Architects need to understand how magnetic fields operate


AFILSOver the last few days I have been working on two separate tender documents produced for completion by electrical contractors that required the involvement of a specialist design company as part of the process. The specialism is in the design along with a quotation for the installation of hearing loops (HLS). One building is for a major University and the other as it happens for my own GP Practice. Both required hearing loops in rooms that were in the same location on two separate floors. The one for the GP practice was produced by the same company that has produced at least two others with almost identical challenges. The problem is that magnetic fields can be controlled horizontally but not vertically so that rooms can set out as adjacent to one another with hearing loops in each room and there will be no interference if the loop is designed appropriately. That said the design for adjacent loops is potentially more complex and may be more costly than for loops in rooms which are not alongside one another although in modern buildings with reinforced concrete construction the design and cost difference is much more modest. However the critical issue is to find ways to persuade architects and building designers to not locate rooms that need hearing loops installed to be on adjacent floors and in the same footprint to one another. Over several years we went around a number of Architect practices to carry out CPDs on this very theme.  On one occasion at the end of our session an Architect explained how frustrated they were that we had given them this information six months after their latest building which conflicted with the information had been completed. On another occasion we were asked by an electrician who had won a contract to wire up a building, to quote for a series of loops in the building. That particular case did not involve conflicts between the rooms, but wheras the company had anticipated the cost of the loops being £3,000 – £5,000 in the whole building when they estimated the costs, our quote for £27,000 to match the requirements set out in the tender was something of a challenge. So along with Architects, builders and electrical contractors need to understand the nature and process involved in fitting hearing loops if buildings are going to be designed and constructed and fitted in a way that will give the 2m – 3m people with hearing aids in our nation the best experience when the users of the building choose to use audio systems for meetings and other purposes such as watching films and video conferencing.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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