We have started work on a huge new project in Great Horkesley. So far we have stripped off the sand cement render ready for the replacement of the sole-plates and perished timbers. We will be putting in new purpose-made hardwood windows, wooden lath, wattle and daub panels and lime plaster finished with breathable paint. There is lots to do, and we will of course be posting regular updates as we progress. We thought you might like to know a bit more about the work involved in a project like this, so this week’s blog is about sole-plates.

So, what is a sole-plate? A sole-plate is a vital element of any timber-framed building, and is the first part of the building to be installed. It forms the base of the building, as it supports the outside walls and floors. The sole-plate sits on the brick plinth and picks up the timber frame. The sole-plates have a direct effect on the life of the building, and their installation contributes to the overall speed of construction. Here at K.E. Jones & Son Building Services Ltd, we are skilled in repairing/replacing sole-plates, but it is not a simple job. 

The main issue that occurs with sole-plates is rot, as they are made from timber. In many cases, poorly carried out alterations and modernisations can lead to the sole-plate being ‘sealed in’ with materials such as concrete, and then any moisture that would have evaporated naturally becomes trapped and leads to the timber rotting. If sole-plates rot badly this can be dangerous as they cannot then take a load-bearing role. This ultimately means that old buildings are left relying on wall materials such as lime render, to take the load which is not what they were designed to do, thus rendering the building unsafe. 

We would advise anyone thinking of buying a timber-framed period property to get a full survey done by a specialist, in order to get a full picture of any work that will need doing. We are of course happy to advise and quote on any work that may be required.


We are really pleased to share with you the pictures of the completed job at Great Leighs. The property had been damaged by fire, and we have now restored it to its former glory!






A few weeks ago we shared with you some pictures of a fire damaged property that we have been working on in Great Leighs.



We are due to finish the job this week - what a difference to when we began!



This week's 'Meet the Team' features Joe Waterson. Joe is an ex-engineer and has been part of the team for three years. Joe is a very loyal, hard-working man and can turn his hand to most things. He has just completed two years of a plumbing course for which he achieved a distinction. We are very lucky to have him as part of the team.


We are now at the next stage of our Newton development project. The scaffolding is now down and the windows will be going in soon.



This week, we have been installing a French drain for a Victorian property in Chelmsford. A French drain is a slightly sloped trench which is filled with aggregate, that allows surface water to drain away from buildings, walls, gardens, drives etc. Although the name suggests that it comes from France, this is not true. It was actually named after Henry French, a farmer from Massachussets, who wrote about the concept in 1859 in his book about farm drainage! 



Here is our next 'Meet the Team' blog. This week we are featuring Jason 'The Oracle' Hurd! Jason has been a member of our team for 30 years! He is incredibly knowledgeable - hence the nickname! He is also honest and hard-working. We are very lucky to have him as part of our team.


In this week's blog we'd like to share with you this stunning, purpose-made chimney stack that we built last year. We were involved with English Heritage on this project.

These shots were taken before we started.

We used locally sourced, hand-made bricks from Bulmer Brickworks to complete the job.

The next pictures were taken during the process of rebuilding the chimney.

Every brick used had a different shape, so this was a painstakingly complex job, which was rather like doing a jigsaw puzzle!

The hard work was worth it, as we think you'll agree that the end result is truly stunning!