The British Library, Euston Road, London
Refurbishment of four escalators
Libraries have one main rule – to be silent. But that’s fairly tricky when you’re refurbishing four large escalators at The British Library in London.
It’s a busy place – with exhibitions, talks, discussions, tours, adult courses, school visits, private room bookings and of course those looking for information or somewhere peaceful to read.
The current escalators were fairly old and in need of refurbishment to meet current legislation.
The upgrade would give the library and its users more reliable escalators, running efficiently and with less chance of a breakdown.
Our main challenge was noise – the building is vast and cavernous, giving sound the opportunity to travel round in a second or two.
The work schedule meant that we had to work when the library was both open and closed, to ensure a prompt finish.
We were careful to arrange the work so that the noisier jobs were carried out at night, with the aim of reducing disruption to the library’s daytime visitors as much as possible. The library has long opening hours from Monday to Thursday from 9.30am to 8pm – a lot of time for us to work without trying to make too much noise.
Added to the noise considerations, we also had to be mindful of the amount of granite in the building which needed to be carefully worked around to avoid damage.
However, with each escalator taking on average four weeks to refurbish, working simultaneously on them allowed us to finish the job in around three months.