29 July 2021

Emergency Response for Iconic Reading Landmark Building

Written by Nina Brown

At Hemlow we ensure that we take detailed preventative measures to ensure the smooth and safe running of all our client’s buildings. However, we also understand that on very rare occasions, issues out of our control can arise.

Therefore, we offer detailed disaster avoidance plans to help ensure buildings can run seamlessly, even in the event of emergency. And on Father’s Day this year, one of these plans was put to the test.

Rapid response

On Sunday 20th June, 2021, at 2am Hemlow’s on call Lead Engineer received a call from our 24/7 out of hours team to inform him of a reported leak within The Blade. Situated in the heart of Reading town centre this 14-storey office building is an iconic Landmark with just over 100,00 sq. foot of office space.

When emergencies occur, we understand the importance of a rapid response, to help minimise any further risk or damage to tenants or the building. Within the hour of receiving the call our Lead Engineer had arrived on site and set about isolating the power to all the affected areas.

Once the leak was isolated and the situation stable, calls were made to key stakeholders to inform them of the situation. The incident was immediately reported to the Fire Service provider of the building and to our client, Northwood Regional UK.

the blade building

Damage control

The leak had started on the 9th floor riser cupboard and travelled to the basement floor where the engineers office is located. Multiple equipment was damaged including the BMS PC, lighting control system, CCTV system, access control system, engineers CAFM PC, fire alarm panel, disabled refuge panel and various power points.

Additional Hemlow engineers with specialist mechanical repair experience were quickly sent to the site, arriving at around 10am, where they were able to assess the level of damage and take down any necessary details for the ongoing repairs.


Throughout the whole process, Hemlow’s dedicated Contract Manager, Sean Whitehouse, kept our client updated. Sean provided them with the reassurance that everything was in place to minimise the impact to the building and made them aware of the current state of play.

Ongoing repairs

Over the next three days our teams worked around the clock with additional stakeholders and our client to ensure all repairs were conducted as quickly as possible with minimal disruption. Early attendance was requested for the Hemlow engineers attending site on the Monday to assess the plant running and to continue the repairs.

As a priority, safe working practice equipment was taken to site and all excess water was removed from the engineer’s office. Damaged sockets and leads within the room were replaced and casings on PC’s were opened, dried out and vented before use. Final leak repairs were then carried out by Hemlow engineers on the 9th floor and the chilled systems reset as a result of this.

The Fire Service provider also returned to site and removed the faulty fire panel, before installing a new one which was then commissioned and tested.

Hemlow were great in mitigating the damage caused by the leak at The Blade. The whole team was extremely helpful and gave regular updates, they were in complete control of the situation.

Thank you to Hemlow’s quick actions our tenants were able to return to the building Monday morning with no impact on the running of the building. Hemlow made a potential disaster a manageable one!


Northwood Regional UK

Expecting the unexpected

Thanks to the quick actions from the team, the clear communication between all parties and the guidance provided by the disaster avoidance plan, the building was soon back to full working order.

Is your building prepared for the unexpected? Contact us today to find out more.

Call our team today 0208 293 6606

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