Safe Access for the new Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World

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Bilco UK supplied twenty one special size Ladder Access Roof Hatches to the British Museum’s newest gallery.  After three years of careful planning, research and collaboration the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World opened in October 2018.

Bilco Islamic Gallery - Roof Hatches 3 copyThe new, permanent, exhibition space is a result of the renovation and joining together of two beautiful Victorian galleries located in the ‘White Wing’ area of the Museum.  The galleries had been closed for several years as they were in need of renovation.

The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World displays magnificent works of art alongside everyday objects. The aim is to enable the visitor to explore the cultural significance, breadth and impact of the Islamic world in a creative and exciting way.  Audio-visuals and specialist lighting bring the culture of the Islamic world to life.

The roof of the White Wing was originally laid in lead but was later replaced with copper in the 1960s. As part of the refurbishment of the two galleries it was decided to return the roof to its original lead design. The roof timbers and boarding were overhauled, and forty-five tonnes of new lead added.

Ladder access was required to the roof void area to allow for routine maintenance activities.  Bilco UK’s SS-50TB Ladder Access Roof Hatches were specified by the architects, HoK. The installation was managed by the Principle Contractor, Coniston Limited, who have a reputation for delivering heritage and conservation projects and a long history of working with the British Museum.

The SS-50TB Roof Hatches were made to order as they were required in a larger non-standard size, 1215mm x 915mm, than the standard stock sizes.  The hatches were also manufactured with a PPC finish to blend in with the new roof.

The SS-50TB is engineered with compression spring operators to provide smooth, easy, one-hand operation, regardless of the size of the hatch. An automatic hold-open arm locks the cover in the open position to ensure safe egress and a grip handle allows for easy, one-hand release and closing.  This one-hand operation of the SS-50TB, to a fully open or closed position, enables the ladder user to maintain three points of contact at all times.

The SS-50TB is the perfect solution for projects where regular roof access is required and safety is paramount. The roof hatch meets all the requirements of the Manual Handling Operating Regulations (MHOR) 1992.

The Ladder Access Roof Hatches are fitted with a closed-cell EPDM sponge gasket, as standard, to help ensure weather tightness, energy efficiency and to meet Building Regulation Air Leakage targets. The specially designed gasket provides a better seal of the cover to the curb. This ensures the hatches have a Class 1 rating under BS EN 12207:200 and meet the requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations.

A thermally broken cover and frame design provide superior thermal performance. The design of hinges and other features ensures that the hatches are resistant to the effects of ageing and weather in exposed locations – a necessity for a large roof area in Central London!

If you would like to find out more about safe and easy access to roof areas for your next project please call 01284 701696 or visit

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