Freezing conditions cost €50k

Dublin’s ‘Big Freeze’ has cost College an estimated €50k in damage to buildings and equipment, it emerged this week. Adverse weather conditions over December and January have caused a number of problems for College, leading to Library closures, postponed exams and ongoing water shortages.
The cold snap over the Christmas break has caused freezing pipes to burst, creating water leakages across Campus. Director of Buildings Mr Paul Mangan says the “prolonged spell was an exceptional weather event”, which has led to water pipe damage in the Chemistry Building and Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus.
Pipe bursts on the rooftops of the Trinity Centre at St James’ Hospital, O’Reilly Institute, Ussher Library, Foster Place and College Green have also caused damage due to the prolonged freezing conditions.
“The Buildings Office dealt with these problems swiftly”, says Mangan, who tells Trinity News “all pipe leaks have been repaired and we are awaiting delivery of some replacement parts for the rooftops”.
The freezing conditions, which have been cited as the coldest in over thirty years, brought College to a temporary standstill. Front Square was closed due to hazardous walking conditions, and the Foundation Scholarship examinations were rescheduled. Trinity Library was forced to close the day before Schol exams were due to begin, because staff were unable to travel to work.
The extreme weather caught public services off-guard, disrupting Dublin Bus, Luas and Iarnród Éireann timetables. During the week commencing 28 December, eight gritting lorries were out in Dublin from 3.30am every day, spreading up to 80 tonnes of grit.
Mangan describes the total damage costs to Trinity as “relatively modest”. Currently, buildings expenses due to unforeseen damage such as weather conditions are covered from a Maintenance Allocation Fund, which also deals with routine maintenance. In the event of significant damage, costs incurred would be covered by College insurance.
The Trinity Buildings Office has yet to confirm the costs of damage to College property or equipment.