Technology in historic buildings

Conservation of historic buildings sometimes means securing their future by adapting them for efficient use in the 21st Century.  We have the skills to achieve this without compromising their historic character.


In the heart of London, our subsidiary John Packer Associates were asked to investigate a more efficient and sustainable building services solution for the Fishmongers’ Hall on the bank of the Thames at London Bridge.  The listed historic monument was constructed in 1832-35, but suffered extensive damage from bombing in 1940.  It’s building services were a combination of original 19th Century features, and 1950s replacements fitted during its post-war restoration.


The building is owned and occupied by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, and used as office space as well as for meetings and banqueting functions.  We worked closely with the Surveyor to the Fabric to assess their requirements for boiler replacement works.  We suggested that the building would benefit from a combined heat and power (CHP) unit due to the year-round requirement for hot water.  We undertook a detailed feasibility study, and this led to the Fishmongers Company to instruct John Packer Associates to proceed with the design and project management of a new CHP and boiler installation for the building.


A CHP unit with a 70kW electrical output and a 120kW heat output was specified.  Normally CHP installations are supplied as a complete unit in a self-contained box.  An item of that size would simply not fit into the structure of a building of this nature due to restrictions of access.  We solved the problem by taking the unusual step of disassembling the CHP unit, and re-designing its layout so it could be installed as smaller components in the available space.


In addition, we provided a state-of-the-art building management system that provides control and monitoring of the complete heating, hot water, ventilation, and cooling systems throughout the building.  The installation of the CHP unit is completely unobtrusive, giving all the benefits of modern mechanical & electrical design in a historic building.  It has reduced the client’s CO2 emissions by 1,900 tonnes per year, and reduced energy consumption to such an extent that the payback period of the CHP unit is only four years.