Tricky Transepts

Planning and preparation will help to ensure that you job goes as smoothly as possible. There is always going to be a surprise once work starts, so it is best to stay flexible and be prepared to adapt your strategy in response to changing circumstances to ensure that you hit your project goals.

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Stone repairs and conservation to transepts at St Andrew Cathedral, Inverness

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With tight budgets, people start looking for certainty, but a balance needs to be struck between what is practical and necessary before work begins. You can never find out everything in advance and it is not always cost effective to try. Additional investigations by specialists can cost more than it would to actually deal with the issues should they arise.

It is important that corners are not cut, and you shouldn’t rush in blind, but at the same time, don’t let uncertainty become an obstacle to making a decision and getting on with the work. Inspections only report on the condition of a building on a particular day. When work is delayed, they become less reliable as building fabric continues to deteriorate, leading to a need higher levels of intervention and expense.

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Mortar erosion requiring conservation and repair at St Andrews Cathedral Inverness

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Following a high-level survey with steeplejacks, cracks and fractured stone was noted on crosses mounted high on the gable of St Andrews Cathedral. This was a matter of safety and a plan was prepared to remove the crosses so that replacements could be carved and re-erected on the gable.

Once work began at high level, there was a further problem arose that had to be addressed immediately. The top stone was loose and rocking. Only gravity was keeping it in place.

Thankfully we had a skilled crew on hand, with Andrew Beattie from AB Masonry and Stoddart Crane Hire , and we were able to develop a solution and implement it there and then. Removing the stone, fixing dowels to restrain the stone and re-bedding the stone on a fresh bed of mortar. It meant extending the duration of the crane hire but delay would have cost many times more and additional plant mobilisation.

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High level stone repairs at St Andrews Cathedral Inverness

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Do enough of the right type of investigation to enable you to develop a strategy will offer best value for money, stay flexible, expect surprises and when the opportunity arises, deal with an issue before it has the opportunity to get out of control.

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MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout Scotland. 

If you need independent advice give us a call ?