SAMS deployed on Bath Abbey organ


James Fisher Strainstall (JF Strainstall) was contracted to undertake crucial structural health monitoring on the Klais organ at Bath Abbey.

Originally installed in 1895 but completely reconstructed in 1997 by German organ builder, Klais, the organ has been a focal point of the abbey for decades.

JF Strainstall was brought in for testing while Bath Abbey changed the structural support beams of the organ, from cast iron to new I-beams.


Composed of 4,000 pipes, it was imperative that any changes to the organ’s foundation were monitored closely in order to avoid any structural damage being done.

As part of the brief, the system needed to be discreet as the organ would remain in use over the period of monitoring.


JF Strainstall was the chosen monitoring company for this project due to previous successful work carried out at Exeter Cathedral and key projects around Bath.

The load was measured by JF Strainstall using the innovative Smart Asset Management System (SAMS) to display data dynamically acquired from a number of sensors across the organ’s structure during transfer. Displacement data was captured to show tilt in two directions near the top of the organ.

JF Strainstall was able to keep the sensors and monitoring equipment hidden from view using sensors specially selected for the project.

When the work was completed and Bath Abbey - and their contracted engineering consultant - were satisfied with the load transfer, the monitoring system was adjusted to a reduced acquisition rate.

Moving forward, SAMS will now be used for the long term monitoring of the organ’s movements, displaying all data streams on a single information platform that the customer can access remotely, with real-time alerts set up in the event of any changes.

Nick Townsend, project manager at JFTS, said:

“This was an interesting project for JF Strainstall, not only because it’s on the doorstep of the Bristol office but also due to the project taking place in a building of such historical importance.

This project may be considered small compared the other projects JF Strainstall run, but shows the diversity of JF Strainstall’'s capabilities to adapt to any situation presented using the SAMS display software. SAMS is equally able to adapt to any size project and is able to run anything from simple displays to multiple displays with complex processing.”

Bath Abbey