Location: St. Mary’s Church, Watton, East Yorkshire
Materials Used:  Terne coated stainless steel

Bespoke bricks from the Bulmer Brick & Tile Co.

Trades involved:
Project Description: Geoff Neal Roofing (GNR) was awarded a contract by Chartered Architects Ferry and Mennim to enable a 16th Century, Grade I listed Church to be re-opened and brought back into use.

The £117,000 project involved comprehensive repairs including complete replacement of lead on all roofs with terne-coated stainless steel; timber repairs to roof beam end bearings due to rot and insect attack, including stainless steel brackets onto wall top bearings; overhaul of rainwater goods including new chutes, spitters and downpipes with new drain runs and soakaways; and external restoration of brickwork and masonry.

A temporary roof was constructed over the site to ensure the building was protected from the elements whilst the extensive work was in progress. To comply with heritage protection legislation the original 16th century oak beams were retained and where necessary stainless steel strengthen caps, structured to an engineer’s design, were placed to stabilise the roof structure. The masonry parapets were repaired or rebuilt as required using matched specialist bricks sourced from the Bulmer Brick & Tile Company. The roof was then replaced with terne coated stainless steel alongside the internal parapet gutters. The cast iron fall pipes were removed for refurbishment or replacement if necessary. This development was a finalist in the Construction News Specialist Awards and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors Awards 2013 for its quality repair with a specialist material.

The five-month project presented a number of technical challenges and demanded high levels of expertise from the craft workers involved, including devising a stabilisation scheme which met English Heritage approved standards in order to repair and replace extensive damage to ancient roof timbers. For this phase of the project, the Architect enlisted the help of a specialist structural engineer. Work was carried out within the parameters of a Natural England Bat Licence when the presence of a bat maternity roost was discovered. Undertaking new draining excavations in the churchyard required an archaeological watching brief; and bespoke bricks, in two sizes, were commissioned from the Bulmer Brick & Tile Co. to replace damaged bricks in the church’s parapets and east gable. The company took steps to ensure the 16-week lead time to supply the bricks did not delay the overall project.

These challenges required close team work and excellent communications between GNR, the architects, a structural engineer and the parochial church council.

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