Report of the City Surveyor.
Members considered a Gateway 2 report of the City Surveyor regarding London Wall Cark Park – Ventilation, Electrical, Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Works, and the following points were made.
· The Chairman noted that there were lessons to be learned from a similar project that had been undertaken at Middlesex Street Car Park and invited the City Surveyor to comment.
· The City Surveyor noted that Members were requested to approve £240,000 for early works and surveys, and that this project was part of a programme of fire alarm replacement works across the City’s car parking estate given the fire systems were judged to be obsolete. Whilst the two project teams for Middlesex Street and London Wall were separate, they would be working together to identify and apply lessons learned. One key lesson learned from Middlesex Street – particularly given the nuisance to local residents posed by false alarms – was to gain an understanding early on in the project on how the system worked and ensure a double knock system was in place from day one.
· The Chairman noted that this project was in response to a fire risk assessment that also encompassed Baynard House Car Park, and that the two projects would proceed in parallel.
· A Member suggested that a review of how many car parking spaces were commonly utilised across the City’s estate would be useful to help determine whether a full upgrade of all car parks should be undertaken. The City Surveyor agreed to feed back outside of the meeting on this point.
· A Member noted that car park utilisation was an issue for the Planning and Transportation Committee, which was overseeing a review at present on charging that would no doubt encompass car park usage.
· The Member continued, noting that the real issue at Middlesex Street Car Park was the number of false alarms which, as well as proving a nuisance to residents, also risked incurring fines from the London Fire Brigade. The Member noted that the City should work harder to understand far earlier what issues were causing false alarms.
· The City Surveyor concurred, noting that the location of specific alarms would be reviewed and a balance struck between ensuring they guaranteed the safety of users, but were not prone to false activation by common activities such as vaping.
· A Member noted that an appropriate balance between regulations and user convenience seemed to be a difficult one to strike across the whole of the City’s estate, given similar issues experienced at the City of London Freemen’s School. The City Surveyor committed to liaising with Facilities Management colleagues and providing a response outside of the meeting.
RESOLVED, that Members,
· Approve a budget of £240,000 to carry out enabling works including an upgrade of electrical supply and more detailed surveys to prepare the mechanical and electrical design and tender documents to reach the next Gateway.
· Note the total estimated cost of the project of £1,155,000 (excluding risk).
· Note a costed risk provision of £260,000 (post-mitigation)
· Note the total estimated cost of the project of £1,415,000 (including risk).
· Note that an element of funding for the project was approved in principle by the Resource Allocation Sub-Committee with drawdown subject to approval at the next Gateway.