A hotel with an unbeatable view
In 2010 Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service purchased a hotel neighbouring the 700-year-old Harlech Castle in Gwynedd. The plan is to refurbish the hotel and to transform the ground floor of the hotel into a visitors centre so that the 90,000 visitors to the Castle can enjoy better facilities.
The purchase of the hotel and its car park, which stand next to the castle entrance, was funded from the assembly government’s £19m heritage tourism project, which is backed by a further £8.5m in European cash. Since building began, foundations dating back to medieval times have been found at the site as well as burial remains and pottery.
A call for reinforcements
The main contractor on the hotel project invited the Peter Cox experts in our Welsh office to propose a solution to repair several cracks in the interior of the building. Our team advised crack stitching and masonry reinforcement.
Michael Jones, Senior Surveyor said: “High tensile helical bars combine great strength and flexibility which allow for natural building movement and ensure reinforcement of the cracks.”
Our experts used a disc cutter complete with vacuum attachment to make chases into the designated mortar bed joint extending 500mm beyond the crack, and then made further chases at approximately 400mm vertical centres the full extent of the crack.
This was then cleaned with a small amount of water to remove dust and to prime the surface of the masonry. Next, we inserted just one bead of our Peter Cox Wall Bond Cementitious Grout and then inserted a length of Peter Cox Wall Bond helical stainless steel bar. This was pushed firmly home before applying a second bead of Grout and tool smooth.
Michael adds: “This type of crack stitching offers the ideal solution to repairs cracked walls and ensuring structure stability. However, during my initial survey of the building I also noticed further structural issues which I believed needed attention. I proposed installing 56 Cintec Masonry Anchors to the South elevation of the building.”
This was a major job but the client was confident in the Peter Cox specialist technicians who are trained and certificated by the manufacturers in the installation of Cintec anchors and is the UK’s largest approved installer of the system. In addition, the company is a founder member of the British Wall Tie and Structural Repair Association. Our Surveyors and Technicians work strictly to their code of practice ensuring a high quality service.
“The process for installing these anchors requires wet diamond tip drilling,” said Michael, “and using this technique we installed 20 Cintec Lateral Restraint Anchors secured to joists with Armlocks, 18 Consolidation Anchors, and 18 Stitching Anchors, with some as long as 3.5m. So quite a major operation.”
No stone (or timber) left unturned
But the work did not end there for Michael and his team because the survey also noted some woodworm infestation. “My survey found water stained timbers caused by moisture penetration through defective roof coverings and flashings. The roof covering was in the process of being renewed but decay by Wet Rot Cellar Fungus (Coniophora puteana) had affected a number of areas.
“In addition, we found evidence of infestation by Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum) was present. This wood-boring insect is responsible for about 75% of all woodworm damage in this country and will attack softwood and hardwood. We recommended all accessible exposed roof timber surfaces were prepared and insecticidal/fungicide fluid be applied to prevent further deterioration.
“The work on the hotel was initially quite straightforward, however, because of the other problems our survey revealed, it did turn out to be quite a major project for our team – our ‘Men of Harlech’ as they were nicknamed during the works!”