A1 Flues
A1 Flues

Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham

The project

The first central library in Birmingham, with a classical facade designed by E. M. Barry, opened in 1865. After several rebuilds over the decades, a new central library was commissioned in 1974 and lasted for 41 years. It was superseded by the current futuristic Library of Birmingham, costing £189 million and the largest municipal facility of its kind in Britain. It has won a series of architectural awards and has been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. A flagship project for Birmingham’s ongoing city centre redevelopment, this is the tenth most-visited public building in the country.

Our design 

The library’s central flue system had been badly damaged by an explosion. Investigations showed that the entire flue system serving the CHP unit would have to be replaced. Firstly, a temporary system needed to be installed. The windshield chimney on the roof needed dismantling via a crane lift operation. The further answer was to install a new Caterpillar G3152E CHP in a basement plant room. The flue system was designed to run through a heat exchanger and an attenuator before rising through the three-storey building. Connection was to a replacement 10-metre free-standing windshield chimney fixed on the library roof. The new flue incorporates explosive-relief burst discs and a purge fan.


“A1 Flue Systems provided an excellent end-to-end service after a serious incident meant that we would have to replace our total flue system. Their engineers were on site straightaway to carry out a CCTV survey, ahead of their operatives carrying out the complicated replacement work. A1 Flue’s staff guided us through the entire procedure, also advising us on the involvement of other trades. We were back up and running ahead of schedule, with a first-class solution for the long term. I recommend the company to anyone needing their expertise.”

Lee Mills, Facilities & Systems Manager, Library of Birmingham

Facts at a glance

Client name: Birmingham City Council and Engle

Location: Birmingham

Project value: £51,000

Time to complete: Phased contract

Library of Birmingham