St James’ Finchampstead

H+R were instructed to investigate this church in Berkshire after a significant section of timber fell from the eaves to the nave floor, narrowly missing a member of the parish. The client requested that a detailed inspection of the timber truss ends and associated wall plates be undertaken to ensure that no further ‘dislodgements’ were likely to happen, and that the church could re-open for the Christmas period without danger to the public.

St James' Finchampstead - Main image

Work undertaken

H+R conducted a full timber condition survey of the accessible primary structural timbers using decay detection drilling, probing for superficial and deep moisture contents, as well as a visual and physical assessment of the timber wall plates and support elements of the roof of the nave and the tower. A risk assessment of the roofs was also undertaken to identify any issues which may affect the building in the future.

How we solved the problem

Critical assessment of the timber plates and truss ends identified a number of areas which required sympathetic repair, however the risk of further timber becoming dislodged was found to be minimal. The electric heaters that had been retro-fitted to the building were causing significant temperature changes to the adjacent timbers resulting in localised extreme drying, which combined with mechanical and natural defects had exacerbated the effects of a split in the oak hardwood resulting in failure and dislodgement.

St James' Finchampstead - Image 1
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