Audio Schemes

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Audio Schemes's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Audio Schemes is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Debbie and Nick Langley
Betfred Studio for LCC Lighting at
MediaCityUK, Manchester
Audio Schemes constructs and soundproofs studios for
music, television and radio industries. Company founder
Nick Langley says that knowledge of the concept of
sound enables Audio Schemes to think outside the box in its
designs and constructions.
Audio Schemes is a culmination of previous experience that I had acquired in
soundproofing and studio building in previous companies. The way I see it, it’s a
one-man band, surrounded by skilled and capable people. Starting out as a dry
lining interior specialist more than 20 years ago went a long way to piquing my
interest in acoustics and sound. This developed further over the years at two other
companies I had a stake in, both of which were eventually sold.
It was during these times I had my first experience of building a recording studio in
an old abattoir in Manchester. This kind of experience helped further my experience
of the studio-building process – a perfect marriage of the physics of sound with
old-style construction work.
Returning to the industry
After going into semi-retirement following the sale of the previous business,
I caught the bug once again and returned to set up Audio Schemes in
2012. Initially, we started by taking on steady volumes of work in domestic
soundproofing and home studios. Through this, word gradually spread throughout
the industry. Our cause was greatly aided through recognition from consumer
trading title Which?, that designated us as a Trusted Trader – a title we’ve now
held for three years.
»Founded by Nick Langley
»Established in 2012
»Based in Stockport, Greater
»Services: Construction and
soundproofing of studios for
post-production, television
and radio
»No. of employees: 15
»Worked with big industry
studios including Warner Bros.
and Sony, soundproofing
for the Royal Academy of
Music and Adidas and studio
building for bands Pendulum
and The Feeling
»Turnover: Around £3.5 million
»Endorsed by Which? as a
Trusted Trader
Audio Schemes
Our success in the past five years has
been made all the more remarkable
given our geographical location. Ask
any professional working in the sector
in the UK and they’d likely confirm
that it’s very much a London-centric
industry. Counteracting this meant
aligning ourselves with the right
projects and helping to generate
positive word of mouth for what Audio
Schemes could offer. Another way
we’ve set ourselves apart is through
innovating. We take our pre-existing
knowledge of sound and bend the
rules in the design and construction
phase to go beyond set regulations
and notions of what people thought
were within the limits of possibility.
Designing and building for
many industries
Not long after we were established,
bigger studio-building jobs followed
with the likes of the Royal Academy
of Music and professional recording
artists The Feeling along with
soundproofing the northern UK
headquarters of sportswear giant
Adidas in Manchester.
We completed this project in 17 days,
11 ahead of the proposed schedule
and used 19,000 carpet tiles. This
project is a real demonstration of
our “have a go” mentality, while
managing to deliver on a big scale to
prestigious names. This approach will
continue as we look to expand the size
of the company. I’m very aware that
companies like us won’t ever be huge
due to the highly specialised nature
of what we do, but nevertheless,
there are still plenty of exciting new
directions to grow the business in.
After these projects, we then moved
into the design and build of broadcast
studios, simply because we had the
pre-existing knowledge and capabilities
while the market was a larger one.
Initially starting with a London studio
for Tamil Media, this move has since
resulted in projects with Virgin Money.
Our profile was further raised in
2015 through our work with the BBC
children’s programme
The Dengineers
where we built a studio in the shape
of an amplifier. This resulted in a lot of
interest, which enhanced the company
name and standing.
As of 2018, Audio Schemes’ order
books are full until the end of next
year and there is more potential to
branch out into other sectors. One
interesting possibility is working with
National Grid, being on the tender list
Post-production studio
for Roundtable Films,
Covent Garden, London
We always
exceed client
Premier League set in
London for LCC/eye-
catching design
Highlighting best practice
to soundproof their main control room
to reduce the noise damage emanating
from high decibel levels from gas
pressure explosions.
A multi-talented workforce
Making all of this great work possible
is our staff of 15, who encompass
many different talents. The team is
comprised of a mechanical engineer,
overseeing all ventilation and air
conditioning work; two joiners, who
undertake bespoke fabric fittings;
and a number of dry liners who have
served us for many years. People with
these specialist skills need to be trusted
to use them as a collective. It’s a
highly skilled sector – for instance, the
process of learning to fabric line walls
can take up to four years to become
proficient in.
Issues commonly arise during
projects and the team need an
intricate knowledge of their trade in
order to rectify them. A completed
soundproofed wall may look good to
the eye but in terms of performance, it
could still emit too much noise beyond
the client request. For cases like these,
there needs to be an understanding
of what works and what doesn’t.
Capturing images of our work step by
step has proved an effective way of
building on-site team communication.
Further recognition of our
abilities and services
A genuine area of pride and a
testament to the strengths of Audio
Schemes and its staff was being asked
by the All England Lawn Tennis Club
last year to soundproof the physio
rooms and two TV studios on the
Wimbledon Centre Court, as there
was a lack of privacy when holding
conversations in these rooms.
Looking outwards
One of these is expansion into Europe.
Despite Brexit, we don’t anticipate major
changes. This is because if the price is
right and the quality is there, people
will trade. There are also aspirations to
look further afield. Inquiries have been
made to do some work over in Dubai,
a location where word of mouth from
UK businesses can go a long way
and open up opportunities. The US,
specifically New York City, has also
been looked at. Worldwide, the British
reputation for building still prevails and
this will serve us well as we look to
move furtherforward.
The British
reputation for
building still
Giordano-designed set
for a studio in Africa

This article was sponsored by Audio Schemes. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy