Weedington Heating and Hot Water Project Information for residents

We have appointed Cenergist to upgrade and modernise the heating and hot water service at your estate. This includes replacing all the heating pipes across your estate, and upgrading everyone’s radiators. It’s a big job: we started in January 2022, and it’s going to take until Summer 2024. The current heating and hot water system has not been changed since the blocks were built in the late 1970s. In the last five years we have raised over 2,600 repair orders and spent £300,000 to fix failures in the system, many of these were caused by the age of the system. We know from your feedback that this can create a frustrating level of disruption for residents. We want to provide all residents with an efficient and reliable service, which provides plenty of heat to everyone’s individual homes, and is kinder to the environment. Below are more details of what we are planning to do and the benefits that you will see once works are complete

Upgrading the boiler and sub-plant rooms, and the heating pipework going across the estate

This was the first part of the project, and it’s all finished now. We upgraded the boiler room, but kept the existing boilers because they’ll still work well for another 15 or so years. We overhauled the subplant rooms under each block, and replaced all the pipes which carry hot water around the estate, to make them work better and more efficiently.

Carrying out the works

Works inside your property

  • The Pipework inside the blocks and your homes has not been changed since the blocks were built in the late 1970s. It doesn’t work as reliably as it should, and it is expensive to maintain.
  • The current system means that if one of your neighbours needs their system switched off for repair you may have to have your supply switched off too. This won’t be the case when these works are done - we will be able to isolate the system within each home.
  • We are installing new radiators around everyone’s homes, as well as a HIU (Heat Interface Unit) which connects your home to the communal heating system.
  • New heating and water pipework will be installed in each flat. This will connect to the communal pipes that will rise through the building and enter your home above the front door. The area where the pipes enter will be carefully sealed by a certified fire stopping specialist.
  • Cenergist will visit each home separately to carry out a specific survey of your home, and to discuss the individual layout of your home, where pipes can and can’t go, and any fitted furnishings you have which need to be considered.

Individual internal surveys to get ready for the works inside your home

Before starting work inside your home, Cenergist need to carry out an internal survey. We know that every home is different, and we can’t necessarily do the same works the same way in every home, so this is a crucial step. Cenergist will contact you to book a convenient time to carry out the survey, which will take up to an hour. At the survey, Cenergist will take measurements and check where the existing pipes and radiators are, and they’ll discuss with you where your new pipes and radiators can go (usually this will be in similar places to your old pipes and radiators, but not always).

In what order are we working inside different homes?

This is the order Cenergist plan to work on each block, and they will spend around a week working in the homes on each stairwell. This order could still change, but Cenergist will book the works with you in good time for you to plan ahead.

  • 1 – 42 Ashdown Crescent (41 Properties)
  • 131 - 319 Weedington Road (95 Properties)
  • 172 - 376 Weedington Road (103 Properties)
  • 351 – 377 Grafton Road (14 Properties)
  • 1 – 49 Vicars Road (24 Properties)
  • 161 – 349 Grafton Road (95 Properties)
  • Gilden Crescent (55 Properties)
  • 2 – 104 Wellesley Road (101 Properties)

What if we can’t make the dates Cenergist offer for the work in my flats?

Cenergist will work around your availability and find a time that works best for you. How long will the works take within each home? The work inside studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom homes usually takes around 3-4 days. The work inside 4-bedroom, 5-bedroom, and 6-bedroom homes usually takes around 4-5 days. This is how the works would usually progress in a typical 2-bedroom home:

Day 1: 2 installers + 1 electrician Installing and commissioning the HIU, pipework, and radiators

Day 2: 1 builder Boxing pipework in, painting, and any other ‘making good’

Day 3: 1 builder checking and sorting anything else that needs doing (snagging)

Will my heating and hot water stop working during the project, and for how long?

We will have to turn off your heating and hot water temporarily during the works, I know this is inconvenient, but we cannot do all the works with it turned on. We will make sure your heating & hot water is off for as short a time as possible by installing most of the new system alongside the old system. Your heating and hot water will need to be turned off while we disconnect the old system and connect the new one.

The old heating system in each stairwell will be turned off when we start work on the homes on that stairwell. Heating will be restored to each home as we complete the installation in that home. We will provide temporary heaters if you need them.

Your kitchen cold water taps will keep working throughout the works because these are fed directly from the water main.

Your hot water, and for most people the cold water to their bathroom (if it comes from water tanks at roof level), will sometimes be turned off for up to a few hours at a time between 8am and 4pm while we work in homes on your stairwell. Cenergist will let you know when they are turning these on and off, and they will always turn your hot and cold water back on by 4pm each day.

What are the dimensions of the pipes and will they be boxed in?

The pipes will come into your home above your front door. They will measure 22mm across where they enter the flats and 15mm where they connect to radiators. The majority of pipework will be covered in by boxing that has been specially designed to conceal pipework. The surfaces will be left in good condition.

Cenergist can give you a detailed drawing showing where your pipes and boxing will go, please ask them for this (after the individual survey of your home, of course).

Can the pipework be left unboxed and be painted instead?

Yes they can, but water pipes usually need to be boxed in so the hot pipes don’t lose heat, and to reduce the risk of condensation on cold pipes. Cenergist will discuss these options with you at your individual survey.

How will the old bits of pipe sticking up from the floor be dealt with and made good?

Existing steel heating pipe ends coming up from floor will be ground off so they are flush with the existing floor, and back filled with a strong waterproof filler.

Can I have a copy of the design plan for my home?

Yes. When Cenergist visit & survey your home and agree the design with you, they will give you a copy to keep if you ask.

Why have the pipes in stairwell landings been installed at the height they have?

In these areas, high-level pipework has been installed as high as possible, but we have to leave room above the pipework for the pipe insulation. We will make sure there is still 2.1m clearance between the floor and the boxed in pipework when we finish.

Your hot and cold water services

Current arrangements

The Hot and Cold water system to each property is currently “gravity feed” served from tanks located at roof level over each stairwell.

The mains cold water service (MCWS) is a direct feed from the street to the kitchen sink in each home.

The Hot and Cold water pipework is installed in a mix of materials dating back to the original system installation date, including copper pipes (inside some homes) and galvanised steel pipes (riser pipes in stairwells and in some homes).

Quality of service

  • Hot and Cold water pressure from the tanks can depend on what floor level you live on i.e. the Ground Floor or the top floor
  • Direct mains water pressure can also fluctuate dependent upon how many residents are using taps at any given time
  • Galvanised steel pipework is no longer compliant with good installation practice
  • Most of the isolation valves don’t work any more
  • Gravity feed cold water systems do not work with HIU’s
  • Roof mounted cold water storage tanks are difficult to access for repairs and maintenance, except from top floor balconies using drop-down ladders

Your new hot and cold water systems

The new Hot and Cold water installation centralises the cold water storage at Basement Level within each block, with the exception of Ashdown Crescent (tanks retained at roof level).

A mechanical pump will provide the cold-water service to each dwelling at a pre-set pressure (1.5 Bar) regardless of what building level you live on. This ‘Boosted’ cold water service (BCWS) will provide drinking water to each kitchen sink as well as providing Hot and Cold water to each tap.

Hot water will be generated in each home by the HIU, at a pre-set temperature, pressure and flow rate.

The new BCWS distribution system will use plastic pipes and be fully insulated to help prevent heat gain and condensation.

The new cold water storage tanks located at Basement Level will be easier to access and maintain in one centralised location for each block.

What is a Heat Interface Unit (HIU) and how does it work?

Each flat will have a HIU installed, which will provide your heating and hot water all year round. You will have control of when your own heating comes on & turns off, and you’ll be able to choose the temperature.

Wherever possible, we will install the HIUs in a cupboard in or near the hallway where the pipes come into your home. This is the most practical place for it, but Cenergist will discuss this with you when they come to survey your home.

The HIUs we plan to use are 70cm tall, 44cm wide, and 27cm deep.

Each HIU will have a small control panel and a heat meter, which will measure the heating and hot water usage in each home. You’ll be able to see how much heat you are using, so you can keep on top of your bills and control your carbon footprint more easily. There’s more information about how individual heat metering will work at the end of this page.

The control panel on the HIU, your new wall thermostat, and the controls on your new radiators will improve your home’s energy efficiency (EPC rating) and will give you full control of the heating in different rooms.

Heat will come from the central boilers into the heat interface unit (HIU) inside each home. One section of the HIU will supply the heating, and a second section will provide the hot water to the taps. A heat interface unit allows you to draw energy from a central system, while having an independent installation and being able to control the amount of energy used.

Inside the HIUs are filters, which protect the lifespan of the central system and the system in your home by keeping the system clean.

The HIU and distribution network will be compatible with future low carbon and renewable technologies. When the current boilers get to the end of their life, we can upgrade to the greener and more efficient options available in the future.

The old pipework will be disconnected and safely sealed off within the building structure.

Do you have demo flats?

Yes, we have three flats of different sizes which we will use as ‘show flats’ with the pipework and heat Interface Unit (HIU) set up so you can see what it will look like. Cenergist will contact everyone to explain how to book a show flat viewing.

Can my existing hot & cold-water pipework be used?

This depends on what kind of existing pipework you have. We can usually reuse existing copper pipework in your home, but we can’t reuse any galvanised steel pipework. We will discuss this with you when we carry out your individual home survey. Any existing galvanised steel pipework will be capped off in the most practical location left. It will have no effect on the new installation.

We do not want the HIU in a bedroom cupboard – where else can it go?

The best place to install a HIU is in a utility cupboard, but if that’s not possible then we might have to consider installing it somewhere else like the kitchen. Cenergist will discuss this with you when they survey your home.

What if I am using the cupboard my HIU is going to be installed in?

We need to install the HIU as close as we can to where the main pipes come into your home and there’s usually one location that’s much better for your HIU to go. Cenergist will discuss this with you at your individual home survey. A cupboard with an HIU in can still be used to store belongings, as long as engineers can still get to the HIU for any maintenance.

Can the HIU be located at the balconies/external wall?

Would a cupboard be required? HIU’s cannot be installed on balconies or outside, they must be indoors.

Where will the radiators and HIU be installed in my home?

This depends on the layout of each home, and Cenergist will discuss this with you when they survey your home.

Will the HIU be noisy?

The HIU will not be noisy. The specified noise levels for installations inside homes is a maximum of 30 decibels, and the HIU will be quieter than this. It will make a small click when it turns on and off, but it’s only about as loud as a light switch, and only happens when your heating comes on or off, and when you turn a hot tap on or off.

Is the new system gas or electric?

The communal boilers are gas boilers, so your heating and hot water is powered by gas and this is not changing as part of this project. Your new HIU will use a small amount of electricity to transfer the heat around, and measure the heat usage, and we will connect it to your existing power supply.

Why is there 1 size HIU specified for all dwellings?

The HIU needs to provide enough heat for heating, plus instant hot water to both a kitchen and bathroom tap at the same time. This model of HIU can do this for the larger homes on the estate, but a smaller HIU might struggle to do this, even for one of the smaller homes.

Are there any pipe-mounted filters located within HIUs that will need maintenance?

An in-line strainer is fitted to the cold-water inlet on the HIU.

What kind of maintenance will the HIU need, and how often?

According to Worcester Bosch this should be every 3 years, but we may choose a different frequency for example every 1 or 2 years.

What is the Pressure Relief Pipe (PRV) pipe, and can it go underground in the car park instead of in my home?

The pressure relief valve (PRV) makes sure that if there is too much heat in the pipes that the excess pressure can get out safely. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it works by allowing a little bit of water out through a pipe into the drain.

We have to install one of these in each home in case a problem develops and one of the PRVs has to let out excess pressure, so we can figure out which home the problem is in. It’s not possible to run extra pipes from every home to the underground car park, and this would make it impossible to work out which home had the problem.

Will leaseholders be responsible for maintaining the HIU and the pipes inside their home?

The Worcester Bosch HIU’s we plan to use come with a 5-year Manufacturer Warranty. Camden will be responsible for maintaining the HIU.

Camden will always be responsible for maintaining the HIU and pipes.

Radiators

Some of the radiator locations in the drawings don’t match where my radiators are at the moment. How will this get sorted?

Your new radiators will be installed in the same places, where possible, as well as an extra radiator in your bathroom. Usually, this will mean your paint or wallpaper won’t be affected by the change of radiator, but if it is we will fill and sand any holes from existing fixings.

Can I decide where my radiators go?

New radiators will be located in existing positions where possible. If the new radiators cannot go in the existing locations, we will discuss with you where they can go instead.

When Cenergist carry out your individual home survey they will review and discuss your design with our site team. The visit will cover:

  • The proposed pipework routes
  • Any changes that have been made to your property layout that may affect the pipe routes  
  • Location and size of radiators
  • Location of the HIU
  • Finishing of pipe work (painted or boxed finish)
  • Any questions related to the proposed property design layout

What if I don’t want my radiators in the proposed location?

We will work with you about where your radiators go, and we can be flexible as long as they will provide enough heat from those locations to keep your home warm enough, it’s practical to run pipes to them. Some of my radiators are fixed to plastic panels under my windows.

Will my new radiators go in the same place?

This depends on the condition of the panels and walls, and Cenergist will discuss this with you when they survey your home.

Why do I need a radiator in my bathroom?

Bathroom radiators are being included for tenanted properties as standard and for leasehold properties where desired as it is modern practice to include bathrooms as part of the heat distribution in a property. What if I don’t want a radiator in my bathroom Modern best practice is to install radiators in bathrooms for several reasons, most importantly because bathrooms are the wettest room in the house – if there is not enough heat and enough airflow in a bathroom then it’s much easier for mould to grow.

We need to install radiators in all bathrooms, but you will be able to turn the bathroom radiator off.

What if I don’t want a radiator in my bathroom?

Modern best practice is to install radiators in bathrooms for several reasons, most importantly because bathrooms are the wettest room in the house – if there is not enough heat and enough airflow in a bathroom then it’s much easier for mould to grow.

We need to install radiators in all bathrooms, but you will be able to turn the bathroom radiator off.

Why are the new radiators bigger or why will I have more radiators than I already have?

New regulations to reduce carbon emissions mean your heating system has been designed to operate at a lower temperature than your existing system.

This means your new radiators won’t get as hot as your old ones. This saves energy, reduces carbon emissions, and cuts down fuel bills, but it means you need bigger radiators.

What happens with the radiators I currently have?

If you are a Camden tenant, your existing radiators will be removed and disposed of on the first day of your installation as a part of the decommissioning process of your current system.

If you are a Leaseholder, we can either:

  • dispose of them on the first day of your installation as part of the decommissioning process
  • Put them to one side for you to dispose of yourself

Internal designs

Why was there one version of the design drawing before, and a different version proposed?

The initial design drawings were just to give contractors a an idea of the general details so they could quote for the work. To draw detailed specific design plans, we need to go into each and every home and take measurements, Cenergist will do this for your home when they survey it.

Why can’t I design my own flat layout?

Each flat layout has been designed based on the best route available for pipework, HIU and radiator locations and overall efficiency of the system.

Each flat layout has had a heat load calculation which determines the radiator surface area needed to heat your home. This is calculated based on several factors:  

  • Size of the floor space
  • The number of outside walls  
  • Whether you are ground, middle or top floor
  • The building materials

The design also takes into consideration the available wall space for the size of radiator required, other services such as plug sockets that need to be accessible, and window locations.

Will I be allowed to stay in my property when you are installing the new system?

It is your decision to remain or leave during the installation. Cenergist will plan with you how the workers will have access to your home each day while your works are underway.

How will I know who the engineers are working in my home?

On the morning of your installation a member of the Resident Liaison Officer (RLO) team come along with the installation team and introduce them to you. All our engineers:

  • are DBS checked (A DBS check is a way for employers check someone’s criminal record, through the government’s Disclosure & Barring Service)
  • wear a ‘Cenergist’ Hi-Vis 
  • carry ID badges

If anyone asks to be let into your home and says they are from Cenergist, please check:

  • that Cenergist had arranged the appointment with you in advance
  • that they have a Cenergist ID badge . If you have any doubts at all, call the Cenergist RLO team on 020 7482 4031 to check. Our engineers will understand if you need to check before letting them into your home

What should I do with my pet when the installation is happening in my home?

We need you to keep any pets away from the areas where we are working. If you choose not to stay home during the install works, please take any free-roaming pets with you or arrange somewhere else for them to be while we work.

How will you make good in my home?

We will make good the walls where we install your radiators and pipes on days 2-3 of the work inside your home. This will include:

  • Filling and sanding holes from existing fixings,
  • Boxing and/ or painting of the newly installed pipework
  • Caulk finishing around installed boxing
  • We cannot redecorate walls for you after the works, but we will leave areas of making good ready for you to decorate (if needed)

What if I am going to be away from my home when my installation is planned?

You can leave a spare key with the RLO team, who will let the installers and engineers in, or you can arrange for a friend or neighbour to let them in each day.

If you do leave a spare key, this will be held by Cenergist staff only and access will be granted to the installers by a Cenergist member of staff. Your key will be stored within a locked key safe in the site office.

If you are planning to be away from the property at the time of your install, please contact the RLO team to discuss alternative arrangements.

Who will show me how to use my new equipment?

Once your installation has been completed the install team will show you how to operate your new HIU and heating controls. You will also be provided with a handover pack of all the information required for operating your HIU and radiator valves from our RLO and site team. The site team will also be on hand to provide any demonstrations and support if required, after your install.

What happens If I refuse the installation?

We will work with you to understand the reasoning for your refusal and to clarify any questions you may have for these works.

If we are unsuccessful in gaining access or completing the works required to enable the installation on time, we will refer back to London Borough of Camden Council, our client, who may contact you separately.

Properties that are not connected to the system risk not having any heating or hot water service until they have been connected to the new system.

The existing hot water service will keep working up to and including the week of the installs in your stairwell. At the end of that week the existing system will be decommissioned in its entirety and any properties on that stairwell which are not connected to the new system will lose all heating and hot water services, until they are connected to the new system.

If there is a power cut, will I lose my services?

Yes, loss of power will result in loss of services including HIU operation and cold-water services within your property, until power is restored.

Environmental Benefits

Our vision is Net-Zero Carbon Camden by 2030. We have designed your new heating and hot water system to include low carbon technologies to use less energy, reduce your carbon footprint, and help keep energy & heat bills lower.

We’ve upgraded the heating system pipes all around the estate with new, better insulated ones. They let less heat out, which means less wasted energy.

Your new radiators will be able to keep your home just as warm without the radiators themselves needing to be quite as hot. This means the heating system can run at a slightly lower temperature, and use less energy.

The new controls in each home mean you’ll be able to directly control how much energy you use, so you can make sure you’re only using the energy you need to.

The new system is future-proof too, so when the existing gas boilers reach the end of their life we can replace them with the best green technology available in 15 or so years time.

Paying for heat and hot water

In the future, the heat meter in your new HIU will allow us to charge you just for the heat you actually use, but nothing’s changing straight away.

Once the new system is up and running at the end of this project, we will keep on charging you in the same way (as a shared communal cost) for around another year. During this year, we will check that the readings from the heat meters are correct, and after that we will switch to charging you for your own heat use. This year of monitoring will give us an estimate of how much heat you use, and we will use this to set your initial charges. This is just like how a private energy company looks at how much gas or electricity you have been using and estimates your next bills. Then we will keep monitoring how much heat you are using and adjusting your charges to match so that you only pay for what you use. You’ll be able to check how much energy you’re using every month too, on your Camden Account.

The way you pay for your heat won’t change when we switch to individual charging though. Tenants will still pay alongside their rent, and leaseholders will still pay along with their service charges.

We know that energy is expensive right now, so we have support and advice available for anyone who’s worried about paying for their heating and hot water. If you’re worried, you can contact the Rents & Charges team for help and advice:

Phone: 020 7974 4073

Email: heatcharges@camden.gov.uk

Maintenance

For the first year after the works are finished, Cenergist will continue to look after the system. This means that if any issues come up after works have finished, they can be handled quickly by the team who know all about the installation. Camden Council’s ‘maintenance term contractor’ (currently GEM) will be responsible for the maintenance of the communal heating system after that. This will include servicing at regular intervals.

Leaseholder charges

Leaseholders will be contacted separately regarding the charges for the works. If any leaseholders have questions regarding the bills, then please contact camdenleaseholderservices@camden.gov.uk

Translations

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