Herschel Infrared Case Studies DIY SOS: The Big Build Southmead

DIY SOS: The Big Build Southmead

A fantastic redevelopment project by DIY SOS transforming a community site for future generations to enjoy

We are thrilled to donate infrared panel heaters to heat a shipping container for DIY SOS at their Big Build redevelopment project, helping a local community in Bristol.

Southmead Development Trust is a resident-led charity which is working to improve wellbeing and employment across the local community in Southmead, Bristol. The Trust recently took on the running of ‘The Ranch’, the local Adventure Playground, which was built by local residents and has previously been a well-used part of the community, enjoyed for many generations. Sadly, this local playground has fallen into disrepair more recently and is now unfit for purpose. The Trust see the community playground site as a valuable asset that could bring the community together and improve overall wellbeing and resilience. In addition to the outdoor play area and sports pitches, The Ranch will also have some indoor community space including a shipping container that will be converted into a music space. The DIY SOS team contacted our team to discuss their requirements for a heating system to heat the shipping container.


We worked with the DIY SOS team to understand the specification of the shipping container in terms of insulation, layout and dimensions. The team were seeking a low energy solution that ensured space was maximised in the music room and was also quick to install, given the tight turnaround deadline for the Big Build project. Infrared heating offers an efficient, space-saving and highly controllable solution that is quick and simple to install, providing the ideal system to heat a shipping container for DIY SOS. Herschel heaters have been used to heat a large number of schemes using shipping containers elsewhere, including modular housing schemes and a similar project for another DIY SOS Big Build.

Select XLS infrared white panel heaters were ceiling-mounted throughout the shipping container, along with an MD2 thermostat, creating a hugely comfortable space for the community to enjoy, with zero maintenance and ongoing servicing requirements for the Trust. The desired temperatures can be controlled by the digital touchscreen on the MD2 or alternatively via the internet, when used with the SmartLife App and in conjunction with a WiFi network.

Herschel panels used to heat a shipping container for DIY SOSThe infrared heaters donated by Herschel were quickly installed by the DIY SOS team on site in one day, during the October 2021 build project. Representatives from Herschel were excited to be invited along to the Big Reveal with Nick Knowles to meet the DIY SOS team, including Billy, Chris and Jules, and see the completed build with the heaters in situ. The whole site looks amazing; the outdoor space includes a re-built forest school, playground and multi-use games pitch and the shipping container has been styled into a fantastic new indoor music space.

DIY SOS’s The Big Build: Southmead episode aired on 24 May 2022 on BBC One. Matt Dodds, Commercial Director, comments: “This has been a great project to be involved in. We have worked with the DIY SOS team before and this project was particularly meaningful to our team given its proximity to our Bristol site. We can see what an extraordinary build the DIY SOS team has delivered once again and the huge impact it will make on the local community. It has been our pleasure to be involved through the donation of our heating panels which provide a compelling, non intrusive heating solution for shipping containers. We hope the site becomes a valuable asset for the community once more”.


“It’s been brilliant. When I first came and saw they were changing this into a music suite, the first thing I thought was how are we going to use that in winter! There’s no chance of us having young people in here as one thing is having a space that’s warm and when I first came in I thought these were audio panels and when someone said they were radiators, I thought wow! It’s been amazing…’s been really good to see young people come in and sit and chill in the space, making lots of music. We get a lot of young MCs who use the studio, it’s been a really nice addition and it wouldn’t have been possible without the heaters essentially as it would have been way too cold”.

Will Dorney – The Ranch, Youth and Play Manager.

Watch the Southmead episode on BBC iPlayer here.

See how we have been involved with DIY SOS on other projects here and here.

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