Last night I read this 313 page report into the condition of St Georges leisure centre, most of the report actually dates from October 2019 but the examination of the structure started in April 2017. Parts of the report were then updated in summer 2021. I saw it for the first time last night.
Here is the link to it:
I also added comments to this PDF copy which you may find quicker to read as my comments highlight key points, click here but you need to open comments to see them.
It was a deeply shocking report, showing a catalogue of failures over many years and many administrations back to at least 2003.
First the pool should have been closed temporarily in November 2019 as soon as they got this report, it clearly identifies health hazards to users and staff that needed to be rectified immediately, that does not appear to have happened although some work was done to keep the pool going over the winter.
Parts of the building were clearly known not to be safe in October 2019 so why was it kept open for months?
We were lucky that COVID closed it when it did BUT the situation then got much worse, as the pool was effectively abandoned, the water was not emptied allowing algae to grow. None of the faults identified in 2017 and 2019 were fixed by summer of 2021. It is arguable whether the existing pool could have had a major extension of life in 2017 but the damage caused by its abandonment in 2020 means that is even less likely.
I personally think the amount of work now required means a further closure period (this work should have already started) in order to replace all of the mechanical and electrical systems but I still worry about the largely unseen damage to the metal bars in the concrete and worry about the roof collapsing. So the building would have to be gutted and the roof replaced. You might as well build something new as would be cheaper and quicker but should be designed to be maintainable.
The building was completed in 1965 built to a finite life, it was not designed to last forever, it had major work done around 1983 and 2008. But some works recommended in 2003 had still not been done by 2021
And there were repeated references to works having been done cheaply and not lasting.
With the exception of the boilers and some filters there was no evidence of a preventative maintenance programme in place. Some parts of the system had never been cleaned.
There was no documentation or manuals available explaining how the building was built or how it should be maintained, clearly all of the original 1965, 1983 and even the 2008 work manuals appears to have been lost.
All of the automatic systems had failed so it required manual intervention to run the pool which is not efficient
The staff at the centre were not at fault, they did a good job to keep the building going and were put in danger as a result (& had their heating removed in 2008)
The cost of running the pool especially in winter when so much heat was allowed to escape must have been excessive and required more gas to be burnt in the year that the Council declared a climate emergency
Fire safety was an issue with the control panel showing a fire safety fault.
In 2011 the Council only committed to a minimum of an additional 5 years of life for the building.
But very little work was undertaken afterwards to identify a long term solution until the 2017 structural surveys. The documents talk about some work happening in 2012, 2014 and 2015 but little after that except for some new filters and pump work.
I got a copy because last Friday Cllr Peter Golds and I had a meeting with Will Tuckley, CEO and I asked for a copy of the engineering reports that justified closing the pool. He thought they were online already but I could not find them. So on Wednesday we were sent the link above:
There are actually 5 reports:
Mechanical and Electrical from page 1 to 212
Electrical from page 215 to 228
Swimming Pool Engineers from page 228 to 250
Building control systems from page 252 to 259
Structural from page 260 to end
Below is a summary from the 2021 update into the mechanical and electrical systems
Below is a selection of screenshots - there were so many I need to think of a better way of presenting them