Member of Marketing & Communications gets stuck in on site

14th July 2023

Ellis Porter, Communications & Engagement Assistant, recently swapped the office for a work site and had the most insightful, fun filled day. Below is what she got up to on her day away from the normal meetings and communications activities.

Richard Penny, Senior Project Manager and Laurence Fletcher Multiple Occupancy Buildings (MOBS) Apprentice on the London Construction Management Organisation (CMO) contract at Morrison Energy Services, picked me up from the office at Abel Smith House and drove me down to London to visit our first site of the day.

“We arrived in Camden, London around 10am where I put on my yellow PPE and work boots. A bit different from my usual blazer and office heels. I tied my hair back, put my goggles and helmet on, and was ready to get stuck into the MOBS world.

“The first building we visited was called Highgate and was a high-end block of flats. The owners of the flats lived in the building and were the first people I saw when we arrived. It was obvious the owners wanted the work done in a timely way and wanted as little pipework on show as possible to keep the flat looking neat and tidy. I listened as the team explained exactly what they had already done, that the work is almost there and that it would be complete by the end of the week. The gentlemen were pleasantly surprised at this and were thankful for the time the MOBS team was putting in to maintaining the gasworks in their flats.

“Once the gentlemen went back inside, I got the chance to learn about gas and how it works in our homes. I learnt that the existing steel pipes that run through buildings are due to be decommissioned as they have a risk of gas leaks.

“The gas mains are underground and feed in to each flat. The way this is done is dependent on the layout of the building. In this instance, the below image demonstrates a burrowing tool knows as a ‘mole’ that goes underground, so nothing is visible. The mole is connected to a hose which is powered by compressed air allowing it to operate.

“However, before they install the mole, the area is surveyed using a CAT & Genny to ensure there was nothing underground that could potentially interfere with the mole route and cause utility damage/interruptions to the residents, for example, any previous utilities installed that might not be visible to the human eye. CAT & Genny is often used in projects as part of the safety checks before we get started on the work.

“Next up was a block of flats called Aubert Court in Highbury, London. Residents in these flats smelt gas coming from inside the flat. Cadent Gas was called immediately, the existing gas supply was cut off to ensure safety.

“These flats were slightly different to the ones in my previous visit. It was definitely good to get a grasp of different locations and situations that the MOBS team is assigned to on a daily basis.

“With these flats, the gas mains were still underground but they fed into a small white gas metre box on the wall. For some flats, pipes fed up the wall from the gas mains and went into each flat, giving them their gas supply.


“However, for flats that didn’t have a balcony and weren’t able to access the gas metres, the gas metres were kept inside. It’s important that residents can turn off the gas if they need to in case of emergencies.

“Scaffolding is kept around the building while the team completes the work, however these are strictly alarmed to keep members of the public safe.

“The last location of the day was Archery Close in Marlborough, London. In these flats, the gas metres were kept inside the flats due to the make-up of the building.

“This is because the kitchens were located at the front of the flats. In other buildings, when the kitchens are harder to access, the gas metres are located on the outside of the buildings.

“Information such as the gas maps, building information are given to us by the pre-construction team (Cadent Gas), all this information allows us (London CMO) to plan and construct the project to a compliant & approved design/scope.

“I learnt a lot on my site trip. Who knew gas could be so complex? It was so interesting to see how we base the work on the layout of the building and how each location has different gas needs. I look forward to visiting more sites in the future and sharing my experiences!”

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