from each other in order to minimise energy consumption where events require only a part of the building. Simple systems were selected to minimise maintenance requirements and sub-meters were used throughout to provide client control for each sub-system, reduce operational costs, and to allow charging of tenants for the energy actually used. The thermal mass of the suspended floors was used to exploit free night-time cooling and a large PV array on the roof supplements the conventional power supply to the building and feeds back to the grid when the building is unused or lightly used.
The building is unusual and in many ways its function requirements are unique, so extensive 3D energy modelling was undertaken to maximise the efficiency of the passive / active systems within the building for a wide range of use scenarios. This approach is highly appropriate for complex industrial processes and facilities where a high degree of energy efficiency is required with minimal running costs.