Monday, 10 June 2013

More detail on Arthur Hill swimming baths #rdguk

I got the following briefing with a bit more detail on the Arthur Hill swimming baths situation. Good to hear that the Council is no longer talking about if they will reopen but when.

"You asked for further details on the structural issue at Arthur Hill pool. Please see below.

You will be aware that there is a lobby at Arthur Hill pool. The issue relates to the two very large beams that support the substantial internal wall which is situated between the lobby and the pool. These beams are concrete with a steel beams encased within.  Water from the pool has penetrated this support which has 2 effects, corrosion of the steel work and weakening of the concrete as chlorides build up within it.

The beams have been monitored regularly, however following an inspection it was felt that the deterioration was such that the wall had become unstable and the pool was closed for safety reasons.  This course of action was corroborated by a member of the Council’s Building Control team.

We were also advised by Building Control that to do nothing and just close the pool was not an option as the supporting beams needed attention to prevent the risk of collapse which could affect adjoining buildings and the public.

The supporting beams can only be accessed via a winding narrow staircase and there is also old cast iron pipe work under the beam and some large boilers in the cellar making the area very hot and cramped to work in. This very much limits the methods that could be employed to repair the building.

Although a number of potential options were open to the council, the only practical one, and therefore the only one considered, was to repair the beam.

We believe this is the most cost and time effective solution as it addresses the safety concerns raised by Building Control and enables the pool to be reopened. The cost of the required works is circa £85,000. We cannot be more exact until the final structural support has been designed, approved by Building Control and contracts let. You have asked to see the report produced by the structural engineers. This report identifies budget costs, methods for repair and the specification against which we will be engaging contractors.  Since we are still in the process of engaging some of these contractors, and seeking to get the best value for money, the report is commercially sensitive and we are not able to release it at the moment.

You have also asked about the future of Arthur Hill. Once we complete the repair work, the building will be re-opened to the public. As you know, the Council is conducting a review of all its facilities. This is still on-going and a report will be produced in due course. Arthur Hill, as is the case with all Council buildings, will be included in this review, but it would be wrong to speculate on the final report or any future decisions at this stage."

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