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Cropped Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf

Multilevel hearing loop installation at Barclays’ London HQ

Site surveys are an important aspect of large-scale projects to ensure the correct equipment is specified­, and Contacta’s latest project is proof of this.

The installation  at Barclays offices in Canary Wharf is Contacta’s largest to date and involves more than 20 perimeter and phased array hearing loops across multiple floors.

Mechanical and electrical refurbishment contractors, Phoenix ME, brought Contacta in after we successfully completed a complicated assistive listening system installation at Barclays offices in Glasgow.

Planning the work proved challenging due to restricted access to the building in the City of London. Hearing loop systems were specified based on drawings alone. The technical team, Tim Mills and James Graves, were eventually able to complete a site survey and found that initial plans needed to change.

The steel supports within the fabric of the building meant that the loop drivers specified wouldn’t be powerful enough to deliver a signal that meets the IEC 60118-4 standard.

The survey found that metal ceiling and floor tiles added to the magnetic field signal loss and that it wouldn’t be possible for the loop cable to be installed in the ceiling, as had been requested by the client.

The installation of hearing loops in rooms positioned directly above each other presented the additional challenge of controlling the vertical overspill from the hearing loops signal.

Extensive tests carried out in the rooms on the 13 and 14th floor revealed that loop cables could be laid on the metal flooring, beneath the carpet tiles.  Our engineers also found that the  steel construction of the building worked as a barrier, keeping the signal from bleeding through to the floor below.

The loop drivers were upgraded from a V7 to a V22 to provide the increased power needed and the systems will be completed with boundary ceiling microphones.

Rooms adjacent to each other have been looped with a phased array configuration to contain the sound while corner rooms will have a perimeter loop layout.

Five floors have so far been completed with three more to go.  By the end of the project, Contacta engineers will have installed a total of 23 loops.

“This project is a great illustration of the need for expert installers and the importance of a site survey,” said Contacta’s Head of New Business Development, Ran Meyrav.

“There were multiple issues to find solutions for and it takes knowledge and skill to be able to do that and meet the required standard of audio for people with hearing loss.

“We had to work closely with the client and the team laying the floor.  Access to site was restricted and work had to be completed out of hours.  Our aim is always to make it look as though we were never in the room.”

“It’s our biggest single-site project to date.  Such a tall building in a very busy part of London presented a wealth of challenges, not least of all getting equipment to right floor in the right lift!

“But our team are always determined to produce the very best outcome both for the client and the end user.”

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