• Middle Temple Inn, London

    Built between 1562 and 1573, Middle Temple is one of the four ancient Inns of Court. Its buildings have remained virtually unchanged to this day with many original features surviving the Great Fire of London and both World Wars. The Ashley Building Common Room is a unique space for the members of Middle Temple Inn, providing a flexible work area downstairs and a relaxing space upstairs for barristers to meet and socialise. Darke & Taylor was sub-contracted by Walter Lilly to undertake the mechanical and electrical refurbishment of the lower two floors of the Ashley Building.

    Hero middle temple

Challenges

Repurposing an old building: The new Common Room was previously the old records office for Middle Temple. The low ceilings presented a particular problem with an average void depth of only 10−15 mm; OK for a single cable, but not for much more.

Half the building, twice the problems: The Common Room only occupied the lower two floors of the Ashley Building − the three upper floors were to remain untouched. This meant that much of the existing pipework could not be removed, leaving even less space to thread through the required modern services.

Live environment: The buildings around and above the Common Room needed to remain in constant use since barristers are self-employed and work all year round. The nature of their work meant that D&T had to be particularly careful of interruption to services, and noise.

Existing sub-contractors: The client already had in place a number of pre-existing sub-contractors; e.g. fire alarm, access control, BMS…etc. D&T needed to quickly find a way to work seamlessly and effectively with these incumbents.

Solutions

Sympathetic dialogue: The architect had specified high ceilings and as much floor space as possible, whilst the lighting designer had submitted similarly ambitious plans. Regular liaison, flexibility and explanation was required to satisfy all parties’ needs. For example, it was not possible to thread cabling through the concrete-encased RSJ, but D&T came up with an elegant solution to wrap around it.

Systematic approach: Most of the existing M&E services were concealed and with no existing plans, so D&T had to survey everything in order to determine routes and dependencies.

Standby power: The boiler room serving other Middle Temple buildings needed to be upgraded as part of the Ashley Building project. D&T therefore rigged up a standby power unit to allow the upgrade to proceed without turning the power off, thereby minimising disruption and downtime.

Darke & Taylor coordination: With four of D&T’s divisions working on this project, there was always a technical expert on hand to resolve the incumbents’ queries and find an optimal solution.

Gallery

“Built between 1562 and 1573, Middle Temple is one of the four ancient Inns of Court. Its buildings have remained virtually unchanged to this day with many original features surviving the Great Fire of London and both World Wars.”

Technical overview

Darke & Taylor was subcontracted by Walter Lilly to undertake the mechanical and electrical refurbishment of the lower two floors of the Ashley Building. This project drew upon the full building services capabilities of the company.

Works undertaken included VRF heating and cooling, domestic water, above ground drainage, sanitaryware installation, lighting (including emergency lighting and lighting control systems), small power, fire alarm and detection, intruder alarm, telecoms, data & audio visual cabling.

Project details

MAIN CONTRACTORWalter Lilly
BUILDING SERVICES CONTRACTORIntegration
PROJECT DURATION1 year

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