As four years of restoration work begins on Elizabeth Tower, home of the Big Ben bell at the North end of the Houses of Parliament, M&E engine designer SI Sealy has confirmed it is working on the £29m project from its Stockport office.
The work, scheduled to complete in 2021, includes internal and external conservation and refurbishment works, including waterproofing and addressing severe condensation problems, as well as modernising the building to improve standards in safety, access and visitor and workspace facilities.
The restoration includes a major servicing of the clock mechanism and clock faces, meaning the bells have to fall silent for a period of time. The last hourly Big Ben chime was heard across London on Monday, although the bell is still expected to ring out for special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve.
The last time the bell was silent was in 1976.
SI Sealy developed the building fabric protection heating strategy, designed the complete new building services installation, including the new clock face lighting and advised on the design of the new passenger lift.
Director David Stafford said: “We are proud to be providing the mechanical and electrical engineering designs for the refurbishment of this grade one-listed, UNESCO heritage site. The building hasn’t been refurbished for 30 years, so is in need of urgent repair. At the same time we are installing measures to improve the energy efficiency, safety and access of the building, whilst ensuring that the building fabric is conserved.”
SI Sealy was appointed to this project as part of its membership of the Parliamentary Strategic Estates Framework. Through the framework, SI Sealy has undertaken seven commissions to date with a total value of £40m.