Case Study: Gently Does It… Making a 17th Century Listed Building Electrically Compliant
Managed by English Heritage, Audley End House is an early 17th-century, listed stately home just outside Saffron Walden in Essex. Listed building specialists, Woolgar Electrical, won the tender to sensitively carry out the Fixed Electrical Testing (FET) in a timely manner.
ABOUT ENGLISH HERITAGE
English Heritage manages over 400 sites which are open to the public which receive 11 million visitors per year. It is the Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment. Officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, they are an executive Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
In 2012 Robert Tompkins, the newly appointed Buildings Manager, was charged with ensuring that Audley End House met all the IEE codes of practice and British Standards, so he put the project out to tender. Woolgar Electrical, an existing English Heritage supplier, successfully tendered and was charged with making the building compliant.
The main challenge was to sensitively apply the various electrical regulations to a large historic, 17th century listed building and come up with appropriate solutions within budget and on schedule.
One of the key issues was to interpret the IEE codes of practice and British Standards to ensure that the unnecessarily rigid application of the regulations did not cause unnecessary upheaval to this historically important building.
As Robert elaborated further… ‘We needed reliable specialists who could work around our visitors and understood the delicacies of working with a listed building and the many complications that can bring.
We were delighted with Woolgar Electrical - they worked with us and were proactive in delivering a professional service. I have never had a project this large go this smoothly.’
To start Woolgar undertook a thorough analysis investigating the building’s current electrical infrastructure before revisiting the relevant regulation’s requirements. Working closely with the English Heritage team to ensure that British Standards and other safety and standard issues were adhered to in a common sense way.
After careful assessment Woolgar Electrical was able to implement the FET whilst addressing the challenges, for example, wired in MICC (Mineral) with the scope of the testing set at 100%. They then detailed their findings and recommendations in a report.
After the completion of the FET Woolgar Electrical were then charged with putting right the Safety issues detailed in their report. This 3 month project included installing a range of fuse boxes, and where significant electrical upgrades were required, they were either carefully hidden or were sympathetic to the original, or so understated they made little visual impact.
Rob Tompkins enjoyed a smooth, hassle free FET process as well as having the highlighted electrical issues resolved in sympathetic, efficient manner that did justice to the historically significant building.
• Peace of mind knowing the building is now electrically safe
• Stress-free project delivered on schedule and on budget by specialist
• Reduced risk from a liability view-point, as the building is now compliant to British standards
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