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UCL Slade School of Fine Art

Our robust fire safety solution safeguards the Grade I-listed building’s occupants and invaluable artworks while preserving its historic character.

Vertex successfully executed an intricate project at University College London’s Grade I-listed Slade School of Fine Art, installing a state-of-the-art fire sprinkler system in a building renowned for its historical and architectural significance.

The project demonstrates Vertex’s ability to manage complex projects within sensitive environments, adding bespoke safety solutions that integrate seamlessly with a historic aesthetic. As a result, the safety of students, staff and artworks have all been significantly enhanced without detracting from the building’s heritage value.

Key challenges and solutions

  • Historical sensitivity: The primary challenge was to integrate modern safety systems without compromising the integrity of the historical structure, a task that required meticulous planning and execution.
  • Health & safety: Implementing a large-scale, intrusive project within an occupied building presented unique H&S challenges, particularly with multiple core holes needing to be cut through the existing fabric. We made use of the reduced building occupancy during the Covid lockdown to start the installation. As students began to return, the project was paused, with work swiftly brought to completion in the summer break.
  • Innovation in adversity: Our problem-solving approach shone through when encountering unrecorded fabric alterations. Ad hoc surveys and calculations were necessary to adapt the installation path, ensuring continued progress with minimal disruption.
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