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Update 4

BARN REPAIRS

The working day enabled us to make good progress on the storage area. Since then we have done further work on stripping off the old paint, raking out the brick joints and cutting out old decayed bricks. Liam and his father have done work on the walls, including replacing the bricks that had fallen out at the top of the stairs and “stitching” a crack that had spread through the internal wall from the central beam. Having help in this way does make me feel that the task may well be manageable after all!! But the extent of decayed mortar and bricks is more than I had anticipated and we have a major piece of work to complete here before we can consider moving into the kitchen area or upstairs. Recent heavy rains have proved that the drainage and external pointing has worked – the inside of the building has stayed dry. A further programme of “working days” needs to be set up and publicised.

However, as with any old building, resolving one point of concern can raise others. In this case the state of the beam alongside the side wall above the stairs. This should be supported in the walls at each end. While the road side appears to be sound the other end has rotted away so that it is supported by the stairs and a small intermediate prop. It has also suffered from woodworm and possible wet rot along its length. It does need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Also, the central supporting beam has as its support just the single skin of bricks between the kitchen and storage areas – no wonder the brickwork is showing signs of stress! I will try and get an architect acquaintance of mine to examine and advise. I don’t think the beam does more than help the main ceiling joists but I have concerns about the stability of this area and would like some reassurance on that point. Worst case would be dig up part of the floor in the storage area, drop in some concrete to act as a foundation and build up a blockwork buttress to take the weight. Probably important but not urgent.

No further action has been taken on damproofing. We still have a quote that would need to be tweaked if we decide to go ahead but the immediate concerns have been addressed by the works that have already taken place. I RECOMMEND that this matter is kept under review.

FURTHER WORK

1.    Decayed brickwork. The bricks forming the inner skin at the top of the stairs have been replaced with new but the timber on which they are set has rot. This will need attention as and when the main beam is replaced

2.    Path and outside surfaces. COMPLETED

3.    Brush down internal walls. See detailed comments above. This is now a much longer programme than first anticipated.

4.    Woodworm treatment. As before.

5.    Pipework. As before.

6.    Door repairs. Bolt added but DECISION NEEDED on doors themselves.

7.    Grade back roadway. COMPLETED as part of the resurfacing work.

8.    Trees and gutters. COMPLETED. Gutters clear but need an end stop. Outside light – glass removed and cleaned.

9.    Windows. Will be replaced on 21st October. They will include opening for emergency access.

10. Furniture moving. Some photos taken and some items taken to the tip.

11. The brick arch above the kitchen window has slipped and the brickwork above has a vertical crack. This needs to be checked to see if it is historic movement. Access required to neighbour’s yard. This would need a builder to attend to the arch – not Members.

12. The old outside toilet block.  Ivy has been cut back. The building is dry but that may be due to the roof having been protected by the evergreen leaves for many years. The walls are cracked because of ivy roots and the building is really not suitable for long term retention. The door requires some work to keep the structure dry and secure but it isn’t worth a replacement at this point. It could perhaps be offered to neighbours for incorporation in their gardens with the wall fronting onto the Barn made good at the purchaser’s expense. FOR CONSIDERATION BY COMMITTEE.

 

Publicity, before and after photos and work schedules etc. Not yet resolved but pictures taken of set construction and the clear out day was reported on the website as another opportunity to show what is happening. We ought to be engaging more with our neighbours – many of whom are unaware of our existence!! Blackboard will be sourced over the coming weeks to be used as a “To Do” board inside the Barn for any volunteers able to spare some time without involving me directly. Some issues here for the Publicity Department.....

 

OTHER POINT(S)

 

Electrics assessed. We have wiring that may be live but we don’t know! Other wiring is not to current standards – some lights are not earthed and present a potential safety hazard. To do a full rewire with proper sockets, a new main board and all the old wires stripped out would cost about £400-500 with the labour element at much below the industry rate – an electrician acquaintance has offered to help. Can we afford to do this – or indeed not to do it?? Provision would be made for a new water heater in the kitchen. DECISION REQUIRED

 

I propose we concentrate on downstairs brickwork for the time being and note other issues as they arise. The upstairs will be a mess when the hardboard is affected by the new window installation but the dilution of resources by trying to tackle too many areas at the same time would probably be demoralising. We will also gain experience from the downstairs work which will help when we, eventually, tackle the upper floor. However, a full rewire could take place at any time without affecting this programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PETER WATSON 19/10/09

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