Thank you to everyone involved with this successful project! It was definitely a challenge but one which I felt everyone lived up to!
We were given 24 days in January & February to fully restore the main facade to Quendon Hall. The first challenge was to get the building wrapped as air tight as we could and have the big diesel heaters pump hot air in to try and keep the temperature above 5%.
On cue the weather went from being beautiful sunny days and 12 degs to overnight on Sunday 13th dropping to a horrifically low -8 degs and we woke up to 6 inches of snow! Wow you couldn’t of believed it.
They knew how important this was and still got there at 7am to start work. The very steep drive way was the first challenge but many hands make light work.
The fully wrapped scaffolding went up in 2 days and the heaters were working well, albeit burning quite a few litres a day to keep everything above 5 degs, but so far so good.
The stone work had all of the Santex paint scraped off to allow the stone repairs to be carried out, all the sliding sashes were taken out and protected, delivered to our workshops for their full restoration. At this point everything was going very well.
Maybe I spoke to soon, as we took the rotten sections of fascia off the problems became more evident.
The level of rot was far larger than expected and the entire upper moulding and box gutter had to be removed. This was a massive task we were not expecting and added to the already large job and pushed us to our limits. We called on our entire team of 34 craftsmen to work 16 hours a day to make sure we kept on schedule.
As the box gutter came off the rot got worse and worse and then dry rot too so we called in our treatment specialist who responded immediately with a full and comprehensive treatment of the entire box gutter. The problem was caused by a lack of knowledge by the previous builders some 28 years ago, maybe not their fault but there is an element of common sense involved. Even in a conservation like for like project if the surfaces we are restoring or replacing have failed in a major way then we must learn from their mistakes and apply our knowledge and fit something which will last and therefore protect more of the historic buildings fabric. In this case the length of the steps in the box gutter were a whopping 2.4m long and in code 5 lead!
This lead had split in several places and had been welded as a temporary repair which will never work. These splits had been letting water in for years and combined with blocked down pipes was the major contributor to the rot issues. It could of all been prevented with a routine maintenance schedule
At this point we didn’t need any more shocks and I thought it couldn’t get much worse so we had the right men and the right tools and all cracked on to get it done on time.
28 sash windows restored, reinserted and painted to a super finish.
Stonemasonry cleaned and repainted and parts hand-crafted and re-shaped.
Roof and box gutter re built & repaired.
Dry rot dealt with.
You can see from the before and after photos the extent of the repair and I think we should be proud of ourselves to achieve all this in the time allowed, it was a great job to be part of and the energy from everyone carried it through to a wonderful finish on time with a glass of Champagne in the back garden.
Let’s hope the weddings that were due 2 days after we left site were successful and the guests appreciated the difference!