Monday, July 25, 2011

Update on Moseley Road baths –25th July 2011

First of all the last six weeks dealing with the works to re-open of Pool 2 of Moseley Road baths have been utterly frustrating for me.... and I am sure that the Urban Design team of the City Council now have a nervous twitch whenever they see my name, since I am asking for updates every few days.

If you read my last update on 8th June – see - you will note that we were hoping to have pool 2 open to the public by 15th July. Subsequent to this update, our Health and Safety team inspected the basement of Moseley Road baths and have designated it as a ‘confined work area’, which requires an of onerous level of work conditions. It is in this basement that new permanent scaffolding needs to be inserted to hold up sections of the floor, which in turn holds up the roof.

The list of conditions that Health and Safety have set is as follows:

Before the main project works begin –

  • The basement area needs to be surveyed. There are a number of areas that pose a substantial risk of tripping/ falling. These areas should be covered over. The use of barriers may not be practical.
  • An agreed travel route around the basement should be clearly designated and marked, avoiding pipework where possible.
  • Any waste should be removed or relocated to free up working space
  • The pipes should be surveyed with high hazard pipes clearly marked eg high temp water pipes
  • Assure yourself that no asbestos is in the working area.
  • Improve lighting provision
  • Improve ventilation provision
  • Seek assurances from building management that there will be no ingress of noxious gases, eg sewer gases or chlorine gas from the pool processes or any decaying sewer pipes into the basement.
  • You should treat this basement as a confined space and ensure a rescue plan is in place should someone get injured. Dragging a prone body over the pipes is not going to be easy.
    Modify the chute scaffold access point as an alternative means of escape,
  • Agree a system to ensure this is always available whilst work takes place.
  • The external area should be kept secure and managed.
  • Agree a fire watch system between the contractor and building management and a means of raising the alarm as there is no means of detecting a fire or a fire alarm system. Exit routes should be clearly marked.

When the works commence –

  • Contractor not to appoint tall operatives, the area is very cramped with low ceilings, this will cause some discomfort as in most areas operatives will have to work stooped. Tall operatives will struggle.
  • All operatives should be inducted onto site and given a familiarisation tour of the site and made aware of the site procedures.
  • There should be enough operatives to conduct the work without putting undue stress on the operatives due to the restricted nature of the working environment and the manual handling activities.
  • Operatives should be allowed and directed to take regular breaks outside of the basement.
    A ready supply of drinking water should be available in the basement area.
  • No loneworking to take place.
  • There should be visible and permanent site supervision
  • Only one contracted activity at a time should take place in the basement due to its restricted nature.
  • There should be cooperation, coordination and active communication between all on site which includes building management.

The impact of these additional health and safety conditions is that the cost of this work has almost doubled from £55k to almost £100k. There have been a number of meetings between officers and the contractors to reduce this price as much as possible.

In preparation for work starting, an asbestos survey is taking place in the basement this week – I should have the results later this week.

If everything goes well, we hope to have the baths re-opened towards the end of September.

In the meantime, I’ve had my first meeting with officers to understand what a successful £5million bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund would mean for Moseley Road baths. It is clear that £5million would achieve alot, but wouldn’t completely restore the building. This £5million would need to be seen as reaching phase 1 of a much longer 10 year restoration.

As a recent of that meeting, our Council officers are doing a further piece of work to get a further understanding as to what condition and priority areas for restoration we would want to achieve at the end of phase 1.


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