Friday, January 14, 2011

Update on Moseley Road baths – 14th January 2011

At the moment Moseley Road baths is temporarily closed

. Background to this closure can be read at

This morning I attended a meeting with Technical Services and the Health and Safety team at Moseley Road baths.

I’ve attach a number of photos which help illustrate in greater detail the technical issues about replacing the metal lintel above the fire exit door to Pool 2.

Photo 1 –shows the fire exit that is causing the problem. It was cut through this wall at the start of the Second World War when Pool 2 was used as a make-shift hospital in the early part of the war. The pool was boarded over and used to house any casualties after nearby bombing. The fire exit is so wide, so as to get hospital beds, with patients, in and out.

At the moment, the fire exit is used as the disabled access to the pool. Talking to Health and Safety, this exit could be significantly reduced in width and still allow disabled access.

Photo 2 – this is a close-up of the fire exit and shows the location of the lintel above the door. The objective of any lintel is to carry the weight of the wall above the door. In this case the lintel is also holding up a major load bearing pillar that carries the weight of the roof.

The lintel is hidden behind the tilework inside the baths, and by brickwork on the outside of the building. The lintel consists of three steel beams – in cross-section they resemble a capital ‘I’ – resting side by side.

At todays meeting I could see the exposed base of each steel beam and I could clearly see the heavy corrosion. The corrosion has been caused by the chlorine in the pool, which in the humid atmosphere converts into hydrochloric acid. At some points of the base of these beams, I was able to take off flaks of corroded metal.

The present lintel beams were installed about 10 years ago

Photo 3 – shows the pillar that carries the load of the roof above the lintel. It is the presence of this pillar that makes the replacement of the lintel beams so expensive.

Photo 4 – shows the external view of the fire exit.

Photo 5 – is a close-up of a crack emanating from the fire exit. It is thought that this is due to one of the lintels twisting from its original position. Unfortunately, it appears that when the steel beams, that make up the lintel, where installed ten years ago, they were rested on a bed of mortar. They should have instead been rested on a bed of slate, since mortar would not be able to take the pressure of such heavily loaded beams. As a result at least one of the lintels has moved.

The outcome of todays meeting, is that there will be an in-depth inspection of this lintels on Friday 21st January – the engineer is on holiday until then. Some of the tiles and external brickwork will be removed so that the main body of the steel beams can be examined.

The condition of the main body of these steel beams will dictate the complexity and cost of the replacement or repair of this lintel.

If the lintels need complete replacement, then a complex steel frame will have be constructed to take the weight of the main pillar. This is where time and expensive will come into play.

I should know the outcome of the further examination towards the 28th January.

In the meantime, the water in pool 2 is being maintained on a slow circulation. This is so as to stop the tile grout inside the pool drying out and possibly cracking, plus it maintains the sand filters.

A combination of pool staff, constituency staff and officers from my cabinet portfolio are pulling together the financial figures for the business case, so as to release the £55k maximum required to repair this lintel.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger HughW said...

Fascinating- but how slow are you prepared to accept for the work on this? If the Council felt that it had an important service to maintain it would not work at this snail's pace. What you are really saying is that the work, after 4 weeks of closure, has not yet been assessed. You're sharing of the info is exemplary; your ability to get things done is woeful. HW (a constituent and newly non-swimmer)

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Jenny@Moseley said...

Are you saying that only 10 years ago an engineer designed and had approved works to a chlorine environment consisting of I beams manufactured in a corrosive material? I sincerely hope that we taxpayers didn't pay for it and furthermore, that those responsible are to be made to carry the expense for the damages resulting from it.


Post a Comment

<< Home