Good progress for Kennaway House restoration

IT'S full steam ahead for the restoration of Kennaway House after a troublesome few weeks for workers on the site.

IT'S full steam ahead for the restoration of Kennaway House after a troublesome few weeks for workers on the site.

Site manager Mike Bovingdon was left with an unwanted headache after the difficult installation of several three and a half tonne, 30 metre, scaffolding beams at the beginning of the month and further problems with gas and electricity works last week.

Mr Bovingdon, of Imperial Construction, said: "Over the last few weeks there have been disruptions on site. Lowering the scaffolding for the roof was pretty precarious, it was a pretty horrendous day with roads and the golf course having to be closed.

Last week sorting out utilities between Wales and West Gas and Western Power meant Coburg Road had to be closed for three or four days which wasn't ideal. Trying to liaise between the two companies was a very difficult job.

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The important thing was it was all done and done very safely. There is still a lot to do but we are now making good, steady progress."

Progress includes the welcome addition of Carrek Stonemasons, from Wells Cathedral, on site to carry out restoration work to the exterior of the building. The company have worked on other prestigious sites such as The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Truro Cathedral.

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Mr Bovingdon added: "It's good to have them (Carrek) on board, their quality of tradesman is very high."

Carrek foreman Richard Burrows said: "Its going well, we're finding out one or two little things about the building that we didn't know when we started. We are using specially, to order, hand made lime bricks to keep with the historic fabric of the site. A lot of the time with old buildings you never know what you're up against until you start but after 200 years of use, this place isn't doing too bad in the scheme of things."

Joining seven stonemasons on the site are 30 other workmen.

Mr Bovingdon said: "From a health and safety point of view it's a big challenge. The internals of the building such as doors and windows are all being made on site, joinery shops are set up around the site and are working well."

The next big step for the project is the replacement of the building's timber roof structure, which will mean re-homing a new addition to the workforce. A new-born pigeon, who is yet to be named, joined workers on the roof and has been enjoying its role of site mascot, with tradesmen ensuring it is well fed.

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