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Spelsberg's IBT enclosures look to benefit hotel infrastructure

Published: 18 November 2019 - Carly Wills

The market worth of the global hotel industry has grown by $103.61 billion U.S. between 2014 and 2017, which is driving the need for new hotels. As with any construction project, maximising budget and potential returns relies on meeting tight construction schedules. Consequently, pre-cast concrete construction has risen to prominence due to its efficient approach. Concrete is poured into panels with pre-existing formwork in-situ or off-site, speeding up construction. The challenge is to integrate services such as electrical infrastructure into the pre-cast panels easily, a challenge met head on by Spelsberg’s IBT range.

The challenges

Incorporating electrical infrastructure into pre-cast concrete panels is inherently challenging. In a hotel, electricals need to be concealed, which rules out mounting them on the outside of the panel. The only option is to cast the electricals directly into the concrete. 

This requires fitting electrical infrastructure to the formwork before concrete is poured. Formwork varies in design and material, so choosing optimum mountings is key. Mounting must also be carried out efficiently to ensure short installation times. Once in place, it must hold its position on the formwork when the heavy concrete is poured. Any movement in position can cause connections to be severed, a problem that is hard to resolve with everything encased in concrete.

Leakage into the cavity must also be prevented, as wet concrete could enter the inside of the enclosure and prevent electricians completing the first fix of equipment. With on-site, pre-cast concrete methods, large amounts of concrete are poured in one sitting, the weight of which can exert pressure that must be resisted.

With pre-cast concrete construction, it is a case of getting electrical infrastructure right first time around. Ensuring that it is properly incorporated ensures that project timelines are protected, and value is added to the project. Doing this expedites the use of electrical services and eases any maintenance work that may be required further down the road.

The IBT range

The IBT system is specifically designed to allow enclosures, junction boxes, lighting outlets and other components to be installed directly to the formwork before the pouring of concrete begins. Equally proficient for off-site or in-situ approaches, the IBT attaches to metal formwork via magnet couplings, or with patented support spars for timber. It is then is set into the concrete, staying exactly in place when formwork is removed, with its front exposed. The end result is fully integrated electrical infrastructure, ready for the installation of cables.

Principle among the IBT’s advantages is installation speed. In a hotel, where each room will feature multiple power outputs and supplies, the IBT offers an easy approach to meet these demands. With hotels typically featuring hundreds of individual rooms, this time saving is compounded across the project, helping contractors to meet schedules and reduce overall project costs.

Integrity against the setting concrete is built in. A patented diaphragm system stops concrete fines from entering the enclosure and damaging electrical components. After the conduit is installed, the diaphragm returns to its position, providing sealing without grommets. This specialisation avoids the costly and time-consuming installation of a seal on-site.

IBT enclosures are manufactured from durable, halogen-free material that offers innate high-temperature resistance. Enclosures can be produced to DIN, BS and NEMA standards – allowing them to be utilised in construction projects around the globe. Furthermore, the specialised IBTronic Luminaire light fittings and the IBTronic speakers are available in range, designed specifically for lighting, alarms and intercom systems. 

The construction of new hotels has been streamlined to ensure more rooms are available faster and that projects stay within budget. While pre-cast concrete construction enables these advantages, it is also important to ensure that services are integrated into new build hotels in a similarly efficient manner. Armed with IBT enclosures purpose built for pre-cast concrete construction, contractors can now integrate electronics with no reservations.

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