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Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield Town Hall is a beautiful and unique Grade I listed building set right in the heart of Sheffield.

It was designed by the London-based architect E. W. Mountford and constructed over a seven-year period from 1890 to 1897, opening on 21 May 1897. An extension designed by F. E. P. Edwards was completed in 1923.

The exterior is built of Stoke stone from the Stoke Hall Quarry in Grindleford, Derbyshire and is decorated with carvings by F. W. Pomeroy. The friezes depict the industries of Sheffield, and the 64 metre high clock-tower is surmounted by a statue of Vulcan. Bells were never installed in the clock-tower, but in 2002 an electronic bell sound system was added to provide hourly strikes and Westminster-style quarter chimes.

The building was opened by Queen Victoria, using a remote control lock from her carriage. The turning of the key in the lock triggered a light in the building which was the signal for three concealed men to open the gates.

Sheffield City Council are based within the City hall, as are several departments including the registry office. Sheffield Town Hall is open to the public, holds functions, events, weddings and council meetings throughout the year, as a result security is of paramount concern. Permitting access to specific zones, rooms and areas in the building for members of the public is a priority, equally restricting access to high risk areas and zones dealing with sensitive information is also a priority. Finding the balance means ensuring the Access Control system is located throughout the building appropriately, discreet and sensitive to the Grade 1 surroundings, and running at optimum performance at all times.

Sheffield City Council approached TIS as a result of works we had previously completed for them at the prestigious Moorfoot Building. Sheffield Town Halls’ current access control system was now obsolete. The existing access control system was no longer capable of providing the functions Sheffield City Council required. Due to the nature of the building, additional door access control was required, to deny access to restricted areas, the new door access control system provides greater expansion. Working closely with Sheffield City Council we offered a future-proofed solution, the new door access control system has the capability to be integrated into the existing Council door access system and allows for expansion as and when required.

Working closely in partnership with the Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Town Hall Management team, listening to their needs, consulting with them during annual visits and throughout the design process via clarifications we are able to fully understand their needs, aims and objectives.

Supporting Sheffield City Council in partnership meant working carefully and considerately, respecting the planned daily operations and the leisure activities of clients on site. Key to our success in this project was our understanding of Historic Buildings and buildings in full operation on a daily basis, due to our extensive portfolio of successful installation, service and maintenance programmes with other clients including The University of Leeds Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery and Museum, The Guildhall in Nottingham, The Theatre Royal in Nottingham and Temple Newsam House in Leeds.

Our Prince2 accredited Project Manager produce detailed method statements and risk assessments to highlight and identify the main risks, while proposing mitigation methods to reduce the identified risks. At point of award we visited the site and reviewed our initial assessment of the site, including for any additional factors highlighted by the Town Hall Buildings Manager, these were then submitted to Sheffield City Council for review and approval.

Over the years legislation has evolved and additional factors have been incorporated into the services we offer. We carefully consider our clients privacy, security and safety at all times. Furthermore, we were requested to ensure that the proposed system was NSI compliant. Operating to NSI NACOSS Gold we worked with the client to ensure that relevant British Standards and codes of practice were met, and that they were updated on Legislative changes which had occurred since the previous system had been installed.

The proposed system was designed in accordance with NCP – 109, the Code of Practice for the Design, Installation and Maintenance of Access Control Systems. NCP – 109 ensures compliance with BS 7273-4 The Code of practice for the operation of fire protection measures – Part 4: Activation of release mechanisms for doors and BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations (also known as the “IET Wiring Regulations”).

Our approach is methodical and identified a planned programme of works, our installation programme was planned across 2 phases and was flexible to the needs of the Sheffield City Council, based around their detailed events calendar.

Phase 1 saw TIS upgrade the existing access control system new door controllers and proximity readers were installed. Final locations of the proximity reader were discussed with and authorised by the client to ensure the install was suitable to take place and any listed materials, asbestos and requirements to repair or re-decorate were considered. Supporting with value engineering all existing locking mechanisms for the existing doors were retained in the new installation. Sheffield Town Hall IT department worked closely with our teams providing assistance with the installation of each door access controller to the assigned server/ pc.

Phase 2 included the installation of new locks for additional doors. Considering the nature of the building, the historic value, and the internal décor and structure, the new additions were colour matched to blend with the door frames. Cabling for the door access was concealed where applicable. The new door access control consisted of, proximity readers on the secure side of the door, and electronic magnetic locks to the top leaf of the door, with emergency over ride break glass units and request to exit buttons located discreetly throughout.

During the installation works our Key Account Manager continually monitored and reviewed the Health and Safety of the site through the repeated application of risk assessments, impromptu site visits, and audit of practices throughout External Health and safety consultant and incorporation of performance reviews from Sheffield City Council.

Our engineers ensured that all egress routes were kept clear, or if obstructed that appropriate measures were put in place to provide security such as barriers and hi-visibility tape and identifying alternative routes and appropriate signage which was clearly displayed in well-lit areas.

Cognisant of the budget and requirements placed on Sheffield City Council regarding the spending of Public Funding, we requested bespoke partnership pricing from our suppliers and manufacturers, supporting the client to meet budgetary constraints while continuing to add value through high quality installation and warranties, led by dedicated account support from our Head Office.

Building our partnership with Sheffield City Council, our dedicated Account Manager, attended regular contract meetings with key stakeholders, Events Managers, Councillors and the Mayor of Sheffield, to ensure excellent customer service levels were received by all.

Our health and safety ethos has been and always will be that a tidy site is a safe site, with everyone working to this including we have developed a faultless record of safety with Sheffield City Council.

TIS are dedicated to providing the very best service and quality to their client and this diligent approach has enabled the partnership to flourish and pay dividends for both parties. Looking ahead through 2019 we are confident that our partnership with Sheffield City Council will continue and grow from strength to strength as we continue to support their aims, objectives and policies.

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