• 2005 VA National Art Library

Heritage Projects

National Art Library

CLIENT: Victoria & Albert Museum
VALUE: £456,000
DATE: May 2020


The National Art Library (NAL) is a major reference library, situated in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). It is freely accessible to the public and specialises in material about the fine and decorative arts of many countries and periods.


QLL were employed to undertake the replacement of the National Art Library roof. The project included:

  • Removal and disposal of the existing glazed and slate roofing
  • Removal of the asbestos seals to the glazing
  • Structural support for the new glazed roofing onto the existing roof structure, including development of final details
  • Replacement of rotten timbers, insulation and accessories in the existing roof and reapplication of corrosion protection to steelwork
  • Design, manufacture and installation of a new patent glazing system
  • Installation of new slate roofing, and associated leadwork gutters, cappings, and flashings
  • Completion of interfaces between the new system and existing roofing to the surrounding areas
  • Refurbishment of existing timber-framed and glazed vertical lantern lights
  • Refurbishment of cast iron rainwater goods
  • Strengthening work to existing plaster covering the facade. Not on this project


Beneath the existing roof coverings, there was the glass ceiling of the National Art Library. To protect the glass ceiling, and the users of the library beneath, we installed a completely sealed timber crash deck designed to also act as a working platform for the roof installation. This removed the risk of damage to the ceiling, and remove the risks associated with ‘working at height’.

The historic façade of the library building consists of terracotta panels and mouldings, and therefore could not be used to brace any scaffolding. We designed a full façade elevation scaffold, complete with temporary roof coverings, using a water butt kentledge system, which removed the need for ties to be drilled into the historic façade.

The V&A were extremely pleased with speed that the project was delivered and also the logistics implemented to protect the external façade of the Grade I listed building during the works.

Project gallery

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