Thursday, 27 March 2014

Masters House Scaffold Removal

Having 'Topped Out' a couple of weeks ago we have now reached another key milestone in the project - the removal of the scaffolding and sheeting which has hidden the building from view and protected it from wettest winter ever recorded!

The massive temporary structure which was erected a year ago in late snow fall of 2013 has become a key feature of the Ledbury Townscape. Indeed a walk up into Dog Wood or down Bank Crescent reveals how it dwarfs the surrounding buildings.
Access Scaffolding being erected in March 2013
 Clearly such a large temporary structure has a cost. We have had 12 months from the 1st April 2013 to completely remove the roof, repair the timber frame and get the building back water tight. The cost implications on the onward hire of the scaffold being a key driving factor to meet end of March date.

The scaffold itself is comprised of literally thousand of tubes and beams is weighted down by over 5500 concrete blocks sat on 320 railway sleepers! The removal of the structure will take nearly as long as it took to erect as it has been taken down extremely carefully as not to damage the newly finished roof.
The roof being lifted in place
To facilitate this the top end of the St. Katherines carpark will be closed off for a couple of weeks commencing 7th April. This is to enable a crane to be sited to lift off all steel roof trusses and for these to be dismantled safely. We will endevour to undertake this as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to the town and car park users.
The roof trusses being constructed on the South End of St. Katherines Carpark
Whilst the overall the building is a fair way off being completed the building being water tight shifts the project into the finishing stages. Given the at times horrendous conditions the temporary roof has allowed the project to continue as planned and prevented damage to any of the historic timbers which was essential on such a prestigious and nationally important building.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Topping Out Ceremony at the Masters House

As the roof is virtually completed and the scaffolding ready to start being removed at the end of the month - the traditional 'Topping Out' ceremony took place on Tuesday.

Robert Waddington (Friends of the Masters House), Ed Mandrell (Site Manager - SpellerMetcalfe), Gary Butler (Butler Hegarty), Richard Ball (HCC)
Over 60 Locals, Friends of the Masters House, Local Councillors & HCC staff together with the architect Gary Butler, Site Manager Ed Mandrell, members of the SpellerMetcalfe team and a large number of subcontractors who have worked so hard on the project to-date to celebrated with a glass of champagne and a specially made cake.

Andy Tector and Mairead Lane from HCC cut the special cake created by Bryony from Butler Hegarty Architects

Ed had the honor of placing some local greenery on the chimney - a tradition that predates the original construction of the Masters House by some 700 years with earliest references dating from around 700 A.D., when Scandinavians topped off construction of new halls with sheathes of grain for Odin's horse, Slepnir with Odin, supposedly impressed with this consideration for his horse - and with the raucous good cheer of the crowd - bestowed good luck on the future occupants. The Vikings spread their customs across the portions of the European World that they raided and colonised. Topping-off, however, was modified by some tree-worshiping pagan tribes(1)

Repairs to the timber frame are completed and the internal plastering, mechanical, electrical and window repairs are well underway with completion of the internal builders works due in the Late Autumn.