Royal Albert Hall

Major Infrastructure Upgrade.


Treasured London building. All eyes on the stage. Making engineering works look easy.

An exceptionally remarkable building to work in. We managed our intrusive engineering works around the performances. A truly outstanding feat!

  • We replaced the old heating and cooling systems serving the general hall spaces and auditoriums.
  • We used stainless steel pipework systems prefabricated at Merit’s offsite manufacturing facility meaning reduced risk to the Hall.
  • Whilst executing these works, we also delivered further works for the Phase 1 chillers enabling package.

Merit was selected to upgrade the Royal Albert Hall’s outdated steam heating system with new low-temperature hot water boilers, together with the removal and replacement of chillers within the basement plant rooms of the Hall.

The Hall is a globally recognised figure in the UK’s landscape, one of culture and heritage and a highly regarded ‘stage’ for leading performers across the world. The most iconic venue in London, Merit understood the significance of delivering projects within this heritage setting where performances and public activities must not be affected or interrupted.

When being considered for this project, it was clear during the initial discussions that they were very conscious of the severe risks to the fabric and construction of the hall, not just from the works to be undertaken but also mindful of fire risk, damage, protection to the public and impact on the hall’s performances.

The original specifications for the systems to be installed was traditional carbon steel pipework, with areas of brazed copper. Both of these were advised by Merit to heighten the risk to the hall, in terms of weight of pipework on the structure, handing this around the hall, fire risk of open welding and brazing techniques.

Offering a solution to this addressed many of the potential hazards and issues and alleviated the client’s worries concerning the works. The Merit solution also offered enhanced aspects of reduced weight imposed upon the structure, less work being carried out on-site and longer cycle expectation of the pipework systems.

This project included a number of challenges to overcome, such as the distribution pipework routes for the heating scheme involved working within basement crawl space distribution tunnels and open public walkways at circle and gallery levels. As well as the heat emitters comprising fan coils, fan convectors, radiators and linear finned coils were all supplied to be sympathetic to the building finishes and architecture, the installation of these works and a clean and safe workspace was crucial to the success of this project.

To solve some of these issues all chillers, pumps, condenser pipework configurations were prefabricated to ease the site labour and installation timescales. Additionally, much of the heating installation pipework was prefabricated at 13,000m² offsite manufacturing facility in the North East of England.