Two very visible South Kensington Campus projects

De-steaming

The first is a bold project removing a significant amount of legacy steam generating infrastructure from South Kensington Campus and upgrading  what is one of the largest Low Temperature Heating System networks in London. Ultimately this will reduce Imperial’s carbon dioxide emissions by circa 2,400 tonnes/year and save over £1.341m per year after implementation, helping towards our 2040 net zero target.

Cold weather update 11 January 2024
Heating on South Kensington Campus
With outside temperatures just above freezing and lower temperatures predicted for next week (15 January 2024) , the temporary heating system at South Kensington is struggling to provide warmth to all buildings.  We have localised issues when the temperature falls below 5 degrees Celsius. 

What are we doing to manage this?
We are running our temporary heating system round the clock with the aim of improving the background heat level in buildings.
Additional local heating is being added to the areas most affected to try and supplement the building heating system.  We have distributed about 50 plug in heaters so far.
 
What should I do if my work area is too cool?
Please inform the Customer Services Centre.  We commit to prioritising heating related tickets. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/estates-facilities/customer-services-centre/report-issue/

What can I do to help?
Please keep windows and doors closed to preserve heat for all.
Raise tickets to the Customer Services Centre where windows and doors are not closing adequately. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/estates-facilities/customer-services-centre/report-issue/

When will the issue be resolved?
We are working as swiftly as possible with our contractors to get our new permanent boilers up and running.  This is the best way to get substantial heat to our buildings.  We currently anticipate that this will take place on a phased basis, up to Easter 2024.
Your support is appreciated in managing these challenges and the patience of your academics, staff and students whilst we complete these works. 
We will provide further weekly updates to let you know when we expect the new boilers to be operational for your work space.
You can find out more about the steam network replacement, which is an integral part of our Carbon Net Zero plan.

Apologies to staff and students for the disruption and inconvenience this is causing.

End of update.

 

To read more click on the tab below and you can also download the current update on the works through the download button.

See the latest news article on our webpages . 

Queen's Tower

The second is the repair and restoration of the iconic Queen's Tower, the much-loved symbol of Imperial.

Click on the tabs below for more details.

 

You can view Fact Sheets, campus project plans and programmes currently being worked on here at Imperial. For information on individual projects, please open the project's fact sheet below. (content to be updated 2024)

Current projects

Repairing the Queen's Tower

Queen's Tower restoration

At the heart of our South Kensington Campus the Queen’s Tower, which is more than 140 years old, is the last remaining part of the original Imperial Institute building.  Repairs are required to the masonry and the copper roofing is being replaced. 

The project began in autumn 2020, after a masonry fall, and to get to this stage there have been many surveys to understand the extent of repairs, planning applications to obtain consent to carry out the works and tenders to engage the various contractors needed, including specialists, to undertake the project.

In the current phase, the scaffolding is rising around the tower, when the stone and roofing repairs will begin.  But what you see rising day by day is the scaffolding equivalent of an iceberg, below ground there is just as much going on in engineering terms to support the structure above ground.

The Queen’s Tower sits over the original basements that were reinforced in the 1960s as part of the works to convert the tower into a standalone structure. The basements are linked by tunnels to many of the other buildings on the South Kensington Campus. Within the basement propping has been installed directly beneath the aboveground structure to ensure the loads are transferred to the foundations.

Health and safety is paramount, and the scaffolding, both above and below ground, provides not only support for the tower, and safety for the Imperial community, but also the safe working structure required.

Erection of the highly engineered scaffolding was paused recently, as a supplier in the contractual chain went into administration and while Imperial has undertaken further health and safety checks of the design of the scaffolding.

While a new supplier was sourced surveys and other works continued to many aspects of the tower.

When complete, the scaffolding will provide access for a full survey of the tower and for the comprehensive cleaning of the stonework.  Once it has been cleaned, the detail repairs to the stonework will be confirmed and undertaken. The opportunity will also be taken to replace the timber louvres around the bell chamber and to repair or replace the flat roofs to the balconies.

The length of scaffolding being erected around the Queen’s Tower is 60km.  This would stretch from South Kensington to our Silwood Park campus via White City, St Mary’s, Charing Cross, Hammersmith and the Chelsea and Westminster hospital campuses if the scaffold tubing were laid end-to-end. 

The perimeter hoarding, the loading bay that you see, along with protocols for noise management will help minimise the disruption to the campus.

When the scaffolding is dismantled the stone steps and plinth will then be repaired.

The works are now scheduled to complete in January 2026, while every effort to bring that forward will be made.

This project will provide at least 50 years of further life to the external fabric of the highly visible icon of Imperial. 

Read more about the restoration work in People, Places, Spaces magazine.

 Watch the work underway on the tower on YouTube.

A time lapse video of work up until March 2023

Watch a time lapse video of work on the tower until April 2023

 

 

Decarbonisation of SK Campus

Removing steam and reducing our carbon emissions

A bold project removing a significant amount of legacy steam generating infrastructure from South Kensington Campus and upgrading one of the largest Low Temperature Heating System networks in London is underway.

South Kensington Campus is home to one of London’s largest Combined Heat and Power (CHP) stations. The steam network in places is more than 60-years-old and the steam boilers 23-years-old - almost at the end of their expected 25 year life. 

The project will consolidate three heat networks into one and College would no longer have 180oC steam in circulation around the campus and plant rooms.

  • This project will reduce the College’s carbon dioxide emissions by circa 2,400 tonnes/year and save over £1.341m per year after implementation.
  • It is key to assisting the College to achieving net zero carbon by 2040.
  • The CHP generation part that we are working on, of what are known as Scope 1 emissions totals around 40,000 tCO2e  and therefore the percentage reduction of this would be 6%.
  • College receives a new heat network and boiler systems

The steam network interacts with almost all buildings on the South Kensington Campus.  The works within the buildings have been broken into three “batches” to try and minimise the disruption to the operation of the Campus. 

You can read our latest update on the project on our news pages.

 You can read more about this grant and match funded project on our news pages.

 

Current visible projects on South Kensington Campus

An artistic close-up view of the scaffolding surrounding the Queen's Tower

Scaffolding is being erected for the repair and restoration of the Queen's Tower

Photo courtesy of JDC and Gary Britton

Blue hoardings and behind temporary flues on Skempton building

A temporary flue in place outside Skempton building for the de-steaming project