The heart of the community
Peter Cox has an enviable record of restoring historic and heritage buildings and the Peter Cox Glasgow regional team recently added to that portfolio after being appointed as a specialist sub-contractor in the refurbishment of Campbeltown Town Hall.
Built between 1758 and 1760 and remodelled between 1865 and 1866, Campbeltown Town Hall is a Grade B listed building which forms the centrepiece of the Main Street in Campbeltown town centre. It is described by Historic Scotland as ‘one of the finest town houses in Scotland’.
Stopping the rot was just the beginning
Throughout its life it has been used as a courtroom, a prison, council chambers, registrar’s office, polling station, election hall, dance hall, concert venue and exhibition space and has always enjoyed the patronage of local groups and individuals.
In fact it is the local community that is responsible for the refurbishment after South Kintyre Development Trust (SKDT) a Campbeltownbased community organisation acquired the building on behalf of the local community and sought the necessary funding to redevelop it and bring it back in to full public use. After more than four years, sufficient funding was raised for the refurbishment project with £1.8 million allocated for the construction phase.
Surveyor Alan Thomas said: “Local construction firm McKinven & Colville appointed Peter Cox to have specific responsibility for the eradication of rising damp, dry and wet rot and woodworm and as many of us are familiar with this landmark building we were honoured to be given the responsibility.”
The team found considerable fungal decay and woodworm infestation caused by the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum). This wood-boring insect is responsible for about 75% of all woodworm damage in this country and will attack softwood and hardwood.
The problems were present in various points of the building including the caretakers flat, in the rear store room and staircase on the ground floor, the site office on the first floor and across several flooring timbers on the second floor as well as the Steeple/Bell Tower. The problem areas were treated by applying masonry treatments to exposed internal brickwork and masonry and by applying insecticidal spray treatment to all accessible timbers.
Dry Rot (Serpula lacrymans) was also an issue in some of these areas and this is treated by lightly spraying the exposed walling with fungicidal fluid and then cleaning off any mycelium by wire brushing, and liberally spray soaking again. We then drilled the exposed walling as required and injected the fungicidal fluid under pressure at the recommended rates.
The full extent of a Dry Rot outbreak sometimes cannot be determined until work commences, or affected areas have been fully exposed for inspection, as fungal growth largely takes place away from light, in areas which are not readily accessible, such as behind panelling or plaster. Unfortunately, after carrying out further exposure work more problem areas were found.
Dry Rot is the major malignant fungal decay of buildings often causing extensive damage. It is able to grow through bricks, mortar and plaster with its strands capable of spreading the fungus to dry timbers.
Alan said: “The timber decay appeared to have been caused by various points of rainwater ingress, suspected plumbing defects and rising dampness and so we stressed how important it was to make good any building defects in order to protect the work we had done and to prevent any further damage occurring.”
A new lease of life
It was also apparent that rising dampness was present in specific areas which was due to the absence of an effective damp proof course. Our team installed a chemical damp proof course incorporating our Peter Cox
Silane Diffusion System and stressed to the client the importance of using the correct plaster. Our advice was to hard plaster the walls to one metre high, strictly in accordance with our specification for ‘DryWall’ salt retardant coating.
Alan concludes: “It was a great privilege to be able to work on this building. Peter Cox is renowned for its work in the preservation of historic buildings and we are really pleased that we have been able to play our part in bringing Campbeltown Town Hall back to life.”