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The UK and Ireland have some of the finest municipal buildings in the world. These heritage buildings are a massive part of our architectural history, but still serve as living, working buildings for councils. It’s a challenge for these buildings to meet the demands of modern democracy whilst still retaining their character.

What are the most common difficulties faced when working with AV in these buildings, and how can we solve them?

Image of a local authority council chamber
The problem: aesthetics

How do we preserve the character of the room whilst at the same time incorporating all the cables and components a modern AV system needs?

The solution: bespoke design

Shiny new AV equipment can stick out like a sore thumb in a 19th century room. Luckily, we work with leading suppliers to create bespoke systems that are sympathetic to the contours and character of the space. Public-i designers consider how each element will look in the room and how it will integrate with existing fittings and furniture. This can include, for example; bespoke plates or removable microphone stems.

The problem: historic plaster work, flooring and panelling

It can be challenging to fit cables and brackets without damaging listed walls and floors.

The solution: think outside the box

At the design phase, we think about the practicalities of fixtures and fittings. Our engineers and design teams have a wealth of experience working within heritage buildings, and they’re an innovative bunch. We’ve completed entire installations without having to put a single nail in a wall and we’ve even seen cabling laid between flagstones. It can take a bit of creativity: but it’s usually possible to have a state-of-the-art system without compromising the integrity of the building.

The problem: poor acoustics

Large and ornate buildings often bring issues of poor acoustics. Problems like reverberation, echo and low intelligibility are common.

The solution: find a technical solution and train users well

Historic buildings were rarely designed with sound-quality in mind. However, there are systems out there designed to combat exactly this problem. We know how to use this technology to greatest effect and how to integrate it within a wider system that meets the AV needs of clients. At Public-i we also recognise the importance of teaching people how to use technology effectively. We can work with officers and members to minimise the issues presented by the space and get the best sound possible.

The problem: access and installation

Listed buildings often go hand-in-hand with difficult access. Common problems include narrow gangways, restricted height access or fixed furniture.

The solution: careful planning

It’s important to consider exactly how to install each component, and we do this from the start. We work with internal staff from facilities as well as representatives from heritage organisations to plan carefully at all stages. Our installation engineers are specialist access experts, and we partner with external organisations too.


Public-i are the experts at working in heritage spaces. We can provide advice from project conception to installation. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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