The ideal bench is fully adjustable. If you are buying new, please encourage your organisation to consider paying the extra for this, explain the benefits. If this really isn't possible and/or you are looking to replace or adapt an existing bench, there are cheaper alternatives available, for example:
a new bench that can be adjusted by adding different-sized blocks to the bottom
a second-hand fixed-height bench, cut down to your own requirements
your own existing bench cut down and blocks added as required
When investigating the options, you must of course consult your organisation (church etc) to find out what is permitted, and also other relevant authorities. Please do not start cutting benches up without checking first. As one organ builder has told us:
"To replace or amend an historic bench is fraught with conflicts of interest on heritage grounds — you can’t simply chop the legs down for short people and then provide blocks to lift it back up again for tall people. Such an approach would result in loss of historic material and would not be met favourably by the authorities. The only option in those cases would be to provide a replacement bench, ideally made to match that of the original."
If you cutting down, most benches have a crossbar which will determine how much can be trimmed from the base. If you are fairly light weight (under 12 stone), this can be removed without compromising stability. But, please check, and remember the bench needs to be suitable for all.
A guide to costs (from a range of builders)
Fully adjustable bench, anything from £1800 (plus VAT)
Fixed bench could be £1600 (plus VAT)
Second-hand bench, from £200
Design and supplying blocks, from £200, with blocks costing about £500 per pair
If you need help in any way, remember to contact us at the SWO and you’ll be put in touch with a “bench buddy” to assist you in the process.