Old Admiralty Building Restoration: Architectural Ironmongery
This infamous Grade II listed historical landmark has housed some of the most famous figures in history including former Prime Minister Winston Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty, and James Bond author – and former naval intelligence officer – Ian Fleming, whose renowned ‘Room 39’ was located inside the walls during World War II.
The Old Admiralty Building is also the backdrop to many of the nation’s most important ceremonial events, facing both the Mall and Horse Guards Parade within a highly secure area of Whitehall.
We were contracted as architectural ironmongers to supply the door furniture in line with the listed building requirements and advise on what existing door hardware could be retained.
The refurbishment works
The scope of works involved a full refurbishment and fit out works across the entire building, creating over 24,000 square metres of workspace over five floors for the Government’s ‘Department of International Trade’ (DIT).
For us this meant a manual, door by door inspection of just under 800 doors!
Door furniture: Lever handles, pull handles, door knobs, bathroom turn & releases, escutcheons, locks & latches, hinges, door closers, automatic door operators
Accessories: kick plates, push plates, fire signage, door stops, flush bolts, floor sockets and door grilles.
The groundworks: our pre-site survey of nearly 800 doors
As a heritage renovation project, a pre-quote door by door site survey was conducted to assess which doors could be retained and what would need to be replaced in line with both the condition of the doors and to contribute to the overall fire strategy. For example, replacing standard doors with fire doors as required.
As a grade II listed building, the changes required for fire safety compliance also had to meet the heritage requirements, with negotiations over what could and couldn’t be used for aesthetic purposes. This was further complicated by the discovery of asbestos within the door panelling meaning we were restricted to the existing openings for latches and hardware.
Our ironmongery specification
The project consisted of two main elements of works for the ironmongery, notably the supply of a complete range of Solid Satin Brass ironmongery to all new doors with all existing doors salvaged where possible and the existing ironmongery retained, repaired or replaced if the door was up-rated to a fire door.
Due to the heritage importance of the site, aesthetics were carefully considered. An un-lacquered Satin Brass finish was specified throughout to patinate over a period of time and complement the existing finishes.
The door hardware
The existing ironmongery was supplied by John Planck Ltd as part of the re-development of the site in the late 1990s, but as fire regulations have significantly changed since, we were tasked with supplying ironmongery to the existing doors that ensured they were ‘brought up to code’ and complied with the latest standards and fire regulations for building control. All existing doors were therefore fitted with fire rated hinges, the relevant intumescent and discrete hold open door closers, wired into the fire alarm that close in the event of the fire alarm sounding.
In addition to all of the standard doors, new automatic door operators were specified. These were fitted in the lower ground floor, home of the Government Art Collection and now coloured in their branding hot pink (post fit). As a result of the resident Art collection, the building is beautifully decorated with artistic pieces, with a small selection in a public viewing gallery on rotation.
All in all, this was such a beautiful project to be involved in and revisit – especially considering the original door knobs and plates from the 1999 renovation were also supplied by us. Listed buildings like this one are never straight forward and always have a few surprises; but they’re rewarding for the end result.
Ironmongery Consultant: Adam Sweatman, RegAI, MInstAI, DipGAI