- Removal of existing services from the plant room
- Installation of new filters
- Replacement of leaking pipework
- Redesign of the plant room’s layout
- Installation of efficient plant equipment
Impulse Leisure in Corringham boasts a fitness suite and two swimming pools, a main pool and a teaching pool. However, age had taken its toll and the swimming pool plant needed to be replaced with more reliable equipment that met the centre’s current needs.
Thurrock Council therefore got in touch with Aston Group to remove the existing plant equipment and replace it with modern alternatives.
There were a number of issues related to this project, many of which related to the workspace itself. Internal access to the lower plant room was extremely poor. The stairs had small, compact steps that resembled a ladder rather than stairs. This was quite dangerous for leisure centre staff and would make remedial works difficult.
Movement within the plant room was challenging too. The existing equipment engulfed the space and there were no clear pathways around the room. This meant that operators had to duck and climb over equipment to access certain sections of the plant.
In addition, poor lighting did not help the negotiation of the compact stairs or movement around the tight space.
The filter replacement also presented some problems for our team. The existing 3 pool filters were around 2m wide by 3m tall. Each was made of metal and located in the basement plant room, which had a 1.8m-wide door and 1.2m-wide stair access. Removing them and the concrete plinths on which they sat would require careful planning.
Each filter was also filled with sand, which would need to be removed during the works.
The 5 replacement filters would then need to be positioned in the plant room. However, because each filter would be delivered complete, rather than in sections, they would need to be lifted into position.
Upon closer inspection, we discovered that the teaching and main pools were losing water. The former was due to faulty pipework connections in the wall of the pool. This was causing the liner to break away from the pool wall.
The main pool’s issue was that there were breaks in the existing drainage pipework within the foundations of the pool wall. There were also faulty expansion joints in the pool floor.
Additional testing and repairs therefore needed to be added to the work schedule and a deadline set so that the pools’ reopening would not be delayed.
To complete this refurbishment, the works were divided into two phases. The first was focused on the removal of the existing services and the fitting of the filters.
The 3 existing filters had to be taken apart with torches due to the strength of the metal. This created a large amount of smoke, which was extracted using fans attached to ductwork, which led out of the building. For safety, the plant room was shut to all other non-work specific operatives and leisure centre staff.
All the sand inside the filters was then removed by hand. This was a slow process but provided time for the smoke to clear between cutting.
Once the plant room was clear, we were ready to put the 5 new filters in place. However, there was not enough space to move the filters though the entrance of the plant room in a safe way without the use of a crane.
As a result, we removed the filters from the delivery lorry using a small mobile crane. They were then transported to a larger crane to be lifted into position. The latter was located at the front of the building and it lifted the filters over the roof and straight down to the plant room entrance. Our operatives then guided them through the door. This was a major operation that required additional operatives to monitor and guide traffic and pedestrians to ensure the safety of the engineers and general public.
Once phase one was completed, we were able to move onto the issue of the leaking pools.
We broke away the liner and wall of the teaching pool to expose the damaged pipework. We replaced this and called in a pool lining specialist to re-bond new sections of GRP liner to the existing liner. Due to the GRP liner cure times, this added an additional two weeks to the programme of works.
The main pool needed the existing expansion joints removed and new jointing compounds applied. This also needed time to set before the pool could be refilled. To complete this work, we capped off sections of the drainage system around the pool and re-ran new supplies from exposed pipework in the poolside undercroft, which is accessible via the plant room.
Finally, to overcome space limitations, the plant room layout was completely redesigned.
All new equipment was moved to one side of the plant room. This was made possible by the installation of much smaller and more efficient heat exchangers and filters, and better pump placement. The new plant layout was designed so that operators have a clear view of all associated equipment, no matter which part of the system they are working on.
System operators now have a simple control panel to establish exactly what is happening at all times. This has the added benefit of wireless technology, which can send updates or fault alerts via email so that an operator does not need to be in the plant room to know how the new system is operating.
Finally, we replaced the internal stairs and upgraded all the lighting in the lower plant room and undercroft. This provides safer access and has drastically improved visibility when moving around.
Impulse Leisure now has a clean and clear plant room. This has been fitted with a reliable and efficient system to provide excellent water quality to both pools for the public to enjoy.
This new system is also far more operator friendly, energy efficient and will prevent an excessive waste of water.