On 8 December 2015, Julia Barclay (Chair) and Tom Cordell (Vice Chair) from the Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association met representatives of the team at London Borough of Islington who are in the early stages of planning an upgrade of the heating system at Bevin Court. The work is not yet fully commissioned and has yet to be procured. There will be formal notice served in the form of Section 20 Notice of Intent and then, following the evaluation of the returned tenders, there will then be a formal Section 20 Notice of Estimate. There will be a consultation period where we will meet with and answer enquiries from the lease-holders, as a portion of the costs of this project will be recharged to them. While the boiler and heating risers in the boiler house have been replaced in the last ten years, the parts of the system inside the flats are approaching 30 years old and will need replacing soon.
The plan is to remove all internal pipework, tanks and radiators within each dwelling and replace it on a like for like basis. However there will be some significant improvements;
- We will have new thermostatic radiator valves, and room thermostats with a time clock, giving a single control for the heating in each flat.
- The hot water cylinders will be upgraded to give a faster recovery time, meaning that it will be possible to run another hot bath after a wait of only 20 minutes.
- Unlike the existing Elson tanks, the cold water cylinder will be separated from the hot, meaning that the cold water will no longer be tepid from heat leakage from the hot tank.
- The new tanks will where possible be placed higher up in the flat, which will improve water pressure, though not to the extent that the pressure would be adequate for showering. This would still require the installation of a pump, something that LBI are not prepared to provide as it would present them with an additional long term maintenance cost.
- We will get a choice of a heated towel rail or a radiator in our bathrooms.
There will be no radio controlled thermostats as previous installations in Islington have proved problematic.
We will continue to have a 2 pipe system – this means that each flat has both hot water and central heating available all year round. Other flats have a 4 pipe system which allows for the central heating to be turned off in the summer. However it would be prohibitively expensive to convert Bevin Court to this system as the layout of the plant room would have to be substantially altered and there is not sufficient space to do so.
In terms of the works inside the flats, the plan is that each dwelling will be surveyed individually, with a design for the work agreed in advance with the specific tenant or leaseholder. The works will be loud, as they will require drilling into the concrete of the building, and will be carried out between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. There will not be any scaffolding.
The work in each dwelling will take place over a week, with the ambition that it can be completed in three days per flat. No home will be left without hot water in the evenings. The works are to be planned for Spring & Summer months, so that heating should not be necessary for most residents. Should heating be required while the works are underway in our flats, the council will lend us electric heaters. There will be considerable disruption during the work, as the contractors will have to get access to all pipework and radiators throughout the flat.
Any pipes that are currently boxed in will be boxed in again at the end of the job, but in general the new pipework will be left exposed. All new pipework will be painted white. The new radiators are likely to be smaller than existing; therefore residents may have to make good the paintwork around the new installation. Any existing pumps that residents have in their flats will be tested and connected to the new system.
COSTS AND SCHEDULE
The costs recharged to leaseholders are still to be determined, following the evaluation of the tendering process. The target start date for the work is Spring 2017. The key factor in keeping the project on schedule is to get access when required to each flat. The Islington Project Managers see the experience of the first few residents to have the works carried out as critical; if they are happy then the word will spread and other residents will be more willing to cooperate with the contractors. If this is a success then multiple teams can work across the building and works should be completed between April and October.
The work will be put out to tender. The TRA have asked for potential contractors to be selected on the basis of having experience of working on other listed buildings. There will initially be site meetings every two weeks, moving to monthly once the project is running smoothly. There will be permanent site office here on a location to be decided, though this is likely to be in the car park. There is a possibility of a respite area being provided for residents who wish to escape the noise & disruption during works in their flat.
Currently these proposals are at a very early stage, and now is the time to express opinions on the plan. You can talk to the TRA about your views about we collate theme and pass them along to the Islington Project Managers. There will we further consultation opportunities directly with Project Managers as the project gets nearer to being commissioned.