Heating Riser Pipe Replacement Update

Earlier this year, LBS proposed that it was necessary to replace all of the heating riser pipework to the six tower blocks which would have been a capital project estimated at £2.2m, roughly equating to £7k per property.

We expressed our concerns that this proposed upgrade was based on a flawed feasibility study (view here), which did not even remove the aluminium ducting to examine the condition of the riser pipes contained within the ducting. Sylvester Hilton (Major Works – Design & Delivery Team) agreed to pause the proposed upgrade, while further investigations into the condition of the riser pipes were undertaken. We agreed that one tower block would be randomly selected by the LBS technical team (Cornish House) and that the aluminium ducting would be removed on every second floor, so that a visual inspection of the pipework could be undertaken. This took place on Wednesday 7th July 2021, and the images are available below. The overall condition of the pipework was found to be in very good condition, with some surface rust visible on two landings, where the ducting had been missing and the pipes exposed to the elements.

It was also agreed that three invasive cut-outs of the pipework would also be taken to be sent away for more detailed analysis, to evaluate wear, expected lifespan, and any blockage or scaled deposits on the internal surfaces of the pipes. This took place on Thursday 8th July 2021, and the images are available below. Once again it is clearly visible that the pipe cut-outs are in excellent condition, with minimal wear and no scale or deposits or blockages internally.

This scrutiny work undertaken by the TRA has saved Southwark spending  £2.2m on an an unnecessary infrastructure project, it has saved every leaseholder £7k in major works charges, and has saved all residents the unnecessary disruption of having all the towers clad in scaffolding and living through a building project. We would like to thank Cllr Eleanor Kerslake for her support throughout this journey, Sylvester Hilton for agreeing to pause and sanity check the proposed works, and Cllr Stephanie Cryan for agreeing to pause from letting the £2.2m contract, which would have been disruptive and expensive for all residents.

For the last three months we have been trying to work with the LBS technical teams and Sylvester Hilton to determine the causes of the ongoing heating failures, and noise issues that were introduced with the upgrade of the heating riser pumps & plant in October 2019. These investigations are still ongoing and we are hoping to appoint an independent expert to undertake further investigations later in the year, when the heating system is switched back to ‘winter mode’.