Thursday, May 11, 2006

Update on Conservation Survey of Moseley Road baths - 11th May 2006

Moseley Road baths and library are in the middle of a Conservation Survey which is a pre-requisite for a Heritage Lottery bid.

The Heritage Lottery bid for restoring these buildings needs to lodged by December 2006, so that the £1million used during repair works in 2004/5 can qualify as match funding.

The Conservation Survey is on target to be completed by 22nd September 2006. This is so as to allow approval by the Council Cabinet for a Heritage lottery bid in December.

There are various stages to the Conservation Survey:
Historical Review - this puts the historical importance of the baths in a national context.
This is complete and in draft form

Structural survey – this looks at the major structural elements of the building that hold it together.
Pool 1 – the balcony has been examined and it is considered that the whole thing needs taking down and re-built. The balcony has a steel skeleton encased in concrete. The concrete has become porous over the years and allowed the steel skeleton to rust – the skeleton has expanded during the rusting process and cracked the concrete balcony, making even more water pour in.

The Quantity Surveyor has been given detailed drawings of the balcony and will be asked for a cost of rebuild. It is felt that merely replacing the rusted steel skeleton is not an option since the concrete is will offer no protection and will simply begin rusting again.

The floor at the shallow end section of the pool needs replacing, due to high level of cracks in it letting water through into the cellar beneath and rotting the steel structure underneath. The Quantity Surveyors have been asked for a cost of replacement

Pool 2 – nearly all of pool 2 is repaired. However, just like Pool 1 the floor at the shallow end of the pool needs replacing due to the high level of cracks. Repairing the cracks will only provide a short term solution.

The Quantity Surveyors have been asked to quote for removing the roof slates and relaying them, plus new wooden batons to be installed.

The south Slipper Baths Room – there are three sections of Slipper Baths Rooms – the south one was in use as slipper baths until 2004. The entire floor needs replacing here due to the high level of cracks – quote to be provided.

Remaining slipper bath room and entrance lobby – more core samples are to taken of the concrete in the north and middle Slipper bath room, plus the entrance lobby. The core samples of the concrete taken in 2003 indicated that the concrete was very weak – a tensile strength of 3Nm2, as opposed to the required 20Nm2. Microscopic analysis of the core samples shows that the concrete is in good condition and it is not understood why these samples had such a low tensile strength. It is hoped that more samples will let us understand what is happening.

Roof – as with the floor, the core samples taken in 2003 indicated the concrete had low tensile strength. More roof samples are to be taken to fully understand what is going on.

Fabric condition – this looks at the non-structural parts of the building.
This has only just started

MechanicalThe mechanical services to both the library and baths have been surveyed – this covered heating, ventilation and water services to the pools. Cost of replacing these with modern equivalents is just over £600,000.

A survey of the electrical circuits is currently taking place.

Conservation Management Plan
A high-level management meeting is taking place on Monday 15th May to hopefully agree an additional £50,000 to fund a Conservation Management Plan for the library and baths. This plan is crucial, since it will show the Heritage Lottery what the Council’s plans are for these buildings and how they will be kept in use.

The plan will involve asking users of the buildings – both employees and public – what they would like to see in the building. Local community groups will also be involved. Various options for the future use of the building will be drawn up. A business case will be put together to keep both pools open – however, if there is no wish to see both pools retained, then other uses for one of two pools may be investigated.

Talks have taken place with the Primary Care Trust to look at the future plans for the Edward Road surgery at the rear of baths. The PCT intends to significantly expand this surgery and want to work in partnership with the Council. The first phase will be the building of an additional floor on the present surgery. Options of joining the surgery to the swimming baths are being investigated as part of phase 2.


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