Maintenance work on gallery heating and ventilation system gets under way

Essential maintenance to upgrade the specialist heating and ventilation systems at The Hepworth Wakefield is being carried out to help ensure the world-renowned gallery meets the strict criteria required by insurance standards set by Central Government and other leading bodies in the art world.

The Council owns the building and is responsible for all ongoing maintenance. This work is part of a long-term standard maintenance programme but been brought forward by three years, to make sure the systems comply with the necessary insurance standards.

The maintenance work, which needs to be carried out by a specialist contractor, is expected to cost in the region of £1.3m and needs to be completed by 31 March 2022.

Heating and ventilation systems that meet the strict standards are essential, to ensure the building can house precious sculptures, art and artefacts at the correct temperatures and humidity, so that they can be cared for and preserved for future generations.

Glynn Humphries, Corporate Director for Communities, Environment and Climate Change said: “As owners of the building we have a standard ongoing programme of maintenance to ensure it meets all the necessary criteria required by a gallery that houses multi-million pound collections of art and sculpture.

“Although very costly, this type of work has to be carried out in museums, like The Hepworth Wakefield to ensure it meets the necessary Central Government insurance standards as well as the Arts Council and individual lenders insurance requirements, to provide adequate environmental control. The ability to house installations and loans are governed by very strict environmental condition rules for temperature and humidity.

“By bringing the work forward we can deal with the current challenges and upgrade, enabling us to reset the maintenance schedule.  A specialist contractor will be commissioned to carry out the work and we will ensure that this work achieves the best possible value for money as well as supporting our climate change agenda by being more efficient.”