Amey, DIO and Air Infra continue to jointly deliver Programme Hydro, improving the RAF’s heating and hot water provision for Service personnel

24 March 2021
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Amey, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Air Infra continue to work together to deliver Programme Hydro, an ambitious project to improve the resilience of the RAF’s Heating and Hot Water (HWW) service provision, predominately to Service personnel accommodation, and to provide a more effective response should things unexpectedly go wrong.  

The programme is already benefiting the RAF’s key target of their Service personnel, particularly the junior ranks, by minimising the risk of a HHW failure and improving the ‘lived experience’ whilst on duty in the Armed Forces. To date, more than 1,500 Airmen and women have avoided the upheaval of moving into alternative accommodation following HHW issues in Single Living Accommodation (SLA). 

The proposed 10-year programme aims to quickly increase resilience of the HHW system during the first two years through practical operational health checks and mitigation, before concentrating on the longer plan for reduction of carbon emissions associated with HHW energy baseline. Around 2/3rds of the allocated £30 million funding secured for Hydro by the Air Force Board has been committed in year whilst other parts, set aside for unknown emergencies, remains available.  

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, stand-alone boilers to ensure heating is maintained should a heating failure take place.  

To date, around 733 buildings have been surveyed resulting in a stub installation programme of just over 650 assets. By the end of this financial year500 plantrooms of SLA and other key buildings across all Regional Prime contracts will have these simple but effective attachments installed.  

Amey’s Hydro team have proposed the installation of dedicated electrical commando sockets where stub connections have been installed. Doing this will save hire and fuel costs associated with electrical generators for temporary boiler power and provide greater security of operation. A service will also be introduced to deploy and connect package boiler plant anywhere in the UK within 24 hours of a call. 

Alongside this, Amey has successfully managed a temporary boiler deployment programme over this heating season to provide immediate reaction to plantroom outages. Several plantrooms were identified as having some level of Asbestos-containing Materials (ACMs) and full Asbestos surveys were carried out to provide detailed options for removal of ACM with the aspiration of making Air plantrooms Asbestos free. 

Denise M Cousins, Deputy Head Regional Support Team Central, Regional Delivery said “Programme Hydro has grown from an aspiration to improve the ‘lived experience’ of Air Personnel accommodated in SLA on sites, to achieving benefits on the ground in less than a year. This has only been achieved by everyone (DIO, Air Infra and Amey) leaning in, having frank and open debate on options that could be considered, agreeing what should be taken forward and then delivering.  Heads of Establishments have embraced the concept, supporting installations and embracing revised call out procedures to underpin achievement of restoration of heating and hot water in 24hours - in most cases. This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when collaboration and intent align.”  

Tim Redfern, Amey’s Managing Director Defence added “Heating and hot water failures across the Air estate have always been a problem, but with the implementation of Programme Hydro, we’re delighted that RAF personnel are already benefitting from the improvements that have been made which wouldn’t have been possible prior to this project. The aim is to not only improve the living environment for serving Airmen and women, but to reduce heating and hot water failures by 80%. And where possible, include zero carbon technologies to support Air Infra to meet the Government’s 2050 net zero target. Collaboration between all parties continues to be a key part in delivering this programme.” 

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