From October 2015
All images are copyright Ian Povey
Week 28: w/c 2nd November 2015
Mortar repairs are continuing down the tower faces. Work has commenced with mortar repairs to the existing stone detailing, below the parapet. This involves rebuilding the eroded detailing, with multiple layers of mortar. Prior to the commencement of the repair, ceramic armatures are fixed into the existing stone, to anchor the new repair to the existing material. Ceramic is used because it is inert to expansion and contraction during temperature variations – expansion could blow the repair and shrinkage could allow the armature to become loose.
Project meeting undertaken on the 3rd November. It was announced by the contractor that the scaffold would not be removed by the Christmas break. It is still stated that the works will be complete by the w/c 21st December 2015. The contractor has been informed that the joint insurance policy will expire on the 4th December. This will need to be extended, at the cost of the contractor.
Damage to the churchyard grass was reported by the contractor. It was noted that this damage had not been caused by their operatives, but by other users of the churchyard. Orange temporary fencing has been erected by IJP and the contractor, to prevent further damaged. This has been reported to the Church office. Contacted by Lynn Stevens, of Wychavon District Council, regarding the condition of the temporary footpaths. Remedial works were undertaken and photographs sent to Lynn, for approval. Lynn satisfied by the works undertaken.
It has been identified by the contractor that some of the existing stone on the pinnacles is too fragile to accept a pin repair. The Project Architect inspected the areas and has suggested the installation of bronze cradles, to support the underside of the stone. A design is to be finalised and issued to the contractor, for pricing.
It has been stated that there are approximately four weeks of stone removal remaining. Existing stone corbel, supporting the Ringing Chamber ceiling, was inspected by the Project Architect, as a crack had been noted. The inspection revealed that it was an open mortar joint and no cause for concern. The glazier was onsite to undertake repairs to the Lower Ringing Room windows. I was noted that the windows are in a worse state than originally thought. It was suggested that it would be better to remove the units and repair offsite. To save a return visit, a verbal instruction was issued to the contractor, for the removal of the windows and additional repair, on condition that the openings were suitably covered. This has been undertaken.
Week 29: w/c 9th November 2015
Met with Vale Magazine reporter to be interviewed for the upcoming article. Site also attended by Ian Tustin, who took additional photographs. Both were shown around the scaffold. Photographs were later received from Ian Tustin, relating to the proposed article in the Vale Magazine. The photographs were inspected by the contractor and captions added accordingly. This information has been returned to Ian, ready for editing.
First delivery of new stone had been delivered to site. This mainly consists of new mullion stones, for the blind arcading, on the upper levels of the tower. Although these are the more basic carvings, the quality is very good. The stone match is also good and will weather nicely to eventually blend with the old. Stone removal continues at lower levels, although only one mason is working on this – 1 mason has commenced with piecing in the new stone. Mortar repairs continuing at low level. Cutting list for all new stone pieces was completed with week and approved. This allows all 187 pieces of stone to be ordered. It is really good to see the 1st new pieces of stone being installed on the tower. Although we are behind schedule, works are progressing, with high quality.
Financial statement prepared and issued to the PCC, to report financial position of project. Financially, the project is in an excellent position, remaining within budget. Notification of additional expenditure issued to the PCC, to provide information of the additional costs relating to the proposed bronze cradles. Stone template-maker onsite this week, preparing the detail drawings for the new carving. They have been working in the Ringing Chamber, as it provides enough space to lay out all the drawings.
Week 30: w/c 16th November 2015
Requested to site by N. Sharland, on the 16th November, to inspect some damage, on the east side of the security hoarding. Due to the way the sheets of metal had been removed and stacked next to the opening, it is thought to be a break-in. The site was inspected by the contractor, but no damage or missing items were noted. No alarm activations were noted. The incident was reported to Helen Gray (churchwarden) and to the police. The fencing was reinstated later that day to re-secure the site.
An additional delivery of stone had been undertaken, including new roll moulds, located under the hoods of the buttresses. Installation of these new pieces had commenced prior to the site inspection. Protection to clock face had been improved. This consists of heavy duty blankets, wrapped around the face. This will prevent any damage being caused, whilst works continue. Mortar repairs were continuing on the lower sections of the tower
Additional Hard Hat tour arranged for the 27/11/2015, to allow a photographic survey to the works by the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS).
Calculation relating to the quantity of scaffold poles, within the scaffold, undertaken. Results presented to Sue Ablett (chair of the fund-raising committee).
Week 31: w/c 23rd November 2015
The 1st of the newly carved finials was brought to site this week, to ensure that it fitted correctly, which it did. The finial has now been returned to the contractor’s workshops, to be used as a template for the remaining nine finials. The quality of the carving is high. Additional mortar repairs have been undertaken to the west window, as verbally instructed, to remove some poor cement pointing and replace with lime mortar. This have provided some impressive results, with the repair looking like new stone. Rebuilding of decorative carvings, with lime mortar, is nearing completion. Mortar repairs have now been completed to the base of the east and west windows. Stone piecing-in is continuing, with nearly all the new roll moulds installed within buttress. Final areas of stone removal are now being undertaken, at low level, including the hood mould above the west arch.
Space within the archways was inspected and found to look very dirty, compared to the newly cleaned faces of the tower. There also seems to be a lot of bird activity in this area. Photos taken and information to be presented to the PCC and Project Architect, with the intention of undertaking further cleaning and improving anti-bird measures. Mortar repairs were continuing on the lower sections of the tower.
Additional Hard Hat tour undertaken on 27/11/2015, to allow a photographic survey to the works, to be undertaken by the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS), for records purposes. Some 2000 photos were taken. Feasibility Study relating to public access to the Bell Tower roof, has still not been received. It has been suggested that this be presented at the project meeting of the 1st December.
Financial Report still not received from Quantity Surveyor. This is to be presented at the project meeting of the 1st December. It has been stated by the contractor that a new face will need to be carved, to replace a badly eroded face. It has been suggested by the contractor that the new grotesque be modelled on Chris Povey, who has been Ringing Master since 1984. This idea was presented to Rev. Spurr, for approval, which he did. The contractor has been instructed to go ahead with design sketches.
Overall, It is really good to see that stages of the works (stone removal and mortar repairs) are reaching completion. The major delay now seems to be related to stone deliveries and carving.
Week 32: w/c 30th November 2015
Site Manager (Nick Sharland) on holiday from 8th December with a replacement Site Manager, Chris Strachey, onsite to undertake site handover. Another stone delivery was undertaken, consisting mainly of string courses for the upper level of the tower. These were being installed during the site visits, with the use of stainless steel pins. These provide far greater shear resistance, at the joint of the new and old stone and anchors everything together. Snagging mortar repairs being undertaken by contractor. This has resulted in a large amount of mortar removal, which has been deemed unsatisfactory. It is unusual for a contractor to snag their own work, unprompted, which says a lot for the quality of the finished article. The intention is to undertake all remedial works by the end of December 2015.
Other tasks this week:
- Hot Work Permits requested from Project Architect, to cover works to the weather vanes, next week.
- Joint insurance policy expired on the 4th December. The policy has been extended, with the PCC paying the new premium from Bell Tower funds. This to be reclaimed from the contractor (agreed).
- Project meeting held on the 1st December. It was stated by the contractor, that works will not be complete by the end of December 2015, and will continue into January 2016.
- Bronze cradles presented at the meeting. The Project Architect felt they needed some refinement, as the sections of bronze used, were excessive. The cradles have been returned to the manufacturers, for remedial works. They will be returned to site and fitted, next week.
- The re-fixing of the clock hands has been postponed until mid-January 2016; when it is intended the works will be complete.
- Reassurances have been requested that all news tone pieces will be installed in the pinnacles, prior to the weathervanes being re fitted, next week. Mortar repairs were continuing on the lower sections of the tower.
Feasibility Study relating to public access to the Bell Tower roof, was not issued at the meeting. It is promised for the 15th January 2016. Financial Report was presented to the Project Team. The present financial position is strong, with works currently approx. £2,000 under budget.
It was announced at the meeting that the Project Architect (Richard Brook), will be leaving the project in the middle of January 2016. He has taken a job with another architect’s practice; one located closer to where he lives. The project will be taken over by a colleague of Richard, Andrew Salter. Although works are progressing, there is still a lot of work to do, mainly relating to the new stone supply and fitting. It is unlikely to be finished by the end of December 2015.