Last December, we posted a blog on the work we carried out to reinstate the mechanical and electrical services at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London. I am pleased to provide this blog post on the progress of this project.
Until now, we have fully reinstated all electrical services back to the original design criteria. This means that all temporary services have been removed and the site now benefits from replacement services for those damaged by the flood. All mechanical items of plant have been reviewed and tested and these have been signed off as functional.
For Foyles Bookshop, this means that it is now business as usual.
In this project, unlike most others, we had the opportunity to assess in detail the existing design, so we could reinstate the services. The insurers would only cover those elements on a like-for-like basis. But there were several factors that we needed to consider above and beyond to mitigate any further risk of damage to the mechanical and electrical services.
Firstly, we highlighted various issues with the design of the sprinkler system, which had to be corrected. The failure of the sprinkler heads (potentially two within the building) caused us to review the manufacturer testing process more closely. To reinstate the sprinkler system, we would need to be certain that all risk elements have been addressed.
We have instructed that bund walls are built in the plant rooms and have changed the configuration of the drainage pumps to remove larger volume of water in the event of another flood.
Further to the above, we learned that at the design/project stage it is imperative all systems are tested and commissioned correctly. We learned that with the solar PV and rain-water harvesting systems, these were lacking adequate sign-off documentation, and what followed was that the systems were not operating correctly in accordance with their design intent. What's the point of spending large sums of money on building technology to improve environmental ratings and energy efficiency, when these don't work from the onset?
Furthermore, there is a broad use of 'closed protocol'-type systems on the market. These are systems such as lighting control, building management systems... that can only be altered using that specific manufacturer's equipment or their service technicians. This is often more costly for general maintenance, but significantly more costly when altering the system, and does not allow flexibility to obtain best value from the market place.
During the coming months, we will address these systems individually and ensure that they operate correctly.
At Karsons Consulting, we are diligent at our design process and always ensure that our systems are signed off when fully functional in accordance with our specification and the client's requirements. While we understand that the industry dictates that payment is released, including retention sums, we do not agree that short-cuts should be taken, especially when these have a long-lasting impact on the building. We also ensure that systems are operated and maintained correctly, so that all snags and design-related issues are addressed early on.
If you have any concerns regarding your building, and wish for us to undertake a design assessment, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.