Upgrade for Friends House

Quakers in Britain have announced that Friends House is to undergo a major upgrading programme in the name of sustainability. The trustees of Britain Yearly Meeting have announced that the principal reason for the works, a major property in central London, is as a part of their Quakers in Britain’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2013.

Friends House is the administrative headquarters of Quakers in Britain.

The work is also being carried out as part of continued stewardship of the building and to improve the working environment for their staff and to provide offices suitable for modern working conditions.

As part of those modern working conditions, the amount of office space for staff is being reduced and four new meeting room spaces will be created for let, to raise revenue for Quaker work.

The work is due to start on Monday 28/03/2011, although as of 25/03/2011 no decision in the planning application had been recorded on the Camden Council website. The building changes are due to be finished by 10/10/2011.

The Carbon Trust carried out a free survey of Friends House in 2008 and since then Quakers in Britain have worked with Max Fordham engineers who advocated a hierarchical strategy to increase the energy efficiency of the building. They suggest improving the performance of a building, then improving the efficiency of building services before introducing renewable energy systems. 

According to a statement released by trustees, key areas of work will include:

  • To move Quaker Life, Quaker Communications & Recording Clerks Office to join Quaker Peace & Social Witness on the third floor in open, flexible, naturally- lit, office spaces that are supplemented by controlled lighting with good ventilation;
  • To relocate the offices of The Friend and Six Weeks Meeting to the Garden Suite;
  • To install insulation to the walls and to secondary glaze the windows in all refurbished areas;
  • To create three new meeting spaces within the Drayton Room, one of which will be a training room;
  • To install zoned intelligent energy- efficient lighting; and
  • Start a replacement of the air handling plant.

Trustees also state that during the next six months “there will be times when staff will be packing and moving and we ask for understanding when staff may at times not be able to respond as quickly and efficiently as they normally do. During this time we will endeavour to ensure as little disruption to services as possible and will use the website, out of office email and telephone messages to inform Friends when departments are undergoing moves.”

Planning applications 2011/0766/P and 2011/0769/L were registered at Camden Council on 17/02/2011. To view the applications go to http://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer17/GeneralSearch.aspx and type Friends House into the site address field.

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