St. Andrews Church, Headington – External tower repairs

This project was for external repairs to the tower. The work consisted of the removal of cement render and subsequent stone repairs and Shelter Coat application to the church tower and turret on all elevations.

Client: The Vicar, Churchwardens and PCC of St Andrew’s Church, Headington.

The project won Friends of Headington Award, and Oxford Preservation Trust Award.

Project Architect: Olga Vladić Weal (Associate)
The contract cost – £120,000.

The project of repairs to the tower came as the result of Ian Stewart’s Quinquennial Inspection that noted serious problems with the cement rendered façades of the tower and highlighted the need to address the problem.

The church tower was completely rendered in hard cement render in the second part of the 20th century. By 2015/16, the cement render has failed in numerous places, with large areas so fragile that they constituted potential safety hazard.

The brief was to attempt to remove the failing render completely, but to minimise the potential damage to the stone walls of the tower. The process was painstaking, and required an extremely careful approach using hand tools and assessing each small area before undertaking any work.

Once the cement render had been removed, the tower was deeply repointed using lime mortar, and finally shelter-coated to protect the fragile stone walls.

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