Preserving London’s River Piers

London River Services (LRS) recently commissioned Beckett Rankine to undertake condition assessments of the nine piers that they own on the River Thames. The piers provide berths for the many riverbus, tourist and river cruise services that operate in central London.

The report details the maintenance requirements for all nine piers over the next ten years to ensure their survival and estimates for when each pier may need to be dry-docked to allow for extensive investigations and repairs. The surveyed piers were Blackfriers Pier, Embankment Pier, Westminster Pier, Festival Pier, Tower Millennium Pier, Bankside Pier, Temple Pier, Greenwich Pier and Millbank Pier. As well as the structural survey we also inspected and reported on the condition of the mechanical and electrical systems on each pier. For some of the piers, such as Embankment and Tower, the M&E systems are complicated as the piers contain offices with air conditioning and sewerage systems.

Comprehensive risk assessments were carried out prior to each inspection. Particular hazards were the need to access confined spaces on some of the pier pontoons and the need to work around vessel movements and the public. The work included diving surveys of the underwater parts of each pier which had to be done at night when no boat services operate; the diving was managed by our in-house team of diving engineers.

The planning of future maintenance of these iconic London piers is a key to ensuring that London’s river traffic continues to run smoothly as part of London Transport’s network.