Woking Council Civic Offices

Woking Council Civic Offices


Woking County Council Civic Offices needed to connect to the mainline district cooling network, bringing chilled water through the building from top floor to basement and into air handling units located in the server mainframe basement rooms within the council offices.

Additionally, there was a requirement to upgrade the redundant faulty hot water heat interface unit with a bespoke heat interface unit.

Heat, cooling and power to the council’s offices is supplied from the 1.35MW power station owned by Thamesway at Victoria Way.


The primary challenges faced were that the offices had to remain open and fully operational, the time restrictions of a public facility, working within restricted areas such as vaults and a secured server room and dealing with suspended ceilings, carpets and access to roof.

Critically we were not allowed to have or to cause any power interruptions and could not intrude on the day to day activities of the council staff within their various departments. The project also required that the network flow and return pipes had to pass through each floor and all departments on the east wing of the council offices.


We were appointed following an introduction through SKANSKA who were aware of two projects we operated out of normal working hours whilst remaining practically invisible to their operational duties.

In order to prevent any disruption, all works other than managerial planning were carried out during evenings, working closely with the in house maintenance team, who provided us with local knowledge and information regarding quirks within their own systems. We also met with them each morning before the offices were open, so they could sign off that all facilities were clean and operational.

At the beginning of each shift, we laid out hippo roll carpet and floor protection throughout sections we would be working in and travelling through. Areas not affected were sealed with paper tape and we stepped up the air through ventilation applying a small positive pressure to all our working areas, venting dust, steam and fumes to the outside through carbon filtration. In order to achieve a clean air environment for the morning, we recruited a specialist supplier.

In order to prevent accidental power outages, all our power requirement for tools and equipment was provided through external generation.

As we had been granted access to restricted areas unsupervised, we appointed our own supervision for these areas, adopted a sign in and sign out policy and asked the department head to carry out an inventory regularly. We pride ourselves on our integrity which was manifested by the inventories always recording 100%.

So as not to interrupt the day to day department operations, we assigned a cut off time that allowed for all equipment, floor/wall and area protection to be removed and stored off site prior to the cleaning team arriving and preparing the areas for the council in-house staff. Rather than duplicate costs with cleaning services, we became financially responsible for the areas we were working in. This delivered an apparent saving to the council main office expenditure for the duration of the works and supported their need to show total transparency in the budgeting of the works and main office overheads.

To provide a performance indicator for client satisfaction we provided on each desk a feedback document, including questions such as did you find the area as you left it, did you suffer with any disruptions, etc. A collection box was provided so that the feedback could be totally anonymous. The feedback was extremely positive, a notable comment from one was ‘We have found our work area cleaner than when we left it, we know you have been but can only tell where by how clean and fresh it is’.

We were especially pleased with the freshness comment which was due to our using carbon filters, removing all odour during our evening positive pressurization of the working areas.

We have since adopted this process on all our projects where clients and clients’ staff are expected to carry on working while projects are carried out.

We continually review and improve as we work through the project, particularly at the point of demarcation where one contractor finishes work and another contractor starts. We find the pre-start walk through involving all skills helpful as it gets noticed at the project plan stage and therefore assigned to the appropriate responsible contractors/member of staff.

Operational benefits

A fully operational cooling system, bringing chilled water throughout the building.

Upgraded hot water heat interface unit with a bespoke heat interface unit.

Cost benefits

Amongst other savings and modifications to the scope of works, we were able to provide savings by using pre-insulated pipe rather than the specified materials. Savings amounted to some 3% (approx. £5000 pa) of the project costs and reduced the on-site time by 24 hours (2 working shifts).

The project came in on target cost without requiring the contingency figure.

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