Our project over at Little Horkesley is progressing really well. The soleplates are in, brickwork is also going in, as is hybrid insulation followed by wooden laths and thermalime.
Here at K.E. Jones & Son Building Services we do a lot of work on listed buildings and work alongside Historic England and English Heritage. But what is a listed building? We thought we’d tell you a little bit more.
A listed building is one that has been placed on a list maintained by Historic England. They are buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The older the building, and the fewer surviving examples of it’s kind, the more likely it is to be listed. Modern buildings can be listed as well, but it’s very unlikely if they are less than 30 years old, as they have yet to stand the test of time.
In general, all buildings built before 1700 which are anything like their original condition will be listed. This also includes buildings built between 1700 and 1850. There are around 500,000 listed buildings in England, and the listed statuses are as follows:
Listing does not prevent change to the building, but it means that listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes to the building that might affect its special interest. All listed buildings are collated on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) and anyone can search the list to see if a property they are interested in is listed.
Last week we talked about our new project in Little Horkesley. Following on from our last blog about sole plates, we have now started to remove the existing sole plates from the side of the property. We treated the timbers with 5 star Cuprinol, and then applied breathable insulation. We allowed an air gap, and then this was followed by treated batten and larch laths.
A lath is a thin strip of wood that provides an ideal background for lime plasters. Larch is a hardwood and is often used in traditional walling and plaster techniques. The technique of using wooden lath was derived from the wattle and daub method that had been used for at least 6000 years. Using wooden lath was popular from the 1700s to the mid 1900s after which, it became more popular to use modern plasterboard (cost being a huge factor here). Although the technique has slowly died away, there is still a strong demand for it, particularly when it comes to restoration of heritage and historic buildings. Here at K.E. Jones & Son we are highly experienced in using this traditional method of restoration.
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.
This week we started a new job through Smithers and Purslow Surveyors restoring a fire damaged property in Great Leighs. As you can see, we are having to wear protective clothing and masks for this job!
Look out for more updates as the job progresses.
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.