Electrical installations for all time
“Work here has nothing in common with work in a two-room apartment,” said Marco Seibert – one of the three managing directors of Elektro Baeth GmbH. This is hardly surprising as the building of which he spoke is of a completely different magnitude: Cologne Cathedral.
The first parts of the roughly 7,914 square metre, covered area of the cathedral were erected in the 13th century. The two main towers rise to a height of 157 metres. Each year, around six million visitors come to see the historic building or to attend services or concerts. As such, an absolutely reliable, modern electrical installation is required. For more than 50 years, the employees of Elektro Baeth have looked after the electrical installations in Cologne Cathedral. In so doing, the work of the installation engineers has become more complex as the years have passed by. These days, it’s not just about installing a simple circuit for the lighting. Today, a modern air-conditioning centre for the treasury, video surveillance, a fire alarm system and lighting control – implemented with KNX and DALI – provide an ultramodern installation in these listed walls. For the installation engineers, sometimes the work takes them to new heights. “Recently, I had an appointment on the other bank of the Rhine. Two employees, who were installing a weather station at a height of 156 metres on one of the towers, called me on the phone. From there, they could wave to me,” recalls Marco Seibert.
This means that every project in the cathedral presents its own challenges. OBO products help to tackle them. Several kilometres of cable support and underfloor systems ensure that the power and data cables can be run as safely and discreetly as possible along the long routes through the massive Gothic edifice. Above all, Baeth values the high material standard of the OBO products. “Everything that is done here is done according to the principle ‘Building for eternity’. Therefore, all the materials must also withstand bad weather conditions,” says Seibert. In this case, the installation engineers also make use of the OBO stainless steel installation pipes and cable trays.
However, building for eternity also means making as few changes to the listed walls as possible. “We do not drill into any of the existing stonework. Wherever possible, we use clamps or spreaders or, otherwise, drill into the joints,” explains Seibert. The versatile OBO connection and fastening systems are used frequently. In addition to these practical products, the installation engineers in the cathedral frequently require ingenuity and flexibility. This is because, in contrast to work in an apartment, there is no such thing as a standard solution.