Mechanical services

The Mechanical Services team maintains all mechanical plant providing heating, cooling and ventilation across the functional estate, as defined in the Estates Standing Orders.  As well as chillers, pumps, air handling units and fans, the team looks after:

  • 500 boilers – ranging from the 18kW domestic sized units in graduate accommodation to the 7mW boiler plant serving the Science Area
  • an extensive network of pipework – the heating pipes underneath the Science Area measure up to 250mm diameter and are housed in ducts large enough to walk through
  • the repair and maintenance of 253 lifts

Plant maintenance

The Mechanical Team manages plant maintenance via the Estates Services own Direct Labour Organisation as well as numerous specialist contractors.  On the Old Road Campus and buildings located on the Churchill Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Warneford Hospital and John Radcliffe Hospital sites, hands-on maintenance is delivered by  a single external contractor, Interserve.

Maintenance inspection

The team of three maintenance inspectors oversee the work of the DLO and contractors to ensure the delivery of high quality and value-for-money services.

Legionella monitoring

The Mechanical Services team is also responsible for ensuring the safety of water systems across the estate and undertakes all routine and statutory monitoring for the Legionella bacterium, the cause of Legionnaires Disease, amongst other serious conditions.

Design input to new builds


As the functional estate continues to expand, new and refurbished buildings are increasingly complex, and the requirements to deliver ever more efficient buildings become more demanding.  The Mechanical Services team therefore works closely with Capital Projects colleagues to provide input to the design and installation of mechanical plant, to ensure that the University has effective and efficient systems that are safe to access and straightforward to maintain, with minimal disruption to the occupiers.  Engineers and Maintenance Inspectors, supported by the DLO, monitor the installation of mechanical services and when a building is handed over to the University, the team organises maintenance of the plant using DLO staff and external contractors for the specialist equipment.

Environmental Sustainability

The Mechanical Services team plays a key role in the delivery of carbon savings for the University.  When plant is replaced at the end of its life we always seek to improve the efficiency  of systems by installing higher performing plant.  A particular example is the delivery of energy savings for the libraries – see case studies for full details.