Timber Decay Investigation Sailmakers

The Problem

A Grade II listed property comprising of 3 distinct structures; To the north-west one of only two surviving ships chandler’s workshops in London, built in 1869 with a notably large sail loft. To the north-east was the engineering workshop which is believed to be the only example of a 19th century steel-framed industrial building surviving in London, and represents an early use of rolled structural steel in the national context.

To the south was the 1893 built service range with drawing offices, pattern shop, stores, dispatch office and a caretaker’s flat, carefully laid out in order to provide efficient communication between the functional areas and with the manufacturing workshops at the rear. Sadly, the property had been subject to severe neglect since the engineering firm Caird and Rayner vacated the premises in 1972. A substantial fire to the sail loft roof structure circa 2010 took further toll upon this once very impressive industrial east London structure.

Sailmakers - (Main Image)
Sailmakers - Image 1

The Solution

The aim of this investigation was to identify the probable extent of timber decay problems and associated defects and latent defects; so that advice could then be given on cost-effective remedial measures suitable for risk management, planning and QS purposes to allow the refurbishment of the building with the minimum risk of damp and timber decay related problems whilst conserving historically important materials and maintaining the capital value of the property.

H+R inspected vulnerable and representative timbers via deep drilling and moisture probing. In general timbers in contact to masonry showed elevated moisture contents conducive to decay. Subsequently, rafter ends, beam and joist ends as well as embedded plates in contact with historically and actively damp affected masonry had been highly vulnerable to decay in the past. Through detailed onsite practical investigations, H+R were able to identify all defective and vulnerable structural timbers within the property and give comprehensive remedial recommendations as to their best repair whilst maintaining the historic authenticity of the property.

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