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Born in a barn: The Royale team refits a stunning listed building for Quicklight

Not all air conditioning installations are equal!

Once in a while, something special crops up. Where modern buildings are consistent and built to planning specifications, older buildings, and listed buildings in particular, vary about as much as you’d expect – a lot.

What to do, then, when another great Newbury business needs a refit? You call Royale, of course! We thought this job was so unique and interesting that it’d be a shame not to write about it.

As is often the case for our clients, we had a strict time limit to work with, having only received the go-ahead from Quicklight on the second week of November!

Scoping the building, understanding its quirks and installing a bespoke AC system to our client’s satisfaction was a tough but rewarding job. Here’s why.

Suit you, sir

The CEO of Quicklight came to us with an interesting challenge: install a new air-conditioning system in a large listed barn. The twist? The units needed to be out of sight, and out of mind. We can’t blame him for his choice: it’s a gorgeous structure sitting amidst a beautiful area.

Minimal visibility: the key to, and cause of, the job’s challenges. As you might imagine, Royale provides and installs a wide range of AC units. For this bespoke system to work at its best, the fan coil for each room of the building was individually specified.

Great for some, but not quite enough for Quicklight. Preserving the aesthetics was a priority from day one. This requirement for careful, considered work went hand in hand with the in-depth task of installing main electrics throughout the listed building.

The right AC for the job

From the start, we chose Daikin AC units.

At the high-spec end of the market, they offered the ultra-efficiency and reliability needed – without having a large physical footprint. A clean, compact design to the single outside unit gave us an adequate starting point.

When dealing with large buildings with unique interior dimensions, it’s common to install several small, split AC units that pipe into the building.

As this wasn’t an option for Quicklight, the single, external Daikin VRV was the obvious choice.

Planning out pipes

Daikin AC units: check. Next up? The pipework and cabling. Doesn’t sound too challenging, right? Wrong!

We mentioned before that new buildings have consistent building layouts and methods in their construction. A beautiful mezzanine floor built within this listed barn, while beautiful, proved to be a key head-scratcher for the Royale team.

In short, we took much of the place apart before putting it back together again. With time being of the essence, an entirely unique plan of attack was made that involved extensive structural work. Walls, floors, even the plaster ceiling were pulled up and apart to accommodate pipework leading from the Daikin VRV condensing unit to fourteen interior ‘fan coil’ air-conditioning units which cool or heat the air.

Hard work, but well done. The result? Reliable pipework connecting those fourteen units, with near-invisible piping. The beauty of the barn was protected – without sacrificing the functionality of the AC system.

Finding the right flow

Believe it or not, there’s interesting science and artistry behind designing a bespoke AC solution for a client!

Particularly with a listed barn, the subject of airflow was an important one. It’s great for an AC system to be effective in cooling the air, but it’s an amateur’s mistake to ignore how that air is circulated around a building’s interior.

For the barn, there was an ideal solution: ceiling mounted fan coils. While a challenge for the Royale team when installing the pipework due to the building’s various ceiling heights, it gave Quicklight the excellent result they needed.

Ceiling mounted AC units circulate air with minimal draft, providing an even flow that eliminates the feeling of hot or cold drafts on the people inside.

A great finish

We’re happy to say it all turned out above expectations!

It’s always new territory when dealing with the kind of bespoke projects Royale excels at, and it’s fulfilling and exciting to see a beautiful building well served by a functional, unobtrusive and custom AC solution.

Quicklight are now the owners of the best of both worlds: an immaculate listed structure that has all the comfort and convenience of a modern build. Our congratulations all round to the Royale team for a job well done, and our best wishes to Quicklight for the years ahead.

Can we help?

Sound good to you and your business? Get in touch! View our other projects, email the team at [email protected] or have a chat directly at 01635 551446.