New Water Supply for Special Care Home in Hertfordshire

Libury Hall is a charity that offers supported living within a residential care setting for adults who, due to mental health issues, are in need of practical, emotional or social support. All the residential accommodation offers a unique pathway of recovery for thirty-nine men and women aged 40 and over. It is a comfortable and friendly home surrounded by some of the most beautiful farmland in Hertfordshire. It provides four high quality cottages in half an acre of landscaped grounds, four individual apartments within an Italian style courtyard, a two bedroom high needs bungalow offering one to one specialist care, whilst the main house consists of 17 ‘state of the art’ residential rooms. In addition, Libury Hall offers a day centre where residents can socialise, participate in activities and gain life skills. Libury Hall is a very important facility and one that offers care and support in an “open” setting that is still difficult to find in the UK.

Like many care homes, especially those that were built in 1901 in rural and semi-rural surroundings, the quality of the living accommodation has been a challenge over the last two years. This resulted in a £2 million upgrade to reflect the changes required to update and build quality into the Mental Health/Social Care sector. Funding for these kinds of resources is hard to come by.

When it became apparent that the water supply from the bore hole to the main home was failing its statutory tests, it needed quick and expert support to ensure the home could remain open, offering the special care to the residents who call it home. The existing water supply system came from the local borehole and saw 6,000 litres of water from the borehole stored in tanks in the roof of the building and all the outlets across the site were gravity fed. The reality was that the facility didn’t need 6,000 litres of stored water – it wasn’t using enough to keep the water flowing and the quality of the stored water was falling below the quality required by statute.

The local Environment Department said the water was not at a quality to satisfy the regulations – a huge problem for a facility like this. Michael Harvey from Harvey’s Heating in Hunsdon was called in to suggest a solution for the problems the facility was experiencing. There was a mains supply to the facility available as a backup should the stored water supply not be adequate, so there was an option that would not involve major issues in getting a new supply to the buildings.

Michael discussed the options with Darren Cooper of Stuart Turner and together they decided the most efficient and cost effective solution was to provide a pressurised drinking water supply from the existing mains connection. The home had had regular water tank cleaning and maintenance services but it wasn’t enough to keep the water quality at the required level.

Michael ordered the Stuart Turner equipment via the local City Plumbing Supplies branch in Hoddesdon. The new equipment arrived promptly –8 x 450 litre composite pressurised tanks and a Stuart Turner water conditioner system that would ensure fresh, clean constantly available water with far less maintenance than the old system required and the ability to ensure that the water was in prime condition for the residents at all times.

The new system is providing quality water at between 3 and 4 bar, depending on usage through the shared main – a huge improvement over the old gravity fed system. The water conditioner effectively ‘polishes’ the water ensuring it is always of the highest standard.

Angela Smith is the director of Libury Hall: “I’ve been involved here for more than twenty years and Libury Hall is a very important part of my life,” she says. “When we realised that there was a problem with the water our hearts sank. We have been so grateful to Michael and his team along with Stuart Turner for providing the expertise to solve what for us was a very complex issue. We now have excellent quality water coupled with high pressure which has made a huge difference for all the residents whilst we feel we have invested in the home for the future. A cost effective solution was vital for the charity. The trustees who are responsible for the facility are delighted with the reduced costs associated with the maintenance and with the speed and efficiency of the works that were undertaken.”

“It’s always a privilege to work on these jobs where we can make a huge difference by simply by doing what we do best,” said Michael Harvey. “Between us, and Stuart Turner we have made a huge difference to people’s lives just by providing clean, reliable water.”