15th January 2019

Prayers answered as restoration begins

Without its Grade II listed status, it’s likely that the Church of Ascension would have been demolished following an arson attack in February 2017. Following the initial processes of stabilisation and planning, restoration work has now commenced on the community landmark.

Thomasons’ work on the church began shortly after the devastating fire, preventing it from collapse and demolition. This involved the emergency stabilising of six stone columns with sprayed concrete and employing bespoke design solutions to ensure our engineers’ and construction workers’ safety throughout the process.

Once the columns were stabilised, Thomasons was able to access the church interior to create an accurate 3D model of the building, including every detail right down to indents, cracks and fallen away stonework. Using the resulting model, we digitally redesigned the building. The church priest was then invited to walk through the proposed design using a VR headset.

Alongside the provision of structural engineering services, Thomasons was brought on as lead consultant and project manager for the two-year restoration programme. The next phase, comprising the building interior, has recently started. While providing direction to all members of the design team, Thomasons has to ensure that designs meet the required building standards, which for churches are set by the Diocese and subject to a different approval process.

Thomasons Director Gary Brown comments: “Thomasons is privileged to be involved in the innovative and bespoke design work that has been required to initially stabilise, save from inevitable collapse or demolition and then reconstruct the Church of Ascension, which has a pivotal place within the community.”

Visit our YouTube channel to see videos of the concrete spraying during stabilising works by clicking here.

To find out more about Thomasons work with historic buildings, click here.