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Modern Technology in Heritage Buildings
Our country has a rich and proud heritage and it is estimated that there are currently around 500,000 buildings which are “listed” as being of special architectural or historic interest. We therefore regularly find ourselves merging old buildings with new technologies.
Working in listed buildings requires knowledge not only of the functional requirements and technological solutions available, but also experience of listed buildings consent processes and working with architects and conservation officers to ensure the historic fabric and spirit of the building is unaffected by any changes.
Our experience working in these challenging environments has taught us some key lessons:
We know the technology but the customer knows the building
It is a foolhardy installer who believes that they will find out everything about a building during their pre-start site survey. Very often, there is an experienced caretaker or accommodation officer to collaborate with. Making use of their knowledge and experience helps to mitigate risks but even then buildings will present surprises and challenges.
Engage stakeholders early
It’s essential that everyone is involved at an early stage to agree the scope and desired result. Conservation officers, architects and DACs understand that in order to remain viable in the long run, historic buildings must be fit for purpose in the modern world. We have worked with many people who have enjoyed the challenge of integrating technology. By communicating with key stakeholders throughout the project specification and planning stages, surprises and costly late design changes are avoided.
Permissions & consent first, installation later
It may seem obvious but it is imperative that all permits are in place before kit is unpacked or a single tool leaves the tool box. The appropriate approvals are essential for safe working practices and protection of the building's heritage.
Compromise is key
With an unlimited budget and time almost anything is possible. However, we have yet to find the AV project which has no upper price limit or end date. We work hard to ensure options are explored and understood which allow customers to balance expectations, budget and timescales.
Account Director - Judicial