REL helps to deliver multi-million-pound restoration of Georgian town hall

Sapphire-IceA Grade II listed town hall has been transformed into a museum and art gallery with the help of REL Building Services.

Located in St Albans city centre in a conservation area, the historic building has been extended and refurbished by main contractor Willmott Dixon. REL was responsible for the design and installation of all mechanical and electrical (M&E) services, including specialist lighting, underfloor heating, boiler plants, ventilation, air conditioning and advanced security systems.

Throughout the £5.4m project, REL worked closely with architectural, planning and heritage consultants, including Historic England, to ensure the M&E services were appropriately designed for the listed building and installed to minimise visual impact as well as protect the property’s fabric.

Spanning three floors, the work has seen the ground floor’s entrance halls turned into a reception area and exhibition space. The former Victorian courtroom has been fully restored and on the first floor, the assembly rooms have been refurbished ready for events including heritage and art exhibitions. These rooms feature three handmade crystal chandeliers each weighing 100 kilograms, which were also installed by REL.  

A new temperature-controlled and secure lower ground floor gallery has been created under the building for national exhibition and art shows.  The ground floor has also been renovated to accommodate a learning studio, new visitor information point, gift shop and café.

Toby Buckley, managing director of REL Building Services said: “Designing and installing modern building services into an historic building requires specialist knowledge and skills. We worked with the client’s design team and Historic England from the early design stages right through to the end of the project to ensure the M&E package met its strict requirements, including concealing all services.

“Set to be a world-class centre for arts and culture, the new museum and gallery has been a fascinating project to work on and we’re proud to have played a part in its transformation.”

Designed by John McAslan + Partners, the new museum will showcase more than 2,000 years of heritage and host art exhibitions, showing local treasures and those from around the world. 

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