Development

Development phase

The development phase of the project was aimed at identifying required work, costing such work, and the procuring goods and services to undertake that work.

Overview of the entire conservation project

The project will record the Bell Tower’s condition, identify appropriate repairs, and undertake those repairs using approved methods and materials. Research and analysis will inform better future conservation and management of the building. Everything is aimed at ensuring the Evesham Abbey Bell Tower is preserved and protected for future generations.

Overall project objectives

The project has the following objectives:

  • Heritage in better condition: this important building preserved in better condition for future generations.
  • Heritage identified/recorded: the project will be supported by detailed archive research and rectified photography, and materials and documentation produced by the project will be appropriately archived for future architects, builders and historians.
  • Heritage better managed: The project will seek to identify causes of deterioration and possible remedial work to support better future management.
  • Heritage better interpreted and explained.

The Bell Tower conservation project has two phases Development; and Delivery. The project is informed by a number of key documents including:

Overview of the Development Phase

This phase involved a range of activities to establish in detail the scope of the damage and what can be done. As you would expect, we had different people doing different things:

The next section considers in detail the role of each of these people.

Details of Development

  • The architect is the qualified expert who co-ordinated and managed all aspects of the work: not only dealing with inputs and issues from contractors but also adding his own experience and expertise in historic building conservation. The architect was appointed following a rigorous procurement process which closely followed good practice recommended by English Heritage.
  • Detailed measurements (using a laser scanner) and photography came together to produce rectified photographs. This allowed a highly detailed and integrated view of all aspects of the Bell Tower; supporting the identification and assessment of areas requiring repairs (and also the extent of those repairs).
  • We are facing a major problem with damaged stone surfaces (including from sulphate skins); the first task to fix this will be to perform careful stone cleaning. Test areas were cleaned by the conservators to establish the most appropriate methods to be used.
  • As repair is required on all levels and aspects of the Bell Tower (which is some 110 feet high), it is important to get access to all levels and aspects. A cherry-picker was vital to allow the architect, conservators, surveyors, and other professionals to closely examine and record the damaged historic fabric.
  • Some repairs might be performed purely through careful cleaning and repair, but others will require the replacement of old stone with new. The stone of the Bell Tower (and, actually, a lot of the old buildings in Evesham) is from quarries on the Cotswold edge (Broadway, Stanway, and further south). If stone needs to be replaced, then the new stone must come from sources similar to the old: which is why we must identify sources of appropriate stone.
  • The key focus of archive research was to identify (where possible) the scope, materials, techniques and details of the last two major conservation projects in 1951 and in 1901, and the history of repairs over the life of the Tower. This was important so that we could learn from previous work and could appropriately determine future repairs.
  • Throughout all this work – and through both phases of this project – we needed to keep a careful eye on the costs. This is why the quantity surveyor was so important – helping make sure that we paid only for what we needed (more formally, it was to minimise the costs and enhance value for money while achieving the required standards and quality).
  • Construction, Design and Management (CDM) was concerned with health and safety, risk management and safe practices. Last, but not least, the ecologist helped us ensure that any and all work will not threaten any important wildlife living around the Bell Tower.

Check out the Development Gallery to see how some of this work went…

Timetable

The Development phase started in October 2013 and ended September 2014, with archive research finished off early in 2015.

Management

In order to avoid conflicts of interest, a project manager was appointed as the first point of contact for the architect and contractors:

The Project Manager of the Development Phase was Stan Brotherton (who also acted as the treasurer of the Appeal). He was involved in all aspects of this phase, including the production of tenders, the appointment of the project architect, coordinating the work of specialists (geology, archive research, ecology, rectified photography, site surveys, CDM, etc.), liaison with Wychavon DC on site access, engagement with advisory bodies (English Heritage and SPAB), and management of formal statutory permissions. This role also involved the production of key project documents including a business plan, project plans, activity statement, risk register, cost breakdowns, cashflows, and a maintenance plan.

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