<span style="font-size: 1rem;">Progress</span>
A productive review meeting with Buttress Architects covered the programme, potential reinstatement options and consultation with the Diocesan Advisory Committee. Buttress have commissioned the production of rectified photographic images to assist them in carrying out a detailed survey of the stonework. These images are due to be issued by mid-September which will allow Buttress to commence their site survey work. Buttress are also currently working on:<ul><li>assessing the profiles of the timber roof structure to the nave and chancel</li><li>solutions to incorporate insulation to the new roofs to meet current standards and</li><li>assessing the stone profiles of the nave columns using photographic records. </li></ul>
Buttress will carry out an options appraisal exercise which we intend to present to the PCC, DAC and other stakeholders. This process will take approx. 4-6 weeks to complete from receipt of the rectified photography images.
Sandberg have carried out their initial site visit and have now also been commissioned to do the sampling of the stonework. This was provisionally booked for the end of September but has been delayed until the start of October due to a positive COVID test within the Sandberg site team. This means that we will not have the full Sandberg report back before the consultation meeting. We do however hope to have some interim feedback from the sampling exercise which will assist us in the options appraisal. We appreciate that the timescales are frustrating but we are finding that current circumstances are creating a challenging environment across the construction sector. This is notably having an impact on the cost and availability of materials and lead times for goods and services.
Given the feedback we have received from the Chancellor and Historic England and the ongoing survey work, we recommend deferring the aisle roof works at this time. Whilst it would have been good to make a positive start on the rebuilding work, doing so now will introduce unnecessary risk and complication to the approval and reinstatement process. Additionally, as the temporary restraint scaffolds to the north and south aisles have been purchased outright, the cost implication of deferring this work until the main restoration work is insignificant. By rolling the aisle roof works up within the main reinstatement works we will avoid having to submit two separate schemes to the DAC and avoid two separate tender processes.
We have now received feedback from Hirst who have reported that they cannot comment on the restoration potential of the remaining monuments and artefacts without further investigations. We have outlined the position of the PCC to them, explaining that we do not want to commit significant funds to carrying out further investigations and providing protective enclosures to items which may ultimately not be suitable for restoration. We have asked them to provide proposals to this effect and we await their response.
Wessex attended site on Monday 6<sup>th</sup> September to carry out their further processing. The general impression is that there are very few items that are likely to be suitable for long term retention but there is a lot of material that could inform the restoration works depending upon the scope of the project. Many of these items will be related to the Phase 3 fit out works therefore consideration should be given to progressing this phase to establish the scope of the material that ought to be retained. We await Wessex’s updated report but have attached the email update from the team conducting the processing in the interim.
Removal of Boiler and Plant
Whilst things are relatively quiet on site at the moment, this may be an opportunity to consider removing the existing heating system and other M&E services that remain on site. If there is a consensus that the oil-fired system will not be reinstated, we could also include the removal of the oil tank and pipe to eliminate the residual risks associated with this. If this is something that you wish us to look into please let us know and we will make enquires and put a proposal together.
We are working in conjunction with Buttress to produce ‘story’ boards to display on the site fencing to help maintain public engagement with the project and future proposals. We intend to produce more of these as the restoration work progresses. We hope to have something to share with you on this front very soon.
Finally, during the site meeting with Historic England, some ornate carving was identified to the stone threshold between the chancel and the vestry where the organ chamber used to be located. This possibly marks the location of burial within the church, although its location appears to be above a wall.
Gawaine Dawes BEng (Hons) MSc CEng MIStructE
Senior Structural Engineer