With this refurbishment of a 200-year-old building as a visitor attraction, Simon Copping coped ably with a super-tight site on the main high street.
As the site was landlocked at the rear, a scaffolded temporary roof was simply not economically viable, and Simon had to reroof the structure (which included the insertion of new oak dragon beams and marine-ply secret gutters, new leadwork gutters and valleys, and slate roofing) piecemeal. The works required careful management and robust temporary weather protection, and Simon took full advantage of the limited opportunities by co-ordinating the roofing with the installation of new lightning conductors and restoration of the stonework.
It was clear that value engineering would be an ongoing item throughout the build. Simon’s savings included not removing and lowering the existing floors to suit the external windows, keeping the existing sash windows in place, and using existing rooms within the building as site accommodation instead of bringing in cabins.
Unable to fix at will into the existing bricks (any new holes had to be agreed with the conservation architects first) and limited to lime-mortar joints only, Simon needed to plan the cable and water pipe routes with immense care. Equally unable to get access to the area at the back of the new lift pit – constructed below the existing walls and requiring careful propping – for tanking, he used waterproof concrete instead. And breaking into the chalk bedrock to excavate a basement to accommodate a gift shop and toilets, he got the spoil out through a small slit window to road level via two conveyor belts.