Unknown Timber Frame Gains Listed Status, Uncovered by Trace - PCA Project of the Year

An unknown timber frame wattle & daub historic building, concealed by render but exposed by Trace when investigating reported damp issues. Timber frame repairs were specified and the building gained listed status, with Trace agreeing and managing repairs to completion with the local authority Conservation Officer and other project stakeholders.

Bebington Hidden Gem, Unknown Timber Frame Structure Gains Listed Status, Uncovered and Repaired by Trace

Job type:

Structural Timber Repair

Original 1700's timber frame structure with wattle & daub panels concealed by render, exposed by Trace during survey

Oak timber frame significantly decayed and wattle & daub similarly deteriorated

Project was brought to the attention of the Conservation Officer, and gained grade 2 listed status (entry no. 1408451) during the ongoing works

Combination of traditional oak replacement and jointing combined with modern methods to retain a large percentage of original oak

Existing wattle & daub panels replaced but including original materials crushed and remixed for reinstatement

Internal walls insulated/reed matted/daubed, also receiving oakum caulking

Combined waterproofing measures to guarantee a dry space

Where the timber frame was exposed it was clearly decayed with the sapwood essentially turned to dust. The following is a sample of the drawings produced by Trace to illustrate the timber frame and the issues with it:

Repair methodology

Timber Frame:

Joints within the existing timber frame were strengthened by installing cocealed rods embedded in resin, faced over in new oak plants to match the existing timber as far as feasibly possible, including oak plugs.

In areas where the timber was not in a retainable condition, it was cut out and replaced with new air dried oak using scarf, and mortise and tenon joints to match the original construction.

Wall panels:

The wattle & daub panels were removed from the frame with material remixed with hydraulic lime and re-used. New oak and chestnut laths were installed into the existing sockets in frame timbers and woven with willow.

The mixture was plastered over and lime-washed, tinted a roan colour with the addition of dried pigs blood.

In summary this was a very challenging project that managed to restore and rescue a hidden structure of historical importance.

To quote the Conservation Officer (C.O.) 'this project will be a good case study of how to use a combination of modern and traditional repair techniques'.

The CO has referred to the structure as a flagship property acting as an example of timber frame construction in the local area. (The CO has conducted tours around the property to Architects and a local college).

New techniques were trialed in relation to re-mixing the original daub panels.

This is also a good example of what was initially an instruction from the client to provide a quote for an injection damp proof course, and how Trace provided a more holistic approach to the instruction and consequently provided better advice resulting in extended works outside the original scope.

It should also be noted that there were not any consultants involved in this project and Trace not only liaised between the client and the local authority, but specified the works, prepared all drawings from scratch, agreed the works and managed the works to the timber frame portion of the structure.

Further challenges were overcome in respect that without listed building consent (agreed to be obtained retrospectively), the works were continually discussed, agreed and amended with the CO as the works progressed, with new ideas being continually investigated, sourced and application techniques researched and trialed e.g. pigs blood/Oakum caulking/clay daubs/Linseed oil putty etc.

Furthermore the client has cost restraints that Trace had to take into account during the preparation of specifications and costs, this while managing the requirements of the CO.

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