Marlborough Buildings is a grand, Grade II listed Georgian terrace of townhouses in Bath, very near to the Royal Crescent. Our client Claire Collins obtained one of the seven storey houses to convert into flats. The brief, for this heritage retrofit, was to bring the building up to a high, modern standard while protecting the historic fabric.
Greengauge were appointed to provide full Mechanical and Electrical Design.
Difficulties and Solutions
Integrating modern building services into heritage buildings is always challenging, but establishing a good strategy early on, and careful coordination of the design helped to ensure the standard of finish was in line with the quality of the building in terms of its significance and the discerning potential purchasers.
Drainage is often a challenge in historic buildings, because home buyers today expect more bathrooms than were provided historically. To compound this, drainage systems require relatively large pipework, which must be laid to a fall to avoid the dreaded macerator! This can make a discrete and effective design a challenge. Working closely with the client we carefully opened up the building to establish the best compromise between all these factors.
Heating and Water
Each flat is provided with its own boiler and hot water cylinder. Cast iron radiators were selected in consultation with the interior designer to create a heating system that delivers modern standards of comfort and efficiency while maintaining an appearance in keeping with the listed building.
The challenge of splitting the building horizontally was that we made running services vertically up and down the house harder and it was important to keep this to a minimum. With a new build or less sensitive property the simple answer would have been for boiler and ventilation penetrations to be made in the facades. The sensitivity of this building meant we wanted to avoid this as much as possible. Therefore, the boiler location and the ventilation system choice was made to minimise the need for this. The design of the buildings leant to the wet spaces being through the spine of the building and therefore considerable effort was made to make 1 or 2 core risers which could be used for drainage and ventilation. An important part of the financial viability of the scheme was to bring the lower stories into residential use, where previously they were partially below ground. A feature common in Bath is to have vaults that extend below the pavement in front of the house. In order to manage the moisture in these spaces, a continuous mechanical ventilation system was specified. These include heat recovery, in order to save energy on the larger volume of air that is required (compared to more conventional above ground spaces), and improve thermal comfort by introducing tempered fresh air.
Construction and Commissioning
Greengauge spent considerable time with the Client and Contractors team completing and commissioning the systems.