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Geberit books pipework gains at new school library

A new library at St Mary’s School in Wiltshire is providing high-quality learning to students. Here, Geberit describes how it supplied innovative solutions to the drainage system that have reduced noise and allowed aesthetic requirements to be fulfilled.
Project overview

St Mary’s School is an independent day and boarding school in Calne, Wiltshire. Located on a 25-acre site, the new library is built at the heart of the campus and provides students with a state-of-the-art, progressive learning environment for the future. The layout of the internal space reflects a forward-thinking environment, and the new facility will provide best practice teaching and learning to prepare students for higher education.

The building was designed as a rectangular standalone pavilion modelled on an orangery, with an articulated timber-cladded roof structure supported on steel columns that float over a more substantial masonry shell. The western elevation of the library, which faces a service road, is solid to mitigate noise from the access route.

Meanwhile, the eastern elevation is glazed to maximise daylight and views across the orchard. The library’s entrance is located in the centre of the solid wall, providing clear views on arrival of the internal space and the landscape beyond.

Choosing Geberit

Central to the design of the drainage system are a number of solutions from Geberit which are ideal for the building’s dynamic interior. Crucially, Geberit played a key role in informing all stakeholders on a solution to the project, recommending Geberit Silent-db20 – a low-noise, simple-to-install and flexible drainage system with proven performance.

Contrary to the norm, the drainage system was specified to feed through concentric circular hollow section (CHS) columns inside the building. As a result, Geberit Silent-db20 was specified to fulfil the niche aesthetic requirements and to keep the structure as clean as possible.

The library’s eastern elevation is glazed to maximise daylight and views across the orchard

In addition to the design requirements, the building had a strong acoustic focus with much of the project based around acoustic optimisation of the rainwater pipes. Architect Woods Bagot specified Geberit Silent-db20 for the building’s high-performance sound optimised piping solution.

Made from mineral reinforced plastic, the high density of Silent-db20’s individual components effectively reduces natural vibrations and noise – a crucial element to instilling a sense of calm in what is a lively academic hub. As well as this, non-compressible rubber-lined acoustic brackets reduce the transfer of structure-born noise by decoupling the stack from the structure. 

To enhance the acoustic properties of the rainwater system further, the drainage pipe was clad with proprietary mineral rock fibre tubes lagged inside the CHS steel column. These provide additional thermal insulation, mitigating risks of interstitial condensation. This also provided the client with an ‘off book’ rainwater disposal system design, meeting all legislation, and importantly, conforming to regulation BS EN 12056.

Geberit Silent-db20 fulfilled the niche aesthetic requirements and keeps the structure as clean as possible

With Geberit Silent-db20, the only electro-fusion weldable acoustic pipework system currently available, more complicated pipework sections were able to be prefabricated. The rodding eye is an essential component of any rainwater system and the pipe section containing this was prefabricated, to ensure that it was in line with the access opening built into the steel column during installation.

Delivering the solution

Thanks to its tried-and-tested tools and fittings, the Geberit Silent-db20 pipework system facilitated efficient working on site, creating a seamless installation process that saved on both time and costs.

Discussing the specification, project technical delivery leader architect at Woods Bagot, Gio Vettori, said: “With the project throwing up some unique challenges, the install of Geberit Silent-db20 provided a versatile and simple-to-fit solution that all stakeholders could get on board with.

“Not only was the system fast and simple to install, but it also provided a number of built-in noise minimisation mechanisms that really got to the heart of what the project was all about – a cutting-edge academic haven for students.

“Another deciding factor for the Geberit specification was the level of support offered. Geberit was on hand with an extremely high level of detailed assistance, even travelling to the site to give a product training session to the install team.”

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