Electrical Contracting News (ECN) August 2016 - Page 19

ROYAL COURT THEATRE, LIVERPOOL The slow roll out of the proposed programme is not only about ensuring that sufficient funding is secured for each ‘Act’ before work begins but is also based on the fundamental need to keep the theatre open with viable performance and social spaces throughout each phase. ‘One of the biggest challenges of keeping the building operational throughout this complex programme of works has been designing the building services so that that the M&E installation could be upgraded without business interruption,’ comments Steven, ‘which is why our engineers have worked closely with the theatre’s team and the architect, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), to build those requirements into the design and ensure that there was no risk of business interruption as services were modified, extended or upgraded.’ Energy upgrade The Steven Hunt & Associates team designed the building services for the Act 2 programme following completion of Act 1, involving upgrades to the auditorium. The electrical infrastructure had to be upgraded for the public areas and connected to the new extension without any risk of outages in the performance space. Explains Steven, ‘The theatre’s power distribution was still operating from the building’s original 1938 panel board which was no longer fit for purpose. The old panel has been isolated and made safe but retained for historical interest. However, the design needed to accommodate an installation schedule that would avoid supply being cut off to the auditorium. ‘The new distribution system involves amalgamation of the two existing switch rooms into a single switch room and work to move the building over to the new supply had to be delivered out of hours to ensure that any risk of power outages was avoided.’ Rewiring and lighting refurbishment of the auditorium had also been completed as part of the Act 1 programme but, as the whole building is on the same supply network, upgrades to the electrical distribution in the Act 2 programme had to be designed to ensure that any isolations did not affect performances. PROJECT FOCUS The safety and security elements of the electrical installation also had to be integrated with existing installations as part of the extension programme. The wireless fire alarm has been extended into the ground floor public areas and new extension with the addition of a new control panel for the ground floor. Meanwhile, new access control has been installed for the stage door entrances and a full CCTV system has been installed covering all public areas. Dramatic lighting Lighting was a key design element of the Act 2 programme. Explains Gillian Miller, chief executive from Liverpool’s Royal Court, ‘The lighting scheme is one of the main design elements for creating impact when people enter the building and the lighting scheme has been developed to create contrast with the stripped back architectural design and bare walls. ‘The lighting theme is black and gold and there are twin recessed downlights throughout the foyer area with black and gold wall lights in the stairways and break out spaces. The Steven Hunt & Associates team worked closely with the architect to ensure that the complexities of the aesthetic vision were delivered in the building services design.’ In addition to the dramatic feature lighting, hidden LED lighting in the lobby pelmets provides a soft ambient light, while glass pendants over the lobby have been included in the design for drama. Gillian continues, ‘Part of the business case for the Act 2 programme was creating a multifunctional space in the foyer and ground floor public areas where a variety of events can be held. With this in mind, all the foyer lighting is linked to scene setting controls to enable the theatre to adjust settings depending on the time of day and the type of event being held, maximising the flexibility of the public spaces.’ Energy efficiency has also been designed into the lighting scheme. All fittings are LED, including a number of existing fittings in the basement which have been rewired and relamped. PIR presence and absence detection has been included in the scheme for the ground floor and basement toilets and this has also been included in the lighting control scheme for the office areas on the fourth floor, along with daylight controls, dimming and manual switching. ‘While the lighting scheme for the public areas on the ground floor has been designed to offer a warm and cosy feel,’ says Steven Hunt, ‘in the office areas the building needed a task centred lighting strategy and this was achieved as part of a low energy approach by using LEDs and controls.’ Externally, recessed LED strip lights in the terrace floor have been specified to light the façade, with further strip lighting under the handrails and recessed downlights to light the entrance to the foyer. All of these external lighting features are controlled by timers and photocell