Report of the City Surveyor.
The Committee received a report of the City Surveyor providing Members with a summary of progress on the City’s trial to increase the operating temperature of Smithfield Market’s Water Cooling System, which provides cooling to the Market Tenants’ refrigeration equipment.
The City Surveyor confirmed that the system was now operating at 24 degrees Celsius with no complaints or reports of problems to date. He added that the final increase to 25 degrees Celsius would take place next week.
The Committee were informed that a pump breakdown had been reported in West Market on the evening of 23 November 2016, maintenance engineers were called on site and restored the system after four hours. Investigations into the cause of the breakdown were still continuing although the suspected cause was a power surge.
Finally, the City Surveyor highlighted that some of the tenants’ condensers were still under sized which could lead to problems in the future.
A Member questioned what plans were in place to address this issue or further issues that might arise again as a result of warmer weather in the Summer. The City Surveyor reported that the pumps were due to be replaced before the Summer period and that the operating temperature could also be temporarily reduced if problems arose.
Another Member questioned what powers the City had to address the fact that a number of tenants’ equipment was still deemed to be a risk to the efficient operation of the system. The City Surveyor confirmed that a total of 12 refrigerators with undersized condensers were currently on the City’s ‘at risk’ list and that the Superintendent would be writing again to the tenants concerned suggesting that they upgrade their equipment in the strongest possible terms. However, as the equipment was owned by the tenants, any upgrades were at their discretion and they would take the consequences of any equipment failure. Members commented that it seemed odd that there was no way to enforce this given that it was a problem that could potentially affect all and jeopardise the entire system.
The Director clarified that, from 1 April 2018, costs associated with running the system would fall within the service charge which might lead to some peer pressure on those tenants who were jeopardising the efficient running of this.
A Member noted that, at 25 degrees Celsius, the cooling system would still be operating 5 degrees lower than was originally specified.