Plugging Victoria Square Fountain
Reproduced under Creative Commons Licence from Flickr User fooishbar
A report of the Strategic Director of Environment and Culture to the City Council Cabinet Committee (Property) for the 15 July 2010 has revealed that work to plug the leaks on the Victoria Square Fountain should commence on August 2nd 2010 to be completed by the end of October 2010 with project budget of £300,000.
The fountain was switched off in 2008 following substantial leaks, despite the fountain leaking from as early as 2002, with it being turned on for general maintenance and for events such as the Rotary Club International Conference and Aston University Graduation Day.
The fountain, also known as the River Goddess, was designed by Dhruva Mistry and was installed in 1993 when Victoria Square was pedestrianised and remodelled.
The leaks and the switching off of the Fountain have drawn criticism, http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2010/06/24/floozie-in-jacuzzi-attacked-by-business-group-97319-26712887/, for the effect it has on visitors to the city.
The report to the Cabinet Committee outlines the background to the repairs and proposed solution.
What had also become evident was that after 17 years of operation, parts of the mechanical and electrical installations within the fountain were coming to the end of their useful life. Whilst the cheapest option for the project would simply be to restrict repairs to the fountain bowls, this would not deal with all of the mechanical and electrical problems affecting the fountain given its age. It was therefore concluded that in order to provide a more long-term solution a more comprehensive refurbishment of the electrics, pipework, pumps, filters, repointing etc was required. This would include the replacement of the redundant light fittings with a new lighting system to illuminate the figures in the fountain bowls which will provide a fitting night-time centerpiece to the city centre.
The construction element of the project is to be procured via MITIE Property Services (UK) Ltd one of the City Council's term contractors. MITIE Property Services (UK) Ltd have in-depth knowledge of the site through previous investigation work undertaken on Victoria Square Fountain and are also carrying out adjacent work in connection with the Big Screen project.
Having one contractor carry out both projects will minimise the disruption to Victoria Square and will generate efficiencies in terms of cost and programme.
Urban Design have provided three different repair options:
1. Basic repairs to prevent leaks (excavating both fountain bowls, laying waterproof membrane, reinstating paving and removal of existing redundant lighting system).
2. As above but with the installation of a replacement lighting system as well as the refurbishment of the Pump Room and control systems.
3. Complete restoration of the fountain which would involve digging up the whole structure, replacement of all the M&E installations.
5.3 The second option is recommended as this will provide a more long-term solution which recognises current resource availability.