Viewing archives for Heritage & Conservation

Equal Access, St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral, with its world-famous dome designed by the renowned British architect Sir Christopher Wren, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. This grade I listed building is steeped in history and draws in visitors from all over the globe.

CBG Consultants were appointed with the creation of a permanent accessible entrance to the north side of the cathedral. The north transept Porch provides inclusive access for visitors, staff, and volunteers. The Porch is the main visitors entrance and acts as a welcoming point with a clearly identifiable information point. In addition, it also helps with controlling traffic visitor flows, congestion, and security.

As of May 2021, plans were extended to include a memorial to commemorate those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribute is an online book of remembrance which was installed in a purpose-built structure, more than 9,400 names have been entered into the book as part of the cathedral’s ‘Remember Me’ project. The online book contains the name of the deceased, their photograph, and an epitaph written by their loved ones. It is hoped the memorial would provide a reflective space for visitors to remember and to mourn those closest to them.

CBG Consultants were appointed by the client to undertake a lighting design and issue a few proposals to showcase the entrance lobby. CBG Consultants also designed the access control and power requirements for this project.

Images – Graham Lacdao & CBG Consultants

St Paul’s Cathedral School

St Paul’s Cathedral School is a co-educational preparatory school for boys and girls aged 4 to 13 and a residential choir school for the boy choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The school identified a need to increase capacity and improve its facilities to its pupils. The project included building a new boarding house, which was to provide accommodation to reflect current regulations, with the desire to exceed the expectations and to secure the culturally significant English Choral tradition for future generations. The accommodation, running over two floors, includes 36 beds, common rooms currently configured as a games room and cinema room, bathrooms, plus ample quiet social spaces. The building also included residential staff accommodation, more classrooms, ICT suite, an enlarged and refitted dining hall and kitchen and bespoke play equipment.

CBG Consultants was appointed to provide M&E design and sustainable consultancy services for the project. The CLT extension provided a good opportunity to reduce energy costs through high insulation and low infiltration rates inherent with the timber panel building system. The building was modelled to test overheating and the detailed design incorporated feedback from the modelling including optimising glazing selection and variable ventilation rates within the spaces to mitigate both occupancy numbers and summer overheating.
The boarding house design faced the problem of requiring adequate fresh air, avoiding overheating, and keeping out road noise and pollutants whilst being connected to a Grade 1 listed building. Large air conditioning plant was ruled out in favour of opening windows supported by discreet ventilation units, co-ordinated into the building design.

The design team recognised the location significance and the planning conditions concerning internal air quality. Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery Units (MVHR) were provided locally for each boarding room and communal spaces, running at continuous low speed operation with boost triggered by air quality sensing. Final filtration included NO2, PM2.5 and PM10 modules.

Images – Nick Kane Photographer

Woburn Abbey, Bedford

Home to the 15th Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey dates from 1620, and is Grade I Listed. First opened to the public in 1955, the site is now undergoing its largest transformation since then.

Working with Nick Cox Architects, CBG Consultants have developed an Estate master plan strategy. The master plan includes the construction of a new entrance building and visitor retail centre; a new restaurant, tea rooms, exhibition spaces and education facilities within the north and south courtyard buildings; and the major refurbishment and remodelling of the Abbey itself.

The current phase of works sees the renovation of the extensive public spaces within the Abbey building. These range from basement silverware and gold display vaults, to open galleries of antique furniture and priceless Canaletto paintings. The unique Grotto is included in the works, a room lined entirely in sea shells.

M&E works include the provision of new mains infrastructure around the building; new lighting and electrical wiring; installation of a lift; upgrading of fire and security systems; and major modifications to heating and ventilation systems. Elements of the master plan works are also being undertaken around the wider Estate, to support future development phases.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Founded in the 18th Century, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is the one of the world’s oldest research facilities of its kind.

The site comprises of many historic buildings which are famous in their own right, including the Pagoda, Palm House and Temperate House. Its importance was recognised in 2003 when it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The mechanical and electrical infrastructure has evolved constantly as the site has expanded and developed, with many ad-hoc additions made over the decades. Despite the existence of substantial record drawings and archive information, inevitably there were gaps and inconsistencies in the knowledge of the site. We were appointed to undertake both a strategic level review of the site electrical infrastructure, and detailed building by building surveys. This remit included the home of the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakenhurst Place, Sussex.

We initially carried out visual surveys and inspections of the record information. Following this, we advised where intrusive investigations were needed, and supervised the undertaking of these by qualified specialist contractors. Ranging from the upper galleries of the famous glass houses, to concealed Victorian tunnels and state of the art laboratories, our surveys took us to all areas of this unique and important site.

The client now has a comprehensive accurate record of their assets, and an understanding of what capacity is available for future developments. This will support their work through the next few decades.

Photos: Doruk Yemenici & Philippe Gras

Command Of The Heights, Fort Amherst, Chatham

Located directly to the north east of Chathams town centre, Fort Amherst is one of the country’s best preserved Napoleonic Fortresses. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, previously on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register, with numerous listed structures and sites.

The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area, by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site.

The vast site poses many logistical challenges, with a network of tunnels, barrier ditches and hilly terrain. The project includes the conversion of former gun casemates at the summit of the site into an open-air theatre; creation of a new visitor access to the site from the main road; installation of a new WC block and demolition of a former MOD office building to reinstate the historic lines of the lower site defences.

Engineering services include new power and water distribution across the site, M&E services to the theatre, landscape lighting, and diversion of a former UK Power Networks substation.

Performance photographs are of ’The Chatham Witch’ by Icon Theatre, Chatham, Kent.

 Finalist – Landscape Institute Awards 2020

Images: Phil Pead – Medway Council & © Simon Kelsey /

Restaurant & Apartments Conversion, Lincoln College

CBG Consultants were delighted to deliver this prestigious development for Lincoln College on Oxford High Street.

The project involved the conversion of a Grade II Listed former bank dating from 1866, into a new restaurant and upmarket apartments. The team were keen to restore and retain period features, such as an original ceiling discovered in the banking hall that was previously concealed. Bespoke M&E services strategies were developed to maximise the historic appeal of the spaces.

New services were provided throughout, including construction of a new lift. We designed the shell and core scheme and acted as technical advisors for Lincoln College, to review the proposed restaurant fitout by The Ivy. We worked closely with their fitout team to ensure mechanical and electrical services strategies were developed that would work within the confines of the site and defined tenant demises. Control of odours from cooking was a particular concern, with a scheme to mitigate these. The location of plant near to residential units required close scrutiny of acoustic performance also. Future maintenance and plant replacement strategies were developed and included within the Agreement for Lease.

Full design was undertaken for the apartments, with lighting, electrical services and air conditioning developed to a high standard specification. The residential development includes a new feature stair with bespoke suspended lighting, which links to the existing Alfred Street apartments.

Oxford Preservation Trust 2020, Building Conservation Category – Certificate


Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies, National Trust

In 2012 the National Trust launched their Renewable Investment Energy Programme, committing over £30 million to halve their carbon emissions by 2020. CBG have worked with the Trust on at least 11 significant properties across the south of England. We have advised how the National Trust can utilise renewable energy sources to reduce these emissions.

The technologies we have considered include; biomass, solar PV, solar thermal, wind, combined heat and power, and heat pumps which can harness renewable energy from the ground, water or air.

Our feasibility assessment process includes detailed studies of the properties, liaising with staff and stakeholders, radiator surveys, load monitoring, and heat loss calculations, culminating in a comprehensive feasibility report that evolves to incorporate feedback from the Trust’s approval stages.

CBG have continued their project support through the tender process, providing tender return analysis and attending interviews. We undertake site visits throughout construction, as well as write inspection reports, and act as CDM Principal Designer.


Christ Church Cathedral

CBG Consultants were appointed by Christ Church, for the phased renovation of the Cathedral in 2017.

Dating from the 12th Century, the Grade I Listed Cathedral was last rewired in the mid 1990s. A proposed project to clean and restore the high level building fabric gave the opportunity to renew electrical distribution and the lighting installation, which had become dated.

We worked closely with the Cathedral’s nominated lighting designer, and Purcell Architects, to develop the new electrical infrastructure proposals. This had to be installed over several phases of work whilst the Cathedral remained in use. Much of the servicing of the building is done using the high-level clerestory walkways. While these provide a convenient route, they also pose a risk to maintenance personnel, with access available only with safety harnesses to two people at a time. We developed a scheme to minimise the need to access these walkways, by locating the drivers and power supplies for the lighting system in central locations away from the clerestories. These are more likely to require future maintenance than the light fittings themselves.

We designed a new central battery emergency lighting system, bringing the building up to compliance with current regulations. Night time validation was undertaken to record delivered illuminance levels.

Phases 1 and 2 of the project are now complete, with the design of Phases 3 and 4 due to start later in 2019.

Coach House – Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire

Conversion of a former coach house into a high quality wedding venue.

The coach house is grade II listed and part of larger estate with a grade II listed manor house and landscaped gardens. The coach house is one of the earlier buildings on the estate and originally dates from the 1700s. The venue currently runs a marquee as a wedding venue through the summer months and the conversion of the coach house enables our client to improve their wedding offering.

CBG were commissioned to design the M&E installation which included ventilation, heating, domestic water, fire alarm, security and the lighting design. Given the remote location of the coach house back up power (generator) also had to be provided as power cuts can be more frequent and maintaining the venue during an event is imperative. Aesthetics were a very important consideration during the design to tie in with the high end image. Services routes were also a challenge to be overcome, as much of the void above the former stable area is inaccessible as it is inhabited by Bats.


Grade II Listed Manor House

Grade II listed manor house located in the middle of its own landscape.

Working closely with Smallwood Architects we have developed a full refurbishment design to an exceptionally high quality & standard, to include a remote energy centre to feed several buildings on the estate including ancillary buildings, cottages and swimming pool. The property will be a full integrated system with intelligent automated controls for all heating/cooling and audio visual.