Two very visible South Kensington Campus projects
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 the College’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.
To read more click on the tab below and you can also download the current update on the works through the download button.
The second is the repair and restoration of the iconic Queen's Tower, the much-loved symbol of Imperial College London.
Click on the tabs below for more details.
Repairing the Queen's Tower
A significant major project to repair the external fabric of the Queen’s Tower is underway.
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 back 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, and will continue being erected until next summer 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.
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. Overall, the works will take more than two years.
This project will provide at least 50 years of further life to the external fabric of the highly visible icon of Imperial College London.
Watch the work underway on the tower on YouTube.
Campus programmes and plans
South Kensington Campus Coordination Plan [PDF]
South Kensington ongoing projects programme [PDF]
South Kensington ongoing projects plan [PDF]
Evelyn Gardens ongoing projects plan [PDF]
Other Campuses ongoing projects programme [PDF]
Hammersmith ongoing projects plan [PDF]
White City North ongoing projects plan [PDF]
White City South ongoing projects plan [PDF]
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, details of which are currently being identified.
Work has to be completed by November 2023 to fulfill grant funding conditions, this will also minimise the period of necessary disruption.
You can read more about this grant and match funded project on our news pages.
Current visible projects on South Kensington Campus
Scaffolding is being erected for the repair and restoration of the Queen's Tower
Photo courtesy of JDC and Gary Britton
Scaffolding below the Queen's Tower