Programme Hydro launched to improve RAF’s heating and hot water system

Amey DIO and AIr Infra launch Programme Hydro

Amey, DIO and Air Infra launch Programme Hydro aimed at improving RAF’s heating and hot water system.

Programme Hydro is an ambitious project to improve the resilience of the RAF’s heating and hot water provision and to provide a more effective response should things unexpectedly go wrong. Around £30 million has been secured for Hydro by the Air Force Board in this financial year, with a commitment to do the same in the following year to reduce heating and hot water failures by 80% with initial assessment by 31st March 2021 and further validation into 2022.

Work began in April 2020 with Air Infra, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Amey teams meeting weekly to develop the programme. A Hydro working group was set up which includes representatives from DIO, Amey and the Armed Forces community who are working together to oversee the project, developing individual Unit site plans and securing contract amendments when necessary. This group is now solely focused on Programme Hydro and the collaborative relationship they have built together is allowing the progression of tasks and plans for the future to be quickly agreed and actioned.

A key focus of the project is the installation of ‘stubbings’. These simple attachments are fixed to pipes and allow the quick connection of temporary, standalone boilers to ensure heating is maintained should a heating failure take place. By the start of this year’s heating season in October, more than 400 stubbings will be installed to Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and other key accommodation buildings across contracts, increasing the lived experience of Service personnel and minimising any potential disruption caused by system failures. With agreement of local Air Units, teams expect to install additional connections up to a total of 500 stubbings this year by continuing with installations during the first few weeks of October where this does not impact the requirement for heating or hot water services.

HSS, Amey’s supply chain partners, are currently finalising surveys of all SLA and other key accommodation buildings on RAF bases to identify which units are suitable for stubbing installation. So far, 98% of surveys have been completed at units in the agreed scope, and 733 buildings have been surveyed, enabling the teams to begin the next phase of the installation programme. Feedback from these surveys indicate a requirement for just over 650 buildings to have stubbings fitted out of the 733 surveyed.

  • In April, RAF Honington became the first site to benefit from a complete overhaul of the district heating main providing unit personnel with a more robust and efficient system and reduced risk of failure.
  • Improvement works at RAF Cosford have been completed, with six stubbings installed on SLA blocks on site.
  • Around 74 buildings allocated in the initial package of installations at RAF Honington, Marham, Waddington, Henlow, Coningsby, Wittering and Cosford have been completed.
  • All future planned works under Programme Hydro will include, where possible, zero carbon technologies for Air Infra to plan and meet the Government’s 2050 carbon neutrality targets.

Paul Bond, Amey’s Operations Director, Regional Primes, said:

“Programme Hydro is a crucial project designed to achieve an 80% reduction in heating and hot water failures across the UK Air estate, improving the lived experience for all those who live, work and train there. This opportunity will also enable us to provide innovative carbon reducing solutions thereby ensuring smarter investment for our military operations.”

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